Dr Sarah Gunn

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

Photograph of Sarah Gunn on a dark background

School/Department: School of Psychology and Vision Sciences

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2797



I am a lecturer for Leicester's Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, as well as for the MRes in Psychological Research Methods, the undergraduate Psychology course. I co-lead the clinical psychology modules for Neuropsychology, Research Methods and Physical Health, as well as the Medical School's intercalated MSc module "Science, Society and Responsible Research".

I am also a registered and practicing clinical psychologist, with the majority of my clinical experience in neuropsychological settings and physical health psychology. I continue to work clinically in the NHS and in the third sector.

As an academic my research focuses on:

  • Cognition, behaviour and emotion in ageing and neurodegenerative illness, including Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer's disease.
  • The psychological impact of physical health conditions, including diabetes, neurological conditions and other long-term health difficulties.
  • Stressors and burden on healthcare staff in various contexts such as psychological and residential care.

Key current projects are:

  • Piloting an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy therapeutic intervention for people supporting someone with Huntington's disease
  • Developing a UKRI-funded measure of cognitive change in ageing
  • Conducting Wellcome ISSF-funded qualitative research into the experiences of ageing and neurodegenerative conditions

I am also the UK Reproducibility Network Local Network Lead, supporting open scholarship adoption at the University through collaboration with a network of local and national colleagues.


I currently hold UKRI funding from the 2022 Healthy Ageing Catalyst Awards, with which we are investigating impacts of cognitive change in typically-ageing adults.

I am also pursuing research in the following areas, with collaborators from interdisciplinary backgrounds:

  • Cognitive, behavioural and emotional difficulties in people diagnosed with Huntington's disease, related therapeutic approaches, and stressors and dynamics in HD-affected families.
  • Uses of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for people affected by neurological conditions.
  • Formal and informal caregiver burden in neurological settings, and accessibility of related services.
  • Changes in cognition in typical and pathological ageing (e.g., Alzheimer's disease).
  • The impact of self-compassion on wellbeing in long-term illness, e.g. diabetes.
  • Effects of self-perception and others' perceptions in visible health conditions.


Example papers from my areas of interest are listed below. For a full list, please see my Google Scholar or OrcID profiles.

Huntington's disease:

  • Dale, M., Wood, A., Zarotti, N., Eccles, F., Gunn, S., ...Simpson, J. (2022). Using a clinical formulation to understand psychological distress in people affected by Huntington's disease: A descriptive, evidence-based model. Journal of Personalized Medicine12(8), 1222.
  • Maltby, J., Ovaska-Stafford, N., & Gunn, S. (2021). The structure of mental health symptoms in Huntington's disease: Comparisons with healthy populations. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 43(7), 737-752.
  • Gunn, S., Maltby, J., & Dale, M. (2020). Assessing mental health difficulties among people with Huntington's disease: Does informant presence make a difference? Journal of Neuropsychology and Clinical Neurosciences, 32(3), 244-51.
  • Simpson, J., Dale, M., Theed, R., Gunn, S., Zarotti, N., & Eccles, F. (2019). Validity of irritability in Huntington's disease: A scoping review. Cortex, 120, 353-74.

Acquired brain injury:

  • Gunn, S., & Burgess, G. H. (2020). Factors predicting rehabilitation outcomes after severe acquired brain injury in trauma, stroke and anoxia populations: A cohort study. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, e-pub, 1-32.
  • Gunn, S., Schouwenaars, K., & Badwan, D. (2018). Correlation between neurobehavioural assessment and functional magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis of prolonged disorders of consciousness. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 28(8), 1311-18.
  • Gunn, S., Burgess, G. H., & Maltby, J. (2018). A factor analysis of Functional Independence and Functional Assessment Measure scores among focal and diffuse brain injury patients: The importance of bi-factor models. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 99(9), 1805-10.

Effects of long-term illness:

  • Gunn, S., Henson, J., Robertson, N., Maltby, J., Brady, E., ...& Davies, M. (accepted). Self-compassion, sleep quality and psychological wellbeing: A cross-sectional study. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care. 
  • Robertson, N., Gunn, S., & Piper, R. (2021). The experience of self-conscious emotions in inflammatory bowel disease: A thematic analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.
  • Mayor, R., Gunn, S., Reuber, M., & Simpson, J. (2021). Experiences of stigma in people with epilepsy: A meta-synthesis of qualitative evidence. Seizure.

Staff wellbeing:

  • Chamdal, V., Gunn, S., & Robertson, N. (in preparation). Conceptualisation and prevalence of work-related stress in genetic counsellors: A systematic review.
  • Malik, S., Gunn, S., & Robertson, N. (2021). The impact of patient suicide on doctors and nurses: A critical interpretive meta-synthesis. Archives of Suicide Research, e-pub.


I am interested in supervising research relating to:

  • Psychological impacts of neurodegenerative and other neurological conditions (cognition, behaviour and emotion).
  • Effects of neurological conditions on families and caregivers.
  • How people manage long-term illness, including the impact of shame and stigma.
  • Therapeutic interventions in any of the above contexts.


I teach on the Leicester Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, including co-leading modules on:

  • Physical health
  • Research methods
  • Neuropsychology

I also contribute to teaching on the MRes Research Methods in Psychology, and co-lead the medical school module on "Science, Society and Responsible Research".  

I offer projects for PhD, MRes and intercalated medical students, as well as supervising clinical doctorate trainees pursuing research in my areas of interest.

Press and media

I am happy to be contacted regarding the following broad areas:

  • Neurodegenerative disease and its psychological effects (cognition, behaviour and emotion), as well as how families are affected
  • Staff wellbeing in healthcare settings
  • Effects of long-term illness on psychological wellbeing
  • Open Science in research and clinical teaching

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