School of Health in Social Science

Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology

The aspiration of our group is to enhance children and young people’s wellbeing 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.


Eating and Body Image

We are interested in understanding the processes that underpin our eating behaviours, covering typical eating in the general population, through to groups who are at high risk for disordered eating, and those who are experiencing clinical eating disorders.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health

This theme includes research on a variety of mental health difficulties, including mood disorders and psychosis. These studies explore psychological, social and biological risk factors for mental health difficulties, protective factors and resilience.

Vulnerable Groups

We have a range of studies focusing on supporting highly vulnerable children in our society. Studies include those focusing on looked after and accommodated children, including children in foster and kin care; and children with developmental disabilities (e.g. autism spectrum disorder).

Children, adolescents & animals research

Photograph of girl lying on the grass with a puppy with the caar logo at the bottom left
Children, adolescents and animals research (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 animal welfare organisations.

Perinatal Mental Health & Early Development

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.

Scot DPN

The Scottish Developmental Psychology Network is a collaborative network of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers in Scottish universities who share an interest in the development of psychological health and wellbeing. The Network was started in CADP with University of Edinburgh funding.

Knowledge exchange & public events

Our up-and-coming or previous knowledge exchange events.


People at the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology.