Professor Debra Dunstan

Head of School, Professor - Faculty of Medicine and Health; School of Health; School of Psychology

Debra Dunstan

Phone: +61 02 6773 3764



Professor Debra Dunstan brings a suite of skills to the role of Head of School.  She is a Clinical Psychologist and Physiotherapist with twenty years’ experience in various clinical roles within the public (State and Commonwealth), NGO and private sectors.  She has a background in regulation standards, quality assurance and accreditation within national and international higher education frameworks, and over 10 years in business management.

Since joining UNE in 2007, Debra has had extensive experience in teaching, research and leadership.  Her award-winning teaching has included innovative curriculum design and course development and her funded research has had significant impacts on end-users. Debra’s previous academic leadership roles have included Director of the UNE Clinical Psychology Program and Deputy Head of the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences.


B.Sc., University of New South Wales; Grad. Dip Phty., University of Sydney; M.Litt., University of New England; M.Psych., Charles Sturt University; Ph.D., Charles Sturt University.

Research Interests

  • Mental health and wellbeing:
    • Modes and models of service delivery
    • Clinical issues
  • Work disability prevention and management


Edited Book Chapters

Tjulin, Å., Dunstan, D.A., Mortelmans, K. & MacEachen, E. (2016). Återgång i arbete: ett internationellt samproduktionsprojekt/Return to work: an international co-production project. In I. K. Holmström, J. Stier, P. Tillgren, & G. Östlund (Eds.), Samproduktionens retorik och praktik – inom området hälsa och välfärd. The retoric and practice of co-production – within health and welfare, (pp. 131-140). Stockholm: Studentliterature. Artikelnummer no: 39358-01 ISBN:9789144114828 40:40:1010

Refereed Journal Articles

del Pozo de Bolger, A., Dunstan, D.A., Kaltner, M. (2018). Open adoptions of children from foster care in New South Wales, Australia: Adoption process and post-adoption contact. Adoption Quarterly. doi:10.1080/10926755.2018.1448915.

Clark, L., Hudson, J.L., Dunstan, D.A., Clark, G.I. (2018). Capturing the Attitudes of Adolescent Males’ Towards Computerised Mental Health Help-Seeking. Australian Psychology. doi:10.1111/ap.12341

Dunstan, D.A. & Anderson, D. L. (2018). Applying Strengths Model principles to build a rural community-based mental health support service and achieve recovery outcomes. Rural & Remote Health.  (Published online, 2 February 2018).

Clark, L., Hudson, J.L., Dunstan, D.A., Clark, G.I. (2018). Barriers and Facilitators to Help-Seeking for Symptoms of Clinical Anxiety in Adolescent Males. Australian Journal of Psychology. doi:10.1111/ajpy.12191 (Early view online, 12 January 2018).

Dunstan, D.A. & Scott, N. (2018). Assigning clinical significance and symptom severity using the Zung scales: levels of misclassification arising from confusion between Index and Raw scores. Depression Research and Treatment. doi: 10.1111/ajpy.12191

Dunstan, D.A., Scott, N. & Todd, A. (2017). Screening for Anxiety and Depression: Reassessing the Utility of the Zung Scales. BMC Psychiatry.17:329 doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1489-6

del Pozo de Bolger, A. B., Dunstan, D.A., & Kaltner, M. (2017). Descriptive Analysis of NSW Foster Care Adoptions in New South Wales, Australia. Australian Social Work. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2017.1335759 Published Online 9 July.

Dunstan, D.A., Falconer, A.K. & Price, I.R. (2017). The relationship between hope, social inclusion and mental wellbeing in supported employment. Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling. doi: 10.1017/jrc.2017.5

Haridas, S. Bhullar, N., & Dunstan, D.A. (2017). What's in character strengths? Profiling strengths of the heart and mind in a community sample. Personality and Individual Differences. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.03.006 34:33:33

del Pozo de Bolger, A. B., Dunstan, D.A., & Kaltner, M. (2016). A conceptual model of psychosocial adjustment of foster care adoptees based on a scoping review of contributing factors. Clinical Psychologist. doi:10.1111/cp.12090 55:35:10

Dunstan, D.A. & Rees Brown. J. (2016). The performance of Australian children and adolescents on Rey's Tangled Lines Test: Child norms for Rey's Tangled Lines Test. Australian Psychologist. doi:10.1111/ap.12198 80:20

Morgan, M., Hine, D.W., Bhullar, N., Dunstan, D.A., & Bartik, W. (2016). Fracked: Coal seam gas extraction and farmers' mental health. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 47, 22-32. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2016.04.012 75:10:7:4:4

Dunstan, D.A. & MacEachen, E. (2016). Workplace managers’ views on the role of co-workers in return-to-work.  Disability and Rehabilitation. 38(23), 2324-2333. doi:10.3109/09638288.2015.1129447 90:10

Gathercole, M., Lykins, A.D., & Dunstan, D.A. (2016). Identifying key pathways into sexual offending for juvenile offenders and exploring possible differences for the Aboriginal community. Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand. 7(1), 18-30. ISSN:1833-8488 50:30:20

