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About us

CATS centre combines the expertise from the departments of Psychology and Criminology at Middlesex University to provide high quality research, consultancy, practice training, media dissemination, continuing professional development, knowledge exchange and learning in a broad range of abuse and trauma related topics across the lifespan.  We use attachment, stress and lifespan models in the context of health, social care and criminal justice to inform practice and policy. We utilise a range of research methods including those online for the digital age.

Our centre is located in a historic Grade II* listed building, a former home of the Church Farmhouse Museum, and the oldest surviving dwelling in Hendon, North London.

What we do

We undertake both academic and applied research project in areas of stress and health and cyberbullying. We can provide bespoke research projects and consultancy.

Short training courses on assessment (e.g. child neglect/abuse; attachment style; parenting; internet offenders and risk) and methods (around assessment, self-evaluation and research tools) and consultancy for researchers and practitioners. Workshops on abuse and trauma and related topics (child safeguarding; attachment; parenting; internet abuse; interviewing child victims; risk assessment of serious offenders).

We provide service evaluations in a wide range of areas, including: child safeguarding and Looked After services; police practice with vulnerable victims; educational services around abuse prevention; interagency working of professionals; youth services.

Areas of focus

Life Events, child and adult stress and mental health, attachment issues in abuse and trauma; domestic abuse of both children and partners (view projects).

Cyberbullying, sexting and self taken images, online stalking and internet safety, young people’s use of digital media and online behaviour in the UK and the Middle East (view projects.

Intra-familial child sexual abuse, young people and trust in the police, child victims in the investigative process, child trafficking, community support for offenders and their families (view projects).

Our Team

Professor Antonia Bifulco
Professor Antonia BifulcoCentre Director

Prof Antonia Bifulco is a psychologist who has worked in the area of clinical disorder and psycho-social risk across the lifespan since 1980. Her PhD studies at Bedford College, University of London focused on the long term impact of childhood loss of mother on depression. Her career developed in the Social Research Team headed by Prof George Brown and Tirril Harris, investigating life stress, vulnerability and depression in women. In 1990 on Prof Brown’s retirement she took over the team renamed the ‘Lifespan Research Group’ and completed an MRC programme grant. The team continued with a more applied focus after that time, working together with voluntary and statutory health and social care agencies to help improve assessment and practice.

Prof Bifulco’s research has been published widely in international peer reviewed journals. Her book co-authored with CATS member Geraldine Thomas Understanding Adult Attachment in Families (2012, Routledge) summarises 30 years of academic and applied research. In addition, Wednesday’s Child (Bifulco & Moran, 1998, Routledge) is still a primary text for students and researchers in the area of long terms effect of childhood neglect and abuse, recently translated into Italian. The Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) interview was developed by Toni Bifulco as a standardised interview tool for collecting information on abuse in early life. This is increasingly used by practitioners in forensic, social work and psychological fields. Another publication Entrepreneurship for Everyone (2009, Mellor, Coulton, Chick, Bifulco, Mellor & Fisher, Sage) examines the issue of knowledge exchange and how university research can be used to help develop practice.

Prof Bifulco is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, is an associate fellow of the BPS and is a Chartered Psychologist, and has a visiting Professorship at Palermo University, Italy.

Books:

  • Bifulco, Antonia (2017) Identity, attachment and resilience: Exploring three generations of a Polish family. Routledge, London and New York.
  • Webster, Stephen and Davidson, Julia and Bifulco, Antonia (2014) Online offending behaviour and child victimisation: new findings and policy. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Antonia Bifulco and Geraldine Thomas ( 2012) Understanding Adult Attachment in Family Relationships: Research, Assessment and Intervention. Routledge.

Journal articles:

  • Bifulco, Antonia and Frost, Nollaig (2019) Impacts of childhood maltreatment in adulthood. Maltrattamento E Abuso All’infanzia: Rivista Interdisciplinare. Child Abuse and Maltreatment: Interdisciplinary Journal (2). pp. 7-11. ISSN 1591-4267
  • Bifulco, Antonia and Kagan, Lisa and Spence, Ruth and Nunn, Stephen and Bailey-Rodriguez, Deborah and Hosang, Georgina M. and Taylor, Matthew and Fisher, Helen L. (2019) Characteristics of severe life events, attachment style, and depression – Using a new online approach. British Journal of Clinical Psychology , 58 (4). pp. 427-439. ISSN 0144-6657
  • Bifulco, Antonia , Damiani, Rachele, Jacobs, Catherine, Bunn, Amanda and Spence, Ruth (2019) Partner violence in women – associations with childhood maltreatment, attachment style and major depression. Maltrattamento E Abuso All’infanzia: Rivista Interdisciplinare | Child Abuse and Maltreatment: Interdisciplinary Journal (2) . pp. 13-28. ISSN 1591-4267
  • Spence, Ruth , Kagan, Lisa and Bifulco, Antonia (2019) A contextual approach to trauma experience: lessons from life events research. Psychological Medicine, 49 (9) . pp. 1409-1413. ISSN 0033-2917
  • Jacobs, Catherine, Boyce, Nichola, Ilan-Clarke, Yael and Bifulco, Antonia (2019) Assessing attachment style in traumatized adolescents in residential care: A case approach. Maltrattamento E Abuso All’infanzia: Rivista Interdisciplinare | Child Abuse and Maltreatment: Interdisciplinary Journal (1) . pp. 39-54. ISSN 1591-4267
  • Bifulco, Antonia and Frost, Nollaig (2019) Impacts of maltreatment in adolescence. Maltrattamento E Abuso All’infanzia: Rivista Interdisciplinare | Child Abuse and Maltreatment: Interdisciplinary Journal (1) . pp. 7-10. ISSN 1591-4267
  • Bifulco, Antonia , Jacobs, Catherine, Oskis, Andrea , Cavana, Francesca and Spence, Ruth (2019) Lifetime trauma, adversity and emotional disorder in older age women. Maltrattamento E Abuso All’infanzia: Rivista Interdisciplinare | Child Abuse and Maltreatment: Interdisciplinary Journal (2) . pp. 29-43. ISSN 1591-4267
  • Bifulco, Antonia , Spence, Ruth, Nunn, Stephen , Kagan, Lisa, Bailey-Rodriguez, Deborah , Hosang, Georgina M., Taylor, Matthew and Fisher, Helen L. (2019) Web-based measure of life events using computerized life events and assessment record (CLEAR): preliminary cross-sectional study of reliability, validity, and association with depression. JMIR Mental Health, 6 (1) , e10675. ISSN 2368-7959
  • Spence, Ruth, Jacobs, Catherine and Bifulco, Antonia (2018) Attachment style, loneliness and depression in older age women. Aging and mental health . ISSN 1360-7863
  • Bifulco, Antonia , Jacobs, Catherine, Ilan-Clarke, Yael, Spence, Ruth and Oskis, Andrea (2017) Adolescent attachment style in residential care: the attachment style interview and vulnerable attachment style questionnaire. British Journal of Social Work, 47 . pp. 1880-1883. ISSN 0045-3102
  • Spence, Ruth and Bunn, Amanda and Nunn, Stephen and Hosang, Georgina and Kagan, Lisa and Fisher, Helen L. and Taylor, Matthew and Bifulco, Antonia (2015) Measuring life events and their association with clinical disorder: a protocol for development of an online approach. JMIR Research Protocols, 4 (3). e83.
  • Schimmenti, Adriano and Bifulco, Antonia (2015) Linking lack of care in childhood to anxiety disorders in emerging adulthood: the role of attachment styles. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 20 (1).
  • Bifulco, Antonia and Schimmenti, Adriano and Jacobs, Catherine and Bunn, Amanda and Rusu, Adina C. (2014) Risk factors and psychological outcomes of bullying victimization: a community-based study. Child Indicators Research.
  • Bifulco, Antonia and Schimmenti, Adriano and Moran, Patricia and Jacobs, Catherine and Bunn, Amanda and Rusu, Adina Carmen (2014) Problem parental care and teenage deliberate self-harm in young community adults. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 78 (2). pp. 95-114.

For full list of research publications visit Prof Bifulco’s university profile page.

Dr Jeffrey DeMarco
Dr Jeffrey DeMarcoForensic Psychologist
Main research and teaching interests: violent crime, online criminality, risk, police culture, youth offending, research methods.
Dr Ruth Spence
Dr Ruth SpenceResearch Fellow
Main research interest in the interplay between the environment and person centred factors and how they influence mental health and behaviour.
Dr Lisa Kagan
Dr Lisa KaganResearch Fellow
Clinical psychologist. Main research interest: attachment and life events as risk and resilience factors in mental health and depression.
Catherine Jacobs
Catherine JacobsHonorary Research Psychologist
Attachment, vulnerability and resilience factors which are associated with adversity, social support and the impact of life events and stressors on our coping mechanism.
Amanda Bunn
Amanda BunnResearch Fellow
Life events, adversity, resilience and impacts on mental and physical health. Harnessing research findings, assessments and support for practice and policy.
Dr Deborah Rodriquez
Dr Deborah RodriquezResearch Fellow
Attachment theory, adult attachment, development across the lifespan, couple relationships and family research, identity, the psycho-social, psychotherapy, qualitative and pluralistic research, multi- and mixed methods.
Professor Julia Davidson
Professor Julia DavidsonVisiting Professor and Associate CATS member from UEL

Associate researchers

Dr Jenni Ward
Dr Jenni WardSenior Lecturer in Criminology
Jenny’s interests are in youth offending and for criminal justice services to take into account psychological development in sentencing policy.
Dr Andrea Oskis
Dr Andrea OskisResearch Psychologist
Biological Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Lifespan Psychology. My main interest is in processes underlying connection (attachment, bonding) and disconnection (separation, loss and loneliness).
Dr Stephen Nunn
Dr Stephen NunnResearch Psychologist
Conceptual and historical issues in psychology, research methods and statistics, cognition. Procrastination, step-fathers, inattentional blindness, picture perception and production.
Dr Elena Martellozzo
Dr Elena MartellozzoSenior Lecturer in Psychology
Dr Richard Barry
Dr Richard BarrySenior Lecturer in Psychology
Research interests include investigation of the relationship between creativity and subclinical traits of psychiatric diagnoses, including schizotypy and hypomania.

Our funders, partners and collaborators

Get in touch

CATS cenre location

Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies, Middlesex University
Church Farm House, Church End, London, NW4 4JR