Social Development Research Group

Project Details


The development of social competency is a key foundation for mental health and social functioning in children. There are many determinants of social competency and thus many ways in which competency can be impaired.

Our group investigates some of these developmental routes into social impairment, their clinical consequences, and potential interventions to help them.

The bulk of our work links to social impairments associated with autism spectrum disorders. Here we undertake a range of developmental studies from the infancy prodrome through to later development and preschool and school-age interventions.

We study different developmental routes into autism spectrum disorders and similar impairments; such as familial autism (treatment studies such as iBASIS, PACT and PACT-G and collaboration in the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings); single gene disorders related to autism such as neurofibromatosis type I and related rasopathies (SANTA and NewLife studies); social impairment consequences of early maltreatment and neglect (SOCiAL).

We also study other forms of social impairment consequent on early maltreatment and attachment failure (SOCiAL and SOCiAL followup studies).

A parallel focus is on the design and implementation of randomised controlled trials for complex psychosocial interventions. Here we study the antecedents of therapeutic alliance and undertake studies of deliberate self harm in adolescence.

Our work has also generated a number of widely used assessment and measurement techniques and has extended into interventions in a global health context (PASS).

There are opportunities to join the research group at research, doctoral, or postdoctoral level; and research attachments, projects and work experience placements are also available at different times.
Effective start/end date1/01/06 → …

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 project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • autism


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