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Dr Katherine Ashbullby

Dr Katherine Ashbullby

Senior Lecturer

 Washington Singer 226


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


My past research has been varied and multidisciplinary, including projects in economic, organisational, health and environmental psychology. My postdoctoral research has focused on health in different domains and factors that promote psychological wellbeing.  As a Senior Lecturer I contribute to the delivery of teaching and supervision of student research projects, for undergraduate and masters programmes. I am passionate about qualitative research and student health and wellbeing. I lead an informal student wellbeing group. 


  • PhD in Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Exeter. Thesis title: Money, cohabitation and the law - A story of diversity (2004-2007) 
  • MSc in Economic and Consumer Psychology (Distinction), School of Psychology, University of Exeter, UK (2003-2004)
  • BSc Psychology (First Class), School of Psychology, University of Exeter, UK (2000-2003)


My training is in economic psychology. Economic psychology explores people’s attitudes, feelings and decisions in regards to everyday economic life including money management in intimate relationships, saving behaviour, debt and financial issues across the lifespan (eg. buying your first house, planning for retirement). 

Drawing on theoretical insights from economic psychology, the psychology of intimate relationships, law and sociology, my doctoral research explored (i) the household financial management of unmarried cohabitants and (ii) the conceptualisation of unmarried cohabitation and marriage, in the context of potential legal changes to the status of unmarried cohabitation in England and Wales. The findings challenged legislation and case law that treated couples with separate bank accounts as separate financial entities and urged cohabiting couples to put protections in place if they perceived money as shared but kept it separately. Supervised by Dr Carole Burgoyne and Professor Janet Reibstein my PhD employed a multi method approach, including qualitative, quantitative and experimental methods. 

I won a competitive ESRC research fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, on the strength of my doctoral research. Based at the UK’s leading centre for Asian studies and mentored by the late Professor Paul Webley and Dr Caroline Osella, I examined the need for research on the household financial management of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Diasporas in the UK. As part of my fellowship I spent two months at the Roy McKenzie Centre in Wellington, New Zealand, working with Professor Jan Pryor to gain an insight into their innovative work on youth connectedness

I gained experience in organisational psychology during my time at The Work Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve the quality of working life. As part of a multidisciplinary team I was responsible for leading and working on a range of bespoke research projects that had a strong applied focus and ultimately aimed to improve employee health and wellbeing. 

In my last research position, working as part of a multidisciplinary team at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, I played a role in developing a programme of research to investigate the psychological and physical benefits of activities in and around the water, with a focus on coasts, rivers and lakes. Using qualitative methodologies I examined the dynamics of family interactions with aquatic environments. The findings indicated beaches encouraged all family members to be physically active and afforded key psychological benefits in terms of experiencing fun, stress relief and engagement with nature.

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Research interests

Economic psychology; money in relationships; familiy forms; health and wellbeing at work; environmental psychology; coastal environments and wellbeing; qualitative research methods


Refereed journal articles  

White, M.P., Pahl, S., Ashbullby, K.J., Burton, F., & Depledge, M. (2015).The effects of exercising in different natural environments on psycho-physiological outcomes in post-menopausal women: A simulation study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 12, pp. 11929 – 11953. 

White, M.P., Pahl, S., Ashbullby, K.J., Herbert, S., & Depledge, M. (2013). Feelings of restoration from recent nature visits. Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 35, pp. 40-51. 

Ashbullby, K.J., Pahl, S., Webley, P., & White, M.P. (2013). The beach as a setting for families’ health promotion: A qualitative study with parents and children in coastal regions in Southwest England.  Health & Place, Volume 23, pp.138-147.

Ashby, K.J. & Burgoyne, C.B. (2009). The financial management practices and perceptions behind separate systems of household financial management. Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 37, pp. 458-480. 

Ashby, K.J. & Burgoyne, C.B. (2008). Separate financial entities? Beyond categories of money management. Journal of Socio-Economics, pp. 38, 519-529. 


Ashby, K.J., & Madhon, M. (2009). Measuring the nature of demand for innovation in the UK: The challenges of an indicator approach. Innovation Working Paper: London: NESTA. 

Ashby, K.J. (2010).  At work and on a low income: A qualitative study of employees’ experiences. London: The Work Foundation.

Ashby, K.J. (2010). Income maximisation for employees: Investigating the workplace support available for low earners. The Work Foundation: London.

Mahdon, M., Jones, A., Morris, K., Ashby, K.J., & McGee, R. (2010). Regeneration through Partnership: An independent evaluation of the impact of Tesco’s Regeneration Partnership stores on participants and their communities. London: The Work Foundation.

Ashby, K.J. & Mahdon, M. (2010). Why do employees come to work when ill? An investigation into sickness presence in the workplace. London: The Work Foundation.

McGee, R., & Ashby, K.J. (2010). Body and Soul: Exploring the connection between physical and mental health conditions. London: The Work Foundation.

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I contribute to teaching on a number of modules and in particular the teaching of qualitative methods at undergraduate and masters level. I am currently supervising 3 masters students on the conversion course completing qualitative and experimental projects in environmental and organisational psychology. I run an informal health and wellbeing group to explore ways to boost student health and wellbeing and embed wellbeing within the degree course. Please get in touch if you would like to join! 


PSY2216 Qualitative Methods and Interview Skills

PSY1206 Research Methods and Key Skills in Psychology 

PSY2206 Methods and Statistics in Psychology II

PSYM202 Behavioural Science Skills 



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