Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Staff-Patient-Carer Perceptions around Wound Ownership - Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID - Addictions - Psychological factors surrounding illness and health

  • Source: Scopus

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr Joanne M Lusher joined the University of the West of Scotland in March 2017 as a Senior Lecturer, after formerly working as a Programme Director for a Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. As a member of the Institute for Research in Healthcare Policy and Practice team, Jo coordinated PG Research programmes, with a focus on independent research degrees on the London Campus and Internationally. In September 2018, Jo moved in to the role of Academic and Professional Lead for Health and Life Sciences in London; where she is responsible for strengthening inter-disciplinary learning across health and social care education. 

Dr Lusher is a BPS Chartered and HCPC Registered Health Psychologist. She is also a Chartered Scientist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Jo was nominated for a Student-Led Teaching Award in 2012 and a University Teaching Fellowship was awarded to her in 2016. Jo received her PhD entitled Vulnerability to Substance Dependence in 2005 and since then she has continued to research within the field of addiction; whilst branching outside of her main area of expertise to accommodate other research interests. Jo is a Registered Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor and an experienced Doctoral Supervisor. Her research outputs include over 70 international peer reviewed research papers, conference presentations, books and book chapters.

Area of academic expertise - outline

Jo led a SSA funded project that examined vulnerability factors to substance dependence. This involved a series of studies that identified how genetic variants, personality traits and responsiveness to substance-related stimuli can influence an individual’s propensity to a severe dependency on drugs. She employed a mixed quantitative design and carried out a series of analyses, bringing the study together using a SEM approach to identify causal pathways to addiction.

A second area of Jo's research has been pain management issues in sickle cell disease. This research was funded by REMEDI and using a mixed methods approach it considered the treatment of analgesic addiction among patients with painful chronic illness and the staff-patient interactions that give rise to pseudo-addiction.

Jo has supervised research in various health-related areas including doctoral resesearch entitled:

  • The exploration of self-regulation and transfer anxiety within stroke patients transferred from a hyper acute stroke unit to a ward.
  • Determinants of exercise intention and behaviour in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia using a revised version of the theory of planned behaviour.
  • Analyses of NHS stop smoking advisors’ smoking history, level of training and impact on self-reported advisor quit rate.
  • Adolescents’ views of the electronic cigarette: A new gateway to addiction?

Current research activities

Jo is currently involved in several projects including investigations into the the use and abuse of e-cigarettes. So far this research has indicated that adolescents are initiating their smoking behaviour with e-cigarettes and smokers that are using e-cigarettes as a cessation tool have little intention to cut down or quit. These initial findings have significant implications in terms of healthcare policy and practice.

Other research titles that Jo is currently involved include:

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19. This is a mulit-site survey and the study group website can be found here:

  • An LTEF funded project entitled: Improving students' understanding and use of assessment feedback.

  • A biopsychosocial approach to wound care: Aims to explore issues around early detection and treatment decision making in wound care and wound ownership from both the patient and staff perspective; Draw comparisons and identify differences between factors influencing different wound outcomes (e.g. acute versus chronic wounds); Develop a causal pathway model that explains how genetic, psychological and behavioural risk factors interact with illness factors to produce a predisposition to chronic wounds; Ultimately this research will translate outcomes from studies by developing tailored patient-centred treatment interventions for individuals with chronic wounds.

Desired research direction

As a Health Psychologist, ultimately Jo is interested in applying a holistic approach to the study of health-risk behaviours and illness/disease outcomes. She is particularly interested in psycho-behavioural factors that influence health and wellbeing and her overarching research goal is to work collaboratively, as part of a multidisciplinary team, on large-scale projects that are geared towards informing advancements in practice.

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

Jo has a keen interest in pedagogy and issues surrounding teaching and learning in Higher Education. She has previously contributed to various pedagogical research projects including the HEFCE funded Assessment Plus Project; the CLaSS Project; the CETL Write Now Project; and the HEA funded Authorship project. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

External Examiner, University of Chichester

1 Sep 202131 Aug 2025

Chief Supervisor, The British Psychological Society

1 Sep 202031 Aug 2023

Assistant Chief Supervisor/Registrar, British Psychological Society

15 Aug 2018 → …

Partner (Visitor Role), Health and Care Professions Council

12 Feb 2018 → …

External Examiner, University of Bedfordshire

30 Sep 201531 Oct 2019


  • BF Psychology
  • Psychosocial Care
  • Psychopathy
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Addictions
  • Health Psychology


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