Emergent approaches to improving psychological wellbeing in long-term physical health conditions

  • William McGhee

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Clinical Psychology


1) Immersive Virtual Reality Interventions and Psychological Adjustment in Adult Chronic Physical Illness: A systematic review

The review examined how immersive virtual reality (VR) interventions are used and evaluated in adult chronic physical illness populations to improve individual psychological adjustment. A total of 20 studies met inclusion criteria and formed the basis of this narrative synthesis. Overall, studies reported that immersive VR interventions are considered acceptable and feasible methods to improve psychological sequalae in adults with cancer, dementia, multiple sclerosis and kidney disease. 

2) The Role of Companion Animals in Advanced Cancer: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

This study examined the lived experience of CAs among individuals living in the community with advanced cancer, to better understand the psychological impact of CAs in this clinical population. A total of 6 individuals with advanced cancer undertook semi-structured interviews, which were subsequently analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The findings suggest that CAs offer supports that mitigate physical and psychological sequalae experienced by people with advanced cancer.

Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsBusiness Services Organisation
SupervisorMartin Dempster (Supervisor) & Lisa Graham-Wisener (Supervisor)


  • Virtual reality
  • chronic disease
  • adjustment
  • systematic review
  • companion animals
  • pets
  • palliative care
  • cancer
  • psychological support
  • qualitative research
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis

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