Building Stronger Australian Families Forum: Transitioning to parenthood

Families Australia is planning the next Forum on Building Stronger Australian Families. The initial Forum provided an opportunity to look broadly at Australian families, work and time. The second Forum provided participants with the opportunity to look at Professor Lyndall Strazdins’ newly-released research entitled Hour-glass ceilings: Work-hour gendered health inequities.[1]. With Dr Ros Baxter, Dr Tim Reddell and Dr Brian Babington the issue of what would work and care look like if it was more equal was explored.

These previous discussions have provided us with the opportunity to explore more deeply a range of aspects of the work and time balance for families. Dr Liana Leach will lead the next Forum (5 June 2017) on family formation with a focus on young parents and work life balance.  Her presentation is titled, Opportunities and losses in the transition to parenthood: Family formation, social connectedness, work and mental wellbeing.

Dr Leach’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion led by Dr Brian Babington (CEO, Families Australia) and joined by Professor Lyndall Strazdins (National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU), Flora Carapellucci (Principal Advisor Families Group, DSS) and Murray Kimber (Branch Manager of the Investment Approach Taskforce, DSS). This will be a timely discussion given the interest from both the community and Government in young parents, especially young fathers with links to Try, Test and Learn and the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children’s Building Capacity in Australian Parents trial.

Dr Liana Leach is a research fellow in the Society, Culture and Health research stream at The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH). Her research interests include examining the impact of family and work circumstances on mental health. Her work involves the translation of mental health research for public policy and practice. Dr Leach’s areas of expertise include mental health, epidemiology and family and household studies.

Biography: Dr Leach completed an undergraduate Honours degree in Applied Psychology at The University of Canberra in 2003. Since this time, she has undertaken research projects with the Australian Demographic Social Research Institute (ADSRI) and the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) at The Australian National University. Dr Leach completed her PhD at the CMHR titled ‘Gender differences in depression and anxiety across the adult lifespan’ in 2009. She has published her work in several high quality academic journals as well as national and international conferences.

Dr Leach uses a number of longitudinal, population-based surveys in her work to examine associations between changes in social factors (e.g. work and family life transitions) and changes in mental health. For example, Dr Leach’s research has examined how changes in job characteristics impact on mental health, and how becoming a parent impacts on mental health.

Her work has utilised:

– Personality and Total Health Through Life survey (PATH)

– Household Income Labour and Dynamics in Australia survey (HILDA)

– National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Australian (NSMHWB)

– Growing up in Australia: Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children (LSAC)

View Publications

[1]Ding H, Strazdins L, Welsh J. Hour-glass ceilings: Work-hour gendered health inequities. Social Science & Medicine 176 (2017) 42-51