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Current SERNS research opportunities

Current SERNS research opportunities

In the current climate, it is more important than ever that we support young people's mental health. We are running a study looking at whether a free 30-minute online intervention can improve how young people feel and help them cope with stressful situations. This intervention has previously been trialled in the USA and improvements in anxiety and low mood were shown over a 9-month period. We are hoping to replicate these findings in the UK with the aim of increasing the availability of evidence-based support for young people. 

We are looking to recruit young people aged 8-16 who are struggling with symptoms of low mood or anxiety, and their parent/ caregiver. Young people and their parents/caregivers will be asked to complete some questionnaires and then will be randomly allocated to one of two 30-minute online educational interventions.

We are looking for schools to advertise this research to parents through newsletters or on their social media. In exchange for support with recruitment we will be offering participating schools a 30-minute webinar for parents or teachers on how to support young people's mental health during the pandemic. Alternatively, for secondary schools, we are willing to do a presentation on careers in psychology if that would be of interest. 

If you are interested in finding out more about this research or in collaborating, please contact Harriet Clarkson via email on: 


Info video

We are looking for young people to take part in a project to understand how teenagers manage emotions, such as anger, sadness and worry. It also looks at teenagers’ families and the ways in which different members of their family interact with one another and how this connects to their expressions of emotions. We know that the ways in which teenagers manage their emotions is closely linked with their experience of worry and low mood. Therefore, by looking at these relationships we can better understand how to prevent and support them with these issues.

What will students’ participation involve? 

The study will involve students providing some demographic information and filling out four short questionnaires regarding their home life, the experience of dealing with emotions and feelings of worry and/or low mood. The study takes about 45- 60 minutes to complete online and can be easily delivered as a whole class activity as part of a relevant lesson.

Information Sheet

Royal Holloway Clinical Psychology student Olivia Tomaselli under the supervision of Dr Helen Pote. To find out more about this project please contact

We are trying to evaluate a free web-based application called MindAid, which is a tool designed for the use of children and young.  people to help improve their knowledge and mental health. We need children and young people who are 12-16 years of age attending secondary school. During a pre-agreed class, students will be asked to complete 4 core modules of MindAid over a 6-week period. Teachers will be asked to keep a log of completed modules for each child during the classes to ensure completion of the core modules. Teachers will be trained in the use of MindAid.

Royal Holloway clinical Psychology student Sophie Good under the supervision of Dr Helen Pote. To find out more about this project please contact

One of the current studies being undertaken by Dr Jessie Ricketts and the Language and Reading Acquisition (LARA) lab is the Vocabulary and Reading in Secondary School (VaRiSS) project. The project is examining reciprocal relationships between oral vocabulary and reading in secondary school pupils. We have seen around 200 students following them through years 7, 8 and 9 to look at how their oral vocabulary and reading abilities develop.

To find out more about the VaRiSS project:,

If you are interested in hearing more about the LARA lab research and/or in taking part, please send your contact details to

LARA website  |  Latest news and events  |  @ricketts_lara

Understanding tactics for reputation management: The role of personality and feelings of self

Dr Dawn Watling ais exploring 8- to 15-year-olds understanding of the role that verbal tactics may play in making positive impressions. We are particularly interested in how individuals with different personality traits and levels of anxiety in social situations may impact the understanding of reputation management tactics.

If your school might be interested in participating please contact Dawn on email:

Social Development Lab website  |  Latest news and events  |  @dawn_watling 

Dr Dawn Watling is exploring if changes in wellbeing influence resiliency and behaviours in two groups of pupils: year 6 pupils (as they prepare for transition) and year 7 pupils (as they settle into the new school following transition).

If your school might be interested in participating please contact Dawn on email: 

Social Development Lab website  |  Latest news and events  |  @dawn_watling

One of the current studies being undertaken by Alex Lloyd at the emotion, development & brain lab is looking at how young people approach new situations in everyday life. There will be a short computer game to play that will ask you to make decisions and then answer a questionnaire. Part of this study will take place in an MRI scanner. 


If you would like to know more about this study please contact Alex Lloyd 

One of the current studies being undertaken by Melissa Barker is looking at how our understanding of body signals and sensations (including feeling hungry, thirsty, cold or tired) is related to eating. We are looking for 9, 10 or 11 year old girls. 

What is involved?
At school: Children will complete some questionnaires (covering issues such as the perception of sensations in their body, their attitudes towards food, body image, and perfectionism). They will also complete a task which measures their perception of their heartbeat, and a computer game related to body image. This should take 1 hour for each child.
At home: Parents will be asked to complete questionnaires about themselves and their child.
If you would like to know more about this study please contact Melissa Barker

Jessica Dyson is currently running a project exploring sleep and learning in adolescents. You must be age 13-16 to take part and will be asked to learn made-up words and wear sleep monitoring equipment. 


To find out more about this project please contact Jessica Dyson

Alice Parker is currently running a study looking at how our values link to how we think and feel about ourselves in a three-part study. You need to be in year 10 or 11 and be able to complete all sessions. In the first session, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in a group setting and perform a writing task on your own. The subsequent sessions will be follow up sessions where you answer a questionnaire. 


If you would like more information then please contact Alice Parker

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