Dr Abigail Millings

The University of Sheffield
Sheffield S10 2TP, UK
Tel: (+44) 0114 222 6525 (Psychology)/x24395 (in CATCH in the Innovation Centre)
Fax: (+44) 0114 276 6515
Email: a.millings@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: 3.8 (Psychology)/G.08 (in CATCH in the Innovation Centre)


BSc (Hons) University of East Anglia
PhD University of East Anglia

Research Interests

I have two main research interests:

1) Attachment and wellbeing

Attachment theory explains how and why humans form close emotional bonds with each other. The quality of these bonds, or ‘attachments’, shape our views of ourselves, other people, and the social world (Bowlby, 1969; Ainsworth et al., 1978; Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007).

My research focusses on the trait-like characteristics associated with individuals’ attachment histories, namely, attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance (Brennan et al., 1998), and how these constructs affect psychosocial functioning. In particular, I study attachment in relation to:

  • Family relationships (including co-parenting among separated parents, and infant carrier (‘sling’) use and maternal mental health)
  • Wellbeing (including mindfulness, body image, and mental health)
  • Help-seeking and engaging in therapy (including in student mental health)

2) E-therapies and other technologically enabled interventions to promote health and wellbeing

The Internet and smart phones enable the delivery of a wide variety of interventions, such as internet delivered self-help or guided self-help therapies, programs to promote health behaviours, and apps to support face to face therapies.

My research focuses on:

  • The development of e-therapies and health and wellbeing interventions
  • The therapeutic relationship in e-therapies
  • The way e-therapies are evaluated and used in the NHS


2018: (Co-I) EPSRC NewMind Network: Developing an AI Empathy Agent. £15k. With Fuschia Sirois (PI), Matthew Bennion, Ian Tucker (UEL), Rafaela Neiva Ganga (LJMU), Paul Radin (NHS).

2018: (PI) Women Academic Returners’ Programme: Validating a measure of ‘Emotional Readiness’ to make co-parenting plans after separation. £10k

2016: (Co-I) Alcohol Research UK: Enhancing a brief online intervention to reduce alcohol consumption. £7.5k. With Paul Norman (PI) and Tom Webb

2016: (Co-I) CATCH Innovation Voucher: Developing an app to support Cognitive Analytic Therapy. Co-I. £15k. With Steve Kellett (PI), Martin Cooper, and Katherine Easton

2015: (Co-I) Sax Institute: Rapid research review: Behaviour change techniques in interventions to designed to promote healthy weight and support parents. AUS $21k. With Tom Webb (PI) Paul Norman and Jilly Martin

2014, 2015, 2016: (PI) OnePlusOne Consultancy Projects: Developing a measure of emotional readiness in separated parents. £12k

2014: (Co-I) University of Sheffield Cross-Cutting Network: Technology for Healthy Ageing and Wellbeing (THAW) network of 6 PhD studentships (Co-I and one of 6 supervisors)

2013: (Co-I) METRC: Understanding the psychosocial impact of skin conditions and developing learning and teaching resources for dermatology healthcare professionals. £40k With Andrew Thompson (PI) and Stacey Lavda.

2013: (PI) ESRC Seminar Series: Applying Relationships Science to Contemporary Interventions. £26,898 (FEC). With Judi Walsh (UEA), Kate Cavanagh (Sussex), Angela Rowe (Bristol), & Kathy Carnelley (Southampton).

2013: (Co-I) British Skin Foundation: Can attachment style predict coping and success of coping based intervention in people with skin conditions? £9,757. With Stacey Lavda (PI) & Andrew Thompson.

2013: (PI) Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience student bursary:  Can I or my relationships help me to be healthier? A comparison of the effects of self-affirmation and attachment security primes on responses to a health-related message. £1,080.

2013: (Co-I) EU F7 - EASEL: Expressive Agents for Symbiotic Education and Learning. €2.9m With Tony Prescott (Sheffield PI), Roger Moore, & Amanda Sharkey (Sheffield) and partners at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Project co-ordinators), University of Pisa, University of Twente, & Semmelweis University.

2013: (Co-I) Sheffield Care Trust - A Service evaluation of the PARO seal robot. £10k With Gail Mountain (PI) and Amanda Sharkey)

2009: (Co-I) Small Research Grant from the Nuffield Foundation: Implicit behavioural mimicry and adult attachment. £7,490 With Natalie Hall (PI, Reading)

2008: (PI) ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship: Adult attachment, partner caregiving and parenting. £95,420 (FEC). With Angela Rowe, mentor


A list of key publications can be found below.  For a full list of publications please click here

Journal articles