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Dr Nicki O'Brien

Associate Professor

Department: Psychology

Nicki is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. She is a Chartered Health Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. Nicki’s research focuses on developing and evaluating complex interventions that are designed to make a demonstrable contribution to the promotion of individual and population health. She has particular expertise in the development of physical activity interventions for primary and secondary prevention of chronic conditions, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease and obesity. She is a mixed-methodologist with experience in systematic reviewing and meta-analysis; intervention co-design; n-of-1 methods; and randomised and pragmatic trials. Her work has been funded by NIHR, MRC, Versus Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK), Lewy Body Society, Department of Health and the Cabinet Office.

Nicki is an experienced postgraduate supervisor and is registered as an Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor. If you are would like to discuss potential supervision of a PhD or Stage 2 Health Psychology training, please get in touch.   

Google scholar profile

Nicki O'Brien

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

•           Digital and blended (digital + human) health behaviour change interventions

•           Intervention co-design with stakeholders

•           'Languageless' visual health communication for COVID-19

•           n-of-1 (single case) methodology

•           Physical activity behaviour and behaviour change

•           Arthritis and musculoskeletal health

•           The role of community pharmacy in the prevention and management of chronic health conditions

•           Social prescribing to improve health behaviours and condition self-management

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Multinational survey of treatment practices of clinicians managing subclinical hypothyroidism in older people in 2019, Razvi, S., Arnott, B., Teare, D., Hiu, S., O'Brien, N., Pearce, S. Jul 2021, In: European Thyroid Journal
  • The feasibility and acceptability of a psychosocial intervention to support people with dementia with Lewy bodies and family care partners, Killen, A., Flynn, D., O'Brien, N., Taylor, J. 25 Jun 2021, In: Dementia
  • Mixed methods study of a new model of care for chronic disease: co-design and sustainable implementation of group consultations into clinical practice, Russell-Westhead, M., O'Brien, N., Goff, I., Coulson, E., Pape, J., Birrell, F. Jan 2020, In: Rheumatology Advances in Practice
  • Overcoming barriers to engagement and adherence to a home-based physical activity intervention for patients with heart failure: A qualitative focus group study, Okwose, N., O'Brien, N., Charman, S., Cassidy, S., Brodie, D., Bailey, K., Macgowan, G., Jakovljevic, D., Avery, L. 21 Sep 2020, In: BMJ Open
  • Acceptability, Feasibility and Preliminary Evaluation of a Novel, Personalised, Home-based Physical Activity Intervention for Chronic Heart Failure (Active-at-Home-HF): a Pilot Study, Okwose, N., Avery, L., O'Brien, N., Cassidy, S., Charman, S., Bailey, K., Velicki, L., Olivotto, I., Brenna, P., MacGowan, G., Jakovljevic, D. 1 Dec 2019, In: Sports Medicine - Open
  • Evaluating the impact of a community-based social prescribing intervention on people with type 2 diabetes in North East England: Mixed-methods study protocol, Moffatt, S., Wildman, J., Pollard, T., Penn, L., O'Brien, N., Pearce, M., Wildman, J. 15 Jan 2019, In: BMJ Open
  • Harnessing new models of care for chronic disease: co-design and sustainable implementation of group clinics into UK clinical practice, Birrell, F., Goff, I., Coulson, L., Jones, T., Baqir, W., O'Brien, N., Rapley, T., Gray, K., Flood, B., Russell-Westhead, M. Mar 2019, In: Future Healthcare Journal
  • Link workers’ perspectives on factors enabling and preventing client engagement with social prescribing, Wildman, J., Moffatt, S., Penn, L., O'Brien, N., Steer, M., Hill, C. 1 Jul 2019, In: Health and Social Care in the Community
  • Navigating later life transitions: An evaluation of emotional and psychological interventions, Evans, E., Hyde, M., Davies, J., Moffatt, S., O'Brien, N., Windle, G. 29 Aug 2019
  • Service-users' perspectives of link worker social prescribing: A qualitative follow-up study, Wildman, J., Moffatt, S., Steer, M., Laing, K., Penn, L., O'Brien, N. Dec 2019, In: BMC Public Health

PGR Supervision

Angela Long The role of community pharmacy in the management of age-related musculoskeletal conditions Start Date: 01/04/2021


  • Psychology PhD June 01 2010
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society AFBPsS 2019
  • Chartered Member British Psychological Society CPsychol 2011
  • Registered Practitioner Psychologist, Health and Care Professions Council 2011

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