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Rachel Calam, BA (Hons), M.Clin.Psychol., PhD, AFBPS


Personal profile


Professor Calam is Professor of Child and Family Psychology.


Following a PhD developmental psychology, Rachel Calam moved into research on child maltreatment then trained as a clinical psychologist.  She worked at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital at Pendlebury before taking up a post as Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool.  She came to The University of Manchester in 1992, and was Programme Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from 1994 to 2011. She then became Professor of Child and Family Psychology, leading the Parenting and Families Research Group, and was Head of the School of Psychological Sciences fron 2011 to 2016.

Current projects focus on parenting in families with significant mental health difficulties, with an MRC funded project on parenting and bipolar disorder with colleagues at Lancaster University completed recently, and NIHR studies of parenting infants under way. A series of studies examines parenting in different cultures and countries, including Panama and Syria. 

A significant area of activity is her work on developing computer-assisted interviewing as a means of helping to give a voice to children. An interview "In My Shoes" that she and colleagues developed in a collaboration between the Unversities of Liverpool and Manchester is now disseminated internationally. The approach is being tested in a collaborative grant with colleagues at Uppsala University funded by the Swedish Research Council. The interview has also led to the development of apps.

She has served on the British Psychological Society's Committee on Training in Clinical Psychology.

Research interests

Rachel Calam's work focusses on links between parenting and child outcomes, and has included work on relationships between parental expressed emotion, attributions and behaviour problems in children.More recent studies have all focussed on parenting interventions. Studies of media based parenting interventions in collaboration with the University of Queensland, Australia have included the Home Office funded Great Parenting Experiments, which involved over 700 families. These have shown the potential for digital technologies, media and internet-based approaches to contribute to public health level intervention, and have demonstrated the ability of interventions of this kind to overcome barriers to entry associated with face to face parenting interventions. Her work now focusses on reaching under-served groups, including families in low and middle income countries and families displaced by war.

Doctoral students are working on predictors of access and techniques to improve uptake and enagement with evidence-based parenting interventions, including low resource settings internationally.  This work has been extended to consider parenting through displacement in the context of the Syrian conflict. Work is under way to extend the use of Triple P for parents with a wide range of difficulties, eg., children with illnesses, including cancer and diabetes, and parents with mental health difficulties.   A recent NIHR funded study trialled impact on quality of life of Triple P for parents of children with asthma. We have recently trialled Baby Triple P for mothers experiencing postnatal depression, and a new large scale study in Glasgow, THRIVE, takes this further. Collaboration on an HTA award enabled an evidence synthesis of quality of life in children of parents with serious mental illness, and an MRC grant on parenting an bipolar disorder is under way with colleagues at the Spectrum Centre at Lancaster University.  More details of all studies are on the Parenting and Families Research Group website.

Rachel Calam is part of an interdisciplinary team which developed "In My Shoes", a computer-assisted interview for children. The aim of this is to help children who would otherwise have difficulties in communicating to talk about their experiences, including maltreatment. In My Shoes is now being disseminated nationally by Child and Family Training Services as part of the National Framework for the Assessment of Children. This approach is now being tested in a collaborative grant with colleagues at Uppsala University funded by the Swedish Research Council.

She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) Child Health Research Network, and the Diabetes and Obesity Research Network.


  • Parenting
  • Parental mental health
  • Child behaviour difficulties and parenting
  • Public health models of intervention       


Professor Calam teaches on lifespan approaches to understanding children and families, child maltreatment and prevention science. She was previously programme director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.  She has collaborated on research on interdisciplinary teaching approaches.

My collaborations


  • Matthew Sanders University of Queensland and vistitng professor, The University of Manchester
  • Professor Adnan Custovic  University of Manchester North West Lung Centre Manchester Asthma and Allergy Birth Cohort Study
  • Professor Ashley Woodcock  University of Manchester
    North West Lung Centre Manchester Asthma and Allergy Birth Cohort
  • Dr Angela Simpson  University of Manchester
    North West Lung Centre Manchester Asthma and Allergy Birth Cohort
  • Dr Clare Murray University of Manchester, Respiratory Medicine
  • Professor Peter Callery University of Manchester, School of Nursing
  • Dr Fiona Ulph  Unviersity of Manchester School of Psychological Sciences
  • Dr Anja Wittkowski University of Manchester School of Psychological Sciences
  • Dr Penny Bee University of Manchester School of Nursing
  • Professor Neil Humphrey, University of Manchester School of Education
  • Dr Anna Sarkardi Uppsala University
  • Professor Ron Prinz University of South Carolina
  • Professor Steve Jones Lancaster University

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • British Psychological Society (Associate Fellow and Chartered Psychologist)
  • British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Methodological knowledge

  • Quantitative

I also have expertise in involving children in research


BA (Hons), Psychology, Liverpool
M.Clin. Psychol., Liverpool
PhD, Psychology, Liverpool

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Dive into the research topics where Rachel Calam is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • UN Consultant

    Rachel Calam (Academic founder)

    1 Dec 201630 Jun 2017

    Activity: Consultancy, spin-outs, CPD & licensingConsultancy & ServicesResearch

  • Manchester Museum Takeover

    Rachel Calam (Chair)

    1 Oct 201612 Oct 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch