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Dr Silvia Riva

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Silvia Riva

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 1039


Silvia Riva is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at St. Mary’s University. Silvia joined St. Mary’s in 2019 from the University of Wolverhampton where she held the position of Marie Curie Research Fellow (H2020-MSCA-IF-2015) working on a project about decision processes under stress and personality.

Silvia obtained a Bachelor degree in Psychology in 2003 and a Master Degree in Psychology in 2005 from the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Milan (Italy). She obtained her PhD (Doctor Europaeus) from the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Milan in 2012 investigating the use of heuristics and reasoning processes in medical choices. 

Academic Responsibility: Careers/Employability Lead (CEL)


Research profile

Research interests

Silvia’s area of expertise is decision making in different conditions (stress, risk, uncertainty) and applied to several contexts (especially in health). At a theoretical level she is interested in the issue of how people make good decisions to improve individual well-being, health-related quality of life and how do they cope with the challenges of the environment (e.g. diseases, stress, risks).

At a practical level, she is interested in studying potential environmental or educational interventions designed to promote healthier and safety environment. Silvia is also a Cognitive Behavioural psychotherapist. Her approach is grounded in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and in the Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy.

Selected publications

  • Riva, S. et al. (2020). Long-term neuropsychological sequelae, emotional wellbeing and quality of life in patients with acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Haematologica, 105(7), 1957–1962.
  • Riva, S., et al. (2020) A qualitative analysis and development of a conceptual model assessing financial toxicity in cancer patients accessing the universal healthcare system. Support Care Cancer.
  • Riva, (2019). Cognitive tips for changing mindsets: improving policies to protect health and environment. J. Epidemiol Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2018-210465
  • Turner, Cutica, Riva et al., (2019). Level of empowerment and decision-making style of women with epilepsy in childbirth age. Epilepsy Behav, 93:32-37.
  • Riva et al., (2018). Optimistic bias in physical activity: When exercise flows into addiction. Int. J. High. Risk. Behav. Addict. , 7(3):e67697
  • Riva et al., (2016). The choice dilemma in chronic hematological conditions: why choosing is not only a medical issue? A psycho-cognitive perspective. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol, 99, 134-140.

View Dr Riva's profile on Google Scholar

Teaching areas

  • Research Methods and Statistics (SPSS)
  • Social Brain

Research interests

  • Decision making
  • Health outcomes

Research Projects

PhD supervision

Silvia is keen to supervise research projects of PhD students in any of the above or related areas. Please contact her by emailing if you would like to discuss projects further.

Current students:

Mr Alkesh Patel: NIHR Applied Research Collaboration-Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Programme 2021

Topic: Financial toxicity in the UK

Ms Natasha Biscoe: Research assistant

Topic: COVID 19

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), British Psychological Society (BPS)

Media enquiries

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