Professor Mark Cropley

Research Interests

  1. Stress, health and Fatigue
    particularly the relationship between psychosocial factors and disease (cardiovascular disease and infectious illness), and how individuals recover from work demands and illness
    We are currently running a study to help people unwind from work. If you are interested in participating please click on the following link:
  2. Fibromyalgia
    particular how individuals manage their symptoms and the effects of fibromyalgia on sleep and well-being


The Off Switch

THE OFF SWITCH Leave work on time relax the mind but still get more done.

Work better not longer– learn how to be more productive by switching off from work in the evenings, worrying less and facing the new working day fresh, full of energy and ambition.

Work is a big part of our lives, but it's easier than ever to let it take over. Laptops, tablets and smartphones that are supposed to free us from the office actually bind us to it. If you've ever felt stressed as you checked your work email in the evenings, or found yourself unable to sleep worrying about tomorrow's meeting, then this is the book for you!

'At a time when we are paying a heavy price for the collective delusion that being plugged in 24/7 is an express elevator to the top, The Off Switch reminds us that there is an alternative. Mark Cropley shows that intentionally switching off from work is not only essential for our well-being, it also allows for the unwinding and renewal that help us perform at our best when we switch back on.'
Arianna Huffington

Click here to order from Amazon.

Recovery from Work

The first international workshop on 'Recovery from Work' was held at the University of Surrey, on the 31st March and 1st of April 2008. The focus was on how workers respond to the physical and mental demands of their workplace both during and after working hours.

Recovery from Work Workshop

On the 3rd of June 2010, Mark Cropley (Department of Psychology) & Jason Devereux (QST) organised a one-day workshop at the University of Surrey to disseminate and discuss recent findings in the area of ‘Recovery from Work’.


A selection of MSc Dissertations Supervised

  • Anxiety, Depression and self-esteem in secondary school children: An Investigation into the impact of important school examinations
  • Effects of herbal remedies: Valerian and Kava, on physiological and subjective response to psychological stress under laboratory conditions
  • Type-D personality, blood pressure & response to uncontrollable stress
  • The affects of family and work conflict on job satisfaction, burnout, organizational commitment, health and job strain.
  • Personal resilience, life stress, psychological and physical symptoms: a prospective study of chronic and recent life stress in adolescence
  • An examination into the effects of hypoalgesia and pain experience on self-reported pain perception
  • The role of rumination, thought control and resource loss spiralling in chronic insomnia
  • The effect of short bouts of moderate-intensity exercise on short term nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cigarette craving
  • Job strain after the working day in school teachers: an investigation into the role of cognitive rumination

PhD Supervision

Helen Keyworth
Title: Nicotine addiction: neurochemical and behavioural mechanisms

Dawn Querstret
Title: Health consequences of inadequate recovery from work: the relationship between work-related rumination, sleep quality and work-related fatigue

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 6928

Find me on campus
Room: 19 AD 02

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My office hours

Monday 2-4 pm (please email for an appointment outside these hours).


Journal articles

  • Cropley M, Zijlstra FRH, Querstret D, Beck S. (2016) 'Is Work-related Rumination Associated with deficits in Executive Functioning?'. Frontiers Media Frontiers in Psychology, 7 Article number 1524


    Work-related rumination, that is, perseverative thinking about work during leisure time, has been associated with a range of negative health and wellbeing issues. The present paper examined the association between work-related rumination and cognitive processes centred around the theoretical construct of executive functioning. Executive functioning is an umbrella term for high level cognitive processes such as planning, working memory, inhibition, mental flexibility; and it underlies how people manage and regulate their goal directed behaviour. Three studies are reported. Study I, reports the results of a cross-sectional study of 240 employees, and demonstrates significant correlations between work-related rumination and three proxy measures of executive functioning: cognitive failures (.33), cognitive flexibility (-.24) and situational awareness at work (-.28). Study II (n = 939), expands on the findings from study 1 and demonstrates that workers reporting medium and high work-related rumination were 2.8 and 5 times, respectively, more likely to report cognitive failures relative to low ruminators. High ruminators also demonstrated greater difficulties with ‘lapses of attention’ (OR = 4.8), ‘lack of focus of attention’ (OR = 3.4), and ‘absent mindedness’ (OR = 4.3). The final study, examined the association between work-related rumination and executive functioning using interview data from 2460 full time workers. Workers were divided into tertiles low, medium and high. The findings showed that high work-related rumination was associated with deficits in starting (OR = 2.3) and finishing projects (OR = 2.4), fidgeting (OR = 1.9), memory (OR = 2.2), pursuing tasks in order (OR = 1.8), and feeling compelled to do things (OR = 2.0). It was argued that work-related rumination may not be related to work demands per se, but appears to be an executive functioning/control issue. Such findings are important for the design and delivery of intervention programmes aimed at helping people to switch off and unwind from work

  • Querstret D, Cropley M, Fife-Schaw C. (2016) 'Internet-based instructor-led mindfulness for work-related rumination, fatigue and sleep: assessing facets of mindfulness as mechanisms of change. A randomised waitlist control trial.'. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Coxon A, Cropley M, Schofield P, Start K, Horsfield C, Quinn T. (2016) ''You're never making just one decision': exploring the lived experiences of ambulance Emergency Operations Centre personnel.'. Emergency medicine journal : EMJ,
  • Amirova A, Cropley M, Theadom A. (2016) 'The effectiveness of the Mitchell Method Relaxation Technique for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms: a randomised controlled trial'. International Journal of Stress Management,
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Mitchell Method Relaxation Technique (MMRT) in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia. Design: A randomised controlled trial was used to compare the effectiveness of self-administered MMRT (n= 67) with attention control (n = 66) and usual care (n = 56) groups. Main Outcome Measures: Primary outcomes included self-reported fatigue, pain, and sleep. Secondary outcomes were daily functioning, quality of life, depression, and coping, anxiety and perceived stress. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, post-intervention (four weeks) and follow-up (eight weeks). Results: A significant combined improvement on outcomes (p<.005), specific significant effects for sleep problems (d=0.29, p<.05), sleep inadequacy (d=0.20, p<.05), and fatigue (d=0.47, p<.05) were present in the MMRT group. At the follow-up, fatigue did not differ to the post-intervention score (p=.25) indicating short-term sustainability of the effect. The effects on sleep problems and sleep inadequacy were not sustained. The pain levels decreased when the MMRT was practiced three times a week (p<.001). Conclusion: MMRT was effective in reducing pain, sleep problems, and fatigue. High rates of relative risk reduction for fatigue (37%) and pain (42.8%) suggest clinical significance.

  • Cropley M, Banks AP, Boyle J. (2015) 'The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms'. WILEY-BLACKWELL PHYTOTHERAPY RESEARCH, 29 (12), pp. 1934-1939.
  • Theadom A, Cropley M, Parmar P, Barker-Collo S, Starkey N, Jones K, Feigin VL. (2015) 'Sleep difficulties one year following mild traumatic brain injury in a population-based study'. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV SLEEP MEDICINE, 16 (8), pp. 926-932.
  • Theadom A, Cropley M, Smith HE, Feigin VL, McPherson K. (2015) 'Mind and body therapy for fibromyalgia.'. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, England: (4)
  • Querstret D, Cropley M, Kruger P, Heron R. (2015) 'Assessing the effect of a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)-based workshop on work-related rumination, fatigue, and sleep'. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology,
    [ Status: Accepted ]
  • Theadom A, Cropley M, Kantermann T. (2015) 'Daytime napping associated with increased symptom severity in fibromyalgia syndrome'. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 16 (1)
  • Cropley M, Rydstedt LW, Zijlstra FR. (2014) 'Guest editors' introduction: Recovery after work.'. Stress Health, England: 30 (3), pp. 177-178.
  • Zijlstra FR, Cropley M, Rydstedt LW. (2014) 'From recovery to regulation: an attempt to reconceptualize 'recovery from work'.'. Stress Health, England: 30 (3), pp. 244-252.


    The concept of 'recovery' (from work) has quickly gained in importance in the occupational health literature. However, we think that the conceptualization of 'recovery' needs some more attention. Although many authors acknowledge that 'recovery' refers to a 'process', the concept is often treated as a static construct. In this paper, we argue that recovery should be conceptualized as a dynamic construct related to changes in psychophysiological state of the person. We refer to two main theories that have provided a theoretical framework for research in this area: Meijman & Mulder's Effort-Recovery (E-R) model and Hobfoll's Conservation of Resources theory. In particular, the E-R model has been seminal in this area and stresses the element of changing psychophysiological states that has been used for reconceptualising 'recovery'. Various biological rhythms influence these changing psychophysiological states, and thus the level of energy (or effort) a person can mobilize or wants to mobilize. A distinction is made between 'physical fatigue' and 'mental fatigue' and its consequences for recovery. The discrepancy between 'actual state' and 'required state' has been suggested as the basis for 'recovery'. This emphasises that recovery is a dynamic and ongoing process, which also included motivational aspects, in particular as far as mental work is concerned. The capacity to maintain self-regulation of one's psychophysiological state is important in this respect. Thus, we propose that 'recovery' is the continuous process of harmonizing the 'actual state' with the state that is 'required' at that moment.

  • Hamesch U, Cropley M, Lang J. (2014) 'Emotional versus cognitive rumination: are they differentially affecting long-term psychological health? The impact of stressors and personality in dental students.'. Stress Health, England: 30 (3), pp. 222-231.


    In the process of recovery from work, rumination is considered as an important mediating variable in the relationship between work demands and psychological health outcomes. Past research differentiated affective rumination from problem-solving pondering. The aim of the present study was to test a moderated mediation model for these two distinct ruminative states and to show how personality (i.e. neuroticism and conscientiousness) can alter the mediating effect. The present study is based on 119 surveys from dental students with a time lag of 6 months. Participants filled out questionnaires assessing specific study-relevant performance demands, rumination and personality and a screening measure for psychological health status. Neuroticism was found to moderate the demand-affective rumination association, but conscientiousness did not moderate the demand-problem-solving pondering association. Moderated mediation analysis revealed that affective rumination mediates the impact of demands on psychological health only for individuals low in neuroticism. Findings are discussed regarding potential interventions for dental students to prevent negative psychological health outcomes due to increased work-related demands in the long term.

  • Haasova M, Warren FC, Ussher M, Janse Van Rensburg K, Faulkner G, Cropley M, Byron-Daniel J, Everson-Hock ES, Oh H, Taylor AH. (2014) 'The acute effects of physical activity on cigarette cravings: Exploration of potential moderators, mediators and physical activity attributes using individual participant data (IPD) meta-analyses'. Psychopharmacology, 231 (7), pp. 1267-1275.


    Rationale: The effects of acute bouts of physical activity (PA) on Strength of Desire (SoD) and Desire to Smoke (DtS) using individual participant data (IPD) from 19 acute randomised controlled studies were quantified. However, there is a need to identify factors influencing this relationship. Objectives: To understand who most benefits from PA, whether changes in affect mediate these effects and whether any specific attributes of PA are associated with cigarette cravings. Methods: IPD (n = 930) contributed to one-stage IPD meta-analyses. Participants engaging in PA were compared against controls, using post-intervention DtS and SoD (when DtS is not available) with baseline adjustments. The craving scales were linearly rescaled to 0-100 % (a mean difference between groups of -10 would indicate that post-intervention cravings were 10 % lower in the PA compared with the control group). Demographic, smoking and other characteristics were examined as predictors and potential moderators, whereas change in affect was considered as a mediator. PA was categorised according to type, duration and intensity, to determine PA attributes associated with cravings reduction. Results: None of the included covariates were shown to moderate or mediate the effects of PA. Intensity of PA was significantly associated with a reduction in cravings; moderate and vigorous intensity PA offered the most benefits. A one-stage IPD meta-analysis yielded effect sizes of -9.22 (-15.24; -3.20) for light, -34.57 (-42.64; -26.50) for moderate and -31.29 (-38.00; -24.57) for vigorous intensity in comparison with controls. Conclusions: Moderate intensity PA could be recommended to all smokers regardless of demographic, smoking and other characteristics. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

