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Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Research Theme

Health, Wellbeing and Social Care

The School of Social Sciences has a long and established track record in conducting high quality theoretical and empirical research on health, well being and social care.  Its strengths are in its emphasis on working across disciplinary boundaries, the development of innovative methods for evaluating complex social interventions, its application to the domains of public health, health care and social work and its emphasis on knowledge exchange and impact. These are reflected in the partnerships that have been established and developed across academic schools and centres at Cardiff University, the UK and internationally, with policy and practice communities and with publics.      

Research Centres, Institutes and Networks


The Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) is concerned with all aspects of community-based responses to social need in children and families, including family support services, children in need services, child protection, looked after children and adoption. Launched in May 2014, the Centre brings together more than £1.35 million of current research grants and a strong record of engagement with the policy and practice community.  


CISHeW logo

Cardiff Institute of Society, Health and Wellbeing (CISHeW) is a new research institute within Cardiff School of Social Sciences. Building upon a legacy of methodologically innovative multi-disciplinary research, we are developing adventurous methods for engagement and partnership in the social sciences, arts, humanities and community development. Our projects focus on social action, policy dialogue, the dynamic nature of health and wellbeing, and social justice. We often take a collaborative approach to our research, working alongside civil society groups and community members, service providers, artists and policy makers.

Decipher Logo

Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) is one of five UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence. DECIPHer has a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level interventions that have an impact on the health and well-being of children and young people. The Centre engages strongly with policy, practice and public user communities to translate the research results into practical outcomes. The Centre operates through a strategic partnership between Cardiff University, led by Professor Simon Moore, University of Bristol, led by Professor Rona Campbell and Swansea University, led by Professor Ronan Lyons.


The Public Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN) is based in DECIPHer and aims to improve the capacity, quality and relevance of public health research in Wales. The network is one of 17 Registered Research Groups in Wales funded by the National Institute of Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR) and is a partnership between with the South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU). The purpose of PHIRN is to increase the quantity and quality of public health improvement research that is relevant to policy and practice. PHIRN aims to achieve this by increasing the number of natural experiments within the roll-out of new initiatives; developing high quality collaborative research proposals for research grant funding; developing high quality collaborative research proposals linked to emerging initiatives; and developing a critical mass of specialised methodological capacity in the design and conduct of community based trials of complex interventions. In addition to supporting the development of research ideas and proposals PHIRN’s other include bi-weekly e-mail bulletins with the latest funding opportunities and events, and quarterly Health Challenge Wales seminars which bring policy makers, academics and practitioners together.


The Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) was set up in 2001 and is a partnership between CISHE and Public Health Wales.  The aim of health impact assessment (HIA) is to ensure that major decisions that affect people’s lives are informed by research evidence and expertise about the potential health impact that these might have.  The emphasis is in ensuring that the best possible health outcomes are embedded in the plans for implementing policies, programmes and projects.  The purpose of the Unit is to support the development of HIA across Wales through partnership working, training and high quality research.     

CASciOPe Logo

The theme also links to the Cardiff University Ageing Science and Older People’s research network (CASciOPe).  This is a multi-disciplinary research network, spanning most Schools in Cardiff University.  It fosters collaboration, dialogue, engagement and innovation, including over the understanding of ageing itself.  Its membership is drawn from across the disciplines, including Biomedicine, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Health Studies and Nursing, Dentistry and Optometry, City & Regional Planning, Psychology, Engineering, the Arts and Humanities. It acts as a vehicle to facilitate and coordinate cross-School applications to major multi-disciplinary research funders, such as Lifelong Health and Wellbeing.


Staff within the theme also work closely with the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) which is jointly funded by the Welsh Assembly Government (HEFCW) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). WISERD is engaged in research capacity building drawing together expertise in both quantitative and qualitative approaches across a number of Welsh universities and includes studies concerning social care, health and well being particularly among children and young people.

Place Logo

Links have also been established with the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE) one of three cross-disciplinary research institutes at Cardiff University.  Involving academics from the Schools of Social Sciences, City and Regional Planning, Medicine, Earth Sciences, Architecture, Psychology, Engineering, and the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society, it aims to provide an improved understanding of the complexity, transitions, adaptations and resiliencies required in the design, re-design and planning of places.  The Health, Well Being and Social Care thematic group has developed particularly strong links with the Health and Connected Communities theme within PLACE.

Research Groups and Seminars

The development of research capacity is an important function of the theme and the School encourages the development of groups to facilitate networking, the discussion of new ideas, learning and the development of theoretical and methodological skills. The theme hosts a Health, Well Being and Social Care seminar series which provides a space to present and discuss the work of staff within the theme.  Open to everyone in the School it is also an opportunity to link to related research from other thematic groups.  The seminar series also hosts visiting UK and international speakers. 

