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Personal profile

Research Overview:

I am a senior health psychologist who works at the interface between health psychology and occupational health psychology. I am currently a senior lecturer in the Academic Urology Unit, University of Aberdeen, Director of Operations for UCAN (Urological CANcer charity) and hold an honorary contract with NHS Grampian. I am an Honorary Research Fellow, Birkbeck University of London. I am a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a registered health psychologist (Health & Care Professions Council).


Research Interests:

My research is focussed on two areas of applied health psychology: 1) behaviour in relation to long-term conditions and 2) behaviour in relation to long-term conditions and working life. This takes a multi-level approach to the study of psychological wellbeing, health-related behaviour and the design and delivery of care and examines these issues at the level of the individual and the system / organisation.


My research is about understanding the individual within their social, healthcare, and organisational context to improve the design and delivery of care from point of diagnosis onwards. Currently, the focus is on behaviour in relation to a specific long-term condition (urological cancer) but my interest extends to other cancer types or other long-term conditions.


My research programmes and those of my team are currently focused on three distinct aspects of cancer survivorship 1) the design and delivery of care and after care; 2) stakeholder engagement in the design and implementation of care and clinical practice guidelines and 3) the management of work and working life and cancer. This includes the specific information and support needs of those diagnosed with cancer and the development of methods for achieving non-tokenistic stakeholder engagement in the design and delivery of care


This forms the basis of two international collaborations led by myself and colleagues at Aberdeen:


-          METIS – The METIS Collaboration was established in 2011 by Dr Sara MacLennan and Professor Tom Cox CBE. Its focus is the psychological, social and organizational issues that relate to the impact of long-term conditions on work and working lives. Its particular concerns focus on cancer survivorship. The Collaboration currently involves the Academic Urology Unit, and the Aberdeen Breast Clinic, University of Aberdeen; the Centre for Sustainable Working Lives, Birkbeck University of London, the Institute of Health & Society, University of Newcastle, Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Amsterdam, Surgical Outcomes Research Centre, University of Sydney and Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia.


-          Harmonising Urological Cancer Care across Europe - This international collaboration was established in 2016 and includes partners from UK, Italy, Spain and Netherlands representing a consortium of academic (Universities and University Hospitals) and non-academic beneficiaries and partners (the EAU Guidelines Office, Industry and International non-profit patient organisations). The focus is to harmonise urological care across Europe by giving patients evidence-based-best personalised care, to improve health outcomes, to decrease the cost burden of care and to make EU health systems more efficient and equitable. This will be achieved by developing models of involving patients in Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) development; empowering stakeholders to prioritise the outcomes important for determining clinical effectiveness and decision making; ensuring that recommendations from CPGs are implemented consistently across Europe; developing economic models of the costs of adhering/not adhering to CPGs in various health-systems in the EU; creating an innovative network of future leaders and researchers equipped with intersectorial transferable skills; and creating a sustainable model of training and dissemination events for training future leaders in urology and other healthcare specialities.


As a result of my international reputation, I hold experience of being an active member of Research Council funding panels (e.g. MRC Skills Development Panel and ESRC’s Peer Review College), being an active member of executive committees of professional bodies (Division of Health Psychology, British Psychological Society and the British Psychosocial Oncology Society) and professional bodies working parties for policy and practice (BPS Working party on Work and Health), of being an external examiner at postgraduate level (MSc in Health Psychology, University of Westminster and PhD external examiner) and of being a member of an international research think tank (member and lead for decision-making and communication for Prostate Cancer UK’s Survivorship Action Initiative (True NTH™). This is an international initiative involving the UK, Australia and Canada).

Willingness to supervise Ph.D. students

I am interested in supervising PhD topics relating to: 1) the design and delivery of care and after care for those diagnosed with a long-term condition; 2) stakeholder engagement in the design and implementation of care and clinical practice guidelines for long-term conditions and 3) the management of work and working life and long-term conditions.

Area of Expertise

  • Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
  • Cancer Survivorship
  • health psychology
  • psycho-oncology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Sara MacLennan is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Mental Health Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2000 2018

1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

The relationship between social support and health-related quality of life in patients with antiphospholipid (hughes) syndrome

Georgopoulou, S., Efraimidou, S., MacLennan, S. J., Ibrahim, F. & Cox, T., 2018, In : Modern Rheumatology . 28, 1, p. 147-155 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Antiphospholipid Syndrome
Social Support
Quality of Life
Autoimmune Diseases
1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

TISU: Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, as first treatment option, compared with direct progression to ureteroscopic treatment, for ureteric stones: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

McClinton, S., Cameron, S., Starr, K., Thomas, R., MacLennan, G., McDonald, A., Lam, T., N’Dow, J., Kilonzo, M., Pickard, R., Anson, K., Burgess, N., Clark, C. T., MacLennan, S., Norrie, J. & the TISU Study Group, 22 May 2018, In : Trials. 19, 1, p. 1-11 11 p., 286.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Randomized Controlled Trials
Costs and Cost Analysis
Random Allocation
1 Citation (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

“Throughout the cancer patient's journey, there ought to be a discussion about work”: The role of GPs in Scotland

Murdoch, S. E., Cox, T., Pearce, M. S., Pryde, N. & MacLennan, S. J., Jan 2018, In : Psycho-Oncology. 27, 1, p. 343-346 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
General Practitioners
15 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)

A core outcome set for localised prostate cancer effectiveness trials

MacLennan, S., Williamson, P. R., Bekema, H. J., Campbell, M., Ramsay, C., N'Dow, J., MacLennan, S., Vale, L., Lam, T. & COMPACTERS study group, Nov 2017, In : BJU International. 120, 5B, p. E64-79 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Prostatic Neoplasms
Delivery of Health Care
4 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
Urologic Neoplasms
Kidney Neoplasms
Urinary Bladder Neoplasms

Activities 2013 2016

  • 3 Membership of peer review panel or committee
  • 1 Membership of public/government advisory/policy group or panel

British Psychosocial Oncology Society Executive Committee (External organisation)

Sara Jane MacLennan (Participant)
5 Jun 2016 → …

Activity: MembershipMembership of peer review panel or committee

British Psychological Society Working Party for Work and Health (External organisation)

Sara Jane MacLennan (Participant)
1 Jun 2016 → …

Activity: MembershipMembership of public/government advisory/policy group or panel

ESRC - Peer Review College (External organisation)

Sara Jane MacLennan (Participant)
Nov 20152016

Activity: MembershipMembership of peer review panel or committee

MRC - Skills Development Panel (External organisation)

Sara Jane MacLennan (Participant)
24 Jan 201331 Mar 2017

Activity: MembershipMembership of peer review panel or committee