Portrait of Dr Dawn Leeming Dr Dawn Leeming

View research degree topics that Dr Dawn Leeming might supervise

d.leeming@hud.ac.uk | 01484 473545


Dawn joined the University in 2009, having previously worked at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness and the University of Northampton. Earlier in her career she was a clinical psychologist in the NHS, working with older adults in a community mental health team in Leicestershire. She obtained her BA (Hons) in Psychology from Nottingham University in 1985, her Diploma in Clinical Psychology in 1991 and her PhD in 2008 from the University of East London where she was investigating the management and repair of shame. She is a Chartered Psychologist, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Division of Clinical Psychology, the BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section and the International Society of Critical Health Psychology.

Research and Scholarship

University research group memberships

Dawn is currently a member of the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and the Centre for Applied Psychological and Health Research.

Research interests

Dawn has a wide range of research interests in the areas of health and well-being. In particular her research has focused on women’s experiences of breastfeeding and the social construction of these; the use of case formulation within psychological therapy; the management and repair of shame and the impact of mental health stigma on users of mental health services. Her research uses mostly qualitative methods and she is interested in the relative contributions of both contextual constructionist approaches and critical discursive methods for researching aspects of subjective experience.

Grants awarded:

  • 2004 - £15,717, British Academy Larger Research Grant Award. 'Is breast experienced as best? Piloting audio diaries to explore women's lived experience of breastfeeding.' (with Johnson, S., Lyttle, S. and Williamson, I.)
  • 2011 - £110 ESRC bursary for training in research methods.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Marshall, J., Leeming, D. and Hinsliff, S. (2017) ‘A Meta-Synthesis Examining the Role of Shame in Support for Breastfeeding Mothers’. In: 31st International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress, 18-22 June 2017, Toronto, Canada

Leeming, D., Marshall, J. and Hinsliff, S. (2017) ‘Managing self-conscious emotion in breastfeeding support: a theoretically informed meta-synthesis’. In: Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives, 12th-14th June 2017, Grange Over Sands, Lake District, UK

Leeming, D., Marshall, J. and Locke, A. (2017) ‘Understanding process and context in breastfeeding support interventions: The potential of qualitative researchMaternal and Child Nutrition . ISSN 1740-8695


Leeming, D (2016) ‘Changing the Conversation: Shelving ShameNCT Perspective (33).

Smith, V., Leeming, D. and Burr, V. (2016) ‘Philosophy and Identity: The Relationship Between Choice of Existential Orientation and Therapists’ Sense of SelfExistential Analysis , 27 (2), pp. 287-302. ISSN 1752-5616

Leeming, D (2016) ‘Managing the dynamics of shame in breastfeeding support’. In: Social experiences of breastfeeding: building bridges between research and policy: ESRC seminar series, 2nd March 2016, University of Cardiff, Wales


Leeming, D. and Marshall, J. (2015) ‘The concept of shame and how understanding this might enhance support for breastfeeding mothers’. In: Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood Conference, 10th - 12th June 2015, Grange Over Sands, Lake District, UK

Leeming, D (2015) ‘Mothers of lower socio-economic status make the decision to formula-feed in the context of culturally shared expectations and practices. Invited commentary on: Carroll M, Gallagher L, Clarke M, et al. Artificial milk-feeding women’s views of their feeding choice in Ireland. Midwifery 2015; 31:640–6.Evidence Based Nursing , 31, pp. 640-646. ISSN 1367-6539

Leeming, D (2015) Breast and the rest Available at: http://blogs.hud.ac.uk/academics/blog/2015/03/23/breastfeeding-linked-to-higher-iq/

Williamson, I., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Johnson, S. (2015) ‘Evaluating the audio-diary method in qualitative researchQualitative Research Journal , 15 (1), pp. 20-34. ISSN 1443-9883


Leeming, D., Brooks, J., Burr, V. and Lucock, M. (2014) ‘Therapists' perspectives on using case formulation’. In: 5th Qualitative Research on Mental Health Conference, 2-4th September 2014, Chania, Greece

Hill, J. and Leeming, D. (2014) ‘Reconstructing ‘the Alcoholic’: Recovering from Alcohol Addiction and the Stigma this EntailsInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction , 12 (6), pp. 759-771. ISSN 1557-1874


Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2013) ‘Exploring paralysis in the face of shame: An example of pluralism in qualitative analysis.’. In: Annual conference of Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section of British Psychological Society, 4-6 September, Huddersfield

Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2013) ‘Shame and using mental health services: Connection and validation or alienation and objectification?’. In: 8th biennial conference of International Society of Critical Health Psychology, July, 2013, Bradford, UK

Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2013) ‘Making use of expertise: A qualitative analysis of the experience of breastfeeding support for first time mothersMaternal & Child Nutrition . ISSN 1740-8709

Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2013) ‘Socially sensitive lactation: Exploring the social context of breastfeedingPsychology and Health , 28 (4), pp. 450-468. ISSN 0887-0446

Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2013) ‘Managing shame: An interpersonal perspectiveBritish Journal of Social Psychology , 52 (1), pp. 140-160. ISSN 0144-6665


Williamson, I., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Johnson, S. (2012) ‘It should be the most natural thing in the world: exploring first-time mothers' breastfeeding difficulties in the UK using audio-diaries and interviewsMaternal and Child Nutrition , 8 (4), pp. 434-447. ISSN 1740-8695

