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In this section, you can find the following information:

Research & training


Academic Unit: Research and Training in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology and the Parent-Infant Research Institute.

The Clinical and Health Psychology Department is actively involved in clinical research in psychology both in health psychology and through the Parent-Infant Research Institute (PIRI), supported by external funding and research students.

Post graduate placements are also facilitated for Master and Doctorate psychology students. An extensive placement program has been offered since 1999, initially through the Doctor of Psychology (Health), in partnership with the University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences. Currently a range of universities including University of Melbourne, Latrobe, Monash, Deakin, RMIT, Swinburne and ACU place students within Austin Health. In addition a range of professional development courses, seminars and workshops are offered by the Department.


The Department of Clinical and Health Psychology is actively involved in clinical research across the hospital providing support to psychology staff. In addition to health psychology research the Department has close links with the Parent-Infant Research Institute as a specialist Centre of Excellence for infant mental health.

The focus of research is on maternal mental health, prematurity and the parent-infant difficulties focusing on the psychological risk to the infant, the parent-infant relationship and parenting risk factors.

PIRI aims include:

• Treating parent-infant difficulties in the first 12 months of life.
   Early intervention.

• Research initiatives to maximise infant development: cognitive, emotional, social.

• Evaluating innovative interventions for prevention and amelioration of existing parent-infant difficulties.

This Institute is consistent with:

• Current policy and strategic directions from Government - Stronger Families and Communities Strategy; Research on the critical importance of infancy for brain development and social functioning; National Mental Health Policy highlighting parenting needs of parents with psychiatric disorders, health promotion and early intervention; High Risk Infant Program, Department of Human Services - prevention of abuse and neglect.

This unique Centre builds upon the work of the Infant Clinic developed at Austin Health over 15 years and is well-placed to lead the field in parent-infant intervention and research. It is supported by an Advisory Board that will help to facilitate achievements of the Institute and raise its own funding.

Current research directions


1. Antenatal Support following Depression - and Enhancing the Parent-Infant Relationship.

2. Antenatal depression and child neurodevelopmental outcomes.

3. Optimising emotional health during pregnancy and early parenthood: Improving online access to help women with perinatal depression.

4. e-mental health interventions for perinatal depression and anxiety.





Post graduate student projects


Laura Bleker, Fetal programming of child development: an exploratory study into mechanistic pathways using an RCT cohort, PhD Candidate (Research), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

 Carole Gentilleau, Early intervention to protect the mother-infant relationship following postnatal depression - A randomised controlled trial, Master in Neuropsychology and Neuroscience, University of Toulouse, France.






PIRI Publications in the last 5 years

Journal articles


1.      Nath, S., Ryan, E.G, Trevillion, K., Bick, D., Demilew, J., Milgrom, J., Pickles, A., & Howard, L.M. (2018). Prevalence and identification of anxiety disorders in pregnancy: the diagnostic accuracy of the two-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-2). BMJ Open, 8:e023766. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023766.


2.      Buultjens, M., Murphy, G., Milgrom, J., Taket, A. & Poinen, D. (2018). Supporting the transition to parenthood: Development of a group health-promoting programme. British Journal of Midwifery, 26(6), 387-397.


3.      Meltzer-Brody, S., Howard, L.M., Bergink, V., Vigod, S., Jones, I., Munk-Olsen, T., Honikman, S. & Milgrom, J. (2018). Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders. Nature Reviews, 4:18022.


4.      Ericksen, J., Loughlin, E., Holt, C., Rose, N., Hartley, E., Buultjens, M., Gemmill, A.W. & Milgrom, J. (2018). A therapeutic playgroup for depressed mothers and their infants: feasibility study and pilot randomised trial of Community HUGS. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(4), 396-409.


5.      Howard, L.M., Ryan, E.G., Trevillion, K., Anderson, F., Bick, D., Bye, A., Byford, S., O'Connor, S., Sands, P., Demilew, J., Milgrom, J. & Pickles, A. (2018). Accuracy of the Whooley questions and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in identifying depression and other mental disorders in early pregnancy. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 212(1): 50-56.


6.      Holt, C., Milgrom, J. & Gemmill, A.W. (2017). Improving help-seeking for postnatal depression and anxiety: A cluster randomised controlled trial of Motivational Interviewing. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 20(6):791-801.


7.      Buultjens, M., Murphy, G., Milgrom, J. & Monfries, M. (2017). Women's Experiences of, and Attitudes to, Maternity Education across the Perinatal Period in Victoria, Australia: A mixed-methods approach. Women and Birth, 30(5): 406-414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2017.03.005.


8.      Buultjens, M., Murphy, G., Milgrom, J. & Poinen, D. (2016). Improving Conceptual Clarity of Antenatal Interventions: A Scoping Review. Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention, 2:043.


9.      Fletcher, R., May, C., Lambkin F-K., Gemmill, A., Cann, W., Nicolson, J., Rawlinson, C., Milgrom, J., Highet, N., Foureur, M., Bennett, E. & Skinner, G. (2016). SMS4dads: Providing information and support to new fathers through mobile phones - a pilot study, Advances in Mental Health: 1-11.


10.   Hamilton, K., Kavanagh, D., Connolly, J., Davis, L., Fisher, J., Halford, K., Hides, L., Milgrom, J., Rowe, H., Sanders, D., Scuffham, P.A., Tjondronegoro, D., Walsh, A., White, K.M. & Wittkowski, A. (2016). Baby Steps - an online program promoting the wellbeing of new mothers and fathers: a study protocol, JMIR Research Protocols, 5(3):e140.


11.   Milgrom, J., Danaher, B.G., Gemmill, A.W., Holt, C., Holt, C. J., Seeley, J.R., Tyler, M.S., Ross, J. & Ericksen, J. (2016). "Internet Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Women with Postnatal Depression: A Randomised Controlled Trial of MumMoodBooster". Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(3):e54.


12.   Wilkinson, E.L., O'Mahen, H.A., Fearon, P., Halligan, S., King, D.X., Greenfield, G., Dunkley-Bent, J., Ericksen, J., Milgrom, J. & Ramchandani, P.G. (2016). Adapting and testing a brief intervention to reduce maternal anxiety during pregnancy (ACORN): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 17, 156.


13.   Skouteris, H., McPhie, S., Hill. B., McCabe, M., Milgrom, J., Kent, B., Bruce, L., Herring, S., Gale, J., Mihalopoulos, C., Shih, S., Teale, G, & Lachal, J. (2016). Health coaching to prevent excessive gestational weight gain: A randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Health Psychology, 21 (1):31-51.


14.   Trevillion, K., Domoney, J., Pickles, A., Bick, D., Byford, S., Heslin, M., Milgrom, J., Mycroft, R., Pariante, C., Ryan, E., Hunter, M. & Howard, L. (2016). Depression: an exploratory parallel-group randomised controlled trial of Antenatal guided self help for WomeN (DAWN): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials 18(17), 503.


15.   Skouteris, H., McPhie, S., Hill, B., McCabe, M., Milgrom, J., Kent, B., Bruce, L, Herring, S., Gale, J., Mihalopoulos, C., Shih, S., Teale, G., & Lachal, J. (2016). Health coaching to prevent excessive gestational weight gain: A randomized-controlled trial. British Journal of Health Psychology, 21(1), 31-51.


16.   Martin, P.R., Aiello, R., Gibson, K., Meadows, G., Milgrom, J. & Reece, J. (2015). Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Comorbid Migraine and/or Tension-type Headache and Major Depressive Disorder: An Exploratory Randomized Controlled Trial. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 73:8-18.


17.   Coo, S., Milgrom, J., Kuppens, P., & Trinder, J. (2015). Perinatal distress, an appraisal perspective. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 33(2), 190-204.


18.   Milgrom, J., Gemmill, A.W., Ericksen, J., Burrows, G., Buist, A., & Reece, J. (2015). Treatment of Postnatal Depression with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Sertraline and Combination Therapy: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 49(3):236-45.


19.   Milgrom, J., Holt, C., Holt, C.J., Ross, J., Ericksen, J., & Gemmill, A. (2015). A Feasibility Study and Pilot Randomised Trial of an Antenatal Depression Treatment with Infant Follow-up. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 18(5):717-30.


20.   Milgrom, J., & Holt, C. (2014). Early intervention to protect the mother-infant relationship following postnatal depression: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 15, 385.


21.   Howard, L., Molyneaux, E., Dennis, C-L., Rochat, T., Stein, A. & Milgrom, J. (2014). Perinatal Mental Health 1: Non-psychotic Mental Disorders in the Perinatal Period. Invited Series for The Lancet, 384, 1775-1788.


22.   Rallis, S., Skouteris, H., McCabe, M. & Milgrom, J. (2014). A Prospective Examination of Depression, Anxiety and Stress throughout Pregnancy. Women and Birth, 27(1), 68-71.


