Health Sciences

SPRT Psychology People

Senior Proven Researcher Team - Psychology

Professor Sheryl Hemphill Senior Proven Researcher

Dr Kirsty Balog Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Dr Jess Heerde Post Doctoral Research Associate

Mr David Broderick Research Associate

Ms Danielle McNamara Project Officer

Honorary Fellows

Dr Aneta Kotevski

Dr Stephanie Plenty

Ms Sharon Schneider is an Honorary Fellow, linked to the Psychology Senior Proven Researcher Team. Ms Schneider is a social work educator at the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg, Austria, where she is Head of Division, School of Social Work. She is currently undertaking PhD studies through the International Doctoral Studies in Social Work (INDOSOW) program at Ljubliana University and Siegen University; her topic is 'Applying Children's Rights to Practice - school children's attitudes towards social inclusion in Austria and Australia'. Ms Schneider was a Visiting Research Fellow with the School of Psychology (Melbourne campus) in 2011.

Visiting Scholars

Professor Todd Herrenkohl from the University of Washington visited from mid-January to mid-February 2013. Whilst in Australia, he gave a number of lectures, including the Dean's Special Lecture. Please contact Ms McNamara ( or Professor Hemphill for more information.

Professor David Farrington, O.B.E., is Emeritus Professor of Psychological Criminology and Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. Since completing a Masters and PhD in psychology at Cambridge, Professor Farrington has become a widely recognised leader in the field of Developmental Criminology. He has held a number of distinguished positions and awards and has an extensive track record within excess of 570 published papers and book chapters. In November 2012, the Psychology Senior Proven Researcher Team were successful in their application for a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellowship for Professor Farrington and are excited to welcome him to the ACU Melbourne campus in early October 2013.


2012 PhD Students

Michelle Kehoe

Working title: Restorative Practices in Victorian Schools

Project description: This is a qualititive research study seeking to explore the uses, sustainability and impacts of Restorative Practices in a select number of Victorian primary and secondary schools. The research involves interviews with teachers and focus groups with year 6 and 9 students.

Justin Delahunty

Title: The patterns, persistence and young adult outcomes of adolescent antisocial behaviour

Project description: A developmental approach to antisocial behaviour is taken by examining a longitudinal cohort sample of the International Youth Development Study for distinct subgroups of antisocial behaviour based on differing developmental trajectories. The research will also describe the common characteristics of these groups, and the young adult outcomes most often associated with membership to one of the antisocial groups. This research is supported by an ARC scholarship and implements a latent Bayesian analysis of 927 students assessed over a period of 9 years.

Masters students

Shivaun Pereira

Title: Factors associated with bullying victimisation in deaf / hard of hearing adolescents and typically developing peers

Project description: This study involves examining traditional bullying victimisation and cyber-bullying victimisation in 11-18 year old adolescents. The research looks into the rates of victimisation in deaf students in comparison to typically developing students. It is also interested in finding factors that may be associated with increased victimisation.

Daniel Quin

Title: Victorian secondary school disengagement: Risk and protective factors

Project description: School disengagement is a strong predictor of early school departure. This study explores the individual, peer, school and family factors that are associated with secondary school disengagement. It is hoped that this research will assist in identification of students at risk of disengagement, allowing intervention and support before problematic school behaviours arise.

Allison Welch

Title: Bullying experiences, forgiveness and emotional well-being of young people with and without Autism Spectrum Disorders

Project description: The impact of bullying victimisation experiences on emotional distress and subjective well-being of young people with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), namely Asperger's Disorder, relative to their peers without ASDs will be investigated. More specifically, this research will explore forgiveness as a potential target for prevention or intervention to reduce the distress of victimisation among young people with and without ASDs. This research involves computer administrated surveys completed by adolescents aged 11-16 years and their parents.

Honours students

Nicole Francke

Title: Sexting and its Associations with Substance Use and Mental Health in Young Adults

Project description: Sexting is defined as sending, receiving or forwarding sexually suggestive and explicit text messages and nude or semi-nude photographs or videos via a mobile telephone device. Photographs and videos can be of one's self or one's peers. This study examined the extent to which substance use and mental health symptoms were associated with young adults' participation in sexting behaviours and whether these behaviours were associated with age, gender, education level, attitudes towards sexting and rrelationship status. Of 583 young adults, sending sexts was found to be associated with relationship status, alcohol use, the attitude that sexting is exciting and fun, and a worry-free attitude towards sexting; receiving sexts was found to be associated with relationship status, negative emotional symptoms, alcohol use, and the attitude that sexting is exciting and fun; and forwarding sexts was found to be associated with externalising behaviours and alcohol use. These findings suggest that different sexting behaviours may be influenced by different factors or have different impacts on an individual.

2011 Honours student

Daniel Quin

Title: School Suspension: Punishment or Reward?

Project description: This study compared students who have never been suspended from school to their previously suspended peers. Suspended students reported higher levels of problem behaviours and emotions, poor family management practices, low school commitment, diminished teacher relationships and a high number of antisocial friends. On the day of suspension the majority of suspended students lacked adult supervision. Post suspension students reported diminished assistance from their teachers. The implications and efficacy of school suspension were discussed. Two research papers have been prepared for submission from this research.