Roxanne Hawkins

Lecturer in Applied Psychology


I am a chartered psychologist and have been a Lecturer in Applied Psychology at the University of Edinburgh since August 2022. I primarily teach on the MSc in Applied Psychology (Healthcare) For Children and Young People. Prior to this role, I was a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of the West of Scotland (2018-2022) teaching topics relating to research methods and analysis, clinical and developmental psychology. Between 2017-2018 I was a Teaching Fellow in Developmental Psychology at Moray House School of Education and then was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. I undertook my PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Edinburgh between 2015-2018 and my thesis title was 'The Psychological Factors Underpinning Child-Animal Interactions and Preventing Animal Cruelty'. While undertaking my PhD, I taught across several programmes within Clinical Psychology, and took on several Research Assistant roles, primarily focusing on research with children and adolescents in Scotland. Prior to my PhD, I was a Research Assistant (2014-2015), worked in a private medical company (2013-2014), obtained a Master in Research (MRes) degree from the University of Roehampton (2012), and obtained a BSc (Honours) in Psychology from Bangor University (2011).


BSc, MRes, PhD, CPsychol

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology, Child-Animal Interaction Research Network and The Scottish Developmental Psychology Network for Graduates. 

Postgraduate teaching

Lecturer and dissertation supervisor for the MSc in Applied Psychology (Healthcare) For Children and Young People and the MSc Mental Health in Children and Young People: Psychological Approaches. 

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Annalyse Ellis

Suzanne Lawrie

Past PhD students supervised

Katie Riddoch

Research summary

My research programme primarily lies within the following key research themes: 1) Mental health implications of human-animal attachment, 2) Role of animals within adversity, risk, and resilience, and 3) Child development and the human-animal bond. Key topics include the impact of animals on psychological health for those with and without a formal mental health diagnosis, the role of pets for perinatal mental health, the conceptualization and impact of pet attachment on mental health outcomes, pets’ ‘protective’ roles in early childhood adversity, the role of animals within domestic abuse, and the impact of witnessing and engaging in childhood animal cruelty on long-term developmental outcomes. I have carried out and evaluated school-based interventions to promote positive and safe child-animal interactions, working in collaboration with external organisations such as animal charities. I also have a broad interest in the promotion of wellbeing, particularly among students and higher education staff.

You can find my publications here:

Current research interests

Attachment; Adversity; Child Development; Human-Animal Interactions; Mental Health; School-Based Interventions

Knowledge exchange

  • Interview for BBC Radio Scotland Lunchtime Live (March 2022) on pets and domestic abuse during covid-19 lockdown.
  • Wide media coverage for research on domestic abuse during covid-19 (e.g., The Times, The Herald, Sunday Post, Womensgrind, Scotsman).
  • ‘Locked Down: The Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on Domestic Abuse’, Eventbrite seminar targeted at professionals, policymakers and the public. (March 2022).
  • Co-authored a piece for The Conversation (2021: “Pets and the pandemic: the impact our animals had on our mental health and wellbeing”), here:
  • Speaker at ESRC Social Science Festival event "Human-animal interaction before and since Covid-19: lessons & priorities". 11th Nov 2021. Child-dog attachment and psychological wellbeing.
  • Research featured within Nicky Campbell’s podcast One of the Family. 2021.
  • Series of research & knowledge exchange events and conferences through the Children, Adolescents and Animals Research Group (CAAR):

  • Research findings used as evidence in parliamentary debate and invitation to contribute to a Defra consultation on welfare of pet primates (November 2019).

Current project grants

Hawkins, R.D. (2022). The Human-Animal Bond in Young People’s Self-Management of Mental Health Difficulties. SCAS Pump Priming Funding Award (£10,000).
Williams, J., Gardiner, A., Leeder, J., Hawkins, R.D. & Wauthier, L. (2022/23). Paws on Campus: A Feasibility and Acceptability Study of a Canine-assisted Intervention for Student Wellbeing . PTAS Award (£16,924).
Hawkins, R.D., Douglas-Smith, N., & Jenkins, N. (2022). UWS PhD Studentship Scheme: Supporting Student Mental Health and Academic Success through On-Campus Nature and Animal Interventions. (Value £60,000).
Brodie, Z. P., Hawkins, R.D., & MacLean, C. (2021). Exploring the experiences of domestic abuse helpline staff and service users during COVID-19 lockdown. ESRC/UKRI Rapid COVID-19 Response Fund (£40,950).
Hawkins, R.D. & McGuigan, N. (2020). Nestle Purina 2020 Sponsorship for Human-Animal Bond Studies. The Emotional and Behavioural Basis of Child-Dog Bonds ($27,410).

Past project grants

Brodie, Z. P., Hawkins, R.D., & MacLean, C. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on domestic abuse helpline provision: Perspectives from helpline staff. UWS Crucible Research Fund (£3,539).
Hawkins, R.D. & McGuigan, N. (2019). The Neurological Basis of Human-Dog Bonds. Carnegie Research Incentive Grant (£11,370).
Révész, E., Hawkins, R., & Hatin, B. (2020). Visuospatial Attention Bias in Viewing Human and Canine Emotional Faces. Carnegie Trust Vocation Scholarship Scheme (value £2,000).