The Child and Family Research Group is committed to conducting applied research that supports the mental health and wellbeing of families and children. With a particular focus on prevention and early intervention, this research group focuses on parenting and understanding how to identify, assess and support children at risk of mental health difficulties. Our research also extends to health professionals providing care to families and children.

Research Leads:

Professor Kathryn von Treuer and Professor Tess Knight

Current Projects:

CIE Kathryn von Treuer PECS – [Perinatal Education Care Support] group model of multidisciplinary maternity care: a feasibility study, Competitive internal grant – La Trobe University $32,000

Recent research outcomes:

  • Buultjens, M., Milgrom, J., Taket, A., Vonderling, K., Wilkinson, J., & von Treuer, K. (2022) Maternity Care During a Pandemic: Can a hybrid telehealth model comprising group interdisciplinary education support maternal psychological health? Women and Birth, In Press
  • Smith, I., Youssef G. J., Shatte, A., Teague, S. J., Knight, T., Macdonald, J. A. (2022). “You are not alone”: A big data and qualitative analysis of men’s unintended fatherhood. SSM – Qualitative Research in Health.
  • Kuswara, K., Knight, T., Campbell, K. J., Hesketh, K. D., Zheng, M., Bolton, K. A., & Laws, R. (2020). Breastfeeding and emerging motherhood identity: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of first time Chinese Australian mothers’ breastfeeding experiences. Women and Birth
  • Macdonald, J. A., Greenwood, C., Francis, L., Harrison T., Graeme, L., Youssef, G. J., Di Manno, L., Skouteris, H., Fletcher, R., Knight, T., Williams, J., Olsson, C. A. (2020). Profiles of depressive symptoms and anger in men: Associations with postpartum family functioning. Frontiers in Psychiatry. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.578114
  • Burn, M., Knight, T., Taylor, L., & Toumbourou, J. W. (2019). Parents’ Perceptions of Changes in Family Functioning After Participation in a Strengthening Families Intervention: A Qualitative Analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 428-436.  DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.03.028
  • Smith, I., Knight, T., Fletcher, R., Macdonald, J. A. (2019). When men choose to be childless: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (IF 1.742) DOI: 10.1177/0265407519864444
  • Fletcher, R., Knight, T., Macdonald, J. A., & St George, J. (2019). Process evaluation of text-based support for fathers during the transition to fatherhood (SMS4dads): Mechanisms of impact.  BMC Psychology Open Access
  • Navarro, C., Knight, T., Sharman, S. J., & Powell, M. B. (2019). Challenges in translating interview protocols for alleged child victims of sexual abuse to different languages: A case study. Child Abuse and Neglect,
  • Bailey, C., Knight, T., Koolmatrie, J., Brubacher, S., & Powell, M. (2018). Indigenous stakeholders; evaluation of a community engagement initiative to address child sexual abuse in remote Indigenous communities. Australian Psychologist. Doi:10.1111/ap.12349
  • Riley, K., Gent, A., McLaren, S., Caunt, J., & Stavropoulos, V. (2018). The Fatigue and Depressive Symptom Relationship in Mothers of Young Children: The Moderating Role of Mindfulness. Mindfulness, 9 (6), 1955–1965. doi: 10.1007/s12671-018-0941-0
  • Kings, C. A., Knight, T., Ryan, D., & Macdonald, J. A. (2017). The “Sensory Deprivation Tank”: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of men’s expectations of first-time fatherhood.  Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 18, 112-122.
  • Poole, L. A., Knight, T., Toumbourou, J. W., Lubman, D. I., Bertino, M. D., & Lewis, A. J. (2017). A randomized controlled trial of the impact of a family-based adolescent depression intervention on both youth and parent mental health outcomes. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1-13. DOI 10.1007/s10802-017-1292-7.

Conference presentations:

  • Smith, I., Macdonald, J. A., Demmer, D., Knight, T., Coles, L., Cain, K., Criagie, G., Francis, L., D’Souza, L. (2020).  Fatherhood desire, paternal mental health and fater-infant bonding: A systematic review.  Poster presented at World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH), Brisbane, Australia. Accepted.
  • Kuswara K., Knight T., Campbell K., Bolton K., Zheng M., Hesketh K., Laws R. (2019). “It makes me feel motherly” – Breastfeeding and motherhood identity. Paper presented at the World Public Health Nutrition Congress, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Kambouropoulos, A. (2018) Personal and Societal Challenges in Facilitating Hope with Children. Presented at the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling Conference Austria, Vienna
  • Taylor, M., Thompson, C., & von Treuer, K.M. (2018). The Big Tent Program; targeted supervision, education and enhancing experience and knowledge of health and education professionals in early childhood settings. Family Relationships Services Australia- First 1000 days, National Conference, Cairns, Nov.
  • Gibson, M., Francis, A.J.P. (2017). Intergenerational Early Maladaptive Schemas and the Role of Parenting Styles in Mother-Daughter Dyads.  Paper session presented at The Cairnmillar Institute 2017 Research and Practice Conference, Melbourne.
  • Kelly, E.L. & Francis, A.J.P. (2017). Parental Divorce and BPD Symptomatology: Early Maladaptive Schemas as a Mediator. Poster session presented at The Cairnmillar Institute 2017 Research and Practice Conference, Melbourne.