23.   Coo, S., Milgrom, J. & Trinder, J. (2014). Pregnancy and Postnatal Dreams Reflect Changes Inherent to the Transition to Motherhood. Dreaming, 24 (2), 125-137.


24.   Meijer, J.L., Beijers, C., van Pampus, M.G., Verbeek, T., Stolk, R.P., Milgrom, J., Bockting, C.L.H. & Burger, H. (2014).  Predictive accuracy of Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale assessment during pregnancy for the risk of developing postpartum depressive symptoms: A prospective cohort study. BJOG, 121(13), 1604-1610.


25.   Milgrom, J. & Gemmill, A.W. (2014). Feasibility and efficacy of an internet treatment for postnatal depression utilising a behavioural activation approach. Commentary on O'Mahen, H.A. Woodford, J., Warren, F.C, Richards, D.A., Lynch, T.R. Taylor, R.S. Internet-based behavioral activation--treatment for postnatal depression (Netmums): a randomized controlled trial. Evidence Based Nursing, 17, 102.


26.   Milgrom, J. & Gemmill, A.W. (2014). Screening for Perinatal Depression. Best Practice & Research: Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 28(1), 13-23.


27.   Martin, P.R., Cairns, R., Lindner, H., Milgrom, J., Morrissey, S. & Ricciardelli, L. A. (2014). The Training Crisis in Health Psychology in Australia. Australian Psychologist, Special Issue: The "Health" of Health Psychology in Australia: Behavioural Approaches and Interventions, 49 (2), p.86-95.


28.   Rallis, S., Skouteris, H, McCabe M., & Milgrom, J. (2014). The Transition to Motherhood: Towards a Broader Understanding of Perinatal Distress. Women and Birth. Volume 27 (1), 68-71.


29.   Reilly, N., Harris, S., Loxton, D., Chojenta, C., Forder, P., Milgrom, J., Austin, M-P. (2013). Referral for Management of Emotional Health Issues During the Perinatal Period: Does Mental Health Assessment Make a Difference? Birth 40 (4):297-306.


30.   Buultjens, M., Murphy, G., Robinson, P., & Milgrom, J. (2013). The Range and Accessibility of Maternity Models of Care and Allied Health Service Delivery across Public Hospitals within Victoria, Australia. Journal of Nursing and Health Care, 1 (1) 21 - 28.


31.   Hill, B., Skouteris, H., McCabe, M., Milgrom, J., Kent, B., Herring, S. J., Hartley-Clark, L. & Gale, J. (2013). A Conceptual Model of Psychosocial Risk and Protective Factors for Excessive Gestational Weight Gain. Midwifery, 29, 110-114.


32.   Reilly, N., Harris, S., Loxton, D., Chojenta, C., Forder, P., Milgrom, J. & Austin, M-P. (2013). Disparities in reported psychosocial assessment across public and private maternity settings: a national survey of women in Australia. BMC Public Health, 13, 632.DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-63



33.   Danaher, B.G., Milgrom, J., Seeley, J.R., Stuart, S., Schembri, C., Tyler, M.S., Ericksen, J., Lester, W., Gemmill, A.W., Kosty, D. & Lewinsohn, P. (2013). MomMoodBooster Web-Based Intervention for Postpartum Depression: Feasibility Trial Results. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(11), e242


34.   Gemmill, A.W., Worotniuk, T., Holt, C.J., Skouteris, H. & Milgrom, J. (2013). Maternal Psychological Factors and Controlled Child Feeding Practices in Relation to Child Body Mass Index. Childhood Obesity, 9(4), 326-37.


35.   Milgrom, J., Newnham, C., Martin, P.R., Anderson, P.J., Doyle, L.W., Hunt, R., Achenbach, T.M., Ferretti, C. , Holt, C.J., Inder, T.E. & Gemmill, A.W. (2013). Early Communication in Preterm Infants Following Intervention in the NICU.  Early Human Development, 89(9), 755-762.


36.   Buultjens, M., Murphy, G., Robinson, P. & Milgrom, J. (2013). The perinatal period: A literature review from the biopsychosocial perspective. Clinical Nursing Studies, 1(3), 19-31.


37.   Wee, K, Y., Pier, C., Milgrom, J., Richardson, B., & Fisher, J. & Skourteris, H., (2013). Fathers' Mental Health during the Ante- and Postnatal Periods: Knowledge, recommendations and interventions. British Journal of Midwifery, 21(5), 236-247.


