- Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
I am a postdoctorate researcher in the School of Psychology working on the ReThink programme, a 3.5 year mixed-methods project investigating psychosocial factors linked to the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced young people in England and Wales during two transition periods that can be particularly difficult; moving from primary to secondary school and from secondary school into adulthood. This project is funded by the UKRI (MRC) and is led by Prof. Lisa Holmes at the University of Sussex and Dr. Rachel Hiller at UCL.
I recently completed my PhD in the Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University exploring the effects of family violence (domestic violence and direct child abuse) on child and adolescent internalising symptoms, and the causal pathways between child abuse and internalising symptoms, using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
My research experience spans psychology, epidemiology, and public health; and my skills and interests include children and young people's mental health, childhood adversity and particularly the impact of domestic abuse, data-linkage and mixed methods studies, causal inference, longitudinal mediation analysis, and patient and public involvement in research.
Postgraduate Research Associate, ReThink Project
February 2022 - Present
I am working on a large, longitudinal, mixed-methods study exploring mechanisms driving the mental health and wellbeing of care experienced and adopted young people over two key transition points; moving from primary to secondary school, and from secondary school to adulthood. This research programme is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between UCL, the University of Sussex, Oxford University, and Cardiff University. We are working very closely with Adoption UK and Coram Voice, particularly with their youth groups of care experienced young people to ensure our research is informed by their expertise.
Senior Public Health Research Officer, Public Health Wales
April 2021 - February 2022
I was part of the Networked Data Lab, a UK-wide research programme using linked data in the Secure Anonymous Infomation Linkage (SAIL) Databank to produce timely insights on the immediate problems facing the health and care service, and provide deeper insights into health inequalities and social determinants of health. These challenges included the impact of "shielding" on the clinically extremely vulnerable population during the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health crises amongst children and young people, and the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers. I led a project accessing local authority unpaid carer data and linking it with healthcare data in SAIL.
Postdoctural Student, Division of Population, Cardiff University
April 2018 - Present
My thesis aimed to describe the effects of childhood exposure to domestic violence (CEDV), and direct child abuse (DCA), on child and adolescent internalising symptoms, and identify factors that protect against internalising symptoms. Potential protective factors were identified through systematic literature reviews. Cohort data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were used to explore the causal pathways between both CEDV and DCA, and child and adolescent internalising symptoms using multivariate regression modelling, after accounting for missing data using a combination multiple imputation and inverse probability weighting.
The effects of domestic violence and direct child abuse on child and adolescent internalising symptoms
Childhood exposure to domestic violence (CEDV) and direct child abuse (DCA), defined as physical and emotional abuse, are serious health concerns. CEDV and DCA are associated with poor developmental outcomes in children and young people including internalising symptoms (anxiety, depression, somatic complaints, social withdrawal), yet many are resilient. Studies have started investigating the causal pathway between both CEDV and DCA and internalising symptoms, however much work is needed to understand how CEDV and DCA effect internalising symptoms, and the best ways to provide support.
My thesis aimed to describe the effects of CEDV, and DCA, on child and adolescent internalising symptoms, and identify factors that protect against internalising symptoms. Potential protective factors were identified through literature reviews and data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were used to explore the causal pathways between both CEDV and DCA, and internalising symptoms. CEDV was measured when children were 0-3 years, DCA at 0-3 and 6-9 years, and internalising symptoms at 6 and 13 years.
Controversially I found little evidence that CEDV affects internalising symptoms at 6 or 13 years. DCA had a statistically significant effect on both child and adolescent internalising symptoms. There was little evidence that any of the included factors protected against the effect of DCA at 0-3 years on internalising symptoms at 6 years, but many factors appeared to protect against the effect of DCA on internalising symptoms in early adolescence. Key protective factors were children’s social skills, positive parent-child relationships, good maternal mental health, and friendships. These findings have implications for practitioners, providing potential assets to explore and include within formulations, and strengths to develop in preventative interventions.