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Personal profile


Sarah Foster is an academic psychologist who teaches psychological and research concepts to students on Social Work and Guidance and Counselling degree courses. Sarah is currently undertaking doctoral research on attachment and childhood adversity in relation to clinical and social work practice. 

Further Information

Sarah runs the North East Attachment Special Interest Group. This provides a forum for practitioners and academics to come together to consider the implications of attachment theory, research findings and assessments for practice. If you would like more information, or wish to join the group, please contact Sarah. 

Research interests

Sarah's overarching research aim is to understand and critique applications and implications of psychological concepts to clinical and social work practice. Of particular interest are the concepts of attachment, childhood adversity, trauma, resilience and mentalising.

Sarah has been involved in a Wellcome Trust funded research programme, led by Dr Robbie Duschinsky at Cambridge University, which examined the meaning and implications of the infant disorganised attachment classification. Through her collaboration with Dr Duschinsky, Sarah has also critiqued the use of attachment theory in practice, including in family court decision making, and explored the theory of mentalising.

Sarah is currently undertaking doctoral research exploring the attachment profiles and adversity histories of Social Workers, Clinical Psychologists and GPs, and how these relate to their professional practice with children and families.

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, BSc (Hons), Open University Milton Keynes

Award Date: 31 Jul 2016

Management, PGCert, University of Warwick

Award Date: 25 Jun 2007

Social Studies/Science, BA (Hons), Newcastle University

Award Date: 11 Jul 2003


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  • Attachment goes to court: child protection and custody issues

    Forslund, T., Granqvist, P., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Sagi-Schwartz, A., Glaser, D., Steele, M., Hammarlund, M., Schuengel, C., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Steele, H., Shaver, P. R., Lux, U., Simmonds, J., Jacobvitz, D., Groh, A. M., Bernard, K., Cyr, C., Hazen, N. L., Foster, S., Psouni, E. & 50 others, Cowan, P. A., Pape Cowan, C., Rifkin-Graboi, A., Wilkins, D., Pierrehumbert, B., Tarabulsy, G. M., Carcamo, R. A., Wang, Z., Liang, X., Kázmierczak, M., Pawlicka, P., Ayiro, L., Chansa, T., Sichimba, F., Mooya, H., McLean, L., Verissimo, M., Gojman-de-Millán, S., Moretti, M. M., Bacro, F., Peltola, M. J., Galbally, M., Kondo-Ikemura, K., Behrens, K. Y., Scott, S., Rodriguez, A. F., Spencer, R., Posada, G., Cassibba, R., Barrantes-Vidal, N., Palacios, J., Barone, L., Madigan, S., Mason-Jones, K., Reijman, S., Juffer, F., Pasco Fearon, R., Bernier, A., Cicchetti, D., Roisman, G. I., Cassidy, J., Kindler, H., Zimmerman, P., Feldman, R., Spangler, G., Zeanah, C. H., Dozier, M., Belsky, J., Lamb, M. E. & Duschinsky, R., 11 Jan 2021, In: Attachment & Human Development. p. 1-52 52 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    5 Citations (Scopus)
    45 Downloads (Pure)
  • Six attachment discourses: convergence, divergence and relay

    Duschinsky, R., Bakkum, L., Mannes, J. M. M., Skinner, G. C. M., Turner, M., Mann, A., Coughlan, B., Reijman, S., Foster, S. & Beckwith, H., 12 May 2021, In: Attachment and Human Development. 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    9 Downloads (Pure)
  • Attachment histories and futures: reply to Vicedo’s ‘Putting attachment in its place’

    Duschinsky, R., van IJzendoorn, M., Foster, S., Reijman, S. & Lionetti, F., 2 Jan 2020, In: European Journal of Developmental Psychology. 17, 1, p. 138-146

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)
  • Attachment difficulties and disorders

    Turner, M., Beckwith, H., Duschinsky, R., Forslund, T., Foster, S., Coughlan, B., Pal, S. & Schuengel, C., 1 Apr 2019, InnovAiT, 12, 4, p. 173-173 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    Open Access
    6 Downloads (Pure)
  • The infant disorganised attachment classification: “Patterning within the disturbance of coherence”

    Reijman, S., Foster, S. & Duschinsky, R., 1 Mar 2018, In: Social Science & Medicine. 200, p. 52-58 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    10 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)
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