Staff profile

Professor James Elander

Professor of Health Psychology




College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Psychology

Research centre

Health and Social Care Research Centre




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am an HCPC-registered (Health Care Professions Council) health psychologist. I conduct research on psychological and behavioural aspects of chronic illness, including pain coping and pain management, and how people use pain medication. I also have a longstanding interest in the psychology of learning and teaching, especially student writing.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach undergraduate Psychology final year modules about forensic psychology, educational psychology, addictive behaviours, and the psychology of pain. I also teach on the MSc Health Psychology and MSc Behaviour Change and supervise undergraduate, MSc and PhD research.

Research interests

I am interested in behavioural and psychological aspects of pain management and pain medication use in painful chronic conditions such as hemophilia, sickle cell disease, dysmenorrhea and chronic headache. This includes developing and evaluating interventions to improve people's self-management of pain, and studies of the interpersonal staff-patient dynamics that affect the quality of pain management and people's satisfaction with treatment for pain, especially in hospital.

Most recently, I have been conducting research on people's experiences of treatment for end-stage kidney disease with haemodialysis, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the development of support based on psychological models for people receiving haemodialysis.

I am also interested in student learning and academic writing, especially in the transition to university. This includes developing and evaluating interventions that help students improve their academic writing and avoid unintentional plagiarism, especially by improving students' 'authorial identity' and their understanding of the assessment criteria for student writing.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Recent publications


A seven day pill organiser with some tablets

James Elander, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Derby, explores how to help people with chronic pain reduce reliance on painkillers.

coffe with a shape on the foam

Professor James Elander, Head of Centre for Psychological Research at the University of Derby, talks about caffeine addiction and effect it has on the body.

Person writing on a pad with an orange background

Be it in music or writing, plagiarism – “stealing other’s ideas” – is a complicated and yet serious offence. So how can universities help students improve their writing and avoid it? Professor James Elander, Head of Psychological Research, gives his top tips.

a pile of painkillers in different colours shapes and sizes

Ahead of World Health Day 2017, James Elander, Head of Psychological Research at the University of Derby, discusses new research into painkiller addiction.