Clinical Research Projects Available for 2016

Clinical Research Projects Available for 2016
You can discuss potential Masters and PhD projects with any staff in the School of
Psychology. Their research interests can be found at:
There are also a variety of specific project areas that have been outlined below, some by
external supervisors, others by staff in the School of Psychology.
Projects Supervised by School of Psychology Staff
Michelle Arnold (Lecturer, School of Psychology)
I am happy to discuss projects related to memory processes and autobiographical
memory, and I have a particular interest in metacognitive issues (i.e., how well we monitor
our own memory and knowledge). Some of my research projects have included:
• exploring underlying processes in recovered memories
• monitoring and performance in test-taking situations
• exploring and separating out objective performance (e.g., how many memories
you recalled)
• from subjective performance (e.g., how it felt to recall those memories).
Lisa Beatty (Research Fellow, School of Psychology)
Who's engaged? Examining predictors of engagement with an online self program for
people with early stage cancer.
Over the past decade, there has been a surge of research examining the efficacy of
online therapeutic interventions for a range of psychological and physical health
conditions. More recently, research has started to focus on determining: (i) which people
use these resources (eg who drops out of the research vs who stays in), and (ii) what
predicts whether users login only once versus using the resource extensively (level of
engagement). It also remains unknown whether these differences in therapeutic 'dose'
leads to significantly different outcomes. This masters project will prospectively examine
predictors of engagement (comparing high versus low iCBT users), and attrition (drop
outs versus treatment completers) with an online self-help program for people with
cancer. This project is a sub-study of a larger NHMRC funded study examining the
efficacy of this intervention in reducing distress over time. While the intervention content
has previously been developed and tested, the student may be able to assist with
revisions to the content as we meet with website developers (if interested).
Mariëtte Berndsen (Lecturer, School of Psychology)
My primary research interest lies in the social psychology of emotions, which in general
involves three approaches: First, how do other people and our relationships with them
influence our emotions over and above the emotional stimulus itself.
For example, if you fear that food could be contaminated and you see other people eating
this food, does this influence your fear (decrease, increase, or not)? And who are these
other people (friends, strangers, colleagues) and how important are they in influencing your
Second: when, why, and how do people experience group-based (or collective) emotions,
even when they were not causally involved in the harm or injustice. For example, why can
non-indigenous Australians living nowadays experience guilt, and/or shame towards the
Stolen Generation (Indigenous Australians) and how does this impact on their willingness to
social change towards these victims?
Updated 28 September, 2015
Third, a relatively new approach reducing stereotypes about a specific group of people is to
ask individuals to take the perspective of this specific group. For example, describing a day
of an older person “by seeing the world through their eyes”, inhibited the use of stereotypes.
It would be interesting to see whether this perspective-taking attitude can also reduce
stigma about hospitalised persons.
Junwen Chen (Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology)
My research primarily focuses on anxiety disorders, specifically social anxiety (disorder)
and excessive worry, as well as the cross-cultural study of these problems in different
populations. For 2016, I am keen on supervising projects related to these areas. Examples
of projects are:
 Examining the effects of Behavioural Activation and Self-compassion interventions
for academic worry.
 Investigating the maintaining mechanisms of, and factors pertaining to social anxiety,
excessive worry (e.g., cognitive processes such as interpretation bias or post-event
rumination; intolerance of uncertainty);
 Undertaking a cross-cultural comparison of underlying factors and symptoms of these
Michael Gradisar (Associate Professor, School of Psychology): There is currently 1 project
on offer that I would have an interest in supervising that would be associated with research
being conducted in the Child & Adolescent Sleep Clinic:
 Many adolescents experience a sleep disorder known as Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder,
whereby they tend to fall asleep late, yet obtain limited sleep during the school week due
to rising 'early'. As a consequence, many report performing poorly at school (e.g., poor
grades). This is likely due to them needing to learn in class when their circadian rhythm
is at their lowest point. We are currently running a project where we are attempting to
find the causes for this poor school performance. The current project aims to compare
information processing speed between adolescents with Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
and matched good-sleeping adolescents. As this project is partly run from the Child &
Adolescent Sleep Clinic, there is an opportunity to do a placement here too.
 New research from Norway has identified 33% of those with Delayed Sleep Phase
Disorder cannot be woken by an increasingly loud tone. This has implications for ‘night
owl’ teenagers who rely on their alarm to wake up in time for school. We have the
opportunity to measure such a phenomenon in developing teenagers. That is, as they
get older and tend to sleep later, are they at increased risk for poor school attendance?
