Skip to content


June 2022

“Why don’t I look like her?” How adolescent girls view social media and its connection to body image

Adolescent girls appear more vulnerable to experiencing mental health difficulties from social media use than boys. The presence of sexualized images online is thought to contribute, through increasing body dissatisfaction among adolescent girls.

Published research Parenting & Families School and Community Wellbeing
May 2022

Educators’ Barriers and Facilitators to Physical Activity Policy Implementation in the Childcare Setting: Qualitative Findings From the Play Active Project

We explored childcare educators’ perceived barriers and facilitators to policy implementation in order to inform the development and implementation of an early childhood education and care (ECEC) specific physical activity policy. This study was part of the Play Active (2019-2023) project which aimed to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based physical activity policy to improve physical activity levels in children attending ECEC.

Published research Early Childhood Development Child Physical Activity, Health and Development School and Community Wellbeing
January 2021

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the criminal justice system

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a condition caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol and characterised by severe neurodevelopmental impairment which have lifelong implications. Impairments in executive function, memory, cognition, language and attention are common, and can lead to early and repeat engagement with the criminal justice system.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Published research Aboriginal Health & Wellbeing Aboriginal Health School and Community Wellbeing
April 2022

A review of Australian Government funding of parenting intervention research

Parenting is central to children's optimal development and accounts for a substantial proportion of the variance in child outcomes, including up to 40% of child mental health. Parenting is also one of the most modifiable, proximal, and direct factors for preventing and treating a range of children's problems and enhancing wellbeing.

Published research School and Community Wellbeing
  • The Friendly Schools intervention is the most empirically research school-based program in Australia for whole-school social and emotional skills development and bullying prevention.  Since 1999, it has been the focus of 23 major research projects, 11 of which were school-level randomised controlled trials.  As of November 2021, it was the only primary- and secondary-school intervention to achieve the top 4-star rating for quality of evidence and ease of implementation on the Australian Be You website.  
  • The Schools and Communities team have been international leaders in cybersafety since our 2007 study of covert bullying revealed the new phenomenon of cyberbullying.  The Beacon app, developed with Bankwest, is an app to support parents and carers in keeping up to date with technology and how best to support their kids online. 
  • Our team is an international leader in understanding how the online setting changes how we communicate and engage with one another.  The Cyber Friendly Primary Schools project has worked to support parents and teachers of primary students in understanding online social and emotional learning – how the self-awareness, self-management, social understanding, relationship skills, and responsible decision making, as explained in this video.  <INSERT LINK TO>.
  • We have worked closely with school sectors to translate best practice principles and policy.  An example of this is the literature review “How Can Schools Support Whole-School Wellbeing” (Runions, Pearce, Cross, 2021), conducted for the Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales, which provides an overview of the evidence and focuses on how schools can best support student wellbeing.  We have worked closely with the NSW Department of Education to provide the evidence to strengthen system capacity and implement effective interventions to support student behaviour and wellbeing (Pearce, Cross, Epstein, Johnston & Legge, 2019).  
  • We are also part of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (aka the Life Course Centre).  We are working to develop and trial new solutions to address the sources of deep and persistent disadvantage. For example, students from low-income backgrounds are more likely to start school showing vulnerabilities in social and emotional functioning, which can lead to sustained problems throughout schooling, affecting their life outcomes.  Our work aims to reduce inequities in social and emotional wellbeing through school-based intervention, and thereby to ensure a truly Fair Go for all students, as we have argued in the Australian Educational Leader

Working together to improve Cyber Safety


Top ten tips for cyber safety


Beacon Cyber Safety App


How to respond if your child is being bullied


Why you shouldn’t let your child cross the road until they’re ten years of age