Children and Childhood Network


CCN
The Children and Childhoods Network brings together academics, PhD students and practitioners from across campus. The Network includes members from all five of the University’s Colleges and provides a unique forum for collaborations in research, education, policy and practice, for and with children.

Aims

  1. To provide a stimulating, welcoming and creative space for interdisciplinary collaboration on children and childhood
  2. To support research collaborations that will lead to interdisciplinary research grants and publications
  3. To develop educational provision on children and childhood at the University
  4. To provide a forum for postgraduate research students to explore the latest developments in theories, methods and practices with and for children, in a mutually-supportive environment
  5. To enable transdisciplinary dialogues between academics, practitioners and policy-makers – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally

Themes

Environment
A child’s environment plays a vital role in their development, and therefore researching the effects of environmental factors on children is key. Environmental pressures can have a significant impact on children and childhood development. For instance, climate change has led to an increase in extreme weather events and natural disasters, including floods, droughts, and hurricanes, which is having a particularly adverse effect on children in deprived or disadvantaged areas. Children are in a stage of development and are therefore more vulnerable to the deprivation and stress caused by environmental change. Furthermore, rapid urbanisation and population growth is leading to overcrowding in urban areas, which can negatively impact children by placing strain on local bodies and resources, such as schools and accommodation. Developing strategies to address environmental pressures and their effect on children is becoming increasingly important, and understanding these issues is essential to future research in children and childhood development.

Community
The local and wider community can have a significant impact on children and childhood. A child’s community can include their school, their teachers, their family, and their peers, all of whom can contribute to a child’s welfare and development. The community can act as a vital support network, particularly for children in poverty or economically deprived areas. Assessing the impact of the community and its influence of children and childhood is an essential area of research. For instance, research can clarify intergenerational relations, and the role of new measures within schools and youth bodies to actively support families through parent-support groups and workshops. Furthermore, the community can have a direct impact on a child’s wellbeing and behaviour, and as a result it is important to directly involve these communities when researching children and childhood.

Health
Health issues can have a considerable effect on children and childhood. Long-term illness and disability significantly impact on childhood and child development, including limiting access to resources, education, and the appropriate level of care. Furthermore, the health and well-being of community members, including close relatives, can also considerably impact children. Indeed, children are increasingly adopting roles conventionally assigned to adults, such as acting as carers for parents and siblings, which is increasing levels of stress at a time when children are most vulnerable. Furthermore, mental health issues are being reported at increasing levels amongst children and young people. Research in this area is vital, so as to better understand the causes, effects, and impact of this growing mental health crisis.

Technology
The last few decades have been marked by rapid technological development and change, the pace of which has increased substantially each year. These periods of rapid technological change have considerably impacted children and childhood. For example, unequal access to technology can increase levels of social inequality or restrict access to education and educational initiatives, as well as exacerbate generational gaps. Furthermore, the increasing use of social media amongst young people has been shown to have a direct physical and mental health effects on children, including a significant increase in body satisfaction issues, and the development of obsessive/addictive exercise or eating behaviours. However, technology can also benefit children and child development, through offering new avenues for learning, health promotion and prevention, socialisation and allowing particularly vulnerable children to address feelings of isolation amongst their peers in their local community. Incorporating technologies in future research is essential, due to its growing role in the everyday life of children and the wider world as a whole, as well as the very real and powerful impacts technology can have on young people’s learning, behaviours and development.

Empowerment
There is a growing need to empower children, both through education and through directly involving children in policymaking. Policymakers are creating strategies to combat key issues, such as environmental change, unequal access to education, and the effect of technological development on child development and well-being. As these issues directly affect children and their future, it is vital that policymakers introduce children’s perspective and have their direct input in the research of the future. Furthermore, empowering children can be beneficial, through improving a child’s confidence in decision-making and helping to bridge the generational gap. The conventional method of empowering children is through education. However, it is also important to reach children who are not in education, as these groups are the most vulnerable, and are more likely to be directly affected by the issues being addressed by policymakers today.

Equality, risk and violence
Disparities in equality can have a considerable impact on children and childhood. Social inequality presents in multiple forms, such as economic equality caused by class systems, inequality caused by discriminatory practices on racial grounds, and inequality caused by discrimination based on sex or gender differences. Children are particularly vulnerable to issues caused by a lack of equality, including inconsistent access to education, gender-related violence, the detrimental effects of living in poverty or in overcrowded spaces, as well as an unequal access to basic necessities, such as accommodation and adequate food and water. However, conventionally privileged groups, such as white middle-class males in the UK, have also been shown to be on average academically low-achievers. The question of equality and its role in childhood and child development is therefore a complex one, and one which requires considerable research.

Advisory Group

Professor Peter Kraftl: Director


kraftl-peterProfessor Peter Kraftl is best known for his research on children’s geographies, and especially for research into the emotions, affects, materialities and practices that make up their everyday lives. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture.


 

Dr Victoria Goodyear: Communications Director

Dr Victoria Goodyear is a pedagogical researcher in physical education and sport pedagogy. Her research focusses on digital technologies and social media in young people’s health and wellbeing, teacher professional development and curriculum innovation, as well as digital methods and ethics. 

 

Dr Hannah Batchelor: Impact and Stakeholder Director

BatchelorDr Hannah Batchelor’s research on the design and manipulation of medicines to create age appropriate drug formulations to maximise clinical efficacy in paediatric patients.  This encompasses pharmaceutical science as well as clinical evaluations of medicines administered to children. She is passionate about involving children and young people in research and undertakes a lot of public engagement activity.

Dr Maria Clark: Education Director

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Dr Maria Clark is a Lecturer in Adult Nursing/Research. She is the Programme Director for the multidisciplinary MSc Advanced Clinical Practice and module lead for the final year advanced practice research project/dissertation. She is a registered nurse, midwife and health visitor by background.

 


Shardia Briscoe-Palmer
: Postgraduate Director

Shardia is a 3rd year doctoral researcher investigating different aspects of gender and sexuality in relation to ethnicity and age. Shardia has over 13 years’ experience working with young people on political and social issues such as political participation, domestic violence and abuse, child sexual exploitation and human rights.

Professor Julie Allen

julie-allan

Julie Allan is a Professor of Equity and Inclusion. Her work encompasses inclusive education, disability studies and children’s rights and is both empirical and theoretical. She has a particular interest in educational theory and the insights offered through poststructural and social capital analyses.


Professor Julie Taylor

Julie-Taylor-headshot-Cropped-230x230

Julie Taylor is a nurse scientist specialising in child maltreatment. She is Professor of Child Protection at the University of Birmingham, in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Taylor’s work is at the leading edge nationally and internationally in reframing child maltreatment as a public health concern. Taylor also has a strong focus on developing strategic research leadership.

Sue Gilligan

Sue Gilligan thumb

Sue is the Deputy Director and Manager of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Birmingham. The IAS aims to promote interdisciplinary research by combining expertise from across the breadth of the University of Birmingham to address major cross-cutting themes that are important, relevant and timely

 

Events

Supported by the IAS, the Children and Childhood Network was launched in March 2017. The event was attended by over 50 academics from all five colleges at the University of Birmingham. The network has since expanded, with over 100 members from the university within the network. 

Future Children and Childhood Network Events:

Coming soon!

 

Past Events:

Children's Engagement with Digital Technologies: Implications for Health and Wellbeing
This Children and Childhoods Network (CCN) workshop will explore intersections between CCN's major research on technology, and health and wellbeing with the aim of better understanding how to make the best of the university's research strengths to address these clear global challenges.

Children and Childhood Network Projects

ENVIRONMENT

 

(Re)Connect the Nexus: Young Brazilian's Experiences of and Learning about food-water-energy

Principle Investigator: Professor Peter Kraftl

Co-Investigators: Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill (University of Birmingham); Dr John Horton (University of Northampton); Dr Ben Coles (University of Leicester); and Professor Jose Antonion Perrella Balastieri (UNESP, Brazil)

