Professor Charles Abraham
Honorary Clinical Professor
Charles Abraham is a behavioural scientist and practising, health psychologist (registered by the UK Health Professionals Council). In addition to research and teaching, he provides training, consultancy and policy advice. Charles is a visiting professor at the universities of Sussex, Nottingham and Maastricht and a Research Associate at the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) at the University of Connecticut. He was the founding chair of the British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology and has worked as a research consultant to the Department of Health in the UK. He was a member of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) group which developed the 2007 guidelines on Behaviour Change practice and is a member of the group that will extend this guidance in 2013. He was Special Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology during their 2010/11 inquiry into the role of behaviour change in government policy development and implementation. He also co-chairs the Athena Swan (AS) working group in the University of Exeter Medical School and serves on the university AS committee.
Broad research specialisms
Charles Abraham’s research focuses on the design, evaluation and implementation of evidence-based behaviour change interventions. His research at the University of Exeter contributes mainly to the research theme of “translational medicine, personalised healthcare and public health” but also to the “climate change and sustainable futures” theme. He has a strong interest in developing evidence-based behaviour change interventions that have the potential to generate population-level changes
- B.A. Social Psychology, First Class Honours, University of Sussex, 1978
- D.Phil. Social Psychology, University of Sussex, 1982
- Health Professionals Council Certified Health Psychologist 2009
- Qualified Supervisor of Stage 2 Health Psychology candidates 2003
- Chartered Health Psychologist with current Practising Certificate 1998
- Chartered Psychologist (C.Psychol). 1998
- BPS Statement of Competence in Occupational Testing 1993
Research group links
Charles Abraham’s research focuses on:.
- modelling modifiable processes that regulate behaviour patterns,
- developing evidence-based behaviour change interventions that apply specified change techniques to (i) disrupt existing behaviour patterns and (ii) establish new ones,
- conducting evaluations (including process evaluations) of such interventions,
- developing materials and plans to allow sustainable implementation of such interventions.
He has conducted research on (i) preventive behaviour patterns (e.g., condom use, exercise, diet, alcohol use and smoking - mainly among young people), (ii) blood and kidney donation (iii) patient help-seeking (e.g., asthma symptom reporting and uptake of screening), (iv) patient assessment (e.g. pain measurement), (v) patient adherence (e.g., to malaria prophylaxis and anti-retrovirals), (vi) management of chronic illness (e.g., diabetes and heart failure) and (vii) staff-client interaction (e.g., care of persons with learning disabilities).
He employ a range of research methods including experiments (including random controlled trials), multivariate modelling of longitudinal survey data, systematic reviews (including meta analyses), behavioural observation, traditional content analysis and qualitative analysis of interview and group data (including thematic analysis and grounded theory).
Charles Abraham is currently working on the following projects.
- Rehabilitation Enablement in Chronic Heart Failure (REACH HF) NIHR Programme Grant.
- A cluster randomsied controlled trial, process and economic evaluation to determine the effectiveness of a novel programme to prevent obesity in school children NIHR funded research.
- Sexual health promotion delivered by digital media: a scoping study. NIHR funded research in collaboration with University College London.
- Evaluating a psychological intervention to reduce sexual risk behaviour among gay men who have been prescribed post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV following sexual exposure. NIHR funded research in collaboration with Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
- Identifying change techniques associated with effective HIV risk reduction. NIH (US) funded research in collaboration with University of Connecticut.
- Can Self-affirmation Enhance Health Promotion? ESRC funded research in collaboration with the University of Sussex.
- PREPARE study: Developing and evaluating HIV risk reduction interventions among adolescents in South Africa. EU funded research in collaboration with University of Bergen.
- Understanding motivations, experiences and outcomes among unspecified (or “altruistic”) living kidney donors. Royal, Devon and Exeter Hospital Funded project.
- Developing interventions to reduce alcohol consumption among young people. ARUK funded research in collaboration with University of Sussex.
- A preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of adding sail training to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme. Funded by the Tectona Trust Ltd.
- User-led development and piloting of pre-clinic internet applications enabling young people with diabetes to set the focus for their diabetes consultations. Diabetes UK funded.
External Engagement and Impact
Charles Abraham has been awarded fellowships by the following organisations:
- British Psychological Society,
- European Health Psychology Society,
- International Association of Applied Psychology
- Higher Education Academy.
Member of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) group which developed the 2007 guidelines on Behaviour Change and the group that will extend these guidelines in 2013.
Special Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology during their 2010/11 inquiry into the role of behaviour change in government policy.
Member of the National Cancer Research Institute – Lifestyle Group.
Former Research consultant to the UK Department of Health.
Former Advisor to Alcohol Concern UK.
Founding chair of the British Psychological Society, Division of Health Psychology.
Former co-editor of the journal Psychology and Health.
Current editorial board member for Psychology and Health.
Current editorial board member Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Reviewer for a range of journals and funding bodies.
7th Annual Peninsula Public Health Network Conference 2013. Designing and Evaluating Behaviour Change Interventions and Addressing Health Inequalities.
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry, Annual Conference 2013. An Approach to the Design and Evaluation of Behaviour Change Interventions.
26th European Health Psychology Society Conference, Prague, Czech Republic. 2012. Creating Change that Counts: Evidence-led Co-creation as a Pathway to Impact.
Associatie van Sociaal Psychologische Onderzoekers (ASPO) Behaviour Change Symposium Maastricht University, 2011. Health Behaviour Change Interventions: Content, Mechanism, Training and Effectiveness.
8th Australasian Society for Behavioural Health and Medicine, Christchurch, February 2011. Health Behaviour Change Interventions: Content, Mechanism, Training and Effectiveness
27th International Congress of Applied Psychology Melbourne, 2010. Promoting Health Behaviour Change: The State of the ‘Art’.
German Society for Medical Psychology Annual Conference. Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany, 2008. “Building a Science of Behaviour Change: Specifying the Content of Behaviour Change Interventions”.
Charles Abraham is a member of the University of Exeter Medical School (UMES) Postgraduate Committee and supervises doctoral students at the universities of Exeter, Sussex and Maastricht. He also supervises students on the UMES Bachelor of Clinical sciences (BClin Sci) degree.