HDR Students

Natalie Ward

(PhD Candidate)

Thesis Title: Understanding Sexual Regret in Emerging Adults

After working for 20 years in sales and marketing, Nat underwent a career change to study psychology at UniSQ while working in the field of education. Her honours thesis, under the supervision of Dr Raquel Peel, was titled ‘The Relationship between Flirting Styles and the Cycle of Relationship Sabotage within Intimate Relationships’. As a mum of 5, she is passionate about supporting adolescents in their social and emotional journey and strongly believes in empowering young people while endorsing a positive, proactive approach to mental health. She is currently completing her PhD in the field of sex regret.


Nikeeta Kumari

(PhD Candidate)

Thesis Title: An Investigation of Online Self-Defeating Attitudes and Behaviours in Intimate Relationships

With enthusiasm and curiosity, Nikeeta is a keen learner who has dedicated nine years to studying Psychology and Counseling before embarking on a PhD journey. From India, she is currently pursuing a PhD in the field of ‘Relationship Sabotage’ within intimate relationships at UniSQ. Coming from a rich cultural background, she understands that relationships often extend beyond the individuals involved, encompassing families, communities, and societal expectations. In addition to her deep understanding of cultural influences on relationships, Nikeeta is well-versed in the modern forms of online intimate relationships prevalent in India and around the world. She recognises that in today's fast-paced world, navigating the landscape of online dating can be particularly challenging, often fraught with uncertainties, insecurities, and conflicting desires. Despite the allure of finding happiness and fulfillment in intimate relationships, she acknowledges that the path to a truly satisfying relationship is often riddled with obstacles. In a rapidly changing world where traditional forms of dating intersect with dating in online spaces, she is committed to exploring how individual’s attitudes and behaviours negotiate these complexities in their pursuit of love and connection. Drawing from her extensive background in Psychology and Counseling, Nikeeta empathises with the struggles individuals face in their journey toward building and maintaining meaningful relationships. Through her PhD. research, she aspires to provide valuable insights and practical strategies to help individuals navigate the challenges of finding and cultivate fulfilling and lasting relationships that align with their personal needs.


Melinda Nuttall

(PhD Candidate)

Thesis Title: Prosocial Behaviours Online: Internal Drives of Online Behaviours


Matthew Persello

(PhD Candidate)

Thesis Title: Understanding the Lived Experience of Males who Pair with Males

Matthew Persello is PhD Candidate with The University of Southern Queensland whilst working professionally as a Provisional Psychologist. His key areas of interest are issues relating to the LGBT+ population, intimate relationships, and men’s mental health. Matthew’s current PhD project, The Lived Experiences of Men Who Pair With Men, is investigating the lived experiences of individuals who identify as a man and who are currently, or have previously, been engaged in a same sex relationship across three domains of romantic relationship quality, sexual identity acceptance, and life satisfaction.

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We are currently recruiting for several studies and we would love to have you participate!!! Follow the link to the list of ongoing studies. Please read the studies' summary to determine your eligibility. Participation is voluntary and responses are anonymous.