Bryony Beresford

Professor Bryony Beresford
Co-Director of SPRU
  • +44 (0)1904 321960
  • Social Policy Research Unit, Church Lane Building, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5ZF

Visit Bryony Beresford's profile on the York Research Database to see publications, projects, collaborators, related work and more.

Bryony joined SPRU in 1991. Since then she has led numerous projects, employing a wide range of research designs and methods. Much of her earlier work concerned children, young people and young adults with long-term or life-limiting conditions or impairments. More recently, whilst retaining an expertise and close interest in this group, her portfolio of work has expanded to include other populations including adults with autism, and frail older people. She also has long-standing interests in parent-directed interventions to manage sleep and behaviour difficulties, and work-related stress in the health and social care workforce. Bryony was appointed Co-Director of SPRU in February 2016.


  • BSc (Hons), University of Surrey
  • PhD, University of Exeter

Current / recently completed research

Developing a minimum dataset for homecare: The DACHA DOM studyMay 2022 - Sept 2023

This study is about helping to make sure that, in the future, we know and understand more about the population of people using homecare.

Developing a resource to support localities address user and family understanding of, and engagement with, reablement: a development and implementation study (The EAGER project)December 2021 - September 2023

This study will develop a resource/toolkit to support reablement services (in partnership with services along the referral pathway) who are seeking to improve engagement with reablement.

Developing guidance on providing psychoeducation after an autism diagnosis1 March 2021 - 31 June 2021

This is a short piece of work commissioned by NHS England arising directly from previous research we have done on specialist provision for autistic adults (the SHAPE project). This identified the importance of high quality, extended psychoeducation following a diagnosis of autism. In this new project we are working with expert groups to develop guidance on providing group-delivered, psychoeducation for autistic adults.

The Home Instead Research ProgrammeJanuary 2021 - December 2023

A three-year programme to stimulate new research and promote evidence-based practice in the field of home care.

Supporting the complete care of children and young people with life-threatening or life-shortening conditions, and their familiesAugust 2020 - September 2022

The aim of this study is to gather evidence the NHS and children's hospices can use to guide how they meet the pastoral, spiritual and religious needs of children and young people living with a life-threatening or life-shortening condition, and their families.

Developing a Patient-Reported Experience Measure for use in children's palliative care settingsJune 2020 - December 2021

This project will develop a Patient-Reported Experience Measure (PREM) for use in children's palliative care settings.

Parents' stories of their children's lives: a follow-on study of QUEST parentsMay 2019 - March 2021

The purpose of this study is to understand the factors that influence the mental health and well-being of teenagers on the autism spectrum.

The role of different diets in children who are gastrostomy fed (the Your Tube study)October 2018 - March 2022

What are the risks, benefits and resource implications for using home-blended food for children with gastrostomy tubes compared to currently recommended formula feeds?

The Early Days Project: parents’ experiences of the early days of bereavement and the support they receive from children’s hospicesMay 2018 - December 2020

This project is about parents’ experiences of the very early days of bereavement and how the support receiving during those early days affects longer-term grief processes and outcomes.

Specialist Paediatric Palliative Care Input for Children with MalignanciesJune 2017 - March 2018

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in children in the UK. However, previous research shows that very few children have involvement of specialist paediatric palliative care services prior to death. This study aims to summarise the evidence from previous studies about the benefits or difficulties, and barriers or facilitators, to the involvement of specialist paediatric palliative care in children with cancer, and gain the opinions of key stakeholders as to how services should be provided. This will then enable us to develop a grant application to develop, and evaluate, an intervention/model of care.

The Martin House Centre for Children's Palliative Care 2017 to 2021February 2017 - February 2022

The Martin House Research Centre is a partnership between Martin House Children’s Hospice, the University of York (Department of Health Sciences and the Social Policy Research Unit) and the University of Leeds. It is a multi-disciplinary centre for research on the care and support of children and young people with palliative care needs, their families and the palliative care workforce. The Centre will be holistic in its scope, recognising that the care and support needs of children and families span clinical/medical, social, parenting/caring, spiritual, financial and practical domains.

A systematic scoping review of research prioritisation exercises relevant to children and young people with life-limiting conditionsJanuary 2017 - September 2017

This review is part of the early priority-setting work by the Martin House Research Centre. The results will contribute to the Centre’s decisions regarding the focus of its work.

The PEDRO study: partnerships between deaf people and hearing dogsOctober 2016 - March 2020

The PEDRO study is evaluating and exploring hearing dog partnerships. The aim of the study is to understand the impacts and experiences of these partnerships, and their place within wider support and provision for deaf people and people with hearing loss.

The THINC project: therapy interventions for children with neurodisability - a scoping study of current practice and perceived research needsMay 2016 - February 2017

This scoping study will be used to inform future research into physical, occupational and speech and language therapy support used by children with neurodisabilities.

Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for non-respiratory sleep disturbances in children with neurodevelopmental disorders: a systematic reviewFebruary 2016 - January 2017

Many children with neurodisabilities experience sleep problems: this project is reviewing existing evidence on the effectiveness of the different ways sleep difficulties may be managed.

Disability, care and participation: secondary analysis of the Life Opportunities Survey and the 2009/10 Survey of Carers in HouseholdsMarch 2015 - August 2016

This project is reanalysing data from three national surveys of caring and of impairment and disability.

The MoRE project: models of reablement evaluation: a mixed methods evaluation of a complex interventionOctober 2014 - July 2017

This mixed-methods study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different ways of providing reablement in England.

The SHAPE project: mapping and evaluating Specialist Autism Team service modelsSeptember 2014 - March 2019

This project is evaluating Specialist Autism Teams, and investigating their role in supporting autism-specialist practice in mainstream services.

The Making Sense? study: how do parents and young adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders make sense of behaviour problems and mental health difficulties?September 2014 - April 2019

This study is exploring how young adults with Asperger syndrome, and parents of children with autism, understand and make sense of emotional and behavioural difficulties.

External collaborations

Co-investigator: Personal Assistance for Intimate Citizenship: A Co-Production Project to improve sexuality-related support for Disabled Young Adults, being led by Dr Ned Coleman-Fountain, Northumbria University.

PhD students

Co-supervisor of Lauren Avery (Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC)): Disability Rights Movements in Brazil after the 2015 Zika Outbreak and the Future for Children with Intellectual Disabilities.

Co-supervisor of Mary Barker (Department of Health Sciences): The mental well-being of children and young people with life-limiting conditions: