Dr Helena Lewis-Smith

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  • Qualifications:PhD (Health Psychology), MSc Health Psychology, BSc Applied Psychology
  • Position:Senior Research Fellow - Centre for Appearance Research
  • Department:HAS - Health and Social Sciences
  • Telephone:+4411732 81895
  • Email:Helena.Lewis-Smith@uwe.ac.uk

About me

Dr Helena Lewis-Smith is an applied health psychology researcher known for exploring body image and developing interventions in education, community and clinical settings with children and adults. 

Helena obtained her BSc in Applied Psychology from Cardiff University (2010) and MSc in Health Psychology from the University of the West of England (2011). With a PhD exploring body image among breast cancer survivors (2017), Helena is passionate about conducting and translating research which promotes positive body image into real-life social impact at a local, national, and global scale. 

As a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Appearance Research, Helena leads a team of researchers working on large-scale research projects in India. One stream of research involves validating body image and related measures in English and Hindi for use with adolescents in India. The other stream involves developing and evaluating body acceptance interventions for adolescents in both urban and rural settings of India. These projects are being conducted in partnership with UNICEF and Unilever's Dove Self-Esteem Project, which has reached over 30 million young people with body image education.

Helena is also passionate about promoting positive body image among cancer patients and survivors and works on several collaborative projects in this area. These include the development and evaluation of body acceptance programmes (e.g., CBT, yoga) for breast cancer survivors, comparing body image concerns among patients with different diagnoses of cancer, and understanding decision making regarding prostheses among testicular cancer patients.

Helena is an expert in investigating sociocultural factors influencing the development of both positive and negative body among both young people and adults; using both advanced statistical procedures and qualitative methodologies. She is also skilled in conducting systematic literature reviews, developing education- and community- based interventions, and exploring their effectiveness through randomised controlled trials.

Skilled in translating research into practice and social impact, Helena has worked and consulted with a wide range of businesses, health organisations, and charitable trusts. These have included Unilever, Cartoon Network, NHS England, Macmillan, Breast Cancer Care, Women in Sport, and Playmob. She regularly speaks on the topics of body image, disordered eating, and psychosocial issues in cancer, at academic, professional and community events. She also provides invited comments for media (e.g., BBC Radio, Good Housekeeping, Grazia) on these issues. 

Helena supervises students at a PhD, Masters and Undergraduate level. She is also an active member of the Academy of Eating Disorders and International Psycho-Oncology Society. 

Area of expertise

body imageeating disorder prevention; sociocultural influences, intervention de‚Äčvelopment and evaluation; cancer; cross-cultural research


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