Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Stephanie Easton

Project: A Theory-, Evidence- and Person-Based Approach to Developing a Digital Intervention for Adolescents with Asthma

PhD overview

PhD Title: A Theory-, Evidence- and Person-based Approach to Developing a Digital Intervention for Adolescents with Asthma

Funded by: National Institute Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit (NIHR RfPB)

Supervisors: Professor Graham Roberts and Dr Ben Ainsworth

Based at: University Hospital Southampton


Stephanie Easton
Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research PhD student Stephanie Easton

Young people with asthma can experience poor quality of life despite using appropriate medication. Many also experience dysfunctional breathing. This means that when they have an asthma attack, they breathe too quickly and rely too much on the muscles in their upper chest. This dysfunctional breathing can make them feel worse and significantly impacts on their quality of life. Both adolescents and their parents recognise the importance of remaining calm during an asthma attack. A DVD-based, self-management tool (BREATHE) has been successfully developed to teach adults breathing exercises. However, it is not in a format that adolescents will engage with. There is also no robust evidence for the value of breathing retraining in younger patients.

Therefore, the aim of my PhD is to repurpose and optimise the effective adult BREATHE breathing retraining intervention to create an intervention specifically for young people with asthma, and then to assess its acceptability and feasibility, as preparatory work for a definitive trial.

1. To use theory-, evidence- and person-based behavioural analysis to identify the key, young person specific, behavioural issues, needs and challenges that the intervention must address (Stage 1).

2. To develop and optimise the intervention (Stage 2).

3. To undertake a feasibility trial assessing acceptability and feasibility of the intervention (Stage 3).

Find out more about the BREATHE4T study

BREATHE4T project page

About me

I have previously completed a BSc Psychology degree at the University of Southampton. Since my Undergraduate, I have worked as a research assistant on various projects in Health Psychology. My research interests include behaviour change, digital interventions and adolescent health.


  • Easton, S., Morton, K., Tappy, Z., Francis, D., & Dennison, L. (2018). Young people’s experiences of viewing the fitspiration social media trend: Qualitative study. Journal of medical Internet research, 20(6), e219. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.9156
  • Bradbury, K., Steele, M., Corbett, T., Geraghty, A. W., Krusche, A., Heber, E., ... & Yardley, L. (2019). Developing a digital intervention for cancer survivors: an evidence-, theory-and person-based approach. NPJ digital medicine, 2(1), 1-13. DOI 10.1038/s41746-019-0163-4


This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit (PB-PG-0817-20038). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. This work is carried out with the support of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research [AUK-AC-2012-01 and AUK-AC-2018-01] and AsthmaUK.

I would also like to acknowledge the patient and public involvement members involved in co-developing the intervention.