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About Prof Nick Hulbert-Williams

Nick joined the School in 2010 as a Senior Lecturer, having spent the previous three years as a Lecturer in Applied Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. In 2014 he led the development of the Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health (CRUPH) which he directed until 2019. Nick was appointed Professor of Behavioural Medicine in 2015 and now co-directs the University of Chester Centre for Contextual Behavioural Science.

In addition to his activities at the University, Nick sits on the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) Research Committee (he Chaired this group from 2015-2019) and is a member of Research Advisory Board for Maggie’s Cancer Centres. He is a member of the Funding Advisory Group for North West Cancer Research. Nick is a member of numerous other academic organisations including the British Psychosocial Oncology Society (BPOS) and the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS).


On the undergraduate curriculum, Nick is module leader for Recent Trends and Developments in Psychology (PS6005). He also teaches on the Health Psychology (PS6015) module. Nick is module leader for the Applied Psychology Dissertation (PS7601) on our postgraduate Masters in Applied Psychology. He supervises both undergraduate and masters-level dissertations and is an experienced postgraduate degree supervisor. He is currently supervising four PhD students at the University of Chester:

Sam Ashcroft: Investigating coherence and ambiguity using relational frame theory.

Will Kent: Acceptance and commitment coaching for oncology healthcare professionals.

Tim Cartwright: Self-authenticity and values-based living in gay men.

Sabrina Norwood: Reducing others’ stigmatized attitudes toward the LGBT population.


Nick is a contextual behavioural scientist and this has influence across all of his research work. He is especially interested in the application of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and third-wave intervention science to the development of effective psychosocial interventions to improve wellbeing. His current research can be broadly grouped into the following two programmes of work:

1. Psychosocial Oncology: Nicks’ work is leading to a better understanding of the psychosocial impact of a cancer diagnosis (for patients and their families), and to developing interventions to improve wellbeing and quality of life by reducing unmet needs and distress. Much of this work focuses on the application of third-wave psychological interventions (e.g. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) within NHS and third-sector cancer settings.

2. Contextual Behavioural Science: Using experimental and observational methods, Nick’s work is informing the development of effective interventions that can be used by applied psychological and health practitioners. Grounded in applying RFT as a model to translate behavioural psychology theory to the applied setting, current projects are focussed on supporting people to live meaningful lives, and reducing stigma towards minority groups.

Nick has previously published in broader health research, for example burn rehabilitation, occupational stress, organ donation and attitudes towards euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. He has broad methodological expertise including quantitative and qualitative techniques, and systematic literature reviewing.

In the past five-year period, Nick has been awarded over £780,000 for his research and knowledge transfer projects, including grants from North West Cancer Research, Marie Curie UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, the Australian Cancer Council, the University of Chester, and the Scottish Government.  His publications to date have been cited over 1419 times.

Published Work

Recent peer-reviewed publications

Beatty, L., Koczwara, B., Butow, P., Turner, J., Girgis, A., Schofield, P., Hulbert-Williams, N.J., Kaambwa B. & Kemp, E. (2021). Development and usability testing of a web-based psychosocial intervention for women living with metastatic breast cancer: Finding My Way-Advanced. Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Leslie M, Hulbert-Williams L, Smith E, Howells L & Pinato D (in press). Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on supportive care needs, psychological distress and quality of life in UK cancer survivors and their support networks. European Journal of Cancer Care.

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Hulbert-Williams L, Pendrous R, Flynn R, Swash B, Evans G, Price A, Mullard A & MacDonald-Smith C (in press). Evaluating process and effectiveness of a low-intensity CBT intervention: A pilot trial of the EPELIT intervention for women with gynaecological cancer. AMRC Open Research.

Hulbert-Williams N, Hulbert-Williams L, Patterson P, Suleman S & Howells L (in press). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Enhanced Communication Skills: development and evaluation of a novel training programme. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

APA Ref: Shaw J, Kamphuis H, Sharpe L, Lebel S, Smith AB, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Dhillon HM & Butow P (in press). Setting an international research agenda for fear of cancer recurrence: an online Delphi consensus study. Frontiers (Psycho-Oncology). 

Kent, W., Hulbert-Williams, N. J., & Hochard, K. D. (in press). A review of stress-management interventions for the oncology nursing workforce: what do we know and what should we be doing differently? Health Psychology Report

Lambert SD, Coumoundouros C, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Shaw J & Schaffler J. (in press). Building the capacity for psychosocial oncology research: A survey of the research barriers and training needs within the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS). Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research & Practice. 

