Dr Vera Araujo-Soares
Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

  • Email: vera.araujo-soares@ncl.ac.uk
  • Address: Institute of Health and Society
    Medical Faculty
    Newcastle University
    Baddiley-Clarke Building
    Richardson Road
    NE2 4AX

 

I have 18 years experience in behaviour change in research and clinical settings in Portugal (1996-2006), Scotland (2006-2010) and England (since 2010). My specific expertise is in developing evidence based interventions focusing on self care and self management of chronic conditions (pain, cardiovascular rehabilitation and obesity) as well as on the promotion of health behaviours (e.g. sun protective behaviours, healthy diet and physical activity).  My main aims are to develop theoretically and evidence based interventions for behaviour change in order to reduce risk factors and enhance symptom management (e.g. pain), throughout the lifespan.

 Education/Qualifications

1996 - Licenciatura in Psychology (5 years degree). University of Minho, Portugal

1999 - Master in Health Psychology. University of Minho, Portugal

2006 - PhD in Health Psychology - University of Minho, Portugal

Professional History

Academic 

1996-1998 - Lecturer (Assistente), University Católica Portuguesa

1999-2006 - Lecturer (Assistente), University of Minho, Portugal

2004 - Gulbenkian Visiting Research Fellow, Free University of Berlin, Germany

2005 - Member of the University Academic Senate – elected for 2 years as the representative of the non-doctorate Lecturers.  University of Minho, Portugal

2006-2010 - Senior Research Fellow.  Alliance for Self-Care Research, Robert Gordon University, Scotland

Clinical

 1996-2004 - Clinical Supervisor & Therapist, Pain Unit, Hospital Senhora da Oliveira, Guimarães, Portugal

1999-2006 - Clinical Supervisor, Cardiology & Dermatology Unit, Hospital S. Marcos, Braga, Portugal

2000-2006 - Clinical Supervisor & Therapist, University Psychology Clinic (SCPDH), University of Minho

2006 - Director of Health Psychology Unit-nominated for 2 years, University Psychology Clinic, University of Minho

'Reflect': A feasibility study in experienced utility and travel behaviour

Project Leader(s): Prof. Jennifer Roberts (Leader Investigator), Dr. Vera Araujo-Soares (co-investigator), Prof. Nigel Davies (co-investigator), Prof. Eddie Wilson (co-investigator), Dr. Mark Grimshaw (co-investigator); Dr. Rosemary Harris (co-investigator), Mrs Tracy Ross (co-investigator).

Sponsors: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Project Brief Description

Travel behaviours have shown considerable resistance to change, but substantial change is needed because reduced emissions cannot be secured from technical innovation alone. Our focus is on a new way to engage with, and ultimately influence, travel behaviours. Instead of appealing to emission reduction (which can feel removed from our everyday experiences), we appeal to people's wish to improve their own subjective well-being and health outcomes (physical activity). Drawing on the behavioural economics concept of experienced utility and on psychological theory of behaviour change, we combine these perspectives with expertise from mobile computing, creative technologies, mathematics and user-centred design to explore an innovative solution to understanding and potentially influencing travel behaviour. We develop an experience sampling system via a smartphone platform for the collection and delivery of real-time information on subjective travel experience. In a series of small controlled trials we feedback information to individuals about their own experiences, and those of others, and we explore whether and how these interventions change behaviour. The idea is one of user-informed behavioural interventions to encourage self-motivated change, and here we draw on evidence from successful interventions in health.  For more details go to: http://gow.epsrc.ac.uk/NGBOViewGrant.aspx?GrantRef=EP/J004715/1

 

The LiveWell Programme: Developing pragmatic interventions to enhance health and wellbeing in later life

Project Leader(s): Management team: Prof. John Mathers (Leader investigator), Prof. Martin White (co-investigator), Prof. Ian McKeith (co-investigator), Prof. Paula Moynihan (co-investigator), Prof. Lynn Rochester (co-investigator), Dr Falko Sniehotta (co-investigator).

Sponsors: Medical Research Council on behalf of the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Consortium

Project Brief Description

The increasing burden of frailty and chronic poor health currently accompanying longevity is a public health problem. The challenge to health researchers is to find ways of improving health and maintaining wellbeing throughout the life-course.  LiveWell, a five year multidisciplinary research programme, aims to develop and pilot an integrated suite of well-founded, pragmatic interventions that are effective in promoting health and wellbeing in later life. In an innovative approach, LiveWell will focus on the retirement period, a “window of opportunity” in which novel interventions in key areas such as diet, physical activity and social interactions are more likely to be successful.  For more details go to: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/hnrc/research/project/3488

National Prevention Research Initiative

National Prevention Research Initiative led by the UK Medical Research Council: Development and stage 2 RCT with internal pilot of a weight loss maintenance intervention for obese adults after clinically significant weight loss (Sept 2012-August 2015); FF Sniehotta; V Araujo-Soares, et al.

National Prevention Research Initiative led by the UK Medical Research Council: How can we help parents recognise unhealthy body weight in their children (April 2012-January 2015); A Adamson, MS Pearce, MJ Tovee, KN Parkinson et al; V Araujo-Soares as a collaborator.

