Quality of life, health and wellbeing
Quality of life and wellbeing can differ greatly from one person to the next. An employee's experience at work can be vastly different from someone else's; a student with learning difficulties may or may not get the support they need; or the elderly might not get the right kind of care. We're exploring these diverse experiences, to enhance the quality of life and improve the wellbeing of ordinary people.
Our research aims to understand psychological and behavioural processes involved in health and wellbeing to produce practical solutions such as lifestyle changes.
For example, stress at work remains one of the most commonly-cited reasons for poor work-related quality of life and high staff absenteeism – and our work in this area is helping employers and employees to identify best practices.
Our expertise lies in assessing the behaviours, attitudes and beliefs of people, analysing this data, and comparing it to other groups. We produce reports describing the findings, and in many cases, offer expert advice on what should be done to address concerns or problems.
Our research covers the following topics
Enhancing quality of life of people at work
Quality of working life and wellbeing of employees
This research focuses on how to make people happier at work. Through this work, we invented the ‘Quality of Working Life’ scale, which helps organisations measure the key factors contributing to the wellbeing, engagement and stress of staff. The scale was originally developed in UK NHS Trusts and is now being used worldwide to benchmark and compare the Quality of Working Life of healthcare employees. The surveys assess the main elements of employee health and wellbeing, including work demands, general well being, job satisfaction and control at work. This research has made an impact in many organisations both in the UK and abroad. It has contributed to the wellbeing assessment of thousands of people, including those in the health service, universities, law, and charities
Enhancing job opportunities and supporting autistic employees in the workplace
We're supporting autistic people seeking employment, those that are already in work, and university students. We work closely with government bodies, such as the Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions, and local authorities. We also work in the third sector and local communities to help boost employment rates in autism. We developed an employment-specific profiling assessment service for autistic people, which assists the process of designing tailored support plans to ensure people on the autism spectrum can get – and keep – a job.
Empowering people with learning disabilities
This research examines talk about facilitating the choices and control of people with learning disabilities, power relations in interactions with people labelled as learning disabled and how the support staff/carer/parent identity and learning disabled identity are constructed in talk. We're enabling therapeutic practices with people with intellectual disabilities and their support networks, including practices that challenge disablism.
Enhancing life in later years
This research includes how to help partners who are the carers of their spouse with Alzheimer’s; perceptions of ageing when living in care and techniques to aid memory of those with dementia.
Exploring techniques for enhancing wellbeing
The use of mindfulness in eating regulation; the use of ‘self help’ books; how mobile phone apps aimed to improve mental health can influence wellbeing; our understanding of the ‘self’ (identity) and the some implications for well-being (including materialism and ‘rational choice’; money in intimate relationships; gender and household money management; identity and economic practices; national identity and its social psychological consequences).
Enhancing student experience and learning success
This research explores the impact of theories of self and learning context on learning behaviour, resilience, choices and outcomes; careers destinations of Higher Education students and careers counselling in the Third World, as well as developing a sense of community and its relationship to academic attainment. We're working alongside Local Education Authorities, including Portsmouth City Council, to support the enhancement of aspirations and resilience of school pupils, including a Hampshire wide project, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). The project will reach over 2,000 pupils in 36 primary schools in disadvantaged areas.
Our research has shown how the influence of music and distraction can affect the initial taste of alcohol. This research helps explain how music can lead to faster and greater consumption of alcohol.
The Role of Perceived Work-life Balance – International Journal of Stress Management, 2019, Volume 26, Issue 2, pages 173-183, DOI: 10.1037/str0000067, Fontinha, R., Van Laar, D., Easton, S.
A Measure of Quality of Working Life, Portsmouth: University of Portsmouth, 2nd Ed, 2018, ISBN: 9781861376633, Easton, S. and Van Laar, D.
Discover our areas of expertise
We're exploring evolutionary processes and the comparison of humans with other animals, in order to study the origins of behaviour.
Through our research, we're studying psychological phenomena in relation to the context and situation in which it emerges.
Interested in a PhD in Psychology?
Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Psychology postgraduate research degrees page.