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Associate Professor
Department of Psychological Medicine (Dunedin)
Dr. phil. habil.(Marburg, Germany) PPT(Mainz, Germany) PhD(Mainz, Germany) Dipl.-Psych.(Mainz, Germany)
Research summary
Pathomechanisms and interventions in behavioural medicine; health psychology
  • Secretary and member of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • Member of New Zealand Psychologists Board
  • Member of the American Psychological Association, 38th Division Health Psychology
  • Member of the German Society of Behavioral Medicine and Behavior Modification


Maria Kleinstäuber is a Clinical and Health Psychologist with research interests in:

  • The efficacy of interventions for syndromes of persistent somatic symptoms and symptom distress
  • Experimental research of pathomechanisms underlying medically unexplained or explained somatic symptoms
  • The role of illness perceptions in chronic illness
  • Placebo and nocebo effects
  • Psychological factors in the process of recovery after medical procedures

Maria’s research work is characterised by a diversity of research methods. Her research has been funded by German Research Foundation, Pharmac New Zealand, Auckland Medical Research Foundation, the Postdoctoral Society of the University of Auckland, the German Academic Exchange Service, among others.

Maria trained as a clinical psychologist at Technical University of Darmstadt and Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz (Germany). She completed a postgraduate training in Clinical Psychology, with specialization in cognitive behaviour therapy, and earned her doctorate in psychology at Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz. She earned postdoctoral habilitation degree at Philipps-University of Marburg. She has worked as registered clinical psychologist in different inpatient and outpatient settings of adult mental health in Germany and New Zealand. Maria worked as postdoctoral research fellow and later as assistant professor at Philipps-University of Marburg, Brigham Young University (Provo, USA) and University of Auckland until she was appointed as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at University of Otago. Maria is member of the Board and Executive Committee and holds the office as Secretary of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine (ISBM).


Kleinstäuber, M., Garland, E. L., Sisco-Taylor, B. L., Sanyer, M., Corfe-Tan, J., & Barke, A. (2024). Endorsing a biopsychosocial perspective of pain in individuals with chronic pain: Development and validation of a scale. Clinical Journal of Pain, 40(1), 35-45. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000001163 Journal - Research Article

Richardson, M., Cathro, M., & Kleinstäuber, M. (2023). Nocebo Hypothesis Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (NH-CBT) for non-epileptic seizures: A consecutive case series. Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/S1352465823000565 Journal - Research Article

Korwisi, B., Garrido Suárez, B. B., Goswami, S., Reddy Gunapati, N., Hay, G., Hernández Arteaga, M. A., … Kleinstäuber, M., … Swain, N., … Barke, A. (2022). Reliability and clinical utility of the chronic pain classification in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases from a global perspective: Results from India, Cuba, and New Zealand. Pain, 163(3), e453-e462. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002379 Journal - Research Article

Haas, J. W., Rief, W., Weiß, F., Doering, B. K., Kleinstäuber, M., Ruwoldt, S., … Rheker, J. (2022). The effect of patient-centered communication on medication intake: An experimental study. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 27(10), 2138-2151. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2021.1969666 Journal - Research Article

Senger, K., Schröder, A., Kleinstäuber, M., Rubel, J. A., Rief, W., & Heider, J. (2022). Predicting optimal treatment outcomes using the Personalized Advantage Index for patients with persistent somatic symptoms. Psychotherapy Research, 32(2), 165-178. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2021.1916120 Journal - Research Article

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