Christina Thurston (MSc, MA(Hons))

Contact details



School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Chrystal Macmillan Building
15a George Square

Post code


Christina is a second-year 3.5 ESRC-funded PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. She is supervised by Dr Franziska Meinck and Dr Aja Murray. Her PhD is investigating whether government-level interventions can mitigate the impact of childhood adversity on mental health outcomes in South African adults and is part of a larger, 3-wave longitudinal study.

Christina is specifically interested in longitudinal research that explores causal risk and resilience pathways from childhood adversity to later life psychopathology. Prior research Christina has undertaken has explored the relationship between childhood adversity and schizotypal traits in Northern Irish emerging adults.

Christina worked for a number of years for a national children's charity, case managing vulnerable children and families who have experienced trauma and families with children who have complex developmental needs. Christina has also worked with vulnerable adults in community settings as a social prescriber and in a secure residential setting as a therapeutic activities co-ordinator. 

Christina holds an MSc in the Psychology of Childhood Adversity (Queen's University, Belfast) and an MA(Hons) in Psychology (University of Dundee). 



2024 University of Edinburgh (pending): PhD Social Work 

2019 Queen's University Belfast: MSc Psychology of Childhood Adversity 

2018 University of Dundee: MA(Hons) Psychology 

Responsibilities & affiliations

Tutor, University of Edinburgh 

Member, International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect 

Undergraduate teaching

Tutor, From Research Into Practice: Landmarks in Social Work Research, 2021

Tutor, Research Skills in Social Policy, 2021

Research summary

Christina has a particular interest in the life-long impact of childhood adversity and trauma. Specifically, Christina is interested in how childhood adversity may impact mental health and how specific life events may make someone more or less at risk of developing mental ill-health after childhood adversity. 


Current research interests

Adverse childhood experiences, childhood trauma, mental illness/ psychopathology, longitudinal research, sequelae of adverse childhood experiences, life course research, researching childhood adversity in low-and middle-income countries, protective factors against the impact of childhood adversity on adult mental health

Project activity

PhD Working Title: Exploring Government Interventions to Mitigate the Impact of Childhood Adversity on South African Adult Mental Health: Longitudinal Structural Equation Modelling Analyses using a Quasi-Experimental Design 

Current project grants

ESRC studentship award
Award Type: 3.5 full award
ESRC Steer Category: Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM)
ESRC Grant Ref: ES/P000681/1

Conference details

International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Milan Congress, 2021

University of Edinburgh Social Work Conference, 2021

Supervisor 1: Dr Franziska Meinck 

Supervisor 2: Dr Aja Murray