Funding: ESRC and FAPESP: £399,000

Dates: January 2015-September 2018

Summary: Recent research about the food-water-energy nexus has tended to focus on flows (e.g. between producers and consumers) and ways of governing the nexus. However, there is a real need to examine how people (especially young people) understand, learn about and participate in the nexus, in their everyday lives. Only by doing so can we address crucial concerns - such as persistently high levels of poverty amongst Brazil's children, their unequal access to nexus resources, their resilience to nexus threats, and the role of education in addressing those threats in the future. In Brazil, as in similar countries, young people are a hugely important group, demographically and socially. In Brazil, young people (aged 0-24) make up 42% of the population. Moreover, we already know that in diverse global contexts, young people are instrumental in terms of securing access to resources (including nexus resources), economic productivity, societal resilience, and community life. In addition, young people are often the main recipients of education programmes - especially Education for Sustainability (EfS) - that attempt to address nexus threats and sustainable development goals. However, there is scant research - either in Brazil or globally - that focuses on young people and their interactions with the nexus. This unique, collaborative research will address these important gaps.

This project's main aim is to examine young people's (aged 10-24) understandings, experiences and participation in the nexus in Brazil. It focuses on this age group as older children/young adults are a key target group for EfS, and research shows that they are likely to have greater capacities for reflection on the nexus than younger children. In achieving this aim, the project will address three core research questions.

1: What are young people's (aged 10-24) understandings, experiences and participation in the nexus in Brazil? 

2: What is the role of '(re)connection' in young people's engagements with the nexus? 

3: How does EfS in Brazil address the nexus? 

The research questions were addressed through a survey of over 3,700 young people and detailed, multi-method, qualitative research with 50 young people. It also involved research with 64 key professionals and a global video competition

Further Information: http://www.foodwaterenergynexus.com/ 

 

Plastic Childhoods

Principle Investigator: Professor Peter Kraftl

Funding: The Leverhulme Trust (Leverhulme Research Fellowship): £51,000

Dates: September 2018-March 2020

Summary: The main aim of this fellowship is to develop a critical, interdisciplinary, empirically-informed study that critically addresses multiple contemporary concerns with plastics. The study will ask whether entanglements of plastics with/in children’s lives may be risk-laden or affirmative, malignant or benign.  It will identify and evaluate children’s (aged 11-17) everyday encounters with, and attitudes to, plastics: both in light of contemporary fears about the widespread, insidious presence of plastics in global ecological and hydrological systems (e.g. in oceanic trash ‘vortices’ and terrestrial watercourses); and, conversely, in light of everyday plastics that might support or enliven their lives, wellbeing and learning – toys, digital technologies, clothing, cleaning products, prostheses and more besides. Working with colleagues in the School, including Iseult Lynch and Sophie Hadfield-Hill, it will examine, for the first time, the literal presence and circulation of micro- and nano-plastics in children’s bodies and their environs, given concerns about the appearance of plastics in human food systems and the increasing use of micro- and nano-plastics in a range of children’s products. It will critically analyse the online-offline circulation of plastic objects that are characteristic of modern childhoods, via a novel suite of social media methods. And finally, it will critically reflect on, and intervene into, key popular/policy debates about the artificial, ‘toxic’ or (pejoratively) ‘plastic’ state of Western childhoods. The main outcome from the fellowship will be a major research monograph, to be published by Routledge, called 'After Childhood'.

 

COMMUNITY

 

CONSORT-SPI: A CONSORT extension for social and psychological interventions

Principle Investigator: Professor Paul Montgomery

Co-Investigators: Dr Evan Mayo-Wilson (Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health); Dr Sean Grant (Associate Behavioural & Social Scientist, RAND Corporation); Dr Sally Hopewell (Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford); Professor Geraldine Macdonald  (Professor of Social Work, Institute of Child Care Research, Queen’s University Belfast); Professor Susan Michie (Professor of Health Psychology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness University College London); Prof David Moher (Research Chair in Systematic Reviews, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Centre for Practice-Changing Research (CPCR), The Ottawa Hospital - General Campus). 

Funding: ESRC funded Development of an extension of the CONSORT guidelines for psychological, social and environmental interventions: £396,551

Dates: April 2013- December 2015

Summary: Social and psychological interventions are often complex. Understanding randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of these complex interventions requires a detailed description of the interventions tested and the methods used to evaluate them. However, RCT reports in child studies of criminology, education, psychology, public health, social work, and related disciplines often omit, or inadequately report, this information. The magnitude of these deficiencies is particularly striking when comparing RCT reporting quality in social and behavioural science journals to health care and medical journals. Incomplete and inaccurate reporting hinders the optimal use of research, wastes resources, and fails to meet ethical obligations to research participants and consumers.