Eva Kemps (Professor, School of Psychology): I am interested in supervising projects that
apply experimental cognitive psychology to the study of health behaviours, in particular
eating behaviour and physical activity. Examples of possible projects include:
 Investigating the role of mental imagery in the experience and reduction of food cravings
 Evaluating the effectiveness of cognitive bias modification for reducing unhealthy as well
as dysfunctional eating behaviour (including emotional eating and over-eating, as well as
the consumption of beverages such as energy drinks and soft drinks) and/or increasing
physical activity
 Examining effects of nutrition and/or physical activity on cognition and psychological wellbeing
Leon Lack (Professor, School of Psychology)
Two funded projects for 2015 that could accommodate a master's project include:
 We have evidence that insomniacs experience poor days following poor sleeps. We want
to explore whether successful treatment of insomnia with CBTi results in a decrease of
this relationship as is true for good sleepers and underlies the decreased beliefs about
the impact of poor sleep on their subsequent daytime functioning.
Updated 28 September, 2015
We are further exploring aspects of Intensive Sleep Re-training, a novel and very
promising treatment of insomnia. In particular we aim to translate a presently laboratory
administered therapy to the home environment.
Robert Lynd-Stevenson (Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology)
I’m trained and registered as a clinical psychologist and worked in the community as a
clinical psychologist for a number of years. My primary interest when conducting research
is to use modelling methods (i.e., nonexperimental methods) to investigate various theories
about the role of cognitions in the aetiology and treatment of anxiety and depression.
Perhaps a bit of background may help to explain my research interests. Seligman (1966)
argued that the causal conclusions reported in modelling research are just as valid as the
causal conclusions reported in experimental research. A major implication of Seligman’s
argument is that there’s nothing about experimental research to guarantee that clinical
interventions (or any other interventions) actually work in the community. Seligman’s
article was criticised by a number of people and I published a methodological article in
defense of Seligman’s argument (Lynd-Stevenson, 2007). A few examples of research
topics that I’d be interested in supervising that would involve the use of modelling methods
(if you’re curious, I can cite examples from the research literature to stimulate your
investigating the contribution of threat cognitions to the aetiology and treatment of
the role of cognitions (e.g., automatic thoughts, schema) in the aetiology and treatment
of depression;
developing a causal model to account for the factors that moderate the influence of
clinical treatments in real-world settings.
the contribution of social, political and community factors involved in the increasing
levels of depression and anxiety reported in Western societies.
Another field of interest concerns the scientist-practitioner model (again, if you’re
curious, I can cite examples from the research literature to stimulate your thinking):
the scientist-practitioner model doesn’t appear to be working as originally envisaged. In
what way (if at all) does the model actually work?
what are the procedures presently followed around Australia for allocating students to
clinical placements in the community?
why don’t many clinical psychologists offer placements?
what are the factors that students consider make a good supervisor?
what are the factors involved in generating student satisfaction with placements?
what amount of psychopharmacology should be taught to clinical students?
Julie Mattiske (Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology): For Masters projects, I am broadly
interested in anxiety, anxiety disorders, and health-related issues. I have supervised
Masters projects in a range of other areas including perfectionism, schizophrenia, and
alcohol dependence. I would be very happy to serve as the internal co-supervisor for most
of the nominated health projects, e.g., diabetes, oncology.
Mike Nicholls (Professor, School of Psychology), Dr Nicole Thomas, Dr Toby Loetscher
(Postdoctoral researchers):
The influence of pictorial cues on bisection judgments.
Patients with right parietal cortex damage show a bias toward the right, neglecting part of
the left side of either objects or space. These biases can occur in both near and far space,
or alternatively can be isolated to either near or far space. Similar biases are observed
among neurologically normal people in that they show an attentional bias to the left side.
When examining space-based differences, it has been shown that the left bias shifts to a
right side bias in far space. It is believed that the attentional biases seen in clinical neglect
Updated 28 September, 2015
and those seen in the general population are the result of similar neural mechanisms and
therefore the left bias is referred to as pseudo neglect. This project will investigate whether
attentional biases can be altered by using images and descriptions to induce near and far
distance contexts. Prior work suggests that images which induce a
representation of either near or far space might alter attentional biases as they would in
actual near or far space. It is also believed that written descriptions can be used to create a
context in which participants are imaging an object as being in either near or far space. The
project will involve administering 2 experiments, which will each involve about 20
participants drawn from the first year pool. Both tasks would be conducted on a computer.
