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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, 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.

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Nicki O'Brien

  • Global health and behaviour change
  • 'Languageless' animated health communication
  • 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
  • N-of-1 (single case) methodology

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • 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. 26 Sep 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
  • 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
  • Dietary and physical activity/exercise behavioural interventions for weight loss in adults with chronic kidney disease: a systematic review, Rowley, S., Montgomery, E., Avery, L., O'Brien, N., Flynn, D. 5 Oct 2020, UK Kidney Week Virtual Conference 2020
  • 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
  • Development of a group-based support and information intervention for people with DLB and their caregivers, Killen, A., Flynn, D., O'Brien, N., Taylor, J. 24 Jun 2019, International Lewy Body Dementia Conference 2019

  • 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

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

  • 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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