9 things you didn’t know about Dr Caroline Donovan


Back Row: Cate Hearn. Bianca Berry | Front Row: Sonja March. Caroline Donovan. Sue Spence


Dr Caroline Donovan is an Honours Program Convenor and Senior Lecturer at the School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University.

1. She was a dance teacher before becoming an Academic
Teaching has always been part of Caroline’s life; but before research dissertations and grant applications, it was leotards and pirouettes.  Upon turning 30, she hung up her dancing shoes to do a Clinical PhD and become an academic.

2. Sleep is a big part of her research
No, she doesn’t spend time snoozing on the therapist couch and writing research papers about the experience.  Her research focuses on anxiety and sleep issues in youth, as well as body image issues in people of all ages and across both genders.

3. Caroline is BRAVE
With her colleagues, Professor Sue Spence (GU) and Dr Sonja March (USQ), Caroline has been involved in developing and evaluating the BRAVE program, an internet-based, cognitive behavioural program for youth anxiety disorders. Since May 2014, BRAVE has been made available to every Australian family free of charge through beyondblue, with over 11,000 registrations for the program to date.

4. A typical work day? Ha! Caroline doesn’t know what that is!
Variety is the spice of life, according to the well-known 18th-century proverb. And Caroline’s work is certainly spicy! On some days, you’ll find Caroline teaching honours and postgraduate psychology students, and supervising students for research dissertations and clinical practice. Other days are research-focused, where she spends time writing papers and grant applications.

5. Her next research project involves young children and Asperger’s
Caroline said: ‘I am now turning my research efforts towards writing up research conducted on young children with Asperger’s and siblings of children with Asperger’s, as well as study that was conducted examining a program for parents who have recently been divorced’.

6. Caroline has worked hard to get where she is today
Whether it was dancing, school or university, Caroline has always put her best foot forward. But she credits her family for helping her along the way. ‘I’m blessed with a supportive family who is there to help whenever they are needed,’ she said.

7. You might as well call her Professor Donovan now
Career-wise, Caroline aspires to reach Professor level and be more involved in University administration. ‘I would also like to be able to disseminate other psychological treatment programs in the way we have done with BRAVE so that more people in the community can have access to high-quality clinical treatment,’ said Caroline.

8. The last book Caroline read was Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Eating Disorders
The Gold Coast Campus Library has a copy if the title tickles your fancy:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy and eating disorders / Christopher G. Fairburn.
    New York : Guilford Press, c2008
    Call number: RC552.E18 F36 2009

9. Caroline couldn’t live without her laptop
‘It pretty much holds my life!’ she said.

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