Richard M Pasco Fearon

Richard M Pasco Fearon
University College London | UCL · Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology

PhD. DClinPsy

About

244
Publications
103,270
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
10,065
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2011 - present
University College London
Position
  • Professor (Full)
June 1999 - present
Anna Freud Centre
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (244)
Article
Full-text available
Background This paper enumerates and characterizes latent classes of adverse childhood experiences and investigates how they relate to prenatal substance use (i.e., smoking, alcohol, and other drugs) and poor infant outcomes (i.e., infant prematurity and low birthweight) across eight low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods A total of 118...
Article
Full-text available
Maternal prenatal stress places a substantial burden on mother’s mental health. Expectant mothers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have thus far received less attention than mothers in high-income settings. This is particularly problematic, as a range of triggers, such as exposure to traumatic events (e.g. natural disasters, previous pre...
Article
Full-text available
Unresolved states of mind regarding experiences of loss/abuse (U/d) are identified through lapses in the monitoring of reasoning, discourse, and behavior surrounding loss/abuse in response to the Adult Attachment Interview. Although the coding system for U/d has been widely used for decades, the individual indicators of unresolved loss/abuse have n...
Article
Parenting interventions provide the backbone of professional support for children with behavioural problems and their families (Maughan et al., 2005). The overwhelming evidence for their value, at least in the short term, has prompted the field to move away from simply testing their efficacy to focus on issues of implementation. More and more studi...
Article
Attachment is an infant's inherent drive to seek comfort from their caregiver, particularly at times of perceived threat. A child can show a number of attachment patterns, with a secure attachment pattern linked to improved long term outcomes, such as healthy social and emotional development. A range of parenting interventions have been developed a...
Article
Meta‐analytic associations between observed parental sensitivity and child behavioral problems were examined (children aged 0–17 years). Studies (k = 108, N = 28,114) contained sociodemographically diverse samples, primarily from North America and Europe, reporting on parent‐child dyads (95% mothers; 54% boys). Sensitivity significantly related to...
Preprint
ADHD symptoms can adversely impact functioning in a range of domains relevant for maternal well-being and foetal development; however, there has been almost no research examining their impact during pregnancy. We used data (n=1204) from a longitudinal birth cohort study spanning eight countries to address this gap. ADHD symptoms in the third trimes...
Article
Full-text available
Background We investigated the acceptability and feasibility of a new brief intervention for maternal prenatal anxiety within maternity services in London and Exeter, UK. Methods One hundred fourteen pregnant individuals attending their 12-week scan at a prenatal clinic with elevated symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7 score of ≥7) were randomly assigned t...
Article
An unsettled question in attachment theory and research is the extent to which children's attachment patterns with mothers and fathers jointly predict developmental outcomes. In this study, we used individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to assess whether early attachment networks with mothers and fathers are associated with children's inte...
Article
Full-text available
The peer influence and peer selection effects are two widely replicated findings in the criminological literature that refer to the predictive relationship between antisocial behaviour and delinquent peer association as well as between delinquent peer association and antisocial behaviour, respectively. Research suggests that antisocial cognition mi...
Article
The recent death of our colleague and friend Professor Sir Michael Rutter has quite rightly been greeted by an outpouring of gratitude and respect from distinguished commentators across the globe working in diverse fields of the basic, social and clinical sciences as well as from clinicians and policy makers. These have without exception highlighte...
Article
La teoría y la investigación sobre el apego se utilizan en muchos contextos aplicados, incluidos los juzgados de familia, pero hay malentendidos muy extendidos y que a veces dan lugar a aplicaciones erróneas. El objetivo de este documento de consenso es, por lo tanto, mejorar la comprensión, contrarrestar la desinformación y dirigir el uso de la te...
Article
The use of lockdown to slow the spread of COVID‐19 has been unprecedented in its scale, scope and duration despite early predictions that such a measure would have a negative impact on the mental health and well‐being of many young people and their families. From a developmental psychopathology perspective both direct and indirect effects of lockdo...
Article
Background. Emerging evidence suggests that antenatal exposure to maternal stress signals affects the development of the infant stress response systems. Animal studies indicate that maternal sensitive caregiving can reverse some of these effects. However, the generalizability of these findings to humans is unknown. This study investigated the role...
Article
Full-text available
W niniejszym artykule przedstawiono nowatorski program terapii opartej na mentalizacji (mentalization-based treatment-MBT) dla rodziców, opracowany z myślą o rodzinach, w których występuje ryzyko krzywdzenia dzieci. Program MBT Lighthouse ("Latarnia morska") ma na celu zapobieganie krzywdzeniu dzieci poprzez rozwijanie wrażliwe-go rodzicielstwa. Pr...
Article
Full-text available
Compulsive behavior is enacted under a belief that a specific act controls the likelihood of an undesired future event. Compulsive behaviors are widespread in the general population despite having no causal relationship with events they aspire to influence. In the current study, we tested whether there is an increased tendency to assign value to as...
Article
Early temperamental reactivity and attachment security are key predictors of children's social competence with peers. Leveraging meta-analytic evaluation of the significance of early attachment for social competence already available (Groh et al., 2014), this quantitative review examined the significance of early temperamental reactivity for social...
Article
This meta‐analysis tested maternal responsivity as a mediator of the association between socioeconomic risk and children's preschool language abilities. The search included studies up to 2017 and meta‐analytic structural equation modeling, allowed us to examine the magnitude of the indirect effect across 17 studies (k = 19). The meta‐analysis inclu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background Attachment refers to an infant’s instinct to seek close proximity to their caregiver and research has shown it is important in promoting a child’s healthy social and emotional development. Parenting interventions have been developed in order to promote secure attachment and reduce disorganised attachment. Many interventions used in routi...
Conference Paper
Background Children in care are at increased risk for mental health problems, related to their adverse experiences often involving maltreatment, separation from and frequent changes in caregivers. These mental health problems include reactive attachment disorder (RAD), characterised by a failure in seeking or responding to comfort from carers when...
Article
Background : Mothers from middle-income countries (MIC) are estimated to have higher rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and depression during pregnancy compared to mothers from high income countries. Prenatal depression can adversely impact on a mother's feelings towards her foetus and thus may be partially responsible for intergeneratio...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. We investigated the acceptability and feasibility of a new brief intervention for maternal prenatal anxiety within maternity services. Results. 114 pregnant women attending their 12-week scan at a prenatal clinic with elevated symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7 score of ≥ 7) were randomly assigned to either the ACORN intervention + Treatment as...
Article
Full-text available
Studies in high-income countries (HICs) have shown that variability in maternal-fetal attachment (MFA) predict important maternal health and child outcomes. However, the validity of MFA ratings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) remains unknown. Addressing this gap, we assessed measurement invariance to test the conceptual equivalence of t...
Article
Full-text available
A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-021-01122-7
Preprint
Full-text available
Aims This paper explores the number and characterization of latent classes of adverse childhood experiences across the Evidence for Better Lives Study cohort and investigates how the various typologies link to prenatal substance use (i.e., smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs) and poor infant outcomes (i.e., infant prematurity and low birth weight)....
Article
Background: Child cognitive development is often compromised in contexts of poverty and adversity, and these deficits tend to endure and affect the child across the life course. In the conditions of poverty and violence that characterise many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), the capacity of parents to provide the kind of care that promotes...
Article
Background Autistic people show diverse trajectories of autistic traits over time, a phenomenon labelled ‘chronogeneity’. For example, some show a decrease in symptoms, whilst others experience an intensification of difficulties. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a dimensional condition, representing one end of a trait continuum that extends throug...
Article
The past decades have seen an extraordinary growth in the number of large, open-access portals making data available for cross-national comparative social-science research and a corresponding increase in the use of such data. In particular, international organizations such as The World Bank, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the...
Preprint
An unsettled question in attachment theory and research is the extent to which children’s attachment patterns with mothers and fathers jointly predict developmental outcomes. In this study, we used individual participant data meta-analysis to assess whether early attachment networks with mothers and fathers are associated with children’s internaliz...
Article
Full-text available
Decision-making is a cognitive process of central importance for the quality of our lives. Here, we ask whether a common factor underpins our diverse decision-making abilities. We obtained 32 decision-making measures from 830 young people and identified a common factor that we call “decision acuity,” which was distinct from IQ and reflected a gener...
