Professor Paul Norman BSc, PhD, CPsychol

Paul NormanAddress
The University of Sheffield
Sheffield S10 2TP, UK
Tel: (+44) 0114 222 6505
Fax: (+44) 0114 276 6515
Room: 2.15


BSc, PhD (University of Lancaster)

Research Interests

My main areas of research focus on (i) the application of social cognition models to the prediction of health behaviour and (ii) cognitive adaptation to serious illness.

Predicting and Changing Health Behaviour

My first area of research focuses on the application of social cognition models (e.g., theory of planned behaviour, health belief model, protection motivation theory) to the prediction of health behaviour. My research has been at the forefront of developments in this area over the past 20 years. I have conducted numerous applications of these models to a range of health behaviours including exercise, smoking, diet, binge drinking, condom use, road safety behaviour, attendance at screening, breast self-examination and medication adherence. This work has also addressed a number of key theoretical issues including the impact of different forms of normative influence, the relationship between past behaviour and future behaviour, and the impact of moderator variables on the strength of the intention-behaviour relationship.  My most recent work has focused on the development and evaluation of theory-based interventions to change health behaviour.

Adaptation to serious illness
My second area of research is concerned with cognitive adaptation to serious illness. This work focuses on patients' beliefs (i.e., appraisals) about their illness and how these impact on coping efforts and psychological adjustment. My work in this area has applied a number of theoretical approaches (including attribution theory, coping theory, self-regulation theory, cognitive adaptation theory) to assess cognitive adaptation to the experience, and threat, of a range of serious illnesses including myocardial infarction, thrombosis, stroke and breast cancer.


McDermott, C.J., Marsden, G., Coates, E., Bortolami, O., Stavroulakis, T., Young, T., Halliday, V., Baird, W., White, D., White, S., Al-Chalabi, A., Cooper, C., Cade, J., Turner, M., Shaw, P., & Norman, P. A programme to develop and evaluate a complex intervention to achieve a high calorie diet in ALS (HighCALS). NIHR Applied Research Programme Grant (2018-2024). £2,364,069.

Julious, S.A., Horspool, M., Boote, J., Elphick, H., van Staa, T., Davis, S, Norman, & P., Cooper, C.L.. Preventing and lessening exacerbations of asthma in school-age asthmatics associated with a new term (PLEASANT). HTA: NIHR (2012-2015). £486,500.

Rowse, G., Brooks, A., Lobo, A., Norman, P. & Narula, P. Adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease: Their relationship with their disease, identity and illness perceptions. Crohn's and Colitis UK (NACC) (2013-2015). £65,000

Norman, P., Sheeran, P., Harris, P., Webb, T., Ciravegna, F., Meier, P., Brennan, A., Julious, S., Naughton, F., & Petroczi, A. Time to change! Using the transition from school to university to promote healthy lifestyle habits in young people. MRC/NPRI Phase 4, MR/J000450/1 (2012-2014). £369,171.

Teaching and administrative duties

I teach on module 239: Psychological Research Methods on the undergraduate degree. I also teach on modules 6010: Multivariate Statistics, 6070: Professional Skills for Psychologists, and 6120: Research Methods on the MSc in Psychological Research as well as Multivariate Statistics on the DClinPsy training programme.

Activities and Distinctions

  • President, European Health Psychology Society (2010-2012)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Psychology and Health (2001-2006) – the official journal of the European Health Psychology Society. The journal’s impact factor rose from 0.705 to 1.683 during my editorship.
  • Co-editor of Predicting Health Behaviour - a key source book on work with social cognition models and health behaviour that has sold over 10,000 copies. It is a recommended textbook on MSc Health Psychology courses in the UK and Europe.
  • Chair of the Scientific Committee, European Health Psychology Society Conference, Cluj-Napoca, 2010.
  • Invited Facilitator for the CREATE Workshop for early career health psychologists prior to the European Health Psychology Society Conference, Helsinki, 2004.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker at the Fall Academy Meeting, Berlin, 2002.
  • Secretary of the European Health Psychology Society (1996-2000).

Postgraduate Students

  • Gareth Jones - PhD student (Post-University Transitions and Exercise). University Fee Waiver.
  • Fatma Azab - PhD student (Personality and Health Behaviour). Funded by Libya Cultural Affairs.
  • Rosie Webster - PhD student (Illness Representations and Psychological Distress in Non-Cardiac Chest Pain Patients). Funded by MRC/ESRC.
  • Safeena Ghufran - DClinPsy student (Disturbances in Autobiographical Memory and PTSD after Stroke).
  • Elizabeth Roberts - DClinPsy student (The Experience of PTSD after Stroke).

EHPS Website

Psychology & Health Website


A list of key publications can be found below.  For a full list of publications please click here

Journal articles