MP120111AH2_029-1I am Tom Cox: I am an organizational psychologist of some experience broadly specialising in occupational health issues relating to work, health and the sustainability of working life. One of my current concerns is cancer survivorship and work engagement. I hold Chairs at three universities. My primary affiliation is with Birkbeck University of London where I hold the Chair of Occupational Health Psychology & Management and where I am Director of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life (CSWL) in the School of Business, Economics & Informatics. I am also heavily involved in the METIS Collaboration as its Co Director. METIS is hosted at the University of Aberdeen by the Academic Urology Unit in the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, School of Medicine & Dentistry. I hold an Honorary Chair in Psychosocial Oncology at that University. Last but not least, I have an Emeritus Chair in Organizational Psychology at the University of Nottingham in the Division of Psychiatry & Applied Psychology, School of Medicine.

This is my personal and work blog. The Blog shares news of my current research, my professional activities and opinions, my other interests and my travels. It also copies in my Twitter accounts which are focused on Economic & Political News and Occupational & Public Health News and RSS feeds in my areas of interest. The Blog incorporates material from The OHP Review originally published as an online guide to Occupational Health Psychology.

The blog has achieved over 15,200 hits. Recently, the top 10 countries, by hits,have been the UK, USA, Brazil, Canada, Itlay, Australia, Ireland, Germany and Sweden. The blog also seems to have some appeal in countries such as Latvia, the UAE, Cyprus, Iceland, Serbia and Croatia!


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8-2754esrc-logoWe are pleased to announce the dates for the first two Discussion Seminars in our ESRC funded Seminar Series on Cancer and Employment.

Unknown-1The first seminar will be held in the University of Aberdeen on 21st April and will focus on the Perspectives of the Person with Cancer & Their Family. Contact: Dr Sara MacLennan (Academic Urology Unit, University of Aberdeen:

Claremont_Tower_and_Bridge, second seminar will be held in the University of Newcastle on 9th July and will concern the Labour Market & Economic Context to Employment of those with cancer. Contact: Dr Heather Brown (Institute of Health & Society, University of Newcastle: heather.brown@

Both seminars will start mid morning and will close mid afternoon. Each of the discussion topics (seminars) will be introduced with commentary by two speakers well versed in the area.

All will be welcomed but registration is essential as light lunches will be provided: please contact the appropriate person. There will be a maximum of 30 participants for each seminar.

The first objective of a Discussion Seminar is to identify and better understand the issues that arise for and from the employment of those with cancer from a particular perspective or in a particular context (as above). The second objective is to discuss the state of current knowledge and how that might be usefully translated into policy and practice. The third objective is to identify existing knowledge, policy and practice gaps and start to build an overall Forward Agenda for the area.

FURTHER INFORMATION will be made available through this Blog over the coming weeks and also through the websites for the Universities of Aberdeen and Newcastle and that of the Centre for Working Life, Birkbeck University of London.


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imagesWe are very pleased to announce two new researcher appointments to the Centre for Sustainable Working Life, School of Business, Economics & Informatics, Birkbeck University of London: Dr Gianina-Iona Postavaru and Dr Magda Marczak. Their Selection Panel was chaired by Professor Tom Cox and also included Dr Juliet Hassard and Catherine Griffiths with advice and support from Professor Philip Dewe.

UnknownFormerly, a Researcher with the Applied Health Psychology Research Group and the Centre for Abuse & Trauma Studies, Middlesex University, Dr Postavaru holds a double PhD in Psychology & Social Sciences (University of Loughborough & Alexandru Ioan Cruz University, Romania) and a Masters in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy (Alexandru Ioan Cruz University, Romania). She has professional experience in supporting those with cancer in Romania and has ben involved in research on breast cancer survivorship and life disruption in both the UK and Romania. She has published in this and other related areas. Gianina is a member of the Red Cross Romania and of the National Federation of Patients with Chronic Medical Conditions in Romania. She will be working with Professor Tom Cox and his colleagues in the Centre and with Dr Sara MacLennan, Academic Urology Unit, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, through The METIS Collaboration. One focus of her work will be the ESRC funded Seminar Series on Cancer & Work Engagement.

05453b4Currently a Lecturer in Clinical Psychology in the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Coventry University, Dr Marczak holds a PhD in Applied Psychology and a Masters in Occupational Psychology (Institute of Work, Health & Organisations, University of Nottingham) and a Masters in Organisational Psychology & Vocational Guidance (University of Lodz, Poland).  She has varied professional experience in clinical psychology and in health and social care. Her research currently focuses on cyber bullying with a strong interest in the management of health and safety at work. She has published on cyber bullying. Magda is a member of the British Psychological Society and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Authority. She will be working with Dr Juliet Hassard and her colleagues on our projects funded by the European Agency for Safety & Health at Work and related issues.

Both Gianina and Magda have contributed to teaching on research methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and have published in this area.

We are very pleased to welcome to our growing team at Birkbeck University of London.

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SMacDr Sara MacLennan, who helped found The METIS Collaboration and who is now its Co Director, has been awarded an Honorary Research Fellowship by Birkbeck University of London to support her work with the Centre for Sustainable Working Life (CSWL) in its School of Business, Economics & Informatics. She is the first Honorary appointment made by the College to CSWL.
aberdeen_uniFormerly an Associate Professor of Health Psychology in the WHO Institute of Work, Health & Organisations, University of Nottingham, Sara is currently Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology in the Academic Urology Unit in the Institute of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. She is also Operations Director of UCAN (an Aberdeen based urological cancer charity). She was educated at the University of Liverpool (BSc) and Nottingham University Medical School (PhD). She is well published in the areas of cancer treatment, cancer survivorship and also occupational health psychology.

Sara holds joint research grants on cancer survivorship and work engagement with Professor Tom Cox, CSWL, funded by Macmillan in Scotland, by UCAN and by the ESRC. She is also supporting CSWL’s developing interests in the effects of breast and of head and neck cancers on working life.

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The MUHC (McGill University Health Centre) super hospital in Montreal, Monday December 8, 2014.
The MUHC (McGill University Health Centre) super hospital in Montreal, Monday December 8, 2014.Vincenzo D’Alto / Montreal Gazette

Gen Chaput, a physician at the McGill University Health Centre who oversees the Cancer Survivorship Program, says cancer survivors, their families and even their physicians are often unaware of the risks and side-effects they face in the months and years after treatment.

Prostate cancer accounted for 21 %of the cancers diagnosed in Canada in the 10-year period ending Jan. 1, 2009. Breast cancer was the second-most common cancer, accounting for 18.8 % of cancer, followed by colorectal cancer (12.5 %), lung cancer (4.7 %) and melanoma (4.7 %).

The good news is that 64 % of cancer survivors in Canada are alive five or more years after their diagnosis.

50 % of cancer survivors suffer after effects of their cancer treatment, including leukemia, loss of libido, heart and lung diseases, higher risk of melanoma, decreased bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis.

Common issues of cancer survivors: anxiety and depression; cognitive loss; pain; sexual dysfunction; fatigue and depression; sleep disorders; need for immunisation and infection prevention; importance of exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

70 % of survivors express high levels of fear that the cancer will come back.

40 % of cancer survivors who had chemotherapy treatment reported memory problems, particularly in the first year after treatment.

5-10 % of cancer survivors have chronic severe pain.

Surprisingly, 15 % of cancer survivors still smoke.

Sources: Gen Chaput, “Caring for Cancer Survivors in Family Medicine”; Statistics Canada; NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines

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TC2The Human Resources MBA website has announced its 2015 list of the world’s 30 most influential Work & Organisational Psychologists who are alive and active. I am amazed and honoured to find myself ranked 16th and ahead of my dear colleague Sir Cary Cooper who was ranked 17th. I am not sure who determined these rankings or how but would thank them for their vote of confidence.

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The last few days of the penultimate week of a cold and blustery February were, once again, eventful and marked by two important events that together bore witness to the progress of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life. The first was an Interview Panel for a Researcher position within the Centre and the second was the first Development Meeting for the Centre’s ERSC Seminar Series project on Cancer and Employment: Social Science Perspectives. In between, to relax, Sue and I went to see The Commitments at the Palace Theatre London.

UnknownJust after the Xmas and New Year break, the Centre advertised on-line for a new position as a Researcher in Occupational Health Psychology and received over 40 applications from which, after great consideration, a short list of 5 candidates was agreed. I chaired the Short Listing Panel which was also attended by Professor Philip Dewe and Dr Juliet Hassard. The subsequent interviews were held in the College in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury. I chaired the Selection Panel which was also attended by Dr Juliet Hassard and Catherine Griffiths. All 5 candidates did well at interview and the Panel  has been faced with a difficult choice. Its decision will be announced this week (w/k beginning 23rd February).

