The research is predominantly concerned with the development of young children in the face of adversity. There are two objectives. The first has been to elucidate the environmental mechanisms underlying children’s development in adversity. The second has been to use this understanding to develop interventions to enhance children’s development and support their families.
We have concentrated on the postnatal period, a critical time for child development, focusing first on parental psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and eating disorders; and parental physical illness including HIV, malaria and cancer. Furthermore, we are interested in the underlying brain mechanisms of development, for example, what happens in the adult brain when we interact with babies. The research into refugee and asylum seeking children in both high and low-income countries is focused on understanding the risk and protective factors that are involved in psychological development and in building interventions, mainly in schools.