Paschal Sheeran, Ph.D.

Paschal Sheeran, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Sheffield.

Paschal Sheeran

Research Interests

Dr. Sheeran’s research interests lie in social and health psychology. His overarching concern is with self-regulation: how people direct their thoughts, feelings, and actions so that strivings to obtain goals are effective. Using a variety of paradigms, Dr. Sheeran and colleagues have shown that goal intentions are only modestly associated with subsequent behavior and goal attainment, and they have analyzed the types of self-regulatory problems (e.g., failure to initiate action or shield goal pursuit from unwanted influences) that give rise to the intention-behavior gap. Related studies examine the effects of if-then plans, or implementation intentions, in helping people to translate their intentions into action. Dr Sheeran is also interested in non-conscious routes to action, and particularly the impact of automotives (goals activated outside of awareness) and prototypes (stereotypes regarding, e.g., the typical smoker) in determining behavior in real-world settings.

Selected Publications

Gollwitzer, P. M., Sheeran, P., Trötschel, R., & Webb, T. L. (2011). Self-regulation of priming effects on behavior. Psychological Science, 22, 901-907.

Martin, J., Sheeran, P., Slade, P., Wright, A., & Dibble, T. (2011). Durable effects of implementation intentions: Reduced rates of confirmed pregnancy at two years. Health Psychology, 30, 368-373.

Varley, R., Webb, T. L., & Sheeran, P. (2011). Making self-help more helpful: A randomized controlled trial of the impact of augmenting self-help materials with implementation intentions in promoting the effective self-management of anxiety symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 123-128.

Godin, G., Sheeran, P., Conner, M., Delage, G., Germain, M., Bélanger-Gravel, A., & Naccache, H. (2010). Which survey questions change behavior? Randomized controlled trial of mere measurement interventions. Health Psychology, 29, 636-644.

Gollwitzer, P. M., Sheeran, P., Michalski, V. & Seifert, A.E. (2009). When intentions go public: Does social reality widen the intention-behavior gap? Psychological Science, 20, 612-618.

Brown, I., Sheeran, P., & Reuber, M. (2009). Enhancing antiepileptic drug adherence: A randomized controlled trial. Epilepsy and Behavior, 16, 634-639.

Achtziger, A., Gollwitzer, P. M., & Sheeran, P. (2008) Implementation intentions and shielding goal striving from unwanted thoughts and feelings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 381-393.

Sheeran, P., Aubrey, R., & Kellett, S. (2007). Increasing attendance for psychotherapy: Implementation intentions and the self-regulation of attendance-related negative affect. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 853-863.

Webb, T.L. & Sheeran, P. (2006). Does changing behavioral intentions engender behavior change? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 249-268.

Gollwitzer, P.M. & Sheeran, P. (2006). Implementation intentions and goal achievement: A meta-analysis of effects and processes. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 38, 249-268.

Sheeran, P., & Orbell, S. (2000). Using implementation intentions to increase attendance for cervical cancer screening. Health Psychology, 18, 283-289.

Selected Grants

Understanding and using self-generated validity to promote behavior change (ESRC), Co-I, 2010-13.

Enhancing antiepileptic drug adherence: A randomized controlled trial - follow-up (Epilepsy Action), PI, 2010-11.

Does making people think they are at risk, or making them feel afraid or worried, change people’s behavior? Analyzing the experimental evidence (ESRC), Co-I, 2009-11.

Emotion regulation of others and self [EROS] (ESRC), Co-I, 2008-12.

Selected Affiliations

Dr. Sheeran is a member of the editorial boards of Health Psychology, the British Journal of Health Psychology, Psychology and Health, Health Psychology Review, and the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. He was an associate editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology (2009-2011).

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