Evidence Based Practice Unit


PhD projects

Developing and piloting a theory-led intervention to facilitate shared decision making in child and youth mental health

Daniel Hayes…

PhD researcher: Daniel Hayes

This PhD aims to examine shared decision making in child and youth mental health. Specifically, it explores how to include young people and families in decisions about care and treatment through a series of qualitative and quantitative studies and, from this, developed an intervention to facilitate shared decision making.

The design of the PhD follows the MRC framework for developing complex interventions, supplemented with work from Susan Michie’s Behaviour Change Wheel to help guide intervention content and design. The intervention was then tested in CAMHS assessment clinics looking at various processes and outcome measures.

Email: daniel.hayes@annafreud.org

Ending treatment with children and young people when clinical improvement is unlikely: considering curability and chronicity


PhD researcher: Holly Bear

The topics of interest within this project are: clinical treatment response following routine mental health care, better understanding the association between cognitive illness representations and treatment response expectations among practitioners, children and families, practitioners’ shared or incongruent experiences, feelings and insights surrounding treatment failure and treatment endings across mental and physical healthcare contexts.

Finally, the project will look at the ways in which we can improve understanding, consideration and communication about the limitations of interventions in child and adolescent mental health services in order to inform clinical decision making. 

Email: holly.bear@annafreud.org

NB. This study is currently recruiting research participants. For more information, please click below:

Power Up for Parents: parental involvement and shared decision making through technology


PhD researcher: Shaun Liverpool

This project addresses policy calls to promote shared decision making in services for young people with long-term conditions. It builds on prior research by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families to develop a mobile app called Power Up supporting shared decision making with young people, caregivers and therapists. Crucially, this project will develop and evaluate a new app (Power Up for Parents) that enables greater involvement of mothers and fathers (or caregivers) in their child’s therapy.

Email: shaun.liverpool@annafreud.org

A community-led and co-produced intervention to support and promote resilience in schools and services


PhD researcher: Bettina Moltrecht

Alarming prevalence rates (10-20%) of mental health difficulties in young people highlight the importance of mental health prevention and promotion for this population. It has been argued that this peak in psychopathological symptoms is a result of developmental changes, which hamper adequate emotion regulation. This PhD project aims to investigate and promote effective emotion regulation in youth, through the development of a mobile app-based intervention. 

Email: bettina.moltrecht@annafreud.org


What constitutes a good outcome in child and adolescent mental health?


PhD researcher: Karolin Krause

Over the past decade, there has been a push towards the routine measurement of treatment outcomes in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). At the same time, there is a lack of consensus about the types of change that constitute a ‘good outcome’ and that should be prioritised when evaluating treatments effectiveness.

This PhD project explores what outcomes are considered important by different stakeholders, including clinicians, commissioners and young people themselves, in the UK and overseas. It will look at the importance of symptom change relative to other possible changes in young people’s lives, such as in their interpersonal relationships, identity and self-esteem, or physical health.

The PhD will take a mixed-methods approach combining qualitative interviews, Q-methodology, and quantitative analysis of routine monitoring CAMHS data.

Email: karolin.krause@annafreud.org

NB. This study is currently recruiting research participants. For more information, please click below:


How can investigations into risk, stressors, and protective factors inform the development of initiatives for the promotion of mental wellbeing?  


PhD researcher:  Mia Eisenstadt

This PhD aims to examine stressors, risk-factors and protective factors and effects on mental wellbeing from the perspectives of adolescents to inform intervention design. The term ‘risk factors’ refers to variables associated with the increased likelihood of a negative outcome and ‘protective factors’ are those variables that decrease the likelihood of said outcome (Kazdin et al., 1997). The PhD analyses data from a longitudinal qualitative study that involves annual interviews with adolescents in six regions across England as part of HeadStart. HeadStart is a national programme seeking to reduce the rate of mental disorder and promote emotional wellbeing in English adolescents.

Email: mia.eisenstadt@annafreud.org