Heart Leaf

About Our Research

We conduct research into psychosocial and behavioural aspects of cardiovascular disease. Our studies involve both patients with cardiovascular disease and health professionals who work with these patients.

We have a particular focus on translational research: We use our research findings to develop and evaluate programs to help patients and their families, particularly to assist with emotional and behavioural recovery after heart attack and heart surgery. Results from our research studies also inform our training programs and, in turn, improve the quality of care offered to patients across Australia and internationally.  

Our major research programs are: anxiety, distress and depression; childhood heart disease; supporting patient self-management; screening and assessment; sleep; physical activity and sedentary behaviour; and positive psychology.

Anxiety, distress and depression

A heart event is an emotional experience, not just a physical one. Experiences of anxiety, distress and depression are common in cardiac patients. Our research in this area has demonstrated that symptoms of distress or depression are highest close to the time of the acute event: for most patients, the initial symptoms of distress resolve in the first few months, whereas for others depression is still evident even 12 months later. We have several projects currently underway focusing on this important program of research.

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Childhood heart disease

Childhood heart disease places families under strain as they adjust to their child’s condition and strive to manage changed family circumstances. We are currently working with HeartKids Australia to improve the lives of families affected by childhood heart disease. Together with HeartKids Australia, and with much assistance from parents themselves, we have developed an innovative program to support parents as they cope with their child’s heart condition. 

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