Do you have a child aged 11-18 who has emotional or behavioural difficulties?

Has your child ever experienced a change in their mental health or neurodevelopmental diagnosis?

Consider participating in our research project!

We are a team of researchers from University College Dublin conducting a project called Prevalence and Experience of Diagnostic Shifts in Youth Mental Health (PAEDS). The project is funded by the European Commission. More information about the project can be found here.

For young people experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties, it is quite common that their diagnosis will change over the course of their engagement with mental health services. For instance, a child initially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder might later receive a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or vice versa). Diagnoses can be changed for many different reasons. Despite the frequency with which this happens, no research has explored how young people and their families experience these diagnostic changes. Our study aims to identify any challenges that diagnostic changes present for young people. We want to use this information to improve support to families during this potentially confusing time.

We are currently recruiting families across Ireland for an interview study. We would like to interview young people who have previously undergone a diagnostic change. We would also like to interview their parents. We would like people to tell us, in their own words, how they understood the reasons for the change in diagnosis, whether they welcomed or resisted the change, and whether the revised diagnosis had any positive or negative implications for the young person. Interviews will last about an hour and will take place in UCD or the family home, depending on the family’s preference. All participation will be completely anonymous and confidential. This study has received ethical approval from the UCD Human Research Ethics Committee and the interviewer has been fully vetted by the Gardaí.

If you have a child aged between 11-18, who has previously experienced a change in their psychiatric or neurodevelopmental diagnosis (i.e. had an original diagnosis later revised/ removed/ supplemented by another diagnosis), we would like to invite your family to take part in this study. To find out more about participating in the study, please phone or email the researcher, Dr Cliodhna O’Connor at the details here. She will explain the study to you and answer any questions you might have.

By contributing to this study, you will help improve our understanding of young people’s experience of diagnostic changes and raise awareness of the challenges diagnostic changes can present. We hope to use the research to improve clinical communication of diagnostic changes and make the transition process easier for young people and their families. As a token of our appreciation for  their time, we will offer participants a €20 One4All gift voucher.

Contact: Dr Cliodhna O’Connor, Assistant Professor, UCD School of Psychology


Phone: 01 716 8612