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Dr Suzanne Murphy

Associate Director and Advisor for National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service East of England

Suzanne Murphy

I am a developmental psychologist with a particular interest in children's social development and its relationship with physical and mental health. I have conducted research into children's friendships, peer-rejection and bullying in school and other social contexts.

More recently, I have looked at the social aspects of autism and related language disorders, schizophrenia and epilepsy. My latest projects include a study to develop a computerised intervention to aid children's pragmatic language skills (View a plain English summary of the Maze Game) and a pilot RCT comparing CBT and counselling for anxiety (particularly social anxiety) in adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders.

In my role as Associate Director and Advisor for the NIHR Research Design Services (East of England) I advise academic staff and healthcare professionals on submitting grant applications to NIHR funding streams.


  • BSc Biological Sciences - University of Leicester
  • BSc Psychology - Open University
  • PhD Psychology - Open University

Research Interests

  • Developmental disorders (ASD, ADHD, OCD, language impairments)
  • Mental and physical outcomes of social and communication development
  • Impact on communication and peer relations of mental and physical illnesses

Recent Research Projects

  • Murphy, S., Joffe, V., Messer, D., Crafter, S ., Bell, K., Fairhurst, C., Madhani, N., & Torgerson, D. (2017 – 2019). National Institute for Health Research, £252,738, Evaluating ‘Enhancing Pragmatic Language skills for Young children with Social communication impairment’ (E-PLAYS): A feasibility study’.
  • Belmonte, M., Weisblatt, E., Foster, J., Murphy, S., Villar, S . S., & Dias, C. (2017 – 2019). National Institute for Health Research, £246,086 ‘Evaluation of Point OutWords, a Motor Skills Intervention to Promote Language Development in Non-Verbal Children with Autism: A Feasibility Study’.
  • Green, G., Barton, G., Wellsted, D., Murphy, S., Palmer, C., Tembo, D., Crick, S., Sach, T., Bradley, J., Flather, M., Gunnell, C. & Wilkinson, I. (2013 - 2018). National Institute for Health Research, £5,000,000. Research Design Services (East of England)
  • Murphy, S. & Chowdhury, U. (2011-2012) South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. £75,181 'Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Children and Adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Anxiety Disorders: A pilot single-blind, randomised control trial.'
  • Murphy, S. Harpur Trust, £16,226. 'Supporting Social Skills for Collaboration (SSSCo)'. (2010 – 2011)
  • Randhawa, G., Murphy, S. & Driver, R. Department of Health National Co-ordinating Centre for Research Capacity Development - Research and Development Support Unit, £192,000, (2005 –2008)

Service to the Academic/Professional Community

  • I lead on professional development for the (NIHR) Research Design Services (East of England) and am a member of the management board.

Recent Publications

  • Murphy, S., Chowdhury , U., White, S., Reynolds, L., Donald, L., Gahan, H., Iqbal, Z., Kulkarni, M., Scrivener, L., Shaker-Naeeni, H., & Press, D. A. (in press, 2017). Cognitive behaviour therapy versus counselling intervention for anxiety in young people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders: A pilot randomised controlled trial, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-017-3252-8
  • Murphy S. M., Irving C.B., Adams C.E. & Waqar, M. Crisis intervention for people with severe mental illnesses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD001087. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001087.pub5.
  • Qualter, P., Murphy, S., Abbott, J., Gardner, K., Japel, C., Vitaro, F., Boivin, M., & Tremblay, R. (2015). Developmental associations between victimisation and obesity from 3 to 10 years in a population sample, Aggressive Behaviour. 41(2), 109-122
  • Murphy, S. M., Faulkner, D. M., & Reynolds, L. R. (2014). A randomised controlled trial of a computerised intervention for children with social communication difficulties to support peer collaboration, Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(11), 2821–2839.
  • Murphy, S. M., Faulkner, D. M., & Farley, L. R. (2014). The behaviour of young children with social communication disorders during dyadic interaction with peers, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(2), 277-289.
  • Brown, R., Iqbal, Z., Reynolds, L., Press, D . A., Shaker-Naeeni, H., Scrivener, L., Chowdhury, U & Murphy, S. (2015). Inter-rater reliability of treatment fidelity and therapeutic alliance measures for psychological therapies for anxiety in young people with autism spectrum disorders, International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 61(4), 190 -199.
  • Murphy, S., Irving, C. B., Adams, C. E &  Driver, R. (2012) Crisis intervention for people with severe mental illnesses, Schizophrenia Bulletin, 38(4) 676-677
  • Murphy, S., Irving, C. B., Adams, C. E & Driver, R. Crisis intervention for people with severe mental illnesses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD001087. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001087.pub4.
  • Murphy, S. & Faulkner, D. (2011) The relationship between bullying roles and children's everyday dyadic interactions, Social Development. 20(2) 272-293.
  • Agius, M., Talwar, A., Murphy, S. & Zaman, R. (2010) Issues regarding the delivery of early intervention psychiatric services to the South Asian population in England, Psychiatria Danubina 22(2), 266 – 269.
  • Agius, M., Shah, S., Ramkisson, R., Murphy, S. & Zaman, R. (2009) Developing outcome measures for serious mental illness; using early intervention as an example, Psychiatria Danubina, 21, suppl 1, 36-42.
  • Wachter, T., Murphy, S., Kennerley, H. & Wachter, S. (2009) A preliminary study examining relationships between childhood maltreatment, dissociation, and self-injury in psychiatric outpatients, Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 10(3), 261-275.
  • Agius, M., Shah, S., Ramkisson, R., Murphy, S. & Zaman, R. (2008) Further development of early intervention in psychosis, Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 2(2), 116-117.

Contact Details

T: +44 (0)1582 743461

Bedfordshire University

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