Abigail Thomson

Thesis Title:

Emotion Regulation and Youth Mental Health: A Transdiagnostic Mechanism and Clinical Target?


Mental health problems cover a range of symptoms and difficulties with emotions, behaviours, and thoughts and affect 1 in 6 children and young people in the UK. This figure is continuing to rise. Current attempts to support children and young people with their mental health are designed to target particular illnesses or problems (e.g., depression). Yet, up to 60% of CYP with one mental health condition also have another mental illness. This means that interventions focused on one condition are not suitable for the range of symptoms experienced by children and young people.

Adversity in childhood (e.g., death of a parent) has been closely linked to many mental health problems, but the mechanisms that explain this relationship are not entirely clear. Some processes are common to many mental health problems and thus may be useful targets for intervention. Problems with emotion regulation – how a person manages and responds to an emotional experience — may be one such process.

There is evidence that emotion regulation interventions improve mental health in adults, but
research on related interventions for CYP is lacking. Self-directed digital interventions are emerging (e.g., mobile apps), but questions remain about their efficacy for improving mental health. As such, the aim of this project is firstly to explore the relationship between childhood adversity and emotion regulation on mental health, and further, to investigate the effectiveness of self-directed digital interventions for improving mental health in children and young people.

The proposed project will generate knowledge about the shared aetiology and coexistence of mental health disorders. Collaborating with clinical partners, I hope to encourage preventative interventions for children and young people, and directly inform health and social policy at a time of rapid change globally.

Social Media:


Website – linktr.ee/abi.thomson

First Supervisor:

Dr. Georgina Hosang


Pathway 2: Life Course, Psychology & Health