Logo close icon

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Overview of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University. There are a total of 30 researchers, working in five research groups: Applied Health Psychology; Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience; Community and Clinical Psychology; Developmental Psychology; and Sports Psychology in Action.

  • REF 2021 Impact Case Studies

    • Preventing Railway Suicide

      The impact we achieved

      Every life lost to suicide on the railways is a tragedy, with immeasurable emotional costs to bereaved family and friends, as well as train drivers and other witnesses. The suicide prevention charity Samaritans, on behalf of the rail industry, commissioned this research to develop a better understanding of how to support people in crisis and prevent future suicide attempts.

      The work contributed to a decrease in suicides on the London Underground Network through practice changes, staff training and an award-winning public awareness campaign (‘Small Talk Saves Lives’). There were also impacts in other countries, for example Germany and the Netherlands, and other contexts including other public places and Criminal Justice settings as a result.

      Universities UK recognised Principal Investigator Dr Lisa Marzano as a “Nation's Lifesaver” for “saving lives and making a life-changing difference to our health and wellbeing” and she received a 'Lifesaver Award' from Transport for London.

      The research behind it

      The underpinning research has generated new evidence of why and how individuals attempt suicide on the railways and considered:

      • Factors contributing to an individual choosing the railway as a suicide method
      • Key deterrents against railway suicide
      • Behaviours identifiable in the moments leading up to a suicide or suicide attempt on the railways.

      The people involved at Middlesex and beyond

      The research team included Dr Lisa Marzano, Dr Bob Fields and Ian Kruger.

      Our partners included Samaritans, British Transport Police, Network Rail, Transport for London, Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), ProRail (Netherlands), Caritas Berlin.

      Read the PDF of the case study submission

      Photo courtesy of SAMARITANS

    • Psychosocial impacts of reproductive health and wellbeing

      The impact we achieved

      This research project focused on the psychological impact that reproductive health has on the individual and society. It has informed national and international policy and practice in areas of mental health, employment, personal relationships and legal, ethical and human rights. The key impacts of the research are:

      • Surrogate motherhood: used extensively in the Law Commission’s report to parliament (2019/20) calling for changes to UK law
      • Multiple births: drawn on by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to reduce the effects of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality
      • Pregnancy loss: informed the practice recommendations in The Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ (2017) report on ‘Non-invasive Prenatal Testing: ethical issues’
      • Donor motivations: informed a number of policies and recommendations internationally, including those from American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), The Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) and the European Commission
      • Infertility treatment: contributed to UK Parliamentary debates on the psychological effects of funding shortages for fertility treatment and counselling, through the Fertility Network UK (FNUK) and SRIP.

      The research behind it

      The project’s impact on specific aspects of reproductive (dys)functioning – surrogate motherhood, multiple births, pregnancy loss, donor motivations, and infertility treatment – is underpinned by research work which:

      • Demonstrated the need to consider the human rights of the surrogate-born child
      • Showed that the psychological impact of multiple births puts mothers of twins or multiples at a significantly higher risk of post-traumatic stress and its disorder compared to mothers of singletons
      • Demonstrated that second-trimester pregnancy loss is associated with higher levels of stress than first-trimester losses, indicating late detection and terminations for foetal abnormalities are detrimental to the psychological health of the mothers
      • Reported important individual differences between commercial and altruistic, and between white and non-white oocyte donors’, motivations for and attitudes to gamete donation
      • Showed that suicidal feelings, and detrimental effects on relationships and career prospects, were common psychological impacts of treatment for infertility, impacting upon economic input and stability.

      The people involved at Middlesex and beyond

      The Middlesex research team behind the project consisted of Professor Olga van den Akker, Dr Satvinder Purewal, Dr Gianina Postavaru, Vilte Daugidaite, and Dr Nicola Payne.

      Read the PDF of the case study submission

In this section

Back to top