Welcome to the Laboratory for Stress and Health Research (STARlab)


The STARlab is led by Professor Daryl O'Connor who is based at the School of Psychology, University of Leeds (UK) and is part of the larger Health & Social Psychology Research Group in the School.  Daryl is a Health Psychologist who works in the area of psychobiology and he is the joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Psychology & Health . In 2011, Daryl was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) for his significant contribution to the Social Sciences, in 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and in 2015, he was elected a Distinguished International Affiliate of the American Psychological Association's Division 38 (Health Psychology). In 2017, Daryl was elected to Fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and in 2019, he was appointed Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society. He is also Chair of the British Psychological Society's Research Board and the Convenor of European Federation of Psychology Associations (EFPA) Board of Scientific Affairs.

We aim to conduct world-leading research into the effects of stress and personality on health-related processes and behaviours. Our work also aims to promote the importance of psychological theory, approaches and methods in the areas of medicine, endocrinology and medical epidemiology as well as psychological science more generally.

Open Science
In addition, to his own research work, Daryl has also been actively involved in promoting open science and improving psychological science nationally and internationally. 

Why study stress and health?
Stress is now the most common cause of long-term sick leave and is frequently shown to be a very important factor accounting for in excess of 12 million working days lost per annum in the UK (HSE, 2017). In 2016/17, stress , depression and anxiety accounted for 40% of all cases of work-related ill-health in the UK (i.e., 526,000 cases). In the United States, the impact of stress is also far reaching, with 66% of Americans reporting that stress is impacting on their physical health and 63% believing the same for their mental health (American Psychological Association, 2012).  

Current research focus

STARlab's current research focuses on: i) investigating the effects of stress and psychological interventions (eg written emotional disclosure) on health outcomes (e.g., suicide, blood pressure, eating, cortisol reactivity and diurnal cortisol levels) and understanding the role of individual differences variables (e.g., perseverative cognition, conscientiousness, rumination) within the stress process; ii) examining the behavioural effects of testosterone in healthy and ageing men (previously collaborating with the European Male Ageing Study group and very recently with the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing), and iii) exploring the effects of implementation intentions-based interventions on screening behaviours.

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