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University of Exeter Medical School

Dr Ginny Russell

Dr Ginny Russell

Senior Lecturer


 +44 (0) 1392 726015

 Byrne House 


Byrne House,  University of Exeter, St German's Road,  Exeter,  EX4 4PJ, UK


Dr Russell initially trained as a researcher at the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol, becoming a television producer/director. In 2002 she joined the University of Exeter in a communications role, programming the British Association’s Science in the City festival.

As well as publishing over 50 peer reviewed academic articles, she has written for various media outlets including The Times Educational Supplement and Britain in 2008. She has also freelanced as a reporter for Radio 4’s Natural History Programme and Science in Action on the BBC World Service. She has an interdisciplinary academic background that straddles social science and biomedicine.

Broad research specialisms

Dr Russell is currently an interdisciplinary Senior Lecturer at Egenis in the College of Social Science. Her research interests centre on Neurodiversity: neurodevelopmental conditions including ADHD and autism, dementia at the intersection of diagnosis and diversity. Dr Russell specialises in multiple reseach methods encompassing epidemiology, qualitative health services research and secondary data analysis.


  • Phd Epidemiology/ sociology
  • MSc Bioinformatics
  • BSc Psychology
  • BA Film


Research group links

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Research interests

Dr Russell's research interest is in child and adolescent mental health, most of her work has been on neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism and ADHD. She has used secondary data analysis and qualitative methods to examine both causes and outcomes, and effects of diagnosis. She also interested in the function of diagnosis for parents, autistic individuals and other actors. She is currently working on a Wellcome Trust funded project which explores the implications of diagnosis for adults with autism. Dr Russell also supervises and carries out additional studies on autism, dyslexia, ADHD, gender and depressive symptoms and their effects on outcomes.

Research projects

Research grants

  • 2017 Wellcome Trust
    Provision for Public Engagement
  • 2015 Wellcome Trust
    small grant
  • 2015 Wellcome Trust
    Exploring diagnosis: autism and the neorodiversity movement
  • 2012 ESRC
    ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative
  • 2008 Medical Research Council


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Russell G (2020). The Rise of Autism: Risk and Resistance in the Age of Diagnosis. London, Routledge.

