Dr Gabriela Misca


Senior Lecturer, Psychology


Contact Details

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

Dr Gabriela Misca brings an intercultural and interdisciplinary perspective to her work, having studied, researched and taught in the field of Psychology and its interface with law, social policy and practice. Her longstanding research interest is addressing issues of adverse life circumstances upon subsequent socio-emotional adjustment and mental health across the lifespan.

At the University of Worcester, Dr Misca is pursuing an active research portfolio on the broad topic of family diversity, child development and their implications for mental health, including: substitute parental care, intercountry adoption and global surrogacy, same-sex parenting, domestic violence, children and families in the court systems. Recently her research encompasses issues related to military veterans and their families, military transitions and implications for mental health.

Awarded a prestigious Fulbright Award for a project entitled Parenting under fire, Gabriela is leading research into military and veteran children and families and their mental health support needs. Hosted by the Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law at the William James College in Boston, USA, she is collaborating with both practice agencies and research partners across the US to identify best practices in supporting military and veteran families and assessing their cultural transferability. Building on this, Gabriela aims to provide leadership on developing a programme of research and training focused on a cross-section of issues confronting the military families in the UK, in collaboration with research and practice partners and military community agencies, nationally and internationally.


BSc, MSc, PhD Psychology

Teaching & Research Supervision


  • Developmental psychology across the lifespan
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Research methods including Systematic reviews and Participatory research
  • Applied psychology

Research & PhD supervision

  • Military and veterans psychology:
  • Military and veterans transitions and mental health
  • Military and veteran families family dynamics, risk and resilience
  • Children growing up in military and veteran families
  • Mental health professionals attitudes toward working with military veterans

Family diversity, child development and resilience across the life-span:

  • Parenting in adverse circumstances and mental health outcomes:
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Children and domestic violence
  • Domestic violence and coercive control - impact on parenting
  • 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

Human trafficking:

  • Victims mental health
  • Child trafficking
  • Experiences of source countries

Research Projects

Misca, G. (Principal Investigator) (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 http://www.fulbright.org.uk/about/meet-our-fulbrighters/gabriela-misca/997

Misca, G. (Principal Investigator) (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 South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and University of Worcester

Misca G. with Gilbert, B. (2015 on-going) - An exploration of military wives perception of their family life, funded by the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse

Misca, G. with Zanca, R. (2014) Human Trafficking: sending countries perspectives

Misca, G. (Principal Investigator) (2014-16) - The Rescued Romanian orphans revisited: Coming of age

Scherman, R. and Misca, G. (Principal Co-investigators) (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. (Principal Investigator) (2012) Same-gender couples choosing parenthood through adoption and fostering: a scoping study, Funded by University of Worcester

Misca, G. (Principal Investigator) (2008-2010) An evaluation of progress and outcomes in a recovery program for children who suffered abuse and neglect; Funded by SACCS Ltd.

Misca, G. (Principal Investigator) (2004-2005) - Romanian orphans: A follow-up study, Post-doctoral Fellowship funded by ESRC (UK Economic and Social Research Council)

Professional Experience

Professional Experience

Visiting Research Fellowships:

  • 2015-16: 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
  • Since January 2014: secondment as researcher with the National Centre for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Abuse at the University of Worcester

Professional bodies:

  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol)
  • BPS Division for Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology (DARTP)
  • The Science Council: Chartered Scientist (CSci)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Funding & Manuscript Reviews:

  • Reviewer of research grant proposals and research reports for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK and the Big Lottery Fund Research Program
  • Manuscript reviews for: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Social Work Review; Journal of Social work; The Journal of Child Health Care; Adoption Quarterly
  • Publishing and manuscripts reviews and endorsements for: Routledge, SAGE, McGraw Hill, Palgrave, Polity, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

External Roles:

  • External PhD supervisor at Lancaster University
  • Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
  • Member of the West Midlands Anti Slavery Network (WMASN)

Coverage in the media

International - radio:

The psychology of inter country adoptions, Radio New Zealand National: Nine To Noon (10 April 2014)

Regional & National:

Research features:

Worcester Psychologist Wins Renowned Fulbright Award for Research into Children and Military Families (11 May 2015) - featured story in key regional newspapers.

Forces Children Under Stress (12 November 2015) Worcester News

More Research Needed into the Experiences of Children in Military Families, says Worcester Psychologist (12 November 2015) University of Worcester News - Worcester International News

University of Worcester Psychologist to Join the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy at The Hague (24 June 2014) University of Worcester News

Worcester Lecturer to Co-Lead Major Adoption Study (15 October 2013)

Teaching features:

Psychology Graduate is Helping Young People's Voices to be Heard in Worcestershire 
(13th January 2015)

Ugandan Student Returns Home in Bid to Transform Children's Lives (17 Sept 2014)



Scherman, R., Misca, G., Rotabi, K. & Selman, P. (2016). Global commercial surrogacy and international adoption: A brief comparison of similarities and differences. Adoption & Fostering.

Neamtu, N. and Misca, G. (Guest Co-editors) (2016) Contemporary Challenges in Social Work Practice in Multicultural Societies, Social Work Review Special Issue 1/2016

Zanca, R. and Misca, G. (forthcoming 2016) Filling the gaps? Romanian social workers migration into the UK, Social Work Review, 1/2016

Misca, G. (2015) An exploration of military ex-service and veterans experiences of mental health services and the support needs of their families, Executive Board Report for the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Misca, G. (2014) The Quiet Migration: Is Intercountry Adoption a Successful Intervention In the Lives of Vulnerable Children?. Family Court Review, 52: 6068. doi: 10.1111/fcre.12070

Misca, G. and Smith, J. (2013) Mothers, Fathers, Families and Child Development, in Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World (eds A. Abela and J. Walker), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118320990.ch11 [ Full-text available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118320990.ch11/pdf ]

Unwin, P. and Misca, G. (2013) The changing face of adoption in England: Opportunities and Dilemmas, Social Work Review / Revista de Asistenta Sociala (ISSN 1583-0608), 12(2), 1-9

Misca, G. (2013) The Quiet Migration, in Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World (eds A. Abela and J. Walker), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118320990.ch20

Misca, G. (2010) Challenges in Evaluation of Intervention Programmes with Children: Reflections from a Research(er) Perspective, Social Work Review / Revista de Asistenta Sociala (ISSN 1583-0608), 9(4), 41-48

Misca, G. (2010) Attachment and interventions for adolescents growing up in institutional care, in Knorth, E.J., Kalverboer, M.E., Knot-Dickscheit, J. (eds) How interventions in child and family care work: An international sourcebook, Antwerp-Apeldoorn: Garant (ISBN 978-90-441-2697-6)

Misca, G. (2009) Perspectives on the life course: Childhood and adolescence, in Adams, R., Dominelli, L. and Payne, M. (eds) Social Work: Themes, issues and critical debates, 3rd ed., Basingstoke: Palgrave (ISBN: 9780230218659).

Roberts, D., Bernard, M., Misca, G. and Head, E. (2008) Experiences of children and young people caring for a parent with a mental health problem, SCIE Research briefing 24; Available: http://.www.scie.org.uk/publications/briefings/briefing24/index.asp

Misca, G. (2008) Developmental adjustment in adolescents growing up in childcare institutions in Romania, in Canali, C and Vechiatto, T. and Whittaker, J.K. (eds) Assessing the Evidence-base of Intervention for Vulnerable Children and Their Families, Padova: Fondazione Emanuela Zancan (ISBN: 88-88843-24-8), 210-213.

Dixon, L. and Misca, G., Eds (2004) Mapping the number and characteristics of children under three in institutions across Europe at risk of harm: Report of Proceedings, EU Daphne Program 2002/3; WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark

Mulheir, G., Browne, K., Darabus, S., Misca, G., Pop, D. and Wilson, B. (2004) De-institutionalisation of Childrens services in Romania: A good practice guide, Bucharest: Romanian Government and UNICEF (155pp, ISBN: 973-8411-26-2 English; 973-8411-25-4 - Romanian)

Research reports:

Misca, G. (2015) An exploration of military ex-service and veterans experiences of mental health services and the support needs of their families, Worcester, University of Worcester

Misca, G. (2010) A critical review of the SACCS assessment method, Keele: University of Keele

Selwyn, J. and Misca, G. (2006) Could it be you? A survey of Barnardos adopters and foster carers, Bristol: Hadley Centre for Adoption and Foster Care Studies and Barnardos

Farmer, E., Misca, G. and Selwyn, J. (2006) Supports and Outcomes of Placements in One Independent Fostering Agency, University of Bristol, School for Policy Studies

Conference and keynote addresses

1-4 June 2016 AFCC 53rd Annual Conference - Modern Families: New Challenges, New Solutions (Seattle, USA) Parenting under fire: Resilience in children growing up in military families (workshop)