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Personal profile


Maria Kangas, BA(Hons), MClinPsych, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University. Maria is a registered psychologist and has dual endorsements in Clinical and Counselling Psychology with the Psychology Board of Australia. Maria completed her Masters of Clinical Psychology degree at the University of Sydney and completed her PhD at UNSW. She also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA.

Research interests

Maria specialises in the assessment and treatment of stress/PTSD, anxiety and mood disturbances in trauma and medical (e.g., cancer) populations. Through her research she has focused on understanding emotion regulation, coping strategies and autobiographical memory functioning in helping people adapt to stressful life events, including medical health problems across the lifespan.

She has also developed and tested CBT and ACT-based therapy programs tailored towards specific stress and health populations to help people recover and enhance their resiliency and growth following adversity.  

Since 2013 she has extended her research to investigate somatic problems (including Somatoform and Health Anxiety disturbances) in children and adults.

She is also working on emotion regulatory programs to assist at-risk youth in preventing the developmental of psychological problems.

She has also extended her research to address clinician and consumer (client) factors in determining treatment knowledge and outcomes in therapeutic settings.


Maria currently convenes and teaches the following programs in the Master of Clinical Psychology program:

1)    Clinical Psychology Therapy 1 (PSYC985 – Convenor)

2)    Clinical Research Proposal (PSYC990 – Convenor)

3)    Clinical Psychology Dissertation 1 and 2 (PSYC991; PSYC992)

4)    Clinical Psychology Therapy 3 (PSYC993 – Co-Convenor)

5)    Clinical Psychological Assessment and Psychopathology 3 (PSYC994:Teaching paediatric & complex trauma seminars).

Research student supervision

Maria supervises students in PhD, Masters and Honours programs. Topics include:

- Trauma/PTSD; Stress management; and Resiliency and Post-traumatic growth processes

- Emotion regulation - in preventing and maintaining well-being

- Autobiographical memory processes; 

- Somatization problems including health anxiety;

- Evaluating treatment effectiveness  for Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness approaches;  

- Psycho-oncology & chronic health.

- Role of Physical Activity/Exercise in enhancing emotion regulation and well-being in stressed, traumatized and depressed populations

* Specific examples of current projects Maria is supervising include: 

  • Evaluating specific factors and mechanisms (e.g. humour, self concept, executive functioning, physical activity) in contributing to enhanced emotion regulatory and coping outcomes including resiliency following stressful and traumatic events.
  • Role of parental trauma history, somatic and emotional regulatory functioning in influencing parenting stress and child well-being.
  • Evaluating community based programs for stressed, traumatized and disadvantaged youth and adult samples. 
  • Mental health literacy including cross-cultural samples

If you are interested in being supervised by Maria please contact her via email:

Research engagement

  • Editor, Australian Psychologist  [2016-2020] []
  • Editorial board for the following international journals:

            - Psychological Bulletin,

            - Behaviour Research and Therapy,

            - Stress and Health

  • University Chair, Macquarie University Fellowship Scheme [2017-2018; Deputy Chair – 2016]
  • Working group member of the International Consortium for Health Outcomes (ICHOM) Standard Set for Depression and Anxiety
  • Member of the Fear Taskforce for the Human Affectome Project [2015 – present].



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