Potential students should have an interest in the brain and cognition. Some basic
computing skills will be an advantage – though the programming will be done by us.
How the presence of others affects our perception
Traditionally cognitive scientists investigate the mechanisms of perception and action in
individual subjects. There is some evidence, however, that the mere presence of other
individuals can change how we perceive and attend to stimuli. This project will investigate
how the presence of a second person affects one’s spatial judgments. Among the questions
the project aims to address are: Does a person sitting to the left bias one’s spatial
judgments to that side? How does competing (or collaborating) with a second person affect
an individual’s spatial judgment? Addressing these questions will make an important
contribution in our understanding of how the mind interacts with the world. Ultimately,
investigating the impact of social context upon perception and action might help to better
understand disorders of social functions such as autism.
The project will involve administering 2 or 3 experiments, which will each involve about 12
pairs of participants drawn from the first year pool. The task will be run on a computer.
Potential students should have an interest in the brain and cognition. Some basic computing
skills will be an advantage – though the programming will be done by us.
Knoblich, G. and N. Sebanz (2006). "The social nature of perception and action." Current
Directions in Psychological Science 15(3): 99-104.
Sight n’ sound: How different senses are represented in space by the brain
Following damage to the right parietal cortex, patients can experience symptoms of spatial
neglect where they fail to attend to stimuli located in the left hemispace. This neglect is
multi-modal and can affect stimuli in visual and auditory space. The general population also
shows an attentional asymmetry – but in this case the too much attention is paid to the left.
This attentional bias is thought to involve similar cognitive and neural mechanisms to clinical
neglect – and for this reason, it is often referred to as pseudo neglect. This project will
examine the links between visual and auditory attention and their effect on pseudo neglect.
Recent research by Sosa et al. (2010) suggests that there is a leftward bias for vision and a
rightward bias for audition. However, they failed to control for a number of differences
between the tasks such as: (a) the distance at which the stimuli were presented, (b) the
length of the stimuli, (c) eye movements, (d) the type of response – to name a few. The
project will involve administering 2 or 3 experiments, which will each involve about 20
participants drawn from the first year pool. The task will be run on a computer.
Potential students should have an interest in the brain and cognition. Some basic
computing skills will be an advantage – though the programming will be done by us.
Sosa, Y., Teder-Sälejärvi, W.A., & McCourt, M.E. (2010). Biases of spatial attention in
vision and audition. Brain & Cognition, 73(3), 229-235.
Updated 28 September, 2015
Reg Nixon (Professor, School of Psychology) . My primary interest is child and adult
response to traumatic stressors that can include (among others) physical and sexual
assault, motor vehicle accidents, losing relatives to homicide and combat/war-related
trauma. I am specifically interested in how psychological difficulties such as acute stress
disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develop following trauma, and in
the treatment of these disorders. I am currently researching memory in traumatised
children, treatment of posttraumatic stress in adults, intrusive memory in traumatised
adults. For 2016 I have a particular project for a Masters student in the area of paediatric
burns and posttraumatic adjustment that I’m happy to discuss further.
Melanie Takarangi (Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology): My research focuses on
using cognitive processes—particularly memory distortion—to help understand real world
issues arising in (mainly) forensic settings. More specifically, my research interests include
offender, witness and victim memory for crime-related experiences (particularly aggression
and violence); distortions in traumatic memory; the impact of alcohol on memory; attitudes
towards wrongful conviction; and other legal implications of false memory. I am also
interested in expectancy (e.g., placebo) effects on memory, behaviour, and psychological
well-being. I am happy to discuss supervision of projects that fall within the above research
Marika Tiggemann (Professor, School of Psychology)
I am interested in supervising projects in the broad area of body image. Specific interests
include media effects, sexualisation of children, adult women, and applications of
Objectification Theory. There is also the possibility that there will be a PhD Scholarship or
top-up available (not yet advised) through OPAL (Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle) to look
at the effects of weighing and measuring children (to be co-supervised with Dr Nicola
Michael Tlauka (Lecturer, School of Psychology). My research focuses on human spatial
memory. I am interested in supervising projects examining people's ability to learn spatial
information in a variety of contexts. Recent investigations include forgetting, virtual learning
and sex differences in spatial ability.
Michael Wenzel (Associate Professor, School of Psychology)
My research currently focuses on responses to victimizations and transgressions in
interpersonal or intergroup contexts. Specifically, I am interested in forgiveness (and selfforgiveness) and the functions it has for the restoration of justice perceptions, human
needs, relationships and identities.
Tim Windsor (Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology):
I am interested in projects concerned with changes in social behavior and emotion regulation
that occur during adulthood and ageing. Potential projects might involve examining the
different types of emotion regulation strategies that older and younger adults use, and
whether use of different strategies are more or less effective for younger and older adults in
managing their emotional reactivity to different stimuli. I am also interested in age differences
in peoples’ attempts to regulate the emotions of social partners (extrinsic emotion regulation),
and whether older and younger adults can be primed to engage in self-regulatory behaviors
(e.g., avoidance of negative stimuli) using implicit means (i.e., outside of conscious
Urry,H.L , & Gross, J.J. (2010). Emotion regulation in older age. Current Directions in
Psychological Science, 19, 352-357.
Updated 28 September, 2015
Robyn Young (Assoc Prof, School of Psychology)
My research is in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I am interested in outcomes of
persons with ASD ( children and adults) as well as comorbidity issues. I am also interested in
early detection of autism, and female profiles. I am also interested in people’s fitness to stand
trial and other matters related to ASD and criminality; either perpetrators or victims.
I am engaged in a collaborative research project with Neil Brewer (Professor, School of
Psychology) which provides many possible avenues for clinical projects. Broadly
speaking the project is concerned with the interactions that adults with Autism Spectrum
Disorder (ASD) have with the criminal justice system. We have recently completed a
book manuscript titled The Crimes of People with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Myths and
Mechanisms. In this we identify numerous interesting but largely unresearched issues.
These primarily relate to those social-cognitive characteristics of individuals with ASD that
might contribute to their becoming involved in crime (as a culprit or a victim) or to
prejudicial (i.e., negative) interactions with the police and the courts. We can
accommodate a couple of students working on projects in this area, particularly projects
that might tackle closely related investigations of the same basic issue. Many of these
projects are amenable to laboratory experimentation – so, just to illustrate (note: these
are but a couple of examples from numerous possibilities), one might examine how some
particular characteristics of the verbal or nonverbal presentation of individuals with ASD
affect the way in which others perceive or respond to them, or how an inability to detect
the intentions of others through reading their nonverbal behaviour may contribute to a
problematic interaction with that person.
Projects Supervised by Adjunct Staff
Please note that any research offered by external organizations will require an
internal university supervisor, where relative supervisory input will need to be
negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
Where a 1 appears as a superscript by the name of the supervisor, this indicates that
the supervisor is external and an internal university supervisor will be required.
Richard Clark1 (Professor, E): [email protected] or 08-8410 6500). Our
clinic uses quantitative EEG, ERPs and neurotherapy in the assessment and treatment of a
range of brain and psychological disorders - see - including ASD,
Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, AD/HD, Pain, TBI and working memory disorders.
Quantitative EEG/ERPs permit imaging of brain function with high temporal resolution and
the capacity to localise abnormal function to brain structures using standardised atlases (e.g.
MNI). Neurotherapy includes a number of different methods, including neurofeedback
therapy, transcranial direct current stimulation, LENS, Heart Rate Variability training and
hemoencephalography to help normalise such brain function. It is often used synergistically
with more conventional techniques such as Mindfulness and CBT in conjunction with
psychoeducation and counselling. There are a number of potential projects at our clinic,
including examination of extant EEG/ERP datasets to characterise particular disorders and to
analyse neuropsychological profiles and QEEG/ERP data pre and post neurotherapy.
Dr Nadia Corsini1, Senior Research Officer, Behavioural Research Unit, Cancer
Council SA P: 8291 4382, E: [email protected] W:
Cancer Council SA is a not-for-profit organisation that conducts and funds cancer
Updated 28 September, 2015
research, provides support services to people affected by cancer, delivers prevention
programs, and leads advocacy activities for improving cancer outcomes. Within the
Behavioural Research and Evaluation Unit we are interested in the areas of cancer
survivorship (what are the unmet needs and how can we support people post
treatment?), disparities in cancer risk factors (amongst people in rural areas and from
culturally and linguistically diverse communities), understanding drivers of cancer risk
behaviours (in particular sun protection practices), evaluation of Cancer Council SA
programs in the areas of cancer support and prevention. We work closely with
Professor Carlene Wilson, Cancer Council SA Chair in Cancer Prevention
(Behavioural Science) and would be happy to discuss joint supervision of projects.
