School of Psychology

Staff Profiles

Professor Jacqueline Rodgers

Professor of Psychology and Mental Health


I am a professor of psychology and mental health and an autism researcher in the Institute of Population Health Sciences. I lead a programme of work which aims to advance the conceptualisation, assessment and treatment of mental health conditions in autistic children and adults. I have a particular interest in anxiety in autism and with colleagues at Newcastle have developed the first ever anxiety questionnaire specifically designed for use with children with ASD (ASC-ASD, Rodgers et al 2016). I am involved in the development and evaluation of psychological interventions for co-occurring mental health difficulties in autism (anxiety, depression and suicidality). A focus of much of my work is on understanding the contribution that intolerance of uncertainty has to the development of anxious affect for children and adults on the autism spectrum and this work has led to the development of psychological interventions for autistic adults and children. I have been co-chair of both the anxiety and suicide special interest groups at the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research and recently guest edited two special issues of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders on anxiety in ASD, one focused on anxiety  and ASD and one focused on suicidality and self-harm and ASD.Google Scholar:

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Research Interests

The primary questions I am interested in relate to the aetiology, phenomenology, assessment and treatment of individuals living with ASD. Understanding these important aspects of ASD is an essential part of providing appropriate support for individuals and their families and critical for the design of appropriate assessment and intervention programmes.

An aspect of my work focuses on anxiety.  Anxiety is a significant problem for many individuals with a diagnosis of ASD. The notion that anxiety is an important issue in ASD is not a new idea. What is new, however, is the notion that, as academics and clinicians, we can and should try to do something about it. The therapeutic community has made advances in the development of interventions to tackle anxiety in ASD. However, these intervention programmes, driven by the increasing awareness of the mental health needs of this population, are somewhat in advance of a clear understanding of the nature of anxiety in developmental disability. I am keen therefore to continue to pursue a programme of research that enables further understanding of the interplay between the neurobiological, cognitive and clinical phenomenology associated with ASD. There remains much work to be done, for example, to specify theoretical models of anxiety in ASD, to enable the development of more targeted and effective intervention programmes. A programme of work that encompasses this clinical-academic shuttle is critical to enable progress in this domain.

I also have an enduring interest in sensory processing atypicalities and restricted and repetitive behaviours associated with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Here cross syndrome work is essential to developing an understanding of the specificity of underlying neurobiology across disorders and well as the heterogeneity within.

Finally I am also interested in measurement issues in relation to neurodevelopmental disorders and much of my work has focused on the development, adaptation or validation of measures for use in ASD


Postgraduate Teaching

I teach on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and contribute to research methods teaching. I also teach on Disorders of Development (BSC and MSc) and supervise undergraduate and masters and PhD student research projects.