Article
Autism is associated with complex and diverse needs that vary from individual to individual. Those affected, and their families, often require specialist care and support. These involve educational and clinical skills which are demanding to implement effectively, and costly, in terms of time and money, to deliver. Early screening and intervention a...
Method
Full-text available
This is a brief version of the protocol of the study "A feasibility study and pilot RCT of a modified video-feedback parenting intervention for children in foster care with reactive attachment disorder" (ISRCTN18374094). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Article
Full-text available
Studies in high-income countries (HICs) have shown that variability in maternal-fetal attachment (MFA) predict important maternal health and child outcomes. However, the validity of MFA ratings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) remains unknown. Addressing this gap, we assessed measurement invariance to test the conceptual equivalence of t...
Article
Full-text available
While trauma memory characteristics are considered a core predictor of adult PTSD, the literature on child PTSD is limited and inconsistent. We investigated whether children’s trauma memory characteristics predict their posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) at 1 month and 6 months post-trauma. We recruited 126 6–13 year olds who experienced a single...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mothers from middle-income countries (MIC) are estimated to have higher rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and depression during pregnancy compared to mothers from high income countries. Prenatal depression can adversely impact on a mother's feelings towards her foetus and has thus been hypothesised to be partially responsible for interg...
Article
Full-text available
Attachment theory and research are drawn upon in many applied settings, including family courts, but misunderstandings are widespread and sometimes result in misapplications. The aim of this consensus statement is, therefore, to enhance understanding, counter misinformation, and steer family-court utilisation of attachment theory in a supportive, e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Measures that produce valid and reliable antenatal depressive symptom scores in low resource country contexts are important for research efforts to better understand risk factors, outcomes, and effective interventions in these contexts. Establishing the psychometric comparability of scores across countries also facilitates cross-country analysis of...
Article
Emotion regulation (ER) strategies can decrease the intensity or modify the experience of emotions. Deficits in emotion regulation are implicated in a wide range of psychopathologies. It is argued that interpersonal, socio-cognitive, and developmental variables play an important role in ER. This is the first study to explore the contribution of ind...
Article
Full-text available
Unresolved loss/trauma in the context of the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) has been theorised to result from dissociative processing of fear-related memories and ideas. To examine the plausibility of this model, this study tested hypothesised associations between unresolved loss/trauma and indicators of autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity....
Article
Background Previous reviews have characterised the mean stability of autistic traits (ATs) across samples on a single measure. However, no review has yet assessed mean change across a range of measures, or described the longitudinal heterogeneity of ATs, i.e. variation in direction and degree of change. Method A systematic literature review was co...
Article
The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) is a widely used measure in developmental science that assesses adults’ current states of mind regarding early attachment-related experiences with their primary caregivers. The standard system for coding the AAI recommends classifying individuals categorically as having an autonomous, dismissing, preoccupied, or...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Violence against children is a health, human rights and social problem affecting approximately half of the world’s children. Its effects begin at prenatal stages with long-lasting impacts on later health and well-being. The Evidence for Better Lives Study (EBLS) aims to produce high-quality longitudinal data from cities in eight low- a...
Article
In dit artikel wordt een innovatieve, op het mentaliserend vermogen van ouders gerichte interventie gepresenteerd voor gezinnen waarin het risico op kindermishandeling aanwezig is. Doel van dit zogenoemde Lighthouse MBT Parenting Programme is het voorkomen van kindermishandeling, door de sensitiviteit van ouders als verzorgers te bevorderen. Het pr...
Article
Full-text available
Background Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is implicated in the pathophysiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there has been little study of HPA stress reactivity in association with PTSD symptoms (PTSS) in children; and there is limited research on PTSD in low and middle-income countries, where t...
Article
Full-text available
Background Maternal depression and anxiety have been associated with deleterious child outcomes. It is, however, unclear how the chronicity and timing of maternal mental health problems predict child development outcomes. The aim of the current study was to assess the effect of both chronicity and timing of maternal anxiety and depression in pregna...
Preprint
Full-text available
Since the seminal 1992 paper by van IJzendoorn, Sagi, and Lambermon, putting forward the “The multiple caretaker paradox”, relatively little attention has been given to the potential joint effects of the role early attachment network to mother and father play in development. Recently, Dagan and Sagi-Schwartz (2018) have published a paper that attem...
Article
Full-text available
Socio‐economic disadvantage increases exposure to life stressors. Animal research suggests early life stressors impact later neurodevelopment, including myelin developmental growth. To determine how early life disadvantage may affect myelin growth in adolescence and young adulthood, we analysed data from an accelerated longitudinal neuroimaging stu...
Article
Background : Well-established evidence exists of an association between depressive symptoms and alterations in the stress and inflammatory response systems; however, the picture is far less coherent during the perinatal period. This study combines the assessment of multiple stress and inflammatory biomarkers in late pregnancy and after delivery in...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Birth cohort studies (BCS) have generated a wealth of invaluable basic scientific and policy-relevant information on a wide range of issues in child health and development. This study sought to explore what research questions are currently a priority for the next generation of BCS using a 3-round Delphi survey of interdisciplinary experts...
Article
Antenatal exposure to maternal stress is a factor that may impact on offspring cognitive development. While some evidence exists of an association between maternal antenatal depressive or anxiety symptoms and infants' cognitive outcomes, less is known about the role of biological indices of maternal antenatal stress in relation to infant cognitive...
Article
Full-text available
Generations of researchers have tested and used attachment theory to understand children’s development. To bring coherence to the expansive set of findings from small-sample studies, the field early on adopted meta-analysis. Nevertheless, gaps in understanding intergenerational transmission of individual differences in attachment continue to exist....
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Full-text available
We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.
Article
Evidence documenting associations between 5-HTTLPR and parenting behavior led to testing the hypothesis that this polymorphism moderates the effect of the quality of environmental context on maternal sensitivity. Participants were 210 Portuguese mothers and their preschool children, recruited from the community. An index reflecting the quality of t...
Article
From its origins, human attachment has always been viewed as a primary, biologically-based phenomenon with strong evolutionary roots. The last few decades have seen a large increase in research studies from developmental science and neighbouring disciplines that attest the role of biology in attachment processes. This review aims to provide a conci...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is a lack of well-designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to investigate the efficacy of psychological therapies for children in foster care with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) focuses on supporting the carer-child relationship by promoting reflective capacity. This study examined t...
Article
Full-text available
Heart rate (HR) alterations in the immediate aftermath of trauma-exposure have been proposed to be potentially useful markers for child and adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it is not yet clear if this holds true for measures taken more distal to the trauma, and no studies have investigated the predictive validity of more se...
Article
The search for objective biological tests, sufficiently reliable, and predictive enough to be diagnostic of psychiatric disorders, continues apace – yet their discovery remains a distant dream. It seems increasingly unlikely that current diagnostic structures and concepts map biologically in a straight forward way – with heterogeneity within, and s...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Although research over the past decades has investigated the impact of the personality dimensions of dependency and self-criticism on treatment outcome, little is known of how these personality features influence responsiveness to treatment in patients with severe, chronic forms of depression. Method: The present study uses data from...
Preprint
Full-text available
Socio-economic disadvantage (SED) increases exposure to life stressors. Animal research suggests early life stressors affect later neurodevelopment, including myelin developmental growth. To determine whether human childhood SED affects myelination in adolescence and early adulthood we measured the developmental increase of a sensitive myelin marke...
Article
Full-text available
Decision making and feedback processing are two important cognitive processes that are impacted by social context, particularly during adolescence. The current study examined whether a psychosocial intervention could improve psychological wellbeing in at-risk adolescent boys, thereby improving their decision making and feedback processing skills. T...
Article
A central goal of developmental psychopathology research is to understand the mechanisms linking environmental exposures in childhood to variations in mental health and development across the lifespan. The Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry has featured many influential studies and reviews addressing this important topic. This month's issue o...
Article
It has long been claimed that “maltreatment begets maltreatment,” that is, a parent's history of maltreatment increases the risk that his or her child will also suffer maltreatment. However, significant methodological concerns have been raised regarding evidence supporting this assertion, with some arguing that the association weakens in samples wi...