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. Advanced Quantitive Methods, 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 >25 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. 

Compassion and Mindfulness

Membership of professional bodies

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


Undergraduate qualifications

  • BA (Hons) Psychology, University of Nottingham

Research qualifications

  • PhD Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University

Recent publications

    1. Schofield, M.B., Baker, I.S., Staples, P., & Sheffield, D.  (in press). The creation and validation of the belief in the supernatural scale. J Parapsychology.
    2. Van Gordon, W., Shonin, K., Dunn, T.J., Sheffield, D., Garcia-Campayo, J., & Griffiths M.D.(in press). Meditation-induced near-death experiences: a 3-year longitudinal study. Mindfulness.
    3. Birtwell, K., Williams, K., van Marwijk, H., Armitage, C.J., & Sheffield, D.(in press). How do people begin and continue to practice mindfulness? An exploration of formal and informal mindfulness practice and associations with wellbeing. Mindfulness.
    4. Lumber, R., Richardson, M. & Sheffield, D. (in press). The seven pathways to nature connectedness: A focus group study. European Journal of Ecopsychology.
    5. Petronzi, D., Staples, P., Hunt, T.E., & Sheffield, D. (in press). Numeracy Apprehension in Young Children: Insight from Children Aged 4-7 years and Primary Care Providers.Psychology and Education Journal.
    6. Wood, A., Barker, J., Turner, M. & Sheffield, D. (2018). The effects of a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) intervention on performance in elite paralympic athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28, 329-339. doi: 10.1111/sms.12926
    7. Williams, S., Sheffield, D., & Knibb, R.C. (2018). Analyzing the impact of polycystic ovary syndrome on quality of life using photovoice methods. Sage Research Methods Cases. 10.4135/9781526439352
    8. Lumber R., Richardson, M. & Sheffield, D. (2017). Beyond knowing nature: Contact, emotion, compassion, meaning and beauty are pathways to nature connection. PLOSone, May 9, 12(5): e0177186. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177186
    9. Richardson, M. & Sheffield, D. (2017). Three good things in nature: an intervention to increase nature connectedness. Psyecology8 (1), 1-32.
    10. Richardson, M., McEwen, K., Maratos, F., & Sheffield, D. (2017). Joy and calm: How an evolutionary functional model of affect regulation informs positive emotions in nature. Evolutionary Psychological Science, 2, 308-320.
    11. Richardson, M., Maspero, M., Golightly, D., Sheffield, D., Staples, V., & Lumber, R. (2017). Nature: a new paradigm for well-being and ergonomicsErgonomics, 60,292-305.
    12. Hogan, S., Sheffield, D., & Woodward, A. (2017). The value of art therapy in antenatal and postnatal care: A brief literature review with recommendations for future research. International Journal of Art Therapy 22(4), 169-179.
    13. Cross, A., Sheffield, D., & Elander, J. (2017) Forget cancer, let's MOVE: a behaviour change support model for physical activity for young people during and after cancer. Health Psychology Update, 26(2), 17-25
    14. Rose, S.A., Sheffield, D. & Harling, M. (2017). The Integration of the Workable Range Model into a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course: a practice-based case study. Mindfulness
    15. Hussain, Z., Sheffield, D., & Griffith M. (2017). An investigation in to problematic smart phone use: the role of narcissism, anxiety and personality factors. Journal of Behavioral Addiction,6 (3), 378-386
    16. Simonovic, B., Stupple, E.J.N., Gale, M., & Sheffield, D. (2017). Pupil Dilation and Cognitive Reflection as Predictors of Performance on the Iowa Gambling Task. In (Eds.) G. Gunzelmann, A. Howes, T. Tenbrink, E.J. Davelaar: Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Cognitive Science Society, Cambridge MA, p. 3180-3185
    17. Kotera Y. and Sheffield D. (2017). Disney strategy for Japanese university students’ career guidance: a mixed-method pilot study. Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling, 38,50-58.
    18. Thornton, C., Sheffield, D., & Baird, A. (2017). A longitudinal exploration of pain tolerance and participation in contact sports. Scandinavian Journal of Pain, 16, 36-44.
    19. Hunt, T.E., Bhardwa, J., & Sheffield, D. (2017). Mental arithmetic performance, physiological reactivity and mathematics anxiety amongst U.K primary school children. Learning and Individual Differences.
    20. Yuenyongchaiwat, K. & Sheffield, D. (2017). Blunted cardiovascular reactions are a predictor of negative health outcomes: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research.
    21. Maratos, F., McEwen, K., Duarte, J., Sheffield, D., Barnes, C., Gilbert, P. (2017). The physiological and emotional effects of touch: Assessing a hand-massage intervention with high self-critics. Psychiatry Research, 250, 221-227.
