Foster carer research: participants needed

October 26 2018

Researchers from the University of Bath are keen to recruit foster carers to take part in an online study designed to improve support and training for people who offer this vital service to children and young people.

Research shows that the way we manage our emotions (called Emotion Regulation) can influence our levels of stress, and the way that we then respond to others. The University of Bath are running this study to find out more about these aspects in foster carers. In particular, researchers want to identify if foster carers could benefit from more support or training from services around managing emotions.

Around 53,420 children are currently in UK foster placements according to official figures. Children who are fostered have often had negative and unpredictable early experiences, which can make them vulnerable to developing behavioural, social and psychological difficulties.

Foster carers play a significant role in the recovery and development of children who have experienced maltreatment and should be highly valued by society. Whilst being a carer can be very rewarding, this work can be highly challenging and stressful. Additionally, carers can feel overwhelmed by other aspects such as working with services and the restrictions they face.

Local Bristol resident, Lucy Armstrong, is conducting this study as part of a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, supervised by Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis and Dr Rachel Hiller at the University of Bath.

Lucy says: “We want to find foster carers to take part in our study. We hope that by gathering responses from carers we will be able to improve support for others in the future. By building our knowledge of foster carers’ experience and mental well-being, we can identify ways for services to better support them. We know that higher carer resilience means positive care for children, and carers’ ability to continue to offer high quality placements over a longer period.”

The research team are looking for foster carers with at least one year’s experience in the profession, and with a child aged 4-12 years currently in your care.

It takes 15-20 minutes to complete an online survey (approved by the Dept of Psychology ethics committee). This survey is completely anonymous. As a thank you to participants donations will be made to CoramBAAF (adoption and fostering charity) and NSPCC - you choose which. 

To take part in the online survey, please go to

For any queries or to request paper copies of the survey please contact Lucy Armstrong on