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Anna Freud’s online research library contains a collection of evidence-based material on children and young people’s mental health, written and co-written by our team. The research explores factors relating to: 

anxiety | behavioural difficulties | depression | digital mental health | empowering young people and families | early years | evaluation | fostering and adoption | intervention | maltreatment and abuse | measures | mentalization | methodology | neurodiversity | parents and carers| prevalence and trends | prevention | psychological therapies | resources | risk and resilience | social care | trauma | wellbeing

The library is managed by our team of evidence experts. It is updated on a regular basis and currently consists of research published between 2018 and 2023. 

Please be aware that links to our open-access papers lead to external sites and that the management, data handling and administration of these external sites is not Anna Freud’s responsibility. 

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  • Trust me, we can sort this out: a theory-testing case study of the role of epistemic trust in fostering relationships

    Here, a theory-testing single case study methodology, adapted from an approach developed in the field of psychoanalysis, is presented.

    Authors: Sprecher, E., Li, E., Sleed, M., Midgley, N. (2022).

    Download the open access paper

  • Evaluation of birth companions perinatal and peer support provision in two prison settings in England: a mixed-methods study

    This paper reports on insights from an evaluation of Birth Companions (BC) (a UK-based charity) perinatal support in two prison settings in England. The initiative involved the provision of group and/or one-to-one perinatal support and training women prisoners as peer supporters.

    Authors: Mortimer, R., Thomson, G., Baybutt, M., Whittaker, K. (2022). 

    Download the open access paper

  • The Depression: Online Therapy Study (D:OTS) – a pilot study of an internet-based psychodynamic treatment for adolescents with low mood in the UK, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

    This pilot study examined the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of an English-language adaptation of internet-based psychodynamic treatment for depressed adolescents, undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. 

    Authors: Midgley, N., Guerrero-Tates, B., Mortimer, R., Edbrooke-Childs, J., Mechler, J., Lindqvist, K., Hajkowski, S., Leibovich, L., Martin, P., Andersson, G., Vlaescu, G., Lilliengren, P., Kitson, A., Butler-Wheelhouse, P., & Philips, B. (2021).

    Download the open access paper

  • Brief Educational Workshops in Secondary Schools Trial (BESST): protocol for a school-based cluster randomised controlled trial of open-access psychological workshop programme for 16–18-year-olds

    One intervention that has been shown to be feasible to reducing stress, anxiety and depression in adolescents is a school-based stress workshop programme for 16–18-year-olds (herein called DISCOVER). The next step is to rigorously assess the effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness, of the DISCOVER intervention in a fully powered cluster randomised controlled trial.

    Authors: Lisk, S., Carter, B., James, K., Stallard, P., Deighton, J., Yarrum, J., Fonagy, P., Day, C., Byford, S., Shearer, J., Weaver, T., Sclare, I., Evans, C., Farrelly, M., Ho, PC., Brown, J. (2022).

    Download the open access paper

  • Association between quetiapine use and self-harm outcomes among people with recorded personality disorder in UK primary care: a self-controlled case series analysis

    This paper aims to examine associations between periods of quetiapine prescribing and self-harm events in people with personality disorder.

    Authors: Hayes, J. F., Hardoon, S., Deighton, J., Viding, E., & Osborn, D. P. J. (2022).

    Download the open access paper

  • Multi-family therapy for separated parents in conflict and their children: intervention development and pilot evaluation

    The aim of this study was to adapt, deliver and evaluate the No Kids in the Middle multi-family programme in three UK pilot sites. This paper reports findings from interviews exploring families’ experiences of this intervention, and questionnaires which measured change for families over the course of the programme.

    Authors: Mortimer, R., Morris, E., Pursch, B., Roe, A., Sleed, M. (2021).

    Read the abstract

  • Early manifestations of intellectual performance: evidence that genetic effects on later academic test performance are mediated through verbal performance in early childhood

    This study examined whether early executive function or verbal performance mediate genetic influences on subsequent intellectual performance, in U.S.-based adoptees and their birth and adoptive parents, administered measures in 2003-2017.

    Authors: Austerberry, C., Fearon, P., Ronald, A., Leve, L. D., Ganiban, J., Natsuaki, M. N., Shaw, D. S., Neiderhiser, J. M., & Reiss, D. (2021).

    Download the open access paper

  • No typical care story: how do care-experienced young people and foster carers understand fostering relationships?

    This article presents findings from a qualitative investigation exploring experiences of relationships between foster carers and the young people in their care. Eight care-experienced young people and nine foster carers participated in interviews and focus groups.

    Authors: Sprecher, E., Midgley, N., Sleed, M., Tuitt, I., & Hill, D. (2021).

    Download the open access paper

  • Trust and childhood maltreatment: evidence of bias in appraisal of unfamiliar faces

    Children aged 8–16 years with maltreatment documented on the basis of social services records, and a group of 70 peers completed a trustworthiness face-judgement task in which they appraised the trustworthiness of unfamiliar facial stimuli varying along a computationally modelled trustworthiness dimension.

    Authors: Neil, L., Viding, E., Armbruster-Genc, D., Lisi, M., Mareschal, I., Rankin, G., Sharp, M., Phillips, H., Rapley, J., Martin, P., McCrory, E. (2021).

    Download the open access paper

  • Health system influences on potentially avoidable hospital admissions by secondary mental health service use: a national ecological study

    This study aimed to compare area-level potentially avoidable hospital admissions (PAAs) rates among people using and not using secondary mental health services in England and to identify health system features that may influence between-area PAA variation.

    Authors: Woodhead, C., Martin, P., Osborn, D., Barratt, H., & Raine, R. (2021).

    Download the open access paper

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