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Dr Susan Pawlby

Developmental clinical psychologist, Kings College London.

Dr. Susan Pawlby, MA, PhD, is a Developmental Clinical Psychologist and until her retirement in December 2016 was a Lecturer in the Section of Perinatal Psychiatry at King’s College London, UK, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, and a member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team on the Channi Kumar Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. She trained as a child psychologist at the University of Nottingham and has over 40 years of experience working with families and babies both in clinical and research contexts.  She trained in observational methodology and pioneered the use of video feedback techniques in supporting the developing relationship between mothers with severe mental illness and their infants.


Dr. Pawlby has undertaken several research studies, notably the South London Child Development Study (SLCDS) with colleagues, Professors Debbie Sharp and Dale Hay. Over a period of 25 years they have worked together on the SLCDS, a prospective, longitudinal community study begun in pregnancy, looking at the effects of the mother’s experience of childhood maltreatment, maternal depression in pregnancy and child maltreatment on the offspring into young adulthood.  Dr. Pawlby has published widely on this subject in peer-reviewed journals and presented research findings at international and national conferences. Dr. Pawlby provided expert advice to the UK National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) All Babies Count Campaign and was a member of the Early Years’ Champions working group dedicated to pushing forward the UK all-party manifesto on the First 1001 Critical Days from conception to 2 years, leading to the recent (March 2024) Start for Life Campaign and informing the Shaping Us campaign launched by the Princess of Wales in 2023. Dr. Pawlby is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Brazelton Centre UK and is trained in the Neonatal Behavioral Asessment Scale (NBAS) and Newborn Behavioural Observations system (NB0). She remains passionate about the importance of the perinatal period in shaping babies’ future lives.


Here are some of Dr Pawlby’s publications.


Stephenson, L. A., Macdonald, A. J., Seneviratne, G., Waites, F., & Pawlby, S. (2018). Mother and Baby Units matter: improved outcomes for both. BJPsych Open4(3), 119-125.

Stephenson, L. A., Beck, K., Busuulwa, P., Rosan, C., Pariante, C. M., Pawlby, S., & Sethna, V. (2018). Perinatal interventions for mothers and fathers who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect80, 9-31.

Leach, P. (Ed.). (2017). Transforming Infant Wellbeing: Research, Policy and Practice for the First 1001 Critical Days. Routledge.

Plant, D. T., Jones, F. W., Pariante, C. M., & Pawlby, S. (2017). Association between maternal childhood trauma and offspring childhood psychopathology: mediation analysis from the ALSPAC cohort. The British Journal of Psychiatry211(3), 144-150.

Plant, D. T., Pawlby, S., Pariante, C. M., & Jones, F. W. (2017). When one childhood meets another–maternal childhood trauma and offspring child psychopathology: A systematic review. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1359104517742186.

Schacht, R., Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., Centifanti, L. C., Bureau, J. F., & Pawlby, S. (2017). Proof of concept of a mind–mindedness intervention for mothers hospitalized for severe mental illness. Development and Psychopathology29(2), 555-564.

Barona, M., Taborelli, E., Corfield, F., Pawlby, S., Easter, A., Schmidt, U., ... & Micali, N. (2017). Neurobehavioural and cognitive development in infants born to mothers with eating disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Vaillancourt, K., Pawlby, S., & Fearon, R. M. (2017). History of childhood abuse and mother-infant interaction: a systematic review of observational studies. Infant Mental Health Journal38(2), 226-248.

Rosan, C., Finnis, S., Biaggi, A., Pawlby, S. & Pariante C.M. (2016). Perfectionism as a warning sign for postnatal mental health difficulties. Journal of Health Visiting 4:8, 400-406.

Plant D.T., Pawlby S., Sharp D., Zunszain P.A. & Pariante C.M. (2016) Prenatal maternal depression is associated with offspring inflammation at 25 years: a prospective longitudinal cohort study. Translational Psychiatry 6, doi:10.1038/tp.2015.155.

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