Current 2019 Projects


Andy Symons – Master of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate

Andy is investigating reflective functioning in men as they transition into life as fathers. Reflective functioning is a person’s cognitive capacity to reflect on their own mental states and also interpret others’ thoughts, feelings and desires. Developing accurate reflective functioning abilities are important in creating a well-adjusted sense of self while also helping to successfully form relationships with others. So far research has found associations between impaired reflective functioning and several mental health disorders such as borderline personality disorder, eating disorders and depression. However, there is little evidence around how impaired reflective functioning might affect fathers. In particular, Andy is interested in how impaired reflective functioning might be associated with self-reliance as a coping style and risk-taking behaviour.

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Imogene Smith - Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate

Imogene commenced her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology here at Deakin in 2019. For the research component of this course, she is investigating whether men's desire to have children is associated with mental health outcomes post-partum and bonding with their baby. She is also exploring the ways new fathers, who had low desire for children, express their feelings on social media once they enter fatherhood.

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Kiana Lockhart - Honours Student


Intimate relationship discord and dissatisfaction has been associated with the onset and maintenance of psychopathology. An interpersonal capacity that may influence the quality of intimate relationships is reflective functioning. Kiana will be utilising the MAPP data to investigate whether men's reflective functioning abilities is associated with their intimate relationship quality. 

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Kayla Mansour - Honours Student

‘Associations between Trait Anger and Reflective Functioning in Men’


Mallika Lucie Abbott - Master of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate

In the current socio-historical climate, masculine role expectations of fatherhood are shifting from those that were historically accepted such as provider, disciplinarian, playmate and life coach to incorporate roles that are typically associated with mothers and femininity, such as nurturer and carer for emotional health. There are conflicting arguments suggesting that this change is psychologically beneficial, or in contrast, that the new role expectations add stress to new fathers at a time of social and emotional upheaval. This study will investigate role identity among new fathers and its associations with risk of depression, anxiety and felt anger. 

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Julianne Livingston - Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) Candidate

Julianne began her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at Deakin in 2018. As part of her training, she is investigating whether young men's access to social support and their typical approach to coping with stress predicts their risk of experiencing psychological distress (e.g., depression, anxiety, anger). She is also examining whether the relationships between social support, coping style, and psychological distress change as men enter fatherhood for the first time.  


Graduated Projects


Angela Nastoulis - Honours Student

‘Perceived parental care and control in adolescence: associations with postnatal father-infant bonding’

Laura Ridler - Honours Student

‘Parental Bonding Influences on Trait Anger in Adult Males’

Lauren Francis - Honours Student

‘Child and Father Sleep Problems and Paternal Distress: A Mixed Methods Investigation’

Liam Graeme - Honours Student

‘Paternal Satisfaction with Decision-Making Responsibility, Identity Salience and Father Depressive Symptoms’



Imogene Smith - Honours Student

‘When men choose to be childless: an interpretative phenomenological analysis’

Tessa Harrison - Honours Student

‘Men’s anger and depressive symptoms at the peak age for fatherhood’



Emily Molyneux - Honours Student

‘An Anchor – Grounding, or Grinding Halt: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Rural Men’s Expectations of First-Time Fatherhood’.

Liel Bridgford - Honours Student

‘Anxiety at the Prime age for the Transition to Fatherhood and the Buffering Role of Environmental Mastery and Purpose in Life’.

Seona Palmer - Honours Student

‘Stress at the Peak Age for First Time Fatherhood’.



Chris Kings - Honours Student

‘On Becoming a Father: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis of Young Men’s Expectations of Their Future Role as a Parent.’

Dani Ryan - Honours Student

‘Men’s Desire to Have Children at the Peak Age for Becoming a Father’.