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PhD projects

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


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Kathryn Higgins is the Director of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI), and a reader in the school of Social Science Education and Social Work Queen’s University Belfast. Kathryn is an experienced research leader having previously led the Institute for Child Care Research for ten years. Kathryn has an established research reputation in the areas of substance use and addictive behavior and also has been active in the field of 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.  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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Research Output

Open Access
  • 15 Downloads (Pure)

    A feasibility study of Barnardo’s Pharos group work programme to build resilience in children affected by parental substance abuse.

    McLaughlin, A., Devlin, L., Mullan, C., McLaughlin, K., Macdonald, G., O'Neill, T., Higgins, K., Percy, A. & Hayes, D., 2019, p. 11-11. 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • 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
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    41 Downloads (Pure)

    Public Health Evidence on Novel Psychoactive Substances -

    Higgins, K., 18 Jun 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Qstep teaching set competition

    Higgins, Kathryn (Recipient), 09 Jan 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    Evidence Gathering Session

    Kathryn Higgins (Participant)

    14 Feb 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    Professor Dennis Mc Carty

    Anne Campbell (Host), & Kathryn Higgins (Host)

    May 2020

    Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting an academic visitor

    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

    Advisory Council for The Misuse of Drugs (External organisation)

    Kathryn Higgins (Board Member)

    10 Oct 201910 Oct 2021

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


    An exploration of a new heroin outbreak

    Author: Higgins, K., Jul 2007

    Supervisor: Kilpatrick, R. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Young people, school exclusion and substance abuse

    Author: Duncan, L., Dec 2012

    Supervisor: Higgins, K. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Masters ThesisMasters