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Ms Laura Kennedy
Ms Laura Kennedy profile picture
  • Research Fellow (KAILO)
  • Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Laura is a Research Fellow on the UKPRP-funded Kailo programme. She completed her ESRC-funded PhD in Criminology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Kyle Treiber. During her doctoral research, Laura designed and implemented a multimethod research project (the PEERS study) to investigate the situational role of peer influence in the explanation of aggressive behaviour. Before starting her PhD, Laura studied for the MPhil in Criminological Research at the University of Cambridge where she was awarded the Manuel Lopez-Rey Graduate Prize for graduating top of her year. In addition, Laura has a BA in Law from the University of Oxford and an MA in Journalism from City, University of London.

Prior to joining UCL, Laura worked as a Research and Evidence Officer on the Online Excellence Programme (OEP) at Samaritans. The OEP is a strategic partnership between Samaritans, the DHSC, and leading technology companies - including Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter - which aims to promote best practices around suicide prevention and the online environment. In this role, Laura worked across multiple qualitative and quantitative research projects with leading academics to investigate the impact of engaging with self-harm and suicide-related content online. Whilst working at Samaritans, Laura presented research findings to industry leaders and updated the Samaritans Online Harms Industry Guidelines.

Research Summary

Laura’s primary research focus is the evaluation of the UKPRP-funded Kailo programme. Combining research and service design expertise, the Kailo consortium employs a systemic approach to improve adolescent mental health by tackling the wider social determinants. Laura is working on a developmental realist-informed evaluation of Kailo to develop, test, and refine the programme theory using a mixed-methods research design. The output from this developmental evaluation will inform recommendations for the optimisation of the Kailo framework before it is replicated in additional sites.

More broadly, Laura’s research interests include the causation and prevention of youth aggression, the conditions and mechanisms of peer influence in adolescence, and the impact of engaging with online self-harm and suicide-related content.

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