Leanne Shearsmith

Leanne Shearsmith


I am currently a Research Assistant working within the Academic Unit of Primary/Palliative Care, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences. I’m working on the MODs study, an NIHR-funded multi-centre randomised controlled trial which aims to develop and evaluate a psychological intervention to manage depression among older people with long term physical health conditions. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began I have been working on an adapted version of MODs: the Behavioural Activation in Social IsoLation (BASIL+) study. This programme of research aims to evaluate a brief psychological intervention for older people to mitigate depression and loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic. BASIL+ has been classed as an Urgent Public Health study by the Department of Health and Social Care and the National Institute for Health Research.

Prior to this I worked for 3 years in the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Group at St James’ Hospital, working as a Research Assistant across several projects. My role involved participant recruitment in outpatient clinics, the collection and analysis of PROMs and quality of life data, and conducting qualitative interviews with oncology patients. The projects I worked on primarily focused on the feasibility of online symptom reporting in cancer patients on active treatment, routine follow up or early phase clinical trials. I also worked on the DECIDE project, developing a reliable and valid measure to assess the needs of carers of people with dementia who are living in the community. In addition to my academic expertise, I have experience of delivering brief psychological interventions for depression in older adults, and I previously worked as a care assistant providing personal care, companionship, and administering medication for vulnerable clients in a community setting. 

Research interests

  • Chronic illness and multimorbidity

  • Psychological interventions for mental health problems

  • Psychosocial determinants of outcomes in long-term illness

  • Eating behaviour

  • Behaviour change

  • Quality of life

  • Randomised Controlled Trials

  • Qualitative Research Methods

  • Dementia


  • BSc Psychology (Industrial)

Student education

I currently tutor on the Individuals & Populations Year 1 Undergraduate Medicine (MBChB) course. This involves leading seminars with a focus on human experience and behaviour in health and illness, and the ways in which people and societies organise themselves to deal with the consequences of illness. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Patient Centred Outcomes
  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences