Psychology Research

Research impact

The School of Psychology conducts research that has positive impact locally, nationally and internationally. We have strong links with Government departments, charities, hospitals, schools, prisons and the business community. On this page, we highlight some of our recent projects that have led to changes in social policy, changes in rehabilitation practices, and improvements to public health and wellbeing. We also highlight some ways in which we share our research with non-academic audiences.

For more information about any of these activities, please email

Social Psychology

Facilitating the REACH Black British role model programme

Our research helped to shape the £20M REACH role model programme – a 2008-09 UK-wide initiative by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to promote aspirations and achievement among young Black men. The research identified the most effective type of role models, and optimal ways they could influence and benefit. This is the only theoretically guided social psychological experimental pre-test of such a programme ever conducted by the UK government.

Ageism and equality research

Ageism is the most prevalent form of discrimination, costing the UK economy £31 billion a year. Social psychological research in ageism and equality at the University of Kent has impacted upon this significant societal problem by a) increasing awareness b) enhancing knowledge by providing a theoretical understanding of processes that lead to age discrimination, and c) providing empirical evidence that underpins and informs interventions and policy debates for reducing ageism and tackling inequality. The research has been instrumental in the provision of anti-age discrimination legislation via the Equality Act 2010, and has been cited by NGOs in successful lobbies for legislation to end age discrimination, the abolition of the default retirement age, and the recently proposed EU Accessibility Act.

Reducing ethnic prejudice in British schools

The School of Psychology at Kent has an on-going collaboration with Rights and Equality Sandwell (RES), which exists to improve equal opportunities, promote good relations and challenge unlawful discrimination. The objective of this collaboration is to 1) impact on inter-ethnic relations by developing and implementing (with RES) theoretically-derived prejudice-reduction interventions in order to change racist attitudes and behaviour; 2) impact on the general practice of RES by embedding psychological research methods in their general practice, thereby allowing them to attract project funding, particularly joint funding with Kent, and become a leader in their field, and 3) develop a model for mutually beneficial academic-practitioner collaboration that can be shared with practitioners and academics. Our track record of joint research activities, joint publications and planned joint ventures illustrate how we have been successful in achieving this impact. The collaboration has impacted on the practice of RES in terms of their capability to conduct methodologically sound and reliable research. This has been instrumental to their securing funding from, for example, the National Lottery Research Programme (£245,000), Sandwell local authority and the West Midlands Police. Our published research was instrumental to the successful National Lottery Research Programme bid which funded a joint Kent-RES research project examining young people’s identity, wellbeing, peer relations and experience of racism. The research findings of this project, and our other published research, fed into prejudice-reduction interventions aimed at school children and adults.


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School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 20/01/2016