The Childhood Research Group aims to maintain, support and develop the diversity and quality of childhood research (theory, method and policy) within the School of Social Sciences and develop and strengthen research links with other research groups and departments in the field of childhood studies.

Social work academics in the School are involved in a range of applied research projects, mostly concerned with aspects of child welfare. Information about this programme of research can be found on the social work research pages, which also include highlights of social work - related publications by staff in the School.

The CISHE Forum is for staff and postgraduate students within the Centre and meets fortnightly to provide learning and skills development in theory and methods related to public health research.

Post-Graduate Activities

The theme is particularly noted for its vibrant community of PhD and Professional Doctoral students who also contribute to the research capacity and profile of the School through self organised activities and groups.

DECIPHer PhD student meetings are monthly and are about sharing and exchanging ideas, discussing issues or problems or just generally catching-up as many of work on similar or related projects. It also provides an opportunity for informal and safe peer review and feedback. Main contacts: Rhiannon Yapp or Samia Addis

The Childhood Doctoral Group is linked to the childhood research group and meets monthly. Members share ideas, readings and methodological issues in an informal and supportive atmosphere. Main contact: Hayley Collicott -

The Social Work Doctoral Group organise and host an annual regional doctoral conference. This brings together doctoral students from Wales and the South west of England to present papers and share developments in social work and social care research. The event is initiated and organised by doctoral students.

The Policy Research Group has been in operation for the past three years and meets monthly basis. It is a cross-school research group set-up and organized by postgraduate students in SocSci. It focuses upon the relationship between policy and academic research. Main contact: Lee Gregory –

Publications Include:

Armstrong R, Waters E, Moore L, Riggs E, Cuervo LG, Lumbiganon P and Hawe P. (2008) Improving the reporting of public health intervention research: advancing TREND and CONSORT. Journal of Public Health 2008 (epub).

Butler, I. and Drakeford, M. (2007) Scandal, Social Policy and Social Welfare, Second edition, Bristol, Policy Press.

Fone, DL, Dunstan, FD, Lloyd, K, Williams, G, Watkins, J, Palmer, SR. (2007) ‘Does social cohesion modify the association between area income deprivation and mental health? A multilevel analysis’. International Journal of Epidemiology, 28, pp 1-8.

Fone, D, Dunstan, F, Williams, G, Lloyd, K  and Palmer, S (2007) ‘Places, people and mental health: a multi-level analysis of economic inactivity’, Social Science and Medicine, 64, 633-645

Latimer J (2007), ‘Diagnosis, Dysmorphology and the Family: Knowledge, motility, choice. Medical Anthropology.  26: 53-94.

Latimer J (2007) ‘Becoming in-formed: Genetic counselling, ambiguity and choice.  Special Issue - The Meaning of Genetics and Conceptions of Personhood, Health Care Analysis.

MacBride-Stewart S (2007) Que(e)rying the meaning of lesbian health: Individual(izing) and community discourses. In (eds) Victoria Clarke and Elizabeth Peel, Out in Psychology: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer perspectives.  London, Wiley, pp 427-444.

MacDonald S, Rothwell, H and Moore L (2007) Getting it right: designing adolescent-centred smoking cessation. Addiction, 102(7):1147-1150.

Moore G.F, Tapper K, Murphy S, Clark R, Lynch R, Moore L (2007) Validation of a self-completion measure of breakfast foods, snacks and fruit and vegetables consumed by 9-11 year old schoolchildren. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61:420-30.

Moore, G.F, Tapper, K., Murphy, S., Lynch, R., Pimm, C., Raisanen, L. and Moore, L. Associations between deprivation, attitudes towards eating breakfast and breakfast eating behaviours in 9-11 year olds. Public Health Nutrition 2007;10(6):582-589

Moore L, Moore G.F, Tapper K, Lynch R, Desousa C, Hale J, Roberts C, Murphy S. Free breakfasts in schools: Design and conduct of a cluster randomised controlled trial of the Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative in Wales. BMC Public Health 2007:7:258. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-258.

Pithouse A, (2007) Is everyone Singing the Same Song?  A Case-Study to Develop and Evaluate an Inter-Agency Common Assessment for Children in Need, Des Enfants à Proteger, des Adultes à aider : Deux Univers à Rapprocher (Chamberland C, Leveille S and Trocme N eds), University of Quebec Press 

Pithouse A, (2007) ‘Early intervention in the round: A great idea but…’ British Journal of Social Work, doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcm068 On-line ISSN 1468-263X

Scourfield J, Dicks B, HollandS, Drakeford M and Davies A, (2006) The Significance of Place in Middle Childhood: Qualitative Research from Wales, British Journal of Sociology 57, 4, 577-595

Tapper, K, Murphy S, Moore L, Lynch, R. and Clark, R (2007). Evaluating the Free School Breakfast Initiative in Wales: Methodological Issues. British Food Journal; 109:206-215.

Members of Staff working in the area of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care