Anxiety Researchers


Helen Dodd – Dodd3

I am a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Reading. My research examines the development of anxiety disorders in children. I am particularly interested in examining cognitive processes associated with anxiety, for example, what children pay attention to and how they respond to uncertainty and ambiguity, and how these processes affect risk for anxiety. My research also considers the role of child temperament and the family environment and the way in which these factors work together to affect children’s risk for anxiety.

Claire HilltestClaire HIll –

I am a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading.  My research focuses on childhood anxiety disorders and I am particularly interested in the development of more accessible psychological therapy such as online and app-based treatments.  I am also looking at the role that parents have in managing child anxiety and how we can best involve parents in treatment for childhood anxiety disorders to improve treatment outcomes.

brynjar-halldorsson2.jpgBrynjar Halldorsson –

I am a Clinical Postdoctoral Research Fellow and a Clinical Psychologist, working with Professor Cathy Creswell in the University of Reading. My research interests include anxiety disorders in children and adolescents as well as Cognitive and Behavioural approaches to understanding and treating emotional problems. My current research is focused on investigating social anxiety disorder in children. The work aims to examine how this common emotional problem functions and is maintained in this population. It is our hope that this work will inform how we currently treat children who suffer from social anxiety.

pete-lawrencetest1.jpgPete Lawrence –

I am a Clinical Psychologist and Research Training Fellow in Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Reading. My research, supervised by Prof Cathy Creswell, focuses on the development of emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. As a clinical psychologist, I am motivated to identify and understand what factors can lead to these problems developing, so that we can then target the factors in preventive or early interventions to enhance children’s development and support their families.

Polly WaitetestPolly Waite –

As well as being the AnDY Clinic Director, I am an NIHR Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer in Clinical Psychology based at the University of Reading, and my research focuses specifically on anxiety disorders in adolescence. I am also a Clinical Psychologist and therefore much of my interest is in improving our understanding of anxiety disorders in teenagers in order to guide our development of more effective psychological treatments.

Cathy CreswelltestCathy Creswell –

I am an NIHR Research Professor based at the University of Reading and an Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist with Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. My research focuses primarily on the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders in children and young people, improving access to evidence based interventions and improving treatment outcomes for this group.

Kerstin Thirlwall –

I am an honorary fellow at the University of Reading and a Clinical Psychologist with Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Alongside my clinical work, I provide clinical supervision to trainee Well-Being Practitioners providing low intensity psychological treatments for children and young people with anxiety and depression. My research activities have included investigating the effectiveness of guided parent-delivered treatment for childhood anxiety and exploring the role parents play in the development and maintenance of anxiety in children. My clinical approach is informed by evidence-based practice, which is largely based upon Cognitive Behaviour Therapy principles.

Master’s & PhD Students:


Sam Pearcey –

I am a PhD student at the University of Reading working with Professor Cathy Creswell and Dr Bhismadev Chakrabarti. I am investigating social skills deficits in children with social anxiety and am aiming to establish what the nature of this relationship is. I am particularly interested in establishing whether there are any particular social skills involved in child social anxiety and how to measure these social skills more effectively in this population in order to inform treatments.


Tessa Reardon –

I am a PhD student working with Professor Cathy Creswell.  The aim of my work is to identify barriers to children with anxiety disorders accessing evidence-based treatments.  My first study is a qualitative study and will involve interviewing parents of children with anxiety disorders identified through a community sample.  Findings from this first study will inform the development of a large scale survey of parents of children with anxiety disorders to quantify the experience of barriers to treatment access in a nationally representative sample.


Hannah Rogers –

I am a PhD student at the University of Reading working with Dr Polly Waite and Professor Cathy Creswell. My research is investigating moderators of exposure therapy for children and adolescents. The aim of this project is to determine whether cognitive strategies that have been tested in adult samples are also applicable for treating younger age groups. It is hoped that this work will inform current treatment for children and adolescents who suffer with social anxiety.

Doireann O’Brien – photo

I am a PhD student working with Prof. Cathy Creswell and Dr. Kate Harvey at the University of Reading. My research incorporates both qualitative and quantitative methods, with the aim to investigate barriers which are preventing children with anxiety disorders from accessing evidence-based treatment. I am particularly interested in the barriers which are present at the primary care level, and my studies will involve interviewing and surveying General Practitioners to ascertain their perspectives on these issues.

Nihan Osmanagaoglu –

Nihan2I am a PhD student, working with Helen Dodd & Cathy Creswell, in the University of Reading. My research aim is to investigate the association between intolerance of uncertainty (IU) and anxiety in children. I am particularly interested in identification of stages in the processing uncertain information and examine how intolerance of uncertainty as an individual difference factor plays a role in the context of anxiety regarding heightened reactivity to uncertainty, inflated anticipation of threat under uncertain circumstances, and sparse behavioural reactions towards uncertainty.