Dr Gabriela Misca


Senior Lecturer, Psychology

School of Psychology

Department of Performance, Health and Wellbeing

Contact Details

email: g.misca@worc.ac.uk
tel: 01905 542526

Gabriela brings an interdisciplinary perspective to her work, having studied, researched and taught in the field of child and family psychology and its interface with health, social policy, law and practice. Gabriela’s commitment is to conduct high quality research, which critically advances our knowledge and addresses global challenges, delivering practical benefits to societies by influencing policy and practice using research evidence.

Her research portfolio aims to advance our understanding of complex and/or adverse family dynamics and transitions across the lifespan, including families formed through (intercountry) adoption and (global) surrogacy; same-gender parenting; and recently, military and veteran families. She published and presented widely on these topics, and her recent books “Psychology and social work” and “Child and Adolescent Psychology for social work and allied professions” make compelling arguments for research-informed practice in supporting families.

Gabriela’s current research explores the complex interplay between military career, family relationships, parenting and children’s outcomes, with a focus on the under-explored area of military and veteran families and their support needs in coping with visible and nonvisible traumas of the serving family member, and during family transitions within and out of military service.  

In 2015-16 Gabriela was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award, held in Boston, USA, for a research programme “Parenting under fire: a cross-cultural exploration of child development in military families”, which explored new theoretical formulations of the pathways through which military career and combat-trauma may impact parent-child relationships, within an ecological systems framework. She is a visiting researcher at the King’s Centre for Military Health Research at Kings College London collaborating with colleagues in investigating the pathways through which paternal military mental health influences adolescent mental health.

The impact of her research in this area is evident in Gabriela’s appointment as research adviser to the review commissioned by the Ministry of Defence into the needs of UK Armed Forces families. The report Living in our shoes (2020) formulated a number of recommendations to the UK Government to step up support for the needs of military families.

In August 2020, she launched in partnership with Relate UK, the longitudinal study Families Un-Locked exploring the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and relationships, including a focus on families of “key workers”; with ultimate goal to develop new ways to support families as they navigate the ‘new normal’. This contemporaneous study is being replicated in Australia, in collaboration with colleagues from Griffith University and Relationships Australia, enabling international comparisons.


  • BSc, MSc, PhD Psychology (Newcastle University)
  • CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS, FHEA

Teaching & Research Supervision

  • Family diversity, child development, risk and resilience across the lifespan:
  • Military and veteran families: family dynamics, risk and resilience
  • Children growing up in military and veteran families
  • Military trauma and its effects on family relationships
  • Fathering in Military fathers and their children

Parenting in adverse circumstances

  • Parenting with trauma
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Children and domestic violence
  • Children caring for a parent suffering from mental health

Substitute parental care

  • Adoption, foster care, residential/institutional care, looked after children, orphan children

New forms of family formation

  • Intercountry adoption
  • Global surrogacy
  • LGBTQ parenting

PhD supervision – recent examples

  • A psychosocial exploration of family: meaning and shared experience
  • The effect of a transitionary lifestyle on Service children’s social and emotional development
  • Supporting parents of adolescents with autism growing up in a military family
  • The journey of international adoption from Romania. A narrative study.

Dr Misca welcomes enquiring regarding PhD supervision in the above areas

Research Projects

For up to date information see: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5153-5513

  • Misca, G (PI) in partnership with Relate (2020-2021), Griffith University and Relationship Australia - Families Un-locked: Relationships Emerging from COVID-19 into the “New Normal”
  • Misca, G. (PI) in collaboration with Farrell, D. (2020) - The Use of Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy in Treating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Military and Veterans; Funded by College of Business, Psychology and Sport Research Support Fund (RSF), University of Worcester
  • Misca, G (PI) in collaboration with the Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, TX, USA (2019-ongoing) Interventions to support parenting in military connected families: an international evidence review
  • Sarbu, R. (PI), Misca, G. (Co-PI) and Unwin. P. (2019-ongoing) – Moral injury in social work professional practice: a scoping study, Funded by the School of Allied Health and Community Research Fund, University of Worcester
  • Misca, G. (PI) (2015-16) - Parenting under fire: cross-cultural examination of child maltreatment in military families, Fulbright Scholar Award (10-months); funded by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board
  • Misca, G. (PI) (2014-15) An exploration of military ex-service and veterans experiences of mental health services and the support needs of their families, Funded by the NHS Foundation Trust
  • Scherman, R. and Misca, G. (Principal Co-I) (2013-16) - Professionals attitudes toward placing adoptive children with gay/lesbian couples: A cross-national study, Funded by Contestable Small Project Grant awarded by the AUT University, New Zealand
  • Misca, G. (PI) (2012) Same-gender couples choosing parenthood through adoption and fostering: a scoping study, Funded by Vacation Research Assistantship, University of Worcester
  • Misca, G. (PI) (2004-2005) - Romanian orphans: A follow-up study, Post-doctoral Fellowship funded by ESRC (UK Economic and Social Research Council)

Professional Experience

Visiting Research Fellowships

  • 2019-2022: King’s Centre for Military Health Research at Kings College London 
  • 2015-17: Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law, William James College, Boston, USA
  • 2016: Center for Children, Families, and the Law, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, USA

Professional bodies

  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol)
  • American Psychological Association (APA) International Affiliate
  • The Science Council: Chartered Scientist (CSci)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Funding and Manuscript Reviews

Competitive Research Proposals and Grant Reports for:

  • UKRI and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Big Lottery Fund Research Program;
  • UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • US-UK Fulbright Commission

Proposals and manuscripts reviews and endorsements for: Routledge, SAGE, McGraw Hill, Palgrave, Polity, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Journal peer reviews and editorial appointments

See: https://publons.com/researcher/1297127/gabriela-misca


For up to date list of publication and access to full text go to:

Media and Public Engagement

Regional & National