Professors and Lecturers

Professor Suzanne McLaren

BA(Hons), PhD

Port Macquarie
Building 802

Suzanne completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Ballarat (1989), before moving to the University of Tasmania to complete her honours (1990) and PhD (1997), both in the area of stress and coping among police officers. She returned to the University of Ballarat for her first academic position in 1995 and remained there for 24.5 years. During this time, she fulfilled a range of roles, including Fourth Year Psychology Programs Co-ordinator, Associate Dean (Research), and Chair of the University’s Research Committee.  For the last 7.5 years of her appointment, Suzanne was the Head of Psychology. In this role, she led Psychology through the expansion to a multi-campus discipline, and through a major organisational change with the formation of Federation University Australia in 2014. She also successfully developed and implemented a strategic plan to increase research performance and impact.

Suzanne’s current role focuses on research, supervising research students, and mentoring staff, particularly in research. She is a Research Integrity Advisor, Co-convenor of the Senior Women’s Forum, and a Champion for the Ally Network.


Suzanne’s main areas of teaching include Health and Developmental Psychology, and LGBTIQA+ Issues in Psychology. Most of her teaching is the supervision of research students.

Research Interests

Suzanne’s broad research interest is in resilience, particularly understanding the processes by which risk and protective factors influence mental health among older adults and LGBTIQA+ adults. Within this resilience framework, Suzanne’s recent research has focused on how a sense of belonging, self-compassion, and hope are protective against depression and suicidality. Her research includes the development, implementation, and evaluation of psychological interventions aimed at decreasing depression and suicidality among these two high-risk populations.

Professional Activities

Suzanne is a registered psychologist, with health endorsement. She is a member of the American Association of Suicidology, the (Australian) Suicide Prevention Research Leaders’ Network, and the Australian Psychological Society.

Recent Publications

Beresford-Brown, E., & McLaren, S. (2021). The relationship between self-compassion, internalized homonegativity, and depressive symptoms among lesbian and bisexual women. Journal of Bisexuality.

Shakeshaft, R., & McLaren, S. (2021). The relations between the positive and negative components of self-compassion and depressive symptoms among sexual minority women and men. Mindfulness.

Snooks, M., & McLaren, S. (2021). Dispositional optimism and suicide among trans and gender diverse adults. Death Studies.

McLaren, S., & Castillo, P. (2021). The relationship between a sense of belonging to the LGBTIQ+ community, internalized heterosexism, and depressive symptoms among bisexual and lesbian women. Journal of Bisexuality, 21, 1-23.

McLaren, S. (2020). Rurality, reasons for living, and suicidal ideation among Australian men. Death Studies.

Hodgetts, J., McLaren, S., Bice, B., & Trezise, A. (2020). The relationship between self-compassion, rumination, and depressive symptoms among older adults: The moderating role of gender. Aging and Mental Health.

Snooks, M. P., & McLaren, S. (2020). Resilience among trans and gender diverse adults: The protective role of dispositional hope in the perceived burdensomeness-suicide relationship. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 8, 57-67.

McLaren, S. (2020). The relationship between living alone and depressive symptoms among older gay men: The moderating role of age. Journal of Homosexuality.

McLaren, S., & Castillo, P. (2020). What about me? Sense of belonging and depressive symptoms among bisexual women. Journal of Bisexuality,20, 166-182.

Sadler, P., McLaren, S., Klein, B., & Jenkins, M. (2020). Cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia and depression: Qualitative reflections from older adults who participated in a randomised control trial. Aging and Mental Health, 24, 932-938.

McLaren, S. (2020). The relationship between living alone and depressive symptoms among older men: The moderating role of sexual orientation. Aging and Mental Health, 24, 103-109.

A full list of Suzanne's publications can be accessed at -

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