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Dr Sophie Pettit

Research Assistant

Centre for Clinical Trials & Health Research - Translational & Stratified Medicine (Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry)


Research Assistant (statistics)


BSc Psychology
MSc Statistical Research Methods
PhD Health Psychology

Teaching interests

Programme leader
Psychology MSc development course

Lecturing and Demonstrating
MSc level:
Biopsychology and neuropsychology
Research methods and statistics

BSc level:
Psy 245 Statistics Workshops covering Ethics, Qualitative analysis using interviews and focus groups, ANOVA, Regression, SPSS and Excel; stage two and Masters level students.
Psy 249 module support for social psychology; stage two students.
Psy 245 General Module Support lectures; stage two students. Students were offered support to find the correct third year dissertation project, advised how to produce a CV and prepare for interviews, how to seek jobs and prepare for funding opportunities and advised how to begin/extend their research careers.
Psy 246 Case Studies; stage two students. Students developed their research skills in small groups defining psychological issues responsible for low cervical screening rates to produce a research report.

Research interests

My main research interests are female Quality of Life and mental health.

My BSc dissertation considered the role of oestrogen change on mood, cognition and following QoL during the menstrual cylce. My MSc dissertation considered role of oestrogen change on mood, cognition and following QoL during the third trimester of pregnancy. I am interested in peri- and post-natal depression and early interventions that can address this. After completing my MSc, I enrolled to complete a PhD. My PhD investigated the potential detrimental and beneficial effects of HT on cognition, mood and following QoL during the menopause (dependant on time of intervention initiation). I also considered whether natural supplements could be a suitable substitute for HT.

The IAPT program has been implemented across England since 2008 in order to help tackle high prevalence of common mental health problems. The IAPT SW Evaluation, originally funded by the South West Strategic Health Authority and also supported by PenCLAHRC is continuing to run based in the Primary Care Group of Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine. Collaborations continue with Exeter Medical School, the University of Sheffield and with local providers and commissioners. The SW Strategic Health Authorities have commissioned research into the IAPT service with an interest in understanding factors for the optimum delivery of IAPT services. I have therefore been exploring differences in service delivery and outcome across south west PCTs using a mixed methods design. This included detailed analysis of approximately a quarter of a million episodes of care and around half a million clinical sessions from the SW IAPT dataset 2008-2011, as well as exploration of the viewpoints of service users, GPs, IAPT practitioners and Mental Health team practitioners through surveys, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. 

I have also been involved in several addition projects, one involving the completion of two NHS REC forms including SSIs, NOMS and MOJ involving large complex clinical interventions with vulnerable adults. I am currently assisting with several other complex interventions using mixed methods designs.

Other research

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies evaluation project
Developing and evaluating a collaborative care intervention for prisoners, with common mental health problems, near to and after release (ENGAGER II)

Grants & contracts

VC’s Research and Enterprise Grant for post-graduate students of the University of Plymouth

Jacobs, P. & Pettit, S. (2009). What determines declines in working memory and attention during pregnancy: Mood or estrogen? Psychology and Health, 24 (1) 216 

Pettit, S., Qureshi, A., Henley, W., Richards, S., Gibson, A., & Byng, R., etc. (2016). Variation in referral and access to new psychological therapy services by age (Accepted)

Pettit, S., Jacobs, P. & Andrade, J. (2016). Hormone replacement therapy benefits working memory above other cognitions when taken during the peri-menopause: Evidence to support the critical period hypothesis (Under review)

Adam Qureshi, Andrew Fripp, Richard Byng, William Henley, Alex Gibson, Sophie Pettit (2016). Access to care: is IAPT providing equitable care for patients across the deprivation spectrum? (Under review)


Reports & invited lectures

Qureshi, A., Byng, R., Pettit, S., & Marshall, D. (2013). Counsellors Southwest CIC Evaluation. Primary Care Research Group, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry