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Gordon Harold


Professor of the Psychology of Education and Mental Health

E-mail Address


  • 1998 Doctor of Philosophy, Psychology, Cardiff University.
  • 1993 Master of Science, Family Studies and Child Development, Iowa State University.
  • 1991 Bachelor of Science, Psychology, Iowa State University.

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • 2020+: Honorary Professor, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience, Cardiff University.
  • 2020+: Honorary Professor, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex.
  • 2020+: Member, Expert Advisory Group (EAG), UKRI-ESRC2019+: Member, UKRI Digital Health Expert Group
  • 2019+: Member, Expert Advisory Panel, Academy of Finland
  • 2018+: Member, Methods Advisory Group (MAG), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), UK Government.
  • 2018+: Member and Panel Chair, UKRI Future Leader Fellowship Programme2016+: Member, UKRI-ESRC Strategic Advisory Network
  • 2015+: Member, Advisory Board, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • 2015+: Member, Together for Children and Young People (T4CYP) Expert Reference Group (Welsh Assembly Government and CAMHS multi- agency Programme Board to promote the development and implementation of service improvement plans)
  • 2012+: Member, Research Sub-Committee, Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI)
  • 2009+: Advisor, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cymru), Welsh Government

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Gordon is the inaugural Professor of the Psychology of Education and Mental Health at the University of Cambridge, having previously held appointments as the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, the Alexander McMillan Chair and Professor of Childhood Studies at the University of Otago, and Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at Cardiff University. His primary research interests and activities focus on:

  • examining the interplay between family relationship dynamics and child-adolescent mental health and development, including education and academic outcomes,
  • understanding the interplay between genetic factors, pre-natal, post-natal environmental factors and mental health outcomes,
  • promoting the development and implementation of evidence-based practice and policy guidelines and recommendations aimed at enhancing mental health outcomes for young people and that reduce the propensity for the intergenerational transmission of mental health problems and adverse family and interpersonal relationship processes.

Gordon is a member of UKRI-ESRC’s Strategic Advisory Network (SAN), a member of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Methods Advisory Group (MAG), and an advisor to multiple UK and international government departments and scientific committees.

Academic Area/Links

  • Psychology and Education (P&E), Faculty of Education
  • Education Tripos, Faculty of Education
  • Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, Department of Psychology

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Research Topics

  • Examining the role of family, school, community and individual factors underlying child and adolescent mental health and development
  • Examining the interplay between genetic factors, pre-natal, post-natal environmental factors and child and adolescent mental health outcomes
  • Utilising advanced statistical methods to examine longitudinal data resources specific to understanding lifespan development and mental health 
  • Promoting the development and implementation of evidence-based practice and policy guidelines and recommendations aimed at enhancing mental health outcomes for young people and families.

Prospective PhD Applications

Gordon is currently not able to receive PhD applications or responding to enquiries on future PhD applications.

Current Research Project(s)

  • Harold, G. T., Livingstone, S., Perez-Vallejos, E., Ford, T., Sonuga-Barke, E., & Hollis, C. (2018-2022). The Nurture Network: Promoting Young People’s Mental Health in a Digital World. UKRI-Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (£1,249,936).
  • Harold, G. T., Hampden-Thompson, G., Watters, C., & Cassell, J. (2017-2022). Developing an Integrated and Interdisciplinary Practice-Based Training Model aimed at Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Children, Parents and Families. Rudd Family Foundation (£1,500,000).
  • Horwood, J., R., Boden, J., O’Donovan, M., & Harold, G. T., (2016-2021). The Christchurch Health and Development Study – Birth to 42 years. Health Research Council of New Zealand ($NZ 3,914,157).

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  • Postgraduate
    • MPhil lecturing (Psychology & Education): Biological Psychology
    • MPhil supervision (P&E)
  • Undergraduate
    • Lecturing (Education Tripos): Learning and Human Development (Education, Psychology & Learning track)
    • Coordinate Development and Psychopathology paper for Education students (borrowed from Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos)

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Principal and Recent Publications

Thapar, A., Stewart-Brown, S., & Harold, G. T. (2021). What has happened to children's wellbeing in the UK? The Lancet Psychiatry, 8(1), 5-6. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30481-8

Sellers, R., Harold, G. T., Thapar, A., Neiderhiser, J. M., Ganiban, J. M., Reiss, D., . . . & Leve, L. D. (2020). Examining the role of genetic risk and longitudinal transmission processes underlying maternal parenting and psychopathology and Children’s ADHD symptoms and aggression: Utilizing the advantages of a prospective adoption design. Behavior Genetics, 50(4), 247-262. doi:10.1007/s10519-020-10006-y.

Sellers, R., Smith, A., Leve, L. D., Nixon, E., Cassell, J., & Harold, G. (2019). Utilising genetically informed research designs to better understand family processes and child development: Implications for adoption and foster care focused interventions. Adoption and Fostering, 43(3), 351-371. doi:10.1177/0308575919866526

Leve, L. D., Griffin, A. M., Natsuaki, M. N., Harold, G. T., Neiderhiser, J. M., Ganiban, J. M., . . . & Reiss, D. (2019). Longitudinal examination of pathways to peer problems in middle childhood: A siblings-reared-apart design. Development and Psychopathology, 31(5), 1633-1647. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000890

Richards, A., Horwood, J., Boden, J., Kennedy, M., Sellers, R., Riglin, L., Mistry, S., Jones, H., Smith, D.J., Zammit, S., Owen, M., O’Donovan, M.C., & Harold, G.T. (2019). Associations between schizophrenia genetic risk, anxiety disorders and manic/hypomanic episode in a longitudinal population cohort study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 214(2), 96-102.

Harold, G. T., Sellers, R. (2018). Interparental Conflict and Youth Psychopathology: An Evidence Review and Practice Focused Update. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(4), 374-402.

Harold, G.T., Leve, L., & Sellers, R. (2017). How can genetically-informed research help inform the next generation of interparental and parenting interventions? Child Development, 88(2), 446-458.

Rice, F., Sellers, R., Hammerton, G., Eyre, O., Bevan-Jones, R., Thapar, A. K., Collishaw, S., Harold, G. T., & Thapar, A. (2017). Antecedents of new-onset major depressive disorder in adolescence: A longitudinal familial high-risk study. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(2), 153-160.

Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Harold, G.T., Natsuaki, M. N., Bohannan, B.J.M., & Cresko, W.A. (2017). Naturalistic experimental designs as tools for understanding the role of genes and the environment in prevention research. Prevention Science, 19(1), 68-78.

Harold, G. T., Leve, L. D., Kim, H. K., Mahedy, L., Gaysina, D., Thapar, A., & Collishaw, S. (2014). Maternal caregiving and girls’ depressive symptoms and antisocial behavior trajectories: An examination among high-risk youth. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 1461-1475.

Thapar, A., & Harold, G. T. (2014). Why is there such a mismatch between traditional heritability estimates and molecular genetic findings for behavioural traits. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(10), 1088-1091.