Professor Joanne Williams

Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology


I am an applied developmental psychologist with research interests in child and adolescent health and mental health, the development of health concepts, developmental disabilities 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 Deputy 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).

Postgraduate teaching

  • Developmental Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology
  • Child Development in Practice
  • 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

Kiyoshi Nasir Bhuiyan

Loukia Bololia

Emma Hawkins

Unaiza Iqbal

Lu Wang

Laura Wauthier

Past PhD students supervised

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 12 activities on Research Explorer

View all 91 publications on Research Explorer