Dr Heather Semper

Job Title and Responsibilities

  • Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology



  • Employability lead for Psychology: I am responsible for embedding the psychology employability strategy throughout the undergraduate programmes. I deliver sessions on employability in psychology to Level 6 students, and organise the annual careers fair for psychology.


  • Honorary Treasurer for the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology

  • External Examiner for University of Wales Trinity St David MSc programme

  • External Examiner for University of Bath MSc Programme

About Me

I am a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology in the School of Life Sciences and Education. During my doctoral studies at Staffordshire University, I developed my interest in mHealth and eHealth, specifically how smartphones can be used to monitor health behaviours such as eating and exercising. I took up my post in the Centre for Health Psychology at Staffordshire in January 2014.


  • DHealthPsych 2015                mHealth and self regulation            Staffordshire University

  • MPhil 2009                             Medical Education                         University of Nottingham

  • MSc Health Psychology         Distinction                                      University of Derby

  • BSc (Hons) Psychology         2:1                                                 University of Derby


Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society and full member of the Division of Health Psychology

  • Registered Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council (application in process)

  • Registered Psychologist with EuroPsy

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

  • Committee Member for the Midlands Health Psychology Network

  • Member of the European Health Psychology Society

  • Member of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education


My expertise lies in the application and use of technology in health illness and healthcare. Specifically I am interested in smartphone technology and wearables in health psychology (mHealth). I am particularly interested in how these can be used to support people with weight management.

Research Interests

As a health psychologist, my research interests lie in both theoretical and practical applications of health psychology. In particular, I am interested in self-regulation in the management of health conditions, technology, and health behaviours. This research has three related but individual strands of focus: 

  1. The role of self-regulation and self-regulation failure in health preventive and health risk behaviours such as eating, exercise, smoking, handwashing, and alcohol consumption.

  2. The efficacy of using self-regulatory strategies in smartphone/wearable technology for behavioural and psychosocial interventions for improving or maintaining health and wellbeing

  3. Self-regulation, coping and managing severe food allergies from the parent’s perspective

  4. The development of digital self-regulatory interventions for preventing the spread of antimicrobial resistant infections.

Selected Publications

Journal papers:

Dugdale, S. Semper, H,M. Elison-Davis, S., [in press] Offenders' perceptions of the UK prison smoking ban International Journal of Prisoner Health

Matthews, H., & Semper, H.M. (2017). In ‘Dropped from the system’ exploring the experiences of breast cancer survivors throughout the survivorship phase Journal of Advanced Nursing 73, DOI: 10.1111/jan.13237

Semper, H.M., Povey, R., & Clark-Carter, D., (2016). A systematic review of the effectiveness of smartphone applications that encourage self-regulatory strategies for weight loss in overweight and obese adults. Obesity Reviews DOI: 10.1111/obr.12428

Knibb, R.C. & Semper, H.M. [2014] Impact of suspected food allergy on emotional distress and family life of parents prior to allergy diagnosis. Paediatric Allergy and Immunology 4 (8)798-80

Ferguson, E., Semper, H.M., Yates, J., Fitzgerald, J.E., & James, D. [2014] The ‘Dark Side’ and ‘Bright Side’ of Personality:  When Too Much Conscientiousness and Too Little Anxiety Are Detrimental to the Acquisition of Medical Knowledge and Skill. PLOS One 9 (2), e88606

Knibb, R.C. & Semper, H.M. [2009] Can attendance at allergy clinic reduce psychological distress in parents of food allergic children? Clinical and Experimental Allergy 39, 1957

Conference presentations:

Semper, H.M., Povey, R., & Cowap, L. (2016). A qualitative investigation of the experiences of monitoring diet and weight. Presented at the European Health Psychology and Division of Health Psychology Joint Annual conference Aberdeen August 2016

Higgins, S., & Semper, H.M. (2016). The effects of nutrition label format on healthier dietary choices: A forced choice eye-tracking study. Presented at the European Health Psychology and Division of Health Psychology Joint Annual Conference Aberdeen August 2016- invited prize winning paper

Patel, R. & Semper, H.M. (2014). The relationships between beliefs about obesity and antifat attitudes in men and women of different ethnicities. Paper presented at the 2nd International Weight Stigma Conference: Canterbury UK August 2014.

Semper, H.M. (2012) How do resilience and optimism influence compensatory health beliefs? Interactive poster presentation at the European Health Psychology Society’s Annual Conference Prague Czech Republic August 2012

Semper, H.M., Parmar, N., & Parker, N. (2012) Do resilience and optimism influence perceived stress and alcohol consumption in undergraduates? Interactive poster presentation at the European Health Psychology Society’s Annual Conference Prague Czech Republic August 2012

Semper, HM. & Quincey, K. (2012) Exploring sex differences in the relationships between compensatory health beliefs and health beliefs about obesity. Interactive Poster presented at the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference Liverpool UK.

Quincey, K., & Semper, H.M. (2012) The relationship between obesity beliefs and attitudes: differences in healthy weight, overweight and obese individuals. Interactive poster presentation at the European Health Psychology Society’s Annual Conference Prague Czech Republic August 2012

Current Teaching


I contribute to health psychology, Childhood Theory to Practice, cyberpsychology, Psychological Interventions, and People Behaving Badly. I supervise Undergraduate dissertations on a variety of health psychology topics.


I am module leader for Applications of Health Psychology, and co-module leader for Psychological Research Methods and I contribute to Core Issues in Health Psychology. I supervise MSc Theses on a variety of health psychology topics with a main focus on mHealth.

I am module leader for the Teaching in Health Psychology module and Advanced Research Methods modules on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.  I currently supervise Professional Doctorate students and PhD students, and I am interested in supervising Ph.D students on topics related to mHealth.


Heather Semper
R246 Science Centre
School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Staffordshire University
Science Centre
Leek Road
t: +44 (0)1782 29 4271
e: heather.semper@staffs.ac.uk
twitter: @hetha2009