Dr Ellen Townsend
Social Psychology & Health group
University of Nottingham,
research interests lie in clinical and health psychology. I apply
psychological theories and methods in order to increase our understanding of
important psychological phenomena (e.g. mental health problems, risk
perception and risk-related decision-making and explicit/implicit attitudes)
and complex behaviours (e.g. self-harm). I lead the Self-Harm Research group
in the department and a national Clinical Research Group on self-harm funded
by MHRN. I conduct systematic reviews in order to increase the evidence-base
in relation to interventions for self-harm and mental health problems.
me and my research group
Students and PhD funding
conference presentations and keynote addresses
administrative roles and committees
September 2013: We are excited
to have been awarded a grant from the Department of Health PRP Programme to
investigate self-harm in looked-after young people. More information about
the project can be accessed here.
We are currently hiring for this grant. More information can be found on our
HR website here.
(Scroll down to psychology.)
June 2013: I am delighted
to have recently taken up the role of academic lead for Derby/Nottingham for
Study of Self-Harm in England. This project, funded by the Department of
Health, has yielded crucial new information on the epidemiology, causes,
clinical management, outcome and prevention of self-harm.
paper ‘Investigating the operation of the affect heuristic: Is it an
associative construct?’ has been accepted for publication with the Journal of Risk Research. This work was
supported by an award from ESRC.
congratulations to Jose Cuenca who passed his PhD viva with minor corrections
this month (external examiner Professor Rory O’Connor). Jose worked on
attachment in young people who self-harm and is now working as a researcher
in the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham.
congratulations to Katie Glazebrook who passed her PhD viva with minor
corrections this month (external examiner Professor Ella Arensman).
Katie worked on attachment style in young people who self-harm with myself
and Dr Kapil Sayal (Psychiatry) and is now training to be a clinical
psychologist at UCL.
peer reviewed journals
E., Spence, A. and Knowles, S. (In
the operation of the affect heuristic: Is it an associative construct?’ Journal of Risk Research.
Knowles, S., Townsend, E. and Anderson, M. (2013.) “In two
minds”. Socially motivated self-harm is perceived as less serious than
internally motivated: A qualitative study of youth justice staff. Journal of Health Psychology. Full text available online before
print here: http://hpq.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/11/05/1359105312459874.full.pdf+html
3. Townsend, E. and Pitchford, N. Baby knows
best? (2012). The impact of weaning style on food preferences and body mass index in
early childhood in a case–controlled sample. BMJ Open 2012;2:e000298 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000298.
Full text available here: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmjopen-2011-000298
4. Fleming, P.,
Townsend, E., van Hilten, J.A., Spence, A., and
Ferguson, E. (2012). Expert relevance and the use of context-driven heuristic
processes in risk perception. Journal
of Risk Research, 15, 857-873. Available online here.
5. Knowles, S.,
Townsend, E. & Anderson, M (2012). Youth Justice staff
attitudes towards screening for self-harm. Health
& social care in the community, 20(5), 506-515.
6. Knowles, S. & Townsend, E. (2012). Implicit and
Explicit Attitudes toward Self Harm: support for a functional model. Journal of Behavior
Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 43, 730-736. Article available online here.
7. Knowles, S., Townsend, E., Anderson, M. (2011). Factors associated with self-harm in
community-based young offenders: the importance of psychological variables, Journal of Forensic Psychiatry
&Psychology. First published on: 16 June 2011 (iFirst).To
link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/14789949.2011.591415. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14789949.2011.591415
- Ulph, E., Leong, J., Glazebrook, C., & Townsend, E. (2010.) A qualitative study exploring genetic
counsellors' experiences of counselling children. European Journal of Human Genetics, 18,
1090-1094. Article available online here.
- Townsend, E., Walker, D., Sargeant,
S., Vostanis, P., Hawton,
K., Stocker, O., Sithole, J. (2010). Systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions
relevant for young offenders with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or
self-harm. Journal of Adolescence,
33, 9-20. PDF. Article available online here.
- Ulph, F., Townsend, E. and Glazebrook, C. (2009). How should risk
be communicated to children? A cross-sectional study comparing different
formats of probability information. BMC
Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 9: 26. Article available here.
E., Spence, A., Townsend, E., Prowse, C., Palmer, J., Fleming, P., and Van Hilten,
J.A. (2009). What Type of Information is Trusted
by whom? A Multi-Level Analysis
of the Stability of the Information Source-Trust Association for Blood
Transfusion. Transfusion, 49
(8), 1637-1648. Article. PDF.
