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Mark Wetherell

Reader in Psychobiology and Postgraduate Programme Leader for Health Psychology

Department: Psychology

Mark Wetherell Staffprofile Northumbriauniversity255Dr Mark Wetherell is an Associate Professor of Psychobiology & Health Psychology, Postgraduate Programme Leader for Health Psychology and a Practicing Health Psychologist registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).  He is a member of the Health Interventions and Wellbeing Research Group and the Health in Action Research Group, where he leads the stress research theme and is the Associate Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research.

Following completion of his PhD (Plymouth University) Mark held post-doctoral positions at the Medical Research Council, Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience & Endocrinology and the Departments of Primary Care and Social Medicine at Bristol University.

0191 243 7248

Key Publications

Elder, G.J., Ellis, J.G., Barclay, N.L., Wetherell, M.A. (2016). Assessing the daily stability of the cortisol awakening response in a controlled environment. BMC Psychology, in press
Vedhara, K., Dawe, K., Miles, J.N.V., Wetherell, M.A., Cullum, N., Dayane, C., Drake, N., Price, P., Tarlton, J., Weinman, J., Day, A., Campbell, R., Reps, J., Soria, D. (2016). Illness beliefs predict mortality in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.  PLoS ONE, in press
Stalder, T., Kirschbaum, C., Kudielka, B.L., Adam, E.K., Pruessner, .JC., Wüst, S., Dockray, S., Smyth, N., Evans, P., Hellhammer, D., Miller, R., Wetherell, M.A., Lupien, S., Clow, A. (2015).  Assessment of the cortisol awakening response: expert consensus guidelines. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63, 414-432. 
Lovell, B. Moss, M., Wetherell, M.A. (2015). Assessing the feasibility and efficacy of written benefit-finding for caregivers of children with autism: a pilot study. Journal of Family Studies, 1-11. 
Wetherell, M.A., Lovell, B., Smith, M.A. (2015). The effects of an anticipated challenge on diurnal cortisol secretion. Stress, the International Journal on the Biology of Stress. 18(1) 42-48.
Wetherell, M.A., Montgomery C. (2014). Basal functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and psychological distress in recreational ecstasy polydrug users. Psychopharmacology 231: 1365-1375
Wetherell, M.A., Carter, K. (2014). The Multitasking Framework: The effects of increasing workload on acute psychobiological stress reactivity. Stress & Health 30: 103-109. 

You can view my full list of publications on the Northumbria Research Link 

Current/Recent Projects

2015 Stress in carergivers of individuals with challenging behaviours: Studio 3

2014 Sleep and memory in parent carers. Dr Mark Wetherell, Dr Brian Lovell: Baily Thomas Charitable Foundation

2013 Stress in siblings of children with autism / ADHD. Dr Mark Wetherell, Dr Brian Lovell: Baily Thomas Charitable Foundation

2012 Caregiver Stress: Does benefit finding mitigate the stress experienced by carers of children with autism?  Dr Mark Wetherell, Dr Brian Lovell: Waterloo Foundation / Research Autism

2012 A case controlled study exploring the qualitative experience of sleep, the roles of sleep architecture, and diurnal patterns of salivary cortisol in ME / CFS: Dr Jason Ellis, Ms Zoe Gotts, Dr Vincent Deary, Dr Mark Wetherell, Dr Julia Newton.  Action For ME

Sponsors and Collaborators

Mark is currently involved in a number of collaborative projects including:

Investigating caregiver stress in those who provide care for individuals with challenging behaviours (Studio 3: Dr Andrew McDonnell, Dr Michael McCreadie)

Psychoneuroendocrine effects of MDMA use (Dr Cathy Montgomery, Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Andrew Scholey, Brain Sciences Institute, BSI), Swinburne, Melbourne),

Potential compounds that may reduce the deleterious impact of stress (Professor Andrew Scholey, Professor Con Stough, Dr Andrew Pipingas, Swinburne)

Investigating psychobiological responses in audiences (Monkfish Productions)


Mark has received research income from a variety of charitable (e.g., Research Autism, Baily Thomas Foundation, Neuroendocrine Charitable Trust) and industry (Wrigley Science Institute, GSK, Studio 3) sponsors.

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Mark’s research concerns the identification of psychobiological pathways by which psychological (e.g., stress) and behavioural (e.g., health enhancing and compromising behaviours) factors can lead to deleterious states of health, well-being and performance in a range of clinical, occupational, and healthy populations. 

Despite the potential benefits that could be experienced, many of these populations are characterised by having limited time and resource to engage in potentially beneficially interventions, I am, therefore, involved in the development of bespoke stress-reducing interventions that can be delivered within these limitations.

My research involves the development of novel, ecologically valid techniques, for assessing the basal functioning and activation of psychobiological pathways in ambulatory and laboratory settings, for example, assessment of indices of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis such as the Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) and diurnal decline, and fluctuations in state mood in relation to psychosocial factors and health outcomes.

More recently, Mark’s work has involved the combination of ambulatory and laboratory techniques, for example assessing the effects of acute stress on HPA reactivity in relation to basal HPA functioning. This work typically involves the development of bespoke assessments over several days and allows for a comprehensive profile of psychological and biological functioning. 

Mark publishes research in the leading journals in the fields of Stress and Biological and Health Psychology, is a reviewer for Research Councils, other funding bodies and the leading journals in the discipline and is on the Editorial Board for Stress & Heath, Psychology & Health and the Psychologist. 


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