Professor Joanne Williams

Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology

  • Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Children, Adolescents and Animals Research (CAAR)

Contact details



Room 2.4, Doorway 6, Medical Quad, Teviot Place

Post code


I am an applied developmental psychologist with research interests in child and adolescent health and mental health, the development of health concepts,  and children’s interactions with animals.

My career in Edinburgh began as a post-doctoral research fellow examining psychological factors associated with child and adolescent injuries. In 1996, I took a two-year lectureship in Psychology, and from 1998 to 2012 I was Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Psychology, in Moray House School of Education.

Since 2012 I have been Senior Lecturer/Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology  in Clinical and Health Psychology.  I coordinate Children, Adolescents and Animals Research (caar), and I am Director of the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology. I  contribute developmental psychology teaching on a range of postgraduate programmes including the MSc Psychology of Mental Health (Conversion).

I am a Board member for the International Society for Anthrozoology and will be leading the organising committee for ISAZ 2023, which will be in Edinburgh.

Postgraduate teaching

  • Developmental Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology
  • PhD and MSc research supervision

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am always interested to hear from students wishing to pursue research degrees. I am particularly interested to work with students on the role of animals in children’s development and mental health, animal-assisted therapies for children and adolescents, and psychological factors in child and adolescent cruelty to animals.  Please also contact me if you wish to research children’s understanding of mental health/illness or evaluate psycho-education interventions.

Current PhD students supervised

Amber Arnold

Hasan Huseyin Ates

Unaiza Iqbal

Laura Wauthier

Past PhD students supervised

Kiyoshi Nasir Bhuiyan

Loukia Bololia

Roxanne Hawkins


Research summary

Research Interests

  • Child and adolescent health and mental health
  • Children’s understandings of mind, body and mental health
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Children’s and adolescents’ interactions with animals

Research Centre

Research Themes

Knowledge exchange

I have won a series of research impact awards, including: 

ESRC Impact Accelerator Award: Breaking the cycle of cruelty and harm: Promoting positive interactions between children and animals through impactful research


Affiliated research centres

Research activities

View all 13 activities on Research Explorer

View all 98 publications on Research Explorer