Staff profile

Dr Ainslea Cross

Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

Ainslea Cross




College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Psychology

Research centre

Human Sciences Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus




After completing a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and MSc in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University (2002), I took psychology research roles at University College London (Health Behaviour Unit) and Loughborough University (Centre for Child and Family Research). I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Leicester (Department of Health Sciences) on a National Institute for Health Research-funded study of continuity of care, clinical decision-making and self-management following the establishment of intermediate care clinics for diabetes.

Professional standing

I am a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS), a full member of the Division of Health Psychology and a Registered Health Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council. Following my doctoral training, I successfully completed the BPS Qualification in Health Psychology (stage 2) through the completion of training in health psychology therapeutic approaches, foundations of health psychology practice, motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Alongside my clinical work as Lead NHS Health Psychologist at the UK's first Health Psychology service within a Hypertension Outpatients Specialist Service (Health Psychology Cardiovascular Diseases Service, Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals Leicester), I actively research health psychology techniques and interventions to improve the health and well-being of clinical and caregiving populations.

As Head Editor for the Practical Health Psychology Blog (European Health Psychology Society) I help commission, edit and disseminate articles that translate health psychology research into routine clinical and health care practice.

Teaching responsibilities

  • Research Project in the Health Psychology module
  • Doctoral Supervision. Completed: Ivana Babicova (as Director of Studies, awarded PhD 2020). Active: 2 PhD students, 1 Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care

Professional interests

My background contains experience working with a range of populations, health behaviours and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, smoking cessation, diabetes and physical activity. My current research tests the effectiveness of psychological interventions to improve cardiovascular health, stress and quality of life.

Membership of professional bodies

  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and Associate Fellow (AFBPsS) British Psychological Society; full member of the BPS Division of Health Psychology
  • Health Psychologist Registered with the Health Care Professions Council 
  • European Health Psychology Society
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Teaching Academy
  • Health Psychology Exchange
  • Association of Contextual Behavioural Society (Including special interest groups: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for health, Compassion and ACT)
  • Behavioural Science in Public Health Network



  • BSc (Hons) Psychology (2002), Staffordshire University
  • MSc Health Psychology (2003), Staffordshire University
  • PhD, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Leicester
  • British Psychological Society Qualification in Health Psychology (Stage 2)

Applied Health Psychology

  • Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), CBT for long-term conditions management, CBT for preventative health (SCCH Consulting)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Therapeutic Practice in Health Psychology
  • Foundations of Health Psychology Practice
  • Train the trainers: Teaching clinical health psychology skills to health psychology students
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Contextual Consulting, Psychwire)
  • Compassion Focused Therapy
  • Mental Health First Aid (Nucco Training, Buxton College)

In the media

Recent media

  • BBC Radio Derby: Keeping motivated to be active whilst staying at home (April 2020)
  • MOVE Charity Expert webinars (Psychological flexibility to deal with stress; Keeping active at home)

Refinery 29

Recent publications

Babicova; I; Cross; A; Forman; D; Hughes; J; Hoti, K (2022) Validation and Evaluation of Psychometric Properties of PainChek®: An Electronic Pain Assessment Tool for People with Moderate-to-Severe Dementia; BMC Geriatrics

Kwasnicka D., Ten Hoor G.A., Knittle K., Potthoff S., A Cross, (2021) Practical Health Psychology – Translating Behavioural Research to Practice. Vol.1. DOI:

Cross, A (2021). How to...use mental contrasting: theory, applications and interventions. Health Psychology Update, Spring

Brady, R., Bull, E., Armstrong, S., Watson, D., Cross, A., Howells, L., Lavallee, J., Byrne-Davies, L., Hart, J., Chater, A. (2021). Translating the guidance on promoting frontline healthcare workers psychological wellbeing during COVID 19 pandemic: Psychological Needs Assessment Tool. The European Health Psychologist, Vol. 22, 1

Armstrong, S, Watson. D, Byrne, J, Howells, L, Hart, J, Byrne-Davis, L, Cross, A., Bull, E., Brady, R (2021). Supporting organisations to improve the psychological wellbeing of their staff during COVID-19 pandemic: Case Studies. The European Health Psychologist, Vol. 22, 1

Irons, J. Y., Garip, G., Cross, A. J., Sheffield, D., & Bird, J. (2020). An integrative systematic review of creative arts interventions for older informal caregivers of people with neurological conditions. PloS one, 15(12), e0243461.

Cross, A. (2020) Spotlight Biography: Dr Ainslea Cross. The European Health Psychologist.

Cross, A., Howlett, N & Sheffield, D. (2020). Social ecological interventions to increase physical activity for young people living with and beyond cancer: a systematic review. Psychology & Health, 29;1-20. doi:

Cross, A., Naughton, F. & Sheffield, D. (2020) What is the role of cardiovascular reactivity in health behaviour change? A systematic review and agenda for research, Psychology & Health

Knittle, K. Kwasnicka, D., Pothoff, S., Cross, A., Olson, J and ten Hoor, G (2020). Using Practical Health Psychology approaches in your Rheumatology practice. Rheumatology Advances in Practice. Volume 4, Issue 2, 2020, rkaa026,

Cross, A., Howlett, N & Sheffield, D. (2020). Social ecological interventions to increase physical activity for young people living with and beyond cancer: a systematic review. Psychology & Health, 29;1-20. doi:

Hearn, J. H., & Cross, A. (2020). Mindfulness for pain, depression, anxiety, and quality of life in people with spinal cord injury: a systematic review. BMC Neurology, 20(1), 32. doi: 10.1186/s12883-020-1619-5

Cross, A. & Sheffield, D (2019). Mental contrasting for health behaviour change: a systematic review and meta-analysis of effects and moderator variables. Health Psychology Review, doi:

Henderson, F., Cross, A. & Baraniak, A. (2019). A new normal with chemobrain’: experiences of the impact of chemotherapy-related cognitive deficits in long-term breast cancer survivors. Health Psychology Open

Cross, A. & Sheffield, D. (2019). Raising the profile of health psychology training, consultancy and practice issues through the new Health Psychology Update sub-section. Health Psychology Update, 28(1), 37

Cross, A. J., Garip, G., & Sheffield, D. (2018). The psychosocial impact of caregiving in dementia and quality of life: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Psychology & health, 1-22

Robertshaw, D., & Cross, A. (2018). Roles and responsibilities in Integrated Care for dementia. Journal of Integrated Care

Cross, A (2018). Cancer Research UK Physical Activity innovation Sandpit: development of behaviour change interventions for increasing physical activity. Health Psychology Update, 27 (1)


Wooden blocks with letters on spelling out PLAN

Dr Ainslea Cross, Academic Lead for Health Psychology at the University of Derby, discusses how health psychology research and practice can help maintain the motivation needed for keeping active while staying at home and provides us with some tools and tips to follow.

A cross out of can't and replaced with can on a chalkboard

Dr Ainslea Cross, Academic Lead for Health Psychology at the University of Derby Online Learning, talks about how we can apply lessons from health psychology research to keep our resolutions on track and work towards our life and health goals.

Person holding a smiley face balloon and smiling

Dr Ainslea Cross, Academic Lead for Health Psychology at the University of Derby Online Learning, explores 'mental contrasting' as an alternative to positive thinking.