The CONSORT Statement is a guideline widely used in medicine to help authors report RCTs. The original statement and later extensions have improved the quality of medical trial reporting, but there has been limited uptake in social and behavioural sciences, as the greater complexity of interventions in these disciplines gives rise to new issues that are not adequately addressed in existing guidelines.  

Scientists working in the field of child mental health who develop and evaluate social and psychological interventions need a reporting guideline that is appropriate for the trials that they conduct. To address this need, we developed a CONSORT extension for social and psychological interventions: CONSORT-SPI

Further Information: 

1) Montgomery, P., Grant, S., Hopewell, S., Macdonald, G., Moher, D., Michie, S., & Mayo-Wilson, E. (2013). Protocol for CONSORT-SPI: An Extension for Social and Psychological InterventionsImplementation Science, 8, 99. doi:10.1186/1748- 5908-8-99 

2) Grant, S., Mayo-Wilson, E., Melendez-Torres, G.J., & Montgomery, P. (2013). The reporting quality of social and psychological intervention trials: a systematic review of reporting guidelines and trial publicationsPLoS One8(5), e65442. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065442

3) Mayo-Wilson, E., Grant, S. Hopewell, S., Macdonald, G., Moher, D., & Montgomery, P., (2013). Developing a reporting guideline for social and psychological intervention trials. Versions available in:

4) Grant, S., Montgomery, P., Hopewell, S., Macdonald, G., Moher, D, & Mayo-Wilson, E. (2013). Letter to the Editor: New guidelines are needed to improve the reporting of trials in addiction sciencesAddiction, 108, 1687-1688.

5) Gardner, F., Mayo-Wilson, E., Montgomery, P., Hopewell, S., Macdonald, G., Moher, D, & Grant, S. (2013). Editorial Perspective: New guidelines are needed to improve the reporting of trials in child and adolescent mental healthJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry54(7), 810-812.

6) Grant, S., Montgomery, P., & Mayo-Wilson, E. (2012). Development of a CONSORT extension for interventions in public health and related disciplinesThe Lancet380(Supp. 3). S14.

7) Spreckelsen, T., Grant, S. P., & Montgomery, P. (2012). Letters: Additional requirements for complex interventions. BMJ, 345, e8003

 

Austerity and its impact on Early Years Informal and Family Learning in Disadvantaged Urban Communities

Principle Investigator: Professor Christine Pascal and Professor Tony Bertram, Centre for Research in Early Childhood

Project Team Members: Professor Chris Pascal – Project Director & Principal Investigator; Professor Tony Bertram – Family Case Studies Lead, Community Interviews – England; Professor Andy Cramp – Cultural Mapping Lead – England; Professor João Formosinho - Cultural Mapping Lead – Portugal; and Professor Júlia Formosinho - Family Case Studies Lead, Community Interviews – Portugal 

Funding: British Academy: £46,200.00

Dates: February 2017- February 2018

Summary: This investigative project focuses on informal family learning in urban disadvantaged communities experiencing austerity in England and Portugal. 

Poor families with young children are harder hit than any other group by austerity policies. Informal family learning in community spaces contributes to development of young citizens, for character building, positive learning dispositions and executive learning functions, influencing successful school outcomes. This connection between school outcomes and informal learning in urban environments is vital, under-researched and relevant to many urban communities experiencing austerity.

This project will map the impact of austerity in English and Portuguese disadvantaged urban communities, documenting changing levels of availability/access to what were, historically, public, free, cultural/leisure services on which poor families depend for stimulation and extension of family learning, including libraries, parks, playgrounds, youth clubs and museums.

The project aims to enhance family and informal learning for disadvantaged children before entry to school, generating learning with international relevance. The research will begin by mapping the cultural and community changes experienced by two inner-city Birmingham wards in the decade between 2007 and 2018.

This will include documenting changing levels of availability/access to what were, historically, public, free, cultural/leisure services on which poor families depend for stimulation and extension of family learning, including libraries, parks, playgrounds, youth clubs and museums.

