Explore PhD topics within the 'Facilitating return to pre-injury functioning' research program, and get in touch with the listed adviser/s to learn more or register your interest.

  • Program goal: Higher and faster rates of return to full functioning, work and other social roles
  • Research focus: Return to work and other social roles

Explore PhD topics:

Virtual reality to facilitate a return to meaningful activity in pain populations

Project description:

Individuals with chronic pain often cease activity that they deem important such as work and leisure/social activities. Both fear of pain and low levels of self-efficacy are known to negatively impact on activity engagement in this patient group. This project will explore the use of virtual reality to facilitate a return to meaningful activity engagement, by targeting fear of pain and self-efficacy, in chronic pain populations.

Advisers:

Dr Esther Smits

Email e.smits@uq.edu.au

Dr Nicole Andrews

Email n.andrews@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background:

Health sciences (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology; exercise science or public health)

Breaking the pain cycle: how best structure activities to reduce pain exacerbations

Project description

Managing activities of daily life with a chronic pain condition requires a range of strategies. One of the most highly endorsed treatment strategies in pain management is activity pacing (i.e. breaking up and structuring activities in the way that won’t exacerbate pain). There are several ways individuals can pace activity (e.g. changing postures during a task, alternating tasks with rest break). This project will focus on determining what pacing strategies are most effective for reducing pain aggravations and maximising productivity levels in chronic pain populations.

Advisers:

Dr Nicole Andrews and Dr Charlotte Brakenridge

Email n.andrews@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background:

Health sciences (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology; exercise science or public health)

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Topic:

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury: Does a combined metacognitive plus physical activity intervention improve cognitive, social and functional outcomes?

Project description: 

Following traumatic brain injury (TBI), individuals often experience problems with initiating tasks, maintaining motivation, and engaging in activities of daily living impacting on well-being and overall physical activity levels. Further to this, moderate-severe TBI can lead to a lack of insight about the impact of cognitive and physical impairments associated with the injury. This work will explore whether meta-cognitive skills training, including personalised goal setting and tailored feedback plus a physical activity intervention program improves self-awareness, activity levels and community participation outcomes.

Advisers:

Dr Hannah Gullo, Dr Esther Smits and Dr Charlotte Brakenridge

Email hannah.gullo@uq.edu.au

Email e.smits@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background:

Health sciences (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology; exercise science or public health)

Implementing a specialised vocational rehabilitation program for people with a traumatic brain injury in Queensland

Project description:

A TBI results in a range of medical, physical, cognitive and emotional consequences which may be mild, moderate or severe. It is the most common cause of brain injury and a leading cause of disability affecting about 107 per 100,000 Australians per year. For many, return to work is considered an important milestone in the recovery journey and associated with many positive outcomes such as quality of life, financial independence and improved self-worth, improved cognitive functioning and reduced depression. Unfortunately, the rate of return to competitive employment ranges from 17% – 40%. This project involves testing a multi-stakeholder intervention to improve work outcomes after TBI.

Advisers:

A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Hannah Gullo

Email v.johnston@uq.edu.au

Email hannah.gullo@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background:

Health sciences (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology; exercise science or public health)

Take Control: Remaining at work / Returning to work with a compensable injury

Project description:

There is evidence that being involved in a compensable claim negatively impacts on work, disability and quality of life outcomes. Different interventions have been tested to assist the individual recover from injury but few focus on navigating the complex compensable environment. This project involves the testing several interventions (e.g. ‘work buddy’; job coach) to help individuals and their families understand and navigate the compensation system to improve work outcomes and self-efficacy for work.

Advisers:

A/Prof Venerina Johnston, Dr Nicole Andrews

Email n.andrews@uq.edu.au

Preferred educational background:

Health sciences (e.g. occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology; exercise science or public health)