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Centre for Family Research


The Centre welcomes applications from well qualified students wishing to undertake PhD research within the Centre's areas of expertise. Graduate students work in the stimulating research environment of the Centre under the direction of their supervisor. Initial enquiries should be directed to Professor Pasco Fearon or Professor Claire Hughes according to the person’s specific research interests.  Details of the University's PhD programme and procedures for application can be found at

Applications for 2023-4 are now filled.

PhD students work on a variety of topics relating to the research of the Centre. Past and present topics include:

  • Parenting experiences and social representations of single parent families (Sophie Zadeh)
  • Adoptive gay father families (Anja McConnachie)
  • Stay at home fathers (Kitty Jones)
  • Social trust and mistrust in middle childhood (UK and Hong Kong) (Keri Wong)
  • Parental decision-making by single mothers by choice (Susanna Graham)
  • Child development in Mexico and the UK (Jennifer Landt)
  • The relations between theory of mind and executive function in middle childhood (Rory Devine)
  • Child development and parent-child relationships in families created by intra-family egg donation (Susan Imrie)
  • Secrecy and openness in gamete donation families (John Appleby)
  • Women's understanding of fertility issues and its impact upon decision-making (Irenee Daley)
  • Child development and parent-child relationships in British-born Indian and Pakistani families (Humera Iqbal)
  • Parenting and child development in surrogacy families (Polly Casey)
  • Seeking certainty in an uncertain world - psychological aspects of renal replacement therapies in children and adolescents (Jenny Pruefe)
  • Studying the experiences, motivations and psychological well being of Indian Surrogate Mothers (Nishtha Lamba)
  • Families created by donor insemination and egg donation: Disclosure and family functioning (Lucy Blake)
  • Children's early social-emotional competence and later social and academic success in preadolescence (Amanda Aldercotte)
  • Early child development under exposure to mild maternal depressive symptoms and the mediating roles of child executive functioning and emotion regulation (Gabriela Roman)
  • Children's socio-cognitive development and parent-child relationships in Japanese and British families (Nao Fujita)
  • Sibling relationships across childhood and their influence on children's adjustment (Naomi White)
  • A longitudinal study of adolescents conceived by assisted reproduction (Elena Ilioi)
  • Child development and school transitions in Cambridge and the Wirral (Nik Darshane)
  • Child development and parenting in Chilean adoptive families (Pamela Jiménez-Etcheverria)
  • Thinking through the transition to parenthood (Sarah Foley)