Senior Research Associate
Co-Director of IC Research, Cambridge Public Health
Co-founder, IC-ADAPT Consortium, University of Cambridge
Member of Cambridge Public Health Research Group
I am 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 all 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.
Past work includes directing the IC research programmes, ‘I SEE! Scotland’, funded by the Scottish Government (2012-2017) IC intervention in Scotland), ‘Conflict Transformation’, funded by Ripon College Cuddesdon, University of Oxford (2012-2018), and associate teaching in the School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh (2007-2011).
DeMarinis, Valerie; Boyd-MacMillan, Eolene; Nordendahl, Maria (2021) Public Mental Health Overview Report. Drive Project Research Report Series 2, The Hague: Leiden University.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2020). ‘Recognising social and emotional learning in the curriculum’ in W. Millard and J. McIntosh (Eds) Social and emotional learning and the new normal: A summary of the Centre for Education and Youth and STiR Education Roundtable, with accompanying think pieces. London: CFEY and STiR Education, p.17.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. and DeMarinis, V. (2020). Learning Passport: Curriculum Framework (IC-ADAPT SEL high level programme design). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press & Cambridge Assessment.
Cambridge University Press & Cambridge Assessment. (2020). ‘Section Four, Mental health, psychosocial support and social and emotional learning’ in The Learning Passport: Research and Recommendations Report. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press & Cambridge Assessment. (Section Four authored by Boyd-MacMillan, E. and DeMarinis, V.)
Boyd-MacMillan, E., Chapman, T., Jofre Bosch, A., Konradi, M., Nordbruch, G., Pausch, M., Petit, É. (2019). Assessing polarisation at the local level – methodology and toolbox for local polarisation audits working paper, Efus BRIDGE Progject. Efus: Paris, France.
De Marinis, V. & Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2019). A mental health approach to understanding violent extremism. RAN H&SC ex post paper, 3 June 2019.
De Marinis, V, Nordendahl, M, Arnetz, B, Arnetz, J, Sandlund, M, Näslund, U, Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2018). Research Plan Report for the Pilot Study on Integrative Complexity (IC) Thinking in Sweden: a health promotion course/intervention for countering extremism for youth and young adults. Umeå University, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine. Umeå: Regional Ethics Committee 2018-report number 463-31.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2017). The vicious cycle of extremisms and polarisations (keynote). Published proceedings: Local Institutions against violent extremism II (LIASE 2): The rise of polarisation and radicalisation in Europe:
Tackling all forms of violent extremism at the local level. European Forum for Urban Security 19th May 2017, Rimini, Italy.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2017). IC Thinkers are prepared for Digital Citizenship. Keynote address delivered March 2017. Denmark Learning Festival, Copenhagen. Published proceedings.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2016). IC Thinking: Critical thinking and media literacy. Keynote address delivered April 2016, The Hague. Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science, The Netherlands. Published proceedings.
Boyd-MacMillan, E., Campbell, C., & Furey, A. (2016). An IC intervention for post-conflict Northern Ireland secondary schools. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 111-124.
Boyd-MacMillan, E., Andrews Fearon, P., Ptolomey, A., & Mathieson, L. (2016). I SEE! Scotland: Tackling sectarianism and promoting community psychosocial health. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 53-78.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2016). Increasing cognitive complexity and collaboration across communities: Being Muslim Being Scottish. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 79 -110.
Andrews Fearon, P. & Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2016). Complexity under stress: Integrative approaches to overdetermined vulnerabilities. Journal of Strategic Security, 9(4), 11-31.
Savage, S. & Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2010). Conflict in Relationships: Understand it, Overcome it, London: Lion Hudson, Plc.
Boyd-MacMillan, E. (2009). ‘Vision in the Eye of the Beholder: Translation or Transformation?’ N. van Deusen (Ed.) Dreams and Visions, The Netherlands: Brill Publications.
Boyd-MacMillan, E., Savage, S., & Liht, J. (2008). Transforming Conflict: Conflict Transformation Amongst Senior Church Leaders with Different Theological Stances, York: FCL Press.