Developmental psychology

Researchers in La Trobe's Department of Psychology and Counselling are world leaders in developmental psychology research. Our interests and research focus on development across the lifespan, with expertise in child and adolescent development. We:

  • investigate the cognitive, social, and emotional development of individual across the lifespan in the general population and specific clinical groups (e.g. individuals with autism or mental health problems, or who were born prematurely)
  • seek to understand the aetiology and trajectories of mental health problems in children, adolescents, and adults across the lifespan and at particular times of transition (e.g. parenthood)
  • develop and trial innovative intervention programs to prevent and manage mental health problems and support optimal development. We do this collaboration with clinicians and researchers across Australia, using a range of intervention formats including telephone, web-based, and group settings

Our research takes place in purpose-built department research laboratories and clinics on La Trobe campuses, in schools, and other community settings. Several of our researchers in this area also teach and/or supervise students in La Trobe's world-class postgraduate Master of Clinical Psychology and Master of Clinical Neuropsychology programs, which have trained many of Australia's leading researchers, clinicians, and professional leaders.

Developmental psychology research topics currently available for research students include:

Research topicResearchers
Children’s mental health problems: aetiology, treatment, prevention Jordana Bayer 
The experience of parents/families of having a young child with autism Kristelle Hudry
Early development of children with autism from infancy through preschool age, including change in symptoms and skills with intervention Kristelle Hudry
Interaction between children with autism and their caregivers and peers Kristelle Hudry
Improving the impact and utility of paediatric neuropsychology reports; impact of alcohol and other drug use on executive functions in adolescents and young adults; learning disorders in children, adolescents and young adults Alexia Pavlis
Parent and child outcomes following RCTs of early intervention programs; parenting and parent mental health in at-risk populations or contexts (e.g. children born prematurely, interparental conflict); relationships between brain development, parenting, and child development Karli Treyvaud

Project pages

Childhood Autism Phenotype Team (CAPTeam)

The La Trobe University Childhood Autism Phenotype Team (CAPTeam) works to develop new understanding of early childhood development related to the condition of autism in Australia