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Professor David French PhD CPsychol FEHPS

Photograph of David French

Professor of Health Psychology

School of Psychological Sciences
University of Manchester
Room 1.14 Coupland 1 Building
Oxford Road
M13 9PL.


Professor of Health Psychology

NIHR Public Health Research programme research funding board member (2015-present)

MRC Methodology Research Programme panel member (2014-present)

NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research: sub-panel member (expert in health psychology/ behavioural science) (2009-2014)

British Journal of Health Psychology (official journal of British Psychological Society): Editor (2013-present);

Annals of Behavioral Medicine (official journal of Society of Behavioral Medicine): Editorial Board member (2009-present)

British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology chair of annual conference scientific committee (Brighton 2013)

Memberships of Committees and Professional Bodies

  • Fellow of European Health Psychology Society
  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Full Member of the BPS Division of Health Psychology
  • Chartered Psychologist
  • Registered as a Health Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council
  • Member of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine


Current external research funding

  • AJ Wright, I Wellwood, DP French, C McKevitt, C Wolfe, A Rudd, & A Grieve.  Developing and piloting a behavioural, community-based intervention to increase walking among people with stroke.  NIHR Research for Patient Benefit Programme (Mar 2012 to Sept 2015) £249 395.
  • I Jacobs, C Armitage, B Borrelli, DP French, S Skevington & A Wearden.  Developing a programme of cancer research.  Cancer Research UK (Sept 2013 to Aug 2016) £300 000.
  • F Kee, R Hunter, M Tully, C Patterson, A Longo, L Prior, E Fenwick, DP French, J White, J Adams & W Hutchinson.  Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of a Physical Activity Loyalty Card to Maintain Behaviour Change: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial.  NIHR Public Health Research (Sept 2014 to Feb 2018) £831 322.
  • C Armitage & DP French.  A brief psychological intervention to promote physical activity.  North American Foundation for the University of Manchester (Oct 2014 to Sept 2017)  £29 000
  • L Gorman, D French, G Evans, A Howell, M Harvie, P Stavrinos, & F Harrison.   Communicating personalised 10-year breast cancer risk to women in the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP).  Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention (Jan 2015 to Dec 2015) £49 860.
  • S Lamb, D Altman, N Arden, K Barker, J Bruce, G Collins, J Fairbanks, J Fitch, DP French, F Griffiths, Z Hansen, C Hutchinson, C Mallen, S Petrou & E Williamson.  Better outcomes for older people with spinal trouble (BOOST).  NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (Apr 2015 to Mar 2020) £1 999 934. 
  • J Helbostad, and others including (Manchester) C Todd, H Hawley-Hague, B Gannon, DP French. PreventIT: Early risk detection and prevention in ageing people by self-administered IT-supported assessment and a behavioural change intervention delivered by use of smartphones and smartwatches.  European Commission Horizon 2020 (Apr 2016 to Mar 2019) €4 000 000.

Current research interests

  • Interventions to change health-related behaviours (development and evaluation)
  • Understanding maintenance of changes in behaviour
  • Walking, including walking groups
  • Screening programmes: emotional, cognitive, and behavioural aspects
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Medication adherence
  • Acceptability of interventions
  • Developing interventions with reach
  • The role of self-efficacy in changing behaviour
  • Risk communication
  • Measurement reactivity


After studying at the Universities of Hull and Cardiff, David French worked as a research assistant at the University of Leicester, before completed his PhD at Guys, Kings and St Thomas Medical School, University of London in 1999. This was followed by a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship in Health Services Research at the Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge.  He then worked as a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and as Reader and then Professor at Coventry University.  In October 2012 he moved to the University of Manchester as Professor of Health Psychology.


B.Sc. (Honours) in Psychology (Hull) 2i 1990
M.Sc. in Applied (i.e. Occupational) Psychology (Wales) 1992
Ph.D. in Health Psychology (GKT School of Medicine, Kings College London) 1999


Selected publications


  • French, D. P., Mc Sharry, J., & Olander, E. K. (2015).

    Do single and multiple behavior interventions contain different behaviour change technique content? A comparison of interventions targeting physical activity in obese populations. Health Psychology, 34, 960-965. . Publication link: 1117d20f-d9f4-4abe-8b61-cafc1a81abc4
  • French, D. P., Rodrigues, A., Hobbs, N., Glidewell, L., & Sniehotta, F. F. (2015).

    The Question-Behavior Effect: Genuine effect or Spurious Phenomenon? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials with meta-analyses. Health Psychology, 34, 61-78. . Publication link: 3ed94006-c964-4574-bb2a-df2f0f370dc6


  • French, D. P., Mcsharry, J., Olander, E. K., Chisholm, A., & McSharry, J. (2014).

    Which behavior change techniques are most effective at increasing older adults’ self-efficacy and physical activity behavior? A systematic review.Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 48, 225-234. . Publication link: 09ea840f-4d48-4645-80bc-5ccc445e0096
  • Kassavou, A., Turner, A., Hamborg, T., & French, D. P. (2014).

    Predicting maintenance of attendance at walking groups: Testing constructs from three leading maintenance theories. Health Psychology, 33(7), 752-756. DOI:10.1037/hea0000015. Publication link: c4c5cf5a-cf90-4102-bb12-351042b6f631


  • French, D. P., Wade, A. N., & Farmer, A. J. (2013).

    Predicting self-care behaviours of patients with type 2 diabetes: The importance of beliefs about behaviour, not just beliefs about illness. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 74(4), 327-333. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.12.008. Publication link: d07dfd30-6e58-400b-b5ce-a8c2ac063e77
  • Kassavou, A., Turner, A., & French, D. P. (2013).

    Do interventions to promote walking in groups increase physical activity? A meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10, [18]. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-10-18. Publication link: 810d1f0b-71fa-4adc-bb45-838c06b3b43f
  • Olander, E. K., Fletcher, H., Williams, S., Atkinson, L., Turner, A., & French, D. P. (2013).

    What are the most effective techniques in changing obese individuals' physical activity self-efficacy and behaviour: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10, [29]. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-10-29. Publication link: 258ba82a-35b1-4db0-8142-dbc1748652cf


  • McNulty, C., Joshi, P., Butler, C. C., Atkinson, L., Nichols, T., Hogan, A., & French, D. (2012).

    Have the public's expectations for antibiotics for acute uncomplicated respiratory tract infections changed since the H1N1 influenza pandemic? A qualitative interview and quantitative questionnaire study. BMJ open, 2(2), [e000674]. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000674. Publication link: b7c102d7-908d-4210-a3d1-f8d3961446ac | PubMed:22457479


  • Michie, S., Ashford, S., Sniehotta, F. F., Dombrowski, S. U., Bishop, A., & French, D. P. (2011).

    A refined taxonomy of behaviour change techniques to help people change their physical activity and healthy eating behaviours: The CALO-RE taxonomy. Psychology and Health, 26(11), 1479-1498. DOI:10.1080/08870446.2010.540664. Publication link: 3d188d87-b56f-4820-9bf3-b8341274ae2e | PubMed:21678185
  • Williams, S. L., & French, D. P. (2011).

    What are the most effective intervention techniques for changing physical activity self-efficacy and physical activity behaviour - And are they the same?. Health Education Research, 26(2), 308-322. DOI:10.1093/her/cyr005. Publication link: da25aed4-c2aa-4ee6-9644-50052015dd43 | PubMed:21321008


  • Darker, C. D., French, D. P., Eves, F. F., & Sniehotta, F. F. (2010).

    An intervention to promote walking amongst the general population based on an 'extended' theory of planned behaviour: A waiting list randomised controlled trial. Psychology and Health, 25(1), 71-88. DOI:10.1080/08870440902893716. Publication link: 3a2cd30c-b363-4b70-8ada-8768d5d5c482 | PubMed:20391208
  • Marteau, T. M., French, D. P., Griffin, S. J., Prevost, A. T., Sutton, S., Watkinson, C., ... Hollands, G. J. (2010).

