Long Term Conditions

Heather Buchanan

Associate Professor in Health Psychology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Dr Heather Buchanan is a Chartered Psychologist and Health & Care Professionals Council registered Health Psychologist. Heather joined the University of Nottingham in January 2007 and is based in the Academic Unit of Lifespan & Population Health in the Medical School. She completed her undergraduate degree in Social Sciences majoring in Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University (with one year as an International Exchange Student at Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania) followed by an MSc in Psychology by research at the University of Stirling. She then moved to Newcastle University's Dental School where she obtained her PhD. Heather is Course Director for the MSc Health Psychology and is the Lead for Postgraduate Taught Education in the Academic Unit Lifespan & Population Health. She currently has four PhD students. She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the British Journal of Health Psychology and is a network member of BeSide (Behaviour Support in Dentistry) and BeCind (Behaviour Change in Dentistry). Her main research interest is in the patient experience. Her work includes: (1) applying psychology to the dental context (2) the patient experience of medical procedures/surgery and psychological factors that may influence this and (3) the experience of chronic illness for the individual and family members.

Expertise Summary


Oral health, dental phobia, anxiety measurement, kidney disease, burns, informal caregivers.

Teaching Summary

Heather convenes the following modules:

  • Context & Perspectives in Health Psychology
  • Healthcare Contexts
  • Professional Skills in Health Psychology

Research Summary

Dr Buchanan's main current research interests are (1) applying psychology to the dental context (including the development of assessment tools for measurement of dental anxiety) (2) how individuals… read more

Recent Publications

PhD Supervision


Oonagh Meade. The role of online support groups for people affected by neuromuscular disorders and their family carers. 2013.

Kasia Campbell. The empowering processes occurring within online support groups for prostate cancer. 2012.

Althea Valentine. Children's experience and concepts of stress. 2012.

Aimee Aubeeluck. Quality of Life in Informal Carers of Huntington's Disease Patients. 2005.


Hannah Jones. The early intervention dental trial: a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of oral health advice for young people with serious mental illness. 2011-2014.

Gogem Topcu. Quality of life in carers of individuals with multiple sclerosis. 2012-2015.

Karen Shepherd. Exploring the role of online support groups for adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. 2013-2016.


Stage 2 Supervision (Independent Route)

  • Althea Valentine; awarded December 2010.
  • Gogem Topcu 2014 -

Current Research

Dr Buchanan's main current research interests are (1) applying psychology to the dental context (including the development of assessment tools for measurement of dental anxiety) (2) how individuals (and family members) experience and cope with chronic illness and (3) the patient experience of surgery and psychological factors that can influence this. Within this research Dr Buchanan takes a lifespan approach using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Long Term Conditions Research Group

School of Medicine
Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing
telephone: +44 (0)115 823 0226