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Paul Ramchandani


LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767000


  • D.Phil. Developmental Psychopathology (University of Oxford)
  • M.Sc. Public Health (LSHTM, University of London)
  • M.Med.Sc.(University of Leeds)
  • MRCPsych (Royal College of Psychiatrists)
  • B.M. (University of Southampton)

Recognition (Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations)

  • Practitioner Review Editor, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
  • Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH): Member
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists: Member

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Paul Ramchandani is LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at Cambridge University, UK. He is Director of the PEDAL Research Centre, where he leads a research team investigating the role of play in children’s early development. He also works as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service.

He trained as a doctor in Southampton before training as a child and adolescent psychiatrist.  He took a degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before studying for a doctorate (DPhil) at Oxford University. Prior to taking up his appointment in Cambridge in January 2018, Paul led the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Group at Imperial College London.

Paul's research is focussed on early child development and he has a particular interest in child and parental play and also the prevention of emotional and behavioural difficulties. Much of this work has explored the role of fathers, as well as mothers, in children’s lives and development and includes the development and testing of psychological interventions and detailed observational studies of parents and young children. This research is supported by grant funding from the LEGO Foundation, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and the Nuffield Foundation.

Details of the current work of the team, and recent publications can be found at the PEDAL website.

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Play in Children’s Learning and Development
  • Early intervention to promote positive child mental health
  • Parental playfullness and play in the early years

Prospective PhD Applications

I will be supervising PhD students in the field of play research

  • MPhil in Education and Psychology

Current Research Project(s)

  1. Parental playfulness and the development of play in children’s lives (LEGO Foundation)
  2. Healthy Start Happy Start. Reducing enduring behavioural problems in young children: a randomised controlled trial of a Video Feedback intervention -ViPP-SD. (National Institute of Health Research – NIHR HTA - co-led with Dr Christine O'Farrelly)
  3. An investigation of music to promote the mental health of pregnant women in The Gambia (ESRC/MRC – led by Professor Lauren Stewart, Goldsmiths University, London)
  4. Play and Health in Hospital (LEGO Foundation)
  5. Transforming Effective Early Educational Interventions for virtual delivery (Nuffield Foundation - co-led with Dr Christine O'Farrelly)

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Principal and Recent Publications

Selected publications

EM Byrne, H Jensen, BS Thomsen, PG Ramchandani. (2023). Educational interventions involving physical manipulatives for improving children's learning and development: A scoping review. Review of Education 11 (2), e3400.

K Skene, CM O’Farrelly, EM Byrne, N Kirby, EC Stevens, et al. (2022). Can guidance during play enhance children’s learning and development in educational contexts? A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Child Development 93 (4), 1162-1180

K Graber, C O'Farrelly, P Ramchandani (2023). Children’s perspectives on their play experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: a video-based interview study. Children and Society (in press)

S Bayley, D Wole Meshesha, P Rose, T Woldehanna, L Yorke, et al (2023). Ruptured school trajectories: understanding the impact of COVID-19 on school dropout, socio-emotional and academic learning using a longitudinal design. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies 14 (2), 203-239.

EC Braithwaite, J Cole, C Murgatroyd, N Wright, C O’Farrelly, B Barker, et al (2023). Child DNA methylation in a randomised controlled trial of a video-feedback intervention to promote positive parenting and sensitive discipline (VIPP-SD). Frontiers in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

DD Fajardo-Tovar, KM Graber, SE Alwani, N Kirby, L Oxley, S Baker, P Ramchandani (2023).
Playing with change: insights and lessons from researching play during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Play, 1-12

EJ Goodacre, E Fink, P Ramchandani, JL Gibson (2023). Building connections through play: Influences on children's connected talk with peers. British Journal of Developmental Psychology

HA O’Mahen, PG Ramchandani, DX King, L Lee-Carbon, EL Wilkinson, et al (2022). Adapting and testing a brief intervention to reduce maternal anxiety during pregnancy (ACORN): report of a feasibility randomized controlled trial. BMC psychiatry 22 (1), 1-12

P Oliveira, L Barge, E Stevens, S Byford, J Shearer, R Spies, et al (2022). Children in foster care with symptoms of reactive attachment disorder: feasibility randomised controlled trial of a modified video-feedback parenting intervention. BJPsych Open 8 (4), e134

O'Farrelly C, Watts H, Babelis D et al (2021). A brief home based parenting intervention to reduce behavior problems in young children. A pragmatic randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics 175(6): 567-576.

Rao Z, Barker B, O'Farrelly C, Ramchandani PG (2021). Maternal anxiety and depression and their associations with mother-child pretend play: a longitudinal observational study. BMC Psychology 7:9(1) 70.

Gjaerde LK, Hybschmann j, Dybdal D et al (2021). Play interventions for paediatric patients in hospitals: a scoping review. BMJ Open 26:11(7). e051957.

Amodia-Bidakowska A, Laverty C, Ramchandani P (2020). Father-child play: A systematic review of it's frequency, characteristics and potential impact on children's development. Developmental Review. 57.

Graber K, Byrne E, Goodacre E, Kirby N, Kulkarni K, O'Farrelly C, Ramchandani P. (2020). A rapid review of the impact of quarantine and restricted environments on children's play and the role of play in children's health. Child: Care, Health and Development. (in press).

Sethna V, Murray L, Edmondson O, Iles J, Ramchandani PG. (2018). Depression and playfulness in fathers and young infants: A matched design comparison study. J Affect Disord. 3;229:364-370.

Crawford MJ, Gold C, Odell-Miller H, Thana L, Faber S, Assmus J, Bieleninik Ł, Geretsegger M, Grant C, Maratos A, Sandford S, Claringbold A, McConachie H, Maskey M, Mössler KA, Ramchandani P, Hassiotis A. (2017). International multicentre randomised controlled trial of improvisational music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder: TIME-A study. Health Technol Assess. 21(59):1-40.

Barker B, Iles JE, Ramchandani PG. (2017). Fathers, fathering and child psychopathology.Curr Opin Psychol. 15:87-92.

Sethna V, Perry E, Domoney J, Iles J, Psychogiou L, Rowbotham NEL, Stein A, Murray L, Ramchandani PG. (2017). Father-child interactions at 3 months and 24 months: contributions to children's cognitive development at 24 months. Infant Ment Health J. 38(3):378-390.

Herba CM, Glover V, Ramchandani PG, Rondon MB. (2016). Maternal depression and mental health in early childhood: an examination of underlying mechanisms in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Psychiatry. (16)30148-1

Braithwaite EC, Kundakovic M, Ramchandani PG, Murphy SE, Champagne FA. (2015). Maternal prenatal depressive symptoms predict infant NR3C1 1F and BDNF IV DNA methylation. Epigenetics 10(5):408-417.

Gutierrez-Galve L, Stein A, Hanington L, Heron J, Ramchandani PG. (2015). Mediators and Moderators of the association between Paternal Depression in the Postnatal Period and Child Development. Pediatrics 135:339-347.

Verkujl N, Richter L, Norris S, Stein A, Avan B, Ramchandani PG. (2014). Postnatal depressive symptom and child psychological development at age 10 years: a prospective study of longitudinal data from the South African Birth to Twenty cohort. Lancet Psychiatry 1(6):454-460.

Fernandes M, Stein A, Srinivasan K, Menezes G, Renton M, Zani J, Ramchandani PG.(2014). Maternal depression and foetal responses to novel stimuli: insights from a socio-economically disadvantaged Indian cohort. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 5(3):178-82.

Ramchandani PG, Domoney J, Sethna V, Psychogiou L, Vlacho H, Murray L. (2013). Do early father-infant interactions predict the onset of externalizing problems in young children? Findings from a longitudinal cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 54(1):56-64.

Ramchandani P, Stein A, Evans J, O’Connor TG, the ALSPAC study team.(2005). Paternal Depression in the postnatal period and child development: a prospective population study. The Lancet 365:3201-3205.

Paul Ramchandani

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