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There are two key reason the PFSC makes an ideal place to complete a research higher degree. Firstly, the Parenting and Family Support Centre (PFSC) is a leading research hub of parenting and child behaviour research internationally. The director of the PFSC, Professor Matt Sanders, is the founder of the Triple P— Positive Parenting Program and the centre is where the majority of new variants of Triple P are developed and where most foundation trials are conducted. If you are interested in parenting and family research this is an ideal place in which to start your academic career.
Secondly, the PFSC has a number of students and researchers working in a similar field of research creating an environment of mutual learning and collaboration that provides students with much more support than a single supervisor can provide. There are monthly seminars and lab meetings, informal assistance and an annual Triple P conference where students get to build relationships with other leading researchers internationally through the Triple P Research Network.
Triple P stands for Positive Parenting Program but Triple P is more than a single parenting program. It is a multi-level system of parenting programs aimed at preventing and treating child social, emotional and behaviour problems at a population level. Triple P is the most evaluated parenting program and has one of the strongest evidence-bases. It is also the most widely disseminated and is now implemented in 24 different countries around the world. The following paper provides an excellent summary of the theory and application of the Triple P system. It is recommended that any student considering applying for a research position at the PFSC read this paper prior to applying.
Sanders, M.R. (2012). Development, Evaluation, and Multinational Dissemination of the Triple P—Positive Parenting Program. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 8, 345-379.
Maybe, Professor Sanders is an active research supervisor and places a very high value on the importance of postgraduate students. He is the director of the PFSC and all Triple P students get to know him both professionally and personally during the course of their degree. However there are also a number of other excellent researchers who provide supervision to PFSC students including Dr Alina Morawaka (Deputy Director- Research). The decision about which academic staff member should be your primary supervisor is made by you and the relevant supervisors and takes into account the relevant expertise of the different supervisors in relation to the proposed research topic as well as the supervisor’s current student load.
Students will receive advanced training in the following areas:
Triple P is a constantly evolving, dynamic system of interventions that is informed by ongoing research. Although a significant amount of research has been conducted there is still much to do. More research is needed on newly emerging Triple P variants such as Baby Triple P for parents of newborns or Triple P Online as well as on examining how and why Triple P is effective for parents and under what conditions change occurs. Students may also conduct research in related fields such as parental engagement, implementation science, cultural acceptability, and mechanisms of change.
The Triple P system of parenting intervention is currently in 24 different countries and there are a number of research hubs conducting research in Triple P programs and dissemination models around the world including centres in America, Europe, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The PFSC also hosts the Triple P Research Network (TPRN), which facilitates communication between top parenting researchers around the world. The TPRN hosts a yearly conference (held in a different country each year) and many students report the conference is an excellent opportunity for getting to know leading researchers from around the work. Finally, conducting a PhD at the PFSC where the founder of the Triple P System, Professor Matt Sanders, is based provides you with the opportunity to develop a relationship with one of the world’s leading experts in this field.
Completion of a PhD demonstrates your ability think independently, and design and conduct a large-scale research. It is the highest academic qualification obtainable and is valued in industry and practice. For example a PhD is required for most academic and senior research positions. A PhD in the area of public health parenting interventions such as Triple P may also be beneficial for those interested in pursuing positions in policy or advocacy. Completing a PhD at the PFSC also provides access to many of the research leaders in the parenting field around the world offering students contacts for future career options in different countries.