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Kavita Vedhara

Professor of Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

Kavita did her first degree and PhD in the Department of Psychology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her PhD research was concerned with the role of psychological stress in the progression of HIV infection. Her first post-doctoral position was in the Department of Medicine at the University of Wales in Cardiff. Here she examined emotional, cognitive and immunological responses to polio vaccination (an enterovirus) in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Her interests in the role of psychological factors in health and disease outcomes continued in subsequent postdoctoral positions at the University of Bristol where she examined the effects of upper respiratory illness on mood and cognitive performance and the effects of chronic caregiver stress on vulnerability to infectious disease in older people.

In 1998 she was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bristol. In 1999 she joined the MRC's Health Services Research Collaboration (HSRC) as a Career Track Scientist and was later promoted to a Senior Scientist. During her time with the HSRC she led a behavioural medicine research group which conducted experimental and applied research into the diverse ways psychological factors influence health and disease outcomes and the development of psychological interventions to improve these outcomes. The research at this time included: investigations into the effects of emotional disclosure on disease activity in patients with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis; the role of psychosocial factors in the healing of chronic wounds (diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers); the effects of psychological distress on primary and secondary immunity; the role of early life experiences on stress reactivity in adolescence and studies investigating the emotional responses of men undergoing screening for prostate cancer and the relationship between psychological distress and the diagnosis of prostate cancer. In March 2009, Kavita was appointed as Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham.

Expertise Summary

Keywords:

Psychological stress, psychoneuroimmunology, chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, infertility, stroke, etc), patient/lay beliefs of illness and treatment, patient expectations, placebo effect, psychological interventions, foetal programming hypothesis, psychological/behavioural interventions; adherence

Teaching Summary

Prof. Vedhara delivers two Master's modules in Health Psychology:

Chronic Illness, Disability and Stress

Read the course outline for Chronic Illness, Disability and Stress

Biomedical Perspectives in Psychology and Health

Read the course outline for Biomedical Perspectives in Psychology and Health

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She co-ordinates the applied research projects for all postgraduates in IWHO with Dr Shirley Thomas and supervises Master's level research in Health Psychology

She has also developed an international PhD with colleagues in Greece

Read more about the PhD in Behavioural Medicine or Applied Psychology (Greece)

Research Summary

Kavita is interested in experimental and applied research which examines the diverse ways psychological factors influence health and disease outcomes and the development of psychological… read more

Recent Publications

  • British Journal Health Psychology- Editor
  • Conference track chair for European Health Psychology Society and International Society of Behavioural Medicine.
  • Chair of Research sub-committee for the Division of Health Psychology of the British Psychological Society
  • Medical Research Council (MRC) NIHR- Member of funding panels
  • Member of DOH IAPT expert advisory group

Current Research

Kavita is interested in experimental and applied research which examines the diverse ways psychological factors influence health and disease outcomes and the development of psychological interventions to improve these outcomes. To date, she has edited 3 textbooks, published over 60 peer reviewed papers and her work has been funded by, amongst others, the MRC, ESRC, NIHR, EU, Fulbright Commission, Cancer Research UK, BUPA, Auckland Medical Research Foundation, Bial Foundation and the Neuroendocrinology Charitable Trust. Her current research interests include:

  • The development of psychological interventions to improve clinical outcomes in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Examining the psychosocial determinants of treatment choice and emotional adjustment in men with prostate cancer.
  • Exploring the effects of psychological and behavioural factors on immune responses to vaccination.
  • The foetal programming hypothesis (or developmental origins of adult disease).
  • The role of psychological factors in determining treatment success in in vitro fertilisation
  • Treatment expectations and the placebo effect in chronic disease
  • The effects of psychological distress on taste perception.

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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