Profile photoDr Kathryn Higgins
    Academic Non-Clinical
    Family Policy and Child Welfare
    UOA22 - Social Work and Social Policy
    School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
    Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation
    Postal address:
    Room 01.004 - 1 College Park East
    United Kingdom
    Email: k.m.higgins@qub.ac.uk
    Phone: +44 (0)28 9097 5286

    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. 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.

    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. 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.

    Research output

    The Use of Prescription Medication in Prisons in Northern Ireland

    Higgins, K., Kelly, G., O'Neill, N., O'Hara, L. & Campbell, A., Jun 2019, Queen's University Belfast. 49 p.

    The longitudinal relationship of alcohol problems and depressive symptoms and the impact of externalising symptoms: findings from the Belfast Youth Developmental Study

    Homman, L. E., Perra, O., Higgins, K. & O'Neill, F., 22 Mar 2019, In : Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. p. 1-11

    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.

    Variations and Determinants of Novel Psychoactive Substance Use -: Implications for Policy and Practice

    Higgins, K., O'Neill, N., O'Hara, L., Campbell, A., O'Neill, T., O'Neill, F., Clarke, M. & McCann, M., Oct 2018, National Institute of Health Research Public Health Research Programme.

    Harmonising alcohol consumption, sales and related outcomes data across the UK & Ireland: An insurmountable barrier to policy evaluation?

    Jordan, J-A., McCann, M., Katikireddi, V. & Higgins, K., 23 Jul 2018, In : Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.

    The Belfast Youth Development Study (BYDS): a prospective cohort study of the initiation, persistence and desistance of substance use from adolescence to adulthood in Northern Ireland

    Higgins, K., McLaughlin, A., Perra, O., McCartan, C., McCann, M., Percy, A. & Jordan, J-A., 23 May 2018, In : PLoS ONE. 13, 5, 18 p., e0195192., e0195192

    Variants and determinants of Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use Potential implications for Policy and Practice

    Higgins, K., 31 Oct 2017, National Institute of Health Research Public Health Research Programme. 300 p.

    New Psychoactive Substances: preliminary findings from a mixed methods study

    Higgins, K., O'Neill, N., O'Hara, L., Jordan, J-A. & Campbell, A., 24 May 2017.

    Participant Photography as a Research Tool: Ethical Issues and Practical Implementation

    O'Hara, L. & Higgins, K., 07 Apr 2017, In : Sociological Methods and Research. p. 1-31

    Health and Social Care Workers Perceptions of Novel Psychoactive substances in Northern Ireland

    Campbell, A., O'Neill, N. & Higgins, K., Feb 2017, In : International Journal of Drug Policy. 40, p. 93-101

    School bonding and ethos in trajectories of offending: Results from the Belfast Youth Development Study” British Journal of Educational Psychology

    Higgins, K. & Perra, O., 2017, In : British Journal of Educational Psychology.

    Keynote address Evidence Informed Practice in the Digital Era - what next?

    Higgins, K., 16 Nov 2016.

    Mobile Phones and Contact Arrangements for Children Living in Care

    Kelly, G., Macdonald, G., Higgins, K. & Robinson, C., 13 Jul 2016, In : British Journal of Social Work. p. 1-18 18 p.

    Cross-section and panel estimates of peer effects in early adolescent cannabis use: With a little help from my ‘friends once removed’

    Moriarty, J., McVicar, D. & Higgins, K., 21 Jun 2016, In : Social Science and Medicine. 29 p.

    Assessing elements of a family approach to reduce adolescent drinking frequency: parent-adolescent relationship, knowledge management, and keeping secrets

    McCann, M., Perra, O., McLaughlin, A., McCartan, C. & Higgins, K., 06 Apr 2016, In : Addiction. 111, 5, p. 843-853

    Parental alcohol use and resilience in young people: A study of family, peer and school processes. Short report.

    McLaughlin, A., O'Neill, T., McCartan, C., Percy, A., Perra, O., Higgins, K. & McCann, M., 08 Mar 2016, HSC R&D, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland. 20 p.

    The Smartphones Study: Using a Smartphone Application to Collect Longitudinal Data

    O'Hara, L., Higgins, K., Macdonald, G., McCann, M. & Moriarty, J., 2016.

