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We aim to promote the healthy mental and physical development of children and their families in adversity. Our work focuses on elucidating the mechanisms underlying disturbed development and in creating appropriate interventions.

Child adolescent psychiatry © SciencePhotoLibrary

We aim to promote knowledge and understanding of the impact of adversity on children’s development through research, training and public education.  We use observational and experimental studies to elucidate the mechanisms underlying children’s development and thereby creating interventions to support families and enhance children’s development.

Virtually every aspect of early human development from the brain’s evolving circuitry to the child’s capacity for empathy is affected by the environment and experiences that are encountered in a cumulative fashion, beginning in the prenatal period and extending throughout the early childhood years… Investing in disadvantaged young children is a rare public policy initiative that promotes fairness and social justice and at the same time promotes productivity in the economy and in society at largeJ.Heckman, Nobel Laureate, Science, 2006

We have a number of subgroups within the larger Child and Adolescent Group, working on different aspects of the parent-child relationship in both the UK and low- and middle-income countries (LAMICS).

Our team


  • Young children in the face of adversity

    The Head of Section Professor Alan Stein leads a group studying the development of young children in the face of adversity, with studies both in the UK and in low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs), especially sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Hedonia: Trygfonden Research Group

    Professor Morten L. Kringelbach heads Hedonia: Trygfonden Research Group, a transnational research group based at Oxford and Aarhus Universities.

  • Mental health of refugees and asylum seekers

    Professor Mina Fazel’s work focuses on improving access to mental health services for vulnerable child populations (such as refugees) and developing school-based mental health services.

Recent studies


    Supporting Parents Of Children with Cleft Lip (SPOCCL) is a research study looking at how best to provide extra support to families who have a baby with a cleft lip in the first few months. This study has now finished.

  • Graduate Students

    We welcome graduate students from a wide range of disciplines including medicine, neuroscience and psychology. The resources of the Department of Psychiatry, Oxford centre for Human Brain Activity and the University of Oxford provide a wide-range of training opportunities.


  • In the news

    New exciting findings from our group were highlighted in the UK news

Related research themes