Australian Institute of Family Studies

We are the Australian Government's key research body in the area of family wellbeing. We conduct research to increase the understanding of Australian families and the issues that affect them.

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Life stages & transitions


The research shows that the experiences of childhood can exert an enduring influence on an individual’s life.

Adolescence & early adulthood

Adolescence and early adulthood is an important period of transition from dependence on family towards independence.


As we age, events such as children leaving home and retirement can affect our life satisfaction and wellbeing.


What happens to people as they pass through the common events of life?

Family relationships


The parent–child relationship affects every aspect of the social fabric. What supports work best for parents and children?


Couples are as diverse as the individuals in them. AIFS explores the whole gamut of couple relationships, asking “What makes them work?”

Extended families

Family is not static or defined by narrow limits. Families change over time, and don’t stop at the front door.

Fertility & family structure

Fertility and family structure are affected by many factors, including cultural norms and the need to balance work and family.

Conflict & relationship breakdown

Separation and divorce can have enormous repercussions for couples and their children. Much research focuses on limiting the damage.

Challenges for families


AIFS research explores the costs of family violence and strategies for the prevention of, and protection from, harm.

Child abuse & protection

The focus of AIFS research in the areas of child abuse and neglect is on protecting children from harm.

Mental ill-health

AIFS research into mental health issues covers the gamut from survey data analysis to practice guidance for family welfare workers.

Gambling & addictions

The harms from addiction spread beyond individuals, to families and the wider community. AIFS Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) researches the harms from gambling.

Locational disadvantage

How does remoteness and locational disadvantage affect families’ quality of life and the development of children?

Care for family members

Families care for and support one another, though sometimes the cost of caring for family members can be exceedingly high.

Services for families

AIFS connects practitioners to evidence about what works for families through its various projects, particularly Child Family Community Australia (CFCA).

Recent publications

Research summaries— Dec 2017

This Research Summary explores participants' risk of psychological distress shortly after arrival in Australia and at annual interviews after that.

Research summaries— Dec 2017

A discussion about the factors affecting the settlement success for recently arrived humanitarian migrants.

Group of youths playing with mobile devices.
Research Report— Dec 2017

This Research Report gives evidence about the impact exposure to and consumption of online pornography has on children and young people.

Executive summary— Dec 2017

A discussion of pornography and its effects on children and young people.


Work for us

View our latest vacancies.

AIFS Conference, 25-27 July 2018 

Registrations are now open.
Visit the website for more information.

Commissioned Reports

Cradle to Kinder Evaluation Summary
The Cradle to Kinder program is an early intervention program designed to address the needs of vulnerable children and families.

Contexts of disadvantage
This report examines the association between family, neighbourhood and school level disadvantage and children’s cognitive and social outcomes.