Professor Frances Gardner

Frances Gardner

Download CV

Contact information

  • Tel. +44 (0)1865 270325 o
  • Email

Professor of Child and Family Psychology

Professor Frances Gardner is Professor of Child and Family Psychology in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and Fellow of Wolfson College. She has been variously Director and Deputy Director of the graduate programme in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at Oxford since it began in 2003, as well as co-Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention.

Her research focuses on the development and testing of parenting interventions for reducing child behaviour problems, and violence against children, in high, as well as low and middle income countries, with projects in the UK, USA, South Africa, Tanzania and the Philippines. 

She investigates questions about transportability of parenting interventions across cultures and countries, about mechanisms of change, and about the subgroups of families and children for whom these interventions are most effective.


Frances's research focuses on two related areas: Parenting and antisocial behaviour:  her research in this area focuses on the development of anti-social behaviour or conduct problems in children and young people, particularly how early parenting style influences young people's adjustment, and how this can help inform and  understand intervention mechanisms. She conducts randomised controlled trials of community-based parenting programmes in the UK, US, and South Africa, as well as systematic reviews, investigating questions about effectiveness of parenting interventions for families and children with different clinical and social characteristics; their mechanisms of change, and their transportability across countries and cultures.  She specialises in direct observational methods for assessing parent-child interaction. Risk and resilience in young people’s mental health:  this work investigates factors promoting poor mental health vs resilient outcomes in young people, using longitudinal studies of the development of antisocial behaviour and other mental health problems in young people, with low income families in the USA, and with orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa. She also uses UK national cohort data to assess how risk factors for antisocial behaviour, such as parenting, have changed over recent decades. She serves on the Board of ‘Blueprints for Violence Prevention’, on a WHO Expert Panel on Standard of Evidence in Violence Prevention, and previoulsy, the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Academy of Parenting Practitioners, and for SFI, the Danish National Centre for Social Research; and on a UNODC Expert Panel on worldwide family skills training.


Frances would be especially interested in supervising doctoral students wishing to work on the following topics:
· Parenting and Family Interventions
· Child Mental Health – prevention and treatment
· Development and Prevention of anti-social and risky behaviour in young people
· Child and Family interventions in developing countries
· Child maltreatment

Current DPhil Students