Associate Professor Karen Turner

Principal Research Fellow

School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 336 57302


Karen Turner is a clinical psychologist and research academic. She is Deputy Director (Programs and Innovation) at the Parenting and Family Support Centre. Her research activity concerns the nature, causes, prevention and treatment of behavioural and emotional problems in children. She is a foundational co-author of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program and has published 13 professional manuals, 20 parent workbooks and tip sheet series, and 14 DVD programs, which are currently being used in 27 countries, in 20 languages. She has also co-written television segments and four interactive online parenting programs. She has clinical and research experience relating to the prevention and treatment of a variety of childhood behavioural and emotional problems, including work with feeding disorders, pain syndromes and conduct problems. Her doctoral research focused on the development and evaluation of brief primary care interventions in the prevention of behaviour disorders in children, and the subsequent dissemination of these interventions to the professional community. She has also conducted series of research into: online delivery of parenting programs; the cultural tailoring of mainstream parenting programs for Indigenous families; and enhancing the training and post-training environment for Indigenous professionals. Her current work includes further resource development for primary care settings, early education settings, and an ongoing focus on making evidence-based parenting support programs more accessible for families in low-resource communities.

Research Impacts

Associate Professor Turner has over 27 years of experience in the development, evaluation and dissemination of behavioural family intervention and prevention programs. Her work has primarily revolved around the UQ flagship Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, which has been subjected to over 280 research trials by over 1170 researchers in over 350 institutions; is used by more than 77,000 trained and accredited practitioners from different disciplines; and has reached more than an estimated 7 million children. The key theme of her program development and research endeavours has been increasing access to evidence-based parenting and family support for all families, with the aim of reducing population prevalence rates of child behavioural and emotional problems, family conflict and adversity. The impact of this work is both instrumental (in shaping policy, professional practice and family outcomes) and capacity building (in building community, organisational, professional and individual skills), and is establishing enduring international connectivity. It has led to adoption of evidence-based parenting programs by most state governments in Australia, and from a county/province to a national level in other countries. Her work in the cultural tailoring of programs for Indigenous families has engendered interest from other First Nations and Indigenous populations (e.g. Canada, New Zealand) and refugee families in Australia.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Clinical Psychology, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Book Chapter

  • Turner, Karen M. T., Dittman, Cassandra , Rusby, Julie C. and Lee, Shawna (2018). Parenting support in an early childhood learning context. In Matthew R. Sanders and Trevor G. Mazzucchelli (Ed.), The power of positive parenting: transforming the lives of children, parents, and communities using the Triple P system (pp. 1-1) Sydney, Australia: Oxford University Press.

  • Sanders, Matthew R., Turner, Karen M. T. and McWilliam, Jenna (2016). The Triple P - Positive Parenting Program: a community-wide approach to parenting and family support. In Mark J. Van Ryzin, Karol L. Kumpfer, Gregory M. Fosco and Mark T. Greenberg (Ed.), Family-based prevention programs for children and adolescents: theory, research, and large-scale dissemination (pp. 134-159) New York, NY, United States: Psychology Press.

  • Sanders, Matthew R., Turner, Karen M. T. and Markie- Dadds, Carol (2007). Paediatric Psychology and the Treatment of Childhood Disorders. In Jay S. Birnbrauer and Paul R. Martin (Ed.), Clinical Psychology: Profession and Practice in Australia (pp. 287-314) Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Macmillan Education.

  • Sanders, M. R., Markie-Dadds, C., Turner, K. M. T. and Ralph, A. (2004). Using the Triple P system of intervention to prevent behavioural problems in children and adolescents. In P. Barrett and T. Ollendick (Ed.), Handbook of Interventions that Work with Children and Adolescents: Prevention and Treatment (pp. 489-516) Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley. doi:10.1002/9780470753385.ch20

  • Sanders, Matthew R., Turner, Karen M. T. and Markie- Dadds, Carol (1996). Paediatric psychology and the treatment of childhood disorders. In Paul R. Martin and Jay S. Birnbrauer (Ed.), (pp. 287-314) South Melbourne, Vic., Australia: Macmillan Education.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Turner, K. M. T., Sanders, M. R., Richards, M. and Arthur, N. (2006). Tailoring and evaluating an evidence-based group family intervention program for parents in indigenous communities. In: Katsikitis, Mary, Australian Journal of Psychology; Proceedings The Abstracts of the Joint Conference of the Australian Psychological Society and the New Zealand Psychological Society. The Joint Conference of the Australian Psychological Society and the New Zealand Psychological Society, Sky City Auckland Convention Centre, New Zealand, (201-201). 26-30 September, 2006. doi:10.1080/00049530600940019

  • Wall, CR, Sanders, MR and Turner, KMT (1996). The eating behaviour, attitude and nutrition knowledge of mothers of children with persistent feeding difficulties. In: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand, Vol 21. 31st Annual Conference of the Nutrition-Society-of-New-Zealand, Dunedin New Zealand, (102-104). Aug, 1996.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision