Dr Lucy Blake

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About me

I am a developmental psychologist and my research is all about family relationships. I completed my PhD and postdoctoral research at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. I then spent five years as a Lecturer in Children, Young People and Families at Edge Hill University before moving to the University of the West of England (UWE) in 2021.

 

Most recently, my research has explored estrangement and the ways in which a negative, distant or inactive relationship with a family member affects people’s lives. The findings from this body of work have influenced change in the way that Student Finance England evidences estrangement in the UK.

 

My research has also examined family functioning in new and non-traditional families, such as those created through the use of assisted reproductive technologies. This body of work has been fundamental in influencing a recent change in legislation allowing single people to access surrogacy in the UK. My specific contribution to the field has been to explore how parents explain their use of donated sperm or eggs to their children and what children think, feel and understand about how they were conceived.

 

I have also studied family functioning in families in which a child has a chronic health condition or additional need. The findings of these studies have contributed to the development of information sheets, booklets, apps and cartoons that help parents and children to prepare for and navigate hospital procedures and disclose medical diagnoses to friends, teachers and employers.

 

I hope that the work that I do will have a positive impact on the kinds of conversations that we have about family. There is a lot to gain from moving beyond assumptions and studying families as they actually are, rather than how they could be or should be.

Area of expertise

Family estrangement, sibling relationships, intergenerational relationships

Publications

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