    Adolescent alcohol use and school disengagement. Alcohol Insight Number 129.

    O'Neill, T., McLaughlin, A., Higgins, K., McCartan, C., Murphy, S. & Gossrau-Breen, D., 02 Nov 2015, Alcohol Research UK. 5 p.

    Effects of peer network interactions on adolescent cannabis use

    Moriarty, J. & Higgins, K., 2015, In : Journal of Criminal Psychology. 5, 2, p. 75-91 17 p.

    Miss School Miss Out film: http://www.eani.org.uk/schools/miss-school-miss-out/

    Higgins, K., 2015

    Odyssey Parenting Your Teen: Bringing Together Research and Practice

    O'Hara, L., Jaffa, P., Higgins, K., Macdonald, G., McCann, M., McLaughlin, K. & Moriarty, J., 19 Nov 2014.

    Mapping the field in evidence-informed policy and practice: international perspectives. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research and Practice, 10(4), 489-495.

    Higgins, K., Canavan, J. & Coen, L., 01 Nov 2014, In : Evidence and Policy . 10, 4, p. 489-495 7 p.

    Mobile Phones and Contact Arrangements for Children Living in Care

    MacDonald, G., Kelly, G., Robinson, C. & Higgins, K., Nov 2014, Queens University Belfast. 66 p.

    Response to the consultation on Delivering Social Change for Children and Young People

    Kelly, G. & Higgins, K., Mar 2014.

    Meta-analysis on school level variables in a co-evolving network analyses of adolescent friendship and smoking behaviour

    McAneney, H., Cochrane, G., Higgins, K., McCann, J. & Kee, F., 22 Feb 2014, p. 354. 1 p.

    Adolescent ecstasy use and depression: cause and effect, or two outcomes of home environment?

    McCann, M., Higgins, K., Perra, O., McCartan, C. & McLaughlin, A., 2014, In : European journal of public health. 24, 5, p. 845-850 6 p.

    The Smartphones Study

    Moriarty, J., O'Hara, L., McCann, M., Yerima, S., Sezer, S., Higgins, K., McAneney, H., Perra, O., Ell, P., Tully, M. & Macdonald, G., 2014, (Unpublished).

    "Parenting Ur Teen" Supporting the Parents of Adolescents

    O'Hara, L., Higgins, K., Macdonald, G., McCann, M., McLaughlin, K. & Moriarty, J., Dec 2013, (Unpublished) Children's Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland Conference.

    The Belfast Youth Development Study video

    Higgins, K., 01 Jun 2013

    The Belfast Youth Development Study video: (www.QUB.ac.uk/BYDS).

    Higgins, K., 2013

    The Influence of Parental Monitoring and School Environment on Adolescent Alcohol Use

    McCann, M., Higgins, K., Perra, O. & McLaughlin, A., 2013, Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Supplement ed. journal, Vol. 6. p. A65-A66 1 p. PP42

    Social Networks and Adolescent Smoking: The Gender Difference

    Cochrane, G., McAneney, H., Mercken, L., Higgins, K., McCann, J. & Kee, F., 24 Apr 2012.

    Keynote address + Conference Organiser (2012) ‘Use of evidence in times of austerity’. Challenges & Opportunities Cavan, Ireland April 2012 QUB/NUI Galway

    Higgins, K., Apr 2012.

    School-related predictors of smoking, drinking and drug use: Evidence from the Belfast Youth Development Study

    Perra, O., Fletcher, A., Bonell, C., Higgins, K. & McCrystal, P., Apr 2012, In : Journal of Adolescence. 35, 2, p. 315-324 10 p.

    An exploration of sexual health competencies in young people in Northern Ireland

    Dunne, L., Higgins, K., McCann, M., Macdonald, G. & Wilson, J., 2012.

    Parenting Ur Teen: A Randomised Trial of Implementation and Effectiveness

    Higgins, K., Macdonald, G., McLaughlin, K., O'Hara, L., McCann, M. & Moriarty, J., 2012, Queens University Belfast.

    Peer Effects in Adolescent Cannabis Use: It's the Friends, Stupid

    Moriarty, J., McVicar, D. & Higgins, K., 2012, (Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series; vol. 27, no. 12).

