From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

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Staff Member Biography

Alice MacLean

position: Investigator Scientist

Contact Details

phone: 0141 353 7513


MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit,
University of Glasgow,
Top floor,
200, Renfield Street
G2 3QB

Biography and Interests

Alice is an investigator scientist in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, working within the research programme on Understanding and Improving Health within Settings and Organisations. Alice's current research interests centre around investigating the ways in which health improvement programmes delivered through organisations can reach wider populations through the diffusion of health behaviour change. In particular, Alice is interested in exploring how health behaviour change takes place within families, and specifically how one family member’s attempts to make changes are affected by and affect other family members. Recently Alice has been increasingly involved in intervention development and evaluation. This includes working on the Football Fans in Training (FFIT) randomised controlled trial as a fieldwork team leader and a member of the qualitative data collection and analysis team. Alice is also a grant-holder on a CSO-funded project which looks at the feasibility of adapting FFIT for delivery within secure institutions, and on an NIHR-funded project designed to investigate the long-term weight loss trajectories of the participants of the FFIT RCT.

Alice graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2001 with MA (Hons) Geography and Scottish Literature. In 2002, she took up a PhD studentship at the Unit which involved using qualitative methods to investigate gender differences in symptom reporting during childhood and adolescence. On completion of her PhD, Alice joined the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, to work on a qualitative longitudinal project which explored the ways in which employed parents and their primary school-aged children negotiate the demands of work and family over time. This study was part of the ESRC-funded ‘Timescapes’ qualitative longitudinal research initiative involving a consortium of 5 universities based across the UK. Between 2010 and 2014, Alice was based within the SPHSU's Gender and Health programme working on a range of mainly qualitative projects which explored the impact of social constructions of gender on experiences of morbidity and health behaviours, such as help-seeking. Alice also conducted a systematic review of quantitative research on changing gender differences in physical morbidity across childhood and adolescence.




Bunn C, Wyke S, Gray C, Maclean A, Hunt K. 'Coz football is what we all have': masculinities, practice, performance and effervescence in a weight-loss and healthy living programme for men. Sociology of Health and Illness 2016;38:812-28

open access  


Maclean A, Sweeting H, Walker L, Paterson C, Räisänen U, Hunt K. 'It’s not healthy and it’s decidedly not masculine': a media analysis of UK newspaper representations of eating disorders in males. BMJ Open 2015;5

open access  

Sweeting H, Walker L, MacLean A, Patterson C, Räisänen U, Hunt K. Prevalence of eating disorders in males: a review of rates reported in academic research and UK mass media. International Journal of Men's Health 2015;14


Hunt K, Gray CM, Maclean A, Smillie S, Bunn C, Wyke S. Do weight management programmes delivered at professional football clubs attract and engage high risk men? A mixed-methods study. BMC Public Health 2014;14:50

open access  

MacLean A, Harden J. Reflections on researching with children using ‘family group interviews’ as part of a qualitative longitudinal study. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies [special issue] 2014;5:649–665


MacLean A, Hunt K, Gray C, Smillie S, Wyke S. How do men’s female relatives feature in their accounts of changing eating practices during a weight-management programme delivered through professional football clubs?. International Journal of Men’s Health 2014;13:121-138


Harden J, Backett-Milburn K, MacLean A, Jamieson L. Home and away: constructing family and childhood in the context of working parenthood. Children's Geographies 2013;11:298-310

open access  

MacLean A, Hunt K, Sweeting H. Symptoms of mental health problems: children’s and adolescents’ understanding and implications for gender differences in help-seeking. Children & Society 2013;27:161–173

open access  

Maclean A, Sweeting H, Egan M, Der G, Adamson J, Hunt K. How robust is the evidence of an emerging or increasing female excess in physical morbidity between childhood and adolescence? Results of a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Social Science & Medicine 2013;78:96-112

pubmed  open access  


Egan M, MacLean A, Sweeting H, Hunt K. Comparing the effectiveness of using generic and specific search terms in electronic databases to identify health outcomes for a systematic review: a prospective comparative study of literature search methods. BMJ Open 2012;2:e001043.

pubmed  open access  

Harden J, MacLean A, Backett-Milburn K, Cunningham-Burley S. The ‘Family-Work Project’: children’s and parents’ experiences of working parenthood. Families, Relationships and Societies 2012;1:207-222

MacLean A, Harden J. Generating group accounts with parents & children in qualitative longitudinal research: a practical & ethical guide. Leeds: Economic and Social Research Council, 2012.

open access  


MacLean A, Egan M, Sweeting H, Adamson J, Hunt K. Systematic review protocol: how robust is the evidence of an emerging or increasing female excess in morbidity rates between childhood and adolescence?. Glasgow, 2011

open access  

MacLean A. Unfamiliar places and other people’s spaces: reflections on the practical challenges of researching families in their homes. In: Jamieson L, Simpson R, Lewis R, editors Researching families and relationships: reflections on process. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011:56-8.


Harden J, Backett-Millburn K, Hill M, MacLean A. Oh what a tangled web we weave: experiences of doing ‘multiple perspectives’ research in families. International Journal for Social Research Methodology 2010;13:441-452

MacLean A, Harden J, Backett-Millburn K. Financial trajectories: how parents and children talked about the recession. Twenty-First Century Society 2010;5:159-70

MacLean A, Sweeting H, Hunt K. ‘Rules’ for boys, ‘guidelines’ for girls: gender differences in symptom reporting during childhood and adolescence. Social Science & Medicine 2010;70:597-604



Hilton S, Cameron J, MacLean A, Petticrew M. Observations from behind the bar: changing patrons' behaviours in response to smoke-free legislation in Scotland. BMC Public Health 2008;8:238

pubmed  open access  


MacLean A. Rules for the boys, guidelines for the girls: a qualitative study of the factors influencing gender differences in symptom reporting during childhood and adolescence [PhD], MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit 2006.

open access