Teaching Responsibilities

Masters Modules: Quantitative Inquiry 1 & 2, Psychological and Social Research, Social Neuroscience (3rd Year), Social and Critical Psychology (2nd Year), Biological Psychology (2nd Year)


I completed my PhD titled “Loneliness in Children and Adults: Physiological and Cognitive Mechanisms” at the University of Central Lancashire in 2013.  I joined the School of Psychology and Education in September 2013 as my first academic post. My main research interest is in the impact of loneliness on health.  My research examines the functional processes that underlie the link between loneliness and poor health.  I am particularly interested in examining the social cognitive and behavioural processes that result in the maintenance of loneliness. As a developmental psychologist I examine the impact of loneliness across the life span, researching with both children and adults.  My most recent research project examines the impact of transitions (such as moving from primary to secondary school) on loneliness. Other current research projects involve examining the use of social networking in lonely children and adults and the impact of loneliness on problem solving in romantic relationships.  I am a member of the Transatlantic Social Connection Research Group and am also part of a UK research group for loneliness.

My teaching interests include Social Cognition, Biological Psychology and Cognitive Psychology.  I am particularly interested in the newly emerging field of Social Neuroscience.

Recent Publications

Qualter, P., Vanhalst, J., Harris, R. A., Van Rokel, E., Lodder, G., Bangee, M., Maes, M., & Verhagen, M. (2015). Loneliness across the life span. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 10, 250-264. IF = 4.89

Bangee, M., Harris, R. A., Bridges, N., Rotenberg, K. J., & Qualter, P. (2014). Loneliness and attention to social threat in adults: Findings from an eye-tracker study. Personality and Individual Differences, 63, 16-23. IF = 1.807

Rotenberg, K.J., Qualter, P., Holt, N., & Harris, R. A. (2014). Interpersonal trust and playground behaviour.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. IF = 3.005

Nightingale, S., Roberts, S., Harris, R. A., Tariq, V., Appleby, Y., Barnes, L., & Qualter, P. (2013). Trajectories of University Adjustment: Predictors and Health Outcomes. Learning and Individual Differences, 27, 174-181, IF = 1.507

Harris, R. A., Qualter, P. & Robinson, S. (2013). Loneliness trajectories from middle childhood to pre-adolescence: Impact on perceived health and sleep disturbance, Journal of Adolescence (Special Issue), IF = 1.882

Qualter, P., Brown, S. L., Rotenberg, K. J., Vanhalst, J., Harris, R. A., Goossens, L., Bangee, M. & Munn, P. (2013). Trajectories of Loneliness during Childhood and Adolescence: Predictors and Health Outcomes, Journal of Adolescence (Special Issue), IF = 1.882

Qualter, P., Rotenberg, K., Barrett, L., Henzi P., Barlow, A., Stylianou, Harris, R. A., (2012). Investigating Hypervigilance for Social Threat of Lonely Children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 325-338, IF = 3.005

Recent Conference Papers

 October 2014 - Social Media Workshop: Scientific Research from Brain to Behavior, Freie Universität, Berlin, “The relationship between loneliness, motivations for using social network sites and social threat perception in early-adolescence” (Poster Presentation)


2014 – Society for Research in Adolescence, Texas USA, “The Impact of Loneliness on the transition from Primary to Secondary School in Pre-adolescents in the United Kingdom” (Paper Presentation)


September 2012– British Psychological Society: Psychobiology Section, UK, “Loneliness, perception of social threat, and cortisol response when meeting new people” (paper presentation) and “Trajectories of loneliness in children and adolescents: Impact on health and daily cortisol response” (Poster presentation)


August 2012– Conference of the European Association for Research in Adolescence, Spetes, Greece, “Loneliness, perception of social threat and cortisol response in relation to social stress in adolescence” (Invited symposium - Paper presentation)


September 2011- British Psychological Society: Developmental Section, UK “Contagious Loneliness in Childhood: Modelling homophily of loneliness over time using an Actor–Partner Interdependence Model” (Oral Presentation)


August 2011– European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Bergen, Norway, Transient and Chronic Loneliness in Children and Adolescents: Impact on Health and Cortisol Response” (Paper Presentation)


June 2011 - UCLan Postgradutate research conference, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, “Causes and Consequences of Loneliness” (Oral presentation)


July 2011 – Experimental Psychology Society, Nottingham Meeting, University of Nottingham, UK, “The filtering of irrelevant distractors among media multi-taskers” (Poser presentation)


April 2011 –British Conference of Undergraduate Research, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK, “Multi-tasking: Does it impact on our reading skills?” (oral presentation)


June 2010 –Ceth Conference 2010: Employability in the Curriculum; Beyond the Bolt On?, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK “Reflective analysis of an internship programme using communities of practice and motivational theory as a framework” (paper presentation)


April 2010 –National Conference on Undergraduate Research, University of Montana, America, “Focusing our Attention: Is this determined by demands on perceptual processes and everyday distractibility?” (poster presentation)


October 2009- Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme Poster Exhibition, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK “The Effect of Everyday Distractibility on Visual Attention” (poster presentation)


Media and Public engagement


Consultancy work:


April 2015 – Loneliness Expert for the news campaign, The Big Lunch, Eden Project http://www.thebiglunchers.com/index.php/2015/04/more-than-two-thirds-of-adults-in-the-uk-experience-loneliness/


News Articles:


The Huffington Post (22nd June 2015)How Understanding Your Social Interaction Personality Can Help to Prevent Loneliness http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-rebecca-harris/


The Independent on-line (30th March 2015) “The loneliness epidemic: We're more connected than ever - but are we feeling more alone?” http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/the-loneliness-epidemic-more-connected-than-ever-but-feeling-more-alone-10143206.html


Expert Witness (June 2015) Loneliness: A Rising Epidemic in Modern Life? http://www.expertwitnessjournal.co.uk/special-reports/656-loneliness-a-rising-epidemic-in-modern-life




Voice of Russia (December 2013) Loneliness: Is it an epidemic in Britain? http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2013_12_25/Loneliness-Is-it-an-epidemic-in-Britain-6533/