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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, population and global health. Her work includes lifestyle-based interventions for primary and secondary prevention of chronic conditions, animated health behaviour change messages, and community pharmacy supported interventions. Nicki leads the Health Behaviour and Behaviour Change Research group at Northumbria.

Nicki uses quantitative and qualitative research methods, and has particular experience in intervention co-design; n-of-1 methods; systematic reviewing and meta-analysis; and randomised and pragmatic trials. Her work has been funded by NIHR, MRC, ESRC, Versus Arthritis, 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

  • Global health and behaviour change
  • 'Languageless' animated health communication
  • N-of-1 (single case) methodology
  • Digital and blended (digital + human) health behaviour change interventions
  • Community pharmacy supported interventions for chronic health conditions
  • Physical activity behaviour change
  • Arthritis and musculoskeletal health
  • Intervention co-design with stakeholders

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Filling in the Gaps. Making Sense of Living with Temporomandibular Disorders: A Reflexive Thematic Analysis, Penlington, C., Durham, J., O'Brien, N., Green, R. 3 Jan 2024, In: JDR Clinical and Translational Research
  • Impact of a social prescribing intervention in North East England on adults with type 2 diabetes: the SPRING_NE multimethod study, Moffatt, S., Wildman, J., Pollard, T., Gibson, K., Wildman, J., O'Brien, N., Griffith, B., Morris, S., Moloney, E., Jeffries, J., Pearce, M., Mohammed, W. 30 Mar 2023, In: Public Health Research
  • Uptake of diabetes follow-up checks by minority community groups: a rapid review of the evidence for the CYMELL study, Spencer, L., Albustami, M., Porter, A., Naha, G., Thomas, R., Rees, S., Stewart, R., Hettiarachchi, T., O'Brien, N., Edwards, R., Khanom, A. Nov 2023, In: The Lancet
  • A pre- and post-intervention study testing the effect of exposure to languageless animated images communicating COVID-19 preventive behaviours on behavioural intentions and beliefs of Guatemalan adults, O'Brien, N., Vijaykumar, S., Craig, M., Land, E., Aguilar Jocol, S., Bedoya Mendoza, X., dela Cruz Estrada, R., Najera Gonzalez, E., Nicolau Ozaeta, L. 22 Jul 2022, In: Journal of Global Health
  • "He or she maybe doesn’t know there is such a thing as a review”: a qualitative investigation exploring barriers and facilitators to accessing medication reviews from the perspective of people from ethnic minority communities, Robinson, A., Sile, L., Govind, T., Guraya, H., O'Brien, N., Harris, V., Pilkington, G., Todd, A., Husband, A. 1 Aug 2022, In: Health Expectations
  • Recommendations for community pharmacy to improve access to medication advice for people from ethnic minority communities: A qualitative person‐centred codesign study, Robinson, A., O'Brien, N., Sile, L., Guraya, H., Govind, T., Harris, V., Pilkington, G., Todd, A., Husband, A. 1 Dec 2022, In: Health Expectations
  • 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. 1 Jan 2022, In: Dementia
  • Using a qualitative co-design approach to identify recommendations for improving access to medication reviews for people from ethnic minority communities, Robinson-Barella, A., Sile, L., Govind, T., Guraya, H., O'Brien, N., Harris, V., Pilkington, G., Todd, A., Husband, A. 1 Dec 2022, In: International Journal of Pharmacy Practice
  • 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

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Development and implementation of support for pharmacists to delier integrated primary care for osteoarthritis, O'Brien, N. (Principal Investigator), National Institute for Health Research, 01/11/21 - 31/10/23, £10,480.00
  • The influene of culture, religion and identity for patients from BAME background in accessing medicines review services, O'Brien, N. (Principal Investigator), National Institute for Health Research, 01/03/21 - 31/08/21, £1,091.00
  • Evaluation of TILL Phase 2 (transfer in), O'Brien, N. (Principal Investigator), Swansea University, 01/06/20 - 31/07/20, £5,198.00
  • Interventions in community organisations to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities, O'Brien, N. (Principal Investigator), National Institute for Health Research, 23/04/19 - 31/10/20, £8,944.00

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Membership of committee: The British Psychological Society (External organisation) 2022
  • Editorial work: Frontiers in Health Services (Journal) 2021
  • Editorial work: Lifestyle Medicine (Journal) 2021
  • Membership of committee: National Institute of Health and Care Research Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship (External organisation) 2021
  • Membership of committee: HEE-NIHR Integrated Clinical and Practitioner Academic Programme Selection Committee (External organisation) 2020
  • Editorial work: British Journal of Health Psychology (Journal) 2012

  • Colin Stephenson Start Date: 01/01/2023
  • Angela Long The role of community pharmacy in the management of age-related musculoskeletal conditions Start Date: 01/04/2021

Current PhD supervision:

David Bourne. Chronic pancreatitis: towards a comprehensive, patient-centred, evidence-based model of nutritional care. NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship

Beckie Gibson. Understanding persuasive effects of message framing for vaccination uptake in university students. Northumbria Doctoral Studentship

Angela Long. The role of commuinty pharmacy in the management of age-related musculoskeletal conditions. ESRC Doctoral Studentship 

Chris Penlington. Psychological therapy for orofacial pain: series of N-of-1 studies

Colin Stephenson. Ensuring the future sustainability of NHS primary care: applying a Group Consultation model in community pharmacy settings to help address population health inequalities. Northumbria Doctoral Studentship

  • 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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