Pendrous, R., Hulbert-Williams, L., Hochard, K. D., & Hulbert-Williams, N. J. (2020). Appetitive augmental functions and common physical properties in a pain-tolerance metaphor: An extended replication. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 16, 17-24.

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Norwood S, Gillanders D, Finucane A, Spiller J, Strachan J, Millington S & Swash B (2019). Brief Engagement and Acceptance Coaching for Community and Hospice Settings (the BEACHeS Study): Protocol for the development and pilot testing of an evidence-based psychological intervention to enhance wellbeing and aid transition into palliative care. BMC Pilot & Feasibility Studies.

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Hulbert-Williams L, Mulcare H & Whelen L (2019). The Psychological Impact of Cancer (PIC) Scale: Development and comparative psychometric testing against the Mini-MAC Scale in the UK and Australian cancer survivors. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research & Practice.

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Pendrous R, Hulbert-Williams L & Swash B (2019). Recruiting cancer survivors into research studies using online methods: a secondary analysis from an international cancer survivorship cohort study. eCancer Medical Science.

Kent W, Hochard KD & Hulbert-Williams NJ (2019). Perceived stress and professional quality of life in nursing staff: how important is psychological flexibility? Journal of Contextual Behavioural Science. 14, 11-19.

Howells L, Hulbert-Williams NJ & Blagden SP (2019). Using drug development methodology to improve survivorship and supportive care intervention trials (Invited Editorial). Psycho-Oncology.    

Sutton PA, Bourdon-Pierre R, Smith C, Appleton N, Lightfoot T, Gabriel C, Richards B, Mohamed S, Mason-Whitehead E, Hulbert-Williams NJ & Vimalchandran D (2019). Evaluating unmet needs in patients undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer: A patient reported outcome measures (PROMS) study. Colorectal Disease. 

Lisy K, Ward A, Schofield P, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Bishop J & Jefford M (2019). Patient-reported outcomes of sexual and gender minority cancer survivors in Australia. Psycho-Oncology,

Kemp E, Koczwara B, Butow P, Turner J, Girgis A, Schofield P, Hulbert-Williams N, Levesque J, Spence D, Vatandoust S, Kichenadasse G, Roy A, Sukumaran S, Karapetis C, Richards C, Fitzgerald M, Beatty L (2018). Online information and support needs of women with advanced breast cancer: A qualitative analysis. Supportive Care in Cancer.    

Kemp E, Koczwara B, Turner J, Girgis A, Schofield P, Hulbert-Williams N, Levesque J, Spence D, Vatandoust S, Kichenadasse G, Roy A, Sukumaran S, Karapetis C, Richards C, Fitzgerald M & Beatty L. (2018). Internet use and preferences among women living with advanced breast cancer. The Breast Journal.

Ferrari M, Ripamonti, CI, Hulbert-Williams NJ & Miccinesi G (2018). Relations between unmet needs, depression and anxiety in non-advanced cancer patients. Tumori.

Lambert S, Girgis A, Belzile E, Hulbert-Williams N, Ciampi A (2018). Beyond using composite measures to analyse the effect of unmet supportive care needs on caregivers’ anxiety and depression. Psycho-Oncology.

Beatty L, Kemp E, Butow P, Girgis A, Schofield P, Turner J, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Levesque J & Koczwara B (2018). A systematic review of psychotherapeutic interventions for women with metastatic breast cancer: context matters. Psycho-Oncology.

Brett, J, Boulton, M, Fenlon D, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Walter FM, Donnelly PK, Lavery B, Morgan A, Morris C & Watson E (2018). Adjuvant endocrine therapy after breast cancer: A qualitative study of factors associated with adherence. Patient Preference & Adherence, 12, 291–300.

Brett J, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Fenlon D, Boulton M, Walter F, Donnelly P, Lavery B, Morgan A, Morris C, Horne R & Watson E (2017).  Psychometric properties of a modified Beliefs about Medicine Questionnaire (BMW) for women taking adjuvant endocrine therapies (AET) following early-stage breast cancer.  Health Psychology Open. 

Swash B, Hulbert-Williams NJ & Bramwell R (2018). “Haematological cancers, they’re a funny bunch”: A qualitative study of haematological cancer patient experiences of unmet supportive care needs. Journal of Health Psychology.

