Dr Tom Thompson
Senior Research Fellow
Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)
I am a Senior Research Fellow within the Community and Primary care Research group in the Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health). I am also currently serving as an advisor for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service, offering specialist advice in the areas of research methodology, complex interventions, behaviour change, grantsmanship, and health inequalities.
I began my career in academia as the trial manager for the NIHR HTA funded research project EARS (Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop smoking). This project, aimed at supporting those from disadvantaged communities with an adapted Health Trainer role, brought all my interests together in one role within the rigorous setting of a pilot randomised controlled trial. It was during this time, under the tutelage of Professor Adrian Taylor, that I completed my PhD.
I am now involved in several successful grants covering various aspects of addiction and health behaviour research.
I was the Principal Investigator on an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit grant conducting a systematic review with stakeholder engagement of physical activity and alcohol and substance use disorders. I am now working towards original research in this area, to look at physical activity (in all forms) as a way to support reduction, overcome addiction, and prevent relapse associated with drug and alcohol use.
I was a Co-Applicant and Intervention Lead on an NIHR Public Health Research grant examining a Health Trainer led intervention for improving the physical health and mental wellbeing of those under community supervision (The STRENGTHEN project). The pilot phase has been successfully delivered, with good engagement levels, across two sites, one in the Southwest and one in the Northeast. I am now working at furthering this research area seeking funding for programme of work as co-Chief Investigator to examine the role of health and wellbeing interventions within the recently restructured Criminal Justice System.
I was a Co-Applicant and Intervention lead on an NIHR HTA funded definitive trial examining a Health Trainer led intervention to support increases in physical activity and smoking reduction among those not initially willing to quit (TARS). The trial was successfully delivered across four sites (Plymouth, London, Oxford, and Nottingham), and my main role was training and supervising the Health Trainers across all sites. The main findings are in preparation for publication.
I am currently a co-applicant on a fellowship (Dr Leah Jayes, Nottingham University) with Cancer Research UK. It will examine the impact on smoking of smoke free legislation in prisons, and how best to maintain smoking abstinence post release.
I am leading a three year evaluation for Exeter Drugs Project of a program called 'Flourish in Nature' which is a volunteer/mentor training programme aimed at helping people struggling with addiction to engage in outdoor activities. Currently exploring future options for continuation of this project and associated rigorous research.
I am a co-applicant on a Torbay Medical Research Foundation funded feasibility trial, exploring the feasibility of a peer coaching intervention for those with long term conditions (chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis).
I have also recently been involved in work for the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise developing a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of complex inequalities (individual, group, and system) in oral health.
I am a guest editor for a virtual special issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity focussed on extending the evidence for the role of physical activity in preventing, reducing, and treating addiction to alcohol and other drugs. https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/mental-health-and-physical-activity/special-issue/10CF4W4T5MF
I am also a member of the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction group, and co-author the systematic review on Motivational Interviewing for Smoking Cessation.
I also serve as the co-lead for the developing and evaluating complex interventions (DECI) group within the University.
I currently supervise one PhD student examining fidelity of complex interventions using the five domains of fidelity (Design, Training, Delivery, Receipt, and Enactment) as outlined by the Behaviour Change Consortium.
PhD (University of Exeter) - The design and multi-method evaluation of a pragmatic randomised controlled trial of an exercise assisted reduction of smoking intervention among socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers. 2012-2015.
MSc (University of Exeter) - Sport and Health Sciences. 2008-2009
BA (Hons) (Loughborough University) - English, Physical Education, and Sports Science. 2001-2004.
UK Society of Behavioural Medicine (UKSBM)
I currently serve as an Academic Tutor to students on the BMBS in the Medical School.
My research interests include:
Mental health and wellbeing
Psychology of behaviour change
Mixed method evaluation of clinical trials
Systematic review methodology
Public and patient involvement in research
Key publications are highlightedJournals
(2021) 'Editorial: Extending the evidence for if and how physical activity can support positive changes among substance users' Mental Health and Physical Activity 21, 100428-100428 , DOI
(2020) 'Randomised controlled trial of tailored support to increase physical activity and reduce smoking in smokers not immediately ready to quit: protocol for the Trial of physical Activity-assisted Reduction of Smoking (TARS) Study' BMJ OPEN 10, (12) Publisher Site , DOI Open access
(2020) 'Editorial: ‘Do we really need another review on the effects of physical activity on alcohol and other drug use disorders?’' Mental Health and Physical Activity 19, 100362-100362 , DOI
(2020) 'Physical activity and the prevention, reduction, and treatment of alcohol and other drug use across the lifespan (The PHASE review): A systematic review' Mental Health and Physical Activity 0-0 , DOI Open access
(2020) 'Qualitative systematic review of the acceptability, feasibility, barriers, facilitators and perceived utility of using physical activity in the reduction of and abstinence from alcohol and other drug use' Mental Health and Physical Activity 100355-100355 , DOI Open access
(2019) 'Individual Health Trainers to support health and wellbeing for people under community supervision in the criminal justice system: the STRENGTHEN pilot RCT' Public Health Research , DOI Open access
(2019) 'Motivational interviewing for smoking cessation' Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews , DOI Open access
(2018) 'Intervention Delivery Fidelity Assessment of a Counseling-Based Intervention for Promoting Smoking Reduction and Increasing Physical Activity' Health Psychology , DOI Open access
(2018) 'Health trainer-led motivational intervention plus usual care for people under community supervision compared with usual care alone: a study protocol for a parallel-group pilot randomised controlled trial (STRENGTHEN)' BMJ Open 8, (6) e023123-e023123 , DOI Open access
(2018) 'Physical activity and the prevention, reduction, and treatment of alcohol and/or substance use across the lifespan (The PHASE review): protocol for a systematic review' Systematic Reviews 7, (1) , DOI Open access
(2016) 'Factors associated with study attrition in a pilot randomised controlled trial to explore the role of exercise-assisted reduction to stop (EARS) smoking in disadvantaged groups' Trials 17, (1) , DOI Open access
(2016) 'The association between habitual physical activity and cigarette cravings, and influence of smokers’ characteristics in disadvantaged smokers not ready to quit' Psychopharmacology 233, (14) 2765-2774 , DOI Open access
(2015) 'An Exploratory Analysis of the Smoking and Physical Activity Outcomes From a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of an Exercise Assisted Reduction to Stop Smoking Intervention in Disadvantaged Groups' Nicotine & Tobacco Research 18, (3) 289-297 , DOI Open access
(2015) 'Motivational interviewing for smoking cessation' Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 0, (3) 0-0 , DOI
(2015) 'Lessons learned from recruiting socioeconomically disadvantaged smokes into a pilot randomized controlled trial to explore the role of Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS) smoking' Trials 16, , DOI Open access
(2014) 'A pilot randomized trial to assess the methods and procedures for evaluating the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS) among disadvantaged smokers' HTA Final Report , DOI
(2012) 'Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS): Strategies to recruit 'hard to reach' smokers into a pragmatic pilot RCT' The Lancet Online Publisher Site
(2012) 'Strategies to recruit hard-to-reach smokers into Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS): a pragmatic pilot randomised trial' Lancet 380,
(2018) 'The Exercise Effect on Mental Health' CRC Press , DOI
(2020) Engaging Young People During the COVID-19 Pandemic. London Youth Endowment Fund Open access
TARS Health Trainer Manual. Open access
Keen golfer, fisherman, amateur chef and gym goer.