Student researcher

Dr Lauren Kosta Research Leader


Lauren is a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Work at The University of Melbourne. A qualified social worker, Lauren has worked in research for several years focusing on parenting in circumstances of adversity with previous work at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with parents of infants and young children with complex health issues. For her PhD, Lauren is studying the experience of parenting since the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, with the aim of informing services to support parents and their families in similar circumstances. Lauren’s doctoral research is also supported by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at The University of Melbourne.


Project Summary

Following a disaster not only are parents faced with caring for a child who may have experienced significant trauma, but they will themselves have been affected by the event as well as the subsequent disruption and stress related to the recovery process. While parenting is often recognised for its influence on children’s wellbeing and recovery, little attention has been paid to the experience of parenting after a disaster. Being able to understand what it is like for parents can lead to ways of supporting parental wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of their children and families.

For this project, semi-structured interviews are being conducted with parents (mothers, fathers or other primary caregivers) who at the time of the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 were living in an area affected by the fires and caring for one or more dependent child(ren). The interviews include questions on what it has been like to be a parent since the bushfires, what has been difficult, what has gone well, what supports were (or were not) helpful. The aim of the study is to inform ways of supporting parents and their families post-disaster.