Alison Armstrong

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PhD Student

Alison joined CES in October 2006, initially completing her MSc in Sustainable Development, which included an empirical study exploring the links between consumption and spirituality. She is currently a PhD student funded by the RESOLVE Project.
Alison's first degree was in Maths with Engineering from the University of Nottingham, and she worked for several years in engineering related positions in the aerospace and engineering software industries, both in the UK and USA before joining CES. She is a qualified yoga teacher (Devon School of Yoga, 2005), and has completed Mindfulness Training, Level 1 (Bangor University, 2011).

PhD

Alison’s PhD has focussed on an exploration of Mindfulness and Consumption. Mindfulness is the deliberate intention to remain non-judgementally aware of the present moment. It is associated with many mental, emotional and physical health benefits.
The first study sought to quantitatively ascertain whether higher levels of Mindfulness were associated with higher levels of satisfaction with life, ecological concern, and reported ethical purchasing, and with lower levels of materialism and tendency to compulsively buy. Most hypotheses were supported.
Alison’s second study was a qualitative exploration of the process of learning mindfulness. She interviewed recent participants on a Mindfulness-Based course, and unveiled several theories regarding the process of learning, the altered relationship the participants experienced with themselves, and consequently, the changed relationship with others, and their consumption patterns.
The final study was an intervention study, designed to understand the process and impacts of excess consumers learning mindfulness via an 8-week Mindfulness-Based course. She recruited compulsive buyers to learn mindfulness, and collected data before the intervention, after it, and 2/3 months later. The results offer an intriguing insight into the changes occurring in these compulsive buyers over a relatively short period of time. Changes include to psychological wellbeing, to their sense of self, and to their management of their addictive behaviour.

Alison is currently writing her thesis, which is due for submission early 2012. She can be contacted at a.armstrong@surrey.ac.uk.

Conference Presentations

Alison has presented her work at various National and International conferences as follows:

  • Armstrong, A.J., Gatersleben, B. and Jackson, T., 2011. Mindfulness and Compulsive Buying. RESOLVE Conference: Living Sustainably: Values, Policies, Practices. London.
  • Armstrong, A.J., Gatersleben, B. and Jackson, T., 2011. Mindfulness and Compulsive Buying: An Empirical Study (poster presentation). Mindfulness Conference, Bangor University.
  • Armstrong, A.J., Gatersleben, B. and Jackson, T., 2009. Mindfulness and Compulsive Consumption (poster presentation). RESOLVE Conference: Sustainable Lives. London.
  • Armstrong, A.J., Gatersleben, B. and Jackson, T., 2009. Can Mindfulness Help Reduce Consumption? A Study of Mindfulness and its link to Compulsive Buying, Materialism and Satisfaction with Life. 8th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Armstrong, A.J. and Jackson, T., 2008. Tied up in ‘Nots’: An Exploration of the Link Between Consumption and Spirituality. European Sociological Association conference on Meaning, Materiality and Power, Helsinki, Finland.