School of Psychology



I am a PhD student within the School of Psychology, supervised by dr Elizabeth Sheppard and professor Danielle Ropar.

I obtained my BA in English Studies with Qualified Teacher Status from the University of Natural Sciences and Humanities in Siedlce in Poland (my country of origin), and my MSc in Psychology from the University of Sunderland. Following my BA, I worked as a teacher both in Poland and in the UK. I also spent 18 years working as a freelance translator/ interpreter and medical writer in the field of clinical research. Following my MSc, I worked in the NHS as a psychological wellbeing practitioner and a higher assistant psychologist for over 3 years before commencing my PhD.

My interest in autism research is not a coincidence - I am autistic, a wife of an autistic husband and a mother of two autistic daughters (a young adult and a late teenager).

Research Summary

My research project investigates rejection sensitivity as a postulated mechanism of social disability in autism.

Previous research has identified that rejection sensitivity, a cognitive-affective processing disposition whereby an individual anxiously expects, readily perceives, and overreacts (emotionally and/or behaviourally) to rejection (Feldman & Downey, 1994), can significantly impact one's mental health in a number of clinical and non-clinical populations, including adolescents, young adults, individuals with ADHD or eating disorders, as well as ethnic and sexual minorities, where it was additionally linked to minority stress. Compounded by normative importance of peers in adolescent age, it seems that rejection sensitivity may play a role in social experience and behavioural outcomes of autistic adolescents.

However, there has been no study to assess rejection sensitivity in diagnosed autistic individuals of any age to date, and only one measure of rejection sensitivity for children has ever been developed (Downey et al., 1998). It is unclear whether this measure will be fit for purpose to be used in a sample of autistic adolescents due to the specificity of their social experience and potential social communication difficulties. Therefore, my goal at the current stage of the project is to ensure that the only existing measure of rejection sensitivity intended for children and adolescents is fit for purpose, that is, accessible for autistic adolescents and relevant to their experience. The results of this preliminary study will inform the subsequent research directions.

Past Research

In my master's research project, I explored the issue of workplace resilience in teachers and developed Teacher Resilience Inventory, a novel teacher-dedicated measure of workplace resilience, subsequently validating it in a sample of 300 teachers.

School of Psychology

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The University of Nottingham
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