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Dr Rachel Collum

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Lecturer in Psychology

I joined the University in 2021 after working in research support (with a specialism in research ethics) and the voluntary neonatal sector for the past several years. I graduated from Newcastle University with my PhD looking at social-cognitive profiles in autism and Williams syndrome in 2014 and worked as an RA at Newcastle and then teaching fellow at Durham University following this.

My research (and personal, as the mum to a baby born 11 weeks early) interests are in promoting and improving Family Integrated Care for families on the neonatal unit, and developing a model of support for the wider family when they transition to home. My particular focus is on babies who come home without additional or complex medical needs and the long-term development of these babies as they enter school and how we can support parents to navigate this. This extends to young people and adults born pre-term and how we can examine what 'preemie identity' means for them and what professionals can learn from these experiences.

I work closely with the charity Tiny Lives and also have interests in advocacy for parents and am involved in parent and carer groups at the University.

I will be on maternity leave from mid-February 2023 until January 2024.

Teaching and supervision

I teach on the following UG and PG modules:

  • PSY271 Skills for Life
  • PSY266 Investigating Complex Issues in Psychology
  • PSY267 Cradle to Grave: Integrated Perspectives on Development
  • PSYM65 Cradle to Grave: Stability and ChangE

I am module leader for:

  • PSY145 Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • PSY340 Mental Health and Illness
  • PSY382 Patient Engagement and Reflective Practice

I am also Deputy Chair of the Psychology Department Athena Swan committee and route leader for BSc (Hons) Clinical Psychology.

Research interests for potential research students

  • Life on the neonatal unit and beyond
  • Wellbeing and mental health in families who have had a NICU stay
  • Identity in neurodiverse or pre-term populations
  • Developmental trajectories
  • New ways of exploring neurodiversity


My research focus is on exploring and evidencing effective models of support for families on the neonatal unit with a poorly or pre-term baby and how we can support the wider family to transition to home and beyond. I currently hold a UKRI Participatory Research Innovation Fund co-producing a creative methods project exploring identity in adults born pre-term and am collaborating with Lady Sarra Hoy on a project exploring experiences of parenting a preemie.


Jump to: Article
Number of items: 5.


Collum, Rachel (2021) Stuck inside a hall of mirrors: facets of mum guilt on the SCBU. Infant, 17 (6). pp. 257-260. ISSN 1745-1205

Hanley, Mary, Khairat, Mariam, Taylor, Korey, Wilson, Rachel, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel and Riby, Deborah M. (2017) Classroom displays—Attraction or distraction? Evidence of impact on attention and learning from children with and without autism. Developmental Psychology, 53 (7). pp. 1265-1275. ISSN 0012-1649

Pickles, Andrew, Le Couteur, Ann, Leadbitter, Kathy, Salomone, Erica, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel, Tobin, Hannah, Gammer, Isobel, Lowry, Jessica, Vamvakas, George, Byford, Sarah, Aldred, Catherine, Slonims, Vicky, McConachie, Helen, Howlin, Patricia, Parr, Jeremy R, Charman, Tony and Green, Jonathan (2016) Parent-mediated social communication therapy for young children with autism (PACT): long-term follow-up of a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 388 (10059). pp. 2501-2509. ISSN 0140-6736

Riby, Deborah M., Hanley, Mary, Kirk, Hannah, Clark, Fiona, Little, Katie, Fleck, Ruth, Janes, Emily, Kelso, Linzi, O’Kane, Fionnuala, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel, Allday, Marianne Hvistendahl, Hocking, Darren, Cornish, Kim and Rodgers, Jacqui (2013) The Interplay Between Anxiety and Social Functioning in Williams Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44 (5). pp. 1220-1229. ISSN 0162-3257

Cowan, Richard, Donlan, Chris, Shepherd, Donna-Lynn, Cole-Fletcher, Rachel, Saxton, Matthew and Hurry, Jane (2011) Basic calculation proficiency and mathematics achievement in elementary school children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103 (4). pp. 786-803. ISSN 0022-0663

This list was generated on Sun Dec 3 05:36:19 2023 GMT.
  • Developmental psychology
  • Standardised assessments in psychology (including ADOS II and ADI-R)
  • Social-cognition and social-perception in autism and Williams syndrome
  • Models of Family Integrated Care in the neonatal sector
  • Mental health and peer support
  • Co-production methods
  • Research ethics
I will be on maternity leave from mid-February 2023 until January 2024.

Last updated 08 February 2023