    22. Simonovic, B., Stupple, E.J.N., Gale, M. & Sheffield, D. (2017). Stress and risky decision making: Cognitive reflection, emotional learning or both.Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 30, 658-665.
    23. Cross, A. & Sheffield D. (2016). Mental contrasting as a behaviour change technique: a systematic review protocol paper of effects, mediators and moderators on health. Systematic Reviews, 5, 201; DOI 10.1186/s13643-016-0382-6
    24. Yuenyongchaiwat, K., Baker. I., & Sheffield, D. (2016).  Symptoms of anxiety and depression are related to cardiovascular responses to active, but not passive, coping tasks. Revista Brasileria de Psiquiatria.
    25. Yuenyongchaiwat, K., Baker. I., Maratos, F., & Sheffield, D. (2016).  Do cardiovascular responses to active and passive coping tasks predict future blood pressure over 10-Months later? The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 19, e10, 1-12.
    26. Baird, A. & Sheffield, D. (2016). The relationship between pain beliefs and physical and mental health outcome measures in chronic low back pain: Direct and indirect effects.Healthcare, 4(3), 58; doi:10.3390/healthcare4030058
    27. Dunne, S., Sheffield, D., & Chilcot, J. (2016). Self-compassion, physical health and the mediating role of health-promoting behavioursJournal of Health Psychology, DOI: 1359105316643377.
    28. Schofield, M.B., Baker, I.S., Staples, P., & Sheffield, D.  (2016). Mental representations of the supernatural: A cluster analysis of religiosity, spirituality and paranormal belief.Personality and Individual Differences, 101,419-424.
    29. Williams, S., Sheffield, D., & Knibb, R.C. (2016). A snapshot of the lives of women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A photovoice investigationJournal of Health Psychology, 21, (6), 1170-1182.
    30. Williams, S., Sheffield, D., & Knibb, R., (2015). 'Everything's from the inside out with PCOS': Exploring women's experiences of living with polycystic ovary syndrome and co-morbidities through Skype interviews. Health Psychology Open, July-December 2015, 1-10.
    31. Archer, S., Buxton, S., & Sheffield, D. (2015). The effect of creative psychological interventions on psychological outcomes for adult cancer patients: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Psycho-Oncology,1-10.
    32. Yuenyongchaiwat, K., Sheffield, D., Baker, I., & Maratos, F. (2015). Hemodynamic responses to active and passive coping tasks and the prediction of future blood pressure in Thai participants: A preliminary prospective cohort study. Japanese Psychological Research, 57,(4), 288-299.  
    33. Duncan, M.J., Eyre, E., Bryant, E., Clarke, N., Birch, S., Staples, V., & Sheffield, D. (2015). The impact of a school-based gardening intervention on intentions and behaviour related to fruit and vegetable consumption in childrenJournal of Health Psychology, 20, (6), 765-773.
    34. Clark, P., Sheffield, D. & Akehurst, S. (2015). The yips in sport: a systematic review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 8, 1-29.
    35. Hunt, T.E., Clark-Carter, D., & Sheffield, D. (2015). Eye movements during mental arithmetic: Exploring the relationship between mathematics anxiety and performance.Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29, 226-231.
    36. Richardson, M., & Sheffield, D. (2015). Reflective self-attention: A more stable predictor of connection to nature than mindful attention. Ecopsychology, 7, 166-175.  
    37. Hunt, T.E., Clark-Carter, D., & Sheffield, D. (2014). Exploring the relationship between mathematics anxiety and performance: The role of intrusive thoughts. Journal of Education, Psychology and Social Sciences, 2, 69-75.
    38. Turner, M.J., Jones, M.V., Sheffield, D., Barker, J.B. &Coffee, P. (2014). Manipulating cardiovascular indices of challenge and threat using resource appraisals. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 94, 9-18.
    39. 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, 38, 252-262.

Recent conferences

Sheffield, D. (keynote to ~300 teachers, TAs, SENCO and educators). Maths Anxiety: Causes, Consequences and Solutions. 8thAnnual Learning works conference on Dyscalculia and Mathematics Learning Difficulties, June 2016, London.

Hunt, T.E. & Sheffield D. (co-leads; workshop to ~150 teachers, TAs, SENCO and educators). Maths anxiety: brief interventions. 8thAnnual Learning works conference on Dyscalculia and Mathematics Learning Difficulties, June 2016, London.

Hunt, T.E. & Sheffield D. (co-leads; workshop to ~20 teachers, TAs, SENCO and educators). Reducing maths anxiety in primary school classroom: brief interventions. 2nd Annual conference on Mathematical Resilience, March 2016, Warwick.

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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