Professor Paul Norman

BSc, PhD, CPsychol

Professor Paul Norman

Deputy Head of Department

Department: Psychology

Faculty: Science

Research expertise

  • Social cognition models

  • Theory based interventions to change health behaviour

  • Cognitive adaptation to serious illness


Telephone: ++44 114 222 6505


University profile


My main areas of research focus on

  • the application of social cognition models to the prediction of health behaviour

  • cognitive adaptation to serious illness

Predicting and changing health behaviour

My first area of research focuses on the application of social cognition models (eg, theory of planned behaviour, health belief model, protection motivation theory) to the prediction of health behaviour. My research has been at the forefront of developments in this area over the past 20 years. I have conducted numerous applications of these models to a range of health behaviours including exercise, smoking, diet, binge drinking, condom use, road safety behaviour, attendance at screening, breast self-examination and medication adherence.

This work has also addressed a number of key theoretical issues including the impact of different forms of normative influence, the relationship between past behaviour and future behaviour, and the impact of moderator variables on the strength of the intention-behaviour relationship. My most recent work has focused on the development and evaluation of theory-based interventions to change health behaviour.

Adaptation to serious illness

My second area of research is concerned with cognitive adaptation to serious illness. This work focuses on patients' beliefs (ie appraisals) about their illness and how these impact on coping efforts and psychological adjustment.

My work in this area has applied a number of theoretical approaches (including attribution theory, coping theory, self-regulation theory, cognitive adaptation theory) to assess cognitive adaptation to the experience, and threat, of a range of serious illnesses including myocardial infarction, thrombosis, stroke and breast cancer.