The project aims to enhance family and informal learning for disadvantaged children before entry to school, generating learning with international relevance. A number of family and neighbourhood case studies will then be produced to learn more about how changes identified have impacted on what has existed, what exists now and what the consequences of changes might be for their family learning experiences and consequently children’s futures. Within this phase we will also work with existing community workers and cultural/arts-based services in each ward to explore and document, through focused interviews, their experiences of austerity on their services highlighting, in particular, examples of positive, enriching and creative responses to the impact of austerity on publicly funded community learning spaces and other environmentally based opportunities linked to informal family learning. We will interpret the data by looking for key themes and ideas of both loss and hope for the future in urban contexts 

Further Information: www.earlylearningausterityproject.org

 

HEALTH

 

An evaluation of the implementation of national school food standards in secondary schools and their impact on the school food environmental and pupil intake of free sugars: a mixed methods study

Co-Principle Investigators: Dr Miranda Pallan and Professor Peymane Adab 

Project Investigators: Emma Lancashire; Alice Sitch; Emma Frew; Suzanne Bartington; Kiya Hurley; Jayne Parry; KK Cheng; and Vahid Ravaghi. External: Sandra Passmore; Scott Wheeldon; Tania Griffin; Ashley Adamson; and Emma Foster.

Funding: National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research Programme (17/92/39): £815,889

Dates: 1st March 2019; project ends: 31st May 2021

Summary: National School Food Standards are a legal requirement for the majority of state schools. In addition, the School Food Plan, a wider set of non-legislative recommendations for schools, has been introduced. There is little information on the impact of this national policy on school food provision and pupil food intake in secondary schools. Some secondary schools with academy status are exempt from the school food standards, therefore we aim to make comparisons between secondary school academies required to meet the standards and those who are not. We will compare 1) school food choices and sales, the school eating environment, and learning about food, 2) the influence of the School Food Plan recommendations, and 3) the consumption of sugar and other dietary elements, and dental health in pupils.

We will recruit 44 schools in the West Midlands to take part. To achieve our aims we will: examine a variety of school documents; observe the food on offer and the eating spaces in schools; ask key staff members, governors and parents to complete a questionnaire; compare food sales data; and assess nutritional intake and dental health in a sample of pupils in the participating schools. In a smaller sample of schools (4-6), we will conduct interviews with key staff members and discussion groups with pupils to gain more in-depth information.

 

A cluster randomised controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the daily mile on childhood obesity and wellbeing: the Birmingham daily mile

Principle InvestigatorDr Emma Frew

Co-Investigators: Peymane Adab; James Martin; Emma Lancashire; and Karla Hemming.  External: Sandra Passmore and Katie Breheny

Funding: Birmingham City Council

Dates: January 2017-December 2018.

Summary: The Daily Mile is an initiative developed to improve children’s physical activity levels and is a simple, inclusive activity that involves children doing an extra 15-minutes of activity by running or walking around a track within the school grounds daily.  It has been suggested as an intervention to help reduce childhood obesity within the UK. The Birmingham Daily Mile study aims to conduct a robust evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Daily Mile (intervention) by comparing it to usual practice (control), with 20 primary schools randomised to each arm.  Information will be collected at 4 and 12 months following the initiation of the Daily Mile on the children's Body Mass Index (BMI), academic attainment, fitness, quality of life and wellbeing.  These outcomes will also be offset against the cost of the Daily Mile to form a comprehensive economic evaluation.

The Daily Mile is a simple and low-cost intervention which could provide a significant contribution to tackling childhood obesity. It therefore has great potential to impact health and education policy in the UK. 

 

Effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the CHIRPY DRAGON intervention in preventing obesity in Chinese primary-school aged children: a cluster randomised controlled trail

Investigators: Dr Bai Li; Peymane Adab; Miranda Pallan; Emma Frew; Karla Hemming; James Martin; Mandana Zanganeh; Kiya Hurley; and KK Cheng. External: Weijia Liu; Rong Lin; and Wei Liu

Funding: Philanthropic donation from Zhejiang Yong Ning Pharmaceutical Ltd Co.

Date: August 2015-March 2019.