    Selection , de selection and influence : three processes in the dynamics of adolescent social networks of alcohol and tobacco use

    Higgins, K., 2012, In : Journal of Research On Adolescence. 1

    Self injury and help seekijng behaviour among adolescents in Northern Ireland

    Higgins, K., 2012, In : Adolescence. 1

    Facing the Child Welfare and Mental Health Interface Challenges

    Higgins, K., Oct 2011, PART. Dill, K. (ed.). Scholars Press, p. 1-20 20 p.

    Dynamics of smoking in adolescence and influence of social networks

    Cochrane, G. C., McAneney, H., McCann, J., Higgins, K. & Kee, F., Aug 2011, p. A41-A41. 1 p.

    Alcohol and the affluence paradox: A secondary analysis exploring the health disparities surrounding adolescent alcohol use and alcohol related harm in adulthood

    Higgins, K., Perra, O., McCann, M., McCartan, C. & McLaughlin, A., May 2011, Alcohol Research UK.

    Invited Key note (2010) Evidence informed Practice ‘Facing the Child Welfare and mental health interface –focus on drug and alcohol use ‘University of Toronto 2010/PART

    Higgins, K., 15 May 2010.

    Parenting Ur Teen: Stage One Process Evaluation Interim Report

    Higgins, K., O'Hara, L. & Macdonald, G., 2010, (Unpublished) Queens University Belfast.

    Confirmatory factor analysis of the adolescent self-report strengths and difficulties questionnaire

    Percy, A., McCrystal, P. & Higgins, K., 2008, In : EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT. 24, 1, p. 43-48 6 p.

    Substance Use among Young People Living in Residential State Care

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., 2008, In : Child Care in Practice. 14, 2, p. 181-192 12 p.

    Keynote address Closing the Loop - Connecting Child Care Research Policy and Practice + Organiser

    Higgins, K., 01 Dec 2007.

    School exclusion drug use and antisocial behaviour at 15/16 years: Implications for youth transitions

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., 01 Dec 2007, In : Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies. 2, 3, p. 181-190 10 p.

    Frequent Cannabis Use Among 14/15 Year Olds in Northern Ireland

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., 17 Apr 2007, In : Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 88(1), 1, p. 19-27 9 p.

    Drug use amongst young people attending emotional and behavioural difficulty units during adolescence: A longitudinal anlaysis

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., Mar 2007, In : Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties. 12(1), 1, p. 49-68 20 p.

    Exclusion and Marginalisation in Adolescence: The Experience of School Exclusion on Drug Use and Antisocial Behaviour

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., Feb 2007, In : Journal of Youth Studies. 10(1), 1, p. 35-54 20 p.

    The Cost of Drug Use in Adolescence: Young People, Money and Substance Abuse.

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., Feb 2007, In : Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. 14(1), 1, p. 19-28 10 p.

    Substance use behaviors of young people with a moderate learning disability: A longitudinal analysis

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., 01 Jan 2007, In : American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 33, 1, p. 155-161 7 p.

    Substance Use Behaviours of Young People with A Moderate Learning Disability: A longitudinal analysis

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., Jan 2007, In : American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 33, p. 155-162 8 p.

    School exclusion, drug use and delinquency in adolescence

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., Oct 2006, In : Journal of Adolescence. 29(5), 5, p. 829-836 8 p.

    Drug use amongst 12 and 13 year olds attending emotional and behavioural difficulties units in Belfast

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., Sep 2005, In : Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties. 10, 3, p. 203-218 16 p.

    Adolescent Substance abuse among young people excluded from school in Belfast

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K., Percy, A. & Thornton, M., Apr 2005, In : Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. 12 (2), 2, p. 101-112 12 p.

    Response consistency in young adolescents’ drug use self-reports: a recanting rate analysis.

    Percy, A., McAlister, S., Higgins, K., McCrystal, P. & Thornton, M., Feb 2005, In : Addiction. 100(2), 2, p. 189-196 8 p.

    The impact of paramilitary violence against a heroin-user community in Northern Ireland: A qualitative analysis

    Higgins, K. & Kilpatrick, R., Jan 2005, In : International Journal of Drug Policy. 16(5), 5, p. 334-342 9 p.

    Substance abuse among 12 and 13 year olds at high risk of developing problme drug use

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., 2005, In : Child Care in Practice. 11, p. 313-321 9 p.

    Belfast Youth Development Study: Technical Report 2004

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., Sep 2004, Institute of Child Care Research : ICCR.

    Secular Trends in Substance Use: The Conflict and Young People in Northern Ireland

    Higgins, K., Percy, A. & McCrystal, P., Sep 2004, In : Journal of Social Issues. 60 (3), 3, p. 485-506 22 p.

    Belfast Youth Development Study: Research Update for Schools Issue 4

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K. & Percy, A., 2004, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Belfast Youth Development Study: Research Update for Schools Issue 3

    Percy, A., McCrystal, P. & Higgins, K., 2003, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Belfast Youth Development Study: Technical Report 2002

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A., Higgins, K. & Thornton, M., 2003, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Belfast Youth Development Study: Technical Report 2003

    Percy, A., McCrystal, P. & Higgins, K., 2003, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Emerging patterns of adolescent drug use: The Belfast Youth Development Study 2000-2002

    McCrystal, P., Higgins, K., Percy, A. & Thornton, M., 2003, In : Child Care in Practice. 9, p. 73-83 11 p.

    United Kingdom

    Higgins, K. & Haw, S., Nov 2002, HIV and AIDS: A Global View. McElrath, K. (ed.). Greenwood, p. 235-252 18 p.

    Belfast Youth Development Study: The High Risk Booster Sample

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A., Higgins, K. & Thornton, M., 2002, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Youth Development Study: Main Report

    Percy, A., McCrystal, P. & Higgins, K., 2002, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Youth development Study: Research Update for Schools Issue 2

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., 2002, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Youth Development Study: Technical Report 2001

    Percy, A., Higgins, K. & McCrystal, P., 2002, Institute of Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Youth Development Study: Research Update for Schools Issue 1

    Percy, A., McCrystal, P. & Higgins, K., Sep 2001, Institute for Child Care Research, QUB : ICCR.

    Measuring social exclusion: a lifespan approach

    McCrystal, P., Percy, A. & Higgins, K., 2001, In : Radical Statistics. 76, p. 3-14 12 p.

    The trouble with peace: The ceasefires and their impact on drug use among youth in Northern Ireland

    Higgins, K. & McElrath, K., 2000, In : Youth and Society. p. 29-59

    Does Ulster still say no? Drugs, politics and propaganda in Northern Ireland

    McEvoy, K., McElrath, K. & Higgins, K., Dec 1998, In : Journal of Drug Issues. 28, 1, p. 127-154 28 p.

    Awards

    Projects

    R2158CHC: Adolescent alcohol use and school disengagement: investigating alcohol use patterns in adolescence and pathways to being NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training)

    O'Neill, T., Higgins, K., McCartan, C. & McLaughlin, A.

    02/10/201431/03/2016

    R3337CHC: Offending Behaviour amongst Young People in NI: A Study of Neighbourhood, Family, School and Peer Processes

    Higgins, K., McCann, M., McCartan, C., McLaughlin, A. & Perra, O.

    01/08/201130/09/2015

    R4604CHC: Parental Alcohol Use and Resilience

    McLaughlin, A., Higgins, K., Percy, A. & Perra, O.

    01/08/201219/07/2019

    R4749CHC: Promoting resilience in children and young people affected by parental substance misuse (PSM): a feasibility study of the Pharos group work programme

    McLaughlin, A., Hayes, D., Higgins, K., Macdonald, G., McLaughlin, K., O'Neill, T. & Percy, A.

    18/02/201630/11/2016

    R1328CHC: Using smartphone applications to enhance longitudinal survey methods

    Macdonald, G., Ell, P. S., Higgins, K., McCann, M., Miller, R., Sezer, S. & Tully, M.

    01/08/201230/11/2014

    R4731CHC: Variation and Determinants of Novel Psychoactive Substance (NPS) use

    Higgins, K., Campbell, A., Clarke, M., O'Hara, L., O'Neill, T., O'Neill, N. & O'Neill, F.

    18/09/2015 → …