  • Zoupanou Z, Cropley M, Rydstedt LF. (2013) 'Recovery after Work: The Role of Work Beliefs in the Unwinding Process'. Public Library of Science PlosOne, 8 (12)
  • Cropley M, Rydstedt LW, Devereux JJ, Middleton B. (2013) 'The Relationship Between Work-Related Rumination and Evening and Morning Salivary Cortisol Secretion'. Stress and Health,
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    The perseverative cognition hypothesis suggests that worry/ruminative thinking prolongs stress-related physiological activation. This study explored the association of work-related rumination with salivary cortisol sampled at 10pm and the cortisol awakening response (CAR) the following morning. On a mid-week evening, 108 school teachers completed a small diary about their work-related thoughts and gave a saliva cortisol sample at 10pm. The following morning, they gave four additional saliva samples: at awakening and at 15, 30 and 45min after awakening, along with a rating of their anticipatory thoughts about work. The CAR was calculated as the percentage increase in cortisol secretion from awakening to 30min, and the sample was divided at their respective medians to classify participants into low and high rumination groups. Cortisol secretion was found to be significantly greater in the high compared with the low ruminators at 10pm, and this effect was not related to leisure activities or work patterns during the evening. For the morning measures, high ruminators demonstrated a flattened CAR relative to the low ruminators, and this effect appeared to be associated with sleep disturbance during the night. Ruminating about work-related issues is associated with cortisol secretion, and our findings support the perseverative cognition hypothesis. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  • Querstret D, Cropley M. (2013) 'Assessing treatments used to reduce rumination and/or worry: A systematic review.'. Clin Psychol Rev, 33 (8), pp. 996-1009.


    Perseverative cognitions such as rumination and worry are key components of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Given the frequent comorbidity of conditions in which rumination and worry are present, it is possible that they are underpinned by the same cognitive process. Furthermore, rumination and worry appear to be part of a causal chain that can lead to long-term health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. It is important therefore to understand what interventions may be useful in reducing their incidence. This systematic review aimed to assess treatments used to reduce worry and/or rumination. As we were interested in understanding the current treatment landscape, we limited our search from 2002 to 2012. Nineteen studies were included in the review and were assessed for methodological quality and treatment integrity. Results suggested that mindfulness-based and cognitive behavioural interventions may be effective in the reduction of both rumination and worry; with both Internet-delivered and face-to-face delivered formats useful. More broadly, it appears that treatments in which participants are encouraged to change their thinking style, or to disengage from emotional response to rumination and/or worry (e.g., through mindful techniques), could be helpful. Implications for treatment and avenues for future research are discussed.

  • Williams CJ, Cropley M. (2013) 'The Relationship Between Perfectionism and Engagement in Preventive Health Behaviours: The Mediating Role of Self Concealment.'. Sage Journal of Health Psychology,


    If perfectionists avoid engaging in preventive health behaviours, they may be putting their long-term health and well-being at risk. Correlational analyses based on a sample of 370 university students identified maladaptive perfectionism to be associated with decreased levels of engagement in preventive health behaviours, life satisfaction and well-being and increased levels of self-concealment and psychological distress. Adaptive perfectionism was associated with higher levels of engagement in preventive health behaviours. Self-concealment was identified as a partial mediator in the relationship between maladaptive perfectionism and both engagement in preventive health behaviours and psychological distress. Implications of the findings are discussed.

  • Haasova M, Oh H, Taylor AH, Warren FC, Ussher M, Janse Van Rensburg K, Faulkner G, Cropley M, Byron-Daniel J, Everson-Hock ES. (2013) 'The acute effects of physical activity on cigarette cravings: Systematic review and meta-analysis with individual participant data'. Wiley Addiction, 108 (1), pp. 26-37.


    Aims: To conduct an updated systematic review and the first meta-analysis of experimental trials investigating the acute effects of short bouts of physical activity (PA) on strength of desire (SoD) and desire to smoke (DtS) using individual participant data (IPD). Methods: A systematic review of literature and IPD meta-analyses included trials assessing the acute effects of shorts bouts of PA on SoD and DtS among temporarily abstaining smokers not using pharmaceutical aids for smoking cessation. Authors of eligible studies were contacted and raw IPD were obtained. Two-stage and one-stage IPD random-effects meta-analyses were conducted. Participants engaging in PA were compared against control participants, using post-intervention SoD and DtS with baseline adjustments. Results: A two-stage IPD meta-analysis assessing effects of PA on SoD yielded an average standardized mean difference (SMD) between PA and control conditions (across 15 primary studies) of -1.91 [95% confidence interval (CI): -2.59 to -1.22]. A two-stage IPD meta-analysis assessing effects of PA on DtS yielded an average SMD between PA and control conditions (across 17 primary studies) of -2.03 (95% CI: -2.60 to -1.46). Additional meta-analyses, including those using a one-stage model, those including only parallel arm studies and meta-analyses comparing only moderate exercise against a control condition, showed significant craving reduction following PA. Despite a high degree of between-study heterogeneity, effects sizes of all primary studies were in the same direction, with PA showing a greater reduction in cravings compared with controls. Conclusions: There is strong evidence that physical activity acutely reduces cigarette craving. © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction.

  • Kantermann T, Theadom A, Roenneberg T, Cropley M. (2012) 'Fibromyalgia syndrome and chronotype: late chronotypes are more affected.'. Sage Journal of Biological Rhythms, United States: 27 (2), pp. 176-179.
  • Kneebone II, Hull SL, McGurk R, Cropley M. (2012) 'Reliability and Validity of the Neurorehabilitation Experience Questionnaire for Inpatients'. Sage Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair, 26 (7), pp. 834-841.


    Background. Patient-centered measures of the inpatient neurorehabilitation experience are needed to assess services. Objective. The objective of this study was to develop a valid and reliable Neurorehabilitation Experience Questionnaire (NREQ) to assess whether neurorehabilitation inpatients experience service elements important to them. Methods. Based on the themes established in prior qualitative research, adopting questions from established inventories and using a literature review, a draft version of the NREQ was generated. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 9 patients and 26 staff from neurological rehabilitation units to establish face validity. Then, 70 patients were recruited to complete the NREQ to ascertain reliability (internal and test-retest) and concurrent validity. Results. On the basis of the face validity testing, several modifications were made to the draft version of the NREQ. Subsequently, internal reliability (time 1 α = .76, time 2 α = .80), test retest reliability (r = 0.70), and concurrent validity (r = 0.32 and r = 0.56) were established for the revised version. Whereas responses were associated with positive mood (r = 0.30), they appeared not to be influenced by negative mood, age, education, length of stay, sex, functional independence, or whether a participant had been a patient on a unit previously. Conclusions. Preliminary validation of the NREQ suggests promise for use with its target population.

  • Cropley M, Michalianou G, Pravettoni G, Millward LJ. (2012) 'The relation of post work ruminative thinking with eating behaviour.'. Wiley Stress and Health, 28 (1), pp. 23-30.


    Inability to unwind about work during leisure time has been associated with a number of negative health outcomes. This study was concerned with a possible behavioural pathway between unwinding and disease and examined the relationship between work-related rumination and food choice. Work-related rumination is arguably a core to understanding the ‘unwinding process’, and food choice is a well-established indicator of nutritional health. Two hundred and sixty-eight full-time workers from a range of white-collar occupations completed a self-report measure of ruminative thinking about work and an eating behaviour questionnaire. Three types of ruminative thinking were identified by factor analysis and labelled affective rumination, problem-solving pondering and detachment. In terms of food choice, high-relative to low-affective ruminators reported eating more unhealthy foods, and low detachers reported eating less cooked meals and more processed foods compared to high detachers. Problem-solving pondering was not associated with food choice, and none of the factors were associated with healthy food choice. It was concluded that failure to unwind from work is not necessarily related to unhealthy food choices. What appears to be the crucial factor is the type of perseverative thinking that people engage in post-work. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

  • Querstret D, Cropley M. (2012) 'Exploring the relationship between work-related rumination, sleep quality and work-related fatigue.'. American Psychological Association Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17 (3), pp. 341-353.


    Objective: This study examined the association between three conceptualisations of work-related rumination (affective rumination, problem-solving pondering and detachment) with sleep quality and work-related fatigue. It was hypothesised that affective rumination and poor sleep quality would be associated with increased fatigue; and problem-solving pondering, and detachment would be associated with decreased fatigue. The mediating effect of sleep quality on the relationship between work-related rumination and fatigue was also tested. Method: An on-line questionnaire was completed by a heterogeneous sample of 719 adult workers in diverse occupations. Results: The following variables were entered as predictors in a regression model: affective rumination, problem-solving pondering, detachment, and sleep quality. The dependent variables were chronic work-related fatigue (CF) and acute work-related fatigue (AF). Affective rumination was the strongest predictor of increased CF and AF. Problem-solving pondering was a significant predictor of decreased CF and AF. Poor sleep quality was predictive of increased CF and AF. Detachment was significantly negatively predictive for AF. Sleep quality partially mediated the relationship between affective rumination and fatigue; and between problem-solving pondering and fatigue. Conclusions: Work-related affective rumination appears more detrimental to an individual’s ability to recover from work than problem-solving pondering. In the context of identifying mechanisms by which demands at work are translated into ill-health, this appears to be a key finding; and suggests that it is the type of work-related rumination, not rumination per se, that is important.

  • Erskine JAK, Ussher M, Cropley M, Elgindi A, Zaman M, Corlett B. (2012) 'Effect of thought suppression on desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms'. Psychopharmacology, 219 (1), pp. 205-211.
  • Theadom A, Cropley M, Parker P, Feigin V. (2011) 'Women with fibromyalgia syndrome in New Zealand: the symptom experience.'. New Zealand Medical Association The New Zealand Medical Journal, New Zealand: 124 (1347), pp. 38-47.


    Diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) currently focuses on the experience of widespread pain. However, the symptom experience described by patients with FMS in clinical practice is far more diverse. This study aims identify the most common and severe symptoms in female patients diagnosed with FMS.

  • Devereux JJ, Rydstedt LW, Cropley M. (2011) 'Psychosocial work characteristics, need for recovery and musculoskeletal problems predict psychological distress in a sample of British workers.'. Taylor & Francis Ergonomics, 54 (9), pp. 840-848.


    From an original sample of 2454 participants free of self-reported psychological distress, 1463 workers completed a 15-month follow-up. Baseline measures included exposure to job demands, decision latitude, social support and need for recovery. Psychological distress was assessed using the General Health Questionnaire at baseline and at follow-up. The findings showed that medium and high exposure to job demands and social support increased the risk of reporting psychological distress at 15-months (relative risk (RR) = 1.65, 1.45). The highest adjusted RR was observed for workers reporting a high need for recovery after work (RR 2.12, 1.90) and this finding was independent of the effects of job demands, decision latitude and social support. Neither decision latitude, nor low back problems increased the risk of reporting future psychological distress, although neck problems (RR = 1.66) and hand/wrist problems (RR = 1.45) did. It was concluded that need for recovery appears to be an important indicator of individual workers who are at risk of developing psychological distress long term. Statement of Relevance: This paper reports the findings of a longitudinal study showing that need for recovery from work was the strongest predictor, relative to psychosocial work characteristics (job demands, decision latitude and social support), and musculoskeletal problems, of psychological distress 15 months later in individuals initially free from distress.

