PhD research studentAmyMcCarron2

Project: Air pollution and public health: exploring sustainable behavioural changes to reduce exposures in Scotland

Funding Acknowledgements: PhD funded by NERC via the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership.

Air pollution is a major public health risk, and in the UK alone is responsible for an estimated 40,000 premature deaths every year. Spatiotemporal variation in air pollution, combined with innate, acquired, structural and behavioural factors, mean that personal exposure, and thus health risks, can vary considerably between individuals. Therefore, feasible and sustainable actions with more immediate impact are needed to reduce this disease burden.

The overarching aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to investigate whether a health intervention using behavioural change techniques can reduce exposure to air pollution, drawing on a range of disciplines including environmental science, social science, psychology and public health. To achieve this, the projects objectives are:

  • Use a variety of qualitative social science methodologies to understand current Scottish public behaviours around air pollution, and use this to inform the design of the behaviour change intervention.
  • Explore baseline air pollution exposure measurements by recruiting citizen scientists to measure their own exposure. The intervention will be co-designed with citizen scientists and based upon behaviour change theory. This will be evaluated at multiple time points using a randomised control trial study and low-cost air pollution monitors.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the behavioural change technique to make recommendations for its future use in Scotland and more widely across the UK.


Twitter: @AmyS_McCarron