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PhD projects

- Drugs and Alcohol misuse in young people - Drug and alcohol misuse - Programme evaluation - Youth development

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Kathryn Higgins is a reader within the school of Social Science Education and Social Work Queen’s University Belfast. Kathryn has an established research reputation in the areas of substance use and addictive behavior and programme evaluation/implementation science. She continues to lead the now 18-year longitudinal study, known as the Belfast Youth Development Study, which has it has acted as a focal point for collaborations with external partners and for new, policy led research. In a field that changes rapidly Kathryn has stayed at the forefront of emerging issues; for example, she was recently funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to undertake research in the developing field of new psychoactive substances (legal highs).  She has developed a cadre of work over the past ten years on Programme evaluation & implementation Science, evaluating interventions designed to improve child and adolescent development. These include RCTs of school- and community-based interventions, for example ‘Ready to Learn’ and ‘Parenting UR Teens, ‘Brook Sexual Health service’. Her research programmes, publications and international conference contributions have examined the policy and evidence base for interventions including substance misuse, mental health, alcohol prevention and the mechanisms for implementing evidence based practice and policy more generally.

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drug use Social Sciences
Cannabis Medicine & Life Sciences
Pharmaceutical Preparations Medicine & Life Sciences
Northern Ireland Medicine & Life Sciences
Alcohols Medicine & Life Sciences
Substance-Related Disorders Medicine & Life Sciences
school Social Sciences
adolescent Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2005 2018

Research Output 1996 2019

Feasibility Studies
Substance-Related Disorders
Focus Groups
public health
narrative interview
4 Downloads (Pure)

Longitudinal Social Network Analysis of Peer, Family, and School Contextual Influences on Adolescent Drinking Frequency

McCann, M., Jordan, J. A., Higgins, K. & Moore, L., 10 Jun 2019, In : Journal of Adolescent Health. 65, 3, p. 350-358 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Social Support
Diffusion of Innovation
Underage Drinking

Public Health Evidence on Novel Psychoactive Substances -

Higgins, K., 18 Jun 2019.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

66 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access


Qstep teaching set competition

Kathryn Higgins (Recipient), 09 Jan 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2005 2019

Advisory Council for Misuse of Drugs ACMD (External organisation)

Kathryn Higgins (Board Member)
14 Oct 2019

Activity: Membership typesMembership of public/government advisory/policy group or panel

Alliance for Useful Evidence and NESTA (External organisation)

Kathryn Higgins (Advisor)
01 Jan 201901 Jan 2020

Activity: Membership typesMembership of network

PLoS ONE (Journal)

Kathryn Higgins (Editorial board member)
30 Jun 2019 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity


An exploration of a new heroin outbreak

Author: Higgins, K., Feb 2007

Supervisor: Kilpatrick, R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy