Department of Psychology

Dr Michelle St Clair

10W 2.38
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 4393
Academic Prizes

2012 Editor's Award for the best language paper in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing

Current Collaborations


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 Cambridge.  In particularly, 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.

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. My previous research on this topic has been in the UK, or a High Income Country context.  I am currently working on research in a Low and Middle Income Country context, namely in South Africa.  This work focuses on how the early childhood environment relates to child language outcomes.  Additionally, we are investigating the links between language ability and emotional and behaviour outcomes in this very different cultural context as well.

I would be happy to discuss PhD possibilities with potential applicants in any area (or related area) discussed above.

Research interests

  • Language impairments and emotional and social difficulities
  • Developmental sensitivity to stressful childhood experiences
  • Childhood adversity and adolescent outcomes
  • Risk and resilience to psychiatric disorder
  • Underlining dimensions behind psychiatric disorders


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