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Research activity in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience has significantly expanded since the first REF submission in 2014. Research is structured around five themes:

  1. Experimental and Comparative Psychology
  2. Family, Infant and Child Psychology
  3. Forensic and Investigative Psychology, which works closely with our Faculty-wide Crime, Harm and Justice Research Group
  4. The Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health (CRUPH), which focuses on understanding health and wellbeing from social and cognitive psychology perspectives
  5. The Centre for Contextual Behavioural Science (CCBS), which conducts experimental and applied research in contemporary behavioural psychology, including clinical trials of psychological interventions.

The University’s targeted research funding has been bolstered by external funders including: The British Academy, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Nuffield Foundation.

22 staff were identified as having significant responsibility for research in REF2021, leading to a requirement for 43 outputs to be submitted.

Research outputs submitted to REF2021 are included in the Psychology Collection of ChesterRep, the University of Chester's online research repository.

The impact of research in this unit was exemplified through the following case studies:

Gathering evidence from vulnerable victims and witnesses of crime: new policies and practice changes: Vulnerable victims and witnesses face numerous barriers to justice because of challenges often caused by practitioners’ lack of guidance about adapting communication. This programme of work involved implementing an intermediary pilot scheme to facilitate communication with victims and witnesses in New South Wales (NSW Australia) and, as well as training criminal justice professionals (in Australia and the UK), to further support communication by the use of drawing during police investigative interviews. Over 1,500 police officers, barristers, judges, intermediaries, and other justice practitioners, both in the UK and Australia, were reached. Impact in NSW Australia is evidenced by the continued use of intermediaries to facilitate communication with vulnerable victims and witnesses, and the recommended roll out of the scheme in other Australian states. Policy and guidance in England, Wales, and Australia have also been impacted by this programme of research and training activity. Explicit recommendations are now provided to practitioners on the use of intermediaries, and communication by the use of drawing, when gathering evidence, thereby informing access to justice for vulnerable victims and witnesses on both a national and international level.

Eliminating Harmful Initiation Rituals in Student Sport: the CHANGES programme: When sport players join a new team they often have to undertake a series of non-sport related trials in order to prove their worth as a team member. These activities are often referred to as initiation events or hazing, and can have serious social, physical, and psychological consequences. The research undertaken in this impact case study was the first of its kind in the UK and underpinned the development of the CHANGES-Intervention workshop for team captains and secretaries. The research has informed national policy, resulted in partnership agreements for training, and contributed to the governance of both the University sport sector and University community nationally, indicating both reach and contextual and instrumental impact.

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