Please email me to discuss further if you are interested.
Nicole Lovato1 (Research Associate)
My research spans several areas within the field of sleep research and are primarily
focused on the basic and clinical aspects of sleep, circadian rhythms, sleep disorders and
treatment, as well as the relationship between sleep and daytime functioning.
One of my upcoming projects will be focused on using a novel approach to prevent the
onset of depression in adolescents with good sleep. Based on our recent research (Lovato
& Gradisar, 2014), it is proposed that establishing and maintaining good sleep during
adolescence could prevent future depressed mood. Using a meta-analytic approach, we
have reported time spent awake in bed significantly contributed to the development of
depression in adolescents.
This project will evaluate whether our school-based sleep education program can improve
both sleep and depressed mood relative to a control-group. This experimental data will also
further inform our current understanding of the development of depression from sleep
If you have an interest in this project please email me to make an appointment:
[email protected]
Reference: Lovato, N., & Gradisar, M. (2014). A meta-analysis and model of the
relationship between sleep and depression in adolescents: Recommendations for future
research and clinical practice. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 18(6), 521-529.
Rita Princi1 (Registered Psychologist, Princi Consulting, 441 Fullarton Road, HIGHGATE
SA 5063, Telephone: (08) 8377 7755; Facsimile: (08) 8377 7855; email:
[email protected]). Interested in supervising projects related to:
Neuropsychotherapy - Advances in neurobiological research supported by neural imaging
studies indicate how adverse experiences affect the brain. These findings indicate the effect
of severe stress (emotional and/or physical) on brain functioning, neural firing and ultimately
neural structure. Recent research indicate that talking therapies significantly enhance
positive behavior, brain functioning and even brain structure especially in the prefrontal
cortex regions, orbito frontal cortex, anterior cyngulate gyrus, hippocampus and amygdala.
The neurobiological effect of talking therapies with emphasis on neurogenesis and
neuroplasticity, opened new perspectives for therapeutic interventions – the emerging
paradigm of Neuropsychotherapy
Updated 28 September, 2015
Projects Offered by External Supervisors / Organisations
Rob Baker1 (Director, Cardiac Surgery Research Unit, Flinders Private Hospital email:
[email protected], ph: 84042015): The Cardiac Surgery Unit at Flinders has
been exploring the role of mood, and specifically depression, on cardiac patient outcomes
for a number of years. Opportunity exist over the next few years to develop our ongoing
interests examining those factors which impact on our patients after discharge from
hospital. We also have project areas available looking at the development of interventions
to help our post Cardiac surgical patients. Our unit has a large database of surgical
patients who have undergone assessments with several measures of quality of life and
mood symptoms, at a number of different time points. The Unit has an advanced database
available with detailed demographic and clinical information in addition to psychological
variables. The surgical unit has a strong track record of published research in this area.
Dianna Bartsch1, Psychologist, Southern Mental Health Services, Email:
[email protected]
Psychology has a number of opportunities for students who are interested in research in the
treatment of adult mental health conditions and clinical psychology service provision within
the public sector. We have a number of clinicians interested in collaborating on a varied
research topics including:
Evaluation of group programs/mechanisms of change (i.e. DBT, MBCT,
metacognitive training, Mood Disorder Groups, schema therapy group programs)
Establishing and trialing a family-based therapy program for families affected by
Establishing and trialing group schema therapy for cluster C personality disorders.
Exploring the effectiveness of individual schema therapy within public mental health
Clinician attitudes towards working with consumers with a diagnosis of personality
Exploring rates of PTSD amongst mental health consumers and available
Therapist’s attitudes towards treating PTSD amongst consumers with a diagnosis of
psychotic-spectrum disorder or personality disorder.
Clinicians views on working with parents who have a diagnosis of borderline
personality disorder.
Exploring the relationships between delusional thinking, cognitive insight, selfcompassion and quality of life amongst people diagnosed with psychosis.
Exploring the overlap between complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder
and implications for treatment.
