culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Manuela Barreto

Centre Academic


I graduated in Psychology at the University of Porto, Portugal, and obtained a PhD in Social Psychology at the Free University, Amsterdam, funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship. I then worked at Leiden University, the Centre for Social Research and Intervention (Lisbon), and came to the University of Exeter, in 2011, as a Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology.

At Exeter, I led one of the themes of Exeter’s interdisciplinary (HASS) research strategy in the social sciences and humanities, sat on the University’s Athena Swan Working Group, and am the current Head of the Psychology Department. Beyond Exeter, I have served on the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Psychology (2011-2017) of which I was also President (2014-2017).

I have a good sense of how it is to work in different contexts and conditions, and a deep commitment to diversity and the support of those who live and work in conditions less privileged than my own.

Research I am involved in at the Centre

I am interested in the interplay between identity, social disadvantage, social relations, and wellbeing. In the centre, I have been involved in the Loneliness Beacon, working with historians and sociologists, in a project on social relationships during gender identity transition, and in 4 PhD projects that look at identity, social relationships, and social disadvantage in different ways, working with co-supervisors from Drama, English, and Law. I have also been involved in projects that look at health services, such as a project on what people see as the desired outcomes of gender identity transition, and another on compassionate care in child and adolescent mental health.

Methodologically, my expertise lies predominantly in quantitative methods (experiments, cross-sectional, and longitudinal surveys) and behavioural observations (to examine dynamics of actual social interactions), but I also use qualitative methods and am interest in any method that has the potential to provide new answers to my research questions.

Selected grants, publications and partnerships


  • “Fit to Belong: Design and implementation of teaching and learning materials to mitigate loneliness in youth” Funder: Erasmus+ KA2 (2019-1-TR01-KA201-07689). Co-I. Start date: 01-09-2019 to 31-08-2022 (36 months). Total: 334.119,00 Euro.
  • “What aspects of work culture within the Fire Service form barriers to progression of female staff in operational roles?” Funder: Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. Role: PI. Start date: March 2019. Total: £8,669.
  • “The lonely campus.” Funder: The Provost’s Fund, University of Exeter. Co-PI: M Jackson; Co-Is: F Cooper and A Grand. Total: £30,000. Start date: January 2019. Role: Co-PI (bid hosted by the Wellcome Centre).
  • “Responding to weight stigma: Helpful and unhelpful coping strategies.” Funder: ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to Angela Meadows. Start date: 1 October 2018 (duration 12 months), total £131,792.00 (FEC). Role: Mentor.
  • “Assessing the impact of meal provision by the Dartmoor Community Kitchen on the physical and psychological wellbeing of an elderly population—A pilot study”. Funder: ESRC Impact Accelerator Fund. PI: J Bowtell (SHS); Co-Is: M Barreto (Psychology), M O’Leary (SHS). Start date: (duration), total: £7,372.00. Role: Co-I.
  • “Social relationships during gender identity transition: An investigation of key factors and a test of an intervention.” PI: D Doyle; Co-PI: M Barreto; Co-Is: D Jackson (DPT) and T Morton (U Exeter). Funder: Devon Partnership NHS Trust. Start date: October 2018. Total: £42,571 (this is a match funded PhD studentship, the rest being funded by CLES). Role: Co-PI.
  • “Anatomy of Loneliness: BBC Radio 4 Survey on Loneliness”. Wellcome Trust Small Grant in Humanities and Social Sciences, PI: P Qualter (Univ Manchester), Co-Is: Manuela Barreto (Exeter Univ), Christina Victor (Brunel Univ), Claudia Hammond (BBC). Start date 1/10/2017 (duration 12 months), total £30,000, with £7,487.00 for Exeter. Role: Co-I.


  • Barreto, M., Victor, C., Hammond, C., Eccles, A., Richins, M., & Qualter, P. (in press). Loneliness around the world: Age, gender, and cultural differences in loneliness. Personality and Individual Differences.
  • Zhang, M., Barreto, M., & Doyle, D. (in press). Stigma reduces trust in others. Social Psychological and Personality Science. DOI: 10.1177/1948550619829057
  • Vasileiou, K., Barnett, J., Barreto, M., Vines, J., Atkinson, M., Long, K., Lawson, S., & Wilson, M. (2019). Coping with loneliness at university: A qualitative interview study with students in the UK. Mental Health & Prevention, 13, 21-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.mhp.2018.11.002
  • Hinchliffe, S., Jackson, M. A., Wyatt, K., Barlow, A. E., Barreto, M., Clare, L., Deplege, M. H. Durie, R., Fleming, L. E., Groom, N., Morrisey, K., Salisbury, L., & Thomas, F. (2018). Healthy publics: Enabling cultures and environments for health. Palgrave Communications, 4, 57. DOI: 10.1057/s41599-018-0113-9 | www.nature.com/palcomms
  • Bakewell, L., Vasileiou, K., Long, K., Atkinson, M., Rise, H., Barreto, M., Barnett, J., Wilson, M., Lawson, S., & Vines, J. (2018). Everything we do, everything we press: Data-driven remote performance management in a mobile workplace. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’2018), Montreal, Canada (April 21-26, 2018)
  • Heath, S., Rabinovich, A., & Barreto, M. (2017). Putting identity into the community: Exploring the social dynamics of urban regeneration. European Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 855-866. IF: 1.973 (21/62 Q2 in Social Psychology). DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.2296
  • Vasileiou, K., Barnett, J., Barreto, M., Vines, J., Atkinson, M., Lawson, S., & Wilson, M. (2017). Experience of loneliness associated with being an informal caregiver: A qualitative investigation. Frontiers in Psychology (Open access). Article number 585, published April 2017. IF 2.323 (Q1 in Psychology/Multidisciplinary: 23/129). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00585Viewed 1092 times 28-06-2017.
  • Long, K., Bakewell, L., McNaney, R., Vasileiou, K., Atkinson, M., Barreto, M., Barnett, J., Wilson, M., Lawson, S., & Vines, J. (2017). Connecting those that care. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Denver, USA (May 6-11, 2017). Google scholar h5-index 83 (the highest IF in Human Computer Interaction; for comparison, the second highest raked journal in HCI has a h5-index of 49 and JPSP has an h5-index of 81).

Partnerships and media appearances: