TOPIC Research Group
We have produced some advice for supporting children and young people with worries about COVIDー19. To access the document please go here
TOPIC Research Group is focused on improving access and effectiveness of psychological interventions for the prevention and treatment of common mental health problems (particularly but not exclusively anxiety disorders) in children and young people. We seek to do this by improving understanding of (i) the experiences of children, young people and their families, (ii) how common mental health disorders present, and (iii) the psychological factors (cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal) that create a risk for and/or maintain common mental health problems in children and young people (and how they may vary with development).
We use this knowledge to develop and evaluate novel prevention and treatment approaches, using a broad range of methods (qualitative, quantitative; interviews, surveys, longitudinal, experimental, RCTs , systematic reviews etc). All of our work is underpinned by close consultation with children, young people, parents/carers, and practitioners to ensure that we are developing evidence-based solutions that can be implemented in practice.
Research Studies within the group:
1. Theme Name: Adolescent anxiety disorders
Lead name: Polly Waite
We are conducting research on the development, maintenance and psychological treatment of anxiety disorders in adolescents. The majority of treatment trials for anxiety disorders in children and young people have either not included adolescents or include them in relatively small numbers and therefore our research focuses on identifying key maintenance factors within this age group in order to ultimately develop targeted, developmentally appropriate treatments with optimal outcomes. The research uses a broad range of methods (including experimental and qualitative methods, clinical trials and systematic reviews), with adolescents from both clinical and community settings (such as schools).
iCATS-i2i is a research project, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Anxiety problems are common in children, but many children with anxiety problems don't receive support. It can be hard to identify anxiety problems in children, and make judgements about whether a child may benefit from support or not. Families also face difficulties accessing support.Our aim is to develop and evaluate a new way of identifying children with anxiety problems and providing these children with effective support, through primary schools.We are currently looking for primary schools in England with at least 2 classes in Years 4-6 to work with us on the first part of this groundbreaking project. Want to find out more? Please get in touch with the iCATS-i2i Team.
3. Project Name: Emerging Minds
Emerging Minds is a research network that aims to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by children and young people. Our members are particularly focused on mental health promotion, prevention and early treatment of mental health problems. We offer funding for research along with cross-sector placements for researchers, training and networking events.
We are working across sectors and disciplines to tackle 4 research challenges. Our research challenges have been developed in partnership with young people, their families, practitioners and policy makers.
The Co-SPACE study aims to track children and young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The study involves monthly follow-up surveys and individual interviews with parents, young people, and stakeholders.The Co-SPACE study will tell us how families are coping during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, what helps children’s mental health, and what parents can do to help support their children’s mental health. We will also be conducting in-depth interviews with young people, parents/carers and people who work with children and young people to gain greater knowledge about their experiences.
5. Project name: Co-Ray (Evidence based mental health and wellbeing Resources made for And by Young people in the COVID-19 context)
Chief Investigator: Professor Cathy Creswell
Research Lead: Emily Lloyd
Postdoctoral researchers: Rebecca Watson
Research Assistant: Elise Sellars
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused extensive disruption and challenges within the lives of young people. The Co-RAY project, funded by the UKRI Medical Research Council and the Westminster Foundation, aims to support young people’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those aged 11 – 16 years. We will be making sense of what research says young people are finding difficult during this time and working closely with young people throughout the project to hear what they would find most helpful to support their mental health. Based on what research says and what young people aged 11 – 16 years think are the priorities, we will develop and share helpful resources. We will make sure young people can easily access useful resources that are already available, as well as working closely with partner organisations (i.e. Headliners UK, Fully Focused Productions) to enable young people to produce new resources (such as films, illustrations, blogs) to support other young people’s mental health.
6. Project name: MY-CATS – Minimising Young Children’s Anxiety Through Schools
MY-CATS is a research project which aims to evaluate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of systematic screening for children (aged 4-7) at risk for anxiety disorders, on the basis of one or more risks, and provision of an online intervention to parents.
We are adapting our existing online intervention for parents of children aged 4-7 who are at risk of developing anxiety problems, and we will then test it out in a large cluster randomised controlled trial involving 60 primary schools. The project involves parents completing questionnaires to help identify which children may be most likely to benefit from support. Where responses suggest the child is at risk of developing anxiety problems and may be most likely to benefit from support, parents in 30 ‘intervention’ schools will be offered an online intervention with telephone support from a wellbeing practitioner, and parents in 30 ‘control’ schools will not be offered the intervention. The intervention is designed to help parents encourage their child to build confidence and minimise problems with anxiety by providing them with skills and strategies for now and in the future. We will compare outcomes for families who are and are not offered the intervention and assess whether it is good value for money. We will also look at characteristics of families who do and do not benefit, and what helps the intervention to work.
Rapid event-related, BOLD fMRI, non-human primates (NHP): choose two out of three
Pelekanos V. et al, (2020), Scientific Reports, 10
Heyes C., (2020), Current Biology
Do metallic-coated cups affect the perception of specialty coffees? An exploratory study
Carvalho F. and SPENCE C., (2020), International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science
Profile of language abilities in a sample of adults with developmental disorders.
Bradshaw AR. et al, (2020), Dyslexia