School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Dr Kristin Hadfield


Lecturer in Positive Psychology

Room Number: Room 2.04, Fogg Building


Dr. Kristin Hadfield is Lecturer in positive psychology at Queen Mary University of London. She completed her PhD in psychology at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland in 2015. Kristin has since worked as a visiting research specialist in the Department of Health Systems Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago (2015) and as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University (2015-2017).


Research Interests:

My research focuses on resilience and wellbeing. In particular, I am interested in what makes children and adolescents thrive when faced with adverse or challenging situations. I have two main foci through which I explore protective processes, as well as a number of additional projects with which I am involved. The first assesses how risk and protective factors at the familial level interact to influence children and parents during changes in family structure. The second examines protective processes and resilience trajectories among refugee and migrant youth.

Family transitions

Many children experience changes in their parents’ relationship structures, through marriage, divorce, cohabitation, or entrance into or dissolution of a dating relationship; this type of change is called a family transition. These transitions are thought to be bad for children and parents because they cause stress. However, there has been little examination of the conditions under which family transitions cause stress and what processes within families might ameliorate that stress. My research aims to understand the circumstances under which family transitions can be positive for child/parent health and wellbeing, as well as how to reduce the stress of potentially very challenging transitions. Additionally, most research in this area has been conducted in the United States; I am interested in how these processes may differ in other demographic contexts, and particularly in non-Western contexts.

Refugee and migrant youth

The scale and protracted nature of the Syrian and other refugee crises led me to want to understand refugee and migrant mental health and to promote wellbeing. Child and adolescent refugees and migrants show notable resilience in harnessing resources to rebuild their lives after considerable adversity. I am particularly interested in how trauma exposure and the stress of movement and resettlement affects youth, as well as how protective processes and factors in their environments may improve their outcomes. Major changes that occur in families during migration and resettlement; there is much to learn about how these changes - interacting with other changes at the individual and community level - influence young people's health and wellbeing.

Finally, I am involved with a number of projects which are focused on other aspects of resilience and wellbeing. The first of these seeks to advance understanding of prenatal influences on the development of mental health problems, the sex-specific biological mechanisms for those effects, and the social factors that promote children's resilience. The second is an intervention (Global Resilience Oral Workshops) which uses a storytelling approach to bolster resilience through character and spiritual training in Zambia. The third seeks to develop and validate a measure of resilience to violent extremism. The fourth aims to understand patterns of resilience among youth in contexts of petrochemical production and consumption in Canada and South Africa. Finally, the fifth is aimed at understanding and promoting resilience among the caregivers of people living with dementia in Ireland and Canada (Nova Scotia).


PhD Supervision