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Stephan Collishaw

Professor Stephan Collishaw

Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Yr Ysgol Meddygaeth

+44 29206 88436
Adeilad Hadyn Ellis, Ystafell 2.20, Heol Maendy, Caerdydd, CF24 4HQ


Research focuses on the area of developmental psychopathology. It encompasses a range of risks, developmental outcomes, and novel research designs. With considerable expertise in life course epidemiology , I have particular experience in analyses of complex longitudinal datasets. Main interests include adolescent depression, resilience, links between child and adult mental health, and secular trends in child mental health.

My research focuses on three main areas.

1) Mental health resilience. Many children have a high chance of developing mental health problems because they are at high familial risk (e.g. parent with recurrent depression) or because they have experienced profound social adversity (e.g. orphanhood or maltreatment). Many children in high-risk groups develop mental health problems, but some show remarkably positive developmental trajectories. Identifying protective factors that can modify the impact of risk factors is important because it can help identify new targets for prevention and intervention. My research has used longitudinal high-risk samples and prospective population cohorts to identify novel protective factors and to better understand underlying resilience mechanisms.

2) Links between child and adult mental health. Many adult mental heath problems have their origins in childhood and many childhood disorders have long-lasting effects on health and development that persist throughout the life course. Current research is examining the links between child and adult mental health in two ways: first, by examining the impact of common genetic risks early in childhood, and second, by using prospective cohort data to characterise the impact of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders on adult outcomes to mid life.

3) Time trends in child and adolescent mental health. Current research focuses on trends in children's mental health, on changes in the impact of child mental health on social and educational functioning, and on the role of antenatal and psychosocial risk factors in explaining trends in child mental health.


























Book sections


A variety of high-impact research focuses on historical trends in adolescent mental health, and I have recently undertaken the first purposive study of causes of mental health trends – a dedicated replication allowing comparisons of two large nationally representative samples of youth with identical measures of mental health and relevant explanatory factors.

Other research examines mental health resilience in children who have experienced adversity, including maltreatment, orphanhood, or parent mental illness. A current grant in collaboration with colleagues at Oxford University is investigating mental health resilience in a large longitudinal study of South African children orphaned by AIDS or by other causes.

Several projects focus on adolescent depression. These include the Predicting and Preventing Depression Study – a Cardiff-based longitudinal study of offspring of depressed parents funded by the Jules Thorn Medical Trust.


I teach and mentor undergraduate medical students, offer a number of medical Student Selected Component projects focused on child and adolescent mental health and supervise research projects for the intercalated Psychology and Medicine degree.


Education and qualifications

  • 2003: D.Phil. Psychology. University of Sussex
  • 1994: M.A. Psychology. University of Sussex
  • 1993: B.A. Psychology. University of Sussex

Career overview

  • 2018-present: Cardiff University, School of Medicine, Professor
  • 2009-2018: Cardiff University, School of Medicine, Senior Lecturer
  • 2006-2009: Institute of Pscyhiatry, King's College London, Research Fellow
  • 2007-2008: University of Oxford, Senior Research Officer 
  • 1998-2006: Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, Research Associate

Elected fellowships

  • Academy of Social Sciences, elected 2020 

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Areas of supervision: Child and adolescent mental health (risk and resilience, epidemiology, long-term outcomes)

Current students

Thomas Broughton (second year), topic: relative age in school year and mental health

Lorna Ushaw (second year), topic: optimizing mental health outcomes for children with ADHD

Egle Padaigate (first year), topic: mental health resilience in offspring of parents with recurrent depression

Previous PhD Students and destinations

Olga Eyre. Awarded 2019. Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship - Chronic Irritability in ADHD: Examining the clinical and genetic links with depression. Destination: Welsh Clinical Academic Trainee, Cardiff University

Gemma Hammerton. Awarded 2016. Explaining risk for suicidal ideation in adolescent offspring of depressed parents. Destination: Senior Research Associate. Awarded Sir Henry Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship. Bristol University.

Ruth Sellers. Awarded 2013. Antisocial behaviour in the offspring of depressed parents. Destination: ESRC Young Leaders Post Doctoral Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer. University of Sussex

Becky Mars. Awarded 2013. A longitudinal family study of depression. Destination: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Post Doctoral Fellowship. University of Bristol

Gemma Lewis. Awarded 2012. Gene-environment interplay in depression.  Destination: Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, UCL.

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Tom Broughton

Mr Tom Broughton

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EglĖ PadaigaitĖ

Ms EglĖ PadaigaitĖ

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