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Research groups

Polly Waite

DClinPsy, PhD

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology

  • Tutorial Fellow at New College
  • Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist (Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust)

My research mainly focuses on the development, maintenance and psychological treatment of anxiety disorders in adolescence. The majority of treatment trials for anxiety disorders in children and young people have either not included adolescents or include them in relatively small numbers and therefore my research focuses on identifying key maintenance factors within this age group in order to ultimately develop targeted, developmentally appropriate treatments with optimal outcomes. I use a broad range of methods (including experimental and qualitative methods, clinical trials and systematic reviews), with adolescents from both clinical and community settings (such as schools). 

My current research projects and interests include the following:

  • Improving the identification of anxiety problems in adolescents, including the development of appropriate screening measures so that adolescents with anxiety problems can be accurately identified.
  • The development of brief psychological treatments for adolescents with a range of anxiety (and related) disorders and evaluation of acceptability and effectiveness through feasibility and randomised controlled trials. 
  • Identifying ways to optimise psychological treatments for adolescents. For example, by examining ways to optimise exposure in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, I also co-led the Co-SPACE project with Professor Cathy Creswell, tracking the mental health of children and adolescents over the course of the pandemic. More information and findings from the project can be found here: