Professor Marie Johnston

Professor Marie Johnston
PhD (Hull University); Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society); Chartered Clinical Psychologist (British Psychological Society); Chartered Health Psychologist (British Psychological Society); Registered Clinical Psychologist (Health Professions Council); Registered Health Psychologist (Health Professions Council)

Emeritus Professor

Professor Marie Johnston
Professor Marie Johnston

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 438102
fax 01224 554580
The University of Aberdeen Aberdeen Health Psychology Group
Institute of Applied Health Sciences
2nd floor, Health Sciences Building
AB25 2ZD


Marie Johnston is a Registered Health and Clinical Psychologist, and Professor Emeritus of Health Psychology at the University of Aberdeen.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society, European Health Psychology Society and the Health Psychology and Public Health Network.

She conducts research on behaviour change in health and healthcare contexts and on disability (theory, measurement and intervention).

In 1986, she became the first chair of the Health Psychology section of the BPS and in 1992, the second president of the European Health Psychology Society. She has served on numerous BPS committees and in 1994 gained the BPS President's Award.

Her previous posts were at the University of St Andrews, London University (Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine) and Oxford University, having completed her BSc at the University of Aberdeen and PhD at the University of Hull.


Current Research

2016-2017 CSO. Supporting health snack choices in Scottish hospitals. A feasibility study. Allan, J., Johnston, M., Webb, S., McKenzie, F. £24,327.

2016-2019 CRUK. Achieving Self-directed Integrated Cancer Aftercare (ASICA) in melanoma:A randomized patient focused trial of delivering the ASICA intervention as a means to earlier detection of recurrent and second primary melanoma. Murchie, P., Masthoff, J., Walter, F., Nicolson, M., Allan, J., Burrows, N., Norrie, J., Proby, C., Lee, A., Johnston, M. £287,355.80

2016-2020 Wellcome Trust. The Human Behaviour-Change Project: Building the science of behaviour change for complex intervention development. Michie, S., Johnston, M., Shawe-Taylor, J., Thomas, J., Kelly, M. £3,677,000.00

2016-2017 Global Health Exchange. The Change Exchange project. Byrne-Davis, L., Hart, J., Johnston, M.

2016-2018 Swedish Research Council Forte. Evaluation of a counseling intervention aimed at promoting labor market integration and mental health amongst young school drop-outs. A randomized controlled trial in Sweden. Rasmussen, F., Hasson, H., Lappalainen, R., Ghaderi, A. 3.33 SEK. £260,400

2015-2020 NIH Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Resource and Coordinating Center. Davidson, K.W., Burg, M.M., Alcantara, C., Cheung, Y.K.K., Edmondson, D.E., Kronish, I.M., Shaffer, J., Schwartz, J.E., Summer, J.A., Brondolo, E., Falzon, A.L., Medina, V.M., Navarrete, S., Michie, S., Johnston, M., West, T., Bonanno, G.A. $ £

2014 - 2017 CRUK. Making results of smoking cessation trials more useful to policy and practice: Identifying the effective behavioural components of smoking cessation support provided to intervention and control groups by applying innovative methods for evidence syntheses. De Bruin, M., Johnston, M., Hartmann-Boyce, J., West, R., Michie, S., Bull, E., Viechtbauer, W. £498,882

2014-2015 HTA. Home-based health promotion for vulnerable older people. K Walters et al.£442,668.

2014 – 2015CSO Effect of outpatient pharmacists' non-dispensing roles on patient outcomes and healthcare professionals’ prescribing patterns. A Cochrane Review update and application of the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy. Watson, M., Johnston, M., de Bruin, M., Matheson, C., Bond, C., Bero,L., Nkansah, N. £143,606

2014-2016 MRC Developing methodology for designing and evaluating theory-based complex interventions: an ontology for linking behaviour change techniques to theory. Michie, S., Johnston, M. £585,772.

2014-2016 CSO. Development of interventions to reduce patient delay with symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome: identifying optimal content and mode of delivery. Farquharson, B., Williams, B., Smith, K., Dougall, N. Dombrowski, S., McGhee, J., Treweek, S., Jones, C., Rowland, C., Pringle, S., Johnston, M. £221,668

2012-2015 DiABETES UK. Overcoming barriers to high quality care in diabetes through professional behaviour change. Eccles, M., Presseau, J., Hawthorne, G., Sniehotta, F.,
Hunter, G.W., Steen, I.N., Deverill, M., Kaner, E., Francis, J., Johnston, M., Marko, E., Grimshaw, J. £381,506

Research Grants

2010-2010 CSO Nursing Stress and patient care: Real-time investigation of the effect of nursingtasks and demands onpsychological and physiological stress andjob performance. Johnston, M, Johnston, D, Jones, Ricketts, Allan, Schofield £212,185.

2010-2011 CSO Repeat breast cancer surgery and risk of chronic post-surgical pain. Bruce, Heys, Thompson, Johnston, chambers, Scott, Wells. £61,337

2010-2012 NIHR HTA Selective Decontamination of the Digestive tract in critically ill patients treated in the Intensive Care Unit (The SuDDICU study). Project ref. 09/01/13.Francis JJ, Bellingan G (Co-PI), Campbell MK, Cuthbertson B, Eccles MP, Johnston M, MacLennan G, Ramsay CR, Rose L, Rowan K, Shulman R, Wilson P. £213,907

2009-2012ARC How do demographic, social, psychological and clinical factors affect a) the validity of health outcome measures and b) the relationships between constructs within the ICF model? An analysis in a community cohort of people with osteoarthritis. Johnston, M., Pollard, B., Dixon, D. £122,422

2010-2013 MRC Methods for strengthening evaluation and implementation: specifying components of behaviour change interventions. Michie, Abraham, Eccles, Francis, Hardeman, Johnston. £614,009.

2010-2013 CSO Improving Adherence to Medication in Stroke Survivors (IAMSS): pilot study. O'Carroll, Dennis, Johnston, Sudlow £224,878

2006-2012 CSO Research TrainingFellowship, Julia Allan.

2010-2012 Stroke Association. Research TrainingFellowship PhD student. Sarah Carroll

2007-2012 CSO Implementation of National Dentistry Guidance: Outcomes Study. Clarkson, Ramsay, Bonetti, Eccles, Eldridge, Francis, Grimshaw, Johnston, McKee, Michie, Norrie, Pitts, Rennie, Vale. £300,000.

2009 – 2011 CSO Research into the prevalence and causes of prescribing errors made by junior doctors. Bond, Ross, Lee, McLay, MacLeod, Johnston, Francis, Davey, Ker, Maxwell, Webb, McKay. £216,843

2009 – 2010 CSO Using pedometers to promote physical activity in patients after stroke: a pilot study. Mead, McMurdo, Greig, Johnston, Johnston, Sniehotta, Lewis. £58,274

2009-2011 Cancer Research UK "Prospective Cohort Study to Identify Risk Factors for Chronic Pain after Breast Cancer Surgery". Bruce, Heys, Johnston, chambers, Scott. £67,215

2008-2011 CSO Feasibility Study for a randomised controlled trial of a complex behavioural intervention to reduce weight in obese adults with additional risk factors for chronic disease. Sniehotta,Dombrowski, Johnston, Avenell, Ramsay, Araujo-Soares, Brown, Broom, Kulkarni. £62,744

2008-2010 Canada Prime Plus Selecting individual and organisational theories for interventions to change clinical practice. Grimshaw, Brouwers, Driedger, Eccles, Francis, Godin, Hanna, Hux, Johnston, Legare, Lemyre, Pomey, Sales, Zwarenstein.

2007-2010 Cancer Research UK Prospective cohort study to identify risk factors for the development of chronic pain after breast cancer surgery. Bruce, Heys, Chambers, Thompson, Scott. £188,572.