Dunstan, D. A., Talbot, C. J. & del Pozo de Bolger, A. B. (2015). Supporting children’s wellbeing: outcomes of a rural child-focused education program for separating or divorced parents. Australian Journal of Rural Health. (Early view, 8 October 2015). doi: 10.1111/ajr.12250 65:10:25

Dunstan, D.A., Mortelmans, K., Tjulin, A. & MacEachen, E. (2015). The role of co-workers in the return to work process. International Journal of Disability Management. (Published online: 4 August, 2015). doi 10.1017/idm.2015.2 70:10:10:10

Dunstan, D.A., Anderson, D.L., & Marks, A.D.G. (2015). Reliability of the Emotion-Related Parenting Styles Scale across gender and parent status groups. Early Education and Development. (Online 26 May 2015, 1- 7). doi: 10.1080/10409289.2015.1039435 70:20:10

Dunstan, D.A. (2014). Participants’ evaluation of a brief intervention for pain-related work disability. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research. 37(4), 368–370. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0000000000000069

del Pozo de Bolger, A., Jones, T., Dunstan, D.A., & Lykins, A. (2014). Australian trans men: Development, sexuality and mental health.  Australian Psychologist. 49(6), 395-402. doi:10.1111/ap.12094

Kennedy, L. K. & Dunstan, D. A. (2014). Confirmatory factor analysis of the Perceived Injustice Questionnaire. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 24(3), 385-392. doi: 10.1007/s10926-013-9462-9

Dunstan, D.A. & MacEachen, E. (2014). A theoretical model of co-worker responses to work reintegration processes. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 24(2), 189-198. doi: 10.1007/s10926-013-9461-x

Dunstan, D.A., Todd, A.K., Kennedy, L.M., & Anderson, D. L. (2014). Impact and outcomes of a rural Personal Helpers and Mentors service. Australian Journal of Rural Health. 22, 50-55. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12074

Dunstan, D.A. (2013). Increasing the feasibility of the Role Functioning Scale as a measure of consumer outcomes in a rural Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) service. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 21, 46-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2012.01297.x

Dunstan, D.A. & MacEachen, E. (2013). Bearing the brunt: Co-workers' experiences of work reintegration processes. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 23(1), 44-54. doi:10.1007/s10926-012-9380-2

Marshall, J. & Dunstan, D.A. (2013). Mental health literacy of Australian rural adolescents: An analysis utilising video methodology. Australian Psychologist, 48, 119-127. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-9544.2011.00048.x

Dunstan, D.A., Covic, T. & Tyson, G.A. (2013). What leads to the expectation to return to work? Insights from a Theory of Planned Behaviour model of return to work outcomes. WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, & Rehabilitation, 46, 25-37. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1481

Sutton, J.P. & Dunstan D.A. (2012). Financial strain and loss of psychosocial benefits of work mediate the relationship between sickness absence and depression among people with work disability. Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling, 18, 71-88. doi:

Dunstan, D.A. & Tooth, S. (2012). Using technology to improve patient assessment and outcome evaluation. Rural and Remote Health. 12: 2048. PMID: 22803585

Dunstan, D.A. & Todd, A.K. (2012). A method of assessing the resilience of whole communities of children: An example from rural Australia. BMC Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.6(1):17. doi: 10.1186/1753-2000-6-17

Dunstan, D.A. & Tooth, S. (2012). Treatment via videoconferencing: A pilot study using clinical psychology students. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 20, 88-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1584.2012.01260.x

Published Research Reports

Dunstan, D.A. and Haider, T. (2016). Assessing the impact of the Psychologists and Counsellor’s Guide to WorkCover NSW. A report to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority. Armidale NSW: University of New England.


  • Australian Psychological Society (Membership No. 100787)
    • Fellow, APS College of Clinical Psychologists 2005 – to present
    • Chair, New England Branch Executive Committee 2012 - 2014
    • Member, New England Branch Executive Committee 2009 – 2014
    • Approved Clinical Supervisor, APS College of Clinical Psychologists 2012 – to present
  • Psychology Board of Australia (Registration No. PSY0001336338)
    • Registered Psychologist
    • Area of Practice Endorsement – Clinical Psychology
    • Board Approved Clinical Supervisor
  • Physiotherapy Board of Australia (Registration No. PHY0001336339)
    • Registered Physiotherapist
  • Medicare Australia
    • Provider No. 2615172F

Higher Education Regulatory Roles

  • Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ).

Appointed Specialist (Psychology): 12 October 2016 – 31 December 2019

  • Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA):

Register of Experts in Higher Education: 2012 - ongoing

  • Discipline 090701 Psychology
  • Discipline 090513 Counselling
  • Work Integrated Learning
  • Other expertise: Rural and Remote
  • Higher Education Directorate, NSW Department of Education and Training:

NSW Vice-Chancellor’s Committee Academic (Specialist) Representative, 2009 – 2011

  • Program Accreditation Assessor

Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2020