Dr Maria Vassos

Research Fellow

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Research Interests

  • Parent stress and seeking voluntary out-of-home care (relinquishment) for children and young people with disability
    My work has focused on understanding the causal factors behind parental decisions to seek voluntary out-of-home care (e.g., lack of access to support, children with high support needs and challenging behaviour), profiling parenting experiences based on these factors, and developing screening and identification tools to enhance early intervention support for parents and families experiencing stress and crisis.
  • Behaviour support
    My work has focused on behaviour support plan quality, specifically the evaluation of plan quality at an organisation, state, and national level. My work has also focused on determining the reliability, validity and usability of existing tools that measure plan quality (e.g., the Behaviour Intervention Plan Quality Evaluation, Version 2), and the development of a new plan quality evaluation tool that is accessible to a wider group of stakeholders (e.g., parents and disability support workers in addition to behaviour support practitioners). Also, my work has focused on evaluating the effectiveness of positive behaviour support plan training to enhance staff knowledge and capability to develop quality plans.
  • Work-related issues for disability professionals
    My work has focused on understanding the predictors of job burnout and work engagement in the disability support worker population (e.g., role ambiguity, job feedback, large workload) and identifying inherent sources of role ambiguity in the disability support work role. My work has also focused on organisational culture (clinical governance in particular) in the disability service sector and the impact that poor culture has on the day-to-day work of allied health professionals (e.g., psychologists, speech pathologists) supporting people with disability.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, RMIT University
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Science (Advanced), University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne


View all Publications


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

  • Nankervis, Karen L. and Vassos, Maria V. (2019). Agencies and professions in the provision of care. Handbook of intellectual disabilities: integrating theory, research, and practice. (pp. 201-217) edited by Johnny L. Matson. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-20843-1_13

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs