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Professor Chris McCusker

Photo of Chris McCusker

Director Doctorate in Clinical Psychology



Room 03.522, David Keir Building
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 4353


After obtaining a first class honours degree (1986) and PhD (1989) in Psychology from The Queen's University of Belfast, I completed my professional training in clinical psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry in 1991. I have been a full member of the British Psychological Society, including the Division of Clinical Psychology since this time. A chartered clinical psychologist, I also have specialist expertise in neuropsychology and am a full practice member of the Division of Neuropsychology.

Since qualifying as a clinical psychologist I have held several clinical posts in the specialisms of addictive behaviours, adult mental health and adult and child neuropsychology. Since 2001 I have held a joint post as a Consultant Clinical psychologist at The Royal Hospitals and as Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at The Queen's University Belfast. Since 2011 I have been chair of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in Northern Ireland

School of Psychology Administrative Roles/ Professional Roles

I am director of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the university but am also in clinical practice two days per week at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where I work with children and young people with neurological and non-organic illness presentations. I am currently chair of The British psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in Northern Ireland and a member of various Department of Health Strategy groups.

I currently teach across most modules on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Particular areas of teaching relate to child neuropsychology, paediatric psychology, applied research methods and clinical assessment and formulation.

Adjustment and early psychological interventions for children with chronic illness and their families

Long-term outcomes following acquired brain injury

Psychological interventions for intractable epilepsy

Psychological processes in understanding non-epileptic, and other conversion / somatoform, disorders.

Implicit and automatic processes in psychopathology

Selected Publications

McCormack, D., McCusker, C.G. & Scott-Heyes, G. (2011) The impact of hyperemesis gravidarum on maternal mental health and maternal-fetal attachment. Journal of psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 32(2), 79-87.

Casey, F., Stewart, M., McCusker, C.G., Morrison, M., Molloy, B., Doherty, N., Craig, B., Sands, A., Rooney, N. & Mulholland, H.C. (2010) Examination of the physical and psychosocial determinants of health behaviours in 4-5 year old children with congenital heart disease. Cardiology in The Young, 20(5), 532-537.

Lally, N., Spence, W., McCusker, C.G., Craig, J. & Morrow, J. (2010) Psychological processes and histories associated with non-epileptic versus epileptic seizure presentations. Epilepsy and Behavior.17, 360-365.

Mowlds, W., Shannon, C., McCusker, C.G., Meenagh, C., Robinson, D., Wilson, A. & Mulholland, C. (2010) Autobiographical memory specificity, depression and trauma in bipplar disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 49, 217-233.

Doherty, N., McCusker, C. G. Molloy, B., Rooney, N., Mulholland, C., Sands, A., Craig, B., Stewart, M. & Casey F. (2009) Predictors of psychological functioning in mothers and fathers of infants with severe congenital heart disease. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 27(4), 390-400.

McCusker, C.G., Doherty, N., Molloy, B., Rooney, N., Mulholland, C., Sands, A., Craig, B., Stewart, M. & Casey, F. (2009) Early psychological interventions in infants with congenital heart disease and their families promote infant neurodevelopment and reduce worry and distress in parents. Child: Care Health and Development, 36(1), 110-117.

Shannon, C., Douse, K., McCusker, C., Feeney, L.., Barrett, S. & Mulholland, C. (2009). The association between childhood trauma and memory functioning in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin.10, 1-7.

Parkes, J. & McCusker, C.G. (2008) Common psychological problems in cerebral palsy. Paediatrics and Child Health, 18(9), 427-431.

Maguire, C., McCusker, C.G., Meenagh, C., Mulholland, C. & Shannon, C. (2008) The effects of trauma on bipolar disorder: the mediational role of interpersonal difficulties and alcohol dependence. Bipolar Disorders, 10(2), 293-302.

Klewchuk, E., McCusker, C.G., Mulholland, C. & Shannon, C. (2007) Cognitive biases for trauma stimuli in people with schizophrenia. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 46(3), 333-345.

McCusker, C.G., Doherty, N., Molloy, B., Casey, F., Rooney, N., Mulholland, C., Sands, A., Craig, B. & Stewart, M. (2007) Determinants of neuropsychological and behavioural outcomes in early childhood survivors of congenital heart disease. Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 92, 137-141.

McCusker, C.G. (2006) Towards understanding loss of control: automatic processes in addictive behaviours. In: M. Mufano & I. Albery (eds.) Cognition and Addiction, Oxford University Press.

Dorahy, M. J., McCusker, C., Loewenstein, R., Colbert, K. and Mulholland, C. (2006) Cognitive inhibition and interference in dissociative identity disorder: the effects of anxiety on specific executive functions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 749-764.

Wilson, T. Waters, L. Patterson, C. McCusker, C.G. Rooney, N. Marlow, N. & Halliday, H. (2006) Neurodevelopmental and respiratory follow-up at 7 years of children from the UK and Ireland enrolled in a randomized trial of early and late postnatal cortiocosteroids: systemic and inhaled (the OSECT study). Pediatrics, 117(6), 2196-2205.

Small, F. Alderdice, F. McCusker, CG Stephenson, M. & Stewart, M. (2005) A prospective cohort study comparing hospital admissions for gastroenteritis with home management. Child Care Health and Development, 31(5), 555-562

McCusker, C. G. (2005) An interacting subsystems approach to understanding and meeting the needs of children with acquired brain injury. Educational and Child Psychology, 22(2), 18-28.

Doherty, N. and McCusker, C. G. (2005) Assessment of functional and psychosocial outcomes in children 4 years post head injury. Educational and Child Psychology, 22(2), 29-38.

McCusker, C. G., Kennedy, P.J., Anderson, J., Hicks, E. M. and Hanrahan, D. (2002) Adjustment to intractable epilepsy in childhood: the importance of seizure duration and family factors, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 44, 681-687.

McCusker, C.G. and Gettings, B. (1997) Automaticity of cognitive biases in addictive behaviours - further evidence with gamblers, British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 36, 543-554

McCusker, C.G. and Davies, M. (1996) Prescribing heroin to opiate misusers - the experience of a U.K. community drug team, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 13(6), 521-531