Exploring the role of psychologists within acute settings – opportunities for brief
Validity, reliability and specificity of risk assessments.
Exploration of what frameworks mental health clinicians use when developing a risk
management plan. How does this fit with best practice/evidence-based models?
Exploring potential factors that might assist in predicting future adherence to
treatment (i.e. DBT) for consumers with personality disorders.
Use of technology to support evidence-based psychotherapy treatments.
Perceptions on the accessibility of clinical psychology services.
Perceptions re: the role of clinical psychologists within public mental health service
settings (comparing views of consumers/multi-D staff/psychologists).
Recruitment and retention of clinical psychologists within the public sector.
Clinical audits
Updated 28 September, 2015
Susan Heinrich1, Senior Clinical Psychologist, SA Forensic Mental Health Northern
Adelaide Local Health Network – SA Health Government
Possible projects available through Forensic Mental Health Services for Psychology postgraduate students. I can be contacted on 0422 335 434 or [email protected] I
would also welcome contact from students who may have other ideas for research
-Outcomes (both clinical mental health and recidivism) for forensic consumers based on
variables including gender, illness type, patient journey, offence type etc. Most of these
would be replication studies of those done elsewhere. To date very few studies have
focused on the SA population and the unique aspects of our legal system.
-Impact of court orders on motivation and outcomes
-Duress and emergency codes in JNH – Has the new environment and increased security
presence impacted the frequency and type of high risk incidents?
-Risk assessments and cost-effectiveness of treatment on managing and reducing risk (for
example, do our transition plans assist to manage risk and do they change long term
Carlene Wilson1, Professor, Foundation Chair of Cancer Prevention, Tel: 8204 6721;
Email [email protected] The research topics I am interested in supervising
students in are: (1) Increasing primary and secondary prevention of cancer through
targeted behavioural interventions; (2) Examining the variables that impact upon dietary
and lifestyle decision-making and how these might be influenced, and (3) Evaluating the
impact of various dietary, nutritional and lifestyle choices on aspects of cognition and
affect in various demographic groups.
Simon McMahon1, Business and Systems Coordinator Adelaide Northern
headspace, Adelaide Northern Division of General Practice). Phone: 08 8252 9444;
Fax: 08 8252 9433; Email: [email protected]
I am looking to evaluate a universal mental health promotion program to prevent
depression and anxiety related mental health problems. The program uses he framework
for Prevention, Promotion and early Intervention (Department of Health and Ageing) and
evidenced based research from journal reviews (and more). The program is delivered as
a facilitation based workshop to adults in the labour force. The evaluation would focus on
impact and outcomes using quantitative and qualitative measures.
Katya Schiavone1 - Lead Clinician (Psychology), Child & Youth Service, Disability
Services, ph: 83486500; email: [email protected]
Specialist Services for Children and Youth provide assessment and therapeutic services to
children who are at risk of school or community exclusion or family breakdown, due to the
child's challenging behaviour. We have two possible Masters or Phd project ideas:
• The relationship between client need, client responsivity and service delivery outcomes
and the possible predictors of service delivery outcomes.
Evaluating service delivery outcomes for our clients, and specifically understanding
which age groups and sub populations the positive behaviour support model is most
effective with.
Updated 28 September, 2015
Kerri Vowles1 - Psychologist, Department of Paediatrics,
[email protected]
Neonatal Follow Up Unit: An existing database provides opportunities for a research
project to examine the relationship between specific medical risk factors (e.g. dilation
of cerebral ventricles) on long term developmental outcomes of children born pre-term
or at very low birth weight. Information regarding long term outcomes of preterm
infants is of great practical importance to families and clinicians. Currently, published
data in this area only exists for children at two years of age, so this project would
extend to include developmental outcomes of children aged 5 and 8 years.
Heinrich, S. (2012). The predictive value of medical morbidity on developmental
outcomes at school age for very preterm and very low birth weight children
(Unpublished master’s thesis). Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia.
Flinders Medical Centre – Potential Research Collaborations
Please note: FMC researchers are classified as external supervisors so internal supervisors
from the Flinders University School of Psychology must be involved in this research.
