Rachel C Sumner

Rachel C Sumner
Cardiff Metropolitan University | cardiffmet · Health & Human Performance Global Academy

Ph.D.
Recently moved to Cardiff Met as a Senior Research Fellow

About

39
Publications
4,433
Reads
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183
Citations
Introduction
I'm a psychobiologist interested in ways that psychological experiences can change health at the cellular, system, and person level. I've carried out research using experimental, observational, and secondary data methodologies looking at stress, nature/human interactions, arts and health, and hemispheric lateralisation. I'm working on a variety of health/immunity projects looking at psychological aspects such as solidarity, person-environment interactions, and workforce dynamics.
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - January 2022
University of Gloucestershire
Position
  • Senior Lecturer
March 2016 - September 2017
University of Gloucestershire
Position
  • Research Assistant
October 2014 - February 2016
University of Limerick
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
January 2017 - December 2017
University of Gloucestershire
Field of study
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice
February 2008 - December 2012
Brunel University London
Field of study
  • Health Science Research (Psychoneuroimmunology)
September 2006 - August 2007
Staffordshire University
Field of study
  • Health Psychology

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
Full-text available
Unemployment has been associated with poorer health, but few studies have examined the biological mechanisms that confer these health decrements. Further, no studies to date have examined differences across employment groups to consider whether employment (in whatever means) is preferential in terms of health. The present study utilised secondary d...
Article
Full-text available
1. The literature addressing the potential for nature and natural environments to reduce stress and improve health outcomes has a relative paucity of work regarding interactions with animals, particularly those that are not domestic pets. 2. The present observational study sought to understand whether a brief encounter with non-domestic animals mig...
Article
Full-text available
1. The benefits of exposure to nature for health and well-being have been demonstrated across multiple disciplines. Recent work has sought to establish one 'dose' or type of nature exposure that is universally beneficial, which has proven difficult. 2. We use the principles of psychopharmacology to look beyond the use of dose as a concept for presc...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, frontline workers have carried out essential roles to keep society going, while others have been called to minimise the infection rate to limit the burden on frontline workers. In this sense, navigating Covid-19 has necessitated interdependence between frontline workers and key stakeholder groups (such as their col...
Article
Full-text available
The coronavirus pandemic has necessitated extraordinary human resilience in order to preserve and prolong life and social order. Risks to health and even life are being confronted by workers in health and social care, as well as those in roles previously never defined as "frontline," such as individuals working in community supply chain sectors. Th...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the Panel with the main policy commitments made in relation to the health and social care workforce in England. The Panel has agreed that it will evaluate seven commitments across three broad policy areas within its framework for evaluation. The Panel proactively sought the views of a shortliste...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Report submitted to the UK Health & Social Care Committee as part of a recent call for evidence titled: Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care. This report compiles findings from the CV19 Heroes project and recent "Have Your Say" survey undertaken December 2021 to January 2022.
Presentation
Full-text available
Evidence presented at the 29th session of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus
Technical Report
Full-text available
Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic moves into a new phase with the successful roll out of vaccines in adults in the UK, there is an opportunity to reflect, re-evaluate, and reconfigure public health responses. Of importance is the need to defend and protect the frontline workforce who have sacrificed so much over the last 18 months. The present essay sum...
Article
Full-text available
Background During the COVID-19 pandemic increased risk of poor mental health has been evident across different cultures and contexts. This study aims to examine whether allostatic load (AL) prior to the pandemic was predictive of poor mental health during the pandemic, and if any associations were moderated by neuroticism. Methods Data were extrac...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Frontline workers have shown extraordinary resilience and sustained efforts since the outbreak of COVID-19. The present study used semi-structured interviews with 38 frontline workers in the UK and Ireland to explore the psychological impact of working through COVID-19. Design: The qualitative data were analysed systematically using them...
Article
Full-text available
The context of Covid-19 has offered an unusual cultural landscape for examining how workers view their own position relative to others, and how individuals respond to prolonged exposure to workplace stress across different sectors and cultures. Through our recent work tracking the well-being of frontline workers in the UK and Ireland (the CV19 Hero...
Technical Report
Full-text available
A mixed methods evaluation of the See with Fresh Eyes programme delivered by Look Again in partnership with Create Gloucestershire. This programme was awarded a grant by the BUPA Foundation, which included commissioning this evaluation undertaken by the University of Gloucestershire.
Technical Report
Full-text available
A mixed method evaluation of the Nature on Prescription social prescribing programme produced by the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership and delivered by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Presentation
Evidence presentation to the APPG on Coronavirus session 20, 23rd March 2021.
Article
Objectives Arts on prescription (AoP) interventions are part of mainstream social prescribing provision in primary health care. Whilst the body of evidence for AoP interventions has been developing, this has primarily focused on well-being. Study design The present work is an observational longitudinal study on a community-based AoP social prescri...
Article
The purpose of this article is to offer an alternative, more nuanced analysis of the labelling of frontline workers as heroes than originally proposed. Here, we argue that the hero narrative in itself need not be problematic, but highlight a number of wider factors that have led to the initial rise (and subsequent fall) in support for labelling fro...
Preprint
Full-text available
The coronavirus pandemic has necessitated extraordinary human resilience in order to preserve and prolong life and social order. Risks to health and even life are being confronted by workers in health and social care, as well as those in roles previously never defined as "frontline", such as individuals working in community supply chain sectors. Th...
Preprint
Full-text available
The benefits of exposure to nature for health and wellbeing have been demonstrated across multiple disciplines, with empirical data serving as a foundation for conceptual frameworks. However, with fundamental issues apparent even within the definition of what “nature” means, and a general assumption that nature will be beneficial to all in all ways...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
Understanding what predicts wellbeing and burnout in those on the frontline of Covid-19 in the UK and Ireland.
Poster
Full-text available
A synthesised overview of our research in social prescribing, specifically surrounding Arts for Health interventions. This work draws on several published papers and reports with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods designs. Poster presented at the Behavioural Science and Public Health Network annual conference at University of Derby, UK.
Article
Background: Arts on Prescription programmes are designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of patients with a variety of clinical needs within the community. Despite a number of studies reporting benefits, there are some patients that do not see improvements in their wellbeing. Yet, there is limited research investigating the reasons for t...
Article
Background Arts on prescription interventions have grown in number in recent years with a corresponding evidence base in support. Despite the growth and presence of these interventions, there have been no evaluations to date as to what factors predict patient success within these referral schemes. Methods Using the largest cohort of patient data t...
Article
Background: This paper draws on a longitudinal study exploring the outcomes of an arts referral programme in General Practice in the South West of England since 2009. It focuses on the qualitative responses of the patient cohort Methods: Using qualitative methods and thematic analysis, this paper explores and considers the responses from n = 1297...
Article
Background: Arts for health interventions are an accepted option for medical management of mental wellbeing in health care. Updated findings are presented from a prospective longitudinal follow-up (observational) design study of an arts on referral programme in UK general practice, over a 7-year period (2009-2016). Methods: Primary care process...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Unemployment is a type of chronic stressor that impacts human health. The reasons for how the stress of unemployment affect health is still a matter of discussion. One of the pathways from chronic stress to ill health is mediated by cortisol, and so we set out to compile extant data on how its secretion is affected by unemployment. Desig...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has investigated the endocrinological consequences of unemployment as a likely pathway behind chronic stress and negative health outcomes. Despite these early attempts at delineating the neuroendocrine consequences of the chronic stress experienced by the unemployed, identifying a consistent and stable effect has remained elusive....
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Neuromodulation of the immune system has been proposed to be influenced by hemispheric lateralisation (HL). The present study tested whether HL predicted CD4+ levels, statistically controlling for confounders. Methods: Employing two assessments of HL, 68 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1+ patients were followed prospectively. Nume...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Communication from the brain to the immune system is influenced by hemispheric lateralisation (HL). Left-HL is immunopotentiating, right-HL is immunosuppressive. Only one study has examined the effects of HL on the progression of HIV (Gruzelier et al., 1996). That study included a small sample with very little control over third variables. The pres...
Article
Past studies examined relationships between hemispheric lateralisation (HL) and immune system functioning. However, there has been no up-dated systematic review of this research area. This article reviews relevant published studies, evaluates study quality and effect sizes. Eleven studies were selected: three revealing a relationship between weaker...

