Growing Up in New Zealand boosts team for next data collection wave

Growing Up in New Zealand research team

Growing Up in New Zealand is boosting its team in preparation to go out to field to canvass the cohort on the cusp of adolescence. 

Growing Up in New Zealand is boosting its team in preparation to go out to field to canvass the cohort on the cusp of adolescence. 

This country’s largest longitudinal study is preparing for its tenth major data collection wave which for the first time will focus primarily on the children. 

In order to get the most out of this data collection wave, the project has brought on board a range of new research fellows and research assistants across a number of different domains. 

Senior Research Fellow, Dr Carin Napier, says the new team members bring a raft of different skills and expertise to the table. 

“We’re very lucky to have hired a collection of research fellows and assistants with significant expertise who will help us develop tools to analyse children’s development across a range of different areas from psychology to health and education. 

“It’s an exciting time in the life of the project and we can’t wait to get out to field and explore children’s thoughts, feelings and experiences,” Dr Napier says. 

She says every data collection is a mammoth task and the next one when the children are on the cusp of adolescence marks a major milestone for the children and the study. 

The new appointees are:

Research Fellow:  Dr Fiona Langridge.  Fiona grew up in Papua New Guinea, and has previously worked in paediatric physiotherapy.  Following this, she undertook a PhD which investigated the health of primary school children in Tonga.  For Growing Up in New Zealand she is supporting the Pacific theme of the study, alongside the cultural and identity, and health and wellbeing domain. “There are some complex, entrenched issues affecting our children,”  she says.  “We hope to point to the factors that can bring about change

Research Fellow:  Dr Rebecca Evans.  Rebecca has a PhD in Music Psychology from a French University. She has previously worked in perinatal psychology, where she looked at mother-infant relationships, with a special interest in maternal speech, singing and inter-personal synchrony. For Growing Up in New Zealand, she is responsible for the ‘family and whānau’ domain, focusing on the dynamics and experiences of relationships in the home. “Supportive, loving relationships are central to wellbeing” she says.

Research Fellow:  Dr Denise Neumann.  Denise obtained a Doctor of Medical Sciences and a Masters degree in Psychology in Germany. For Growing Up in New Zealand, she is working in the domain of Psychosocial and Cognitive Development, looking at the children’s cognitive abilities as well as the mental wellbeing of children and their caregivers.  “We are interested in whether the children experience stress, anxiety and depression; have problems focusing or learning difficulties; as well as what helps them to overcome challenges in their lives,”  she says.

Research Fellow:  Dr Sarah Gerritsen.  With a Masters of Social Science Research (looking at food insecurity), Dr Gerritsen completed her PhD in Public Health Nutrition with the Growing Up in New Zealand team, using data from the study to look at eating behaviour in pre-schoolers.  As a Research Fellow she is now focusing on Health and Wellbeing domain and translating Growing Up in New Zealand’s findings for policy makers. 

Research Assistant:  Sally Gallaugher.   Sally gained a Master of Public Health and worked for several years at the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). She currently works on another longitudinal study at the University of Auckland and helps teach a post-graduate public health paper. “For Growing Up in New Zealand, she will focus is on the social and contextual determinants of wellbeing.”

Research Assistant:  Molly Bergquist-O’Sullivan.  Molly has a background in education and her main research interest involves studying the effects of close interpersonal relationships on educational outcomes. She is focusing on the education domain.