Johnson, S., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Williamson, I. (2012) ‘Empowerment or regulation? Exploring the implications of women’s perspectives on pumping breast milk’. In: Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities. : Rutgers University Press. . ISBN 9780813553030

Johnson, S., Leeming, D., Williamson, I. and Lyttle, S. (2012) ‘Maintaining the 'good maternal body': Expressing milk as a way of negotiating the demands and dilemmas of early infant feeding.Journal of Advanced Nursing . ISSN 0309-2402


Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2011) ‘Becoming a breastfeeding mother: An interactionist perspective’. In: Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives, 8-10 June 2011, Lancashire, UK


Leeming, D (2010) ‘Book review 'The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry into the Condition of Victimhood by Didier Fassin & Richard RechtmanSocial psychological review , 12 (2), pp. 37-40. ISSN 1369-7862

Leeming, D., Boyle, M. and MacDonald, J. (2010) ‘Managing shame in relation to both diagnostic & psychosocial conceptualisations of psychological problems’. In: The 3rd Qualitative Research on Mental Health Conference, 25-27 August, 2010, University of Nottingham, UK

Johnson, S., Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Williamson, I. (2010) ‘Empowerment or regulation? Exploring the implications of women's perspectives on pumping and expressing breast milk’. In: 5th Breastfeeding and Feminism Symposium: Informing Public Health Approaches, 20th March, 2010, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA


Johnson, S., Williamson, I., Lyttle, S. and Leeming, D. (2009) ‘Expressing yourself: A feminist analysis of talk around expressing breast milkSocial Science and Medicine , 69 (6), pp. 900-907. ISSN 0277-9536

Leeming, D., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Lyttle, S. (2009) ‘This is a natural thing, why can I not do this?: The impact of early breastfeeding difficulties on first-time mothersJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology , 27 (3), p. 314. ISSN 02646838

Leeming, D., Boyle, M. and MacDonald, J. (2009) ‘Accounting for psychological problems: How user-friendly is formulation?Clinical Psychology Forum , 200, pp. 12-15. ISSN 1473-8279


Lyttle, S., Williamson, I., Johnson, S. and Leeming, D. (2007) ‘Using audio-diaries to capture lived experience in health psychology: technological, methodological and epistemological issues’. In: 5th Biennial conference of the International Society of Critical Health Psychology, 18th-21st July 2007, Boston, USA , p. 21


Leeming, D., Boyle, M. and MacDonald, J. (2005) ‘‘Even though I do not regret what I did,…I felt ashamed’: Shame and the Judgement of Others’. In: 2005 Scottish Branch Annual Conference BPS, 25-26th November 2005, Saluation Hotel, Perth


Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2004) ‘Shame as a social phenomenon: A critical analysis of the concept of dispositional shamePsychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice , 77 (3), pp. 375-396. ISSN 1476-0835


Leeming, D. and Boyle, M. (2003) ‘Shame as a social phenomenonProceedings of the British psychological society , 11 (2), p. 295. ISSN 1350-472X


Leeming, D., Lyttle, S. and Hanley, M. (2002) ‘Young people’s images of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy , 9 (2), pp. 169-185. ISSN 0968-7637


Leeming, D (1998) ‘Shame and later lifePSIGE Newsletter , 67, pp. 17-21.


Membership of editorial review boards:

Journal of Human Lactation

Journal and grant application reviewing:

Qualitative Research in Psychology; Feminism & Psychology; Social Psychology Quarterly; Psychology & Health; Journal of Human Lactation; Maternal & Child Nutrition; Critical Discourse Studies; Journal of Women, Politics, & Policy; Women’s Studies International Forum; Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy; Addiction; Medical Research Council; National Institute for Health Research.

Recent external examining:

University of Northampton; University of East Anglia; University of Alberta, Canada

Research Degree Supervision

Currently supervising doctoral and masters research in the following areas:

  • Shame in psychotherapy training
  • The practice of existential psychotherapy
  • The lived experience of voice hearing for people with learning disabilities
  • Service users’ experiences of accessing a mental health employment service
  • An ethnographic study of support services for sex workers
  • The discursive construction of media representations of welfare support for those with mental health problems

Dawn has previously supervised postgraduate research on:

  • Infant feeding experiences of women diagnosed with an eating disorder
  • Community nurses’ perspectives on working with South Asian survivors of domestic violence
  • The lived experience of crying for men
  • The role of honour, shame and izzat in shaping British Pakistani perceptions of gender and identity
  • The impact of divorce on British Muslim women

Dawn is also interested in supervising postgraduate research on the following topics:

  • Shame - subjective experience, discursive construction, resistance, management, repair
  • Qualitative explorations of aspects of the subjective experience of psychological problems and of accessing mental health services
  • Transition to motherhood, particularly breastfeeding
  • Alternatives to psychiatric models of psychological problems

Postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Dawn Leeming


MSc by Research

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Deputy chair School Research Ethics Panel
  • Member of management committee, Centre for Applied Psychological and Health Research

Teaching and Professional Activities

Module Leader:

  • HHB2007 Exploring Clinical Psychology

Other teaching:

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Evaluating theories of counselling
  • Psychological Difficulties
  • Psychology of Health and Well-being
  • Critical perspectives on Individual Differences