Nikki Luke

I’m a Research Officer at the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education in the University of Oxford Department of Education.

I gained a First Class Honours degree in Psychology with the Open University in 2005, and went on to complete my MSc in Social Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire in 2007. For my Master’s dissertation I interviewed adults who had spent time growing up in foster care about the effects this had had on their self-esteem; the results were published in 2008.

From 2007-2009 I worked as a Research Assistant with Professors Robin Banerjee (University of Sussex) and Mark Bennett (University of Dundee) on an ESRC-funded project entitled ‘Self-presentation in childhood: Managing public identity after rule violation.’

I recently completed my PhD in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex, where I worked with Professor Robin Banerjee as part of the CRESS research lab. While completing my PhD I also taught undergraduate courses in Research Methods and Statistics, Developmental Psychology, and Personality and Individual Differences. I have also taught for Birkbeck, University of London on the module ‘The developing child: A social perspective’, which is part of the Foundation Degree in Psychology for Education Professionals. I continue to teach for the Open University on module DSE141: Discovering Psychology and the residential school for DD303: Cognitive Psychology.

I would welcome informal contacts from prospective doctoral students interested in the following topics:

  • Foster care and adoption
  • Child maltreatment and children’s development
  • Social understanding (including ’theory of mind’) and empathy
  • Peer relationships in middle childhood (primary school age)

Research

My research interests lie in the well-being of children in foster care and how we can use research with children and their carers to make improvements in this area. I first became interested in this topic when completing my undergraduate degree. At that time I was living with my Dad and step-mum who were applying to be foster carers. Over the course of the next few years I came into contact with a number of children and young people in foster care, and I became curious about the effects their experiences might have had on their social and emotional development.

For my PhD research I looked at the influence of negative parenting experiences (in particular, physical abuse and neglect) on children’s peer reputations and self-perceptions, examining whether this relationship is mediated by problems in developing or employing social understanding and empathy. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Fostering and Adoption team in Brighton & Hove.

As part of the Rees Centre, my current work focuses on foster carers and the wide range of organisations that provide for looked after children. It also looks at building a sense of attachment, security and belonging for young people, and achieving improved outcomes in education, health and well-being.

Books

  • Coleman, J (2016) Teenagers in Foster Care. Oxford, England: Rees Centre/University of Oxford/University of Bedfordshire/University of Gothenburg.

Journal articles

  • Braithwaite, EC, O'Connor, RM, Degli-Esposti, M, Luke, N, Bowes, L (2017) “Modifiable predictors of depression following childhood maltreatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”, Translational psychiatry. 7(7) e1162+.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/tp.2017.140

  • Luke, N, Banerjee, R (2013) “Situating maltreatment in the social context: Challenges for research”, Developmental Review. 33(3) 279-284.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.001

  • Luke, N (2013) “Teaching Psychology Online: Tips and Strategies for Success”, PSYCHOLOGIST. 26(10) 766-766.

  • Luke, N, Banerjee, R (2013) “Situating maltreatment in the social context: Challenges for research”, DEVELOPMENTAL REVIEW. 33(3) 279-284.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2013.07.001

  • Luke, N, Banerjee, R (2013) “Differentiated associations between childhood maltreatment experiences and social understanding: A meta-analysis and systematic review”, Developmental Review. 33(1) 1-28.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2012.10.001

  • Luke, N, Banerjee, R (2013) “Differentiated associations between childhood maltreatment experiences and social understanding: A meta-analysis and systematic review”, DEVELOPMENTAL REVIEW. 33(1) 1-28.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2012.10.001

  • Banerjee, R, Bennett, M, Luke, N (2012) “Children’s Reasoning About Self-Presentation Following Rule Violations: The Role of Self-Focused Attention”, Child Development. 83(5) 1805-1821.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01813.x

  • Luke, N, Banerjee, R (2012) “Maltreated Children’s Social Understanding and Empathy: A Preliminary Exploration of Foster Carers’ Perspectives”, Journal of Child and Family Studies. 21(2) 237-246.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-011-9468-x

  • Banerjee, R, Bennett, M, Luke, N (2010) “Upsetting others and provoking ridicule: Children’s reasoning about the self-presentational consequences of rule violation”, British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 28(4) 941-947.

  • Luke, N, Coyne, SM (2008) “Fostering self-esteem: exploring adult recollections on the influence of foster parents”, Child & Family Social Work. 13(4) 402-410.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2008.00565.x

  • Banerjee, R, Bennett, M, Luke, N “Children’s reasoning about the self-presentational consequences of apologies and excuses following rule violations”, British Journal of Developmental Psychology. 28(4) 799-815.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01813.x

  • Weistra, S, Luke, N “Adoptive parents’ experiences of social support and attitudes towards adoption”, Adoption and Fostering.

Reports

  • Sebba, JC, Berridge, D, Luke, N, Fletcher, J, Bell, K, Strand, S, Thomas, S, Sinclair, I, O’Higgins, A (2015) The Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England: Linking Care and Educational Data. Oxford: Rees Centre & Bristol University.

  • Cosis Brown, H, Sebba, JC, Luke, N (2015) The recruitment, assessment, support and supervision of LGBT foster carers. Oxford: The Rees Centre.

  • Luke, N, Sinclair, I, Woolgar, M, Sebba, JC (2014) What works in preventing and treating poor mental health in looked after children?. London and Oxford: NSPCC/The Rees Centre.

  • Cosis Brown, H, Sebba, JC, Luke, N (2014) The role of the supervising social worker in foster care. Oxford: The Rees Centre.

  • Luke, N, Sebba, JC (2014) Effective parent and child fostering. Oxford: The Rees Centre.

  • Höjer, I, Sebba, JC, Luke, N (2014) The impact of fostering on foster carers’ children. Oxford: The Rees Centre.

  • Sebba, J, Luke, N (2013) How are Foster Carers Selected? An international literature review of instruments used within foster care selection. Oxford: Rees Centre.

  • Sebba, J, Luke, N (2013) Supporting each other: An international literature review on peer contact between foster carers. Oxford: Rees Centre, University of Oxford.

  • O'Higgins, AA, Sebba, J, Luke, N What is the impact of being in care on the educational outcomes of children? An international systematic review.

  • Luke, N, Sinclair, I, O'Higgins, AA The Educational Progress of Looked After Children in England. Technical Report 2: Relating Care to Educational Attainment and Progress.

Category

  • Department staff

Position

  • Research Officer

Research groups

  • Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education

Publications, books and other work