Dr Ellen Townsend
University of Nottingham,
I am an Associate Professor in the School
of Psychology at the University of Nottingham and PI leading the Self-Harm
Research Group. I research psychological factors associated with self-harm
and suicidality, and interventions that promote recovery, especially in young
people using a range of techniques including experiments, interviews and
systematic reviews. I lead a national Clinical Research Group on self-harm
funded by the Mental Health Research Network (NIHR). I am PI on a project
investigating self-harm in looked-after young people funded by the Department
of Health Policy Research Programme. See our project website: www.listen-up.ac.uk for more
information. I am a collaborator on the Multicentre
Study of Self-Harm in England and a Fellow of the International Academy of Suicide
Research. I was a participant in the Nottingham
Research Leaders Programme 2015-16.
I am co-leading the development of INTERACT - a new research
initiative for participatory research and public engagement working with
colleagues from across the university.
about me and my research group
Students and PhD funding
conference presentations and keynote addresses
administrative roles and committees
my twitter account @selfharmnotts for updates about me and my research
peer reviewed journals
Geulayov G, Kapur N, Turnbull P,
Clements C, Waters K, Ness J, Townsend E, Hawton K (In press). Epidemiology and trends in non-fatal self-harm in
three centres in England, 2000–2012: findings from the Multicentre Study of
Self-Harm in England. BMJ Open.
K, Heym N, Townsend E (In press).
The behavioral effects of frequent nightmares on objective stress tolerance. Dreaming.
Wadman R, Clarke D, Sayal
K, Vostanis P, Armstrong M, Harroe C, Majumder P,
Townsend E. An
interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of self-harm
repetition and recovery in young adults (2016), Journal
of Health Psychology. doi 10.1177/1359105316631405
Clements C, Turnball P, Hawton K, Geulayov G, Waters K, Ness J,
Townsend E, Khundakar K, Kapur, N. (2016). Rates of
self-harm presenting to general hospitals: a comparison of data from the
Multicentre Study of Self-Harm in England and Hospital Episode Statistics. BMJ
Townsend E, Ness J, Waters K, Kapur N, Turnbull P,
Cooper J, Bergen H, Hawton K. (2016). Self-harm and life problems: findings from the Multicentre Study
of Self-harm in England. Social
Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51 (2), 183-192.
KG, Townsend E. & Sayal K. (2015). Do coping strategies
mediate the relationship between parental attachment
and self-harm in young people? Archives
of Suicide Research. DOI 10.1080/13811118.2015.1004495
Hawton K, Witt KG, Taylor Salisbury TL, Arensman E, Gunnell D, Townsend
E, van Heeringen K. Hazell P (2015). Interventions for self-harm in children
and adolescents. Cochrane
P, Webb R, Kapur R, Clements C, Bergen H, Hawton K,
Jennifer Ness, Keith Waters, Ellen Townsend, Cooper J. (2015). Variation by ethnic group in premature
mortality risk following self-harm: a multicentre cohort study in England. BMC
Psychiatry. 15, 254. Published
online 19-10-15. DOI:
Hawton K, Witt KG, Taylor Salisbury TL, Arensman E, Gunnell D, Hazell
P, Townsend E, van Heeringen K. (2015). Pharmacological interventions for
self-harm in adults. Cochrane
Kapur N, Steeg S, Turnbull P, Webb R, Bergen H, Hawton
K, Geulayov G, Townsend E, Ness J, Waters K & Cooper J. (2015). Hospital management of suicidal behaviour
and subsequent mortality: a
prospective cohort study. Lancet
KG, Townsend E. & Sayal K. (2015). The role of attachment style in
predicting repetition of adolescent self-harm: a longitudinal study. Suicide
and Life-Threatening Behavior.
K, Heym N, Townsend E. (2015). The
Unidirectional Relationship of Nightmares on Self-Harmful Thoughts and Behaviors. Dreaming.
E. (2014). Self-Harm in Young People. Clinical Review. Evidence-Based Mental Health. (Click
here for online first version August 2014).
E., Spence, A. and Knowles, S. (2014.) Investigating the
operation of the affect heuristic: Is it an associative construct?’ Journal
of Risk Research, 17 (3), 299-315.
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
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
Full text available here: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmjopen-2011-000298
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.
Knowles, S., Townsend, E. & Anderson, M (2012). Youth
Justice staff attitudes towards screening for
self-harm. Health & social care in the community, 20(5),
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.
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.
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.
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),
- 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, 401-412.
- 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),
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),
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.
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,
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
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.
K., Townsend, E., Arensman, E., Gunnell, D.,
House, A., Van Heeringen, C. (1999) Psychosocial and
pharmacological treatments for deliberate self harm. (Cochrane Review).
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.
E. (2007). Cognitive-behavioural interventions for young offenders. In ‘Mental Health Interventions for
vulnerable children and young people’ (P. Vostanis, Ed). Jessica
- 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.
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
(Award winning support service for self-harm). http://www.harmless.org.uk/
Can Cope: resources to build resilience and cope in times of stress: http://connectingwithpeople.org/ucancope
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 (AFSP): http://www.afsp.org/
Association of Suicidology (AAS): http://www.suicidology.org/
International Academy of Suicide Research. https://suicide-research.org/
Association for Suicide Prevention. https://www.iasp.info/
Page last updated: 9-3-16.