Portrait of Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou (Vivi)

Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou (Vivi)

Lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disability


Dr Triantafyllopoulou has a BSc in Neuropsychology from the University of Central Lancashire, an MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology and a MRes in Psychology from Oxford Brookes University.  She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology of Intellectual Disabilities in 2013 at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent.  

Her research and consultancy focuses on health, psychological interventions and autism assessments.  She is a member of the Tizard Ethics committee and has been working with people with intellectual disabilities since 2006. 

Research interests

Dr Triantafyllopoulou's research areas cover:

  • Health research and relevant interventions for people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism
  • Sleep research and sleep interventions for people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism
  • Cancer research among people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism
  • Psychological interventions for people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism
  • Dementia and older adults with IDD
  • Educational settings/approaches in autism
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Online safety, cybercrime, cyber bullying, social media and people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism 


Dr Triantafyllopoulou is the convenor for the postgraduate IDD programmes in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the undergraduate programme in Autism.  She also convenes the undergraduate modules of Clinical Psychology for the Psychology Department at the University of Kent.


Dr Triantafyllopoulou supervises PhD research on health related issues (for example, sleep, cancer, eating disorders, GP data, dementia etc.), psychological interventions, autism diagnosis and online safety/cybercrime. 



  • Malli, M., Forrester-Jones, R. and Triantafyllopoulou, P. (2019). “Tourette’s Is a Lonely Place”: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Personal Experience and Identity of Adults with Tourette’s Syndrome. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-019-09676-2.
    Research suggests that adults with Tourette’s syndrome (TS) may face unique challenges in their everyday life due to their condition. To date, however, only a limited number of studies exist in relation to their life experiences and conception of identity. This study, which we believe to be the first of its kind, aimed to expand the literature by ‘giving voice’ to this population, and to evaluate the social and personal cost of living with TS during adulthood. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with sixteen adults with Tourette’s that focused on how they negotiated their identity and experiences. Transcripts of recorded interviews were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three superordinate themes emerged: a) “Incorporating Tourette’s syndrome into self” revealed two divergent ways in which TS was merged into the participants’ self-identity, either by reconciling with it or fighting against it; b) “Interpersonal interaction” covered issues relating to negative and supportive ties as a result of their condition; and finally, c) “The solitude of Tourette’s syndrome” described the loneliness that stems from the condition. The current findings suggest that the experience of the participants is a multidimensional one related to self-identity threat, social withdraw, and self-stigma. Implications for clinical practice on the topic are discussed.
  • McCarthy, M., Bates, C., Triantafyllopoulou, P., Hunt, S. and Milne Skillman, K. (2018). “Put bluntly, they are targeted by the worst creeps society has to offer”: Police and professionals’ views and actions relating to domestic violence and women with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jar.12503.
    Little is known about the attitudes and practices of key personnel towards the domestic violence experienced by women with intellectual disabilities.
    An online survey was conducted of Police officers and health and social care professionals. A total of 717 Police and other professionals across a wide variety of UK sites responded. Research questions were focussed on direct experience, attitudes and responses.
    Approximately half of all respondents had direct experience of working with a woman with intellectual disabilities who had been through domestic violence. Professionals were more likely than the Police to see women with intellectual disabilities as being especially vulnerable. The majority of both professionals and Police believed women with intellectual disabilities were deliberately targeted by violent and abusive men.
    More training is needed for both the Police and health and social care professionals specifically in domestic violence as it affects women with intellectual disabilities.
  • Bates, C. and Triantafyllopoulou, P. (2018). Exploring the Impact of Mental Capacity on Breast Screening for Women with Intellectual Disabilities. Health and Social Care in the Community [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12704.
    This study explores the impact of mental capacity in relation to breast screening for women with intellectual disabilities (ID) in the UK. Participation in breast screening is considerably lower for women with ID compared to the general population. Barriers to screening include poor mobility and behavioural difficulties. There is currently no research which primarily explores the relationship between mental capacity and breast screening for this group of individuals. This paper presents the results of a cross sectional survey of 131 women with ID supported by eight Social Care Providers within England and Wales. The data was collected between January 2017 and July 2017. The current research explores the decision-making process surrounding breast screening, considering the impact of associated risk factors during this process. Participants completed a specifically created survey addressing the aforementioned issues. The results indicated that women who lacked capacity, were less likely to engage in breast screening. It was also demonstrated that the process outlined in the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) (2005) was not always followed; women were not routinely assessed if there were doubts regarding their decision-making ability around breast screening and best interest meetings (BIM) were not always held if the person lacked capacity. In order to be able to generalise the current findings, further research is needed to gain a broader understanding of how professionals make decisions surrounding breast screening for women with ID if the individuals are unable to decide this independently.
  • Murphy, G., Chiu, P., Triantafyllopoulou, P., Barnoux, M., Blake, E., Cooke, J., Forrester-Jones, R., Gore, N. and Beecham, J. (2017). Offenders with intellectual disabilities in prison: what happens when they leave?. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research [Online] 61:957-968. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jir.12374.
    People with intellectual disabilities, if convicted of offences, may be sentenced to prison, but little is known about their life when they are released. This study followed up men with ID who were leaving prisons in England. The men were hard to contact, but 38 men were interviewed, on average 10 weeks after leaving prison. The men were living in a variety of situations and often were very under-occupied, with limited social networks. 70% were above the clinical cut-off for anxiety and 59.5% were above the clinical cut-off for depression. The men were receiving little support in the community and many had been re-interviewed by police. Community teams need to provide better support to this very vulnerable group.
  • Triantafyllopoulou, P., Murphy, G. and McGill, P. (2012). Carer’s views of sleep disorders in adults with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research [Online] 56:671-671. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2788.2012.01583_3.x.
  • Triantafyllopoulou, P., Wiggs, L. and Bunce, L. (2010). Sleep dif?culties in adults with ID: personal and parental perception. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities [Online] 23:519-519. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3148.2010.00597_1.x.
    To investigate: (a) the sleep problems that young adults (YA) with ID
    might be experiencing taking into account their own perspective, (b) the relationship between the YA and their parents’ sleep and (c) the coincidence between
    the YA and their parents’ perception of the YA’s sleep. Method: Twelve adults
    aged 19–25 years and their parents were recruited from day centres. The parents
    completed sleep questionnaires regarding the YA sleep, their own sleep and
    daytime sleepiness. A structured interview was also held with nine of the YA,
    investigating their sleep habits. Results: A high prevalence of sleep problems
    was found in YA with ID with the most common being: day-time sleepiness,
    sleep onset delay and night waking. Parents underestimated their children’s
    overall sleep problems. There was an association between the parents’ and the
    YA sleep. Parents’ perception of their children’s sleep problems (i.e. parasomnias, night waking, sleep anxiety, duration and delay) coincided with the YA perception of their problems. Conclusion: Findings are in line with previous
    research and con?rm the expectation that YA with ID experience sleep problems.
    The importance of including the individuals’ input when assessing complex
    states such as sleep was revealed. Future research is needed with a larger
    sample to con?rm the results.

Conference or workshop item

  • Murphy, G., Triantafyllopoulou, P., Chiu, P., Barnoux, M., Blake, E., Cooke, J., Forrester-Jones, R., Gore, N. and Beecham, J. (2016). Life after prison for ex-offenders with intellectual disabilities. In: International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities World Congress. Wiley-Blackwell, p. 712.
  • Chiu, P., Triantafyllopoulou, P. and Murphy, G. (2016). Life after release from prison: the experience of ex-offenders with intellectual disabilities. In: 15 World Congress IASSIDD. Wiley, p. 649.
  • Triantafyllopoulou, P., Malli, M., Louis, M. and Murphy, G. (2016). Ballet Burst: an intervention study to improve health and fitness in people with intellectual disabilities. In: 15 World Congress IASSIDD. Wiley, p. 815.
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