Psychology Colloquium: Laureate talks by A/Prof Carolyn MacCann & Prof Mark Dadds (School of Psychology – University of Sydney)
Please join us for a special two-part colloquium, with Laureate talks by two grant winners in our School:
- A/Prof Carolyn MacCann (ARC Discovery Project, co-CIs Dr Rebecca Pinkus, A/Prof Helena Nguyen, A/Prof Anya Johnson) Title: “When, why, and how well do we regulate other people’s emotions?”. Project Summary: This project aims to understand when and why people attempt to regulate others’ emotions, and to evaluate which regulation processes are most effective. We will study regulation attempts as they occur over minutes, days, and months in interactions between romantic couples and between nurse co-workers. This project extends the study of emotion regulation to others’ emotions as well as one’s own. The major project output will be an evidence-based theory of extrinsic regulation. Project benefits include applications of this new knowledge to programs and policies that reduce negative emotions and stress in healthcare workers and couples, reducing workplace burnout, on-the-job errors, relationship breakdown and their associated economic costs.
- Prof Mark Dadds (NHMRC MRFF Neurological Disorders, co-CIs Dr Lucy Tully, Prof Valsa Eapen, Prof Bruce Tonge) Title: “Evaluation of a new brief intervention for childhood autism spectrum disorders”. Project Summary: Autism (ASD) is a complex lifelong disorder that involves social impairments and major challenges for caregivers. Research shows that parent mediated interventions can have a significant impact on maximising outcomes for these children. Surprisingly, there are no interventions currently available that address core ASD symptoms, behaviour disturbances, and parental well-being in one intervention, despite research showing that these outcomes are interdependent and amenable to change. Resourceful parents may be able to access each component individually, but they would have to attend different agencies, often university-based research trials, and could not access them as an integrated intervention. As separate interventions, they would add up to approximately 20-40 sessions, whereas we have pilot data indicating an integrated intervention could produce effects in ~12 sessions. In addition, current interventions for core symptoms were developed in the USA/UK, and have prohibitive costs for training/accreditation. As a result, there continues to be widespread implementation of ineffective or unsupported interventions for ASD in the Australian community. There is an urgent need to develop, evaluate and disseminate an integrated parenting intervention for children with ASD that: 1) is empirically-supported, time-limited and cost-effective; 2) addresses the interdependent domains of child and parent functioning within the one intervention; and 3) can be delivered during the child’s early critical development. We have developed a brief parent-mediated intervention that produces positive change, is consistent with new priorities of the NDIS, and has the potential to transform the landscape of interventions available for children with ASD early in life. We will conduct a large randomised controlled trial in preparation for national roll-out of the intervention and contribute new knowledge about how elements of treatment interact to influence outcomes for children with ASD.