UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Children and Development

The Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology is a world leading research centre in child mental health, education and wellbeing. We focus on helping children of all ages, in the UK and internationally, through improved intervention, training and policy.  Such translational outcomes stem from our cutting-edge scientific work that sheds new light on child development, alongside an extensive programme of intervention and prevention studies, rigorous service evaluation and policy projects.  We also strive to promote children’s welfare through innovative educational programmes that draw heavily on our research expertise. Through our Doctoral courses in Clinical and Educational Psychology, our portfolio of MSc courses, and most recently through the Department of Health’s Child IAPT initiative, we aim to train a new generation of highly skilled and research-informed practitioners. 

Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT) for children in foster care

PI's: Dr Nick Midgley (Chief Investigator), Dr David Wellsted, Prof Pasco Fearon, Solange Wyatt, Sally Wood, Dr Sarah Jane Besser, Dr Kiri Jefferies-Sewell, Dr Karen Irvine

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme

Approximately 60,000 children/young people are in foster care in England, with over 50% due to abuse and neglect. Consequently a large number of fostered children present with emotional and behavioural difficulties. The most effective treatment for this group is currently unknown.

The overall aim is to ascertain the effectiveness of MBT as a treatment for children in foster care presenting with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Before embarking upon a large scale trial, this feasibility study aims to:

  • to test capacity to train mental health practitioners to an acceptable level of treatment integrity
  • to assess the feasibility of recruitment processes and uptake to the study
  • to establish acceptability and credibility of MBT as a treatment intervention for looked after children
  • to establish the feasibility and acceptability to families of conducting a randomised clinical trial
  • to establish the feasibility of collecting resource-use data, for the purpose of calculating relative cost-effectiveness; and to constrain a preliminary estimate of likely treatment efficacy effect size 


Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The University of Hertfordshire

Eamon J. McCrory and Essi Viding (2015) The theory of latent vulnerability: Reconceptualizing the link between childhood maltreatment and psychiatric disorder. Development and Psychopathology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954579415000115

Pingault J, Viding E, Galéra C, et al. (2015) Genetic and Environmental Influences on the Developmental Course of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms From Childhood to Adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0469.

Patalay, P., Sharpe, H. and Wolpert, M. (2015) Internalising symptoms and body dissatisfaction: untangling temporal precedence using cross-lagged models in two cohorts. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12415

Sarah J. Healy, Jona Lewin, Stephen Butler, Kyla Vaillancourt and Fiona Seth-Smith (2015) Affect recognition and the quality of mother-infant interaction: understanding parenting difficulties in mothers with schizophrenia. Archives of Women's Mental Health DOI:10.1007/s00737-015-0530-3