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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Professor Jennifer Lau


Professor of Youth Resilience and Co-Director of the Youth Resilience Unit



I co-direct the Youth Resilience Unit and am Principal Investigator on a number of externally funded projects on anxiety, depression and loneliness in children and young people. The Youth Resilience Unit is based within the Centre for Psychiatry and Mental Health.

I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from UCL, before deciding to pursue a PhD in Psychology as Applied to Medicine at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London. After my PhD, which investigated gene-environment correlations and interactions in child and adolescent depression, I took up a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health in the US. I was then appointed Lecturer in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, where I started the Researching Emotional Disorders and Development Lab. In 2013, I moved back to King’s College London in the Psychology Department, before joining to co-direct the Youth Resilience Unit at Queen Mary, University of London.

The Unit is funded through Barts Charity and aims to investigate factors contributing towards resilience (well-being in the face of adversity) and to develop and evaluate interventions that target these factors.


Research Interests:

I am interested in a better understanding of the risk mechanisms contributing towards anxiety, depression and loneliness, as they emerge across childhood and adolescence. I am also interested in how we can translate knowledge from basic science findings to the development of more targeted interventions, co-producing this with young people with lived experiences of these emotional problems and relevant stakeholders. I am interested in a multi-disciplinary and cross-sector approach.


Outstanding publications

  • Bang, D., Haller, S., Bahrami, B. & Lau, J.Y. (2018). Group decision-making is optimal in adolescence. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 15565.
  • Cohen Kadosh, K., Linden, D. E.J. & Lau, J. Y. (2013). Plasticity during childhood and adolescence: innovative approaches to investigating neurocognitive development. Developmental Science. 16(4):574-583. 
  • Lau, J. Y. F.,Shariff, R., & Meehan, A. J. (2021). Are biased interpretations of ambiguous social and nonsocial situations a precursor, consequence or maintenance factor of youth loneliness? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 140, [103829].
  • Lau, Y. F., & Waters, A. (2017). Annual Research Review: An expanded account of information-processing mechanisms in risk for child and adolescent anxiety and depression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 58(4), 387-407. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12653
  • Pile V, Winstanley A, Oliver A, Bennett E, Lau JYF. (2021). Targeting image-based autobiographical memory in childhood to prevent emotional disorders: Intervention development and a feasibility randomised controlled trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 144:103913. 



  • Eleanor Keiller, Barts Charity funding, Assessing the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of dramatherapy in youth anxiety and depression


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