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The University of Southampton
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Professor Anne-Sophie Emma Darlington MA, PhD

Professor of Child and Family Psychological Health

Professor Anne-Sophie Emma Darlington's photo

Professor Anne-Sophie Darlington is a Professor of Child and Family Psychological Health within Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.

My research focuses on improving quality of life for children and young people with a chronic or life-limiting illness and their families.

Professor Darlington’s research programme focuses on measuring and improving Quality of Life (QoL) of children and young people with a chronic illness. Her work focuses on coping strategies and developing and testing interventions to support parents and children. She has developed a strong international track record in research on predictors of adjustment (e.g. coping), Patient Reported Outcome Measurement, intervention development and Paediatric Palliative Care, focusing on understanding how parents cope when faced with their child’s imminent death and how we can best support them. The questions central to her research are: 1) How do children with a complex illness and their parents adjust? 2) What interventions can be developed and tested to support families and improve their quality of life? 3) How can we best measure outcomes, such as quality of life? She has developed a theoretical framework on parental coping to underpin the work, with clear testable hypotheses driving the research.  She is the chair of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Group. She has been awarded funding as PI or co-PI, from national (e.g. Brain Tumour Charity; British Renal Society) and international (e.g. European Organisation of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) competitive funding agencies. She successfully mentors clinicians with NIHR fellowships, NHS Trust funded fellowships, HEE Clinical Academic Career Awards and Health Education Wessex Clinical Academic Training Programme Internships and Transitional Awards.

Professor Darlington is chair of the Executive Committee of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Quality of Life Group. The goals of the EORTC QLG are:

Career history

Anne-Sophie obtained her Master’s degree in Psychology, specialising in Developmental Psychology, from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. She went on to obtain her PhD from the University of Durham in Health Psychology. She spent several years as a postdoctoral researcher, at the University of Exeter, the University of Sheffield and the University of Durham. She spent seven years working in the Department of Medical Psychology at the Erasmus Medical Centre, which is the largest research hospital in the Netherlands. Here her research focused on Quality of Life and Coping, first as a senior researcher and later as a lecturer. After moving back to the UK she has worked in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton as well as the University of Oxford.

Research interests

Measurement of quality of life; Development of quality of life instruments; Investigating the relationship between coping strategies and well-being; Teenagers and Young Adults with cancer; Palliative Care in adults (e.g. transferring patients from Critical Care home to die) and children (e.g. experiences of bereaved parents); Interventions for families in Paediatrics.

Research Projects

COVID 19 - SHARE STUDY: Online survey aimed at urgently assessing needs of children and young people with a serious condition and their parents, during the COVID-19 outbreak

Determinants of Adjustment

Resilience, capacity and coping: An investigation of the practical and emotional work parents undertake as they care for a child with cancer at the end of life

Understanding and addressing the training needs of clinicians to improve end-of-life care for adolescents and young adults with cancer worldwide 

Assessment of the Quality of Life of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients enrolled in EORTC Children Leukemia Group trials between 1971 and 1998 


The PROMOTE Study: Patient Reported Outcome Measures Online To Enhance Communication and Quality of Life after childhood brain tumour 

Game On! Games And Gamification To Improve Self-management In Children And Young People With A Chronic Kidney Disease

Growth and nutrition of infants with congenital heart disease: development of guidelines and a digital home monitoring programme to support families

Patient Reported Outcome Measures

An investigation into the use of the EORTC Core instrument and the possible need of a module for the assessment of Health Related Quality of Life in Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with cancer

An international field study for the reliability and validity of the EORTC cancer cachexia module (the EORTC QLQ-CAX24) and the EORTC QLQ-C30 for assessing quality of life in cancer patients with cachexia 

Phase 2 and 3 development of an Adolescent and Young Adult module for 14-39 year olds & Validation of the EORTC QLQ-C30 with 12-17 year olds with cancer

The Paediatric version (VOICES-C) of the Views of Informal Carers Evaluation Survey-Short Form (VOICES-SF): Views of Health Professionals and pilot-testing with bereaved parents 

Phase 4 international field study of the EORTC anal module (QLQANL27) and EORTC QLQC30 for assessing HRQOL in patient with anal cancer 

Phase II and III development of an EORTC QOL cancer Survivorship questionnaire

Research group

Cancer and Life Limiting Conditions

Research Theme

Health Needs


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PhD Students

  • Sarah Stapleton

  • Helen Pearson

  • Katy Morton

  • Zainab Jasem

  • Emma Liddington


I am a Health Psychologist with a background in Developmental Psychology, with a strong track record in education and research. The combination of my discipline and subject expertise, in terms of Child Health and family adaptation, enables me to make significant specialist contributions to the School’s undergraduate and postgraduate education provision.

Module lead 3rd year Dissertation module: Research Project for Nursing
Lead on quantitative research methods teaching for undergraduate nursing students
Contribution of expertise specific education provision (Health Psychology and Research Methods) across the school’s undergraduate curriculums




Professor Anne-Sophie Emma Darlington
Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 67/4067

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