Journal articles

Moore I, Morgan G, Russell G, Alice W (In Press). The intersection of autism and gender in the negotiation of identity: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Feminism and Psychology
Russell G (2024). Social perspectives on Pathography and the evolution of Diagnostic Categories. Studi Jaspersiani Abstract.
Russell G, Wilkinson S (2023). Co-opting the “neuro” in neurodiversity and the complexities of epistemic injustice. Cortex, 169, 1-4.
Russell G, Jutel A (2023). From Trump to Winnie the Pooh: how we use diagnosis as a narrative tool to make sense of dysfunction and deviance. The Conversation
Jutel A, Russell G (2023). Past, Present and Imaginary: Pathography in all its Forms. Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine
Russell G (2022). Cognition, care homes and COVID-19: sacrificing minds to keep bodies alive. International Journal of Care and Caring, 6(1-2), 261-266. Abstract.
Moore I, Morgan G, Welham A, Russell G (2022). The intersection of autism and gender in the negotiation of identity: a systematic review and metasynthesis. Feminism and Psychology, 32(4), 421-442. Abstract.
Russell G, Stapley S, Newlove-Delgado T, Salmon A, White R, Warren F, Pearson A, Ford T (2022). Time trends in autism diagnosis over 20 years: a UK population-based cohort study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 63(6), 674-682. Abstract.  Author URL.
Hayes J, Ford T, McCabe R, Russell G (2021). Autism diagnosis as a social process. Autism, 26(2), 488-498. Abstract.
White R, Russell G, Qualter P, Owens M, Psychogiou L (2021). Do peer relationships mediate the association between children’s facial emotion recognition ability and their academic attainment? Findings from the ALSPAC study. Contemporary Educational Psychology
Ford T, Mansfield KL, Markham S, McManus S, John A, O'Reilly D, Newlove-Delgado T, Iveson MH, Fazel M, Munshi JD, et al (2021). The challenges and opportunities of mental health data sharing in the UK. The Lancet. Digital health, 3(6), e333-e336.
Hayes J, McCabe R, Ford T, Parker D, Russell G (2021). ‘Not at the diagnosis point’: Dealing with contradiction in autism assessment teams. Social Science & Medicine, 268, 113462-113462.
Hayes J, McCabe R, Ford T, Russell G (2020). Drawing a line in the sand: affect and testimony in autism assessment teams in the UK. Sociol Health Illn, 42(4), 825-843. Abstract.  Author URL.
White R, Barreto M, Harrington J, Kapp SK, Hayes J, Russell G (2020). Is disclosing an autism spectrum disorder in school associated with reduced stigmatization?. Autism, 24(3), 744-754. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell A, Ford T, Russell G (2019). Barriers and predictors of medication use for childhood ADHD: findings from a UK population-representative cohort. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Timimi S, Milton D, Bovell V, Kapp S, Russell G (2019). Deconstructing Diagnosis: Four Commentaries on a Diagnostic Tool to Assess Individuals for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autonomy, the Critical Journal of Interdisciplinary Autism Studies, 1(6)
Timimi S, Milton D, Bovell V, Kapp SK, Russell G (2019). Deconstructing diagnosis: multi-disciplinary perspectives on a diagnostic tool. Autonomy, the Critical Journal of Interdisciplinary Autism Studies
Russell AE, Tay M, Ford T, Russell G, Moore D (2019). Educational practitioners’ perceptions of ADHD: a qualitative study of views of the home lives of children with ADHD in the UK. British Journal of Special Education, 46(1), 8-28. Abstract.
Russell G, Kapp SK, Elliott D, Elphick CM, Gwernan-Jones RC, Owens C (2019). Mapping the autistic advantage from the accounts of adults diagnosed with autism:. A qualitative study. Autism in Adulthood, 1.2
Psychogiou L, Russell G, Owens M (2019). Parents’ postnatal depressive symptoms and their children's academic attainment at 16 years: Pathways of risk transmission. British Journal of Psychology
Russell G, Mandy W, Elliott D, White R, Pittwood T, Ford T (2019). Selection bias on intellectual ability in autism research: a cross-sectional review and meta-analysis. Molecular Autism, 10(1). Abstract.
Ford T, Kenchington R, Norman S, Hancock J, Smalley A, Henley W, Russell G, Hayes J, Logan S (2019). The agreement between the referrer, practitioner and research diagnosis of autistic spectrum conditions among children attending child and adolescent mental health services. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 28(9), 1253-1264. Abstract.
Kapp SK, Steward R, Crane L, Elliott D, Elphick C, Pellicano E, Russell G (2019). ‘People should be allowed to do what they like’: Autistic adults’ views and experiences of stimming. Autism, 23(7), 1782-1792. Abstract.
Hayes J, Ford T, Rafeeque H, Russell G (2018). Clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in adults and children in the UK: a narrative review. BMC Psychiatry, 18(1). Abstract.
Russell G (2018). Dementia diagnosis and white lies: a necessary evil for carers of dementia patients?. International Journal of Care and Caring, 2, 133-137.
Thompson W, Russell G, Baragwanath G, Matthews J, Vaidya B, Thompson-Coon J (2018). Maternal thyroid hormone insufficiency during pregnancy and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf), 88(4), 575-584. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Starr S, Rodogno R, Singh I (2018). Selective patient and public involvement:The promise and perils of pharmaceutical intervention for autism. Health Expectations, 21, 466-490.
Psychogiou L, Moberly NJ, Parry E, Nath S, Kallitsoglou A, Russell G (2017). Parental depressive symptoms, children’s emotional and behavioural problems, and parents’ expressed emotion - critical and positive comments. PLoS ONE, 12, e0183546-e0183546.
Ford TJ, Russell AE, Russell G (2017). The relationship between fnancial difficulty and childhood symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a UK longitudinal cohort study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 9
Gray DP, White E, Russell G (2016). Antidepressant excess Response. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE, 109(6), 219-219.  Author URL.
Nath S, Russell R, Kuyken W, Ford T, Psychogiou L (2016). Does father-child conflict mediate the association between fathers' postnatal depressive symptoms and children's adjustment problems at 7 years old?. Psychological Medicine, 46, 1719-1733.
Pereira Gray D, White E, Russell G (2016). Medicalisation in the UK: changing dynamics, but still ongoing. J R Soc Med, 109(1), 7-11.  Author URL.
Russell G, Ukoumunne O, Ryder D, Golding J, Norwich B (2016). Predictors of word reading ability in seven year olds: analysis of data from a UK cohort study. Journal of Research in Reading
Russell AE, Ford T, Williams R, Russell G (2016). The Association Between Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a Systematic Review. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 47(3), 440-458. Abstract.
Nath S, Psychogiou L, Kuyken W, Ford T, Ryan E, Russell G (2016). The prevalence of depressive symptoms among fathers and associated risk factors during the first seven years of their child's life: findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. MBC Public Health, 16, 509-509.
Russell G, Ryder D, Norwich B, Ford T (2015). Behavioural Difficulties That Co-occur with Specific Word Reading Difficulties: a UK Population-Based Cohort Study. Dyslexia, 21(2), 123-141. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Ryder D, Norwich B, Ford T (2015). Behavioural difficulties that co-occur with specific word reading difficulties: a UK population-based cohort study. Dyslexia, 21(2), 123-141. Abstract.
Russell G, Collishaw S, Golding J, Kelly S, Ford T (2015). Changes in diagnosis rates and behavioural traits of autism spectrum disorders over time. British Journal of Psychiatry- Open, 1(2), 110-115.
Nath S, Russell G, Kyuken W, Ford T, Psychogiou L (2015). Postnatal paternal depressive symptoms associated with fathers’ subsequent parenting: Findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 207, 558-559.
Russell AE, Ford T, Russell G (2015). Socioeconomic Associations with ADHD: Findings from a Mediation Analysis. PLoS One, 10(6). Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Miller LL, Ford T, Golding J (2014). Assessing recall in mothers' retrospective reports: Concerns over children's speech and language development. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(5), 825-830. Abstract.
Russell G (2014). Contextualising Autism Diagnosis. Autism-Open Access, 04(01).
Russell G, Rodgers LR, Ukoumunne OC, Ford T (2014). Prevalence of parent-reported ASD and ADHD in the UK: findings from the Millennium Cohort Study. J Autism Dev Disord, 44(1), 31-40. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Ford T, Rosenberg R, Kelly S (2014). The association of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with socioeconomic disadvantage: Alternative explanations and evidence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 55(5), 436-445. Abstract.
Russell G, Ford T, Rosenberg R, Kelly S (2014). The association of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with socioeconomic disadvantage: alternative explanations and evidence. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 55(5), 436-445. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Ford T (2014). The costs and benefits of diagnosis of ADHD: commentary on Holden et al. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health, 8(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G (2013). The Rise and Rise of the Autism Diagnosis. Autism Open access(2).
Russell G, Rodgers LR, Ford T (2013). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as a predictor of parent-reported diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. PLOS ONE
Russell G, Kelly SE, Ford T, Steer C (2012). Diagnosis as a social determinant: the development of prosocial behaviour before and after an autism spectrum diagnosis. Social Science and Medicine, 75(9), 1642-1649. Abstract.
Russell G, Norwich B (2012). Dilemmas, diagnosis and de-stigmatization: parental perspectives on autistic spectrum disorders. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2(17), 229-246.
Russell G, Golding J, Norwich B, Emond J, Ford T, Steer C (2012). Social and behavioural outcomes in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a longitudinal cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 7(53), 735-744.
Russell G, Golding J, Norwich B, Emond A, Ford T, Steer C (2012). Social and behavioural outcomes in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders: a longitudinal cohort study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 53(7), 735-744. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Norwich B, Gwernan-Jones RC (2012). When diagnosis is uncertain: Variation in conclusions after psychological assessment of a six year old child. Early Child Development and Care, 1575-1592.
Russell G, Kelly S (2011). Looking beyond risk: a study of lay epidemiology of childhood disorders. Health, Risk and Society, 13(2), 129-145. Abstract.
Russell G, Steer C, Golding J (2011). Social and demographic factors that influence the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol, 46(12), 1283-1293. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russel G, Kelly SE, Golding J (2010). A qualitative analysis of lay beliefs about the aetiology and prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders. Child: Care, Health & Development(3), 431-436. Abstract.
Russell G, Kelly S, Golding J (2010). A qualitative analysis of lay beliefs about the aetiology and prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders. Child Care Health Dev, 36(3), 431-436. Abstract.  Author URL.
Russell G, Ford T, Steer C, Golding J (2010). Identification of children with the same level of impairment as children on the autistic spectrum, and analysis of their service use. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 51(6), 643-651. Abstract.  Author URL.


