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Developmental psychology

developmental_image_webResearchers in the Department of Psychological Medicine take a developmental approach to examine eye-witness testimony and appropriate child interviewing practices in forensic and mental health settings. Further, they also examine factors that directly impact on the development of the child such as attachment, foster care, and parent mental health difficulties.

Research includes both experimental and applied approaches. All research is driven by the objective to improve health and developmental outcomes of children in real-world settings.

Current projects include:

Eye-witness testimony

A number of studies are currently being conducted on child forensic interviewing examining interview techniques that impact on the accuracy of the child’s verbal report, plus child suggestibility in response to off-topic suggestive questions, and the use or misuse of repeat questions in forensic contexts.

Key researchers:

Fostering the whanau, not just the child

Children in foster care are at high risk of poor health outcomes, maltreatment, and multiple placement disruptions. They are disproportionately likely to be Māori. We are conducting a feasibility study to gain a preliminary indication of the cost and benefits of an intervention aimed at avoiding out-of-home placements for children through intervention with the mother and her children in a residential setting. We will use mixed-methods to explore benefits and undertake an economic analysis of the direct cost to CYF compared with standard foster care.

Researchers with an interest in child development and inequality, Māori health, and foster care should contact the lead researcher, Dr Charlene Rapsey.

Key researchers:

Parent-child factors and interactions

A body of research examining parents’ and children’s viewpoints regarding childhood challenges and difficulties. This research is set in clinical and applied settings.

Key researchers: