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Dr Emily Emmott
  • Research Associate (Quantitative and Qualitative Methods)
  • IOE - Social Science
  • UCL Institute of Education

I am a Human Behavioural Ecologist, broadly defined as a social scientist interested in how the social and physical environment (or ecology) influences human development and behaviour. Human Behavioural Ecology is a sub-discipline of Biological Anthropology, sitting at intersection of Life and Social Sciences.  

My academic interests are around extended and institutional child-rearing systems (such as parenting, grand-parenting, schooling and social care provisions). I have research experience working in academia, charities and the public sector, as well as teaching research methods and human behavioural ecology at university. I am a mixed method researcher with specialism in complex data analysis - such as surveys, censuses and cohort studies. 

Research Groups
Research Summary

My research expertise surround extended and institutional childrearing in the UK, and how different aspects of the childrearing system influences children and young people's developmental outcomes.

Humans evolved as cooperative breeders, where children are raised collectively by many caregivers (parents, step-parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, and more). In my research, I investigate the nature and consequences of such collective childrearing in the UK with focus on non-maternal caregivers, including immediate kin, extended kin, and institutional support (such as educational institutions and children's social care). I take an interdisciplinary approach to my research, building on a human behavioral ecological framework.

My current research projects are:

  • Exploring the interface between health services and children's social care: Using the Children in Need census, we are investigating the causes and consequences of referrals from health services, and whether this varies around England. Through a mixed method approach, we are paying particular attention to the meaning we can derive from the Children in Need census - what does the existing data actually tell us about the interface between health and children's social care?

  • Maternal experiences of social support and infant feeding: While the public health literature demonstrates a positive association between social support and breastfeeding, it has broadly overlooked the different types of support (such as informational, emotional and practical) and the different sources of support (partners, parents, friends, professionals). We are investigating how the different types of support from different people are associated with breastfeeding outcomes, including the subjective experiences of infant feeding. 
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