Professor Stephen Houghton

Started at UWA: 1990

Noted expert in child and adolescent psychopathology

Working with adolescents with mental health problems is challenging, but it’s also hugely rewarding. There’s no greater feeling than seeing my work used to help improve someone’s health and wellbeing; being able to make a real difference to real people is such a privilege. Professor Stephen Houghton

Professor Stephen Houghton is a registered psychologist with an international reputation for leading large, multi-site research projects in child psychopathology and the development of antisocial behaviours in adolescents. Professor Houghton has extensive knowledge and experience of children with developmental disorders and disruptive behaviour disorders in both practice and research. He is regularly sought as an expert commentator by the media.

Professor Houghton has a background in educational and child psychology and sports exercise science. Having started his career as a high school teacher in Cabramatta, Sydney, he undertook postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom.


Following the completion of his PhD and some time in special education schools, Professor Houghton joined UWA as a teacher and researcher in the Graduate School of Education, as well as Director of the Centre for Child and Adolescent Related Disorders. He is also Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde's School of Psychological and Health Sciences in Glasgow, Scotland, and an elected member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy.


BEd (Hons) Keele, MEd PhD Birm. C. Psychol, Dip Sp Ed, Grad Dip ed

Research Repository

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Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Award for distinguished achievement in research, scholarship, and sustained career excellence, 2016

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Winner of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Excellence in University Teaching Awards (Social Sciences Category), 2009

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UWA Faculty of Education Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision Award, 2008

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Elected Member of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 2004


Neurodevelopmental disorders and loneliness: School predictors and outcomes

Adolescent mental health problems will be a leading cause of morbidity, mortality and disability worldwide by 2020. This is a four-year longitudinal study of loneliness in adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Using latent growth curve modelling with an innovative accelerated cohort design, the research will determine the predictors and outcomes of loneliness in adolescents with NDDs over the 10- to 18-year-old period.

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Online for a Healthy Mind: Promoting Mental Health the Health(y)way

This is a 3D animated mental health promotion program incorporating an innovative Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM-I) procedure designed to therapeutically alter unhelpful negative thought patterns known to contribute to high levels of emotional dysfunction and causally linked to mental health disorders.

KooLKIDS: Empowering children to live well with themselves and others

Schools and families are increasingly recognising the importance of the social and emotional wellbeing of children and the need to educate them in a positive, strengths-based approach with regard to their skills, attitudes, behaviours and communication.

This ARC-funded project (in collaboration with UQ) developed an interactive multimedia program for childhood onset conduct problems and social and emotional regulation.

Visit the KooLKIDS website



Stan Perron Charitable Foundation Research Round (child health and medical research)

  • 'Reducing self-harm and suicidal behaviours in young people in Western Australia'
    Co-Chief Investigators Associate Professor David Lawrence, Professor Stephen Houghton, Dr Elaine Chapman, Professor Andrew Page, Professor Michael Small, Dr Barbara Sheil, Professor Dawn Freshwater, Professor Helen Milroy, Professor Michael Sawyer, Professor Tanya Fitzgerald


National Health and Medical Research Council – MRFF scheme

  • 'Supporting the ongoing wellbeing and resilience of Australia's first responders following the 2019/20 bushfires'
    Associate Professor David Lawrence (Lead Investigator), Professor Stephen Houghton, Ms Wavne Rikkers, Dr Miranda Van Hooff, Professor Sharon Lawn


Mindfulness Meditation Australia

  • 'A whole of school mindfulness approach in schools'
    Professor Stephen Houghton, Associate Professor David Lawrence

Young Lives Matter Foundation, UWA

  • 'Loneliness in adolescents as a component of developmental risk for vulnerability to suicidal behaviours'
    Professor Stephen Houghton, Associate Professor David Lawrence, Professor Andrew Page, Dr Sashya Gunasekera, Professor Simon Hunter


ARC Discovery Projects

  • 'Neurodevelopmental disorders and loneliness: School predictors and outcomes'
    Professor Stephen Houghton, Prof John Hattie, Dr Annemaree Carroll, Dr John Wray, Simon Hunter

WA Health Promotion Foundation Healthway

  • 'Intervention Research Grant – Online for a Healthy Mind: Promoting Mental Health the Health(y)way'
    Professor Stephen Houghton, Professor Colin MacLeod, Associate Professor David Lawrence, Mr Benjamin Grafton, Professor Andrew Page, Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg, Dr Annemaree Carroll


Healthway, WA Heart Foundation

  • ‘Screen Use and Mental Health from Ages 8–18: A sequential latent growth model.’
    Co Chief investigators Associate Professor Lisa Wood UWA, Associate Professor Michael Rosenberg UWA, Assistant Professor Karen Martin UWA, Associate Professor Trevor Shilton UWA, Dr Simon Hunter, Strathclyde

More grants and publications


Contact Professor Stephen Houghton

Professor Houghton has been supervising PhD students since 1995 on topics such as child adolescent developmental psychopathology. To enquire about PhD opportunities or to speak with him about any area of his work and research, get in touch using these details.