School of Social and Political Science

Dr Valeria Skafida

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests


My research interests and expertise straddle the disciplines of social policy, sociology and public health. For my research I use primarily advanced quantitative analysis methods and longitudinal survey data. Most of my research to date has involved using population cohort study data to understand how children’s health and wellbeing outcomes are socially stratified, and how early experiences or events relate to subsequent outcomes. I have dabbled with topics related to infant feeding and children's eating habits, and my more recent work explores the lives of women and children affected by domestic abuse. I am a methods enthusiast and thus a fan of all discussions related to 'measurement' - broadly defined. 


PhD (2011) Social Policy, University of Edinburgh

MSc by Research with distinction (2007), University of Edinburgh

MA (Joint Honours) Social Policy & Social Anthropology (2006), University of Edinburgh



Journal articles & peer reviewed publications
  • Belot M, Berlin N, James J, Skafida V (in press) Changing Dietary Habits Early in Life: A Field Experiment with Low-Income Families. Journal of Political Economy Microeconomics. 
  • Skafida V, Heins E (2024) Trust in Covid-19 information sources and vaccination status: exploring social inequalities and differences within the four UK nations using a representative survey. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. 
  • Lalli G, Smith K, Woodside J, Defeyter G, Skafida V, Morgan K, Christopher M (2024) A brief review of Secondary School Food Policy (SSFP) approaches in the UK from 2010 to 2022. Nutrition and Food Science
  • Von Kaufmann F, Skafida V (2023) Captive school markets, industry self-regulation, and public-private partnerships: Narratives shaping the development of alternative proteins in the United States, 1965-1982. Food Policy
  • Skafida V, Feder G, Barter C (2023) Asking the right questions? A critical overview of longitudinal survey data on intimate partner violence and abuse among adults and young people in the UK. Journal of Family Violence
  • Skafida V, Devaney J (2023) Risk and protective factors for children’s psychopathology in the context of domestic violence – a study using nationally representative longitudinal survey data. Child Abuse and Neglect, 135, [105991].
  • Skafida V, Morrison F, Devaney J (2022) Intimate partner violence and child maltreatment in Scotland – Insights from nationally representative longitudinal survey data. Child Abuse and Neglect132, [105784].
  • Skafida V, Morrison F, Devaney J (2022). Answer refused: Exploring how item non-response on domestic abuse questions in a social survey affects analysis and results. Survey Research Methods16(2), 227-240.
  • Skafida V (2022) “Family meals” in Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies. Ed. Heather Montgomery. New York: Oxford University Press. [link]
  • Skafida V, Morrison F, Devaney J (2021) Prevalence and Social Inequality in Experiences of Domestic Abuse Among Mothers of Young Children: A Study Using National Survey Data from Scotland. Journal of Interpersonal Violence DOI Link
  • Marshall A, Skafida V (2020) 'Re-Evaluating the Social Gradient' in Fish Ragin D & Keenan JP (eds) Handbook of Research Methods in Health Psychology. New York: Routledge
  • Skafida V, Chambers S (2017) Positive association between sugar consumption and dental decay prevalence independent of oral hygiene in pre-school children: a longitudinal prospective study Journal of Public Health DOI Link
  • Skafida V (2014) Change in breastfeeding patterns in Scotland between 2004 and 2011 and the role of health policy. European Journal of Public Health DOI Link
  • Skafida V, Treanor MC (2014) Do changes in objective and subjective family income predict change in children's diets over time? Unique insights using a longitudinal cohort study and fixed effects analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. DOI Link
  • Skafida V (2013) The family meal panacea: exploring how different aspects of family meal occurrence, meal habits and meal enjoyment relate to young children's diets. Sociology of Health & Illness DOI Link
  • Skafida V, Silver KE, Rechel BP, Gilmore AB (2012) Change in tobacco excise policy in Bulgaria: the role of tobacco industry lobbying and smuggling. Tobacco Control DOI Link
  • Skafida V (2011) Juggling work and motherhood: The impact of employment and maternity leave on breastfeeding duration - a survival analysis on Growing Up in Scotland Data. Maternal and Child Health Journal 16(12):519-527 DOI Link
  • Skafida V (2009) The relative importance of social class and maternal education for breast-feeding initiation. Public Health Nutrition, 12(12):2285-2292 DOI Link
Other publications
  • Skafida V, Devaney J, Morrison F (2023) Children living with domestic abuse: Social inequalities in mother and child experiences and repercussions for children’s wellbeing - Final Project Report. University of Edinburgh. [link]
  • Skafida V (May 12th, 2023) 'The UK is offering payments to abuse victims – but it may not be enough to help them leave'. Article in The Conversation.  
  • Skafida V, Morrison F, Devaney J (2021) 'Mothers living with domestic abuse in Scotland - a tale of poverty and social inequality' Research Briefing 94, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University ot Edinburgh. [link]
  • Skafida V (2014) 'Changes in Scottish infant feeding policy and breastfeeding habits between 2004 and 2011' Research Briefing 71, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh. [link]
  • Skafida V (2012) 'Construing or misconstruing families in research and the media' in Jamieson L, Simpson R, Lewis R (eds) Researching Families and Relationships: Reflections on Process. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Skafida V (2012) ‘Is there something special about family meals? Exploring how family meal habits relate to young children’s diets', Research Briefing 62, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh. [link]
  • Skafida V (2010), ‘Wise advice: Exploring how parental use of formal and informal healthy eating advice affects children’s diets’ (conference abstract) European Journal of Public Health 20(Supplement 1):45
  • Marryat L, Skafida V & Webster C (2009), 'Growing Up in Scotland: Sweep 3 Food and Activity Report', ScotCen for the Scottish Government: Children, Young People & Social Care
  • Skafida V (2008), 'Breastfeeding in Scotland: the impact of advice for mothers', Research Briefing 36, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh. [link]


  • Nuffield Foundation. V Skafida (PI), F Morrison, J Devaney. Project title: Children living with domestic violence – understanding the effects on children’s wellbeing using longitudinal data.(Oct 2019 - Jun 2023). Project page:…
  • European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Prof M Belot(PI), J James, V Skafida (Co-I) Project title: “Nudge-it”: The Neurobiology of Decision-Making in Eating - Innovative Tools Work Package 7: ‘Behavioural economics and dietary choices’ (Jan 2014 - Dec 2018)
  • British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. V Skafida (PI) Project title: An appetite for life? Changing food habits and health from infancy to childhood in the context of family life in Scotland (Jan 2012 - Dec 2014).
  • British Academy Early Career Regional Event Call. Dr. AH Schakel (Co-PI), Dr. V Skafida(Co-PI), Dr W Swenden Project title: What will happen after the Scottish referendum on independence? (Jun 2014).



Course organiser and key lecturer: Mathematics for Social Science (UG), Digesting Food Policy (UG).

I contribute and have contributed guest lectures to: Evidence Policy and Politics; Social Life of Food; Social Policy and Society; Research Skills in Social Policy

I have previously been course-organiser for Social Inequality and Social Protection; Social Inequality and the Life Course (UG); and Programme Director for the MSc in Policy Studies and the MSc in Comparative Public Policy.


PhD Student Supervision

Topics interested in supervising

** Please note, I do not have capacity to take on any more PhD students for academic year 2024-25**

Social policy; Public health policy; Social Inequality; Children, childhood and families; Child health and wellbeing; Sociology of food; Food policy; Domestic violence; Domestic abuse; Social surveys; Social statistics; Quantitative methods.

I'm interested in supervising projects using survey data to look at social inequalities. I am particularly interested in issues related to children's health and wellbeing.  I'm generally happy to supervise projects using either or both quantitative and qualitative elements in topics related to: health policy and social and health inequalities; children and the early years; the sociology and anthropology of food; domestic abuse.

If you are interested in being supervised by Valeria Skafida, please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:

Current and Past Students

Clara Mascaro, PhD candidate in Social Policy - Thesis topic: Employment transitions and social security for working-age disabled people in Germany and the UK - a study using household panel data.

Madison Bunker, PhD candidate in Social Policy - Thesis topic: We’re going through changes: Investigating how critical transitions in children’s lives affect children’s social and emotional development from the early years onwards.

Zain Kurdi, PhD candidate in Social Policy - Thesis topic: Contemporary Adversity & Deprivation Among British Children of the New Millennium.

Fei Wang, PhD candidate in Social Policy - Thesis topic: Income inequality in old age in China - a study using longitudinal survey data. (*completed*)

Andrea Fuentes, PhD candidate in Centre for Population Health Sciences - Thesis topic: Assessing the relationship between local food environments and obesity in the Scottish population (*completed*)

Rhodri Leng, PhD candidate in Science & Technology Studies - Thesis topic: Vicissitudes of Controversy: A metaknowledge study of the diet – heart saga. (*completed*)

Esthir Tzivelopoulou, PhD candidate in Social Policy - Thesis topic: A comparative study of the development and implementation of English and Scottish educational policies for gifted and talented pupils. (*completed*)

Other professional activities

Works within