Professor Edward Watkins
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Primary Care, Population Health and Health Services Research
Skills Development Fellowship Vision
A successful fellowship would enable the candidate to develop a new set of skills to build on their existing skills and further their ability to pursue clinically-relevant research across disciplinary boundaries, and give them the perspective to apply existing and new skills to biomedical issues in a way that can hold together both basic and translational approaches. The candidate would be confident enough to work independently and pursue their own emergent research programme, and also able to develop new collaborations.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, 1998 Dissertation: “Contextual Awareness and the Maintenance of Depressed Mood”
- Institute of Psychiatry one year Diploma Course in Cognitive Therapy 1994-1995
- Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, 1995
- MSc in Clinical Psychology, University of London, 1994
- BA (Hons) Psychology and Physiology 1st Class (Congratulatory) University of Oxford, 1992
Previous posts held:
- 2005-2007: Reader in Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Exeter
- 2003-2005: Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Exeter
- 1998-2003: Research Fellow in Cognitive Clinical Psychology of Depression, Jointly held between Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, London & MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge
My research is focused on understanding the basic processes of cognition and emotion that underpin poor mental health and especially depression and anxiety and translating this understanding into more effective and accessible psychological/behavioural interventions to treat and prevent depression and anxiety. This includes a focus on studying worry and rumination, unhelpful and helpful lifestyle habits, digital interventions (apps/internet therapy), cognitive behavioural therapy. Key techniques and methods used include: lab experimental designs (e.g., manipulating emotion or cognition) to infer causal relationships (e.g., cognitive bias modification); randomised clinical trials including factorial and cohort trial designs; this data is moving into areas of collaboration with statistical modelling, machine learning and computer science.
Watkins, E.R., Taylor, R.S., Byng, R., Baeyens, C.B., Read, R., Pearson, K., & Watson, L. (2012). Guided self-help concreteness training as an intervention for major depression in primary care: a Phase II randomized controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 42, 1359-1373.
- Watkins, E.R., Mullan, E.G., Wingrove, J., Rimes, K., Steiner, H., Bathurst, N., Eastman, E., & Scott, J. (2011). Rumination-focused cognitive behaviour therapy for residual depression: phase II randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 199, 317- 322. Doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.090282
- Watkins, E.R., Moberly, N.J., & Moulds, M. (2008) Processing mode causally influences emotional reactivity: Distinct effects of abstract versus concrete construal on emotional response. Emotion, 8, 364-378.
Ongoing Projects & Grants
European Commission Seventh Framework Programme Collaborative Project. Project title: MooDFood – Multi‐country collaborative project on the role of Diet, Food‐related behaviour, and Obesity in the prevention of Depression. 8,930,530 Euros, across 11 EU countries. January 2014-December 2018. Chief Investigator: Stichting, VUA, Netherlands; Watkins PI for Exeter site – developed a behavioural activation treatment to change coping styles and eating habits to see if this can prevent depression in overweight people – data now collected on over 1000 people
European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme Collaborative Project. Project title: Assessing and Enhancing Emotional Competence for Well-Being (ECoWeB) in the Young: A principled, evidence-based, mobile-health approach to prevent mental disorders and promote mental well-being. 3,999,980 Euros, across 8 EU countries. January 2018-December 2021. Chief Investigator: Watkins CI and PI for Exeter site and main trial. We will develop an app to assess and train emotional regulation and understanding skills in young people and assess in a large-scale trial whether this can reduce depression and anxiety.
I am also analysing the data from a large internet therapy trial for depression (n=768) in which we will test what are the active ingredients of therapy and look for moderators of treatment. Because we have text from patients and therapists this gives an opportunity e.g., through machine learning – to investigate what may predict / influence better or worse treatment outcome.
- Professor Chris Dickens
- Professor Rod Taylor
- Professor Paul Farrand
- Potential collaborations explored with Professor Tim Frayling and Professor Jon Mill
- Professor Colin MacLeod, University of Western Australia
- Professor Linda Collins, Penn State University
- Professor Gerhard Anderrsson, Linkoping University
Research Group Connections