E., Prowse, C. Townsend, E., Spence, A., van Hilten
J. A., Lowe, K. (2008). Acceptability of blood and blood substitutes.
Journal of Internal Medicine, 263 (3) 244-255.
- Townsend, E., Walker, D., Sargeant,
S., Stocker, O., Vostanis, P., Sithole, J., & Hawton,
K. (2008). Interventions for mood and anxiety disorders, and self harm in young offenders. (Protocol.) Cochrane
Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD007195. Article.
A. and Townsend, E. (2008). Spontaneous Evaluations: Similarities and Differences between
the Affect Heuristic and Implicit Attitudes. Cognition and Emotion, 22 (1), 83-93. Article.
- Spence, A. and Townsend, E. (2007) Predicting
behaviour towards genetically modified (GM) food using implicit and
explicit attitudes. British
Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 437-457. Article. PDF.
- Fleming, P., Ferguson, E., Townsend, E.,
Lowe, KC, (2007). Perceptions in transfusion medicine: a pilot study on
risk and ethics for blood and blood substitutes. Artificial Cells, Blood
Substitutes and Biotechnology, 35(149-156).
P., Townsend, E, Lowe, K.C. and Ferguson, E. (2007) Social
desirability influences on judgements of biotechnology across the
dimensions of risk, ethicality and naturalness. Journal of Risk Research, 10 (7), 989-1003.
- Townsend, E. (2007). Suicide terrorists: Are they suicidal?
Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 37 (1), 35-49. Article. PDF.
- Spence, A. and Townsend, E. (2006). Examining consumer behaviour towards genetically
modified (GM) food in Britain. Risk
Analysis, 26,(3), 657-670. Article. PDF.
- Knowles, S. Townsend, E. and
Anderson, M. (2006). Using ASSET data for mental health
research on Young Offenders: issues and implications for researchers. Educational and Child
Psychology, 23 (2), 52-61.
- Spence, A. and Townsend, E. (2006). Implicit
attitudes towards Genetically Modified (GM) foods: A comparison of
context-free and context-dependent evaluations. Appetite, 46, 67-74. Article. PDF.
- Townsend, E. (2006). Affective
influences on risk perceptions of, and attitudes toward, genetically
modified food. Journal of Risk Research, 9 (2), 125-139.
- Ferguson, E., Leaviss,
J. Townsend, E., Fleming, P. Lowe, K.C. (2005). Perceived safety of
donor blood and blood substitutes: the role of informational frame,
patient groups and stress appraisals. Transfusion Medicine, 15,
- Townsend, E. and Campbell, S. (2004).
Psychological determinants of willingness to taste and purchase
genetically modified food. Risk
- Townsend, E. Clarke, D.D. and Travis, B.
(2004). Effects of context and feelings on perceptions of genetically
modified food. Risk
S. and Townsend, E.
(2003) Flaws undermine results of UK biotech debate. Nature
425 p 559.
C., Hawton, K., Houston, K., Townsend E.
(2003) Correlates of relative lethality and suicidal intent among
deliberate self-harm patients. Suicide and Life Threatening Behaviour
33 (4), 353-364.
- Hawton, K.,
Houston, K., Haw, C., Townsend,
E., Harriss, L. (2003) Comorbidity of
Axis I and Axis II Disorders in Patients Who Attempt Suicide. American
Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 1494-1500.
K., Haw, C., Townsend, E.,
Hawton, K. (2003). General practitioner
contacts with patients before and after deliberate self-harm. British
Journal of General Practice, 53 (490), 365-370.
C., Hawton, K., Whitehead, L., Houston, K., Townsend, E. (2003)
Assessment and aftercare for deliberate self-harm patients provided by a
general hospital psychiatric service. Crisis, 24, 145-150.
- Hawton, K., Haw,
C., Houston, K., Townsend, E.
(2002). Family history of suicidal behaviour: prevalence and
significance in deliberate self-harm patients. Acta Psychiatrica
Scandinavica, 106, 387-393.
- Haw C, Houston K, Townsend E, & Hawton, K. (2002). Deliberate self-harm patients
with depressive disorders: treatment and outcome. Journal
of Affective Disorders, 70, 57-65.
Hawton, K., Harriss,
L., Bale, E., Bond, A. (2001) Substances used in deliberate
self-poisoning 1995-1997: trends and associations with age, gender,
repetition and suicide intent Social
Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 36, 228-234
- Townsend, E., Hawton,
K., Altman, D.G., Arensman, E., Gunnell, D., Hazell, P.,
House, A., Van Heeringen, K. (2001) The
efficacy of problem-solving treatments after deliberate self-harm:
meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials with respect to
depression, hopelessness and improvement in problems. Psychological
Medicine, 31, 979-988.
