Professor Tamar Pincus

Personal profile

Professor Tamar Pincus holds a PhD in psychology (University College London), as well as Masters Degrees in experimental research methods in psychology (UCL), and epidemiology (Cambridge University). She is a registered practicing practitioner with the Health and Care Professionals Council. Her research has embraced a variety of methodologies, including experimental, epidemiological and qualitative. The research has included investigation of cognitive biases in pain patients; the psychological predictors for poor outcome in low back pain, and the study of clinicians’ beliefs and behaviours and their effect on patients with pain, especially in reference to effective reassurance and return to work. She has been involved in several randomized controlled trials. Throughout she has collaborated closely with researchers from many disciplines, including doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and clinical psychologists, from a multitude of institutions, in the UK and internationally. She also convened the international consensus group to establish what factors and measures should be included in prospective cohorts investigating the transition from early to persistent back pain. Most recently her research has focused on delivering effective reassurance to patients in primary care, and studying the use of technology to deliver rehabilitation. Her practical work has focused on training practitioners in effective communication skills and fostering awareness of patients’ psychological needs and concerns.


Personal profile

Research Impact


My research on the psychology of pain has informed UK healthcare policy, including NICE guidelines. I have also advised the UK Department of Work and Pensions to shape large-scale trials aimed at returning people with pain to work. My research has contributed to new triage and referral systems and referral in UK and USA hospitals. I have also trained many practitioners in eight countries in psychologically-informed practice, and I am helping develop curriculum recommendations for psychologists working with people with pain in Europe.

I have also engaged with patients through online videos, interviews and webinars. My video “Pain and Me”, which communicates a psychological model of pain through accessible metaphors, has been watched over 20,000 times-

My research suggests that it is essential to identify which patients with pain are also experiencing psychological risk factors (such as depression, fear and avoidance) to prevent the progression to chronic disability.


You can read more about the research projects and the training in The Research Centre for the Study of Pain and Wellbeing here:

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