COVID-19 Health Impact on Long-term Child Development in Scotland (CHILDS) study. This project is ongoing.
Summary: Research in a Nutshell
A broad body of evidence suggests that infection during pregnancy, maternal mental health, support during pregnancy and birth all have important roles in how children develop. This study will examine the effects of COVID-19 and the related Public Health and Social Measures (including changes to healthcare provision) on pregnant women and their children across the whole of Scotland. We will use routinely collected data from healthcare, education and social care records. There are three main focus areas for this study:
Understanding how COV infection during pregnancy affects child health and development up to the age of 5.
Understanding the impact of Public Health and Social Measures (PSHM) taken during the pandemic on early child development.
Examining the role of social inequality on mother and child development outcomes in light of the pandemic.
The study will provide a unique reference point for healthcare providers and policy-makers in Scotland and globally about the needs of those born in the pandemic, allowing improved targeting of resources and a better understanding of how policy can improve outcomes at these crucial early stages of life.
Dr Bonnie Auyeung is Reader and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research is focused around two central themes: 1) the role of prenatal factors on psychological and neural postnatal development and 2) early markers of developmental disabilities. Prior to her current role, Bonnie worked at the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge where she is remains Director of Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Dr Louise Marryat is Baxter Fellow in the Mother and Infant Research Unit, University of Dundee. Her research utilizes longitudinal and administrative datasets to explore a diverse set of topics around child and maternal health. She is expert in neurodevelopmental disorders and mental health.
Dr Aja Murray is a Lecturer in Quantitative Psychology specialising in child neurodevelopment from the prenatal period. She is also an expert in quantitative research methods, especially as applied to longitudinal data. She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has been part of the leadership of numerous funded related projects. She is currently Director of the Evidence for Better Lives Study: an eight-country study of pregnancy and early child development and leads several projects that focus on the secondary data analysis of UK birth cohort and panel studies.
Dr Sarah Stock is Reader in Maternal and Fetal Health and Wellcome Trust Clinical Career Development Fellow. She is co-PI on the EAVE-II COVID-19 in Pregnancy in Scotland (COPS) study. Her work examines how infections and inflammation can lead to premature labour and damage to the developing baby, in order to develop better ways of diagnosing preterm labour and intrauterine inflammation and find new treatments to prevent complications.
Dr Rachael Wood is a Consultant in Public Health Medicine in Public Health Scotland and a Reader within the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences and the Usher Institute in the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on using interagency administrative data to examine questions relating to child public health, with a particular focus on child development and neurodevelopmental conditions. She is co-PI of the COPS study.
Dr Iain Hardie is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on this project.
Mrs. Emily Leudeke is the Research Assistant for this project.
Dr Bonnie Auyeung - Bonnie.Auyeung@ed.ac.uk
This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
Public Health Scotland
Research Advisory Group
Prof James Boardman is Professor of Neonatal Medicine and PI of the Theirworld Edinburgh Birth Cohort, a world-leading research study aiming to improve the lives of babies born early.
Dr Michael V. Lombardo is the Director of the Neurodevelopmental Disorders research programme at the Italian Institute of Technology, and an expert in the role of prenatal maternal infections and effects on neurodevelopment.
Prof Alison McFadden is a clinical midwife, senior research fellow and Director of the Mother and Infant Research Unit at the University of Dundee. Her work focuses on improving the health and health care experiences of childbearing women, babies and families and reducing health inequities.
Charlie Middleton is a health visitor and Lecturer in nursing in the School of Health Sciences at The University of Dundee. Her work focuses on infant and young child feeding.
Two parent members will be included from the public to ensure participant involvement throughout the study, recruited through supporting new parents from different demographic backgrounds.
Start date: 1 September 2022
End date: 30 September 2027