Research Projects
Use of Digital Technologies to Promote Infant Mental Health, Child Development and Parenting


Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☑ MPhil/PhD ☒ MRes[Med] ☑ URIS
About the Project

Good mother-infant relationship can protect against the development of psychiatric morbidities in children with difficult temperament . There is more evidence to suggest that early relationship experiences, which affect the level of attachment security in infants, could influence a person throughout the life span. While secure attachment benefits the social and emotional development, insecure attachment increases the risk of behavioural problems in children and adolescents. Research suggests that the patterns of mother-infant interactions and behaviours could be repeated across generations and therefore it is important to change maladaptive attachment relationships through early prevention and intervention programs on parent-child bonding. A possible way to enhance maternal sensitivity is through the provision of anticipatory guidance which usually are preventive advice on child-rearing issues. Traditionally, anticipatory guidance topics were discussed between paediatricians and parents in clinical settings. Recent advances in technology enable clinicians and researchers to deliver anticipatory guidance interventions through electronic devices with interactive, fun elements such as game and quiz designed to reinforce the knowledge in parents. Parents can also keep track of their child’s development which enables early identification of developmental problems leading to earlier intervention. A Cochrane review has shown that early intervention programmes for preterm infants have a positive influence on cognitive and motor outcomes during infancy, with cognitive benefits persisting into preschool age. 

This project aims to use digital technology so to provide comprehensive online platforms with anticipatory guidance on child health and development for parents with young infants or preschool children.  A randomised controlled trial will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of using digital technology to promote parenting and child development.

About the Supervisor

Dr WWY Tso, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Dr Tso is a developmental paediatrician with special interests in neurorehabilitation. She is a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong. She obtained her medical degree from King’s College, University of London, United Kingdom. She has been elected as Distinguished Young Fellow by the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians in 2016 and has won numerous research awards in local as well as international scientific conferences. Dr Tso diagnoses and manages children with developmental as well neuro-disabilities at the Queen Mary Hospital and the Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital. She also leads the Acquired Brain Injury Program at the Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre. Her research interests include using advance imaging techniques to diagnose and manage children with developmental disabilities and brain injuries. 

Biography
wytso@hku.hk

Next Step?

For more information or to express interest for this project, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the project description.  Interested candidates are advised to enclose with your email:

  1. your CV,
  2. a brief description of your research interest and experience, and
  3. two reference letters (not required for HKUMed UG students seeking MRes[Med]/URIS projects).

Information on the research programme, funding support and admission documentations could be referenced online at the Research Postgraduate Admissions website.

General admission enquiries should be directed to rpgmed@hku.hk.