Professor David Sheffield

Position: Associate Head of Centre for Psychological Research

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

Department: Life Sciences

Subject area: Psychology

Research Centre: Centre for Psychological Research

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I am the Associate Head of Centre for Psychological Research. I supervise PhD and Doctorate students, lead Psychology of Illness and Research Project in Health Psychology modules on the MSc Health Psychology programme, and teach on BSc Psychology.

Teaching responsibilities

MSc Health Psychology. Pain Psychology.

Professional interests

I am a Registered Health Psychologist and have trained students to be Health Psychologists (stage 1 and stage 2 training). I have supervised 15 students to sucessful PhD and Doctorate completions.

Research interests

Pain and Pain Management in Patients, Athletes, and Healthy Adults.

Cardiovascular Responses to Stress in healthy adults and patients with heart disease.

Performing under Pressure: Challenge and Threat responses in athletes.

Nature Connectedness: correlates and interventions to increase how people relate to nature.

Maths Anxiety. 

Membership of professional bodies

  • British Psychological Society (Chartered Psychologist)
  • Health Professions Council (Health Psychologist)


Undergraduate qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Psychology, University of Nottingham

Research qualifications

  • PhD Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University

Recent publications

  1. Lumbar, R., Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (under review). The seven pathways to nature connectedness: A focus group exploration. Journal of Environmental Psychology.
  2. Archer, S., Bali, A., Sheffield, D., & Sowter, H. (under review). Yoga and quality of life for patients receiving treatment for gynaecological cancer: A randomised controlled trial. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine
  3. Duncan, M.J., Eyre, E., Bryant, E., Clarke, N., Birch, S., Staples, V., & Sheffield, D. (under review). The impact of a school-based gardening intervention on intentions and behaviour related to fruit and vegetable consumption in British primary school children. Journal of Health Psychology.
  4. Richardson, M. & Sheffield, D. (under review). Three good things in nature: an intervention to increase nature connectedness. Journal of Environmental Psychology.
  5. Hunt, T.E., Clark-Carter, D., & Sheffield, D. (accepted). Exploring the relationship between mathematics anxiety and performance: The role of intrusive thoughts. Journal of Education, Psychology and Social Sciences.
  6. Kidd, T., Sheffield, D., Hallas, C., & Clark-Carter, D. (accepted). Attachment anxiety predicts depression symptoms in heart transplant recipients. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.
  7. Turner, M.J., Jones, M.V., Sheffield, D., Barker, J.B. & Coffee, P. (accepted). Manipulating cardiovascular indices of challenge and threat using resource appraisals. International J Psychophysiol.
  8. Williams, S., Sheffield, D., & Knibb, R. (accepted). A snapshot of the lives of women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A photovoice investigation. Journal of Health Psychology.
  9. Archer, S., Buxton, S., & Sheffield, D. (2014). The effect of creative psychological interventions on psychological outcomes for adult cancer patients: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Psycho-Oncology
  10. Meijen, C., Jones, M., McCarthy, P.J., & Sheffield D. (2014). Challenge and Threat States: Cardiovascular, Affective and Cognitive Responses to a Sports-related Speech Task. Motivation and Emotion.
  11. Turner, M.J., Jones, M.V., Sheffield, D., Slater, M.J., Barker, J.B. & Bell, J.J. (2013). Who thrives under pressure? Predicting the performance of elite Academy cricketers using the cardiovascular indicators of challenge and threat states. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 35, 387-397.
  12. Allen, M.S., Jones, M., McCarthy, P.J., Sheehan-Mansfield, S., Sheffield, D. (2013). Emotions correlate with perceived mental effort and concentration disruption in adult sport performers. European Journal of Sport Science, 13, 697-706. DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2013.771381.
