Sara Tookey

Sara Tookey

School of Psychology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Title of PhD: Health beliefs and help-seeking for symptoms of gynaecological cancers amongst obese women

Supervisors: Dr Beth Grunfeld, Dr Michael Larkin and Dr Ruth Howard

Sara is a PhD researcher interested in mixed methods research, clinical health psychology, psychosocial oncology, early detection of cancer, and clinical interventions to improve help-seeking for symptoms of chronic illness.


B.A. Psychology (Western Washington University, USA)

M.A. Existential Phenomenological Psychology Psychotherapy (Seattle University, USA)


Sara Tookey is an applied psychological researcher within health psychology, focusing on psychosocial oncology research. She received her first degree, BA in Psychology with an emphasis on cross-cultural research, and received her Masters in Existential Phenomenological Psychology, specializing in Primary Care mental health practice and qualitative research (Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis). She underwent a year-long internship practicing as a mental health therapist at the University of Washington’s Family Medicine Clinic and conducted a qualitative research project on help-seeking for mental health issues within an ‘integrated primary care system’. She received a 3 year funded studentship from the University of Birmingham College of Life and Environmental Sciences to study her PhD in Psychology. She has worked both in applied and research settings for Forensic Psychology in the USA and continues her involvement as a research assistant in the University of Birmingham’s Forensic Psychology department.


Sara's principal research interests lie in the field of health psychology and behavioural medicine, mixed method approaches in the investigation of help-seeking behaviour for symptoms of chronic disease, early detection of cancer, quality of life issues, survivorship, systemic approaches to cancer-care and weight related barriers to care experienced by obese individuals.

Other activities

Sara is completing an accredited module for Associate Fellow from the Institute of Higher Education, UK. She has been nominated as a Doctoral Representative for the Super-Diversity Institute at the University of Birmingham, is a member of the West Midlands Experiential Psychology journal group and is a member of the International Psycho-oncology Society (in training), British Psychosocial Oncology (Student), the British Psychological Society (GBC), and an Affiliate member of the American Psychological Association.

She has worked both in applied and research settings for Forensic Psychology in the USA and continues to be involved in research within the University of Birmingham’s Forensic Psychology department.