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Ms Vivien Prior
  • Honorary Senior Research Associate
  • UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences
Research Themes
Research Summary

My research has mainly focused on child mental health especially in relation to early childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect. My research includes an evaluation of the professional response to sexual abuse from the perspective of children and their carers, an examination of the professional response to emotional abuse and neglect, and a follow-up study of children subject to care proceedings. Currently I am co-ordinating an evaluation of training in a systematic approach to emotional abuse, funded by the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The training is based on a conceptual model, FRAMEA, Framework for the Recognition, Assessment and Management of Emotional Abuse, which Danya Glaser and I have developed over some years, based on our previous research. FRAMEA organises factors pertinent to overall child maltreatment, including specifically emotional abuse and emotional neglect, into four tiers, namely, Tier 0: Environmental and social circumstances; Tier 1: Parental risk factors or attributes; Tier 2: Harmful parent-child interactions; five categories are distinguished and defined, and Tier 3: Domains of child functioning. The training also offers guidance for a systematic approach to intervention. The evaluation is being carried out in three professional settings, namely Health Visiting, Children’s Social Care referral and assessment teams and children in need teams, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

I also have a keen interest in attachment theory. In 2006, Danya Glaser and I published a book which examines the evidence base for attachment and attachment disorders (Prior and Glaser, Understanding Attachment and Attachment Disorders: Theory, Evidence and Practice). I recently co-ordinated an attachment theory-based follow-up study of adopted children, based at The Anna Freud Centre, London, in collaboration with Jill Hodges and Jeanne Kaniuk. We are currently analysing the data gathered in this follow-up and also analysing the data longitudinally with data gathered in the earlier stages of the study. In a separate project, Danya Glaser, colleagues at The Anna Freud Centre and I are developing a brief assessment of attachment.

Another area of research in which I am interested and involved is parent-child relationships, family support and the protection of children from ill-treatment in other countries. Some years ago I carried out a literature review on the detrimental effects of child labour on children’s health (Scanlon,T.J., Prior,V., Lamarao,M.L.N., Lynch,M.A., Scanlon,F. (2002). Child labour - Vast problem whose effects on children's health remain largely unstudied.) I am currently involved in an evaluation of volunteer support to families in a number of countries through Home Start International. I am also collaborating with colleagues in Poland and Lithuania who wish to develop an integrated system and procedures for the protection of children aged 0 to 5 from child abuse and neglect.

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