Staff profile

Dr Dominic Petronzi

Senior Lecturer




College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Psychology




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Deputy Director for Online UG Psychology, and a member of the University’s Mathematics Anxiety Research Group (MARG). My research focuses on understanding the development of maths anxiety, how it relates to educational experiences/career trajectories, and approaches to reduce it. Some examples of this work include exploring children’s (aged 4-7 years) attitudes and experiences of maths and triangulating this with insight from teachers and parents that led to the development of the first maths anxiety rating scale for children as early as 4 years of age (Children’s Maths Anxiety Scale UK; CMAS-UK). I have also conducted a review of interventions to address maths anxiety to provide an overview and recommendations and authored and piloted a maths anxiety storybook approach (as part of a wider research-informed series of children's books) to normalize maths talk in children and to support emotion regulation as a first step to countering maths anxiety. More recently, I have supervised projects that have explored the potential detrimental impact of maths schemes of work for UK trainee teachers and validated a therapy dog intervention for reducing maths anxiety. 

I have also contributed to the development of an NHS-endorsed Maths Anxiety Crash Course as part of our university Mathematics Anxiety Research Group.

I have also engaged in research to explore the efficacy and need for credible and research-informed resources. As an outcome, I am now exploring a storybook approach and other formats as a means to channel findings from empirical work into a directly impactful and educationally engaging format to support primary care providers in approaching a range of topics and issues that impact children. I previously launched a children’s book surrounding healthy eating alongside First Steps ED which supports people in Derbyshire who are living with eating disorders. This project was supported by the Derbyshire Foundation and our storybook resource has been endorsed by NHS England Midlands Children and Young People Quality Improvement Team who recommended further afield across clinical ED services for CYP. The storybook was made available to every primary school across neighbourhood, place, and at system level (district, city, and county) and supported by the five NHS CAMHS ED services in the East Midlands.  

In research, I have explored stakeholder perceptions of a storybook to raise awareness of unhealthy attitudes towards and behaviours around disordered eating/eating behaviours in children. This work indicates that storybooks can enhance the learning experience and provide structure for teachers and parents/carers, particularly in approaching conversations and discussions around particular topics. 

Teaching responsibilities

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and teach/lead modules in the areas of social psychology, psychology of education, and qualitative research on our online BSc and MSc degrees. 

Professional interests

Utilising my academic and research background, I am an author of a research-informed series of children's books that addresses a range of current issues and priority areas for children. The series aims to make academic research that is relevant and important to a child’s development accessible for children, teachers, parents, and carers.

Research interests


Recent conferences

Experience in industry

Beyond academia, I have significant experience working with complex behaviour, Autism Spectrum Disorder and personality disorders in a range of settings, including primary/secondary education and residential settings. I have worked collaboratively with multiple agencies, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), educational psychology services, behaviour support, language therapists, social services, and National Teaching and Advisory Service.

I previously led a behaviour support program in a primary setting and have been instrumental in the successful transitions from primary to secondary school of children with complex behaviours, including attachment disorder.

International experience

I am an internationally recognised researcher in the field of maths anxiety.

In the media

Recent publications