38.   Mulcare, H., Kashima, Y., Milgrom, J., Wheeler, G., Wirth, A., Bishop, M. & Schofield, P. (2013). Avoidant adjustment predicts lower information seeking in people with lung cancer. Psycho-oncology, Mar; 22(3), 540-7.




1.      Milgrom, J., & Gemmill, A. W. (Eds.). (2015). Identifying Perinatal Depression and Anxiety: Evidence-based Practice in Screening, Psychosocial Assessment and Management. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

2.      Milgrom, J., Ericksen, J., Leigh, B., Romeo, Y., Loughlin, E., McCarthy, R., Saunders, B. (2009). Towards Parenthood. Preparing for the challenges and changes of a new baby. Melbourne: Acer Press.

3.      Milgrom, J., Martin, P.R. & Negri, L. (1999). Treating Postnatal Depression.  A Psychological Approach for Health Care Practitioners.  Chichester:  Wiley.


Book chapters

1.      Milgrom, J. & Gemmill, A. (2018). Depressione, ansia e sofferenza psicologica nel periodo perinatale.  In Rosa Maria Quatraro e Pietro Grussu (a cura di) Psicologia Clinica Perinatale: Dalla Teoria Alla Pratica. Ch. 12, pp. 415-449. Trento, Italy: Erickson.

(English translation: Milgrom, J. & Gemmill, A. (2018). Depression, anxiety and psychological distress in perinatal period. In Rosa Maria Quatraro & Pietro Grussu (Eds) Handbook of Perinatal Clinical Psychology: From theory to practice. Ch. 12, pp. 415-449. Trento, Italy: Erickson.)


2.      Milgrom, J., Sved-Williams, A., Ericksen, J. (2016). Impact of parental psychiatric illness on infant development. In Sutter-Dallay AL, Glangeaud-Freudenthal NMC, Guedeney A, Riecher-Rössler A Eds, Joint Perinatal Psychiatric Care for Parents and Infants, Ch. 4, pp. 47-78. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.


3.      Gemmill, A. W., Milgrom, J., & Highet, N. J. (2015). Perinatal Depression: Looking Back, Moving Forward. In J. Milgrom & A. W. Gemmill (Eds.), Identifying Perinatal Depression and Anxiety: Evidence -based Practice in Screening, Psychosocial Assessment and Management (pp. 288). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.


4.      Milgrom, J., & Gemmill, A. W. (2015). Current Issues in Identifying Perinatal Depression: An Overview. In J. Milgrom & A. W. Gemmill (Eds.), Identifying Perinatal Depression and Anxiety: Evidence-based Practice in Screening, Psychosocial Assessment and Management (pp. 288). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.


5.    Milgrom, J., Gemmill, A. (2013). Identification and Treatment of Depression in the Perinatal Period. In M.L. Caltabiano & L. Ricciardelli (Eds) Applied Topics in Health Psychology, First Edition. Ch. 16, Wiley & Sons.


Other publications


Book chapters

1.    Fisher, J., Acton, C. and Rowe, H. (2018). Mental health among childbearing women: Historical perspectives and social determinants. In M. Muzik and K.L. Rosenblum (editors). Motherhood in the Face of Trauma: Pathways Towards Healing and Growth.  Cham Switzerland: Springer.


2.    Rowe, H., Seng, J., Acton, C. and Fisher, J. (2015). The postnatal period: Opportunities for creating change. In J. Seng and J. Taylor (editors). Trauma Informed Care in the Perinatal Period.  Edinburgh UK: Dunedin Academic Press.




Recent funding sources


The provision of a perinatal depression online support tool and smartphone application, Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Health, 2017-2019, Parent-Infant Research Institute (lead) in partnership with Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, The Jean Hailes Foundation and Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) (The Perinatal Depression e-Consortium - PDeC).


Prevention of Adverse Child Behavioural Development Following Maternal Depression in Pregnancy, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2018-2022, Milgrom, J., Skouteris, H., Galbally, M., East, C., Glover, V.


Reaching Isolated Women in NSW: An implementation research study for delivering an online treatment program for postnatal Depression and Anxiety (PNDA), NSW Department of Health's Translational Research Grants Scheme, 2018-2020, de Haan, K., Bernoth, M., Hunt, C., Milgrom, J., Gemmill, A.


Happiness, Understanding, Giving and Sharing (HUGS) Playgroups, Department of Social Services, Family and Children Program, Children and Parent Support Services, 2015-2020, Milgrom, J., Ericksen, J., Holt, C., Rose, N.









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