Simona Di Folco

DR, PhD in Dynamic, Clinical and Developmental Psychology

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I am a clinical developmental psychologist with an active research interest in child development, health, and education.  I am active in the area of the importance of social relations, especially attachment relationships, for learning and health. I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Health in Social Science, at the University of Edinburgh, in the area of Clinical Psychology.

In 2007 I received a BSc in Science and Psychological Techniques for clinical assessment and counselling at Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy. During the internship at the Child Neuropsychiatric Unit, I developed a deep interest in methodology and assessment of parent-child attachment relationships, thus I decided to attend short courses at the Anna Freud Center to gain skills for the assessment of attachment in infancy and middle childhood.

I then applied for the MSc program in Clinical and Dynamic Psychology for Children, Adolescents, and Families, and two years later, in 2009 I graduated. During these two years, I had the opportunity to learn skills of developmental psychopathology and clinical assessment with families and children and to join ongoing research about how attachment to parents may contribute to the perception of well-being and illness in school-aged children. My thesis was based on this study and was then recognized as the best contribution to a prize in memory of the Italian psychiatrist Sante de Sanctis.

After the registration exam as a chartered psychologist in 2010, I applied for the Ph.D. in Dynamic, Clinical, and Developmental Psychology at Sapienza University in Rome and was awarded a fully funded scholarship.

Before the Ph.D. viva, I joined Lund University, first as a visiting scholar and then as a Research Assistant, working in the Department of Psychology and within the area of Developmental Psychology.

I obtained my Ph.D. in 2014, working on a project about the contribution of parental attachment to children’s development of emotional competence and self-perception in middle childhood.

During the Ph.D. program, I had the opportunity to be trained in the administration and coding of widely known methods to assess parent-child attachment relationships in the lifespan: the Strange Situation Procedure, The Manchester Child Attachment Story Task, the Story Stem Assessment Profile, the Child Attachment Interview, the Adult Attachment Interview, and the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview.

In 2014 I joined the University of Cagliari (Italy) as a Postdoctoral Fellow to work on a longitudinal project about the prevention of maternal post-partum depression in first-time expectant parents.

During my research experience, I have worked with children in clinical and nonclinical samples (late adopted children and children suffering from idiopathic epilepsy) and with different age groups: from early infancy to middle childhood and adolescence and with parents and couples in transition to parenthood (both biological and adoptive parenthood) and those coping with the elaboration of the diagnosis of having a child affected by a medical problem, as epilepsy.

In addition to the research background, I trained as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist with a particular interest and focus on working with children and young people who experienced trauma and/or who live in care settings.

College Research Themes

  • Childhood & Youth
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Data & Digital


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