Professor Amy Chandler

Professor of the Sociology of Health and Illness

Contact details



Doorway 6
Old Medical School
Teviot Place

Post code


  • Monday-Thursday (I work compressed hours over four days)


Personal Chair of the Sociology of Health and Illness. 

Formerly Chancellor's Fellow in Health, through Arts, Design and Humanities (2016-2020), Senior Lecturer (2020-2023). 

Previously I was Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Lincoln (2015-16), and Research Fellow in the Centre for Population Health Sciences (now the Usher Institute)/Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh (2010-15).


PhD Sociology, University of Edinburgh, 2010

MSc Research, University of Edinburgh, 2006

MA (Hons) Sociology, University of Edinburgh, 2003

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of the Editorial Team, Sociological Review.

Editorial Board member and Chair, Sociology of Health and Illness.

Undergraduate teaching

I contribute to the MA Health Science and Society.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome enquiries from students interested in pursuing PhD study that uses qualitative/arts-based methodologies on the following topic areas: sociology of mental health, sociological or anthropological studies of suicide/self-harm.  

Students whose work aligns with the Suicide Cultures research project are especially welcome. 


Current PhD students supervised

Lisa Quigley, Health in Social Science, Criminal Justice and Suicide

Clare Wyllie, Health in Social Science, Online Gambling and Gender

Hannah Kimler, Health in Social Science, Quality of life for people with Fecal Incontinence 

Emily Yue, Health in Social Science, Wellcome Trust Suicide Cultures PhD Student, migrant suicide - 

Estibaliz Saenz, Korean Studies, PPLS, Suicide and 'success' among South Korean youth

Valeria Lembo, Health in Social Science, ECRED, Creative leisure activities among people living with dementia

Georgi Gill, Health in Social Science/Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry, Poetry and Multiple Sclerosis Study -

Catalina Martin, Health in Social Science/Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health, Meanings of 'home' among LGBTQ Young People


Past PhD students supervised

Liliana Arias Urueña, Usher Institute, Cultural perspectives towards Cleft  Lip and Palate in children and impact on mental health (completed 2021)

Annie Taylor, Edinburgh Napier University, Alcohol use in pregnancy (completed 2021)

Research summary

I am a sociologist, specialising in the sociology of health and illness, with a particular focus on suicide, self-harm, mental health and substance use. Much of my current and ongoing work addresses suicide and self-harm. 

Current research interests

My research spans two substantive areas: I work primarily on sociological research addressing suicide and self-harm (Suicide Cultures and Suicide in/as Politics are current grants). Alongside this, I maintain interest and activity in drug-use, especially in the context of pregnancy and parenting (currently via the Relations study, led by University of Stirling).  I specialise in qualitative approaches, including drawing on arts-based/arts-informed methodologies.  Across all of my research I am interested in exploring the meanings of often marginalised practices, among diverse groups. For instance, my research on self-harm has involved working with adults, young people and General Practitioners to examine how social location and context shapes the way that self-harm is accounted for. 

Past research interests

Previous research has included: Life-story research with men in mid-life, exploring relationships between alcohol use, self-harm and suicide (funded by Alcohol Research UK). Exploring the risks and realities of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Parent and professional accounts (funded by Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation), in collaboration with colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University, and NHS Lothian. Qualitative research with young people addressing understandings of self-harm, drug and alcohol use (funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust) Research with General Practitioners, exploring understandings of self-harm and suicide (funded by Chief Scientists' Office, in collaboration with Chris Burton (University of Sheffield), Steve Platt (Edinburgh), and Caroline King (Glasgow Caledonian University).

Knowledge exchange

I contribute to the Scottish Government's suicide prevention and self-harm strategies. 

I have collaborated with Alcohol Change UK on projects addressing self-harm and alcohol use:

I have collaborated with Samaritans on a number of projects, including:


Affiliated research centres

Project activity

Suicide Cultures (Wellcome Trust): Multi-site, multi-method qualitatively driven study into meanings and practices of suicide across Scotland.

Suicide in/as Politics (Leverhulme Trust): Qualitative, interdisciplinary project analysing the construction and contestation of suicide in UK politics and policy, and among ‘private’ citizens.

The Relations Study (ESRC): Relational ethnography of the governance of parental drug use in Scotland and England. 

Current project grants

Suicide Cultures (2020-2025) - Funded by a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award
Suicide in/as Politics (2020-2023) - Funded by a Leverhulme Trust Project Grant, with co-investigator Dr Ana Jordan, University of Lincoln.
The RELATIONS study (2020-2023) - Funded by an ESRC Large Grant, led by Prof Anne Whittaker, University of Stirling.

Past project grants

2018-2020: Wellcome Trust/University of Edinburgh ISSF Grant 'Suicide Cultures'
2018-2019: British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant 'Creative approaches to self-harm in young people: a collaborative, arts-based inquiry into meaning'
2018-2019: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland 'Creative approaches to self-harm in young people: a collaborative, arts-based inquiry into meaning'
2015: Alcohol Research UK. ‘Alcohol Stories: Using the life grid to explore how men in mid-life talk about the relationship between alcohol, mental health, self-harm and suicide’. Principal Investigator.
2014: Edinburgh & Lothian Health Foundation. ‘Risks and realities of neonatal abstinence syndrome’. Co-investigator.
2014: Innovation Initiative Grant, University of Edinburgh. ‘Animating Harm: A Public Engagement Grant – self-harm, drug and alcohol use among young people’. Principal Investigator.
2013: Sir Halley Stewart Trust Fund Grant Award. ‘Exploring understandings about self-harm, drug and alcohol use among young people in diverse socioeconomic contexts’ Principal Investigator.
2013: Chief Scientist’s Office of the Scottish Government. ‘General Practitioner understandings and management of self-harm: a qualitative study’. Co-Investigator.
2013: Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh. ‘Self-harm: Ethical Considerations of an Embodied Practice. Principal Investigator.

View all 35 publications on Research Explorer