Research


With research interests in a variety of settings it can appear that there isn’t a common thread, this however is not the case. Most of the projects I am a part of center on the concept of well-being and how it applies to the individuals at the core of the research project.

My PhD

Building on the findings of my honors thesis I am looking into how parental attributes relate to parental well-being and help seeking behaviors.

This is very much a passion PhD as I know there is a lot to unpack behind this rather complex topic. Thanks to the participants in my previous research it has been identified that compassion and reflective capacity are related to wellbeing (paper in progress).

For this next research project I will be expanding the participant demographics to look at those parents in High Demand Care-giving Environments, rather than focus on Autism. Many of the challenges and adjustment difficulties experienced by parents raising Autistic children are shared by parents across a wide range of developmental and medical scenarios.

At this stage I am still laying the groundwork for this project and what will be required however I will down the track be seeking participants to share their perspectives.

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Compassion

The attribute of compassion allows the parent to act on their empathetic concern for their child, bringing about positive outcomes that resolve or alleviate the child’s inner distress which promotes and fosters growth and development (Gilbert, 2019)1.

Reflective Capacity

Reflective capacity relates to the ability of the parent to hold an internal representation of their child’s inner world alongside their own (Sealy & Glovinsky, 2016)2.

Empathy

“Empathy in its broadest sense refers to the reactions of one individual to the observed experiences of another” (Davis, 1983)3. Parental empathy relates to the parent’s reactions to their child’s experiences in life, it is the expressed internalized reactions to their child’s world.

Well-being in
residential colleges

Evaluating Mental Well-being, Resilience and the Effectiveness of in house programs in a University Residential College setting, this longitudinal feasibility study tracks personal and cohort responses to the early years of residential college life and university.

SOUND INTERESTING?

Transitions Research Institute

Working in primarily an analyst capacity my work with the Transitions Research Institute focuses on the interpretation and management of the data collected. Working as a team of individuals from very different disciplines and backgrounds has proven to be exciting and enlightening as we collaboratively approach each project.

Go to Site

Role of Empathy, Compassion, and Reflective Capacity in Parenting

Completed in 2019 this research has formed the underlying premise for my PhD. In an ongoing commitment to my participants I am keeping this research project available online for access to participant information sheets, lay summaries, and readily identifiable research outcomes related to their participation.

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References
1Gilbert, P. (2019). Explorations into the nature and function of compassion. Current Opinion in Psychology, 28, 108-114. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.12.002
2Sealy, J., & Glovinsky, I. P. (2016, Mar-Apr). Strengthening the reflective functioning capacities of parents who have a child with a neurodevelopmental disability through a brief, relationship‐focused intervention. Infant Mental Health Journal, 37(2), 115-124. https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.21557
3Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 113-126. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.44.1.113