Aleksandra Borek

Department: University of Exeter Medical School
Research Centre/Unit: Institute of Health Research

Project Summary

Understanding how participation in groups promotes health-related psychological and behaviour change

My PhD project focuses on group-based health interventions, particularly diet and physical activity programmes for weight loss and prevention of weight-related diseases (e.g. diabetes and cardiovascular diseases). Although health interventions are commonly delivered in groups, it is unclear why and how this delivery mode is used and what individual and group-specific change processes contribute to intervention effectiveness. My research aims to develop a better understanding of group processes, such as social support, social identification and social comparisons, and their role in facilitating behaviour change and influencing intervention outcomes.

My PhD thesis consists of a conceptual review of the theories of group dynamics in relation to health interventions, a systematic review and meta-analysis of group-based weight-loss interventions, a checklist for reporting of group-based behavioural interventions, and a qualitative study of the participants' experiences of a group-based diabetes prevention intervention.

Supervisory Team

Prof. Charles Abraham, Prof. Colin Greaves and Dr Mark Tarrant

Wider Research Interests

Behaviour change, change processes and theories, interpersonal processes, communication and social interaction (particularly in healthcare contexts), qualitative research methods.