Projects per year
Director of BSc Psychology
Director of Enterprise/Engagement
Dr Victoria (Vicky) Scaife joined the School of Social Work and Psychology in 2003, having previously completed a PhD at the University of Leeds, an MSc in Psychological Research Methods, and post-doctoral work in the field of decision-making and risk perception. She is a Chartered Psychologist (C.Psychol) and an Associate Fellow (AFBPsS) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). She is a member of the BPS Division of Social Psychology, the BPS Division of Health Psychology, the Special Group for Psychologists in Social Services, and the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA).
Dr Scaife leads the Psychology of Substance Use research Group at the UEA.
Self and Society
Psychology of Substance Use
Final Year Project Supervision
Social Psychology II
Current Postgraduate Students
Elisavet Patouris: Young people and risk taking: A Theory of Planned Behaviour-based Analysis
Ellen Lynch: Young people and binge-drinking: A Theory of Planned Behaviour-based Analysis
Key Research Interests and Expertise
Dr Scaife's research is focussed on the psychology of substance use. She has a broad range of interests in social psychology and drug and alcohol use research encompassing four key areas:
1. Parental substance use (specifically parenting roles and practices in families where there is maternal and/or paternal substance use, the impact of maternal and paternal substance use on outcomes for children, and public and professional perceptions of maternal and paternal substance users)
2. Young people and substance use (specifically social psychological models of decision-making, peer group processes, risk perception, and risk and protective factors for the development of problematic use). One key strand of this research focuses particularly on vulnerable groups of young people and their families e.g. young people who are in care and/or involved with offending
3. Professional decision-making (specifically the application of social psychological models of decision-making to understanding how professionals such as social workers make decisions and judgements in relation to families affected by parental substance use e.g. judgements about risk and child well-being/protection)
4. Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and Optimistic Bias research (theoretically driven work exploring the role of attitudes, social influences, perceptions of control, perceptions of risk and additional affective, normative and identity-related variables in the generation of drug and alcohol use intentions and behaviour)
Parental Substance Use
Dr Scaife’s recent and current work examines the relationship between maternal and paternal drug use and outcomes for children. Postgraduate student Elizavet Patouris uses quantitative and qualitative techniques to examine the relationship between maternal and paternal substance use and youth offending behaviours. Ongoing current work combines questionnaire-based measures with quantitative analysis to examine public and professional processes of stereotyping and attribution as applied to mothers and fathers who use heroin and other drugs.
Young People and Substance Use
Recent work has examined risk and protective factors for the development of substance use in adolescence, with a particular focus on populations of vulnerable young people (such as young people who have been involved with offending and/or who are at risk of school exclusion), and on services ability to respond to the needs of these populations. Other work has used expanded models of social psychological decision-making to investigate how young people make decisions about whether or not to take Ecstasy [MDMA]; and social cognitive antecedents of binge-drinking in student populations with a particular focus on peer and family factors. Ongoing partnership work with TACT/Children Law UK seeks to investigate the relationship between being in care and the development of offending. One aspect of this work will explore the social and psychological antecedents of offending intentions and behaviours in populations of young people who are and are not Local Authority Care.
Dr Scaife is interested in the application of social psychological models of decision-making to understanding how professionals such as social workers make decisions and judgements about families affected by parental substance use. She is particularly interested in how social workers assess levels of risk in relation to child well-being and protection, in terms of both heuristic and elaborative strategies. Pilot work is currently being conducted in relation to drugs workers perceptions of the parenting ability and practices of mothers and fathers who use drugs.
Theory of Planned Behaviour and Optimistic Bias
Theoretically driven work has explored the role of attitudes, social influences, perceptions of control, perceptions of risk and additional affective, normative and identity-related variables in the generation of drug use intentions and behaviour, as well as the phenomenon of optimistic bias. Postgraduate student Ellen Lynch is applying an expanded version of the TPB to improve prediction and understanding of binge drinking behaviour in populations of young people with a particular focus on normative processes.
Walsh, J., Scaife, V., Notley, C., Dodsworth, J., & Schofield, G. (2011). Perception of need and barriers to access: the mental health needs of young people attending a youth offending team in the UK. Health and Social Care in the Community 19(4), 420–428.
Scaife, V., O’Brien, M., McEune, R., Notley, C., Millings, A., & Biggart, L. (2009). Vulnerable young people and substance misuse: Expanding on the risk and protection-focused approach using social psychology. Child Abuse Review Vol. 18, 224–239.
Scaife, V. (2008). Maternal and paternal drug misuse and outcomes for children: Identifying risk and protective factors. Children and Society Vol. 22, pp. 53–62.
Schofield, G., Ward, E., Biggart, L., Scaife, V., Dodsworth, J., Larsson, B., Haynes, A., & Stone, N. (2012). Looked After Children and Offending: Reducing Risk and Promoting Resilience.
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):
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29/03/12 → 12/07/12
A behavioral approach to adolescent cannabis use: Accounting for nondeliberative, developmental, and temperamental factorsPatouris, E., Scaife, V. & Nobes, G., 2016, In: Journal of Substance Use. 21, 5, p. 506-514
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile3 Citations (Scopus)11 Downloads (Pure)
Perception of need and barriers to access: the mental health needs of young people attending a Youth Offending Team in the UKWalsh, J., Scaife, V., Notley, C., Dodsworth, J. & Schofield, G., 2011, In: Health & Social Care in the Community. 19, 4, p. 420-428 9 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review18 Citations (Scopus)
Vulnerable young people and substance misuse: expanding on the risk and protection-focused approach using social psychologyScaife, V., O'Brien, M., McEune, R., Notley, C., Millings, A. & Biggart, L., 2009, In: Child Abuse Review. 18, 4, p. 224-239 16 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review2 Citations (Scopus)