School of Health in Social Science

Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology

CADP is a group of researchers whose research focuses on child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing.

Centre for Applied Development Psychology logo

Our mission is to understand psychological, developmental and social factors associated with young people’s wellbeing and to work with families and professionals to promote positive child and adolescent mental health.

To achieve this mission CADP researchers work with the health, education, forensic, care and social services. We also collaborate with voluntary organisations and charities. We use a range of research techniques and technologies and participate in knowledge exchange events with children, families and professionals.

Our research includes a number of cross-cutting themes around mental health and health, specific mental health issues (e.g. eating disorders and disruptive behaviour) and specific risk and resilience factors (e.g. trauma, neuropsychological factors, and relationships with people and animals). We also engage in psychological and psychoeducational intervention to promote child and adolescents mental health.


Interested in becoming a member of CADP? Sign up here CADP publications & projects on Research Explorer

Covid-19 and Young People

We are engaging in a range of projects exploring the impact of Covid-19 on children, young people and their families. These projects include the investigating the impact of lockdown on families with children, and examining the impact of pets on children’s mental health during lockdown.

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.

Child and Adolescent Injury and Health

We also investigate children’s understanding of illness and the mental health impact of physical illness.

Eating and Eating Disorders

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.

Trauma and Development

CADP staff have a range of projects supporting highly vulnerable children in our society who have experienced trauma and adverse early experiences (ACEs). This research includes studies with looked after and accommodated children, including children in foster and kin care and their families.

Neurodevelopmental Research

CADP researchers are interested in neurodiversity and engage in research with children with neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorder) and their families. We are also interested in the neurological basis on mental health issues (e.g. mood disorders) and aggressive and violent behaviour.

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.

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.

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

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


People at the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology.

Image credits: YiorgosGR/GettyImages, Xesai/GettyImages