Dr Richard Cooke

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

BPS Chartered Psychologist

HPCP Registered Health Psychologist

Department of Psychology
School of Life & Health Sciences
Aston University
B4 7ET

Email: r.cooke@aston.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)121 204 4072
Fax: +44 (0)121 204 4090

Research Group

Applied Health Research Group

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

 Aston Research centre in CHildren and Young people's health(ARCHY)

Richard Cooke

Motivation and theories of health behaviour

My research uses theories like Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) or Rogers (1983) Protection Motivation Theory to investigate how motivation affects behaviour. I am interested in several issues:

  • Do the variables in the theories predict motivation/behaviour as proposed by the theories? (Cooke et al., 2014, Health Psychology Review;Cooke & French, 2008, Psychology & Health)
  • Can variables be added to the theories to improve prediction of behaviour and motivation? (Cooke et al., 2007, Alcohol & Alcoholism; Holland et al., 2009, Health Education Research)
  • Do properties of variables, such as intention stability, affect the strength of relationships within the theory? (Cooke & Sheeran, 2004, British Journal of Social Psychology)
  • Are we measuring constructs effectively? (French et al., 2007, Journal of Health Psychology)
  • How are theories linked to behaviour change? (Zhang & Cooke, 2012, Diabetes Research & Clinical Practice)

Motivation to binge-drink

Within my research on theories, I am particularly interested in motivation to binge-drink (i.e., drinking more than recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption). Binge-drinking is common behaviour among young people, but our understanding of the factors associated with binge-drinking is limited. Work is needed to address the following questions.

  • Do perceptions of binge-drinking affect binge-drinking motivation and behaviour? (Cooke et al., 2010, Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy)
  • What factors predict binge-drinking behaviour? (Cooke & French, 2011, Psychology & Health; Cooke et al., 2014; Health Psychology Review; French & Cooke, 2012, British Journal of Health Psychology)
  • How do we intervene to reduce binge-drinking in young people? (Coleman et al., 2010, Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy)
In addition to these questions there is need to ensure Government policy on alcohol is evidence-based. To this end I work with the British Psychological Society's Consultation Response Team to provide psychological perspective on alcohol policy. To date, I have been involved in eight policy responses.

Finally, there is also a need to bring researchers working on alcohol together from across the UK and Europe to share their experiences. Along with Prof Charles Abraham (Peninsula Medical School) I  received funding from the Division of Health Psychology to organise a one-day research seminar to bring together UK researchers investigating psychological aspects of alcohol consumption. I also received funding from the European Foundation for Alcohol Research to conduct a study comparing prediction of alcohol consumption among university students in Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland.

Self-affirmation & Information Processing

Health promotion materials often emphasise threat to promote behaviour change. However, threatening information can initiate defensive processes (e.g., ignoring the message) that reduce processing of the information, and undermine behaviour change. Self-affirmation (writing about a valued aspect of your self-concept e.g., honesty) has been shown to reduce defensive processing and increases persuasion (see Harris & Napper, 2005). The European Health Psychology Society has awarded a network grant to me, Prof Peter Harris (University of Sussex), Prof Urte Scholz (University of Zurich), Dr Benjamin Schüz (University of Tasmania), and Dr Guido van Koningsbruggen (VU University) to explore the limits of self-affirmation. The network grant covered a series of research meetings, the first meeting took place on in Amsteram, Berlin, Bordeaux and Crete and has generated two papers. Cooke et al. (2014, Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology) tests the impact of self-affirmation on physical activity while van Koningsbruggen et al. (2014, Communication Research) tests the impact of self-affirmation on eating a healthy diet. We are working as a group on two more papers and a book chapter.

European Innovation Partnership on Active & Healthy Ageing (Frailty & Cognitive Decline subtopic), “Frailty management Optimisation through EIP AHA Commitments and Utilisation of Stakeholders input (FOCUS).” €322,000, 36 months, Carol Holland (PI), Alexis Boukouvalas, James Brown, Richard Cooke and Rachel Shaw.

Intervention to measure impact of using unit-marked glasses for alcohol consumption in adults. 30,000, 12 months, European Foundation for Alcohol Research, Richard de Visser (PI), Richard Cooke, Penny Ashby, Greg Cooper, and Anjum Memon.

