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Dr Ilona McNeill



PhD in Psychology (University of Amsterdam)
MSc in Social and Organizational Psychology (Leiden University)


Dr Ilona McNeill joined ACAP in mid-2021 as a 0.6fte lecturer. She currently spends the remaining 0.4fte working as a Research Fellow in psychology at The University of Melbourne, a position she has held since 2014.

Ilona completed her Master of Science degree in Social and Organizational Psychology at Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2005. This was followed by a PhD in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, which she completed in 2011. After completion of her PhD, Ilona moved to Perth, WA to take up a Research Fellow position in Psychology at the University of Western Australia for a couple of years before taking up her current position at the University of Melbourne in 2014.


Ilona is a behavioural scientist, and much of her research focuses on behaviour change in relation to risk mitigating behaviours. Key behaviour areas she has focused on include 1) preparedness for and response to natural hazards such as bushfires and floods, 2) reducing our carbon footprint and mitigating the impact of climate change, and 3) engagement in preventative health behaviours ranging from protecting and improving our mental health and sleep through to exercise and dietary habits.

She also has a keen interest in statistics and research methods, including measurement development and SEM/MLM.

Teaching/coordination responsibilities

Prior to joining ACAP, Ilona taught units on Advanced Quantitative Methods and Measurement Development at Swinburne University as well as units on Personality and Social Psychology at the University of Melbourne.

In 2021, Ilona will be coordinating the following units:

  • T2 – PSYC2172 Stress, Trauma, and Resilience
  • T3 – PSYC3222 Applying Psychological Science to Everyday Life
Expert Comment Topics
Disaster preparedness
Low carbon behaviours
Preventative health behaviours
Anxiety, worry, and indecisiveness

Research and scholarship (include grants and publications)


  • Kashima, Y., O’Brien, L., McNeill, I., Ambrose, M., Bruce, G., Critchley, C., Dudgeon, P., Newton, P., Robins, G. (2021). Low carbon readiness in social context: Introducing the social context of environmental identity (SCE) model. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 24, 169-183.
  • Dunlop, P.D., Bourdage, J.S., de Vries, R.E., McNeill, I.M., Jorritsma, K., Orchard, M., Austen, T., Baines, T., & Choe, W. (2020). Liar! Liar! (when stakes are higher): understanding how the overclaiming technique can be used to detect faking in personnel selection. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105, 784-799.
  • Dreyer, S. J., Kurz, T., Prosser, A. M. B., Abrash Walton, A., Dennings, K., McNeill, I., Saber, D. , A. & Swim, J. K. (2020). Towards a Psychology of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus: Costs and Opportunities.  Journal of Social Issues, 76, 136-149.
  • Howe, P.D.L., Vargas-Sáenz, A., & McNeill, I.M. (2019).Commitments increase preparedness for floods. Plos One, 14, e0219993.
  • O’Brien, L. V., McNeill, I.M., Bruce, G., Critchley, C.R., Dudgeon, P., Newton, P., . . . Kashima, Y. (2019). A social psychological guide for transformation into low carbon living.In P. Newton, D. Prasad, A. Sproul, & S. White (Eds.), Decarbonising the built environment – charting the transition (pp. 415-429). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • O’Brien, L. V., McNeill, I.M., Kashima, Y. (2019). The Low Carbon Readiness Index. In P. Newton, D. Prasad, A. Sproul, & S. White (Eds.), Decarbonising the built environment – charting the transition (pp. 405-414). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Howe, P.D., Boldero, J., McNeill, I.M., Vargas-Saenz, A., & Handmer, J. (2018). Increasing preparedness for wildfires by informing residents of their community’s social norms. Natural Hazards Review, 19.
  • Cao, Y., Boruff, B.J., & McNeill, I.M. (2017). Towards personalised public warnings: harnessing technological advancements to promote better individual decision making in the face of disasters. International Journal of Digital Earth, 10, 1231-1252.
  • McNeill, I.M. & Ronan, K. (2017). Children in disasters: the role of household preparedness. Natural Hazards, 89(3), 1239-1254.
  • Cao, Y.H., Boruff, B.J., & McNeill, I.M. (2017). The smoke is rising but where is the fire? Exploring effective online map design for wildfire warnings. Natural Hazards, 88, 1473-1501.
  • Unsworth, K.L., & McNeill, I.M. (2017). Increasing pro-environmental behaviors by increasing self-concordance: testing an intervention. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 88-103.
  • Cao, Y., Boruff, B.J., & McNeill, I.M. (2016). Is a picture worth a thousand words? Evaluating the effectiveness of maps for delivering wildfire warning information. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 19, 179-196.
  • McNeill, I.M., Dunlop, P.D. (2016). Development and preliminary validation of the constructive and unconstructive worry questionnaire: A measure of individual differences in constructive versus unconstructive worry. Psychological Assessment, 28, 1368-1378.
  • McNeill, I.M., Dunlop, P.D., Skinner, T.C., & Morrison, D.L. (2016). A value- and expectancy-based approach to understanding residents’ intended response to a wildfire threat. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 25, 378-389.
  • McNeill, I.M., Dunlop, P.D., Skinner, T.C., & Morrison, D.L. (2016). Predicting risk-mitigating behaviors from indecisiveness and trait-anxiety: two cognitive pathways to task avoidance. Journal of Personality, 84, 36-45.
  • Cao, Y., Boruff, B.J., & McNeill, I.M. (2016). Defining Sufficient Household Preparedness for Active Wildfire Defense: Toward an Australian Baseline. Natural Hazards Review, 17.
  • McNeill, I.M., Dunlop, P.D., Morrison, D.L., Skinner, T.C. (2015). Predicting delay in residents’ decision on defending versus evacuating through antecedents of decision avoidance. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 24, 153-161.
  • Young, C.W., Davis, M.C., McNeill, I.M., Malhotra, B., Russell, S., Unsworth, K., & Clegg, C.W. (2015). Changing Behaviour: Successful Environmental Programmes in the Workplace. Business Strategy and the Environment, 24, 689-703.
  • Dunlop, P.D., McNeill, I.M., Stacey, J.L., Skinner, T.C., & Morrison, D.L. (2014). Preparing… for what?  Developing multi-dimensional measures of community wildfire preparedness for researchers, practitioners, and households. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23, 887-896.
  • McNeill, I.M., Dunlop, P.D., Heath, J.B., Skinner, T.C., & Morrison, D.L. (2013). Expecting the unexpected: Predicting physiological and psychological wildfire preparedness from perceived risk, responsibility, and obstacles.  Risk Analysis, 33, 1829-1843.
  • McNeill, I.M., Higgins, E.T., De Dreu, C.K.W., & Nijstad, B.A. (2012). The price of a piece of cheese: Value from fit between epistemic needs and a learning versus outcome focus. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 25, 315-327.


  • 2017, CIA, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, $38.000
  • 2017, CI, funded by Emergency Management Victoria, $105.032
  • 2014, CI, funded by Emergency Management Victoria, $100.99
  • 2014, CIA, funded by Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRX, $769.120

ORCID iD profile URL


HDR Research Supervision (current and completed)


  • Stephanie Rizio (current; PhD – Psychology). Perceptions of the economy and environmental attitudes.


  • Yinghui Cao (2017 completion; PhD – Geography). Developing a GIS-based personalised bushfire risk and warning communication tool.
  • Andrew Chapman (2019 completion; MPsych/PhD – Psychology). Understanding community and community understanding: Building towards preparedness.
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