Department of Psychology

Essex ESNEFT Psychological Research Unit for Behaviour, Health and Wellbeing (EEPRU)

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The Research Unit established in 2022 is a collaboration between the University of Essex and East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).

The unit is funded by a £1m research grant that supports doctoral students and research staff who aim to explain behavioural and psychological processes in the development, onset, prevention, early detection, management and progression of illness, and promotion of health and wellbeing. Unit members work closely with clinical, allied health professional, and public health teams at ESNEFT on different research projects.

The Unit supports the department’s research activity that fosters “Understanding our place in the world” by helping to discern how people think about illness, experience illness, and respond to illness threat, and the role of social interactions in this process.

EEPRU Clinician Associates

Dr Tania Gudu

Consultant Rheumatologist, ESNEFT

Dr Tania Gudu PhD is a Consultant Rheumatologist at ESNEFT who works one day a week at EEPRU collaborating with psychology staff on projects relating to arthritis and chronic pain.

Current projects

Improving outcomes in dialysis patients through promotion of effective self-regulation

This project benefits from a collaborative PhD scholarship that is jointly funded by the ESRC via SENSS and ESNEFT. 2020-2024.

Optimal management of many diseases requires patients to make behavioural changes, with which they struggle. Limitations in the existing evidence base indicate the need to identify self-regulatory processes that might be targets for psychological intervention within health care settings.

This project aims to develop and test a comprehensive account of self-regulation in chronic disease, with immediate relevance to care of dialysis patients and to chronic disease management generally.


Public Understanding of Kidney Disease

The ways in which people understand illness, known as illness representations, are an important guide to how they interpret and respond to symptoms.

We are currently running a study to investigate public representations of kidney disease. If you are over 18 years and would like to take part in the study you can do so online.

We are interested to hear from anybody, whether they have experience of kidney disease or not.

Take part online


A nature-based intervention to improve mental health: Efficacy of an angling intervention for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

Research at the Department of Psychology at Essex showed that a brief 1-2 day peer supported angling experience had benefits for the wellbeing of military veterans with PTSD.

This project funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme, will contribute to providing crucial evidence that might enable nature-based interventions like this to become a part of health prescribing policy. 

Read more about this project


At the top the word "NHS" in white text in a blue box. Underneath "East Suffolk and North Essex" in black text, and underneath that "NHS Foundation Trust" in blue text.