  • Erskine JA, Ussher M, Cropley M, Elgindi A, Zaman M, Corlett B. (2011) 'Effect of thought suppression on desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms.'. Springer Verlag Psychopharmacology (Berl), , pp. 1-7.
  • Rydstedt LW, Cropley M, Devereux J. (2011) 'Long-term impact of role stress and cognitive rumination upon morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion.'. Taylor & Francis Ergonomics, England: 54 (5), pp. 430-435.


    The long-term impact of role stress (conflict and ambiguity), cognitive rumination and their interaction were analysed upon morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion. The sample consisted of 52 male and 24 female British white-collars who had participated in a survey study on psychosocial working conditions 3.5 years earlier. Saliva cortisol secretion was measured over seven consecutive days with two measures: in the morning on awakening and at 22.00 hours. Stepwise linear multiple regression analyses was used for the statistical analyses. Role ambiguity at baseline and the interaction between role ambiguity and trait rumination contributed to explaining elevations in morning saliva cortisol secretion 3.5 years later (R(2) = 0.045; F = 4.57; p < 0.05), while role conflict at baseline significantly predicted increases in long-term evening saliva cortisol (R(2) = 0.057; F = 8.99; p < 0.01). The findings support a long-term relationship between chronic stress exposure and saliva cortisol secretion and some support for the assumption of cognitive rumination moderating the stressor-strain relationship. STATEMENT OF RElevance: The study is of interest for ergonomics practice because it demonstrates that work role ambiguity and role conflict, typically associated with organisational downsizing and restructuring, may contribute to long-term psycho-physiological reactivity. This could expose workers to increased health risks. Therefore, stress management programmes should include the concept of role stress, especially at a time where many work organisations are undergoing significant change. Management should also be made aware of the importance of communicating clear goals, objectives and lines of authority as well as providing sufficient training for those in new job roles.

  • Wain H, Kneebone II, Cropley M. (2011) 'Attributional intervention for depression in two people with multiple sclerosis (MS): Single case design'. Cambridge University Press Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 39 (1), pp. 115-121.
  • Ingall G, Cropley M. (2010) 'Exploring the barriers of quitting smoking during pregnancy: a systematic review of qualitative studies.'. Elsevier Women Birth, Netherlands: 23 (2), pp. 45-52.


    Smoking during pregnancy is widely known to increase health risks to the foetus, and understanding the quitting process during pregnancy is essential in order to realise national government targets. Qualitative studies have been used in order to gain a greater understanding of the quitting process and the objective of this systematic review was to examine and evaluate qualitative studies that have investigated the psychological and social factors around women attempting to quit smoking during pregnancy. Electronic databases and journals were searched with seven articles included in this review. The findings demonstrated that women were aware of the health risks to the foetus associated with smoking; however knowledge of potential health risks was not sufficient to motivate them to quit. Several barriers to quitting were identified which included willpower, role, and meaning of smoking, issues with cessation provision, changes in relationship interactions, understanding of facts, changes in smell and taste and influence of family and friends. A further interesting finding was that cessation service provision by health professionals was viewed negatively by women. It was concluded that there is a shortage of qualitative studies that concentrate on the specific difficulties that pregnant women face when trying to quit smoking.

  • Kneebone II, Hurn JS, Raisbeck E, Cropley M, Khoshnaw H, Milton JE. (2010) 'The Validity of Goal Achievement as an Outcome Measure in Physical Rehabilitation Day Hospitals for Older People'. Routledge, Taylor & Francis International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 57 (2), pp. 145-153.


    Physical rehabilitation day hospitals are widely used community‐based services designed to meet the medical and rehabilitation needs of older people. While there is evidence for the effectiveness of these services, concerns about the shortcomings of how this is measured have led to the recommendation that the achievement of individually tailored goals be used to assess outcomes. This study considered whether such goal achievement demonstrated validity with respect to a standardised measure. The association between goal achievement and change in Nottingham Health Profile‐Part 1 (NHP‐1) scores was considered for 102 people attending four physical rehabilitation day hospitals. The predicted significant positive relationship between the percentage of goals achieved by participants and NHP‐1 scores was not found. This remained evident when functional goals were considered separately to medical goals. Further subsidiary analyses identified a complex relationship between goal achievement and NHP‐1 change scores. For those with higher change scores, there was a significant negative association between NHP‐1 change and goal achievement; while for those with lower (or negative) change scores, there was a significant positive association. A curve estimate regression confirmed a highly significant quadratic (curvilinear) relationship. Possible reasons for this finding might include the timing and nature of the goals set, the potential complication of some participants having cognitive impairment, as well as the use of the NHP‐1 as a comparison measure. At this time it is recommended that goal achievement only be used alongside other measures of day hospital outcome.

  • Theadom A, Cropley M. (2010) ''This constant being woken up is the worst thing' - experiences of sleep in fibromyalgia syndrome'. Informa Healthcare Disability and Rehabilitation, 32 (23), pp. 1939-1947.


    Purpose. Sleep disturbance affects a high proportion of people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). This study aims to explore people's perceptions of their sleep quality and the influence sleep has on their symptoms and daily lives. Method. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with sixteen participants diagnosed with primary FMS, covering all aspects of the sleep experience. The audio recorded qualitative interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results. Poor sleep dominated participants' lives, affecting levels of pain and fatigue, engagement in daily activities and ability to cope. Participants reported experiencing blocks of sleep, with the most profound difficulty for participants being able to go back to sleep after a night time awakening. They also felt a lack of control in their ability to manage their sleep difficulties and use of day-time napping appeared to be the only perceived beneficial coping strategy for relieving daytime sleepiness and symptoms of fatigue. Conclusions. Greater emphasis on screening for sleep disorders and how to manage poor sleep is needed in rehabilitation programmes provided for patients with FMS.

  • Cropley M, Millward LJ. (2009) 'How do individuals 'switch-off' from work during leisure? A qualitative description of the unwinding process in high and low ruminators'. Taylor & Francis Leisure Studies, 28 (3), pp. 333-347.


    There is growing interest in how workers recover and unwind from work during leisure, as poor unwinding has been associated with negative health. This research explores the recovery process to gain a greater understanding of how individuals switch‐off from work‐related thoughts post work. Specifically, we conducted interviews with workers who habitually find it difficult to switch‐off from work (i.e. high ruminators), and workers who find it easy to switch‐off from work (i.e. low ruminators). Three master themes were elicited using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: (1) work philosophy, (2) coping strategies and (3) coping outcomes. The findings revealed differences in core beliefs about work; high ruminators perceive blurred boundaries between work and home life, and they allowed work to mentally predominate during their leisure time, whereas low ruminators viewed their work and leisure as two distinct spheres, and actively developed strategies to switch‐off and disengage from work. Both high and low ruminators acknowledged the health benefits of unwinding post work, yet only low ruminators managed to successfully do so. It was concluded that there is a need for organisations to educate their employees, particularly high ruminators, about the importance of strategic unwinding post work to optimise the quality of leisure time and prevent them from becoming fatigued and burnt out.

  • Ussher M, Cropley M, Playle S, Mohidin R, West R. (2009) 'Effect of isometric exercise and body scanning on cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms'. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Addiction, 104 (7), pp. 1251-1257.


    Aims To examine the acute effects of a guided relaxation routine (body scan) and isometric exercise on desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms. Design Experimental comparison of three conditions. Participants Forty-eight individuals reporting smoking ≥10 cigarettes daily. Intervention Random assignment to one of three interventions delivered via a 10-minute audio: isometric exercise (IE, n = 14), body scanning (BS, n = 18) or a reading about natural history (control group, n = 16). Interventions were delivered twice on the same day: in the laboratory, then in their ‘normal’ environment. Measurements Desire to smoke (primary outcome) and withdrawal symptoms were rated at pre-intervention and up to 30 minutes post-intervention. Findings Controlling for baseline scores, post-intervention desire to smoke and withdrawal symptoms were significantly lower for IE and BS groups, compared with the controls, in both environments. There were no significant differences for IE versus BS. For desire to smoke, controlling for baseline values, ratings in the laboratory were significantly lower for IE and BS versus the control up to 30 minutes post-intervention. In the normal environment, these ratings were significantly lower only up to 5 minutes post-intervention. Conclusions Brief IE and BS interventions are effective for reducing desire to smoke and withdrawal symptoms in temporarily abstaining smokers. These interventions were found to be more effective in the laboratory than in the smoker's normal environment, but this may be an artefact of there not being a sufficient ‘wash-out’ period between interventions. These techniques may be beneficial for managing desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal.

  • Rydstedt LW, Cropley M, Devereux JJ, Michalianou G. (2009) 'The effects of gender, long-term need for recovery and trait inhibition-rumination on morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion'. Taylor & Francis Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 22 (4), pp. 465-474.


    The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term effects of need for recovery from work and trait rumination on saliva cortisol secretion. The sample consisted of 76 white-collar workers, 52 men and 24 women who had previously provided baseline data four years earlier and volunteered to participate in the present study. In the present study, saliva cortisol secretion was measured over seven consecutive days, on awakening, and at 10 p.m. No relationships were found between the independent variables and morning saliva cortisol levels. High trait rumination at baseline, however, was significantly related to higher evening cortisol levels for both women and men. Baseline need for recovery from work was strongly related to evening cortisol secretion for women, but in the opposite direction than expected. The present results add to the small but equivocal body of literature that has examined the long-term effects of work strain on cortisol secretion.

  • Theadom A, Cropley M, Hankins M, Smith HE. (2009) 'Mind and body therapy for fibromyalgia (Protocol)'. Wiley The Cochrane Library, (4), pp. 1-7.


    This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows: 1. To review the efficacy of mind and body therapies in comparison to standard care 2. To review the efficacy of mind and body therapies in comparison to an attention placebo 3. To review the comparative efficacy of different types of mind and body therapies 4. To compare the efficacy of mind and body therapies at 1, 3 and 6 month follow-up

  • Cropley M, Theadom A. (2008) 'Sleep disturbance in fibromyalgia syndrome'. Future medicine Future Rheumatology, 3 (6), pp. 533-535.


    Sleep disturbance is a widely reported and debilitating concomitant of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and plays a pivotal role in exacerbating patients’ reporting of symptoms. Bigatti and colleagues report a longitudinal study that examined self-reported sleep, pain, depression and physical functioning in FMS patients at baseline and again at a 12-month follow-up. Their results support previous research in showing that there is a bidirectional correlation between sleep and pain experience. Moreover, the results demonstrated that sleep predicted pain, pain predicted physical functioning, and physical functioning predicted depression, although causality was not actually demonstrated. Nonetheless, this research highlights the prevalence of sleep problems in FMS, and the critical role sleep plays in the quality of life for many patients.

  • Theadom A, Cropley M. (2008) 'Dysfunctional beliefs, stress and sleep disturbance in fibromyalgia'. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV SLEEP MEDICINE, 9 (4), pp. 376-381.
  • Rydstedt LW, Cropley M, Devereux JJ, Michalianou G. (2008) 'The relationship between long-term job strain and morning and evening saliva cortisol secretion among white-collar workers'. American Psychological Association Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 13 (2), pp. 105-113.


    The objective of this study was to assess long-term job strain impact on morning and evening salivary cortisol secretion. In all 77 white-collar workers (31% women; sample mean age, 42 years at baseline) volunteered to sample morning (immediately after waking up) and evening (10 p.m.) salivary cortisol for 7 consecutive days. By median split on aggregated self-reported isostrain from three consecutive questionnaires distributed in a period of approximately 3.5 years the participants were classified into a high or low long-term isostrain condition. Regardless of strain condition, there was a significant reduction in morning salivary cortisol secretion from the working week to the weekend, whereas evening salivary cortisol secretion showed no significant variation during the week. Although chronic isostrain did not affect the morning saliva cortisol measures, evening cortisol secretion was significantly elevated in the chronic high isostrain group throughout the whole week. The elevated evening cortisol measures associated with chronic high strain are concordant with the findings in other studies on long-term strain. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

  • Cropley M, Theadom A, Pravettoni G, Webb G. (2008) 'The effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions prior to surgery: a systematic review.'. Oxford Journals Nicotine & Tobacco Research, England: 10 (3), pp. 407-412.


    The objective of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions prior to surgery and examine smoking cessation rates at 6 months follow-up. The Cochrane Library Database, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Medline, and Cinahl databases were searched using the terms: smok$, smoking cessation, tobacco, cigar$, preop$, operati$, surg$, randomi*ed control$ trial, intervention, program$, cessation, abstinen$, quit. Further articles were obtained from reference lists. The search was limited to articles on adults, written in English and published up to December 2006. Only randomized control trials (RCTs) that incorporated smoking cessation interventions to patients awaiting elective surgery were included. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Methodological quality was assessed by all the authors. The findings revealed that short-term quit rates (or a reduction by more than half of normal daily rate) ranged from 18% to 93% in patients receiving a smoking intervention (mean 55%), compared with a range of 2%-65% of controls (mean = 27.7%). Two studies examined smoking status at 6 months but these revealed no significant difference in abstinence rates between patients who had received an intervention and those that had not. Studies that incorporated counseling in addition to nicotine replacement therapy appeared to show greater benefits. It is concluded that smoking cessation interventions prior to surgery are effective in helping patients to quit smoking. However, such effects appear to be short-lived. Future research needs to examine intervention and patient factors to see whether tailoring the smoking cessation intervention specifically to the patient improves overall abstinence rates.

  • Daniel JZ, Cropley M, Fife-Schaw C. (2007) 'Acute exercise effects on smoking withdrawal symptoms and desire to smoke are not related to expectation'. SPRINGER PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, 195 (1), pp. 125-129.
  • Pravettoni G, Cropley M, Leotta SN, Bagnara S. (2007) 'The differential role of mental rumination among industrial and knowledge workers.'. Ergonomics, England: 50 (11), pp. 1931-1940.
  • Cropley M, Ussher M, Charitou E. (2007) 'Acute effects of a guided relaxation routine (body scan) on tobacco withdrawal symptoms and cravings in abstinent smokers'. Addiction, 102 (6), pp. 989-993.


    Aims: To examine the acute effects of a guided relaxation routine (body scan) on desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms in overnight abstinent smokers. Design: Experimental. Participants: Thirty individuals reporting to smoke 10 or more cigarettes daily for at least 3 years. Intervention: Participants were assigned randomly to complete a 10-minute body scan (experimental group n = 15) or listen to a natural history passage for 10 minutes (control group n = 15). Measurement: Ratings of strength of desire to smoke and smoking withdrawal symptoms were assessed at baseline, immediately after the interventions, and 5, 10 and 15 minutes post-intervention. Findings: There was a significant group x time interaction for strength of desire to smoke. The mean desire to smoke rating was significantly lower in the body scan group relative to the control group immediately after the intervention, and 5 minutes post-intervention. The body scan group also reported lower ratings of irritability, tension and restlessness, relative to the controls. Conclusion: A brief body scan intervention reduces strength of desire to smoke and some tobacco withdrawal symptoms in temporarily abstaining smokers. The body scan may be beneficial as a technique for managing cigarette cravings and withdrawal. © 2007 The Authors.

  • Ellis J, Hampson SE, Cropley M. (2007) 'The role of preoccupation in attributions for poor sleep.'. Sleep Med, Netherlands: 8 (3), pp. 277-280.
  • Theadom A, Cropley M, Humphrey KL. (2007) 'Exploring the role of sleep and coping in quality of life in fibromyalgia.'. J Psychosom Res, England: 62 (2), pp. 145-151.
  • Ellis J, Hampson SE, Cropley M. (2007) 'The role of dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes in late-life insomnia.'. J Psychosom Res, England: 62 (1), pp. 81-84.
  • Kneebone I, Cropley M. (2007) 'Response [2]'. Clinical Rehabilitation, 21 (3), pp. 285-286.
  • Theadom A, Cropley M. (2006) 'Effects of preoperative smoking cessation on the incidence and risk of intraoperative and postoperative complications in adult smokers: a systematic review.'. Tob Control, England: 15 (5), pp. 352-358.
  • Hurn J, Kneebone I, Cropley M. (2006) 'Goal setting as an outcome measure: A systematic review.'. Clin Rehabil, England: 20 (9), pp. 756-772.
  • Daniel JZ, Cropley M, Fife-Schaw C. (2006) 'The effect of exercise in reducing desire to smoke and cigarette withdrawal symptoms is not caused by distraction'. BLACKWELL PUBLISHING ADDICTION, 101 (8), pp. 1187-1192.
  • Cropley M, Dijk DJ, Stanley N. (2006) 'Job strain, work rumination, and sleep in school teachers'. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 15 (2), pp. 181-196.
  • Daniel JZ, Cropley M, Fife-Schaw CR. (2006) 'The effect of exercise in reducing desire to smoke and cigarette withdrawal symptoms is not caused by distraction'. Addiction, 101 (8), pp. 1187-1192.
  • Cropley M, Steptoe A. (2005) 'Social support, life events and physical symptoms: A prospective study of chronic and recent life stress in men and women'. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 10 (4), pp. 317-325.
  • Cropley M, Steptoe A. (2005) 'Social support, life events, and physical illness symptom reporting: A prospective study of chronic and short term stressors in men and women'. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 10, pp. 317-325.
  • Ellis JG, Cropley M, Hampson SE. (2005) 'Sleep catastrophizing as an implicit and explicit process in older insomniacs'. Sleep, 28, pp. A115-A115.
  • Locker J, Cropley M. (2004) 'Anxiety, depression and self-esteem in secondary school children - An investigation into the impact of standard assessment tests (SATs) and other important school examinations'. School Psychology International, 25 (3), pp. 333-345.
  • Daniel J, Cropley M, Ussher M, West R. (2004) 'Acute effects of a short bout of moderate versus light intensity exercise versus inactivity on tobacco withdrawal symptoms in sedentary smokers'. Psychopharmacology, 174 (3), pp. 320-326.
  • Cropley M, Ayers S, Nokes L. (2003) 'People don't exercise because they can't think of reasons to exercise: an examination of causal reasoning within the Transtheoretical Model.'. Psychol Health Med, England: 8 (4), pp. 409-414.
  • Cropley M, MacLeod AK. (2003) 'Dysphoria, attributional reasoning and future event probability'. JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY & PSYCHOTHERAPY, 10 (4), pp. 220-227.
  • Purvis LJM, Cropley M. (2003) 'Psychological contracting: Processes of contract formation during interviews between nannies and their 'employers''. BRITISH PSYCHOLOGICAL SOC JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 76, pp. 213-241.
  • Purvis LJ, Cropley M. (2003) 'The psychological contracts of National Health Service nurses.'. J Nurs Manag, England: 11 (2), pp. 107-120.
  • Cropley M, Millward Purvis L. (2003) 'Job strain and rumination about work issues during leisure time: A diary study'. Taylor & Francis European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 12 (3), pp. 195-207.
  • Ellis J, Cropley M. (2002) 'An examination of thought control strategies employed by acute and chronic insomniacs.'. Sleep Med, Netherlands: 3 (5), pp. 393-400.
  • Cropley M, Cave Z, Ellis J, Middleton RW. (2002) 'Effect of kava and valerian on human physiological and psychological responses to mental stress assessed under laboratory conditions.'. Phytother Res, England: 16 (1), pp. 23-27.
  • Ellis J, Hampson SE, Cropley M. (2002) 'Sleep hygiene or compensatory sleep practices: An examination of behaviours affecting sleep in older adults'. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 7 (2), pp. 157-162.
  • Ussher M, Nunziata P, Cropley M, West R. (2001) 'Effect of a short bout of exercise on tobacco withdrawal symptoms and desire to smoke.'. Psychopharmacology (Berl), Germany: 158 (1), pp. 66-72.
  • Ellis J, Cropley M, Hampson S. (2001) 'Insomnia and ageing: Implications for healthcare practice and policy'. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 2 (4), pp. 20-32.
  • Ghiadoni L, Donald AE, Cropley M, Mullen MJ, Oakley G, Taylor M, O'Connor G, Betteridge J, Klein N, Steptoe A, Deanfield JE. (2000) 'Mental stress induces transient endothelial dysfunction in humans.'. Circulation, UNITED STATES: 102 (20), pp. 2473-2478.
  • Cropley M, MacLeod AK, Tata P. (2000) 'Memory retrieval and subjective probability judgements in control and depressed participants'. JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY & PSYCHOTHERAPY, 7 (5), pp. 367-378.
  • Steptoe A, Cropley M. (2000) 'Persistent high job demands and reactivity to mental stress predict future ambulatory blood pressure.'. J Hypertens, ENGLAND: 18 (5), pp. 581-586.
  • Steptoe A, Cropley M, Griffith J, Kirschbaum C. (2000) 'Job strain and anger expression predict early morning elevations in salivary cortisol.'. Psychosom Med, UNITED STATES: 62 (2), pp. 286-292.
  • Steptoe A, Lundwall K, Cropley M. (2000) 'Gender, family structure and cardiovascular activity during the working day and evening.'. Soc Sci Med, ENGLAND: 50 (4), pp. 531-539.
  • Steptoe A, Cropley M, Joekes K. (2000) 'Task demands and the pressures of everyday life: associations between cardiovascular reactivity and work blood pressure and heart rate.'. Health Psychol, UNITED STATES: 19 (1), pp. 46-54.
  • Griffith J, Steptoe A, Cropley M. (1999) 'An investigation of coping strategies associated with job stress in teachers.'. Br J Educ Psychol, ENGLAND: 69 ( Pt 4), pp. 517-531.
  • Griffith J, Steptoe A, Cropley M. (1999) 'An investigation of coping strategies associated with job stress in teachers.'. The British journal of educational psychology, 69
  • Costa M, Cropley M, Griffith J, Steptoe A. (1999) 'Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is associated with reduced physical activity during everyday life.'. Psychosom Med, UNITED STATES: 61 (6), pp. 806-811.
  • Cropley M, Steptoe A, Joekes K. (1999) 'Job strain and psychiatric morbidity.'. Psychol Med, ENGLAND: 29 (6), pp. 1411-1416.
  • Steptoe A, Cropley M, Griffith J, Joekes K. (1999) 'The influence of abdominal obesity and chronic work stress on ambulatory blood pressure in men and women.'. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, ENGLAND: 23 (11), pp. 1184-1191.
  • Steptoe A, Cropley M, Joekes K. (1999) 'Job strain, blood pressure and response to uncontrollable stress.'. J Hypertens, ENGLAND: 17 (2), pp. 193-200.

Book chapters

  • Cropley M, Zijlstra RFH. (2011) 'Work and Rumination'. in Langan-Fox J, Cooper CL (eds.) Handbook of Stress in the Occupations Edward Elgar Publishing Article number 24
  • Zijlstra FRH, Cropley M. (2006) 'Recovery after work'. in F. Jones , R. Burke , Westman M (eds.) Managing the work-home interface: A psychological perspective East Sussex, UK : Psychology Press
  • Pravettoni G, Leotta SN, Cropley M, Bagnara S. (2005) 'Is Rumination about Work Issues during Leisure Time affected by Type of Work?'. in Carayon P. , Robertson M. , Kleiner B. , P.L.T. H (eds.) Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management - VIII. Santa Monica, CA, USA. : IEA Press , pp. 117-122.

Other publications

  • Senior V, Cropley M. (2007) Genetic testing and stress. Chapter in . 2nd Edition, Academic Press: Oxford. . California: Elsevier inc. Oxford : Academic Press

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