Dr Rebecca Webster

Department of Psychology

Lecturer in Psychology

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Full contact details

Dr Rebecca Webster
Department of Psychology
Cathedral Court
1 Vicar Lane
S1 2LT

Following my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Durham University, I went to King’s College London to  complete an MSc in Health Psychology. I stayed at King’s to complete my PhD on nocebo effects (the ‘evil twin’ of the better known placebo), and afterwards spent a number of years there as a postdoctoral researcher within the Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response. My research interests broadly encompass the area of Health Psychology, in particular placebo/nocebo effects, risk communication and health behaviour in the context of public health emergencies. In 2020 I moved back up north and joined the Psychology department at Sheffield.

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology - Durham University
  • MSc Health Psychology - King’s College London
  • PhD Psychology - King’s College London
Research interests

- Placebo/nocebo effects - How can we enhance placebo and reduce nocebo effects in the context of medicines in a way that is ethical (i.e. without impacting informed consent)? And does this have implications for adherence?

- Risk communication - Improving communication of risks in patient information leaflets, the doctor-patient consultation, and the role of empathy.

- Health behaviour change - Understanding and improving engagement in health behaviours, e.g. screening, adherence, presenteeism


Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles


All publications

Journal articles


  • Brooks S, Webster R, Smith L, Woodland L & Greenberg N (2024) Quarantine, Lockdown, and Isolation in the COVID-19 Pandemic In Williams R, Kemp V, Porter K, Healing T & Drury J (Ed.), Major Incidents, Pandemics and Mental Health The Psychosocial Aspects of Health Emergencies, Incidents, Disasters and Disease Outbreaks RIS download Bibtex download
  • Patel SS, Webster R, Brenner RM & Brooks SK (2022) Ethics of Research and Service-Learning in Disasters, Service-Learning for Disaster Resilience (pp. 97-111). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download


Research group

Social and Behavioural Change

Current PhD students

  • Lisa Woodland (King’s College London) - School children presenteeism
  • Ismaila Yakubu (University of Sheffield) - Self-compassion and Perceived Self Control in the Relationship between Occupational Stressors, Adherence to Therapy and Well being of Employees with Diabetes in Nigeria
  • Sonia Shpendi (University of Sheffield) - Cervical screening uptake in young women
  • British Academy small research grant (2019). Exploring the best method of presenting side-effect information in patient information leaflets: a nationally representative survey of the English public. (£9,969.50)
  • British Academy small research grant (2021). Discrimination in healthcare settings and the nocebo effect (£9,986.00)
  • WHITE ROSE UNIVERSITY CONSORTIUM (2021). Infectious illness presenteeism in the age of COVID-19 (£11,000)
  • WUN Research Projects (2022). Getting back in touch: Emotional pathways to a post-pandemic world (£10,000)
Teaching activities

I teach on the following modules, on the Undergraduate Psychology degree:

  • PSY1001 - Social Psychology I
  • PSY2001 - Social Psychology II
  • PSY346 – Dissertation projects
  • PSY331 – Extended essay
Professional activities and memberships
  • Chartered member of the British Psychological Society
  • Editorial board member for the British Journal of Health Psychology
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
PhD Opportunities

I am not not accepting PhD applications/enquiries until March 2025.

We advertise PhD opportunities (Funded or Self-Funded) on FindAPhD.com

For further information, please see the department PhD Opportunities page.