European survey of university student alcohol use. €75,000, European Research Advisory Board, Dr Richard Cooke (PI), Dr Richard de Visser, Dr Jose Martinez-Raga, Professor Urte Scholz, Dr Franca Beccaria, Dr Jakob Demant and Dr Lena Fleig

UK drinking patterns: prevalence, problems and prediction. £1,000, Division of Health Psychology, Dr Richard Cooke (PI) and Professor Charles Abraham.

A proposal for collaborative research between Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) and Extracare Charitable Trust, £244,000, 36 months, Extracare Charitable Trust, Dr Carol Holland (PI), Dr Sri Bellary, Dr Matthew Carter, Dr Richard Cooke, Dr Graham Leask, Dr Rachael Powell, Dr Rachel Shaw and Dr Karen West 

Evaluation of the cardiovascular screening programme, £85,764.30, 18 months, Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, Dr Richard Cooke (PI), Dr Rachel Shaw, Dr Helen Pattison, Dr Carol Holland, Dr Elizabeth Peel 

Exploring when and how self-affirmation works, €5000, 9 months, European Health Psychology Society.Dr Benjamin Schüz (PI), Dr Richard Cooke, Dr Guido van Koningsbruggen, Dr Peter Harris, and Dr Urte Scholz.  

Encouraging sustainable behaviours using information processing and behaviour change techniques, £10,000, 3 months, Centre for Sustainability & Innovation (CSI), Aston University, Dr Richard Cooke (PI), Professor Veronica Wong, Dr Kai Liu

 Embedding education for sustainable development (ESD) into the psychology curriculum, £6,393.40, 12 months, Higher Education Academy (Psychology Network). Dr Richard Cooke (PI) and Mr Peter Reddy  

Engaging different communities with sustainability, £14,500, 4 months, CSI, Dr Carole Parkes, Dr Richard Cooke, DrAjmal Hussain, Dr Roya Gholami

Neuroimaging: Understanding the perceptions and experiences of participants, £7000, 1 year, British Academy of Science. Dr Liz Peel (PI), Dr Richard Cooke and Dr Rachel Shaw.

Cooke, R. (2015). Exploring cultural differences in alcohol consumption in young people across Europe. Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Limassol.

Cooke, R. (2014) What are the psychological effects of hazardous alcohol consumption and how can they be reduced? BPS Annual Conference, Birmingham.

Cooke, R. (2010) Self-affirmation: Does it promote health protective behaviours? Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Cluj-Napoca.

Cooke, R. (2009) Exploring how self-affirmation works: Methods and Mechanisms. Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Pisa.

Cooke, R. (2005) Using think-aloud methodologies to improve health-related measurement. Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Galway

Cooke, R, Beccaria, F., Demant, J., Fleig, L., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Scholz, U., & de Visser, R. (2015). Which alcohol control strategies do young people think are most effective? Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Limassol.

Fernandes-Jesus, M., Beccaris, F., Demant, J., Fleig, Menezes, I., Scholz, U., de Visser, R., Cooke, R. (2015). Drinking motives among university students in Europe. Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Limassol.

Petrilli, E., Demant, J., Fernandes-Jesus, M., Fleig, L., van Koningsbruggen, G., Negreiros, J., Scholz, U., de Visser, R., & Cooke, R. (2015). Patterns of alcohol use among university students. Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Limassol. 

Ridout, N., Wright, M., & Cooke, R. (2015). Can self-affirmation promote autobiographical memory specificity in people with dysphoria? Special Interest group in Autobiographical Memory and Psychopathology, Leuven.

Cooke, R., Kay, A., Wallis, S., Clarkesmith, D., & Holland, C. (2015). Is being active associated with cognitive function, anxiety and depression in older adults living in ExtraCare housing and retirement homes? IAGG, Dublin.

Cooke, R., Kay, A., Wallis, S., Clarkesmith, D., & Holland, C. (2014). Is being active associated with cognitive function, anxiety and depression in older adults living in ExtraCare housing and retirement homes? UK Society for Behavioural Medicine, Nottingham.

Cooke, R., & Barratt, J. (2014). Which demographic, psychological and social variables predict alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems? B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, York.

                                                                                                                                                      Fernandes, E., & Cooke, R. (2014). Can a brief intervention based on self-regulation and goal setting reduce alcohol consumption? Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Birmingham.

Cooke, R., Dahdah, M., Norman, P., & French, D.P. (2013). How well does the theory of planned behaviour predict alcohol consumption intentions and behaviour? A systematic review and meta-analysis. B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, Brighton.

