Doctoral study in Health Psychology

Why study with us?

  • The Department of Psychological Medicine is one of the largest in the School of Medicine, with programmes that are led and delivered by staff who are internationally recognised experts and highly regarded researchers.
  • The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences is New Zealand’s leading provider of tertiary education in the health field and the country’s largest centre for medical and biomedical research.
  • We pride ourself on the close collaborations that we have developed with the country’s leading healthcare providers. These ensure that our teaching and research are relevant to the present and future health needs of New Zealand.

Research opportunities

There are opportunities to undertake doctoral studies in many of the areas of expertise within the department. Some of our research interests/projects include:

  • Coping with illness and chronic disease
  • Psychological influences on the development of disease states
  • Improving adjustment in healthcare settings
  • Patient-practitioner communication
  • Adherence to treatment
  • Determinants of health-related behaviours
  • Understanding how individuals make sense of and react to health screening, symptoms and illness
  • Technology and health, including healthcare apps and robotics
  • Emotions and health
  • Placebo and nocebo effects
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Compassion in medicine
  • Pain
  • Mindfulness and other psychological interventions

Our people

Pursue your topic with us and benefit from exceptional standards of support and supervision from internationally recognised researchers.

Roger Booth - Associate Professor in Health Psychology
Research interests: psychoneuroimmunology, self-determination and the immune system, immune networks in health and illness, emotional expression, immunity and health, immune regulators and symptom experience

Professor Keith Petrie - Professor of Health Psychology
Research interests: health psychology, placebo effect, nocebo effect, adherence to treatment, illness perceptions, reassurance in medical consultations, fatigue in aircrew, modern health worries

Professor Nathan Consedine - Professor of Health Psychology
Research interests: medical compassion, fear, embarrassment and disgust in health avoidance, mindfulness, self-compassion and yoga as interventions in chronic disease, emotional regulation skills and health

Associate Professor Elizabeth Broadbent - Associate Professor in Health Psychology
Research interests: stress and wound healing, coping with chronic illness, illness perceptions, risk perceptions, patients’ drawing of their illness, human-robot interactions, embodied cognition.

Dr Anna Serlachius - Lecturer in Health Psychology
Research interests: self-management interventions, health interventions, research in gout, diabetes and obesity, social support and health, stress and coping

Dr Lisa Reynolds - Lecturer in Health Psychology
Research interests: emotion and avoidance in cancer screening and treatment, medical help-seeking and decision-making, disgust, mindfulness, compassion

Dr Debbie Bean - Lecturer in Health Psychology
Research interests: the role of psychological factors in the experience of chronic pain, psychosocial factors in complex regional pain syndrome, interactions between sleep and pain, pain assessment and chronic pain treatment

Past research topics

  • "Kindness Matters: Investigating the mental and physical health benefits of self-compassion in diabetes" | Anna Friis supervised by Nathan Consedine and Malcolm Johnson
  • "Illness perceptions, coping, and psychological outcomes in patients with head and neck cancer and their caregivers" | Amy Elizabeth Richardson supervised by Elizabeth Broadbent and Randal Morton
  • "The impact of psychological interventions on wound healing" | Hayley Maree Robinson supervised by Elizabeth Broadbent and Paul Jarrett
  • "Personality and placebo responses in non-pain paradigms: building a transactional model of placebo responding" | Margot Darragh supervised by Nathan Consedine and Roger Booth
  • "An ill wind?: The influence of expectations on symptom reporting following exposure to infrasound and sham infrasound" | Fiona Crichton supervised by Keith Petrie and Tim Cundy
  • "Expressive regulation and health: does the ability to regulate the expression of emotion predict physical health outcomes?" | Natalie Tuck, supervised by Nathan Consedine and Roger Booth

Scholarships and awards

There are several scholarships you may be eligible for when you decide to pursue your doctoral studies in Health Psychology.

University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarships

Atlantis Healthcare Health Psychology PhD Publication Prize

Apply for doctoral study