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October 2022

How does the school built environment impact students’ bullying behaviour? A scoping review

School bullying is a public health concern affecting the physical and mental health of children and young people. While school-based interventions to prevent bullying have been developed internationally, the effectiveness of many interventions has been mixed and modest.

Published research Parenting & Families Bullying School Attendance Food and Nutrition Youth mental health School and Community Wellbeing
August 2022

Australian Psychologists Experiences with Digital Mental Health: a Qualitative Investigation

Digital mental health is changing the landscape of service delivery by addressing challenges associated with traditional therapy. However, practitioners’ use of these resources remains underexamined.

Early Neurodevelopment and Mental Health School and Community Wellbeing
September 2022

Psychosocial Interventions and Support Groups for Siblings of Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Conditions: A Mixed Methods Systematic Review of Sibling Self-reported Mental Health and Wellbeing Outcomes

Siblings of persons with neurodevelopmental conditions (NDCs) have increased risk of poorer psychosocial functioning. This systematic review evaluated quantitative and qualitative evidence on sibling mental health and wellbeing outcomes following psychosocial interventions and the risk and protective factors associated with post-intervention outcomes.

Published research Child Disability Youth mental health School and Community Wellbeing
October 2022

Supporting the Social-Emotional Well-Being of Elementary School Students Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing: A Pilot Study

Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, their parents, Teachers of the Deaf, and other community stakeholders were involved in co-designing a web-based resource to support students' social-emotional well-being.

Published research Parenting & Families Ear Infections Early Childhood Development Human Capability Ear Health 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