    Effects of communicating DNA-based disease risk estimates on risk-reducing behaviours.Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online : Update Software), (10), CD007275. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD007275.pub2. Publication link: 68956bae-1835-4590-b1fe-2fb66a4c9b18 | PubMed:20927756
  • Paddison, C. A. M., Eborall, H. C., Sutton, S., French, D. P., Vasconcelos, J., Toby Prevost, A., ... Griffin, S. J. (2010).

    Are people with negative diabetes screening tests falsely reassured? Parallel group cohort study embedded in the ADDITION (Cambridge) randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 340(7737), 84. [b4535]. DOI:10.1136/bmj.b4535. Publication link: 21c3b9a3-b7e1-4c7e-a2c1-51120238dff2 | PubMed:19948642
  • French, D., Vedhara, K., Kaptein, A. A., & Weinman, J. (2010).

    Health Psychology. (2 ed.) Oxford: BPS Blackwell.. Publication link: 03fe8032-7c68-43cf-988d-21e81c2bda9b


  • Farmer, A. J., Wade, A. N., French, D. P., Simon, J., Yudkin, P., Gray, A., ... Neil, H. A. W. (2009).

    Blood glucose self-monitoring in type 2 diabetes: A randomised controlled trial. Health Technology Assessment, 13(15). DOI:10.3310/hta13150. Publication link: 3414dfb7-b873-4fe5-a54e-f6b77bca69f2
  • French, D. P., Eborall, H., Griffin, S., Kinmonth, A. L., Prevost, A. T., & Sutton, S. (2009).

    Completing a postal health questionnaire did not affect anxiety or related measures: randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 62(1), 74-80. DOI:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.02.015. Publication link: a6c613ef-3756-4a1a-98ca-94a9ebbe9b14
  • Hall, S., French, D. P., & Marteau, T. M. (2009).

    Do Perceptions of Vulnerability and Worry Mediate the Effects of a Smoking Cessation Intervention for Women Attending for a Routine Cervical Smear Test? An Experimental Study. Health Psychology, 28(2), 258-263. DOI:10.1037/a0013425. Publication link: 971626a7-62d1-43af-99a1-18e748d5555e | PubMed:19290718


  • French, D. P., & Weinman, J. (2008).

    Current issues and new directions in Psychology and Health: "Assessing illness perceptions: Beyond the IPQ". Psychology and Health, 23(1), 5-9. DOI:10.1080/08870440701616714. Publication link: 68aeeb89-25bc-4cac-a87f-1a2c62916ba0
  • French, D. P., Wade, A. N., Yudkin, P., Neil, H. A. W., Kinmonth, A. L., & Farmer, A. J. (2008).

    Self-monitoring of blood glucose changed non-insulin-treated Type 2 diabetes patients' beliefs about diabetes and self-monitoring in a randomized trial. Diabetic Medicine, 25(10), 1218-1228. DOI:10.1111/j.1464-5491.2008.02569.x. Publication link: 48d7e325-ee09-48e1-8229-7e1fcacb1936


  • Eborall, H. C., Griffin, S. J., Prevost, A. T., Kinmonth, A. L., French, D. P., & Sutton, S. (2007).

    Psychological impact of screening for type 2 diabetes: Controlled trial and comparative study embedded in the ADDITION (Cambridge) randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 335(7618), 486-489. DOI:10.1136/bmj.39303.723449.55. Publication link: e34e6083-aec1-4b09-9ba0-35d99062d71e | PubMed:17761995
  • Farmer, A., Wade, A., Goyder, E., Yudkin, P., French, D., Craven, A., ... Neil, A. (2007).

    Impact of self monitoring of blood glucose in the management of patients with non-insulin treated diabetes: Open parallel group randomised trial. BMJ, 335(7611), 132-136. DOI:10.1136/bmj.39247.447431.BE. Publication link: e9880019-47f8-4787-bb51-58bcb4c0b060 | PubMed:17591623


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