Dr. Stephen (Steve) Edwards

Phone: (03) 5327 9165
Email: sl.edwards@federation.edu.au
Mt Helen Campus, H207
Position: Senior Lecturer, Placement Coordinator
Discipline: Psychology


  • Bachelor of Arts, Swinburne Institute of Technology (1985)
  • Bachelor of Social Work, La Trobe University (1986)
  • Graduate Diploma, Educational Psychology, Monash University (1990)
  • Master of Psychology, Monash University (2002)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne (2016)


Psychology Board of Australia
  • General registration
  • Clinical endorsement
  • Approved supervisor (Multiple pathways to general registration, Clinical registrar program)
Other accreditations:
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)
  • Programme for Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills – Young Adults (PEERS-YA)

Professional Associations

  • Australian Psychological Society (member)
  • Australian Psychological Society, College of Clinical Psychologists (fellow)
  • Australian Psychological Society, Psychology, Intellectual Disability and Autism (PIDA) Interest Group (member)
  • Australian Association for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy(member)
  • Victorian Psychologists Association (life member)

Clinical experience

Prior to taking an academic position, Steve worked as a senior psychologist in public practice across a range of areas including intellectual disability, the Family Court and adult Mental Health Services. Within the public MHS system, he worked in a regional Area Mental Health Service, a statewide dual-disability consultancy unit, an inner urban Primary Mental Health Team and a psychological assessment and treatment service within Melbourne’s shelters for chronically homeless men. Steve has considerable experience with severe mental illness, high prevalence disorders, personality disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders as well as high prevalence conditions. He has supervised provisional and general registered psychologists in these settings as well as students on placement. Steve continues to supervise within the university training programs as well as consulting nationally and internationally.

Teaching areas

  • Diversity and interprofessional practice
  • Adult psychopathology
  • Behaviour change
  • Assessment

Research interests

Steve’s research interests are informed by his clinical experience and the research projects undertaken with colleagues and students. These include basic and applied aspects of mental health, well-being, emotion processing, social and cognitive functioning during adulthood, neurodevelopmental differences ,including autism, and their impact on the experience of anxiety and depression. Steve supervises honours and course work masters projects as well as higher degree research including PhD. Steve also leads his own projects and participates in those of national and international colleagues.

A current focus is the Neurodiversity, Inclusion and Success survey which was co-developed with students and consultants with autism, ADHD and specific learning disorder and administered at Federation University in 2023. The survey collected data on: identification; social support; lived experience; strengths; use of support services; disclosure and barriers to doing so; attitudes to and knowledge of and autism; education about neurodivergence; barriers and solutions to social inclusion and academic success.

Recent and current projects:

  • Cognitive Bias Modification Training on Social Anxiety in Young Adults
  • Support workers’ perception of how adults with autism spectrum disorder learn social skills
  • The impact on tertiary students of a brief online training about Autism
  • Growing up with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in different cultures
  • Psychosis Knowledge and Stigma Influencing First Aid Intentions
  • Retrospective and Prospective consideration of COVID-Related Disruptions and Mental Health in Tertiary Students
  • Diagnostic Overshadowing Bias in Diagnostic and Treatment Decisions about Adults with Intellectual Disability Among Australian Psychologists


2023 Enhancing the Inclusion and Success of Neurodivergent Students in Regional and Remote Higher Education: A Co-Developed project. Federation UniversityHEPPP grant (65,000). Dr. Steve Edwards, Prof. Gerard Kennedy, A/Prof. Kate Moore, Mr. Kieran Thorpe, Mr. Joshua Caine, Dr. Ria de Gracia, Ms. Michelle Briede, Ms. Lucinda Bilney, Mr. Drew Burns.

2021Development of a mental wellbeing and social skills digital training platform for people on the Autism Spectrum Federation University Health Innovation and Transformation Centre, Mid-Career Researcher Engagement and Impact Grants (20,000) Dr. George Van Doorn, Professor Britt Klein, Dr. Steve Edwards, Dr. Kerrie Shandley, Mr. Josh Caine.

2021Investigating research collaborations with organisations that support young adults with autism within Federation University (Higher Ed. & TAFE) and the communityFederation University, Research Support Program (3,500) Dr. Steve Edwards Professor Gerard Kennedy, Associate Professor Kate Moore, Dr. Ma Regina de Gracia, Mr. Kieran Thorpe, Mr. Josh Caine.

2018 Group social skills training programmes for adults living with autism spectrum disorder Faculty of Health Emerging Career Researchers Seed Funding Grant 2018 ($5,000) Dr. Steve Edwards.

Recent publications

Zentveld, E., Labas, A., Edwards, S., & Morrison, A.M. (2022) Now is the time: VFR desperately seeking respect. International Journal of Tourism Research, 24 (3), 385-399. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jtr.2509

Caine, J.A. Klein, B. & Edwards, S.L. (2021) The Impact of a Novel Mimicry Task for Increasing Emotion Recognition in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Alexithymia: Protocol for a Randomised Controlled Trial JMIR Research Protocols, 10 (6), e24543. https://ncbi.nlm.nih/pubmed/34170257

Sample Conference Presentations

De Jesus, A, & Edwards, S.L. (2023) Brief online cognitive bias modification training for social anxiety in young adults: Efficacy and acceptability during the transition out of social restrictions. Paper presented at 10th World Congress of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies, Seoul.

Edwards, S.L. (2019) Predicting capacity to self-report symptoms and cognitions in adults with low ability. Paper presented at European Association for Mental Health and Intellectual Disability (EAMHID), 12th Conference, Barcelona.

Edwards, S.L. (2018) Is ability related to mental health problems in adults with low ability?  Paper presented at Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability National Conference, Broadbeach.

Edwards, S.L. & Jackson, H.J. (2017) Can thoughts predict symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults with low ability? Paper presented at European Association for Mental Health and Intellectual Disability (EAMHID), 11th Conference, Luxembourg.

Edwards, S.L. & Jackson, H.J. (2017) Do anxiety and depression influence attentional processing of faces amongst adult adults with low ability? Paper presented at EAMHID, 11th Conference, Luxembourg.