Dr Abigail Millings

A Millings Address
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

Attachment theory explains how and why humans form close emotional bonds with each other. In infancy, humans bond with their caregivers. In childhood and adolescence, such bonds are also made with peers. In adolescence and adulthood, these bonds eventually include romantic partners. 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:

  •  Caring for other people (including partners, children, and also caring in professional contexts)
  •  Help-seeking and engaging in therapy
  •  Engaging with contemporary interventions in mental health (such as internet therapy and social robots)

I am broadly interested in how attachment and caregiving research can inform the implementation of assistive technologies (including internet cognitive behavioural therapy).


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 (both Sheffield)

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. With Tracy Epton (Sheffield).

2013: (Co-I) EU F7 - EASEL: Expressive Agents for Symbiotic Education and Learning. €2.9m With Tony Prescott (Sheffield PI), Roger Moore & Amanda Sharkey (both 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 Dr Natalie Hall (PI)

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


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

Journal articles