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Health, Disability & Lifespan Development Research

The Health, Disability and Lifespan Development Research (HDLD) Group is designed to provide a focus for research in health psychology, disability, rehabilitation and health service delivery, and healthy development across the lifespan.

It represents a coalescence of the School's existing Wellbeing Research Unit directed by Dr Neil Kirby, and the Primary Mental Health Care Research Unit directed by Professor Helen Winefield and Professor Deborah Turnbull, with colleague School of Psychology researchers whose interests focus on human health and wellbeing through the lifespan, from birth to old age.

These fields are linked by a common interest in the assessment and theoretical explanation of the determinants of individual well-being, both physical and psychosocial, how these are affected by age, gender, socioeconomic status and psychological variables, the evaluation of interventions to promote health and wellbeing, and the health policy implications of all these matters.

The research program of the centre specifically addresses the Australian Government's research priority Promoting and Maintaining Good Health and its priority goals related to a healthy start to life, ageing well ageing productively, and preventive health care. The research centre is based in the School of Psychology but incorporates extensive collaborations with other psychology researchers and with other health professions and disciplines. It aims to act as a focus for whole-person health-related research in the Faculty of Health Sciences.


  • To create a forum for the exchange of information, research findings, and ideas in the domains of clinical and public health psychology, behavioural medicine, rehabilitation, public health, primary mental health care, healthy early and childhood development, healthy ageing, and occupational health.
  • To facilitate collaboration between academic staff members and other researchers, practitioners and policy-makers with a shared interest in relevant research fields.
  • To consolidate research activities in both the School of Psychology and in related parts of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the health professional communities, on relevant topics.
  • To harness members' collective skills and knowledge to gain competitive research funding from external sources.
  • To maintain an ongoing discussion group / seminar series on topics of interest to members of the centre and to use Unit webpages to communicate our goals and activities as widely as possible.
  • To provide a focus for the support and mentoring of Honours and postgraduate students (including PhDs and professional Masters) who are undertaking relevant research projects.
School of Psychology

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