Hannah Dale

Supporting men with cancer

Hannah Dale, whose PhD is co-supervised by Prof. Gerry Humphris and I, is working on issues that pertain to men with cancer. Here’s some information about Hannah:


I graduated from the University of York in 2003 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and completed an MSc in Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham in 2006. I held several roles within NHS Trusts in England, working in the areas of health improvement, smoking cessation and sexual health before commencing a 2 year ‘Stage 2’ training in Health Psychology post with NHS Fife. This post involved developing a health improvement intervention for looked after young people, and a research project exploring psychological and health behaviours factors in men with cancer. Having completed this training in January 2010, I continued to work in NHS Fife as a Health Psychologist for 6 years, and worked in the areas of looked after young people, oncology, blood borne virus and long term conditions more generally. I also undertook work with the public health department, delivering and evaluating interventions around detecting cancer early, a safe driving intervention and the development of volitional help sheets (a planning tool) in the areas of smoking and sexual health. I also worked part-time with NHS Grampian with children with physical health conditions and their families, and led on the development of the psychology service in the Hepatitis team. Currently, I am working for NHS Education for Scotland as the Health Psychology Tutor, providing training and supervision to Trainee Health Psychologists across Scotland. I also work for NHS Tayside implementing behaviour change and self-management interventions as part of multi-disciplinary teams within GP practices. I am a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and a Registered Psychologist with the Health Professions Council.

PhD research

I conducted mixed-methods research into men with cancer for a part time PhD under the supervision of Professor Gerry Humphris and Dr Gozde Ozakinci. This research examined predictors of psychosocial issues and health behaviours in men with cancer, along with the factors affecting access to support services and barriers and facilitators to men accessing support. My research explored social, psychological and health behaviour factors in men with cancer and the relation of these factors to demographic variables and help seeking, along with men’s perceived barriers and facilitators to accessing support services.

My PhD research had three core streams

  • Systematic review of psychosocial and behaviour change interventions for men with cancer. This revealed both a lack of interventions with men with cancer and a lack of replicability of interventions. Methodological limitations also meant that the development of interventions based on the review would be highly problematic (Dale et al., 2010).
  • Quantitative cross-sectional questionnaire study measured a range of demographic and illness-related factors, e.g. age, marital status, relationship status, cancer diagnosis and deprivation through a postcode indicator. Validated and reliable questionnaire items were used to measure social support, anxiety, depression and distress. Questions were developed to assess self-reported smoking, alcohol intake, fruit and vegetable intake, and exercise along with men’s desire to improve their health, confidence in doing so, and further supportive care needs. 127 men completed the questionnaire. Analyses indicated strong associations between some factors, particularly social support, psychological health and desire for more help. Age, living in an area of deprivation and being separated/divorced are predictive factors for poorer psychosocial health and/or poorer health behaviours.
  • Qualitative interview study, explored the support participants’ received since being diagnosed with cancer, help-seeking, along with perceived barriers and facilitators for participants and other men accessing support. 20 men with cancer were interviewed and transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings showed that biopsychosocial factors, the role of masculinity, service contexts and how patients viewed and coped with their diagnosis of cancer all impacted on help seeking. Legitimisation of help seeking was important and supported men to take steps to get help.

Papers and presentations

  1. Dale, H., Ozakinci, G., & Humphris G. Antecedents, appraisal, coping, and legitimisation: Factors affecting help seeking in men with cancer. European Health Psychology Society and BPS Division of Health Psychology Joint Conference; Aberdeen; August 2016. Oral presentation.
  2. Dale, H., Ozakinci, G., Adair, P. & Humphris, G. Identifying vulnerabilities in men with cancer; social support and mental health problems. Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference; Glasgow; December 2014. Poster presentation.
  3. Dale, H., Ozakinci, G., & Humphris, G. “Real men smoke Marlboro and ride horses across the prairie”: masculinity as a key barrier to support-utilisation in men with cancer. Men Health & Wellbeing: Critical Insights; Leeds; July 2014. Poster presentation.
  4. Dale, H., Ozakinci, G., Adair, P., & Humphris G. Social support and desire for help in men with cancer: the mediating role of distress. European Health Psychology Society Conference; Bordeaux; July 2013. Oral Presentation.
  5. Dale, H. Adair, P. M. & Humphris, G. M. (2010). Systematic Review of Post-Treatment Psychosocial and Behaviour Change Interventions for Men with Cancer, Psycho-Oncology, 19, 227-237
  6. Dale, H., Ozakinci, G., Adair, P., & Humphris, G. Identifying vulnerable groups within the male cancer population; the prevalence of psychosocial and health behaviour factors and the relationships with demographic variables. British Psycho-Oncology Society Annual Conference; Chester; December 2010; Poster Presentation.
  7. Dale, H., Ozakinci, G., Adair, P., & Humphris, G. Identifying vulnerable groups within the male cancer population; relationships between demographic, psychosocial and health behaviour factors. Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference; Belfast; September 2010; Oral Presentation.
  8. Dale, H, Adair, P, & Humphris G. Examining the effect of demographic variables, including living alone, on psychosocial and health behaviour factors in men with cancer. Solo Living Seminar; Edinburgh; October 2009; Oral Presentation