project info 

what's involved?

The data collection phase is now complete.

Participants were asked to share their family secret story with me in an interview or written exchange, and to reflect on what the impacts have been for them and those around them. If you'd like more information about the project, please get in touch with me via the Contact the researcher page. 

eligibility criteria

Participants were likely to be eligible if they were aged over 18, fluent in English, and had discovered or otherwise experienced a reproductive family secret at least two years ago that they were prepared to share. This two-year buffer aims to ensure people have had some time to process their experience before deciding to participate in this study.


This project is being supervised by A/Prof Deb Dempsey, a sociologist and researcher, and A/Prof Roger Cook, a clinical and counselling psychologist and researcher, both from Swinburne University.

benefits of participation and potential for distress

It is possible that sharing personal stories of family secrets will be enjoyable, and people may gain insight, meaning or clarity into some aspects of your own life. I hope so!

This being said, discussing or writing about personal topics can sometimes bring up emotions. I wanted to be clear with my participants that they were welcome to share as little or as much as they wanted to about their family story. There are supports in place if anything came up during or after participation. Participation was completely voluntary, and people could terminate or pause their involvement at any time, and decide to withdraw their contribution at any point up until the data had been processed.

privacy and anonymity

All interviews or written exchanges will be confidential and each participant will be anonymous. All data collected will be de-identified and a number of privacy-preserving techniques will be applied so that no one will be able to read any of my work and identify you, or anyone else in your family. Data (including transcripts, contact details and recordings) is kept on Swinburne University's secure cloud server. The only person able to access any of this original material will be me.  

about Katy

I'm a qualified social worker, and I have a background in social policy, research coordination and family violence policy and project work. I'm a member of The Australian Sociological Association and part of their Families and Relationships group. I'm also a member of the European Sociological Society, and a member of their Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives research network. I work as a grant writer in the health and medical education field.

My contact email address is katy.barbier.greenland @  

Thank you for your support! 



Image: Clay Banks

Image: Clay Banks