Summary: Rates of increase in childhood obesity in China and many low-to-middle-income countries exceed that in the West, but effective preventive interventions are lacking. We used the UK Medical Research Council complex intervention framework to inform the development of the Chirpy Dragon intervention in primary schools in Guangzhou, China. Using a cluster randomised controlled trial, we recruited Year One children (six-to-seven years) from 40 state-funded primary schools to evaluate the intervention. Children underwent baseline assessment of their height, weight, diet, physical activity and other measures. Schools were then randomised to receive either the intervention or routine care. The 12-month intervention programme included four school and family-based components. We promoted physical activity and healthy eating behaviours through educational and practical workshops, family activities, and supporting the school to improve physical-activity and food provision. We have completed follow up measurements at the end of the intervention period and are evaluating the effects of the intervention on children’s weight status at 12 months, as well as the cost-effectiveness of the programme.

 

Long term impact of pre-incision antibiotics on babies born by caesarean section

Principle Investigator: Dr Dana Sumilo

Co-Investigators: Prof. Peter Brocklehurst; Prof. Jon Deeks; Dr. Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar; Dr Brian Willia; and Dr Nicola Adderley

Funding: NIHR HTA programme (16/150/01): £324,516

Dates: April 2018-April 2020

Summary: National School Food Standards are a legal requirement for the majority of state schools. In addition, the School Food Plan, a wider set of non-legislative recommendations for schools, has been introduced. There is little information on the impact of this national policy on school food provision and pupil food intake in secondary schools. Some secondary schools with academy status are exempt from the school food standards, therefore we aim to make comparisons between secondary school academies required to meet the standards and those who are not. We will compare 1) school food choices and sales, the school eating environment, and learning about food, 2) the influence of the School Food Plan recommendations, and 3) the consumption of sugar and other dietary elements, and dental health in pupils.

We will recruit 44 schools in the West Midlands to take part. To achieve our aims we will: examine a variety of school documents; observe the food on offer and the eating spaces in schools; ask key staff members, governors and parents to complete a questionnaire; compare food sales data; and assess nutritional intake and dental health in a sample of pupils in the participating schools. In a smaller sample of schools (4-6), we will conduct interviews with key staff members and discussion groups with pupils to gain more in-depth information.

Further Information: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/applied-health/research/health-informatics/Long-term-impact-of-pre-incision-antibiotics-on-babies-born-by-caesarean-section.aspx

 

TECHNOLOGY

 

Social media and its impact on adolescent health and wellbeing: A scoping study of the new ethical challenges

Principle Investigator: Dr Victoria Goodyear

Co-Investigators: Prof. Kathleen Armour

Funding: Wellcome Trust: £60,141

Dates: September 2016-December 2017

Summary: This project provides new empirical evidence on the ways in which young people engage with health-related content on social media, and how this impact on their health-related understandings and behaviours. Focussing on the key content areas of physical activity, diet/nutrition and body image, researchers from the University of Birmingham worked with young people to better understand the issues from their perspectives. The data highlight positive impacts of social media use as well as the risks and potential harm to young people’s physical and mental health. The data have also informed the development of guidelines and actions to support parents, practitioners in education and health, policy-makers and  researchers.

Further Information: http://opencpd.net/Guidelines.html and https://www.routledge.com/Young-People-Social-Media-and-Health/Goodyear-Armour/p/book/9781138493957

 

"There's an app for that!" An Exploratory Study into Digital Technologies and Health/Wellbeing Education in Schools

Principle Investigator: Dr Victoria Goodyear 

Co-Investigators: Prof. Kathleen Armour

Funding: Society for Educational Studies: £7,384

Dates: September 2016-December 2017

Summary: Young people’s engagement with digital health technologies is dominated by risk narratives. Yet, there are very limited understandings, from the perspectives of young people, about the health-related issues and opportunities generated by digital health technologies. This project presents new evidence on the types of health-related apps and devices young people find, select and use, and the reasons for their choices. Data were generated from a participatory mixed method design with 245 young people (age 13-18). The data were analysed using a content-led pedagogical framework. The data illustrate, vividly, young people’s agency in digital health contexts and the complexity and fluidity of young people’s decision-making.  Schools, PE lessons and sport, as well as family members and peers, were powerful influencers on young people’s digital health-related knowledge and behaviours. It is argued that better understanding young people’s agency in digital health contexts offers important insights into developing effective health-related pedagogies.