National Institute of Health Research

NIHR School for Public Health research (SPHR): Natural experimental evaluation of a complex intervention to promote increased smoking cessation rates among pregnant women in maternity care. R. Bell, M. White, S. Rushton, J. Shucksmith, S. Hamilton, M. Deverill, V. Araujo-Soares and S Glinianaia. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ihs/research/project/4904

2013-16. NIHR School for Public Health research (SPHR):    Transforming the ‘foodscape’: development and feasibility testing of interventions to promote healthier take-away, pub or restaurant food. AJ Adamson (PI), C Abraham, V. Araujo-Soares, Jean Adams,  A Lake, H Moore, C Summerbell & M White.

British Skin Foundation: Examining the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in patients with skin disease (April 2012 – March 2015); JP Hampton, V Araujo-Soares, CR Muirhead, DE Newbury-Birch, EFS Kaner.

 

 

Projects

School of Psychology

Module Leader                                                                                                

PSY 3023 Health Psychology and Principles of Behaviour Change  (3rd Year Psychology Students)

20 Credits, 10 ECTS over Semester 1

Health psychology focuses on increasing our understanding of the role of behaviour, cognitions, emotions and motivation in physical health and disease, health risks and preventive measures. The goal is to analyse, explain and establish the evidence base for the development of interventions that can support people in changing their health-related behaviour (either by focusing on the individual or environment). The field of health psychology is interdisciplinary and has an applied perspective.  

Teaching:

Two hour session per week, followed on by a 2 hour seminar every other week, so that students further their knowledge. There are some suggestions of further reading on the reading list online. Copies of PowerPoint slides will be available on Blackboard.

Assessment:

There will be an examination in the January assessment period, which will comprise of answering 2 essay questions out of 5 presented, worth 50% of the overall mark. Before the examination period begins, students will be expected to submit an individual essay worth 50%.

Module Leader                                                                                                

PSY 8038 Health Psychology and Principles of Behaviour Change  (Master in Clinical and Health Psychology), over Semester 1

Health psychology focuses on increasing our understanding of the role of behaviour, cognitions, emotions and motivation in physical health and disease, health risks and preventive measures. The goal is to analyse, explain and establish the evidence base for the development of interventions that can support people in changing their health-related behaviour (either by focusing on the individual or environment).   

Teaching:

Two hour session per week, followed on by a 2 hour seminar every other week.

Assessment:

Students are expected to submit an individual course work detailing the development and future assessment of a complex behavioural intervention on a topic of their choice, this is worth 85%.  Before submission they are expected to make an oral presentation of their work, worth 15%. 

 

MBBS CURRICULUM: Medicine in the Community

Responsible for one hour class on:

Theory and practice of behaviour change: supporting self management of chronic conditions

Within this class the focus will be on the characteristics of social cognition models of behaviour  change and issues around behaviour maintenance. The self management of chronic conditions will be discussed and some examples will be given, with a particular focus on behaviour change techniques.

PhD Students

As an academic supervisor

Sandra Fernandes (Year 2): Dual process predictors of food choices in children.  Supervisory team: Vera Lucia Araujo-Soares; Falko Frank Sniehotta; Ashley Jayne Adamson; Martin Tovee. Funding source: International PhD grant from National Science Foundation Portugal (FCT).

Mohammed Johari Zabri (Year 2): Predictors of weight loss maintenance and its impact on intervention developments efforts. Supervisory team: Vera Lucia Araujo-Soares;  Falko Frank Sniehotta;  Emma Foster; Richard James Quinn McNally.  Funding source: International PhD grant from Malaysian Government.

 

As a co-supervisor 

Anna Sherrington (Year 3): Evaluation of an internet-based weight loss intervention. Supervisory team: Ashley Jayne Adamson ; Ruth Bell; Vera Lucia Araujo-Soares;  Elaine Margaret Mary McColl. Funding source: My Dietician Online, County Durham Primary Care Trust (PCT).

Lucia Rehackova (Year 3):  Evaluation of adherence and aceptability of a very low energy diet aimed at reversing type 2 diabetes: Supervisory team: Falko Frank Sniehotta; Ashley Jayne Adamson; Vera Lucia Araujo-Soares. Funding source: Institute of Health and Society. 

Mohammed Khalil Shaker Al-Baghdadi (Year 3): Examining and aiding clinical decision-making in the management of temporomandibular disorders. Supervisory team: Justin Alan Durham         ; Vera Lucia Araujo-Soares; James George Steele. Funding source: Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq (HCED).

Samuel Ginja (Year 2): Aceptability and feasibility of an incentive based intervention to promote active travel modes amongst primary school children. Supervisory team: Vera Lucia Araujo-Soares;  Bronia Marie Arnott; Elaine Margaret Mary McColl; Anil Kumar Namdeo.  Funding:  Sir James Knott Endowment Grant.

 

Completed

Angela Rodrigues - Systematic development of an intervention to promote sun protection behaviours amongst holidaymakers (2014). Funding source: International PhD grant from National Science Foundation Portugal (FCT).