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Personal profile

Research interests

Alexandra is a mixed methods researcher with a background in Health Psychology. Her particular research interests and expertise lie in the areas of maternal and child health, and include preterm birth and its impact on families; parents' experiences of participating in neonatal trials; and maternal mental health. More recently her research has focused on evaluating interventions designed to reduce health inequalities. 

Current Research Projects

  • Best Practice in Occupational Health (Network Rail)
  • Implementing Family Integrated Care in Zambia - University of Brighton Interdisciplinary Research Initiative 
  • Diabetes UK Community Champions Evaluation (North West Surrey CCG)
  • WHO ProSPeRero: Project on Sexually Transmitted Infection Point-of-care Testin - Clinic based evaluation of SD BIOLINE HIV/Syphilis Duo (Alere) and DPP® HIV-Syphilis Assay (Chembio) for the screening of HIV and syphilis in men who have sex with men in in the STI screening facilities of Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom (UK)

Previous Research Projects

  • Evaluation of Care Navigation as part of the Right Person First initiative (CANE - Care Navigation Evaluation).
  • FuelPre (Fuel Poverty Reduction Evaluation). Evaluation of the NHS Hastings & Rother Clinical Commissioning Group Healthy Homes Programme
  • A better understanding what makes for effective conversations about alcohol between parents & their 15-17 year olds. Drinkware.
  • Evaluation of the Education, Training, Volunteering & Employment (ETVE) Project for People Living with HIV (PLWHIV)
  • Older people living with HIV in residential care homes. Extension to the Education, Training, Volunteering & Employment (ETVE) project

Scholarly biography

Alexandra completed her PhD at the University of Sussex (2011), which was supervised by Professor Susan Ayers, exploring psychological adjustment after childbirth in the UK and The Gambia. Alexandra then worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sussex and City University London on a NIHR funded programme of research looking at improving care during very preterm birth. During this role she managed a number of studies including a qualitative study exploring parents' experiences of care during very preterm birth, a questionnaire development study of a measure to explore parents' experiences of care during very preterm birth, and a qualitative study exploring women's and clinicians' experiences of consent during a neonatal trial.

Alexandra joined the School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, as a Research Fellow in 2015.

Alexandra is also a Chartered Psychologist

Supervisory Interests

Current PhD students

I am interested in supervising Masters and PhD students in all areas of health psychology, health promotion, and public health. Particular interests include:

  • preterm birth and its impact on families;
  • parents' experiences of participating in neonatal trials;
  • sexual and reproductove health;
  • maternal mental health.

Approach to teaching

I currently teach on the MSc Health Promotion module Principles of Health Promotion. I also supervise Masters student dissertations.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Sussex

Award Date: 30 Jun 2011

Master, University of Sussex

Award Date: 30 Sep 2007

Bachelor, University of Leicester

Award Date: 30 Jun 2006

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Research Output

Occupational health and wellbeing initiatives: A brief overview of the evidence

Sawyer, A., Ola, A., Reeve, S. & Sherriff, N., 1 Sep 2020, 40 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

  • Parental communication about alcohol consumption

    Sawyer, A., Sherriff, N. & Coleman, L., 2020, (Accepted/In press) The Handbook of the Psychology of Alcohol Consumption. Cooke, R. (ed.). Palgrave Macmillan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

  • Open Access
  • Birth Complications

    Sawyer, A. & Ayers, S., 31 Mar 2019, Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine. Llewellyn, C., Ayers, S., McManus, C., Newman, S., Petrie, K., Revenson, T. & Weinman, J. (eds.). 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


    • 1 Editorial work
    • 1 Research degree
    • 1 Taught course

    External Clinical Psychology Doctorate Examination - Thesis

    Alexandra Sawyer (Examiner)


    Activity: External examination and supervisionTaught course

    External PhD Examiner

    Alexandra Sawyer (Examiner)


    Activity: External examination and supervisionResearch degree

    PLoS ONE (Journal)

    Alexandra Sawyer (Editor)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work