Ozakinci G, Swash B, Humphris G, Rogers S & Hulbert-Williams NJ (2018). Fear of cancer recurrence in oral and oropharangeal cancer patients: An investigation of the clinical encounter. European Journal of Cancer Care.

Shipman H, Flynn S, MacDonald-Smith C, Brenton J, Crawford R, Tischkowitz M & Hulbert-Williams NJ (2017). Universal BRCA1/BRCA2 testing for ovarian cancer patients is welcomed, but with care: how women and staff contextualise experiences of expanded access. Journal of Genetic Counselling.

Hulbert-Williams L, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Nicholls W, Hochard KD, Williamson S & Poonia J (2017). Ultra-brief non-expert-delivered Acceptance and Commitment Training exercises for food cravings. Journal of Health Psychology.

Swash B, Bramwell R & Hulbert-Williams NJ. (2017). Unmet supportive care needs and psychological distress in haematological cancer survivors: the moderating role of psychological flexibility. Journal of Contextual Behavioural Science

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Plumpton CO, Flowers P, McHugh R, Neal RD Semlyen J & Storey L (2017).  The cancer care experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual patients: A secondary analysis of data from the UK Cancer Patient Experience Survey. European Journal of Cancer Care.

Brett J, Fenlon D, Boulton M, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Walter F, Donnelly P, Lavery B, Morgan A, Morris C & Watson E. (2016). Factors associated with intentional and unintentional non-adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy following breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care.

Nicholls W, Patterson P, MacDonald F & Hulbert-Williams NJ (2017).  Unmet needs in young adults with a parent with chronic illness:  a mixed method investigation and measure development study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, online first access.  DOI: 10.1111/scs.12320

Wells M, King E, Toft K, MacAulay F, Patterson J, Dougall N, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Boa S, Slaven E, Cowie J, McGarva J, Niblock P, Philp J & Roe J. (2016).  Development and feasibility of a Swallowing intervention Package (SiP) for patients receiving radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancer – the SiP study protocol. BMC Pilot and Feasibility Studies.

Flynn S, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Hulbert-Williams L & Bramwell R (2016).  “You don’t know what’s wrong with you”: An exploration of cancer-related experiences in individuals with an intellectual disability. Psycho-Oncology., 25(10), 1198-1205

Hulbert-Williams L, Hochard K, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Archer R, Nicholls W & Wilson K (2016).  Contextual behavioural coaching: A scientifically coherent model for supporting behaviour change. International Journal of Coaching Psychology, 11(2). 142-154.

Plaskocinska I, Shipman, H, Drummond J, Thompson E, Sagoo G, Newcombe B, Barter E, Ridley P, Ng R, Miller S, Thompson F, Dunn A, Licence V, Webb H, Hodgkin C, Tee Tan L, Daley M, Ayers S, Rufford B, Parkinson C, Earl H, Duncan T, Pharoah P, Abbs S, Hulbert-Williams N, Crawford R, Brenton J & Tischkowitz M (2016).   New paradigms for BRCA1/BRCA2 testing in women with ovarian cancer – results of the Genetic Testing in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer (GTEOC) Study. Journal of Medical Genetics, online first access. DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2016-103902

Hulbert-Williams NJ & Storey L (2016).  Psychological flexibility correlates with patient-reported outcomes independent of clinical or sociodemographic characteristics.  Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(6), 2513-2521.  DOI: 10.1007/s00520-015-3050-9

Hulbert-Wiliams NJ (2016). Supporting cancer patients with anxiety. Nursing in Practice,

Wakefield C, Butow P, Aaronson N, Hack T, Hulbert-Williams N & Jacobsen P, on behalf of the IPOS Research Committee (2015). Patient-reported depression measures in cancer: A meta-review.  Lancet Psychiatry, 2(7), 635-647. DOI:

Flynn S, Hulbert-Williams L, Bramwell R, Stevens-Gill D & Hulbert-Williams N (2015).  Caring for cancer patients with an intellectual disability: attitudes and care perceptions of UK oncology nurses.  European Journal of Oncology Nursing, e-publication ahead of print.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ejon.015.03.002

Jones J, Kane P, Polson R, Humphry R, Leslie S, Hulbert-Williams N, Simard S, Ozakinci G & Hubbard G (2015). Protocol for a systematic review of screening tools for fear of recurrent illness in common life-threatening diseases. BMC Systematic Reviews, 4(10).  DOI: 10.1186/2046-4053-4-10

