School of Health in Social Science

Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology

The overarching aspiration of our group is to enhance children and young people’s well being as well as their recovery in the face of mental health problems. This underpins our core research activities, teaching and knowledge exchange in collaboration with partners in the NHS, voluntary organisations, education and social services.

Centre for Applied Development Psychology logo

We are a group of clinical psychologists, academic psychologists and researchers interested in the application of theories and models of developmental psychology in a variety of applied settings including:

  • community settings
  • education
  • social justice
  • social care
  • mental health & well being related services

We are particularly interested in translational aspects of how developmental psychology concepts can be applied to further prevention, clinical practice, educational goals, and an understanding of how children and young people grow and adapt to their often challenging experiences and contexts.

Our research is mainly focused on understanding risk and resilience in view of individual development, mental health and well being of children and young people. We pursue these aims in experimental and basic scientific projects as well as applied population based investigations and clinical trials. With further hold a perspective on service development and implementation we aim to further and develop evidence based treatments in preventative, health and mental health settings, that are informed by key developmental factors.


Children, adolescents & animals research

Children, adolescents and animals research or caar, is a group of researchers, graduates and doctoral students led by Professor Jo Williams and supported by Dr Janine Muldoon. We explore all aspects of relationships between children, adolescents and animals, and work closely with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Perinatal Mental Health

Pregnant women and families with major mental health difficulties are at increased risk of further mental health and health difficulties, in association with pregnancy and delivery. We seek to improve understanding of the mechanisms of risk and vulnerability in the perinatal period by investigating aspects of maternal and infant health, the parental-child relationship, and wider societal context.


People at the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology.


Links to various research activity resources.


Flyer for our first workshop in 2019 on children's relationships with different types of companion animal (dog and cat in snow)

Building on the success of our ESRC workshops, caar is organising two reflective workshops for practitioners/policy makers involved in child and/or animal welfare. They will be an opportunity to hear about key findings and share thoughts and experiences.