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Centre for Family Research



My research interests focus on social and emotional development in early childhood. I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney, Australia, examining the longitudinal association between children’s emotion management, socio-cognitive understanding and peer relationships. Following my PhD, I went on to do post-doctoral research at the Evidence Based Practice Unit at University College London and the Anna Freud Centre, exploring children and young people’s emotional well-being and mental health difficulties in the school context. I am now a Research Associate at the Centre for Family Research on Play in Education, Development & Learning (PEDAL) working on a longitudinal project examining the antecedents and outcomes of play in early childhood. 


  • Development of social cognition, emotion regulation
  • Social competence in early childhood, friendship, peer relations
  • Affective and cognitive empathy
  • Bullying and victimisation


Key publications: 

Elian Fink, Wendy Browne, Claire Hughes & Jenny Gibson (2018) Using a ‘child’s-eye view’ of social success to understand the importance of school readiness at the transition to formal schooling. Social Development.

Elian Fink, Praveetha Patalay, Helen Sharpe & Miranda Wolpert (2017) Child- and school-level predictors of children’s bullying behaviour: A multilevel analysis in 648 primary schools. Journal of Educational Psychology

Elian Fink, Tjeert Olthof, Frits Goossens, Sandra van der Meijden & Sander Begeer (2017) Bullying related behaviour in adolescents with autism: Links with autism severity, and emotional and behavioural problems. Autism

Rebecca Kuhnert, Sander Begeer, Elian Fink, & Marc de Rosnay (2017). Gender-differentiated effects of theory of mind, emotion understanding, and social preference on prosocial behavior development: A longitudinal study. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 154, 13-27.

Helen Sharpe, Praveetha Patalay, Elian Fink, Panos Vostanis, Jessica Deighton & Miranda Wolpert (2016) Exploring the relationship between quality of life and mental health problems in children: Implications for measurement and practice, European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Fink, E., Heathers, J A J., & de Rosnay, M (2015) Young children’s affective responses to another’s distress: Dynamic and physiological features, PlosOne. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121735

Fink, E., Patalay, P., Sharpe, H., Holley, S., Deighton, J., & Wolpert, M. (2015) The prevalence of mental health difficulties in adolescents in 2009 and 2014: A comparison of two cross-sectional studies, Journal of Adolescent Health

Fink, E., Begeer, S., Peterson, C., Slaughter, V., & de Rosnay, M. (2015) Friends, friendlessness, and the social consequences of gaining a theory of mind, British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 33(1), 27-30.

Fink, E., Deighton, J., Humphrey, N. & Wolpert, M. (2015) Assessing the bullying and victimisation experiences of children with special educational needs in mainstream schools: Development and validation of the Bullying Behaviour and Experience Scale, Research in Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 611 – 619. DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2014.10.048

Fink, E., Begeer, S., Hunt, C & de Rosnay, M. (online, 2014) False-belief understanding and social preference over the first two years of school: A longitudinal study, Child Development

Fink, E., Begeer, S., Peterson, C., Slaughter, V., & de Rosnay, M. (2014) Friendlessness and theory of mind: A prospective longitudinal study, British Journal of Developmental Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjdp.12060

de Rosnay, M., Fink, E., Begeer, S., Slaughter V., & Peterson, C. (2014) Talking theory of mind: Young school-aged children’s everyday conversation and understanding of mind and emotion, Journal of Child Language, 41(5), 1179 – 1193. DOI: 10.1017/S0305000913000433

Fink, E., de Rosnay, M., Wierda, M., Kloot, H M. & Begeer, S. (2014) Recognition of Facial Emotions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 2363 - 2368

Research Associate

Contact Details

(+44) 01223 767582
Not available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
Social cognition
Emotion regulation
Social competence