Dyck E, Russell G (2020). Challenging Psychiatric Classification: Healthy Autistic Diversity and the Neurodiversity Movement. In  (Ed) Mental Health in Historical Perspective, 167-187. Abstract.
Russell G, Dyck E (2019). Challenging psychiatric classification: healthy autistic diversity and the neurodiversity movement. In Brumby A, Taylor S (Eds.) Healthy Minds in the Twentieth Century: in and Beyond the Asylums, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 167-187.
Russell G (2019). Critiques of the Neurodiversity Movement. In Kapp S (Ed) Autistic Community and the Neurodiversity Movement, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.
Russell G (2016). Early diagnosis of autism: is earlier always better?. In Runswick-Cole K, Mallet R, Timimi S (Eds.) Re-thinking Autism: Diagnosis, identity and equality, London: Jessica Kingsley, 252-268.
Russell G (2013). Co-Occurrence of Developmental Disorders: Children Who Share Symptoms of Autism, Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In  (Ed) Recent Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorders -, Rijeka: Intech, 361-387.
Russell G (2012). Autism Spectrum Disorders. In Cochrane K (Ed) Dyslexia Friendly Schools: Good Practice Guide, Bracknell, UK: British Dyslexia Association, 274-289.
Russell G (2011). Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. In  (Ed) Dyslexia and Co-occuring Difficulties, Bracknell, UK: British Dyslexia Association, 87-101.


Russell G, Lane R, Jutel A, Brinkman S, Ryborg Jønsson AB (2023). 104 Diagnostic culture and the sociology of diagnosis panel: autism as our case study. Preventing Overdiagnosis meeting Abstracts 2023.
McCarron R, Swann P, Thompson F, Murray G (2021). Factors in psychiatric admissions: before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Author URL.

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