Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Wigham

Research Associate


Research Interests

The development of health measurement scales or outcome measures

Psychometric properties of outcome measures 

Mental health, trauma/ post traumatic stress disorder

Preventative interventions upstream of clinical interventions

The effects of systems level factors on health outcomes

Best methods of translating research findings for stakeholders

Systematic reviews

Intellectual and developmental disabilities 


BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

BSc (Hons) Psychology  

MSc Psychology

PhD Health Research (ESRC Studentship), Lancaster University, 2010

Professional Activities 

Professional Member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists.  

Previous posts

Senior Occupational Therapist NHS

Researcher, Lancaster University




Current Work

Methods of Diagnosing Autism in Adults  

Funder: UK Charity Autistica

This study is in the final phase and is due to be completed in December 2018. The aim of the study is to create evidence to support ways of improving diagnostic pathways for adults suspected of having autism. This is being done by researching the methods used for the diagnosis of autism in adults in the UK National Health Service (NHS) by (1) surveying people who have received a diagnosis of autism as an adult and their relatives about their experience of the diagnostic process and (2) surveying UK professionals who diagnose autism in adults about current NHS service provision. The surveys started in March 2018 and we are currently collecting and preparing to analyse data received. As part of the study we have also developed and are now piloting a new interview for use during the process of diagnosing autism later in life in adults when little or no early developmental history is available. Finally the study has also involved a review of research evidence published on the use of autism diagnostic tools with adults since the NICE guideline (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Clinical Guideline 142).

We hope the findings from this study will provide NHS policymakers and professionals with evidence based information about efficient and effective autism diagnostic pathways for adults; and also about the types of support that people diagnosed during adulthood and their relatives wish to receive.

Previous Work

  • Systematic review of outcome measures used in interventions for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder

  • Development of a measure of anxiety for children with autism spectrum disorder

  • Development of a measure of trauma


  • Developing a Measure of Anxiety for Children with autism spectrum disorder (Baily Thomas Fund; Co-applicant)

  • A systematic review of the effectiveness of alcohol brief interventions and interventions for well being in armed forces personnel transitioning to civilian life. (Forces in Mind Trust; Principal Investigator)



  • Previous co-supervisor of a successfully completed Doctorate in Clinical Psychology research project on depression in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • I currently co-supervise two students completing their Doctorate in Clinical Psychology research projects on the development of measures of anxiety in adults with autism spectrum disorder.