Projects involving members of the Centre for Applied Research and Assessment in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing

Protecting infants and toddlers from domestic violence: Development of a diagnostic protocol for infant and toddler abuse and neglect and its implementation to public health system.

Abuse and neglect is only detected when infants are hospitalized as a result of violence already suffered. In order to prevent violence, or to break the circle of violence in the family before children's suffering more severe injuries, a protocol diagnosing abuse and neglect during routine health exams will be produced. This protocol will also include the adjusted to European populations diagnostic criteria for Abusive Relationship Disorder (Zero to Three, 2005). This diagnostic protocol will be created in such a way as to be applicable in the other European countries participating in the Programme: Greece, England, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Cyprus. This project is funded by the European Commission: Directorate-General Justice (DAPHNE III)

Project website:

UK coordinator and project leader: Professor Cecilia A. Essau


Impact of Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami on Japanese adolescents

The 11th March 2011 Tohoku Pacific earthquake and the subsequent tsunami were the strongest ever recorded in Japan. Thousands of people have officially been confirmed dead, injured, and missing across eighteen prefectures. These disasters have caused severe structural damage, as well as some food and water shortages. The aims of this research are to examine the impact of the Tohoku earthquake/ Tsunami/ radioactive fallout on childhood/adolescence mental health and the effects of media exposure on this relationship and to examine whether adolescents outside the immediate Tohoku area suffer from mental health problems as well. This research is funded by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Research Team: PI: Professor Cecilia A. Essau 

Collaborators in Japan: 

Dr Shin-ichi Ishikawa (Doshisha University) 

Dr Ryo Motoya (Fukushima Medical Univeristy) 

Dr Takahito Takahashi (Miyazaki University) 

Dr Isa Okajima (Japan Somnology Center) 

Dr Satoko Sasagawa (Mejiro Univeristy)


Anxiety among adolescents in Pakistan: From epidemiology to prevention

The aims of the proposed research are (a) to examine the prevalence and correlates of anxiety disorders among adolescents in Pakistan; (b) to examine help-seeking behaviour patterns; (c) to develop an anxiety prevention program; and (c) to examine the effectiveness of this newly developed program in reducing anxiety levels and in increasing quality of life. For these purposes, a total of 1263 students (708 boys & 569 girls) recruited from 12 schools of Rawalpindi region participated in this research. Data analyses are currently underway.  This project is taking place in collaboration with Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan and is funded by the Higher Education Commission in Pakistan and the British Council INSPIRE (International Strategic Partnerships in Research and Education) Strategic Partnerships 2011 fund.

Research Team: PI: Professor Cecilia A. Essau 

Team members: 

Dr Gina Pauli 

Dr Catherine Gilvarry 

Constantina Demetriou 

Alina Dafinoiu


Examining the efficacy of a robot in teaching social interaction in children with autism

The overall aim of this research is to examine the efficacy of a robot (KASPAR) in fostering and improving social interaction of children with autism. Children will be put into dyads and encouraged to play with KASPAR in ways that will require them to engage in: turn-taking, imitation and joint attention. KASPAR was developed by the research team at the University of Hertfordshire, who also conducted many case study investigations using it with children with autism since 2006. KASPAR is a small child-sized robot that has a minimally expressive, human-like face capable of simple expressions. The robot is fixed in a seating position with total height of 55 cm. This project is funded by The University of Hertfordshire

Research Team: PI: Professor Cecilia A. Essau 

Co – PI: Dr Paul Dickerson


CBT provision to school children in the Borough of Richmond

This research examines the effectiveness of a resilience building programme, Super Skills for Life (SSL), in children with significant anxiety problems. SSL is based on the principles of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), and uses video-feedback and cognitive preparation as part of the treatment. Super Skills for Life teaches children skills to enhance self-confidence, build emotional resilience, build social competence, cope with life changes and cope with stressful situations. It also teaches conflict management skills, time management skills and relaxation techniques. The SSL has been delivered and evaluated in 12 primary schools in London. Results showed that anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced at post-test and follow-up assessments. SSL also had a positive effect on hyperactivity, conduct, and peer problems although it took longer for these effects to occur. This project is funded by The Education, Children's and Cultural Services Directorate (ECCD) of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (Sub-contract with the Catholic Children Society) and takes part in collaboration with the Catholic Children Society - Westminster.

Project website:

Research team: PI: Professor Cecilia A. Essau


International Perspectives on Developmental Pathways for Arab Youth Identity

The purpose of this project is to clarify which aspects of Arab youth development need to be better understood from psychological, legal, and medical viewpoints. The Arab Youth Study Group will consist of a number of international research partners from the Middle East, Europe, and North America. This initiative brought together a number of international academic and non-academic experts for a two-day symposium at the University of Windsor on May 29 and 30, 2013. This project is funded by The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Strategic Priority Grant.

Project website:

Research team: Principal Organizer – Julie Hakim-Larson, University of Windsor, Canada 

Collaborators/Participants: Mona Amer, PhD, Huda Ayyash-Abdo, PhD, Reem Bahdi, LLM, Leila Akoury Dirani, PhD, Cecilia Essau, PhD, Adnan Hammad, PhD, Hikmet Jamil, MD, PhD, Ibrahim Kira, PhD, Brigitte Khoury, PhD, Rosanne Menna, PhD, Sylvia Nassar-McMillan, PhD, Nancy Wrobel, PhD, and Samar Zebian, PhD.