Wright C, Harvie M, Howell A, Evans G, Hulbert-Williams N & Donnelly L (2015). Beliefs about weight and breast cancer: An interview study with high risk women following a 12 month weight loss intervention. Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice, 13(1).  DOI: 10.1186/s13053-014-0023-9

Flynn S, Hulbert-Williams N, Hulbert-Williams L & Bramwell R (2015). Psychosocial experiences of chronic illness in individuals with an intellectual disability: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 19(2), 178-194. DOI: 10.1177/1744629514565680

Nicholls W, Hulbert-Williams N & Bramwell R (2014). The role of relationship attachment in psychological adjustment to cancer in patients and caregivers: a systematic review of the literature.  Psycho-Oncology 23, 1083-1095.  DOI: 10.1002/pon.3664.

Hulbert-Williams N, Storey L & Wilson K (2014).   Psychological interventions for patients with cancer:  Psychological flexibility and the potential utility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  European Journal of Cancer Care, 24(1), 15-27.  DOI: 10.1111/ecc.12223.

Swash B, Hulbert-Williams N, & Bramwell R (2014). Unmet psychosocial needs in haematological cancer:  A systematic review.  Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(4), 1131-1141 DOI:  10.1007/s00520-014-2123-5.

Walker K & Hulbert-Williams N (2014). Exploring the internal conflict between attitudinal support for organ donation and implementing action to join the Organ Donor Register. Health Psychology Update 23 (1).

Eccles S, Aboagye E, Alis S…Hulbert-Williams N et al. (2013) Critical research gaps and translational priorities for the successful prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research15(5).  DOI:  10.1186/bcr3493.

Hulbert-Williams L, Nicholls W, Joy J & Hulbert-Williams N (2013). Initial validation of the Mindful Eating Scale. Mindfulness, 5(6), 719-729.  DOI:  10.1007/s12671-013-0227-5

Hains C & Hulbert-Williams NJ. (2013). Attitudes toward euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: A study of the multivariate effects of healthcare training, religion and locus of control. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29(1), 713-716. DOI:10.1136/medethics-2012-100729

Hulbert-Williams N, Morrison V, Neal R & Wilkinson C (2013). Investigating the cognitive precursors of emotional response to cancer stress: Re-testing Lazarus's Transactional Model. British Journal of Health Psychology 18(1), 97-121. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8287.2012.02082.x

Watson E, Rose P, Neal R, Hulbert-Williams N, Donnolly P, Hubbard G, Elliot J, Campbell C, Weller D & Wilkinson C. (2012). Personalised cancer follow-up: risk stratification, needs assessment or both? British Journal of Cancer106, 1-5. DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2011.535.

Hulbert-Williams N, Neal R, Morrison V, Hood K & Wilkinson C. (2012). Anxiety depression and quality of life after cancer diagnosis: What psychosocial variables best predict how patients adjust. Psycho-Oncology, 21(8), 857-867. DOI: 10.1002/pon.1980.

Hulbert-Williams N, Hulbert-Williams L, Morrison V, Neal R & Wilkinson C. (2012). The Mini-MAC Scale: Re-analysis of its psychometric properties in a sample of 160 mixed cancer patients. Psycho-Oncology, 21(7), 79-797. DOI: 10.1002/pon.1994

Books and Book Chapters

Hulbert-Williams NJ, Owen R & Nelson C (in press). ACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for people affected by cancer. In Breitbart et al (Eds.), Psycho-Oncology (4th Ed.). New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lisy K, Hulbert-Williams NJ, Ussher J, Alpert A, Kamen C & Jefford M (in press). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. In Watson M & Kissane D, Psycho-Oncology Care: Companion Guides for Clinicians, Book 2: Sexual Health, Fertility & Relationships. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Wyatt D & Hulbert-Williams N (2015).  Cancer & Cancer Care. London: Sage Ltd.

Hulbert-Williams N & Owen R (2015). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for cancer patients. In Holland et al (Eds), Psycho-Oncology  (3rd Edition). New York: Oxford University Press.

Nick is also featured in a new textbook in which he provides an expert perspective on the application of ACT to cancer care: Hooper N & Larsson A (2015). The Research Journey of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Nick studied Psychology with Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Wales Bangor, graduating in 2004. He then worked in the Department of Primary Care and Public Health at Cardiff University School of Medicine where he carried out research towards his PhD on the process of psychosocial adjustment to cancer diagnosis. He has a post-graduate qualification in teaching for higher education and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Nick is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and joined the BPS Register of Coaching Psychologists in 2014.