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Encouraging healthy behaviour change through the Making Every Contact Count initiative.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, May 12, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description


Making every contact count (MECC) is an approach to behaviour change that utilises the millions of day to day interactions that organisations and people have with other people, to encourage changes in behaviour that have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and populations.

The supervisory team for this project will also include:

Mr Em Rahman, Head of Public Health Workforce Development Programmes, Health Education England (Wessex)

Dr Wendy Lawrence, Associate Professor of Health Psychology, Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton

Dr Elaine Wainwright, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology, Bath Spa University and Honorary Research Fellow, Department for Health, University of Bath


There are a number of frameworks and guidance documents evidencing the effectiveness of the MECC approach but limited peer reviewed academic evidence. This PhD has the following aims, which may be focused on one condition (e.g. pain)

Explore the impact MECC/Healthy Conversation Skills has in supporting behaviour change.

Explore the wider impact MECC/Healthy Conversation Skills has on the workforce in delivering the role.

Explore the impact MECC/Healthy Conversation Skills has on the culture of the workforce in supporting the people with whom they work.

We anticipate that a mixed-method approach will be used to address the above aims. To assess change in participants’ pain experiences and management, for example, established quantitative tools will be used, such as VAS for levels of pain.

To gain deeper insight into change in pain experiences and management behaviour, qualitative methods will be used, which could include individual or dyad interviews (whichever is most appropriate), or focus groups with participants. Semi-structured discussion guides would be developed to cover appropriate topics, and discussions would be audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim for analysis, e.g. thematic analysis.

To assess the wider impact on the workforce in relation to delivery of the intervention and the culture of the workforce, individual interviews would be conducted with those delivering the intervention and control condition (usual care?). Discussion guides and analysis as detailed above.


Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, as a minimum, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an area appropriate to the skills requirements of the project such as Psychology, Social or Clinical Sciences. A Masters degree is also preferred, in a relevant area such as Psychology, Health Services Research or Public Health.

Anticipated start date: 30th September 2019


Shortlisted candidates are likely to be interviewed on 13th June 2019.

Funding Notes

Jointly funded by HEE (Health Education England) and the University of Bath, this studentship will cover Home/EU tuition fees, an annual stipend (£15,009 19/20 rate) and a training support fee for a period of up to 3 years for full time study.

How good is research at University of Bath in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 22.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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