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Scholar wins prestigious PhD award

Dr Dominika Kwasnicka, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, has been awarded the prestigious Herman Schaalama PhD Award from the European Health Psychology Society for her dissertation ‘Novel multi-method approach investigating behaviour change maintenance’.

“The aim of my PhD thesis was to advance psychological theory of behaviour change maintenance and the design of behavioural interventions to improve health,” Dr Kwasnicka said.

“My thesis used a novel multi-method approach to explore behaviour maintenance, with a particular focus on weight loss maintenance.”

The annual award acknowledges a PhD dissertation in the field of health psychology of outstanding excellence in terms of originality, significance and rigour. It aims to highlight examples of excellence in PhD level research, and to reinforce early career researchers to address key challenges in health psychology and adopt novel and rigorous theory and methodology. Only one applicant receives the award annually.

Dr Kwasnicka was delighted to receive the award.
Dr Kwasnicka was delighted to receive the award.

“I was delighted to receive the Herman Schaalma award,” Dr Kwasnicka said. “Even though each PhD has ups and downs, you often have to remember to see a bigger picture – why are you doing it and how will you be able to make a difference. A PhD is like a journey, you meet wonderful and inspiring people on the way, you learn from them and develop as a researcher. This PhD shaped the way I approach health psychology, and I was delighted that my work was recognised with this prestigious award.”

Professor Herman Schaalma was a social psychologist and health scientist working in the field of planned development, implementation and evaluation of theory – and evidence-based health promotion programs, with a focus on HIV/AIDS. He died suddenly of a heart attack on 25 July 2009 while bicycling. The award is named after Professor Schaalma, in memory of an outstanding scholar and mentor in health psychology.