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The University of Southampton

Dr Nicky Knights BSc, MSc, PhD

Research Fellow

Dr Nicky Knights's photo

I have a PhD in the field of Developmental Psychopathology and a particular interest in the social and cultural factors that impact adversely on a young person’s development.




Employment history

Research Associate - Amy Winehouse Foundation

‘Young Persons’ Substance Use Prevalence Survey’

Developing a survey that was used in schools across the UK to gain a greater understanding of what substances young people are currently using, including newer substances such as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), energy drinks and e-cigarettes. The study also looked at risk factors for substance use, and young people’s attitudes, knowledge and beliefs relating to drugs and alcohol. This knowledge will form the basis for improved drug and alcohol education in schools.

I also provided psychoeducational talks on drug and alcohol use and associated issues.

Research Fellow – University of Southampton, School of Psychology

English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA-YAF) Study – Young Adult Follow-Up

The ERA study is a longitudinal study looking at the effects of severe early institutional deprivation on subsequent development, and the ameliorating effect of later enriched family environment. The YAF looked at the pathways to successful transition in early adulthood. Outcomes included mental health and personality functioning.

Research Fellow - University of Leeds, Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences

‘Systemic Therapy for at Risk Teens’ - A pragmatic, randomised controlled trial'

The study looked at the effectiveness of multi-systemic therapy (MST) for young people who were at risk of an out of home placement. Outcomes included mental health, offending behaviour, attachment status and academic functioning.

PhD student/Visiting Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire

PhD ‘Evaluating the effectiveness of an intensive recovery programme for adolescents who have been bullied: a mixed-methods study’

My PhD involved close collaboration with both mainstream and special schools, and CAMHS. The objective was to understand the impact of bullying on adolescent social, psychological and academic functioning and to evaluate the effectiveness of a recovery programme.

Research Assistant - University of Birmingham, Alcohol, Drugs and Addictions Research Group

‘Untreated heavy drinkers project: mixed-methods study’. Exploring the development and maintenance of heavy drinking in the community and associated problems such as violence, criminal convictions, mental illness, suicide risk and ill health.

This study looked at the reasons for heavy drinking and associated outcomes.

Clinical/forensic experience
Probation Services Officer

Working with offenders completing community sentences: Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR); Anger Management; Thinking Skills; risk assessment.

Assistant Clinical Psychologist, Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)

Managing a caseload of adults with severe and enduring mental illness.

Nursing Assistant, Psychiatric Intensive Care/Forensic Mental Health

Working with adults in the field of acute and forensic mental health.

Support Worker, Eating Disorders Unit

Supporting young women with eating disorders.

I am experienced in cognitive-behavioural techniques, motivational interviewing and providing psychoeducational interventions.

Research interests

My research interests are in the field of developmental psychopathology, specifically the effects of severe and prolonged interpersonal trauma on development, within a human needs perspective.

PhD ‘Evaluating the effectiveness of an intensive recovery programme for adolescents who have been bullied: a mixed-methods study’

MSc research dissertation ‘Long term effects of adolescent bullying: social, emotional and global achievement outcomes’ (mixed-methods)

I have an interest in evaluation research and working in collaboration with young people to develop evidence-based and effective interventions. I also use qualitative research to understand more about contemporary issues that impact on a young person’s development.

Research group

Centre for Sexual Health Research (CSHR)

Affiliate research group

Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)

Dr Nicky Knights
Building 44 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

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