Please be aware Kathy Moar and Carolyn Cole are unavailable for 2016 research
Kathy Moar1, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Paediatrics,
[email protected] ; Carolyn Cole1, Clinical Psychologist, Department of
Paediatrics, Carolyn.Cole
There are opportunities for research on the following topics involving children and families at
Flinders Medical Centre:
Children’s Assessment Team: The CAT assesses children regarding concerns about
developmental difficulties and learning disorders. Diagnoses made by the Team include
autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorders, learning disorders, intellectual
disability and global developmental delay, speech and language impairment and a range of
motor difficulties. There are opportunities for both prospective studies with children
assessed during the year, their families and referring professionals, as well as retrospective
studies of outcomes of children assessed in previous years.
Projects could include:
• Retrospective and prospective analyses of diagnostic outcomes, co morbid
diagnoses, levels of functional impairment shown by children
• Analysis of referral trends
• Expectations, understanding and satisfaction of referring agencies –qualitative and
quantitative analyses
• Factors influencing parental adjustment to diagnoses
Paediatrics Department: Childhood diabetes
• Adherence to treatment regimes
• Response to individual and/ or group interventions
• Psychological risk factors in short term and long term adjustment
• Factors to be assessed prior to surgical intervention
• Adherence to treatment regimes
• What factors predict successful outcomes after gastric banding surgery
NeoNatal Follow Up Unit: An existing database provides opportunities for research on a
Updated 28 September, 2015
range of topics associated with the developmental outcomes of children born pre-term or at
a very low birth- weight. These projects include:
• Behavioural outcomes at age 5 years and at 8 years.
• Academic achievement, are children born pre-term or at very low birth weight at risk
of under achieving academically?
• Within groups analysis of cognitive development at 5 years and 8 years of age.
Dr Tony Kneebone1, Chief Clinical Neuropsychologist, Flinders Medical Centre
I am interested in all aspects of clinical neuropsychological research but especially
dementia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis and the impact of surgery upon
cognitive function. Patient samples in these areas are available for study at Flinders Medical
Centre. For further information please contact Dr Tony Kneebone (ph. 8204 4576 or
[email protected]
Ideas for psychological research at novita children’s services
Please note: Novita researchers are classified as external supervisors so internal
supervisors from the Flinders University School of Psychology must be involved in this
Dr. Angela Crettenden1; (Research Fellow- Knowledge & Innovation )
[email protected]; P: 8243 8292.
Novita is the leading NGO provider of services to children with disabilities in SA. I would be
happy to offer supervision if students are interested in research projects relevant to Novita’s
client group and strategic directions. Our organisation is currently involved in a major
NHMRC funded knowledge translation study, supporting evidence based practice for
children with cerebral palsy. There are opportunities for side projects under this research
umbrella. Other opportunities relate to our research streams involving work participation
and well-being of parents/carers; carer well-being more generally; and the intersection
between disability and child protection.
Research Project involving MindMatters.
MindMatters is the national mental health initiative for secondary schools funded by the
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and implemented by Principals
Australia. MindMatters is interested in exploring a number of issues summarised below.
• The impact of the MM youth empowerment process (YEP) on student mental health
and/or learning outcomes - eg we have anecdotal evidence to show that students
involved in YEP have had life changing experiences as a result of participation eg a
letter from a mum who said the workshop ‘saved my daughter’s life’, students reporting
they have finally sought help for MH issues, students re-thinking their future and
choosing health related career choices, increased engagement in school etc – let alone
the impact of the wider action they decide to take within their own school and
community (eg supporting students transitioning to the school).
• The impact of teaching MM curriculum on student wellbeing and/or learning outcomes
(a small follow up to the Understanding Mental Illness classroom evaluation?)
• The impact of MM SEL (social and emotional learning) curriculum on enhancing
protective factors of students
• Whether Aboriginal learning outcomes can be improved by using MindMatters
(curriculum, whole school approaches etc) - we have successful projects operating in
APY Lands in SA, Tamworth and surrounds in NSW, Central Australia remote
communities to name a few.
• Whether diverse student populations’ outcomes can be improved through their school
engaging in MM (by diverse we mean same sex attraction, NESB, students with
disabilities, rural and remote, other cultural groups eg refugees)
• Does the MM implementation framework provide a tool for change in high school
Updated 28 September, 2015
How does the MM implementation framework reflect latest positive psychology
How effective are MM data tools in improving outcomes for students?
Any other ideas that help build the evidence base for MM
Professor Tracey Wade, School of Psychology, Flinders University,
([email protected]) Ph: 82013736
Updated 28 September, 2015