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


Background


The STARlab is led by Professor Daryl O'Connor who is based at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds (UK) and is part of the larger Health & Social Psychology Research Group in the Institute.  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. He is also Chair of the British Psychological Society's Research Board.

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

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 10 million working days lost per annum in the UK (HSE, 2013). In 2011/12, stress accounted for 40% of all cases of work-related illnesses in the UK (i.e., 428,000 cases out of 1,070,000 cases in total). 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 (eg ambulatory blood pressure, eating, cortisol and the cortisol awakening rise) and understanding the role of individual differences variables (eg conscientiousness, alexithymia, perfectionism) within the stress process; ii) examining the behavioural effects of testosterone in healthy and ageing men (collaborating with the European Male Ageing Study group and very recently with the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing), in particular on, sexual behaviour, mood, aggression and cognitive function.

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