Cooke, R., Hart, L., Harris, P., Scholz, U., Schuez, B, & van Koningsbruggen, G. (2013). ‘Does self-affirmation promote physical activity regardless of threat level?’ Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Bordeaux.

Cooke, R., Cooper, Y.,Shaw, R.L., Holland, C., & Pattison, H.M. (2012). ‘GP perspectives on the NHS Health Check: A qualitative study’, UK Society for Behavioural Medicine, Manchester.

Shaw, R.L., Cooke, R., Holland, C., Cooper, Y. (2012). "You can't prevent anything anyway": a meta-synthesis of qualitative evidence about cardiovascular screening programmes. B.P.S. Division of Health Psychology, Liverpool.

Cooper, Y., Cooke, R., Holland, C., Shaw, R.L., Pattison, H.M., & Peel, E.A. (2011) ‘Systematic literature review of quantitative evaluations of cardiovascular screenings: What can previous studies teach us?, Midlands Health Psychology Network, Derby 

Cooke, R., Coleman., & Ramm, J. (2010) ‘Reducing binge-drinking among young people using digital stories’, B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, Belfast. 

Shaw, R.L., Cooke, R., Holland, C., Pattison, H., Wood, J., Neil, L., & Lewis, Y. (2010) ‘Putting the cart before the horse? Assessing the feasibility of incorporating innovative e-learning technologies into postgraduate taught programmes with on- and off-campus students’ PLATEdinburgh.

 Cooke, R. &Sniehotta, F.F. (2009) ‘Does binge-drinking status affect perceptions of binge-drinking?’ KBS Thematic meeting, Nijmegen 

Cooke, R., Coleman, L., & Ramm, J.  (2009) ‘The effectiveness of an innovative intervention aimed at reducing binge-drinking among young people’ INEBRIAGateshead. 

Waldron, S.M., Cooke, R., Wright, A.J., & Harris, P. (2009). ‘Disease detection vs. health promotion behaviours in relation to safe sex and safe skin care’ B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, Aston. 

Cooke, R. & Sniehotta, F.  (2009) ‘Knowledge of binge-drinking limits and perceptions of binge-drinking status among UK undergraduates’ B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, Aston.

 Cooke, R., French, D.P., & Sniehotta, F.  (2009) ‘Wide variation in understanding what constitutes “Binge-Drinking.”’ Psychology, Health & Medicine annual conference, Dublin. 

Shaw, R.L. & Cooke, R. (2009) ‘Exploring users’ expectations and experiences of brain imaging.’ Brains in Dialogue, Cambridge. 

Cooke, R., & French, D.P. (2008) ‘What moderates prediction of screening attendance? A meta-analysis of Theory of Planned Behaviour studies.’ Joint Conference of the European Health Psychology Society and the B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, Bath. 

Zhang, YCooke, R. (2008). Using a combined motivational and volitional intervention to increase physical activity and health eating.’ Joint Conference of the European Health Psychology Society and the B.P.S Division of Health Psychology, Bath.

Shaw, R.L., Peel, E., Donnelly, L.S., Cooke, R., & Senior, C(2008) Using IPA to understand users’ expectations and experiences of having an MRI brain scan, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section Inaugural Conference, Leeds.

Cooke, R., Sniehotta, F.F., & Schüz, B. (2007) ‘Predicting binge-drinking behaviour using an extended TPB: Examining the impact of anticipated regret and descriptive norms’, B.P.S. Division of Health Psychology Conference, Nottingham.

Cooper, T., & Cooke, R. (2007) ‘Can self-regulatory strategies reduce binge-drinking behaviour in undergraduates?’, B.P.S. Division of Health Psychology, Nottingham.   

Cooke, R., & French, D.P. (2007) ‘Does context affect the prediction of binge-drinking intentions?’ Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Maastricht.

Cooke, R., Schüz, B., & Sniehotta, F.F. (2006) 'Motivational and volitional determinants of binge-drinking behaviour', Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Warsaw.

Cooper, T., Cooke R., Schüz, B., & Sniehotta, F.F., (2006). 'Motivational and volitional determinants of binge-drinking behaviour', Midlands Health Psychology Network, Leicester.

Cooke, R., & French, D.P. (2005) Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour/Theory of Reasoned Action to predict screening attendance: A meta-analysis. B.P.S Division of Health Psychology Conference, Coventry.

