Risk and Resilience Research

‘Determinants of risk and resilience in maltreated children using multi-agency administrative records: A population record-linkage study’

University of New South Wales, NSW
Awarded 2017


“The research will also determine cross-agency indicators of risk of harm in vulnerable children.”

Researcher Profile

Melissa Green is an Associate Professor and NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Fellow in the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She completed her PhD in Psychology in 2002, and holds concurrent honorary affiliations with Neuroscience Research Australia, the Black Dog Institute, Macquarie Centre for Cognition and its Disorders, and Leiden University (the Netherlands). Her work investigates the effects of early life stress on the development of mental disorders, using complementary methods from epidemiology and neuroscience.

She received the NSW Young Tall Poppy Award for Science in 2011.

Project Summary

This project is conducted in collaboration with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), with the overarching aim to inform policy to direct child protection services toward children at the highest risk of developing mental disorders, at the earliest possible time in the life course. The research is conducted within the context of a longitudinal study of 87,026 children (the New South Wales Child Development Study; NSW-CDS), who began school in NSW in 2009 (http://nsw-cds.com.au).

The NSW-CDS brings together detailed information about the children during various stages of development (i.e., age 5, early childhood; age 11, middle childhood) with administrative government records from NSW health, education, child protection, and justice departments using population-wide, anonymous record linkages. Using these rich sources of data, this project aims to determine key risk factors for later mental health difficulties, as well as resilience indicators, in maltreated children as they develop through early and middle childhood. We will specifically delineate indicators of risk and resilience on the basis of patterns of the child’s social-emotional competencies, and academic achievement; using other available information (e.g., parent and child data in health, justice, and education records) we will determine factors that moderate transitions between ‘risk’ and ‘resilience’ states across early and middle childhood.

Finally, we will also examine risk and resilience indicators in the non-maltreated population, to determine whether factors contributing to risk and resilience in maltreated children are similar to those in the general population.

Co-investigators: Professor Vaughan Carr, Professor Ilan Katz, Dr Kristin Laurens, A/Professor Kimberie Dean and Dr Stacy Tzoumakis