Currently, my main role is as Academic Workplanner for Psychology. In this role, I have responsibility for ensuring that Psychology colleagues have a fair and equitable workload and that all teaching is delivered efficiently and by appropriately qualified members of Psychology staff. I am also a Psychology Group Leader, with line management responsibility for a group of staff in the Psychology subject group. In this role, I am responsible for guiding and supporting these members of staff and carrying out their appraisals.
I joined the Psychology group at Sheffield Hallam University in 2002. In 2009, I became the Programme Leader for the undergraduate social science programme, before taking up my current roles of Academic Workplanner and Group Leader in 2014. I previously held a lecturing post at the University of Sunderland until 1999, and between 1999-2002, I was part of the SOVRN Research Project team investigating the effects of suicidal behaviour and the risk factors for suicidality. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My main teaching interests are in the areas of social psychology and qualitative research methods; and the supervision of research projects and dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.My specific interest focuses on how individuals cope with and make sense of bereavement and other life transitions.
Social Sciences and Arts
Death, Dying and Bereavement
My research interests are primarily focused in the areas of death, dying and bereavement; particularly suicide bereavement and the use of a discursive approach. This interest in suicide bereavement stems from the doctoral research I conducted at the University of Sunderland:
• Abbott, R. L. and Hale, G. (2002). Category Entitlements for Suicide Survivors: Differential Rights to Grieve. From Science to Practice, 9th European Symposium on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour, University of Warwick, Sept. 2002.
• Abbott, R. L. and Hale, G. (2003). Suicide Bereavement: Managing the Dilemma of Choice. 22nd World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), Stockholm, Sept. 2003.
In 1999 I became involved with the SOVRN Project, which was commissioned following national and local concerns about the persistence of railway suicides, their apparent clustering, and their consequences for individuals and organisations. We carried out an audit of suicide and open verdict deaths on the East Coast Mainline in order to identify the characteristics of those who die by suicide (or ‘risk factors’). We also conducted case study interviews with those affected by a rail suicide (e.g. British Transport Police, train drivers), in order to assess the effects of railway suicide. By using a Delphi survey, the SOVRN team examined best practice in dealing with a railway suicide incident for all of the key agencies involved:
• Abbott, R., Young, S., Grant, G. Goward, P., Seager, P., Pugh, J. and Ludlow, J. (2003). Railway suicide: an investigation of individual and organisational consequences. Doncaster: Doncaster & South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust. ISBN: 0-9545638-0-8.
This research interest has been furthered more recently in two separate research collaborations. Firstly, in examining the risk factors associated with suicide and parasuicidal behaviour; and secondly, in examining perceptions of risk in rail workers:
• Karasouli, E., Owens, D., Abbott, R.L., Hurst, K.M. and Dennis, M. (2011). All-cause mortality after non-fatal self-poisoning: a cohort study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 46(6), 455-462.
• Morgan, J. I., Abbott, R., Furness, P. & Webster-Spriggs, S. (2013). Perceptions of accident risk among On-Track Machine workers: an Interview Study. In N. Dadashi, A. Scott, J. R. Wilson & A. Mills (Eds.) Rail Human Factors: Supporting reliability, safety and cost reduction, pp. 445-452.
I have also applied this interest of investigating how individuals make sense of their experience following a life-changing event or identity transition, to areas other than mortality or bereavement:
• Arden, M.A. & Abbott, R.L. (2014). Experiences of baby-led weaning: trust, control and renegotiation. Maternal and Child Nutrition, doi: 10.1111/mcn.12106
• Abbott, K., Ellis, S. J. & Abbott, R. (2014, in press). 'We don't get into all that': An analysis of how teachers uphold heteronormative sex and relationship education. Journal of Homosexuality.
Morgan, J., Abbott, R., Furness, P., & Ramsay, J. (2016). UK Rail Workers’ Perceptions of Accident Risk Factors : An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 55, 103-113. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ergon.2016.08.003
Abbott, K., Ellis, S., & Abbott, R. (2016). “We’ve got a lack of family values”: an examination of how teachers formulate and justify their SRE approach. Sex education, 16 (6), 678-691. http://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2016.1169398
Abbott, K., Ellis, S., & Abbott, R. (2015). “We Don’t Get Into All That”: an analysis of howteachers uphold heteronormative sex andrelationship education. Journal of Homosexuality, 62 (12), 1638-1659. http://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2015.1078203
Abbott, R.L., & Arden, M.A. (2014). Experiences of baby-led weaning: trust, control, and renegotiation. Maternal And Child Nutrition, 11 (4), 829-844. http://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12106
Karasouli, E., Owens, D., Abbott, R.L., Hurst, K.M., & Dennis, M. (2011). All-cause mortality after non-fatal self-poisoning: A cohort study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 46 (6), 455-462. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-010-0213-3
Morgan, J., Abbott, R., Furness, P., & Webster-Spriggs, S. (2013). Perceptions of accident risk among on-track machine workers : an interview study. In Dadashi, N., Scott, A., Wilson, J.R., & Mills, A. (Eds.) Rail human factors : supporting reliability, safety and cost reduction, (pp. 445-452). London: CRC Press
Morgan, J., Abbott, R., Furness, P., & Webster-Spriggs, S. (2013). Perceptions of accident risk among on-track machine workers : an interview study. In Dadashi, N., Scott, A., Wilson, J.R., & Mills, A. (Eds.) Rail human factors : supporting reliability, safety and cost reduction. (pp. 445-452). Leiden, Netherlands: CRC/Balkena: https://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781138000377
Theses / Dissertations
Abbott, K.A. (2012). Exploring the construction of young people's sexuality within sex and relationship education. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Ellis, S., & Abbott, R.