Cambridge University

Dr Eolene Boyd-MacMillan

Email Address:
Department of Psychiatry

Eolene Boyd-MacMillan is a social psychologist working in a public health framework with a public mental health promotion focus on wellbeing and resilience. She develops and tests community-based interventions to increase self-regulation and social cohesion and to reduce destructive social polarisation and inequalities.

I use participatory, collaborative and community-based research methods to develop and test contextually informed and culturally sensitive research programmes to promote wellbeing and multi-levelled resilience using the general cognitive processing model of IC or ‘integrative complexity’ (Suedfeld, 2010). IC research explores the interplay of how people think, feel, and interact with other people (individuals, groups, communities) by focusing on the 'how' of thinking, rather than on the ‘what’ of thinking or beliefs.

The two IC variables of differentiation and integration represent the developmental progression of self-regulation that underlies social and emotional skills and competencies. My IC research targets these processes when individuals/ groups engage with social differences and disagreements and tests for increased toleration and collaborative capacities using the cross-culturally validated IC empirical measurement frame with predictive values, along with resilience and other empirical measures. Investigator and participant self-reflexive and debrief protocols to safeguard and promote mental wellbeing among all involved in the research process are an important part of my research.

My IC work led to co-founding the IC-ADAPT Consortium together with medical faculty from Sweden (Prof Valerie DeMarinis, Dr Maria Nordendahl), Australia (Prof Derrick Silove), and Malaysia (Dr Alvin Tay). Integrating two interdisciplinary, evidence-based models, the ecosocial IC-ADAPT model is applicable across the lifecycle and has validity across cultures and contexts. IC-ADAPT bridges individuals/ family groups and structures/ systems through a community focus. IC-ADAPT-SEL is an adaptation of IC-ADAPT designed to provide social and emotional learning (SEL) programmatic support within a MHPSS framework in educational settings for refugees, migrants, displaced and other vulnerable learners in challenging contexts (Boyd-MacMillan and DeMarinis, 2020; UNICEF-Cambridge-Microsoft partnership, The Learning Passport, Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment ).

Current research includes the EU Horizon 2020 project DRIVE exploring in four countries the role of social exclusion and public mental health factors (e.g., wellbeing and resilience) as contributors to reciprocal, destructive social polarisation; an on-line survey exploring the relationships among zero-sum mindset, social networks, and COVID-related experiences in a northern European city; and the development of a new experiential and participatory IC intervention for young people and those working with them in Sweden, including contributing to the feasibility testing across diverse groups in a pilot study led by Umeå University, Sweden.

Research pillars
  • Health inequalities
  • Public mental health
Research themes
  • Health economics
  • Ethics, legal and social implications
Areas of Interest
  • Public mental health promotion-wellbeing
  • Interdisciplinary/ Multidisciplinary research
  • Safeguarding
  • Social inclusion/exclusion and justice/injustice

News and Events

The Government’s Healthy Eating Strategy: Can we afford to scrap it?
The Government’s Healthy Eating Strategy: Can we afford to scrap it? - 11 Oct 2022

What harm does junk food really do us? Do we need legislation to control its consumption? Recent research has found a connection between the dramatic global rise in cancer amongst people aged 20-49 and the increase in consumption of ultra-processed, or junk, food. Yet the UK Government is reported to be considering scrapping its healthy eating strategy.


Towards scalable diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease using everyday navigation
Towards scalable diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease using everyday navigation

Spatial navigation is one of the first cognitive abilities to be affected in AD: the disease pathology appears early in the brain’s navigation centre (i.e., medial temporal lobe and parietal structures). Previous studies using Virtual Reality found that navigation features help to identify preclinical AD and can predict the clinical progression too.