Further Information: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439884.2019.1539011 

 

EQUALITY, RISK AND VIOLENCE

 

Evaluation of Good Way programme for harmful sexual behaviour in young people with learning disabilities

Investigators: C. Bradbury-Jones; J. Taylor; P. Yates; and S. Allardyce

Funding: NSPCC: £20,000 and £12 million

Dates: 2019

Summary: This is a realist evaluation study that will analyse the effectiveness of the Good Way model for young people with mild to moderate learning disabilities who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). The Good Way model helps address the need to develop a common and coherent narrative so that clients and therapists can meaningfully discuss the client’s behaviour and experiences.  Originally developed in New Zealand, the NSPCC has adopted the approach and is currently delivering Good Way interventions in a number of locations in the UK. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach in this new context. Following analysis and synthesis of the data, findings will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders. The study’s empirical and theoretical findings will inform recommendations about how to build on the Good Way model’s existing strengths and will highlight areas of concern or future development. This will contribute to efforts to continually improve the effectiveness of the model and the quality and consistency of support it provides to young people and their families.

 

Improving outcomes for children and families affected by paternal substance use: a feasibility study of the Parents Under Pressure (PuP) programme with a focus on fathers

Investigators: A. Whittaker; L. Elliott; S. Dawe; P. Harnett; J. Taylor; C. Kirk; P. Littlewood; and A. Stoddart

Funding: NIHR: £350,000

Dates: 2016-2019

Summary: In the UK, an estimated 350,000 children are affected by parental drug misuse [4], with prevalence increasing. Parental drug misuse severely compromises the caregiving environment in which children grow up and is strongly associated with inequalities, the intergenerational transmission of harm and child protection involvement, with rates of parental substance misuse listed as key concerns in 30-70% of all child protection cases. Parents affected by drug misuse are a highly stigmatised and marginalised group of parents, who are often reluctant to engage with family support services and group-based parenting programmes.Thus a targeted approach to supporting these families, with effective programmes specifically designed for high-risk parents, is required. This study involves opioid-dependent fathers in aparenting intervention – the Parents under Pressure (PuP) programme – which is specifically designed for high-risk parents. It aims to improve family functioning by addressing affect regulation as a key driver of parenting and couple-related behaviours in men. This fits with the most recent research and clinical recommendations on father-inclusive parenting and co-parenting interventions. Importantly, this study focuses on vulnerable children (aged 0-8 years old) living with opioid-dependent fathers.

 

Behavioural Couples Therapy as an adjunct to opioid substitution therapy for drug dependent parents: A feasibility study. 

Investigators: A. Whittaker; L. Elliott; T. O'Farrell; J. Taylor; K. Klostermann; and A. Stoddart

Funding: Chief Scientist Office: £163,000

Dates: 2015-2018

Summary: This mixed-methods feasibility study aimed to assess whether Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT), a US developed evidence-based psychosocial intervention for the treatment of addiction, can be successfully delivered within NHS drug treatment services with drug-dependent couples in opioid substitution therapy (OST) who have children living in the home, and whether it is possible to collect outcome data on participating families for a future trial.

Study recruitment, couple engagement in the intervention, follow-up of participants, and embedding the intervention in routine clinical practice was a lengthy and challenging process. All families reported complex needs related to multiple health and social problems. Multiple barriers to implementation were reported including patient, clinician, treatment, service/organisational, and structural-level obstacles to recruitment, engagement, retention, acceptability, suitability and delivery of BCT. Strategies which facilitated successful implementation were also identified as well as potential solutions to implementation issues.

Conclusions: Adoption of BCT within NHS addiction services as an adjunct to opioid substitution therapy for parents with children is extremely challenging for multiple, inter-related reasons. Findings suggest an ideological shift is required, towards a more integrated ‘whole family’ practice model approach. Structural changes in joint working between health/social care and child/adult services could enable joint care planning and better engagement in the intervention. A pilot RCT is not recommended at this time given the feasibility problems identified in this study.

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Contact

If you would like further information about the Network – or would like to join our mailing list – please contact the Network’s Director, Professor Peter Kraftl.