Liverpool Skylilne

Natural Sciences and Psychology

Benjamin Gibson

Benjamin Gibson


The title of my thesis is: The Effects of Positive Emotional Feedback on Blood Sugar Control in Diabetes Patients

I am supervised by: Dr Kanayo Umeh (director of studies), Dr Lisa Newson (2nd supervisor), Dr Ian Davies (3rd supervisor)

Project overview:
Diabetes mellitus is a complex metabolic disorder characterised by persistent hyperglycaemia (higher than normal blood sugar levels) which is a result of defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. It is one of the most common chronic conditions in the UK and represents a significant burden to health care systems such as the NHS. For those living with the disease, it poses a very personal, daily challenge with no respite or cure currently available. Controlling one’s diabetes therefore requires the individual to adopt and adhere to various self-management strategies. However, strategies are made complicated by the fact that anxiety, stress, depression, and a host of other negative emotional experiences influence personal coping behaviour and habitual responses in such a way that it directly influences important clinical markers such as HbA1c (an important measure of average blood sugar levels over a period of 3-4 months). The project aims to develop an intervention that will utilise the self-sustaining effects of positive emotions to help patients build their personal resources, develop realistic goals, and broaden their cognitive and behavioural repertoire so that they can better manage medical outcomes. As a collaborative project between the schools of psychology and health, we are hoping to produce something with significant clinical impact.

In the future:
I am considering doing my stage 2 training as a Health Psychologist, which would be completed alongside my PhD. It would allow me to be registered as a chartered Health Psychologist.


2015, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, Health Psychology MSc
2014, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, Applied Psychology BSc



Gibson B, Umeh F, Davies I, Newson LM. 2018. Positive Affect as a Buffer Against Psychopathology in Diabetes Patients: A Randomised Controlled Trial Diabetes UK, 2019 Professional Practice Conference >Public Url

Journal article

Gibson B, Umeh KF, Newson L, Davies I. 2018. Efficacy of the Best Possible Self protocol in diabetes self-management: A mixed-methods approach Journal of Health Psychology, >DOI >Public Url

Engagement & Impact

Conference presentation:

Positive affect, diabetes, and diabetes-related outcomes: A systematic review., Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK, Poster presentation 06/09/2017