Tel: 01223 746426
Dr Robbie Duschinsky is Head of the Applied Social Science Group within the Primary Care Unit, and Director of Studies in Sociology at Sidney Sussex College. His two major research interests are the development and contexts of mental illness around the globe, and the use of qualitative methods within primary care research.
Robbie is a member of the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group for Medical Humanities. He holds a visiting position in the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University.
He is Principal Investigator on three projects:
1) a study of child attachment and health, including applications of attachment theory in clinical and welfare interventions, supported by a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award and funds from the Newton Trust;
2) a NIHR-School of Primary Care Research grant (with Carole Gardner) for study of coping strategies for managing distress among patients with non-communicative disease and their carers;
3) an Alborada-Caprex grant (with Eric Awich Ochen) for study of adolescent wellbeing, resilience and social integration in rural Uganda.
Among other projects, Robbie is also leading the qualitative component of an NIHR-funded trial of a behavioural weight management programme for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes (PI, Amy Ahern).
Before joining Cambridge as University Lecturer in 2015, Robbie was Research Lead and a Reader in the Department of Social Work & Communities, Northumbria University.
Robbie is currently Principal Investigator on a New Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust for research on debates in attachment theory and their implications for clinical and social welfare practice. As part of this project, his research has addressed young children’s emotion regulation, stress behaviours and capacities for self-management. Together with international collaborators, he is engaged in empirical research on differences in emotional dysregulation among infants identified as at risk, and work conceptualising the relationship between infant attachment and experiences of fear in relation to their caregiver.
Robbie has conducted evaluation research on the integration of health with social care services. This is part of a broader interest in the intersection of health and social care, particularly in relation to primary care and community mental health. He also has an interest in pathways linking early emotional life with later health outcomes such as medically unexplained symptoms. He is one of the conveners of ‘Biopolitics and Psychosomatics: Participating Bodies’, a conference taking place at CRASSH in 2016: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/26189
He is also concerned with the conceptual, ethical and social questions that can arise within clinical and professional practice. He recently co-edited special issues of the Archives of Sexual Behavior and of Psychology & Sexuality addressing the implications of new classifications of gender and sexuality in the 5th Edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. He is the co-author of a forthcoming book on themes of power and powerlessness in professional practice.
Other topics of research to date have included: dilemmas associated with clinical practice and multiple-source funding in nursing homes; anthropological theory, particularly the work of Mary Douglas on purity and impurity; and the history of political thought. He is the co-editor of Foucault, the Family and Politics and Juliet Mitchell and the Lateral Axis, both for Palgrave Macmillan.
Robbie is the convener for the MVST 1A paper Social Context of Health and Illness for first-year medical studies. The paper aims to engage students’ curiosity regarding the role of social factors within the course of disease and treatment, and to introduce ethical and legal questions that arise for the medical profession. Robbie also contributes teaching within the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Robbie has supervised to completion four doctoral projects and nine MA/MPhil dissertations. He would welcome enquiries from prospective Doctoral and MPhil students for projects drawing on social science approaches for the study of mental health, especially within primary care. He also welcomes students interested in attachment theory and research.
Robbie’s research interests include the assessment of child maltreatment and neglect; the context of common mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression in the lives of patients, and their treatment within primary care; and difficulties faced by clinicians in classification and the diagnostic process. With colleagues, he has edited six books and journal special issues, and he is co-author of a book on social work practice. His work has been published in a variety of journals, including articles in Sociology; the Lancet; Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry; Journal of Social Policy; Nursing Inquiry; and Philosophy. Robbie is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Gender Studies.
Selected Recent Publications
Duschinsky, R., Greco, M. & Solomon, J. (2015) ‘The Politics of Attachment: Lines of Flight’ Theory, Culture & Society, in press
Duschinsky, R. (2015) ‘The Emergence of the ‘Disorganised/Disoriented (D) Attachment’ Classification, 1979-1982’ History of Psychology, 18(1): 32–46
Thompson, J., Cook, G. & Duschinsky, R. (2015) ‘‘I feel like a salesperson’: the effect of multiple-source care funding on the experiences and views of nursing home nurses in England.’ Nursing Inquiry 22(2): 168–177