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

  • Pasalich, D. S., Fleming, C. B., Spieker, S. J., Lohr, M. J., & Oxford, M. L. (in press). Does parents’ own history of child abuse moderate the effectiveness of the Promoting First Relationships® intervention in child welfare? Child Maltreatment.  
  • McMahon, R. J., & Pasalich, D. S. (in press). Parenting and family intervention in treatment. In M. Sanders & A. Morawska (Eds.), Handbook of parenting and child development across the lifespan. New York: Springer.
  • 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.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Waschbusch, D. A., Dadds, M. R., & Hawes, D. J. (2014). Emotion socialization style in parents of children with callous–unemotional traits. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 45, 229-242.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Dadds, M. R., Hawes, D. J., & Brennan, J. (2012). Attachment and callous-unemotional traits in children with early-onset conduct problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 838-845.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Dadds, M. R., Vincent, L. C., Cooper, F. A., Hawes, D. J., & Brennan, J. (2012). Emotional communication in families of conduct-problem children with high versus low callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 41, 302-313.
  • Dadds, M. R., Jambrak, J., Pasalich, D. S., Hawes, D. J., & Brennan, J. (2011). Impaired attention to the eyes of attachment figures and the developmental origins of psychopathy. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 238-245.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Dadds, M. R., Hawes, D. J., & Brennan, J. (2011). Do callous-unemotional traits moderate the relative importance of parental coercion versus warmth in child conduct problems? An observational study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 1308-1315.
  • Pasalich, D. S., Dadds, M. R., Hawes, D. J., & Brennan, J. (2011). Assessing relational schemas in parents of children with externalizing behavior disorders: Reliability and validity of the Family Affective Attitude Rating Scale. Psychiatry Research, 185, 438-443.