Questions

Questions (3)
Question
We are conducting a systematic review with three authors. Our common language is English, however between us we also speak three other languages, but there is only one person in the group that speaks any of the other languages. If we don't include papers in those other languages, we risk bias from only including English papers; but if we do include papers in any of those other languages we risk bias from only one author reviewing those papers.
Does anyone else have experience of this problem? How do we address the trade-off between publication language bias and reviewer bias?
Thanks in advance!
Question
I was wondering if anyone knew of scales that try to measure individuals' feelings of exceptionalism (i.e. "that applies to most people, but not me") or perceptions of exceptionalism in others (i.e. "the rules don't matter to them") at all please? I'm aware there is an American Exceptionalism scale, but that (as far as I know) tends to capture the in-group concept, whereas I'm looking for something that captures deviance from the rules or norms of the in-group. Thanks in advance!
Question
I will shortly be carrying out a study where participants will undergo a lab stressor and then will be supine for 90 minutes. Due to their position it would be difficult to provide them with a TV show to watch during this time, so I am looking for recommendations for audiobooks/podcasts that are suitably interesting (to prevent falling asleep) but unemotional - preferably ones that have been used successfully in similar situations previously.
Does anyone have experience of using podcasts/audiobooks in this way?
Can you recommend any that might be suitable?
Thanks very much in advance!

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
To track the welfare of frontline workers in the UK and Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Project
To better understand the dynamics that drive the relationship between nature and human health. The project explores the multidimensional perspectives that consider affiliation to nature, and how this might be used effectively to support health and wellbeing.
Project
To significantly contribute to growing literature surrounding Arts on Prescription as a specific mode of social prescribing in UK primary care. The project carries out detailed analyses on the largest body of data available in Arts on Prescription.