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Dr Michael Smith

Associate Professor and Programme Leader, MRes Psychology

Department: Psychology

Michael Smith Staffprofile Northumbriauniversity255

Dr Michael Smith completed his PhD in Psychobiology at the University of Western Australia in 2009, before undertaking postdoctoral work at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Curtin University in Perth Australia. Michael then joined the Department of Psychology at Northumbria University in 2010. He is currently Associate Professor in the Stress Research Group and Programme Leader of the MRes Psychology programme. He leads undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Health Psychology, and contributes to research supervision of undergraduate, Masters and PhD students. He is also Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the Medical School at the University of Western Australia.

Michael’s current research programmes relate to the investigation of i) psychological functioning in Type 2 diabetes, ii) psychosocial predictors of sexual health, and iii) the interplay between personality, stress and physical health. His research employs both subjective (e.g. self-report) and objective (e.g. beat-to-beat cardiovascular reactivity and bioassay techniques) markers of health. Michael is aligned to the Integrated Health and Social Care Multidisciplinary Research Theme at Northumbria.

Michael is actively involved in the activities of the British Psychological Society (BPS). He is currently Chair of the BPS Standing Conference Committee (2017-2020), a member of the BPS Research Board and a member of the BPS Psychobiology Section Committee.

0191 243 7169


BA (Hons), PhD

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Psychological functioning in Type 2 diabetes

Psychosocial predictors of sexual health

Personality, stress and physical health

Current/Recent Projects

Advancing the science of willpower: investigating the mechanisms and processes of self-control. Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (2013): AU$95,834

Effect of high dose infant fish oil supplementation and FADS 1 & 2 genetic polymorphisms on cognitive development and school giftedness. National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant (2011): AU$314,865.

Functional living in type II diabetes: Executive functioning, dual task performance and the impact on postural stability and motor control. Diabetes UK Small Grant (2011): £14,444.

Key Publications

Shepherd, L. & Smith, M. A. (2017). The role of fear in predicting sexually transmitted infection screening. Psychology and Health, 32, 876-894.

Bridges, H. A., & Smith, M. A. (2016). Mediation by illness perceptions of the association between the doctor-patient relationship and diabetes-related distress. Journal of Health Psychology, 21, 1956-1965.

Skinner, S. R., Robinson, M., Smith, M. A., Cooper Robbins, S. C., Mattes, E., Cannon, J., Rosenthal, S. L., Marino, J. L., Hickey, M., & Doherty, D. A. (2015). Childhood behavior problems and age at first sexual intercourse: A prospective birth cohort study. Pediatrics, 135, 255-263.

Wetherell, M. A., Lovell, B., & Smith, M. A. (2015). The effects of an anticipated challenge on diurnal cortisol secretion. Stress, 18, 42-48.

Smith, M. A., Else, J. E., Paul, L., Foster, J. K., Walker, M., Wesnes, K. A., & Riby L. M. (2014). Functional living in older adults with type 2 diabetes: Executive functioning, dual task performance and the impact on postural stability and motor control. Journal of Ageing and Health, 26, 841-859.

Kelly-Hughes, D. H., Wetherell, M. A., & Smith, M. A. (2014). Type D personality and cardiovascular reactivity to an ecologically valid multitasking stressor. Psychology and Health, 29, 1156-1175.

To view my Northumbria Research Link page click here

Professional Activity

Chartered Psychologist (BPS)

BPS Standing Conference Committee Chair

BPS Research Board Member

BPS Psychobiology Section Committee Member

PGR Supervision

Completed Students (Principal Supervisor)

Nicola Jones (2014), Glucoregulation, memory and the ageing brain: Exploring the mechanisms

Completed Students (Co-supervisor) 

Mia Campbell (2017), Systematic development of a complex intervention for weight cycling (Principal supervisor: Dr Vincent Deary)

Olivia Craw (2016), Psychobiological pathways associated with the anticipation of forthcoming demand (Principal supervisor: Dr Mark Wetherell)

Current Students (Principal Supervisor)

Sarah Allen, October 2014-, Investigating the mechanisms underpinning the relationship between Type D personality and physical health

Current Students (Co-supervisor)

Claire McGrogan, October 2017-, Emotion regulation and mania risk (Principal supervisor: Dr Alyson Dodd)

Daniel Rippon, October 2015-, Causes and consequences of stress in professional carers (Part funded by Studio III, Principal supervisor: Dr Mark Wetherell)

Kerry McKellar, October 2014-, Developing an online sexual health intervention program for teenagers (Principal supervisor: Dr Liz Sillence)

Kara Danks, October 2014-, Exploring the impact of the NHS Health and Justice ‘Health Trainers and Lay-Practitioners’ initiative on prisoner engagement and health-related behaviour change (Principal supervisor: Dr Wendy Dyer)

Samantha Redgate, October 2014-, Addressing communication skills in young offenders (Principal supervisor: Dr Wendy Dyer)


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