Dr Susan Rasmussen

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

I joined the School of Psychological Sciences and Health as a lecturer in September 2008, having previously worked as a Research Fellow at Stirling University (with Professor Rory O'Connor). I am a Chartered Psychologist (Health Psychology), and my research is in Health Psychology and Health Services Research; However, I focus primarily on suicide and self-harm. My work is characterised by an interdisciplinary focus (e.g. psychology, health services research, primary and secondary care, epidemiology) and aims to address key health issues. My main research interest lies in the application of theoretical models to enhance our understanding of the aetiology of suicidal behaviours and psychological well-being across the lifespan. I have a track record of obtaining funding for this work (including Wellcome Trust, Chief Scientist Office, ESRC). I am a Centre for Health Policy Fellow in the Centre for Health Policy at Strathclyde University. I am also an affiliate member of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab at the University of Glasgow. My second research interest is the barriers and facilitators of vaccination behaviours as well as behaviour during disease epidemics. With Strathclyde collaborators (led by Lynn Williams) I currently hold two CSO grants to examine vaccination behaviours in Scotland. 


Has expertise in:

    • Public health psychology
    • Risk and protective factors for suicide and self-harm including defeat, entrapment, sleep and personality factors
    • Cross-cultural studies of suicidal behaviour
    • Vaccination behaviour and vaccine hesitancy
    • Psychological aspects of infection prevention and control


Education: BA (Strathclyde), PhD (Stirling)

Professional: CPsychol (Health), Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Affiliate Member of the Suicide Behaviour Laboratory at the University of Glasgow; Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, Member of the International Academy for Suicide Research.


Grit, humor, and suicidal behavior : results from a comparative study of adults in the United States and United Kingdom
Kaniuka Andrea R, Oakey-Frost Nicolas, Moscardini Emma H, Tucker Raymond P, Rasmussen Susan, Cramer Robert J
Personality and Individual Differences Vol 163 (2020)
Towards intervention development to increase the uptake of COVID-19 vaccination among those at high risk : outlining evidence-based and theoretically informed future intervention content
Williams Lynn, Gallant Allyson J, Rasmussen Susan, Brown Nicholls Louise A, Cogan Nicola, Deakin Karen, Young David, Flowers Paul
British Journal of Health Psychology (2020)
A theory-based longitudinal investigation examining predictors of self-harm in adolescents with and without bereavement experiences
del Carpio Laura, Rasmussen Susan, Paul Sally
Frontiers in Psychology Vol 11 (2020)
The role of perceived social support in the relationship between being bullied and mental health difficulties in adolescents
Noret Nathalie, Hunter Simon C, Rasmussen Susan
School Mental Health Vol 12, pp. 156–168 (2020)
When People Die : Stories from Young People
Gunn Abbie, Bradley Hannah, Taylor Kian, Maloy Amy, Gunn Emily, Kerr Steven, Moore Emma, Hipson Dillon, Paul Sally, Rasmussen Susan, Vaswani Nina, Nabizadeh Golnar, Murray Chris, Jindal-Snape Divya, Vaughan Phillip, Brown Mark, Burns Monica, Horner Rebecca, Mac Garry, Millar Norrie, Quinn Katie, Semple Lynsey, O'Connor Janet
Sexual orientation and the integrated motivational-volitional model of suicidal behavior : results from a cross-sectional study of young adults in the United Kingdom
Rasmussen Susan, Cramer Robert J, McFadden Claire, Haile Caitlin R, Sime Victoria L, Wilsey Corrine N
Archives of Suicide Research (2019)

More publications


I am the class leader for Individual Differences (C8303) which is a core 3rd year class, and Introduction to Mental Health Difficulties (B9200) which is a second year class. I also teach on the second year Social and Health Psychology module (C8202) and the fourth year psychology of mental health class. I am the chair of the School of Psychological Sciences and Health Ethics Committee and I serve as a member of the University of Strathclyde Ethics Committee.

Research interests

My main research interest is suicide and self-harm, and I am specifically interested in theory testing. I am currently involved in a number of projects relating to suicidal behaviour including examining the link between bullying and suicide in young people, the link between sleep and suicidal behaviours, suicidal behaviours in young sexual and gender minority groups, and suicidal behaviours in those who have been bereaved. I am also interested in cross-cultural work to understand better how risk and protective factors for suicidal behaviour might differ across different cultures.
I am also interested in the psychological aspects of infection prevention and control, particularly in relation to vaccine hesitancy. I am currently involved in funded research to examine vaccine uptake in at-risk populations, I have previously examined whether we can use computer simulations to understand social behaviour during disease epidemics, and the utility of visual and olfactory cues in increasing hand washing in a hospital setting.
I supervise a number of final year undergraduate psychology students and MSc students. I also supervise a number of PhD students:
Start 2020: Stephen Stewart (with Dr Sallyanne Duncan) 
Start 2018: Paterson Abigail (with Dr Mark Elliott) 
Start 2017: Sofia Pimenta (With Dr Simon Hunter)
Start 2016: Laura del Carpio (with Sally Paul)
Start 2015: Zena Marwan (with Dr Simon Hunter)
Start 2014: Kirsten Russell (with Dr Simon Hunter)
Start 2014: Michelle Patrick (with Dr Marc Obonsawin)
Start 2013: Nathalie Noret (part-time; With Dr Simon Hunter)
Start 2011: Jody Quigley (With Dr John McAlaney, University of Bournemouth)
Start 2010: Tiffany Hamilton-Barclay (With Dr Diane Dixon)
Start 2009: Christine McMonagle (part-time; With Dr Mark Elliott)
Research Grants

