Dr Abi Millings

BSc. PhD.

School of Health and Related Research


+44 114 222 4395

Full contact details

Dr Abi Millings
School of Health and Related Research
The Innovation Centre
217 Portobello
S1 4DP

I completed my PhD in Social Psychology at the University of East Anglia in 2008, under the supervision of Dr Judi Walsh. I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the ESRC to join the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol, under the mentorship of Dr Angela Rowe, to write up my PhD findings for publication, learn new methodologies, and establish new collaborations.

I then spent a year at the University of Bath working with Prof Paul Stallard and Dr Rhiannon Buck on a large scale national randomised controlled trial of school-delivered preventive CBT for adolescent depression. Subsequently, I spent two years in industry working for e-health company Ultrasis, on internet-delivered self-help therapies for common mental health problems.

I then joined the University of Sheffield in 2013, as a Lecturer based in the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) and the Department of Psychology.

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:

  1. Caring for other people (including partners, children, and also caring in professional contexts)
  2. Help-seeking and engaging in therapy
  3. 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).

Research group

As well as being a member of CATCH, I am a member of the Social, Health, and Environmental Psychology research group in the Department of Psychology.

Teaching interests

I teach attachment theory in relation to individual differences. I supervise third year Psychology student dissertations and PhD students.

Key publications
  1. Millings A, Walsh J, Hepper E & O'Brien M (2013) Good partner, good parent: responsiveness mediates the link between romantic attachment and parenting style. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 39(2), 170-180.
  2. Cavanagh K & Millings A (2013) Increasing engagement with computerised cognitive behavioural therapies. EAI Endorsed Transactions on Ambient Systems, 13, e3.
  3. Cavanagh K & Millings A (2013) (Inter)personal Computing: The Role of the Therapeutic Relationship in E-mental Health. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1-10.
  4. Millings A, Buck R, Montgomery A, Spears M & Stallard P (2012) School connectedness, peer attachment, and self-esteem as predictors of adolescent depression. J Adolesc, 35(4), 1061-1067.