8-2754esrc-logoThe day after the Selection Panel, the first Development Meeting of the Centre’s ESRC Seminar Series project was held in the College in Russell Square, Bloomsbury. The Meeting, co-chaired by Professor Tom Cox and Dr Sara MacLennan, was effectively a meeting of the Steering Group which will oversee, reflect on, discuss and develop the Discussion Seminars. The Steering Group is multi-disciplinary across the social and related sciences, and currently numbers some 22 members. 13 attended its first meeting with 2 more joining by teleconference. During the morning session, the meeting reviewed the current planning for the Discussion Seminars, identified and discussed key points of their management. The subsequent afternoon session was a lively discussion of the current landscape for cancer and employment stimulated by 3 short presentations covering the individual perspective (the person diagnosed with cancer) (Dr Sara MacLennan), the organisational perspective (Professor Tom Cox) and the economic and labour market perspectives (remotely by Dr Heather Brown). The meeting provided an excellent start for the Development Seminars both in terms of team building and substantive content.

Unknown-1During the evening between the Interview Panel and the ESRC Seminar Series meeting, Sue and I went to the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, to see The Commitments ~ a musical based on the book by Roddy Doyle and film by the same name. It was an excellent production and one to be recommended especially for those who love soul and rock and roll in an Irish (Dublin Southside) context. The musical merged seamlessly into a concert of roll and roll favourites which brought the audience to its feet. Purely by chance, we sat next to an Israeli Sports Journalist who had been in the UK to cover a Liverpool match and who was taking some R & R before returning to Tel Aviv: an interesting conversation during the Interlude.




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The week beginning 2nd February was an eventful week and an enjoyable and successful one.

Unknown-3On 3rd February, I joined a Panel that led an Insight Workshop run by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for its staff. The workshop focused on “The Work Environment, Stress and Fitness to Practice“. The workshop took place in the Deansgate offices, Manchester, of the GMC with a broadcast to its London offices. About 60-70 staff attended what developed into an excellent discussion of the key issues, well informed and useful. Thanks to Tom Stocker, GMC, for organising the workshop.

Unknown-4The following day, 4th February, I had a very pleasant lunch with Andrew Buchan, Cloisters, in the Middle Temple Hall, London, and then spent much of the afternoon in Chambers discussing recent twists and turns in health and safety related cases in the Courts. We had a particular interest in the way that the application of the Management Standards approach (Health & Safety Executive) was being interpreted in those cases: time well spent from my point of view: thanks to Andrew Buchan.

images-5In the 13th century, the Inns of Court originated as hostels and schools for student lawyers. The Middle Temple is the western part of “The Temple” which was the headquarters of the Knights Templar until they were dissolved in 1312; the Temple Church still stands as a ‘peculiar’ (extra-diocesan) church of the Inner and Middle Temples. The Inns stopped being responsible for legal education in 1852, although they continue to provide training in areas such as advocacy and ethics for students, pupil barristers and newly qualified barristers. Most of the Inn is occupied by barristers’ Chambers (offices).One of the Middle Temple’s main functions now is to provide education and support for new members to the profession. The Middle Temple Hall also provides lunches for its members.

Unknown-5On the 5th February, my last PhD student registered at Nottingham, Wu Chih-Ying (George), had his PhD viva voce examination: end of an era. George was jointly supervised by Professor Amanda Griffiths and me. His thesis concerned: ” The Influence of Employees’ Parents on Work-Family Balance in Taiwan: Implications for Organisational behaviour and Wellbeing“. The Internal Examiner was Dr Shihning Chou (Nottingham) and the External was Professor Philip Dewe (Birkbeck). The viva was held in the Division of Psychiatry & Applied Psychology in the School of Medicine at Nottingham (where I hold an Emeritus Chair). Part of the Division is situated in the building (above) that once housed the now deceased Institute of Work, Health & Organisations.

George performed well in his viva voce and he was awarded his PhD with only a few minor additions. Congratulations to Wu Chih-Ying (George), a pat on the back for his supervisors particularly Professor Griffiths and thanks to his Examiners Dr Chou and Professor Dewe. Well done everybody. George has now returned to Taiwan and takes with him our best wishes for his future academic career. We now look forward to working with him to help him build that career through his publications.


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We had an excellent family Xmas with our girls, their partners, all our grandchildren and one of our daughter’s in-laws. The house was full and full of fun. To top that, Stoke City beat Everton away at Goodison Park. Our joy was complete.

DSCN1177Old Year’s Night was spent with friends and the following day ~ 1st January ~ we flew out to Tampa and on to Longboat Key on the Gulf of Mexico for a relaxing 10 days. During this time, Sue (Professor Sue Cox) flew on to an AACSB meeting in Austin, Texas, where the weather was distinctly Nordic: freezing and grey.

Unknown-2We both re-engaged with work on our return. Sue announced her retirement as Dean of the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS). She steps down at the end of the current academic year but will remain with the University as an Ambassador and will also maintain her professional roles. She is standing down after guiding LUMS to triple accreditation (again) and maintaining its place (again), through the REF, as (arguably) the UK’s leading Management School.

On 29th January, Sara MacLennan and I met with Janice Preston, Macmillan in Scotland, to brief on progress on the SCOT-PAIS project and discuss the next steps. The meeting, held in Macmillan’s offices in Edinburgh, were both friendly and constructive.

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flagBy 22.00 hr on Thursday 18th November, the result of the Scottish Referendum on Independence from the UK was known and published.

The referendum sparked much debate and stirred passions across Scotland some of which remain unsettled. It was an impressive exercise in democracy with over 3.6 million people voting representing a turn out of 84.6% the like of which is unprecedented in recent times.

UnknownThe YES voted was recorded as 1,617,989 while the NO vote was recorded as 2,001,926 and held the day. The NO Campaign won the day. While the YES Campaign came close to achieving its objective, the final gap between the two campaigns was slightly bigger than forecast.

The YES vote was concentrated in the industrial heartlands of Scotland in the middle belt around Glasgow and in the NE around Dundee. YES majorities were recorded in Dundee, Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanark: the latter by a ‘hair’s breadth’. Apart from these 4 voting areas, the remainder (29) returned NO majorities.

images-1The SNP Leader, Alex Salmon subsequently stood down and his Deputy Nicola Sturgeon was elected in his place. However, Alex Salmon will lead what is likely to be a substantive SNP representation in the Westminster Parliament after the 2015 Election.

The Referendum Battle for Independence might have been won but the War has not yet been.

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Unknown-1On the 6th November, the first METIS Collaboration Away Day was held in Edinburgh at the offices of Macmillan in Scotland. Our thanks to Joanne Adamson of Macmillan. The meeting was well attended by the members of the Collaboration. The meeting was chaired by Professor Tom Cox and Dr Sara MacLennan.

8-2754esrc-logoThe day proved most useful by helping to better define the scope and objectives of the METIS programme. During the afternoon, the award of the Seminar Series funding by the ESRC was discussed and the involvement of the Collaboration fleshed out. The seminar series focuses on social science perspectives on cancer and employment. Following this initial (or Kick Off) meeting for the seminar project, a series of teleconferences were organised for the Executive Group to further develop the content of the seminars, agree the budget and finance arrangements, and the decide a provisional schedule of meetings. The Executive Group involves the lead members from Birkbeck University of London (grant holder) and the universities of Aberdeen and Newcastle.

Macmillan_picOn the 2nd December, a meeting of the Steering Group for the SCOT-PAIS project was held. This project is a major research and development project being undertaken at Aberdeen and is funded by Macmillan in Scotland. The meeting focused on the completion on the interview survey and the 2 rounds of the subsequent Delphi consultation on the design of a new patient advice and information service for those with urological cancer sin the NW Scotland.

imagesIn November, I completed by contribution to the review of applications to NordForsk for substantive funding for research on work and wellbeing. NordForsk is an organisation established by the Nordic Council of Ministers that provides funding for Nordic research cooperation as well as advice and input on Nordic research policy.

AndreaQuailmasthead874x289-1Finally, for this period, I was invited to participate in the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) Annual Winter Ball which was organised by the students at the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool. It was a smashing evening and great to see all those young professionals-in-the-making dressed up. Andrea Quail was voted the ‘LUMS Staff Member of the Year’ by the students. She has been with Accounting & Finance since 1997 and is part of its Undergraduate Support Team. She is pictured here receiving her reward from the Dean, Professor Sue Cox.

Finally, finally, just before the Xmas break, the members of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life held their Xmas lunch at Carluccios in Brunswick Square Bloomsbury. It was a very pleasant way of rounding off a good year.

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