Prof Lucy Yardley, theme lead for behavioural science

With extensive experience developing digital interventions, Prof Lucy Yardley is leading our research into new ways to empower patients to change their behaviour and self-manage their condition.


Prof Yardley has a longstanding interest in empowering patients and people in the community to take control over their illness and treatment. Currently her main research focus is on using the internet to support self-management of health.

She is professor of health psychology at the University of Southampton and academic research lead in psychology and behaviour change at Nuffield Department of Primary Care and Health Sciences, University of Oxford.

Empowering patients and researchers

Prof Yardley’s current programme of research addresses key questions such as how to maximise engagement with digital interventions and how best to integrate digital support for self-management of health with existing health promotion and healthcare services.

Through this work she has developed the ‘person-based’ approach to using mixed methods for intervention development, which has resulted in very effective interventions published in journals such as the Lancet, BMJ and Annals of Internal Medicine.

She pioneered the development of the unique LifeGuide open source software that enables behavioural scientists to develop web-based interventions to support health management. The UBhave project is developing this further, investigating the use of mobile phones and social networking for digital behaviour change interventions.

Developing digital interventions

Prof Yardley has led a large number of projects looking at the use of digital interventions for behaviour change in a healthcare setting, many of which have focused on areas related to the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre’s nutrition and respiratory and critical care research themes.

These have included the projects Breathing Retraining for Asthma Trial of Home Exercise (BREATHE), Positive Online Weight Reduction Plus (POWeR+) and Improving communication with the public about antivirals and vaccination during the next pandemic (INfluENCE).

She is also working on the Integrating Digital Interventions into Patient Self-Management Support (DIPSS) project, which has received funding of £2 million from the NIHR to develop digital behaviour change interventions for asthma and hypertension self-management.