Gemma Taylor

Dr Gemma Taylor is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology, at the University of Bath, and research director of the Addiction and Mental Health Group. Gemma is an epidemiologist and behavioural scientist. Her work falls within the remits of clinical and health psychology, epidemiology, and public health, with a strong focus on mental health and addiction treatment. Gemma completed her PhD in epidemiology in 2014 at The University of Birmingham on the topic of smoking and mental health. She continued on to post-doctoral position projects at the University of Bristol, working at the MRC’s Integrative Epidemiology Unit until 2018. Gemma has published widely, and has received over £1,000,000 in research funding to date (as PI and CO-PI).

Dr Taylor’s work has found that stopping smoking is associated with mental health benefits that are potentially as large as taking anti-depressants – this finding has helped to counter the myth that quitting smoking can cause psychological harm. This work was awarded BMJ’s “Best Research Paper Award”, and is currently being updated as a Cochrane review which Dr Taylor is leading as first author. Dr Taylor’s research on this topic has been used internationally to frame smoking cessation treatment guidelines, i.e., UK National Health Service, UK Department of Health and Social Care, the Royal Collage of Psychiatrists, Action on Smoking and Health, Public Health England, National Centre for Smoking cessation and Training, US Department of Health, Australian Department of Health, Royal Australian College of GPs, and Royal Australian College of Psychiatrists.

Dr Taylor holds a post-doctoral fellowship award from Cancer Research UK. The fellowship project aims to design a smoking cessation intervention for people with common mental health disorders and to test the intervention as integrated into NHS psychological services (IAPT). Data so far appear to indicate that the intervention is feasible and acceptable. The feasibility and acceptability trial is currently ongoing, and will lead to submitting a grant application to run a full-sized effectiveness trial. If the intervention is also found to be effective for smoking cessation, this will likely lead to changes in service delivery in NHS IAPT settings, and help to reduce smoking prevalence in people with common mental health disorders. IAPT commissioners are currently tracking the progress of this work closely, due to the smoking cessation intervention’s suitability for integration into IAPT settings.

Dr Taylor’s work has recently been used to inform Public Health England Case Studies on ‘Smoking and Mental Health’, and ‘Designing a Smoking Cessation Intervention’.

Impact of intervention delivery and behaviour change techniques on the effectiveness of behavioural and mood management interventions for smoking cessation in people with depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Aim: To provide information to develop tailored smoking cessation interventions for people w/depression we added to an earlier Cochrane review by: 1) using the TIDER checklist to determine if variations in mood management delivery impact on intervention effectiveness, 2) used the BCT for smoking cessation to examine which behaviour change functions were most effective for smoking cessation, 3) examined the impact of intervention on depression symptoms.
Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs for smoking cessation, in people with depression.
Outcomes: Smoking cessation at >6-months, change in depression scores from baseline to >6-months. Analysis step 1)a random effects univariate meta-regression, effect modifiers (TIDER items) were regressed on the study’s effect estimate, 2) multilevel mixed-effects meta-regression, each study was treated as one level, and within-arm effect modifiers were the second level, then within-arm behaviour change functions were regressed on each arms’ quit rate, 3) inverse variance random effects meta-analysis to pool the standardised mean difference (SMD) and 95%CIs in depression scores, from baseline to follow-up, between trial arms.
Results: Included 22 RCTs. There was weak evidence that smoking cessation interventions delivered by mental health professionals were associated with worse cessation rates, pooled risk difference -0.7 (95%CI: -1.4 to 0.0). Some BCTs had an effect when grouped according to their function. Interventions produced a small improvement in depression scores, pooled SMD -0.1 (95%CI: -0.3 to 0.1).
Conclusion: The TIDER checklist does not explain much variation in the impact of mood management interventions on smoking cessation. BCTs had an effect when categorised according to their function. Smoking cessation support does not worsen depression symptoms.

Poster link: Impact of intervention delivery and behaviour change techniques on the effectiveness of behavioural and mood management interventions for smoking cessation in people with depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis