Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


Professor Elizabeth Peel BA, Diploma Applied Psychology Nottingham, PhD Loughborough, C.Psychol, AFBPsS

Photo of Professor Elizabeth Peel

Professor of Communication and Social Interaction

Having graduated with a joint honours degree in Psychology and Sociology and a Diploma in Applied Psychology from the University of Nottingham (1997), I then worked for a year as a research assistant/assistant psychologist before undertaking an ESRC funded PhD, under the supervision of Profs Celia Kitzinger, Derek Edwards and Sue Wilkinson, in the Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University. My PhD explored manifestations of heterosexist discourse in educational training for professionals about lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. I then worked at the University of Edinburgh (2002-2003) on a longitudinal qualitative study about newly diagnosed patients’ with type 2 diabetes perspectives on health service provision, before lecturing at Aston University (2003-2013).

Prior to (re)joining the Department at Loughborough in April 2016 I was Professor of Psychology and Social Change and Director of Research in the Institute of Health and Society, University of Worcester. I have received a number of academic awards, including the Feminism & Psychology undergraduate prize (1998), an American Psychological Association distinguished book award (2007), and British Psychological Society (BPS) awards for outstanding research (2012) and textbook prize (2013). I held a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship for the ‘Dementia Talking: Care, conversation and communication’ project (2011-12). I am a Fellow of the BPS and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. More on my career is in The Psychologist (March 2016 issue).

I Chaired the BPS Psychology of Sexualities Section (2014-2017), and I am on the Editorial Boards of various journals, including Qualitative Research in Psychology, Feminism & Psychology, Journal of GLBT Family Studies, and Psychology & Sexuality. I edit (with Elizabeth Stokoe) the Routledge ‘Gender and Sexualities in Psychology’ book series. I am an executive committee member of International Society for Critical Health Psychology (ISCHP) and led the organisation of the society’s 10th Biennial Conference in July 2017. I am currently working on an ESRC-funded project focused on evaluating the regulation and reform of legal gender identity (2018-2021) with colleagues Davina Cooper (PI) at Kings and Flora Renz and Emily Grabham at Kent.

My research, under the umbrella ‘critical social psychology’, principally coheres around two main areas: (non-heterosexual) sexualities, especially with regard to families and relationships, and health communication, particularly in relation to people living with a dementia. I have published widely in the areas of sexualities diversity training, same sex relationships and families, type 2 diabetes, and latterly dementia care and communication, using predominantly (but not exclusively) post-positivist qualitative methods including discursive psychology and conversation analysis. Over the years I have received research funding from the British Academy, Big Lottery, Chief Scientist Office, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, Department of Health, Heart of Birmingham PCT, and the Alzheimer's Society. In 2015 I led a BPS Research Seminar Series with Prof Michael Murray (Keele Initiative on Ageing) and Dr Carol Holland (Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing) exploring the psychologies of ageing. My latest books are Ageing and Sexualities (with Prof Rosie Harding, University of Birmingham) and Critical Kinship Studies (with Dr Damien Riggs, Flinders University).

One of my main projects is Dementia Talking: Care, conversation and communication project, the empirical component of which was funded by the British Academy. The data-set consists of media representations of dementia, interview data with family carers of people living with dementia, and 45 hours of video-recordings of people with dementia in health care, care home and domestic settings. Dementia Talking aims to understand how talk about, and to, people with dementia is constructed, with the goal of improving communication with people with dementia, via the interlinked research questions: How is dementia represented in society? How are people with dementia communicated with, and about? How can the communication strategies of people with dementia and their carers be understood, improved and facilitated? In what ways can communication through everyday conversation improve the care of people with dementia?

Other current and recent projects include:

Civil Partnership, Marriage and Meaning Making for Same Sex Couples.Coventry University. April 2015-September 2016, CI with Dr Adam Jowett, Coventry University.

Beyond Boundaries: Exploring psychologies of ageing.BPS Research Seminars competition. April 2015-April 2016. PI.

Over the Rainbow - LGBT dementia group and intergenerational support project. Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project (DEEP) Involvement Fund via Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Comic Relief. February 2014-February 2015. PI.

More information about my research and publications can be found via:



Google Scholar

I am interested in supervising PhD students who wish to undertake projects aligned with my research interests, I can be contacted via email in the first instance

I teach on the BSc Social Psychology programme.


  • Riggs, D.W. & Peel, E. (2016) Critical Kinship Studies: An introduction to the field. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Peel, E. & Harding, R. (Eds.), (2016) Ageing and Sexualities: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Clarke, V., Ellis, S.J., Peel, E. & Riggs, D.W. (2010) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Queer Psychology: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Winner of the BPS Book Award 2013 (textbook).
  • Clarke, V. & Peel, E. (Eds.), (2007) Out in Psychology: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer perspectives. Chichester, New York & Brisbane: Wiley. Winner of the APA Division 44 Distinguished Book Award.
  • Peel, E., Clarke, V. & Drescher, J. (Eds.), (2007) British Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Psychologies: Theory, research and practice. New York: The Haworth Medical Press.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Peel, E.& Ellis, S.J. (frth) Aging and chronic illness. In K. Hall & R.E Barrett (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Peel, E.(frth, 2017) ‘It has had quite a lot of reverberations through the family’: Reconfiguring relationships through parent with dementia care. In R. Harding, R. Fletcher & C. Beasley (Eds.) Revaluing Care in Theory, Law & Policy: Cycles and Connections. London: Routledge.
  • Jowett, A. & Peel, E. (frth) LGBT and health. In B. Alder, C.S. Abraham, E. van Teijlingen & M. Porter (Eds.) Psychology and Sociology Applied to Medicine. 4th Edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  • Craven, C. & Peel, E. (frth) Queering reproductive loss: Exploring grief and memorialization. In E. Lind & A. Deveau (Eds.) Interrogating Reproductive Loss. Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press.
  • Tyler, A., Nodin, N., Peel, E.& Rivers, I. (2016) “I am getting old and that takes some getting used to”: Dimensions of body image for older men. In E. Peel & R. Harding (Eds.) Ageing and Sexualities: Interdisciplinary perspectives. (pp. 141-162) Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Peel, E.& Riggs, D.W. (2016) Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender psychologies. In N.A. Naples, R.C. Hoogland, M. Wickramasinghe & W.C.A. Wong (Eds.) The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies. London: John Wiley.
  • Peel, E. (2015) Diagnostic communication in the memory clinic: A conversation analytic perspective. Aging & Mental Health, 19(12), 1123-1130.
  • Peel, E. & Harding, R. (2015) A right to ‘dying well’ with dementia? Capacity, ‘choice’ and relationality. Feminism & Psychology, 25(1), 137-142.
  • Peel, E.(2015) Civil partnership ceremonies: (Hetero)normativity, ritual and gender. In J. Miles, P. Mody & R. Probert (Eds.) Marriage: Rites and Rights. (pp. 95-110) Oxford: Hart.
  • Peel E & Harding R (2015) A right to ‘dying well’ with dementia? Capacity, ‘choice’ and relationality. Feminism & Psychology, 25(1), 137-142.
  • Peel E (2014) LGBTQ psychology. In T Teo (Ed) Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology. (pp. 1075-1078) New York: Springer.
  • Craven C & Peel E (2014) Stories of grief and hope: Queer experiences of reproductive loss. In MF Gibson (Ed) Queering Maternity and Motherhood: Narrative and theoretical perspectives on queer conception, birth and parenting. (pp. 97-110) Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press.
  • Peel E (2014) ‘The living death of Alzheimer’s’ versus ‘Take a walk to keep dementia at bay’: Representations of dementia in print media and carer discourse. Sociology of Health and Illness, 36(6), 885-901.
  • Peel E & Harding R (2014) “It’s a huge maze, the system, it’s a terrible maze”: Dementia carers’ constructions of navigating health and social care services. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 13(5), 642-661.

Talks (selected)

  • Peel, E. (2016) Exploring family reactions to non-heterosexuals’ positive and negative life events in Western countries. 31st International Congress of Psychology, 24-29 July, Yokohama, Japan.
  • Tyler, A., Peel, E., Nodin, N. & Rivers, I. (2016) Dimensions of body image for older LGBT people in England. BPS Annual Conference, 26-28 April, Nottingham.
  • Peel, E. (2016) Fracturing and reconfiguring relationality: Discourses of parent with dementia care. Centre for Dementia, Institute of Mental Health, 17 March, University of Nottingham.
  • Peel, E. (2015) ‘There is a degree of reduced volume of brain substance and that’s significant’: Exploring diagnostic talk in memory clinic interaction. 14th International Pragmatics Conference, 26-31 July, Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Peel, E. (2015) ‘When you get to 84 you do forget’: Dilemmas in health communication about dementia. 9th Biennial International Society for Critical Health Psychology Conference, 12-15 July, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
  • Peel, E., Tyler, A., Nodin, N. & Rivers, I. (2015) “I am getting old and that takes some getting used to”: Dimensions of body image for older men. 9th Biennial International Society for Critical Health Psychology Conference, 12-15 July, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
  • Peel, E. (2015) Including sexuality and gender diversity in dementia-friendly communities. Dementia Friendly Communities Conference, 7 July, Birmingham. Available at:
  • Peel, E. & Coope, B. (2015) Diagnostic disclosure: communicating dementia diagnosis. Intervening Early in Dementia: Bringing Together Research and Practice, 23 June, University of Worcester. [Workshop]
  • Peel, E. & Craven, C. (2015) Stories of grief and hope: Queer experiences of reproductive loss. Queer Kinship and Relationships International Conference, 8-11 June,Olsztyn, Poland.
  • Peel, E. (2015) Living well and dying well with dementia: Exploring capacity and ‘choice’. Human Rights and Dementia Care Conference, 18 March, Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Peel, E. (2014) ‘Talkin’ bout a revolution, sounds like a whisper’: Discourse, diversity and social change. Inaugural Professorial Lecture. 9 July, University of Worcester.