Preventative Health Care

preventatvie health care

Professor Petra Staiger

This group, led by Associate Professor Petra Staiger, has a strongly 'applied' and solution-focussed approach to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adults in such problem areas as:

  • Substance use/abuse
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Body image
  • Obesity
  • Sexual risk taking
  • Family violence
  • Gambling

Group Research Fellow

Major Projects

Role of Women's Body Image in Wellbeing - Does self-acceptance and positive attitudes towards themselves improve women's psychological health and relationships with others? (Ms Rachel Chung and Prof Marita McCabe)

Early Identification of Depression, Anxiety and Substance Use Problems; Implementing an early identification strategy to detect anxiety, depression and substance abuse in community health clients.

Maintaining Subjective Wellbeing; How is mood regulated and what role does it play in depression and wellbeing? (Prof Bob Cummins)

Promoting Fit Bodies; Healthy eating and physical activity among Indigenous Australian men (Assoc Prof Lina Ricciardelli, Prof David Mellor, Prof Marita McCabe and Assoc Prof Alex Mussap)

Excessive Weight Gain During Pregnancy; A randomised controlled trial to prevent maternal weight gain during pregnancy and resistance to shedding that weight following birth (Assoc Prof Helen Skouteris, Prof Marita McCabe, Prof Jeanette Milgrom, J & Prof Bridie Kent)


Prof Marita McCabe has recently shown that adult men and women worry about different aspects of their body's appearance - for women this centres on their weight, while men seem to be more concerned about muscularity. Not only that, but the level of concern was unrelated to objective measures of their body's appearance but rather, their subjective perception of their physical features. This may mean that the therapy aimed at reducing distress from body image disturbance should be tailored to meet the needs of each of the sexes.

Professor David Mellor has recently studied the metal health and drinking behaviour of rural communities and found that providing support in the form of mental health professional up-skilling improves mental health practitioner competence which, in turn, should reduce the mental and physical harm caused by alcohol consumption amongst men and women in country areas.

Associate Professor Peter Miller has shown that alcohol consumption can have serious ramifications for father-son relationships;
Alcohol fuelled aggression linked to abusive father-son relationships

Recent talks

Body Image and Sexual Functioning; 5th Sexual Dysfunction Conference, Queenstown, New Zealand (2012) - Prof Marita McCabe

Sexual Health for the Millennium - Forging for the future (keynote speaker); World Association for Sexual Health Congress, Glasgow, Scotland (2011) - Prof Marita McCabe

Preventing Excessive Gestational Weight Gain in Pregnancy and Post-Birth; 25th European Health Psychology Conference, Crete, Greece (2011) - Assoc Prof Helen Skouteris

Male beauty and body image over the centuries: Contrasting ideals and sociocultural influences(invited presentation); University of West of England, Bristol, UK (2011) - Assoc Prof Lina Ricciardelli

Recent grants

(2012); NHMRC; "Evaluation of an instrument for management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia." McCabe M, Bird M, Davison T, Mellor D & George K.

(2012); Australian Research Council Linkage; "Implementation and evaluation of a program to reduce alcohol and related problems among farm men and women." Mellor D, McCabe M, Ricciardelli L & Brumby S.

(2012); Australian Research Council Linkage; "Addressing risk factors of overweight and obesity among adolescents in out-of-home care: The Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) study." Skouteris H, McCabe M & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz M.

(2012); Australian Research Council Discovery; "Promoting fit bodies, healthy eating and physical activity among Indigenous Australian Men." Ricciardelli L, Mellor D, McCabe M & Mussap A.

(2011); Rotary; "An Early Intervention for Mental Health Problems Among Children: Comparisons, Openness, Peers and Esteem (COPE)."  Ricciardelli l, McCabe M & Skouteris H.

(2011-2014); NHMRC; "The validity of 8 instruments used to include quality of life in economic evaluation in 8 disease areas and 6 countries." Richardson J, Cummins R, Olsen J, Kaplan R, Schlander M & Coast J.

(2011-2013); Medtronic - St Jude Medical - Precision Health; "Neuromodulation and subjective wellbeing." Cummins R & Bittar, R.

Recent publications

McCabe MP, Fuller-Tyszkiewicz M, Mellor D, Ricciardelli L, Skouteris H, & Mussap A. (2012); Body satisfaction among adolescents in eight different countries. Journal of Health Psychology, doi: 10.1177/1359105311425274

McCabe MP & Goldhammer D (2012); Demographic and psychological factors related to sexual desire among heterosexual women in a relationship. Journal of Sex Research, 49:78-87.

Skouteris H, Dell-Aquila D, Baur L, Dwyer G, McCabe MP, Ricciardelli L, & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz M (2012); Physical activity guidelines for preschoolers: A call for research to inform public health policy. Medical Journal of Australia, doi:10.5694/mja11.11015

McPhie S, Skouteris H, McCabe M, Ricciardelli L, Milgrom J, Baur L, Aksan N, Dell'Aquila D (2011); Maternal parental correlates of preschool child eating behaviours and body mass index: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 6:476 -480

Ricciardelli LA, & McCabe MP (2011); Body image among adolescent boys. In T. Cash and L. Smolak (Eds), Body image (second edition). Guilford Publications.

Megan Galbally, Andrew James Lewis, Marinus van IJzendoorn, & Michael Permezel (2011); The Role of Oxytocin in Mother-Infant Relations: A Systematic Review of Human Studies, Harv Rev Psychiatry, 19:1–14.

Browne JL, Zimmet P, Speight J (2011); Individual responsibility for reducing obesity: the unintended consequences of well-intended messages. Medical Journal of Australia, 195:386.

Robert A. Cummins (2011); Comparison Theory in Economic Psychology Regarding the Easterlin Paradox and Decreasing Marginal Utility: a Critique, App Res Quality Life 6:241–252

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