Professor Diana Harcourt

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  • Qualifications:BSc (Hons) Psychology and Health Science, MSc Research Methods in Psychology, PhD
  • Position:Professor of Appearance & Health Psychology
  • Department:HAS - Health and Social Sciences
  • Telephone:+4411732 82192

About me

I am a Professor of Appearance & Health Psychology at the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at UWE, Bristol.  From Sept 2003 - Feb 2023 I was a Director/Co-Director of CAR.  My research interests focus on psychosocial aspects of having an altered or unusual appearance, including those associated with cancer (particularly breast cancer, mastectomy and breast reconstruction, prostate cancer) and burn injuries. I am interested in the psychosocial impact of an altered appearance or visible difference, interventions to support those who are affected and those facing decisions about treatment that will alter appearance. 

I co-lead (with Dr Amy Slater) the VTCT Foundation-funded programme of research at CAR, working closely with charitable organisations that support people whose lives are affected by visible difference (The Appearance Collective). I also lead the Interventions workstream within this major programme of work (September 2022-August 2026).

In collaboration with Alex Clarke, clinical psychologist, I developed the PEGASUS intervention to elicit patients' expectations and goals of appearance-altering surgery.  This was evaluated in a multi-centred study of women considering breast reconstruction.   I led, with Heidi Williamson, the UNITS study (funded by The Scar Free Foundation) which explored the support needs of people affected by an altered appearance as a consequence of military conflict. I worked with Catrin Griffiths on the development of a portfolio of burn-specific patient reported outcome measures (PROMs), the CAR Burns Scales (see

I supervise PhD and Professional Doctorate Health Psychology students on a range of projects related to visible difference.  

I am a chartered Health Psychologist (HCPC accredited) and sit on the editorial board of the journals Body Image, and Scars, Burns & Healing.  

Diversity statement: Diana is a White female in her fifties. She has surgical scars, most of which are not usually visible to others. 

Area of expertise

Psychosocial aspects of appearance, particularly visible difference including the impact of an altered appeareance as a consequence of burn injury, military conflict, or cancer diagnosis and treatment. The development and evaluation of psychosocial interventions to support those affected by visible differences of any sort. 


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