Gatz, J., Sniehotta, F.F., Cooke, R., & Schuez, B. (2005) Ausfuehrungsplanung und Bewaeltigungsplanung zur Praevention von Binge Drinking unter schottischen Studenten: Eine Interventionsstudie, German Congress on Health Psychology, Freiberg.

Moses, K., & Cooke, R. (2005) Fit and healthy? The prevalence of Eating Disorder Symptomatology in athlete and non-athlete populations. B.P.S Division of Health Psychology Conference, Coventry.

Cooke, R., & Sheeran, P. (2004) Factor structure of properties of behavioural intention. Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Helsinki.

Cooke, R., & Sheeran, P. (2003) Impact of temporal stability of intentions on information processing. B.P.S. Division of Health Psychology Conference, Stafford.

Cooke, R., & Sheeran, P. (2002) The structure of properties of behavioural intention and their capacity to moderate the intention-behaviour relationship. B.P.S. Division of Health Psychology Conference, Sheffield.

Cooke, R., & Sheeran, P. (2002) Moderation of cognition-intentions and cognition-behaviour relations: A meta-analysis of properties of variables from the theory of planned behaviour. 13th General Meeting of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology, San Sebastian.

Cooke, R. (2016) Using self-affirmation to promote physical activity. Coventry University 

                                                                                                                                                            Cooke, R. (2016) European survey of university student alcohol use. Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems seminar series

Cooke, R. (2014) Predicting young people’s alcohol consumption and intervening early to prevent harm, Aquarius annual conference

Cooke, R. (2014) Predicting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems: How many predictor variables do we really need?, Northumbria University

Cooke, R. (2012) Healthcare professional and patient perceptions of a vascular screening programme, Sheffield Hallam University

Cooke, R. (2011) Evaluating the Deadly Trio cardiovascular screening programme, Health Sciences, Primary Care Group, University of Manchester  

Cooke, R. (2010) Increasing physical activity using self-affirmation, German Centre for Gerontology 

Cooke, R. (2009) Awareness of binge drinking definitions: How much do we know? Midlands Health Psychology Network, Coventry University

Cooke, R. (2009) Does context affect motivation to binge-drink? De Montfort University   

Cooke, R. (2007) Does context affect motivation to binge-drink? University of Leeds

Cooke, R. (2007). Applying health psychology to understand motivation to binge-drink. University of Cambridge

Cooke, R. (2006) What do people think about when they answer Theory of Planned Behaviour questionnaires? A think aloud study. Free University Berlin

Cooke, R. (2005) Understanding intention-behaviour consistency in health psychology University of Aberdeen.

Cooke, R. (2005) What do people think about when they answer Theory of Planned Behaviour questionnaires? A think aloud study. University of Derby.

Cooke, R. (2004) Moderating intention-behaviour consistency in health psychology. Psychology and Genetics Research Group, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London.

Cooke, R. (2001) Moderating cognition-behaviour relations. University of Kent at Canterbury.

  • Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society/Division of Health Psychology)
  • Health Psychologist (Registration with Health Professionals Council)
  • Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors (Division of Health Psychology)
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Member of the British Psychological Society 
  • Member of the Division of Health Psychology 
  • Member of the European Health Psychology Society
  • Member of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine
  • Member of International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol & Other Drugs
  • Reviews Editor Frontiers in Psychology (2016-)
  • International Advisory Board member for British Journal of Health Psychology (2010-)
  • Scholar panel member for the British Journal of Health Psychology (2007-2010)
  • Co-editor of The European Health Psychologist (2010-2013)
  • Editorial board member for Drugs & Alcohol Today (2007-2009)
  • Reviewer for academic journals: Addiction Research & Theory, Addictive Behaviors, Alcohol & Alcoholism, Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Appetite, BMC Psychology, BMC Public Health, British Journal of Health Psychology, British Journal of Psychology, British Journal of Social Psychology, Drugs & Alcohol Today, Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, The European Health Psychologist, European Journal of Social Psychology, Health Communication Research, Health Education Research, Health Promotion International, Health Psychology Review, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Health Psychology, Journal of Infant & Reproductive Psychology, Journal of Sports & Exercise Psychology, Psychology & Health, Psychology, Health & Medicine, Public Health, Sexual Health and Stress & Health

Recent Publications