  13. Randall, J., & Sheffield, D. (2013). Experiences of individuals with body piercings with a specific focus on health behaviours and values. Perspectives in Public Health, 133, 110-115. DOI: 10.1177/1757913912464835.
  14. Meijen, C., Jones, M., McCarthy, P. J., Sheffield, D., & Allen, M. S. (2013). Cognitive and affective components of challenge and threat states. Journal of Sports Sciences, 31, 847-855. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2012.753157
  15. Chipchase, L., Sheffield, D., & Hill, P. (2012). The long-term effectiveness of pain management programs: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pain Management, 5, 215-230.
  16. Turner, M.J., Jones, M.V., Sheffield, D., & Cross, S.L. (2012). Cardiovascular indices of challenge and threat states predict competitive performance. Int J Psychophysiol, 86, 48-57.
  17. Jones, M.V., Coffee, P., Sheffield, D., Yanguez, M.& Barker, J.B.(2012). Just a game? Changes in English and Spanish soccer fans’ emotions in the 2010 World Cup. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 162-169.
  18. Hunt, T.E., Clark-Carter, D & Sheffield, D. (2011). The Development and Part-Validation of a UK Scale for Mathematics Anxiety. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 29, 455-466.
  19. Allen, M.S., Jones, M.V., & Sheffield, D. (2011). Are the causes assigned to unsatisfactory performance related to the intensity of emotions experienced after competition? Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 7, 3-10.
  20. Lunt, J.A., Sheffield, D., Bell, N, Bennett, V. & Morris, L.A. (2011). Review of behavioural interventions for the prevention of dermal and respiratory occupational health hazards. Occupational Medicine 61, 311-320.
  21. Drake, K. E., Sheffield, D. & Shingler, D. (2011). The relationship between adult romantic attachment anxiety, the experience of negative life events, and compliance. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 742-746 10.1016/j.paid.2010.12.034
  22. Closa-Leon, T., Nouwen, A., Sheffield, D., Jumdally, R., & Lip, G.Y. (2010). Anger rumination, social support, and cardiac symptoms in patients
 undergoing angiography. British Journal of Health Psychology, 15, 841-857.
  23. Baraniak, A. & Sheffield, D. (2010). The efficacy of psychologically based interventions to improve anxiety, depression and quality of life in COPD: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Patient Education and Counselling, 83, 29–36.
  24. Basnett, F. & Sheffield, D. (2010). The impact of social work student failure upon practice educators.  British Journal of Social Work.
  25. Allen, M.S., Jones, M.V., & Sheffield, D. (2010). The Influence of Positive Reflection on Attributions, Emotions, and Self-Efficacy. The Sport Psychologist, 24, 211-226.
  26. Allen, M.S., Jones, M.V., & Sheffield, D. (2009). Attribution, emotion, and collective efficacy in sports teams. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 13, 205–217.
  27. Jones, M., Meijen, C., McCarthy, P.J. & Sheffield, D. (2009). A Theory of Challenge and Threat States in Athletes. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2, 161 - 180.
  28. Allen, M.S., Jones, M.V., & Sheffield, D. (2009). Causal attribution and emotion in the days following competition. J Sport Sciences, 27, 461-468.
  29. Duncan, E. & Sheffield, D. (2008). Diary keeping and well-being. Psychological Reports, 103, 619-621.
  30. Sheffield, D. & Hunt, T. (2007). How does anxiety influence maths performance and what can we do about it? MSOR Connections, 6, 19-23.
  31. Closa-León, T., Nouwen, A., & Sheffield, D. (2007). Social support and individual variability in patterns of haemodynamic reactivity and recovery. Psychology and Health, 22, 473-492.
  32. Jones, M.V. & Sheffield, D. (2007). The impact of game outcome on the mood state and health of sport participants. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 5, 54-65.

Additional interests and activities

Health and safety work focusing on encouraging and motivating sedentary workers to take brief postural breaks

Experience in industry

Research posts

  • Center for Environmental Medicine and Lung Biology, University of North Carolina: Psychology Stress and Exercise Induced Ischemia, July 1995 - June 1996

In the media

Interviews with the Guardian newspaper and Radio Derby.

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