2007-2010 Cancer Research UK Reducing time to presentation with symptoms of lung cancer: phase II complex intervention study. Campbell, Smith, Wyke, Powell, Devereux, Johnston, Lee, Macleod, Nicolson, Ritchie, Murchie. £105,249

2007-2010 Diabetes UK Improving the delivery of care for patients with diabetes through understanding optimised team work and organisation in primary care. Eccles, Hawthorne, Johnston, Hunter, Steen, Francis, Eliovanio, Grimshaw. £553,367



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  • Black, N, Johnston, M, Michie, S, Hartmann-Boyce, J, West, R, Viechtbauer, W, Eisma, MC, Scott, C & de Bruin, M 2020, 'Behaviour change techniques associated with smoking cessation in intervention and comparator groups of randomized controlled trials: A systematic review and meta-regression', Addiction. [Online] DOI:
  • Johnston, M, Carey, RN, Connell Bohlen, LE, Johnston, DW, Rothman, AJ, de Bruin, M, Kelly, MP, Groarke, H & Michie, S 2020, 'Development of an online tool for linking behavior change techniques and mechanisms of action based on triangulation of findings from literature synthesis and expert consensus', Translational Behavioral Medicine.
  • Dixon, D & Johnston, M 2020, 'MAP: a mnemonic for mapping BCTs to three routes to behaviour change', British Journal of Health Psychology. [Online] DOI:
  • Michie, S, Thomas, J, Mac Aonghusa, P, West, R, Johnston, M, Kelly, MP, Shawe-Taylor, J, Hastings, J, Bonin, F & O'Mara-Eves, A 2020, 'The Human Behaviour-Change Project: An artificial intelligence system to answer questions about changing behaviour', Wellcome open research, vol. 5, 122, pp. 1-5. [Online] DOI:
  • Hastings, J, Michie, S & Johnston, M 2020, 'Theory and ontology in behavioural science', Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 4, 226. [Online] DOI:
  • de Bruin, M, Black, N, Javornik, N, Viechtbauer, W, Eisma, MC, Hartman-Boyce, J, Williams, AJ, West, R, Michie, S & Johnston, M 2020, 'Underreporting of the active content of behavioural interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials of smoking cessation interventions', Health Psychology Review. [Online] DOI:
  • Black, N, Eisma, M, Viechtbauer, W, Johnston, M, West, R, Hartmann-Boyce, J, Michie, S & de Bruin, M 2020, 'Variability and effectiveness of comparator group interventions in smoking cessation trials: A systematic review and meta-analysis', Addiction. [Online] DOI:
  • Murchie, P, Masthoff, J, Walter, FM, Rahman, K, Allan, JL, Burrows, N, Proby, C, Lee, AJ, Johnston, M, Durrani, A, Depasquale, I, Brant, B, Neilson, A, Meredith, F, Treweek, SP, Hall, SJ & McDonald, AM 2019, 'Achieving Self-Directed Integrated Cancer Aftercare (ASICA) in melanoma: Protocol for a randomised patient-focused pilot trial of delivering the ASICA intervention as a means to earlier detection of recurrent and second primary melanoma', Trials, vol. 20, 318. [Online] DOI:
  • Trompetter, HR, Johnston, DW, Johnston, M, Vollenbroek-Hutten, MM & Schreurs, KMG 2019, 'Are processes in acceptance & commitment therapy (Act) related to chronic pain outcomes within individuals over time? : an exploratory study using n-of-1 designs', Journal for Person-Oriented Research, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 123-136. [Online] DOI:
  • Carey, RN, Connell, LE, Johnston, M, Rothman, AJ, de Bruin, M, Kelly, MP & Michie, S 2019, 'Behavior Change Techniques and Their Mechanisms of Action: A Synthesis of Links Described in Published Intervention Literature', Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 53, no. 8, pp. 693-707. [Online] DOI:
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