The Building Resilience project is the name for a group of research enquiries that look at how young people in the west of Melbourne build resilience. It’s an ongoing, responsive project and we want to engage with local community organisations.

The study specifically looks at the challenges and risks relevant to different groups of young people growing up in western Melbourne, and how they navigate those risks.

Community organisations: collaborate with us

Building Resilience project team is interested in collaboration with not-for-profit, community, sporting, and/or creative organisations in the west of Melbourne.

We have an ongoing collaboration with the Western Bulldogs Football Club and a number of other organisations.

We provide short reports which may be suitable in support of for grant/funding applications, and additional organisational guidance as requested.

Email or to set up a meeting.

Teens or young people in western Melbourne: get involved

We want to learn about your views about the community program you are participating in and why it is important. You might also have ideas about what could be better. Your views will help us to understand why young people get involved in their community and what they get out of it. The project is funded and run independently by Victoria
University. The researchers will combine everyone’s responses and then write about what they find.

Contact us if you are interested involved in:

  • Western Bulldogs Youth Leadership Program
  • a local football/soccer club
  • the Polyglot schools project.

Gains from taking part in this study

If you take part:

  • you will have the chance to have a say and make a difference to what is being done to improve resilience for young people like yourself in your community.
  • you may find the research interesting and learn a bit about how researchers learn about important issues affecting young people.
  • the information will be used to improve your community by exploring pathways to positive outcomes for young people.
  • you will receive a movie ticket as a thank-you for participating.

What is involved if you participate

If you participate you may be asked to take part in a:

  • survey containing a number of questions that ask about your interests, leadership, community involvement, resilience or well being; or
  • 30-60 minute interview at the community program you participate in (at a time and place that you sort out with the researchers).

Your participation is entirely voluntary and you are free to choose whether or not to participate and whether to stop participating at any time. We have more information that you need to read before participating in the information to participants document.

Consent to participate

How to submit the consent form:

  1. Read the information to participants.
  2. Get a parent or guardian to read the information to parents/guardians.
  3. Complete the participant consent form and get your parent/guardian to complete the parental consent form.
  4. Scan or take a photo of the signed & completed consent form.
  5. Email the consent form to: or

Parents, please ask your child to return this form to their program the next time they attend.

Any queries about your child’s participation in this project may be directed to the researchers:

Dr Laurie Chapin: +61 3 9919 2355
Dr Carolyn Deans: +61 3 9919 2334.


Prospective reseach students

We welcome enquiries from prospective students interested in:

  • PhD
  • Master of Clinical or Community Psychology
  • Psychology 4th year (Psychology Honours or Graduate Diploma in Psychology).

If you have an interest in working on a project under the Building Resilience umbrella, feel free to approach us to discuss your ideas.

Fourth (4th) year and Masters research supervisor allocations are made via the respective Research Coordinators for each course. However, anyone putting this project as a preference must have spoken to one of the project leads prior to preference date.

Potential PhD candidates can approach us directly: Dr Chapin or Dr Deans.

About the project

Resilience can lead to positive developmental and psychological wellbeing in young adults. It leads to successful life achievements, including in education and work, and it can decrease involvement in activities which cause harm. Although many researchers have varying definitions of what ‘resilience’ is, it is easier to see the effects of it in the presence of adversity.

Many previous studies have looked at the relationship between resilience in young people and positive development. However there aren’t many studies, especially in the Australian context, that try to work out how resilience is constructed, or what contextual, cultural and global factors contribute to developing resilient behaviour in young people.

Types of issues investigated

We know that young people in the west participate in a number of activities outside of school – for example, sports clubs, or creative pursuits. How do these activities aid or hinder resilience building? Where, apart from in schools, do young people find mentors and resources to access positive outcomes for themselves – in terms of wellbeing, education and achievement?


We also conduct work with the Department of Education and Training to see what factors within school help to build resilience and point students towards positive outcomes.

Part of the Building Resilience investigation involves longitudinal data collection on students within schools in western Melbourne about resilience factors and how these change over time.

This research will contribute to the growing international data about at-risk and disadvantaged youth and pathways to positive outcomes. This project will also provide important information about local communities’ most vulnerable young people.

About the researchers

Our research team is led by Dr Laurie Chapin and Dr Carolyn Deans.

We conduct both qualitative and quantitative investigations into the involvement of young people in a range of activities. Our researchers are from the College of Arts.