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Name: Brendon Barnes
Department of Psychology Staff, Faculty of Humanities  Staff Members

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About Prof. Brendon Barnes

Area of Specialization​

  • Climate change, environment, and psychology (CEP)
  • Behaviour-change and CEP
  • Environmental and climate activism
  • Methodologies to strengthen CEP

My research focuses on psychology, environment and health in the global South. I have worked on studies of air pollution, urban housing, lead poisoning, mercury, as well as water and sanitation. I contribute to this field in the following ways: to identify the association between toxic environments and child development, to deepen and critique the concept of ‘behaviour’ in environmental health, to understand the role of activism in environmental health promotion, and to develop the research methodologies we use to study environment and health. Key projects include the behaviour and household air pollution project; the household, environment and development (HEAD) study and the politics of environmental health project. I teach in the areas of health psychology, public health, and research methodology at the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Recent publications

  • Barnes, B.R. (2019) Quasi-Experimental Designs in behavioural health research. Transforming Research Methods in the Social Sciences: Case Studies from South Africa in S. Laher, S. Kramer, and A. Fynn (Eds). Johannesburg: WITS University Press
  • Barnes, B. R. (2019) Transformative mixed methods research in South Africa: contributions to social justice. Transforming Research Methods in the Social Sciences: Case Studies from South Africa in S. Laher, S. Kramer, and A. Fynn (Eds). Johannesburg: WITS University Press.
  • Barnes, B. R. (2018). Politics and activism in the water and sanitation wars in South Africa. Journal of Social and Political Psychology 6(2), 543-555.
  • Barnes, B. R. (2018) Decolonising research methodologies: opportunity and caution. South African Journal of Psychology 48(3), 379-387.
  • Mathee, A., Barnes, B. R., Naidoo, S., Swart, A., & Rother, H. (2018) Development for children’s environmental health in South Africa: past gains and future opportunities. Development Southern Africa 35(2), 283-292.
  • Barnes, B. R. (2018) Child lead poisoning in South Africa: implications for psychological research. South African Journal of Psychology, 48(4), 410-419.
  • Barnes, B. R. & Milovanovic, M. (2015) Psychology, class and the psychologization of resistance. Theory and Psychology, 25(2), 222-238.
  • Barnes, B. R. (2015) Critiques of health behaviour change programs. South African Journal of Psychology, 45(4), 430-438.
  • Palmary, I & Barnes, B. R. (2015) Critical psychology in Africa: the impossible task. In I Parker (Ed) Handbook of Critical Psychology, 397-405.
  • Barnes, B. R., Rosenbaum, J., Jagoe, K., Graham, J., Mehta, S., Williams, K. (2015) Behavior change communication: A key ingredient for advancing clean cooking. Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, 1-4.
  • Feit, M. N., Mathee, A., Harpham, T., Barnes, B. R. (2014). Using behaviour change to reduce child lead exposure in resource poor contexts. Health Education Research, 29 (6) 933-940.
  • Barnes, B. R. & Cooper, S. (2014). Reflections on South African psychology with Saths Cooper. South African Journal of Psychology, 44, 326-332.
  • Barnes, B. R. (2014). Behavioural change, indoor air pollution and child respiratory health in developing countries: a review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(5), 4607-4618