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Emerita Professor Jacqueline Barnes FAcSS, FBPsS

Professor Emerita of Psychology


Jacqueline first studied Psychology at UCL, obtaining her PhD in 1983. After a period at Harvard School of Public Health, she returned to the UK to work in a variety of roles mainly at the Royal Free University College Medical School at UCL. She moved to Birkbeck in 2002 as Professor of Psychology in the then newly founded Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, in the Department of Psychological Sciences (then School of Psychology). Jacqueline has devoted her life to improving developmental outcomes for children from deprived or challenging backgrounds.


Research Interests

  • Her research has focused on environmental and community influences on parenting and child development. This work has been immensely influential in forming policy in the UK and beyond and has been very well funded by grants from many governmental agencies. She was involved in many large scale randomised control trials evaluating programmes like Home-Start and Sure Start. Jacqueline directed the local context analysis of the multi-million National Evaluation of Sure Start. She was also Director of the evaluation of the Family Nurse Partnership Programme. A critical and innovative aspect of Jacqueline’s work, since her time at Harvard, has been the assessment of the role of community characteristics in family life, for which she developed measures that have been used in the UK, the US and Canada.

    Her research has also focussed on how various social, physical and psychological problems affect parenting such as homelessness, breast cancer, artificial insemination, and eating disorders. Based on this work, she was a lead investigator on the Families, Children and Child Care study and a consultant on a Norwegian longitudinal study or early education and care. Over the last 30 years, she has also developed many measures of child well-being, parenting and the environment that have been published and used internationally. Her work featured as one of the department’s impact case studies in 2014 and was rated 100%.

Roles and input to government policy

  • Jacqueline is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Academy of Social Scientists and has held a variety of advisory roles:
    • the evaluation committee for Success by 6, United Way, Boston, MA, USA
    • the UK Health Advisory Service (HAS) 2000, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Standards Development
    • the UK National Children’s Bureau Parenting Education and Support Forum’s (now Parenting UK) Review Panel for “Evaluation Toolkit: A Tailored Approach to Evaluation for Parenting Projects”
    • UK DfES and Mencap’s Feasibility Study for a National Centre for Early Intervention
    • the Academy of Medical Sciences, London, UK, Working Party on Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs
    • Expert Panel for the UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) Guidance on promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of vulnerable children in early years
    • UK Department of Health Outcome Measures Project Group for child development at 2 to 2 ½, for the Public Health Outcomes Framework; UK NIHR Dissemination Centre College of Raters
    • plus a variety of recent roles for the Early Intervention Foundation, London, UK.