Dr Lucy Thompson

Dr Lucy Thompson
Dr Lucy Thompson
Dr Lucy Thompson


Senior Research Fellow

Email Address
Office Address

Centre for Rural Health

Centre for Health Science

Old Perth Road

Inverness IV2 3JH


Tel: 01463 255896

School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition


I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Rural Health within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences.  I have PhD in Psychology and a Master of Public Health which have provided the ideal foundation for my research interest in early child development and parental wellbeing. Before coming to the University of Aberdeen I spent several years working in the NHS as a senior public health researcher and my research has continued to have an applied focus. My publications span subjects including whole population screening for neurodevelopmental problems, evaluation of parenting support interventions, use of whole population datasets and data linkage, and systematic literature reviews. I have recently been involved in running feasibility pilot trials and I am particularly interested in how we can optmise the application of trial methodology for complex socio-behavioural interventions.


  • BA Social Sciences 
    1996 - Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • PhD Psychology 
    2003 - Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • MPH Public Health 
    2009 - University of Glasgow 

External Memberships

Part of my time is spent coordinating an international research network for the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre at Gothenburg University (gu.se/en/gnc), a role I have held since 2012. This programme includes groundbreaking work on early indicators of neurodevelopmental disorders through a national cohort study in Japan (www.env.go.jp/chemi/ceh/en/about/outline.html), a new cohort study in the Faroe Islands, and developing work in rural South Africa.

I am an Honorary Research Fellow with the University of Glasgow Institute of Health and Wellbeing. 


Research Overview

My research focuses on early predictors of childhood mental health and neurodevelopmental problems, such as language delay, disruptive behaviour problems like ADHD, and autism spectrum conditions. I am particularly interested in the perinatal period and how best we can support parents and help developing families thrive. I value a multi-disciplinary and mixed-methods approach to obtaining the best quality evidence that reflects people’s lived experiences. I have taken a lead role in a number of studies investigating the effectiveness of parenting support interventions, including the current Mellow Babies Trial. With colleagues I set up a whole population mental health screening project in the education system in Glasgow (the ChiME datasets), and have examined the predictive validity of health visitor screening and observation of video-recorded parent-child interaction for the later identification of neurodevelopmental problems.

I am keen to supervise research projects in the field of early child development, particularly around early identification of and support for neurodevelopmental problems. I am currently seeking a student to develop a programme of work on refining a method of parent-infant observation for use by non-specialist health and social care professionals. See bit.ly/CP_research_lucy_thompson for more information.

Research Areas

Applied Health Sciences


Group processes and social context in parenting interventions. Jessica Tanner, University of Aberdeen, current primary supervisor

Spatiotemporal variability in social, emotional and behavioural development of children. Samantha Ofili, Strathclyde University, current co-supervisor

Early predictors of neurodevelopmental outcomes in the Japan Environment and Children Study (JECS), Kahoko Yasumitsu-Lovell, Gothenburg University / Kochi Medical School, current co-supervisor

Development of a feasible and robust neurodevelopmental screen for South African children. Ben Truter, Gothenburg University / Stellenbosch University, current co-supervisor

The scope and predictive validity of screening for neurodevelopmental difficulties in pre-school aged children. Fiona Sim, University of Aberdeen, 2018

Modelling social, emotional and behavioural development in the first three years of school. Louise Marryat, University of Glasgow, 2014

Funding and Grants

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research (PHR). £1.2million. Does "Mellow Babies" improve the psychosocial health of mothers and their children? (2018-2022)

Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO). £134,799. Parents InC.: A feasibility randomised controlled trial of a parenting support programme focussed on families affected by ADHD (2018-2021).

Feis Rois / Spirit of 2012. £4990. Evaluation of the Tàlaidhean Ùra Fèis Rois Lullaby Project (2020-2021).

Trygfonden. DKK 14,279,670. A general practice-based cluster-randomised trial of the impact of a Resilience Programme on early child development (2018-2023).

William Grant Foundation. £30,000. Development and External Evaluation of the Mellow Parenting Observation Scale (2016-2021).

EU Horizon 2020. €1,133,169. Clinical validation of the predictive value of the Harimata Play Care Pro assessment for autism (2017-2019).

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). £2.2 million. Trial of Healthy Relationship Initiatives for the Very Early-years (THRIVE) (2013-2019).

Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy. £39,788. Antenatal parenting support for women vulnerable in pregnancy: an exploratory randomised controlled trial of Mellow Bumps (2012-2013).

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Research and Development Group. £39,532. Characterising neurodevelopmental problems identified at a universal nurse contact with 30-months-old children (2011-2012).

Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy. £39,971. Enhancing Information Systems to Support Children’s Health and Development: Exploring Options in Glasgow (2010-2012).

Child and Maternal Health Division of the Scottish Government. £52,325. Screening for emotional and behavioural problems at school entry (2009-2010).


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