Project ID NS-MH2023_30


Co Supervisor 1A IoPPN/Child & Adolescent PsychiatryWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B IoPPN/Child & Adolescent PsychiatryWebsite

Predictors of good mental health outcomes for autistic young people

Around 70% of children with autism have at least one additional psychiatric diagnosis, with emotional and behavioural problems being the most diagnosed and often requiring specialist interventions by mental health services. However, there is a poor understanding of which characteristics are barriers/facilitators of a positive treatment response. This project will investigate how individual characteristics (clinical/neuropsychological features) and environmental factors (socio-economic and family factors) effect outcomes.

The candidate will learn how to combine survey and experimental techniques (cognitive tasks etc.) with clinical data extracted from electronic health records. They will receive training in conducting systematic reviews, complex statistical analyses (using techniques such as structural equation modelling), and experience in translational research. This will be an innovative project in the field of autism research which aims to promote personalised approaches to intervention and clinical care. The candidate will be based in the Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People (due to open in 2023), an integrated academic and clinical centre which will promote translational research into youth mental health.

The project will be supervised by two leading experts in mental health and autism and will be conducted in close collaboration with clinical colleagues at the Service for Complex Autism and Associated Neurodevelopmental Disorders (SCAAND).

Year 1. Systematic review of literature on predictors of treatment efficacy / mental health outcomes in autism. Year 2. Develop expertise in survey / experimental research design Year 3. Develop skills in complex data analysis, presentation skills by presenting research at an international conference, and paper writing skills.

Representative Publications

Hollocks, M. J., Wood, J. J., Storch, E. A., Cho, A. C., Kerns, C. M., & Kendall, P. C. (2022). Reward Sensitivity Predicts the Response to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Children with Autism and Anxiety. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1-8.

Stringer D, Kent R, Briskman J, Lukito S, Charman T, Baird G, et al. Trajectories of emotional and behavioral problems from childhood to early adult life. Autism. 2020:1362361320908972.