Dr Lewis Elliott
Associate Research Fellow in Environment and Human Health
Knowledge Spa F076
Lewis is an Associate Research Fellow at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) and is currently working on the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funded ‘BlueHealth’ project. His research interests include green exercise (physical activity in the presence of the natural environment), restorative environments, health behaviour change and branches of applied psychology.
Lewis completed his BSc in Applied Psychology at Plymouth University in 2011 and continued his development by undertaking an MSc in Psychological Research Methods there from 2011-2012. During these degrees, he undertook projects exploring the cognitive and affective benefits of acute exposures to both visual and auditory natural environment stimuli. Lewis joined the University of Exeter in 2012 on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded interdisciplinary PhD studentship in Health and Well-Being as part of the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) strategic partnership. He was based jointly at the Psychology Applied to Health (PAtH) research group at the University of Exeter Medical School and the School of Sport and Health Sciences. During this PhD, he studied how environmental quality, landscape type, and promotional materials affected the practice of physical activity in natural environments.
2016 PhD Health & Well-being, University of Exeter
2012 MSc Psychological Research Methods, Plymouth University
2011 BSc (Hons) Applied Psychology, Plymouth University
In the Horizons 2020 funded BlueHealth project, I am primarily responsible for the delivery of work package 2: "Pan-European Evidence for BlueHealth." Specifically, this involves the creation of a pan-European survey concerned with the health effects of exposure to urban waterways which is to be applied to a cross-sectional sample of the European population and also to the evaluation of a number of case studies and individual-level interventions around Europe which involve enhancements to urban aquatic environments. I will also be involved in looking for parallel relationships between exposure to aquatic environments and health across difference European secondary datasets; a systematic review on the applications of virtual nature exposure in clinical settings; and the synthesis of evidence gathered from the case studies and individual-level interventions in BlueHealth.
Prior to this, my research mainly focused on the practice of physical activity in natural environments. In my PhD, I conducted four empirical studies on this topic. Firstly, I analysed data contained within Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey to find that across England, more intense physical activities were conducted in ‘green’ environments but overall energy expenditure was higher in coastal environments. I also conducted an acute controlled exercise study which compared psychophysiological responses to walking in exposure to better and worse quality natural environments.
The latter half of my PhD focused on the promotion of physical activity in natural environments. Firstly I conducted a quantitative content analysis of printed brochures which advertise walking in natural environments and found that brochures used a limited range of persuasive behavioural techniques to promote walking. In an extension of this, I conducted an experimental study which found that improving brochure content using persuasive messages derived from behaviour change theories heightened intentions to walk in natural environments, especially amongst people who were not regularly active at present.
I have also conducted research work for Natural England on engagement in outdoor physical activity in the Lee Valley associated with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I have also contributed a chapter on health, well-being and the natural environment to an annual report with national statistics designation. I have co-authored a paper on outdoor walking as a potential adjunct treatment for depression and also have an interest in pro-environmental behaviour change.
Additional Publications (see 'Publications' tab for peer-reviewed journal articles):
White, M. P., Bell, S., Elliott, L. R., Jenkin, R., Wheeler, B. W., & Depledge, M. H. (in press). Blue exercise in the UK. In J. Barton, R. Bragg, C. Wood, & J. Pretty. (Eds), Green exercise – linking nature, health and well-being. London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
Non-academic Governmental Reports:
Elliott, L. R. (2015). Health, well-being and the natural environment. In Natural England (Ed.), Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment: The national survey on people and the natural environment. Annual report from the 2013-14 survey (pp. 69-84). UK, Natural England. Full report available here.
Elliott, L. R. (2014). The effect of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on health and natural environment engagement in the Lee Valley. Natural England Research Reports Number NE574. Full report available here.
Elliott, L. R., White, M. P & Taylor, A. H. (2016, June). Is visual attention related to the psychological outcomes of exercise in natural environments? A mobile eye-tracking study. In Å. Ode Sang (chair), Eye-tracking as an innovative tool for studying human-environment interactions: possibilities and pitfalls. Oral symposium conducted at the International Association of People-Environment Studies, Lund, Sweden.
Elliott, L. R., White, M. P., Taylor, A. H., & Abraham, C. (2015, August). Content analysis of outdoor walking brochures: The development of a behavioural-theory informed coding scheme. Oral presentation conducted at the biennial conference on environmental psychology, Groningen, Netherlands.
Elliott, L. R., White, M. P., Herbert, S., & Taylor, A. H. (2015, August). Energy expenditure on recreational visits to different natural environments: Implications for public health. In K. J. Wyles (chair), Restorative (aquatic) environments: antecedents and implications. Oral symposium conducted at the biennial conference on environmental psychology, Groningen, Netherlands.
Elliott, L. R., White, M. P., & Taylor, A. H. (2014, August). Quantitative content analysis of recreational walking brochures: The development and testing of a behavioural theory informed coding taxonomy. Poster presentation at the 10th annual meeting and 5th conference of HEPA Europe, Zurich, Switzerland.
European Commission Horizon 2020 funded ‘BlueHealth’ project.