2020: Chief Scientist Office: Improving Older Adults' Vaccination Uptake. Williams, Brown Nicholls, Cogan, Rasmussen (CI), & Young. Value: £25,000.
2019-2020: Chief Scientist Office: Psychological barriers and drivers to seasonal influenza vaccination uptake in those with chronic respiratory disease: A mixed methods study. Williams, Rasmussen (CI), Cogan & Young. Value: £190,806
2016-2019: Wellcome Trust: Examining the impact of suicide on adolescent survivors. del Carpio, Rasmussen (PI), Paul. Value: £82,380
2013 Bridging the Gap: Strathclyde Solutions Exchange. Ferguson, Hamilton, Rasmussen (CI), Whitfield. Value: £9065
2012-2013 Researcher Development Fund (Strathclyde): Rasmussen (PI), Duncan: Suicide and the media: does a gap exist between the suicide characteristics of the population and the characteristics reported in the media? Value:  £9,371 
2012-2013 Scottish Crucible Award: Hands on hygiene: Increasing hand washing in healthcare. Mackay, Rasmussen (CI), Roberts, Saxton, Blake, Williams. Value: £1,363.40
2012-2013 Scottish Crucible Award: Gaming for sustainable behavioural change. Kruijsen, Bridle, Cloy, Monsen, Rasmussen (CI), Rieser. Value: £4,954
2012-2013 Scottish Crucible Award: Barker, Moncur, Rasmussen (CI), White. Tweeting the Blues: Identifying Symptoms of Depression in Young Adults Through Twitter Feeds. Value: £3732.
2012-2013 Bridging the Gap: Developing an n-of-1 protocol for time series analysis. Dixon, Grealy, Rasmussen (CI). Value: £9545
2011 ESRC. Tackling Self-harm Myths. Rasmussen (PI) Value: £2,000.
2011 University of Strathclyde. Strathclyde Solutions Exchange. Ferguson, Hamilton, Rasmussen (CI), Whitfield, Webb. Value: £7,500.
2010-2012 Chief Scientist Office. A brief pre-trial pilot study of a postcard intervention to reduce self-harm. Rasmussen (PI), Mackie, Gotz, & O’Connor. Value: £48,522. 
2010 South West Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership: The mental health and well-being needs of young people in the south west of Glasgow. Rasmussen (PI).  Value: £15,000. 
2008-2010 Northern Ireland Government. Lifestyle and Coping Survey in Northern Ireland (O’Connor (PI), Rasmussen, Hawton, & Conachy).  Value: £77,652. 
2006-2008 NHS Scotland, West of Scotland Research Consortium. Understanding parasuicide from the suicidal person’s perspective and a test of a psychological model (O’Connor (PI), Rasmussen, & Bradley). Value: £24,992. 
2005-2006 Choose Life/Stirling Council. A survey of young people's experiences, beliefs and well-being in Stirling (O’Connor & Rasmussen). Value: £7,676. 
2001-2005 ESRC PhD Studentship (open competition). Understanding Psychological Distress and Suicidality: The Predictive Utility of Perfectionism and Autobiographical Memory.

Professional activities

The consortium of European research on emotion
Defeat and entrapment: How can psychology add to our understanding of suicide and self-harm?
Does perceived social support moderate the relationship between peer-victimisation and adjustment?
Understanding and preventing suicide: A psychological perspective
European Symposium on suicide and suicidal behaviour
University of Stirling (External organisation)

More professional activities


Improving older adults' vaccination uptake: are existing measures of vaccine hesitancy valid and reliabe for older people?
Williams, Lynn (Principal Investigator) Brown Nicholls, Louise (Co-investigator) Cogan, Nicola (Co-investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Co-investigator) Young, David (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2020
Psychological barriers to seasonal influenza vaccination uptake in those with chronic respiratory disease: A mixed methods study
Williams, Lynn (Principal Investigator) Cogan, Nicola (Co-investigator) Rasmussen, Susan (Co-investigator) Young, David (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2020
Examining the Impact of Suicide on Adolescent Survivors (Student - Laura del Carpio)
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator) Paul, Sally (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2020
ESRC Festival of Science: Adolescent Self-Harm Myths
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator)
29-Jan-2011 - 05-Jan-2011
A brief pre-trial intervention pilot study of a postcard intervention to reduce repetition of hospital treated self harm
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2011 - 30-Jan-2012
Study into the Mental Health and Wellbeing Needs of Young People in the South West CHCP Area
Rasmussen, Susan (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2010 - 30-Jan-2010

More projects