Child Wellbeing Research Group

Children’s relationships and experiences, particularly within the family, significantly shape their social-emotional and brain development. Caregivers, including birth and non-birth (e.g., kinship and foster) parents, play a pivotal role in helping buffer children against stress and promoting their psychological health. In this light, the Child Wellbeing Research Group directed by Dr Dave Pasalich focuses on several core research objectives:

  • Developing new understanding into how parenting and the quality of the parent-child relationship relates to risk and resilience in childhood and adolescence;
  • Translating this knowledge into practical strategies to cultivate safe and healthy family relationships;
  • Evaluating the implementation and effectiveness of family-based interventions to promote child mental health and wellbeing.

We seek to disseminate research that is driven by scientific advancements and emerging community needs, and that can lead to improved quality of life for children and their families.

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Selected publications (*student members)

  • Chia*, K., Pasalich, D. S., Fassnacht, D. B., Ali, K., Kyrios, M., Maclean, B., & Grisham, J. R. (in press). Interpersonal attachment, early family environment, and trauma in hoarding: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review.
  • Hassall*, A., van Rensburg*, E. J., Trew, S., Hawes, D. J., & Pasalich, D. S. (in press). Does kinship vs. foster care better promote connectedness? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.
  • Canning*, M. G., Jugovac*, S., & Pasalich, D. S. (in press). An updated account on parents’ use of and attitudes towards time-out. Child Psychiatry & Human Development.
  • McKenna*, S., Olsen, A., & Pasalich, D. S. (in press). Understanding strengths in adolescent–parent relationships: A qualitative analysis of adolescent speech samples. Journal of Research on Adolescence.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Craig, S. G., Goulter, N., O’Donnell, K. A., Sierra Hernandez, C., & Moretti, M. M. (in press). Patterns and predictors of different youth responses to attachment-based parent intervention. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

  • Pasalich, D. S., Moretti, M. M., Hassall*, A., & Curcio, A. (in press). Pilot randomized controlled trial of an attachment- and trauma-focused intervention for kinship caregivers. Child Abuse & Neglect.
  • Bui*, N. H., & Pasalich, D. S. (2021). Insecure attachment, maladaptive personality traits, and the perpetration of in-person and cyber psychological abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36, 2117-2139.

  • Pasalich, D. S., & Palfrey, N. (2021). Working with families of children who have experienced maltreatment. In J. Allen, D. Hawes, & C. Essau (Eds.), Family-Based Intervention for Child and Adolescent Mental Health: A Core Competencies Approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • McKenna*, S., Hassall*, A., O'Kearney, R., & Pasalich, D. S. (2020). Gaining a new perspective on the quality of parent–adolescent relationships from adolescent speech samples. Journal of Family Psychology, 34, 938-948.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Fleming, C. B., Spieker, S. J., Lohr, M. J., & Oxford, M. L. (2019). Does parents’ own history of child abuse moderate the effectiveness of the Promoting First Relationships® intervention in child welfare? Child Maltreatment, 24, 56-65.

  • Moretti, M. M., Pasalich, D. S., & O’Donnell, K. A. (2018). An attachment-based program for parents of teens. In H. Steele & M. Steele (Eds.), Handbook of attachment-based interventions. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Cyr, M., Zheng, Y., McMahon, R. J., & Spieker, S. J. (2016). Child abuse history in teen mothers and parent-child risk processes for offspring externalizing problems. Child Abuse & Neglect, 56, 89-98.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Fleming, C. B., Oxford, M. L., Zheng, Y., & Spieker, S. J. (2016). Can parenting intervention prevent cascading effects from placement instability to insecure attachment to externalizing problems in maltreated toddlers? Child Maltreatment, 21, 175-185.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Witkiewitz, K., McMahon, R. J., Pinderhughes, E. E., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (2016). Indirect effects of the Fast Track intervention on conduct disorder symptoms and callous-unemotional traits: Distinct pathways involving discipline and warmth. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 587-597.