Dr Kate Langley

Senior Lecturer

Research group:
Developmental & health psychology
029 208 76259
Tower Building, Park Place

Research summary

Mental health problems in childhood can have far reaching consequences for the individual, their family and society. I am interested in risk factors for such problems, specifically Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder and co-occurring problems (such as Autism Spectrum Disorders). I am also interested in how the presentation of these problems changes with age and how different risk factors are associated with the developmental course of disorder.

In order for suggested risk factors to be used for prevention or intervention strategies to improve child outcomes, it is important that we know that there’s a direct causal pathway between the risk factor and disorder. This is difficult to demonstrate for child mental health problems. I am interested in testing these causal pathways using novel or innovative methodology, especially when looking at prenatal or early life risk factors.

Teaching summary

I currently teach on Research Methods within the 1st year Practical Psychology module. I also give tutorials on Social, Perception, cognition and abnormal/clinical psychology.

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Full list of publications


Research topics and related papers

Using both clinical samples of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other mental health problems (e.g. Conduct disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders) and epidemiological samples, I am interested in how presentation of disorder and co-morbid problems are influenced by genetic (e.g. Langley et al., 2012a; Hamshere, Langley et al., 2013) and environmental (Langley et al., 2007; Langley et al., 2005; Thapar et al., 2013) risk factors.

I am also interested in the developmental course of ADHD and how presentation changes with age (Langley et al., 2010a), the individual and societal impact of continued problems (Ford et al., 2008; Telford et al., 2013) as well as the risk factors involved with the continuation or remittance of symptoms (Langley et al., 2009; Fowler et al., 2009).

More recently, I have become interested in testing the causal pathways between risk and disorder for prenatal factors (Langley et al., 2012b; Thapar et al., 2009) and putative intermediate phenotypes on the pathway between genes and disorder (Langley et al., 2010b).

Cited references :
Hamshere ML, Langley K et al., (2013) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23599091
Telford C et al., (2013) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22699685
Thapar A et al., (2013) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22963644
Langley K et al., (2012a) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22045946
Langley K et al., (2012b) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22963644
Langley K et al., (2010a) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20194547
Langley K et al., (2010b) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21135332
Langley K et al., (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18563476
Thapar A et al., (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19596120
Ford T et al., (2008) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-3588.2007.00466.x/abstract
Langley K et al., (2007) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17584500
Langley K et al., (2005) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16523253

Current Research Grant Awards:

2011- 2013: Medical Research Council
Project Grant Antisocial behaviour in young people with ADHD: Identifying risk pathways. (Thapar, van Goozen & Langley) £267,000

2011- 2014: Baily Thomas Charitable Fund  
Project Grant Neuropsychiatric problems in children with intellectual disability. (Thapar, Langley, Williams, O’Donovan, Owen, Kerr, Collishaw) £157,064

Research collaborators

MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics
National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH)
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Group, Institute of Psychological Medicine & Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University

Postgraduate research interests

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application here.

Current students

Sharifah Shameem Agha: Based in the School of Medicine, Sharifah is investigating the role of parental psychopathology on the clinical presentation of ADHD.

Undergraduate education

2000: BA(Hons.) Psychology, Durham University (2:1)

Postgraduate education

2005: PhD, Cardiff University
Thesis title: “A genetic study of ADHD: Examining environmental influences and phenotypic variation”

Awards/external committees

2013: Independent reviewer, US Surgeon General’s Report on smoking (2014)
2012-current: On editorial advisory board for Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry
2010: Travel Fellowship, Eunethydis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2009-current: Member of the MRC Centre for Neropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics
2005-2006: Wellcome Trust VIP Fellowship, Cardiff University


Following my undergraduate degree at Durham University, I started working as a Research Psychologist (2001-2003) with Prof Anita Thapar at the University of Wales College of Medicine (now Cardiff University School of Medicine) on a Wellcome Trust funded project investigating susceptibility genes for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The project ignited my interest in mental health and understanding the genetic and environmental risk factors associated with such disorders.

This led to my embarking on a PhD, supervised by Prof Thapar and Prof Peter Holmans, investigating how genetic and environmental risk factors for ADHD influence the clinical presentation of the disorder and the interactions between these factors. My work was extended through a Wellcome Trust VIP Fellowship Award (2005-2006).

Whilst continuing to work in the field of genetic and other risk factors for ADHD and other childhood mental health problems, during my post-doctoral position at the School of Medicine (2006-2011), Cardiff University, I became interested in using natural experimental designs to investigate causal pathways between genetic, cognitive and social risk factors and childhood behaviour problems.

After working with Prof Nick Craddock as part of the team establishing the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH), the first Biomedical Research Centre in Wales (2012-2013), I took up a lecturer post in the School of Psychology, Cardiff University, in August 2013.