Dr Nina Smyth

Dr Nina Smyth

I completed a BSc. (Hons) Psychology in 2008 at the University of Manchester and a MSc in Health Psychology in 2009 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. I completed a PhD with the Psychophysiology and Stress Research Group (PSRG), awarded by the University of Westminster in 2013 for my thesis entitled ‘Cortisol secretion in saliva and hair: methodological considerations and relationships with state and trait well-being’. I then secured a Post-Doctoral Research post with the PSRG (funded by the Bial Foundation and the British Academy). I completed my Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education and became a Fellow of Higher Education Academy in 2014. In late 2015 I became a Lecturer in the Dept. of Psychology at the University of Westminster, I was awarded Senior Lecturer in summer 2016 and I was awarded Reader in August 2020. 

I lead the Psychophysiology and Stress Research Group (PSRG). My research primarily focuses on the impact of well-being and stress on health and illness, and clarification of the physiological pathways involved. I use different methods of measuring cortisol such as saliva and hair. I am interested in the methodological issues associated with measurement of cortisol, particularly the impact of delayed saliva sampling on assessment of the cortisol awakening response. Another stream of my research is developing and evaluating strategies to minimise the deleterious effects of stress in vulnerable groups. 

Current research projects: 

Hearing from the unheard: impact of long-COVID in black and minority ethnic groups in the UK (HI-COVE) Study

I am leading the HI-COVE study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and hosted by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. In collboration with Professor Damien Ridge and artist Dr Alexa Wright at the University of Westminster, Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham and Dr Tom Kingstone from Keele University, Dr Dipesh Gopal from Queen Mary University of London, and Dr Nisreen Alwan and Dr Rebecca Band from the University of Southampton we seek to explore the lived experiences of people with long COVID specifically in ethnic minority groups. 

Long COVID is the name given to not recovering quickly after getting Covid-19, and experiencing ongoing symptoms such as extreme exhaustion, difficulty breathing and memory or concentration problems, which impact people's lives and wellbeing. Current Covid-19 care management is not yet sufficiently informed by the needs of ethnic minorities, hindering equal access to quality healthcare. Our research will look to understand views and experiences of underrepresented groups; alternative support systems used as well as what support they want and need from health care services. Findings will help us to imagine better healthcare services for these groups. 

We will be recruiting people from Arab, Black, South Asian or mixed backgrounds who are or have recovered from Long COVID to take part in a one-to-one interview (online or in-person) about their views and experiences of Long COVID. For more information email: HI-COVEStudy@westminster.ac.uk 


  • Psychophysiology and Stress Research Group