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Dr Rebecca Graber

Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology


Prior to arriving at the University of Chichester, I was a Principal Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Brighton, where amongst other roles I was Course Lead for the MA Community Psychology, conducted multiple research projects (see below), and taught on courses related to community psychology, developmental psychology, psychology of wellbeing, and qualitative methods. Before this, I worked at the University of Sussex with Dr Richard de Visser and a multidisciplinary team on NIHR-funded projects exploring young people’s resilience to problematic alcohol use. I obtained my PhD from the University of Leeds under the supervision of Professor Anna Madill and Professor Rhiannon Turner exploring the meanings and implications for psychological resilience of best friendship among socioeconomically vulnerable young people. One of my papers was selected by the New Yorker as one of the six most interesting psychology papers of the year (2015). As a New Yorker myself I am still very proud of this! Prior to my PhD I worked with the NHS and in education research.


Hugh-Jones, S., Duara, R., Graber, R., Goswami, S., & Madill, A. (2024). What Protects At-Risk Young People in India From Using and Abusing Substances? A Photo-Led Study of Lived Experience. Journal of Adolescent Research, 0 (0). https://doi.org/10.1177/07435584241231376

Fernandes-Jesus, R., Graber, R., Harris, C. & Wilson., S. (2023). Community Psychology. In G. Davey (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Applied Psychology (2nd ed.), John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Madill, A., Duara, R., Goswami, S., Graber, R., & Hugh-Jones, S. (2022) Pathways to recovery model of youth substance misuse in Assam, India. Health Expectations, 26(1), 318-328. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.13658

Wilcox, C. & Graber, R. (2022). “We the Marlborough”: elucidating users’ experience of radical, informal therapeutic practices within a queer community pub. In C. Walker, S. Zlotowitz & A. Zoli (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Innovative Community and Clinical Psychologies. Palgrave MacMillan.

Graber, R. & Buket, K. (2022). Promoting resilience among children in low-income communities. Resilient Children: Nurturing Positivity and Wellbeing across Development. Springer.

Graber, R., Zoli, A., Walker, C., & Artaraz, K. (2020). A death in the family: Citizens’ experiences of changing healthcare commissioning practices in south east england. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 30(6), 603-615. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2464

de Visser, R. O., Graber, R., Abraham, C., Hart, A., & Memon, A. (2020). Resilience-based alcohol education: Developing an intervention, evaluating feasibility and barriers to implementation using mixed-methods. Health Education Research, 35(2), 123-133. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyaa006

Graber, R. (2019). Peer support interventions. In Llewellyn, C., Ayres, S., McManus, C., Newman, S., Petrie, K.J., Revenson, T. & Weinman, J. (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine, 3rd Edition (pp. 292-296). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Clare, A., Graber, R., Jones, L. & Conway, D. (2017). Subjective measures of climate resilience: what is the added value for policy and programming? Global Environmental Change, 46, 17-22.

Graber, R., de Visser, R.O., Abraham, C., Memon, A., Hart, A. & Hunt, K. (2016). Staying in the ‘sweet spot’: A resilience-based analysis of the lived experience of low-risk drinking and abstention among British youth. Psychology & Health, 31(1), 79-99. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2015.1070852.

Graber, R., Turner, R. & Madill, A. (2016). Best friends and better coping: Promoting psychological resilience through boys’ and girls’ closest friendships. British Journal of Psychology, 107(2), 338-358. doi:10.1111/bjop.12135


My work centres on how peer relationships, especially friendships, can contribute to psychological resilience and wellbeing in the face of complex challenges. I am especially interested in lived experience. My research aims to identify, understand, and promote the contributions of informal social relationships and practices, especially in relation to broad social risks such as alcohol and substance use, socioeconomic vulnerability and austerity, and discrimination based on LGBTQIA+ identity.

Selected previous projects include:

  • Queer Peers and We the Marlborough: using creative methods to explore the lived experiences and imagined possibilities of peer support in Brighton & Hove and a queer community pub. (Funded by the University of Brighton Centre for Arts and Wellbeing).
  • The Big Picture: using participatory photography and filmmaking to explore resistance and resilience to problematic substance use among young people in Assam, India. (Funded by ESRC/AHRC GCRF, in collaboration between University of Leeds, University of Brighton, MIND India, NIRMAAN Rehabilitation Institute and the Hope Foundation.)
  • Collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute to draw lessons on psychological resilience for practitioners and researchers working in climate change and humanitarian disaster response.

I mostly use qualitative methods, including descriptive and interpretive phenomenological analysis, thematic analysis, and visual methods, but I use non-experimental quantitative methods, too.


I am interested in supervising students in any of the following areas:

  • peer relationships, peer support and/or friendships
  • resilience to complex risks
  • social/community approaches to health and well-being


Projects might use creative visual methods, qualitative methods, non-experimental quantitative methods, or mixed/multiple methods. I particularly welcome students who are curious about expanding mainstream psychology by, for example, taking a resilience-based approach; working with marginalised, underrepresented and/or vulnerable persons; taking an intercultural or international perspective; and/or working in a participatory manner.

Current PhD students:

  • Isaac Thornton (University of Brighton)

Other department members

Alex Rawlinson
Psychology Laboratory Technician
Alison Hounsome
Programme Administrator
Benjamin Sharpe
Dr Benjamin T. Sharpe
Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology, Programme Coordinator for the BSc Criminology and Forensic Psychology, and Academic Board Member

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