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About Dr Michelle Tytherleigh

Michelle studied for her BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology as a mature student in 1994 at the University of Liverpool, having previously worked in industry since leaving school.  As a doctorate student at the University of Bristol, the focus of her PhD was on the effects of stress hormones (cortisol) on memory and, following completion of this in 2001, Michelle held two post-doc positions as a Research Fellow.  In the first, she worked on a project looking at sources and outcomes of occupational stress in university staff, with the second exploring the characteristics, roles and selection of UK University Leaders.  Michelle is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an Associate Fellow, a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (including the Division of Teachers and Researchers), and an International Affiliate Member of the APA

External to the University Chester, Michelle is part of a research team, with colleagues from the University of Bolton and the Open University, looking at the impact of positive psychological interventions on the wellbeing of primary and secondary school children. She is also a member of the Editorial Team for the Journal of Mental Health and Social Inclusion, a peer reviewer for several empirical journals and publishers, and an external examiner for PhD students for North West University (Vanderbiljpark campus), South Africa.


Michelle teaches and supervises students in Psychology on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules, including: Research Methods and Skills (PS4005); Core Topics (4010); Research Dissertation (PS6001); and several Masters modules, including the Research Dissertation (PS7112).  She also teaches on, and is the Module Leader for Psychological Wellbeing (PS4013). 


Michelle’s key research interests are around strengths-based approaches to wellbeing and education (positive education), hope, compassion and self-efficacy. More recently, she has also become interested in the concept of employability self-efficacy in university students, and is working with colleagues in the Department of Psychology, University of Bolton looking at well-being in schools.  

Published Work

Smith, D., & Tytherleigh, M. (2022). Engagement and burnout in UK university students: The role of proactive behaviours strengths use and deficits correction. Cambridge Educational Research e-Journal, 9, 287-298.

Platt, I., Kannangara, C., Tytherleigh, M., Banks, S., & Carson, J. (2021). Happiness and wellbeing in high schools: The Hummingbird Project. In McHugh, S., & Carson, J. (Eds.), Happiness in a Northern Town, Whitting & Birch.

Platt, I. A., Kannangara, C., Carson, J., & Tytherleigh, M. (2021). Heuristic assessment of psychological interventions in schools (HAPI Schools). Psychology in the Schools, 58(7), 1-17.

Platt, I. A., Kannangara, C.,Tytherleigh, M., & Carson, J. (2020).  The hummingbird project: A positive psychology intervention for secondary school students. Frontiers in Psychology, Educational Psychology, 11(2012).

Breakwell, G. M., & Tytherleigh, M. Y. (2010). University leaders and university performance in the United Kingdom - Is it ‘who' leads or ‘where' they lead that matters most? Higher Education60, 491-506.

Jacobs, P.  A., Tytherleigh, M. Y., Webb, C., & Cooper, C. L. (2010). Breaking the mold: The impact of working in a gender-congruent versus gender-incongruent role on self-reported sources of stress, organizational commitment, and health in U.K. universities. International Journal of Stress Management, 17(1), 21–37.

Barkhuizen, N., Rothmann, S. I., & Tytherleigh, M. Y. (2008). Model of work-related ill health of academic staff in a South African Higher education institution. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology22(2), 101-106. 

Breakwell, G. M. & Tytherleigh, M. Y. (2008). The characteristics, roles and selection of vice-chancellors. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education

Lynch, C., & Tytherleigh, M. Y. (2012, 11-13 January). "Untapping resources: Character strengths and performance in a customer facing role" [Poster presentation]. British Psychology Society's Division of Occupational Psychology Annual Conference, "Delivering Excellence - Stimulating, Informing and Engaging our profession, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chester.

Tytherleigh, M. Y. (2012, 3-4 July). "Preparing for the 'expected' from the 2012/12 Academic Year: Learning from the 2012/12 first year undergraduate psychology student". [Poster presentation]. Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2012, "Great Expectations - are you ready?", University of Manchester.

Breakwell, G.M., Tytherleigh, M. Y. (2008). UK university leaders at the turn of the 21st century: Changing patterns in their socio-demographic characteristics. Higher Education, 56, 109–127. 

Cartwright, S., Tytherleigh, M., & Robertson, S. (2007). Are mergers always stressful? Some evidence from the higher education sector. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 16(4), 456-478,

Jacobs, P. A., Tytherleigh, M. Y., Webb, C., & Cooper, C. L. (2007). Predictors of work performance among higher education employees: An examination using the ASSET Model of Stress. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(2), 199-210.

Tytherleigh, M. Y., Jacobs, P. A., Webb, C., & Ricketts, C. (2007). Gender, health and stress in English university staff - Exposure or Vulnerability? Applied Psychology: An International Review, 56(2), 267-287.

Thornton, E. W., Bundred, P., Tytherleigh, M., & Davies, A. (2006). Anxiety, depression and myocardian infarction: A survey of their impact on consultation rates before and after an acute primary episode. British Journal of Cardiology13(3), 220-224.

Tytherleigh, M. Y., Webb. C., Cooper, C.L., & Ricketts, C. (2005). Occupational stress in UK Higher education institutions: A comparative study of all staff categories. Higher Education Research & Development24(1), 41-61.

Tytherleigh, M. Y., Vedhara, K., & Lightman, S. L. (2004). Mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors and their differential effects on memory performance in people with Addison's disease. Psychoneuroendocrinology29(6), 712–723.

Tytherleigh, M. (2003). What employers may learn from English Higher education institutions: A fortigenic approach to occupational stress. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology29(4).

Vedhara, K., Hyde, J., Gilchrist, I.D., Tytherleigh, M., & Plummer, S. (2000). Acute stress, memory, attention and cortisol. Psychoneuroendocrinology25(6), 535-549.

Profile on ResearchGate available from:


Having embarked on academia after 16 years of working in industry, Michelle has a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology from the University of Liverpool and a PhD from the University of Bristol, where she carried out research looking at the effects of stress hormones (cortisol) on memory. Since joining the University of Chester, Michelle has also completed her Postgraduate Teaching Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCELTHE) and in Research Student Supervision. Michelle is also a Senior Fellow of Advance HE/Higher Education Academy and an International Affiliate Member of the American Psychological Association, including the Society for Teaching Psychology.