- Arensman, E., Townsend, E., Hawton, K., Bremner, S.,
Feldman, E., Goldney, R., Gunnell,
D., Hazell, P., Van Heeringen,
K., House, A., Owens, D., Sakinofsky, I., Träskman-Bendz, L. (2001) Psychosocial and
pharmacological treatment of patients following deliberate self-harm:
the methodological issues involved in evaluating effectiveness. Suicide
and Life-Threatening Behavior, 31, 169-180.
- Hawton, K., Townsend, E., Deeks, J., Appleby, L., Gunnell,
D., Bennewith, O., Cooper, J. (2001) Effects
of legislation restricting pack sizes of paracetamol
and salicylates on self poisoning in the
United Kingdom: before and after study. British Medical Journal, 322,
C., Houston, K., Townsend,
E., Hawton, K. (2001) Deliberate
Self-Harm Patients with Alcohol Disorders: Characteristics, Treatment
and Outcome. Crisis, 22(3),
C., Hawton, K., Houston, K., Townsend, E. (2001) Psychiatric
and personality disorders in deliberate self-harm patients. British
Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 48-54
- Hawton, K., Arensman, E., Townsend, E., Bremner, S.,
Feldman, E., Goldney, R., Gunnell,
D., Hazell, P., Van Heeringen,
C., House, A., Owens, D., Sakinofsky, I., Träskman-Bendz, L. (1998) Deliberate self-harm: a
systematic review of the efficacy of psychosocial and pharmacological
treatments in preventing repetition. British
Medical Journal, 317, 441-7.
S., Geddes, J., Hawton, K., Townsend, E., Jamison, K.,
Goodwin, G. (2001). Lithium for maintenance treatment of mood disorders.
(Cochrane Review). In: The
Cochrane Library, 2, 2001. Oxford: Update Software.
- Hawton, K., Townsend, E., Arensman, E., Gunnell, D.,
House, A., Van Heeringen, C.
(1999) Psychosocial and pharmacological treatments for deliberate self harm. (Cochrane Review). In: The
Cochrane Library, Issue 3. Oxford: Update Software.
A. J., Townsend, E.,
Underwood, G. Expertise in musical sight reading: A study of
pianists. (1998) British Journal of Psychology, 89 (1), 123-149.
§ Townsend, E. (Forthcoming.) Suicide Terrorism. Chapter to appear in Oxford Handbook of Suicide and Self-Injury. MK. Nock (Ed). Due to be
published by Oxford University Press in 2012.
§ Townsend, E.
(2007). Cognitive-behavioural interventions for young offenders. In ‘Mental Health Interventions for vulnerable
children and young people’ (P. Vostanis, Ed).
Jessica Kingsley, London.
§ Ferguson, E., Fleming, P., Townsend, E., & Lowe
KC. (2006). Perceived Naturalness and Risk of Blood and Blood Substitutes. In
Columbus, F. (Ed.) New Developments in Blood Transfusion Research.
Nova Science Publishers, New York. (pp 65-76).
S. and Townsend, E. (2005) How To Make A Minority Look Like A Majority'. Australasian
Science, March 2005, pp. 28-29.
Ulph, F., Leong, J, Glazebrook,C, Townsend, E.
(2005). When do mum and dad need their genes back? Communicating information
about genetics to children. Psychology
& Health, 20, 268 Suppl. 1, AUG 2005.
Ulph F, Glazebrook C, Leong J,
Shakespeare F, Townsend E
(2005). "It's certainly letting a little bit of a flood gate open":
Genetic counsellors' views about the UK newborn
screening programme for cystic fibrosis. Journal
of Medical Genetics 42: S122-S122 Suppl. 1 SEP.
Hawton K, Townsend E. (2002) UK legislation
on analgesic pack sizes: impact on suicidal behaviour. EUR PSYCHIAT 17: 67S-67S Suppl. 1.
J, Burgess S, Hawton K, Townsend E, Jamison K, Goodwin G. (2002) Lithium
prophylaxis of mood disorders: Efficacy, acceptability and anti-suicidal effects,
Journal of Affective Disorders, 68
of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research: http://cebmh.warne.ox.ac.uk/csr/
is at Hand. Information for those bereaved by suicide or other sudden
foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org/
association of Suicidology: http://www.suicidology.org/
Society for Risk Analysis: http://www.sra.org/
Page last updated: 4-9-13