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Department of Psychology

The Applied Developmental Psychology Research Group contains two main themes of research, forensic developmental psychology and parenting and development. Work from both of these themes aims to increase understanding of developmental processes and promote the development of relevant policies.

Forensic Developmental Psychology

The research group is principally concerned with the capacities and behaviour of young witnesses, offenders, and victims in forensic contexts.  Together with collaborators in countries around the world, researchers are trying to identify ways in which forensic interviewers can help children provide the greatest amount of forensically relevant information of the highest possible quality.  To this end, we conduct research in the field with young alleged victims, witnesses and offenders, as well as analogue studies in carefully controlled settings.

We also strive to help professionals better serve children, especially adolescents and teenagers, involved in suspected sexual exploitation. We especially want to learn from young witnesses about their experiences while participating in investigations. One of our current studies, aims to understand how alleged child victims of sexual exploitation experienced the investigative process by uncovering features of the investigation process affecting their comfort and sense of well-being.  Data collection is currently on-going with trained researchers speaking to young people in one-to-one semi structured interviews. If you are interested in helping us reach out to young people involved in child sexual exploitation cases, please contact Leslie Sadler or Elizabeth Ahern.

Parenting and Development

Within this group, parenting and child development are of central concern. Specifically, mothers’ and fathers’ roles in child development; cross cultural variations in parental behaviour; and the effects of different family structures on child development are being examined. Researchers are currently studying child adjustment and parent-child relationships in diverse family types through The New Parents Study, a collaboration with the Centre for Family Research, and the transition to out-of-home care or school in various cultural contexts.

Click here for New Parents Study Facebook page


Applied Developmental Psychology Research Group