Accepting Doctoral Students


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Personal profile

Research interests

I joined the University of Bath as a Lecturer in Developmental Psychology in 2014. My background for the 7 years prior to joining the University of Bath had been in the field of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Manchester and the University of Cambrige.  In particular, I have developed expertise on analysing large scale, complex data analysis across several different projects.

My current research interests focus on several related aspects of developmental psychopathology. In particular, my research team at Bath is investigating how early language delay and disorder (Developmental Language Disorder [previously known as Specific Language Impairment] more specifically) influences long term child and adolescent outcomes.  We are particularly interested in investigating the developmental pathways from early language difficulties to the increased rates of emotional and social difficulties which are commonly found in this population.  As developmental language disorder has a high prevalence rate (approximately 7%), understanding the pathways to the increased maladaptive outcomes found in this population is of importance.

We investigate this by both looking at language ability and language delay in large scale cohort studies as well as with projects run from our new laboratory facilities in Bath aiming to test more specific hypotheses.  The combination of initial analyses in a longitudinal cohorts with follow-up studies to more specifically investigate hypotheses is a strength of my group's research here in Bath. 

A new line of research is looking at how parental use of smart phones may influence child language environment. We know from a range of studies that the quantity and quality of language children hear is overwhelmingly influential in the pace of their language development.  Emerging evidence indicates that smart phone use may reduce parental responsivity to children.  How these factors interact to influence a child's language environment and language development is one of our current areas of interest.

My research has also focused on the long-range reach of early experiences, particularly childhood adversity on adolescent outcomes. I am interested in evaluating how the quality of early childhood experiences (both positive and negative) relate to risk and resilience to negative experiences in adolescence and young adulthood. 

Willing to supervise doctoral students

How parental mobile phone use influences the child language environment and the pace of language development

Developmental Language Disorder and emotional self regulation in children

Developmental Language Disorder and peer victimisation/friendship difficulties

Early environmental factors (specifically SES related differences) and rates language acquisition

Rates and importance of unsuspected language disorders in either the a.) unemployed population; b) CAMHS referred population; c) children/adolescence/youth in juvenile detention centres.

External positions

Visiting Scientist, University of Cambridge

1 Jul 20151 Jul 2016

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Bath International Funding: Global Challenges Award

St Clair, M., Halligan, S., Hiller, R., Tomlinson, M. & Skeen, S.


Project: Research-related funding

International Research Accelerator Scheme

Loades, M., Griffin, C., Smith, P., St Clair, M. & Fairchild, G.


Project: Research-related funding

IMI Secondment

St Clair, M.


Project: Other

Research Output

Expressive vocabulary predicts non-verbal executive function: a 2-year longitudinal study of deaf and hearing children

Jones, A., Atkinson, J., Marshall, C., Botting, N., St Clair, M. C. & Morgan, G., 6 Mar 2020, In : Child Development. 91, 2, p. e400-e414 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)

    How do the prevalence and relative risk of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal thoughts vary across the population distribution of common mental distress (the p-factor)? Observational analyses replicated in two independent UK cohorts of young people

    Polek, E., Neufeld, S., Wilkinson, P., Goodyer, I. M., St Clair, M., Prabhu, G., Dolan, R. J., Bullmore, E. T., Fonagy, P., Stochl, J. & Jones, P. B., 11 May 2020, In : BMJ Open. 10, 5, e032494.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    2 Citations (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)

    Trajectories of Prosociality from Early to Middle Childhood in Children at Risk of Developmental Language Disorder

    Toseeb, U. & St Clair, M., 1 May 2020, In : Journal of communication disorders. 85, May-June 2020, 105984.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Investigating the pathways between Developmental Language Disorder and increased social and emotional difficulties in adolescents

    Author: Forrest, C., 19 Jun 2019

    Supervisor: Halligan, S. (Supervisor) & St Clair, M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD