Melissa Oxlad

Dr Melissa Oxlad

Lecturer

School of Psychology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I'm a Clinical and Health Psychologist with 15 years clinical experience working across the public sector, not for profit sector and private practice. I am also the Academic Lead for Internships and Employability in the School of Psychology.

I study how psychology can help in the beginning of life. I'm interested in what people know, or don’t know, about getting pregnant and issues they may have with getting pregnant. I’m also interested in how people cope with losses in pregnancy like stillbirth. The loss associated with either not being able to get pregnant or the loss of a child during pregnancy causes deep and long-lasting pain for most people. My work focuses on how to help people (and those who care for them, such health professionals), better navigate through this pain to be able to live mentally healthier lives. This has obvious benefits for the individuals involved, but also for the communities they live and work in.

My other main area of research involves exploring relationships between psychological and physical health. I’m interested in how people make sense of, adjust to, and live with chronic illnesses such as migraine, cancer, and cardiac health issues. I’m also interested in how people gather health information, and where, and who, people seek support from in managing their health. Living with a chronic illness can be extremely difficult for most people due to negative impacts on their physical, emotional and social wellbeing. My research focuses on the complex impacts of illness, the use and benefits of different sources of support such as health professionals and peer support (support from other people who have the same illness) and interventions to help with poor wellbeing. Examining how people live with chronic illness, their support systems, and the effectiveness of different interventions enables people to learn better ways to manage their illness and to achieve a greater quality of life.

My research interests involve the contributions psychology can make to reproductive health and to people living with chronic illness. With regards to reproductive health my areas of interest include fertility knowledge, motivations for parenthood, attitudes to fertility preservation, attitudes to infertility and infertility treatments, help-seeking in relation to infertility, coping with infertility, health behaviours to aid conception, donor conception, surrogacy, pregnancy-related anxiety, pregnancy loss and stillbirth. In the area of chronic illness my interests include how people make sense of, adjust to, and live with chronic illness, health literacy, health information seeking, help-seeking behaviour, health communication and peer support for people with migraine, cancer and cardiac health issues. I undertake research using quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods.

Recent media: 

http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2020/01/10/the-father-is-just-as-upset-why-we-need-multi-level-strategies-to-support-men-when-a-baby-dies/

https://theconversation.com/when-a-baby-is-stillborn-grandparents-are-hit-with-two-lots-of-grief-heres-how-we-can-help-122313

Research Projects

Below is a list of possible projects for 2021. In addition, to these projects I am willing to discuss other projects related to my research interests. 

PROJECT 1

Title: Experiences of Living with Chronic Migraine

Description: This project seeks to explore the lived experiences of living with chronic migraine. It may focus on the physical, psychological, social and economic burdens of chronic migraine or barriers and facilitators to support. Qualitative research methods are best suited for this project.

Project Available for: Masters, PhD

Commencing: Semester 1 2021

Special Requirements: Nil

PROJECT 2

Title: Knowledge of and Attitudes to Medical Tourism

Description: This project seeks to explore people’s knowledge of and attitudes to medical tourism (travelling overseas for medical interventions such as surgery or surrogacy). Qualitative research methods are most likely best suited for this project.

Projects Available for: Masters, PhD

Commencing: Semester 1 2021

Special Requirements: Nil

PROJECT 3

Title: Peer Support for Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Description: This project seeks to peer support for individuals who have been diagnosed with, or cared for someone diagnosed, with multiple sclerosis. Quantitative research methods are most likely best suited for this project.

Projects Available for: Masters

Commencing: 2021

Special Requirements: Nil

Gayatri, M., Suparman, S., Barasabha, T., Madjri, A., Turnbull, D., Oxlad, M., Pratiwi, W., & Puteri, VA. (2020). Psychological Perspectives Among Women with Infertility: A Qualitative Study in Malang, Indonesia. Universitas Brawijaya, IRP 23,000,000 (Approx. AUD$2300). Co-Investigator.

Oxlad, M. (2019). Employment Experiences when Living with Multiple Sclerosis. School of Psychology Research Committee Funding, University of Adelaide, $AUD 3500. Principal Investigator.

Dorstyn, D., Roberts, R., Kneebone, I., Craig, S., & Oxlad, M. (2019). Development and Evaluation of an Online Education and Peer-Supported Intervention for Job-Seekers with Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial. MSRA Incubator Grant, Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia, $AUD 25,000.

Stow, L., Oxlad, M., Zilm, P., Wilson, D., & Van Den Heuvel, C. (2019). Stress as a Barrier to Optimal Clinical Performance in Third-Year Dental Students. RIGB Small Grant, Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide, $AUD 11,102. Co-Investigator.

Oxlad, M. (2019). Peer Support in Cancer. Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences New Appointment Funding, University of Adelaide, $AUD 5000. Principal Investigator.

Oxlad, M. (2009). The Experience of Related Bone Marrow Donors: Qualitative Assessment of Donor Support Needs and Health Behaviours. School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, $AUD 1540. Principal Investigator.                  

Oxlad, M. (2004). Travel Grant – for oral presentation at 8th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, Mainz, Germany. School of Psychology Conference Travel Grant, Flinders University, $AUD 750. Principal Investigator.

Oxlad, M. (2004). Travel Grant – for oral presentation at 8th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, Mainz, Germany. Flinders University Scholarships Office Research Student Conference Travel Grant, Flinders University,      $AUD 2630. Principal Investigator.

Oxlad, M. (2002). Psychological Adjustment and its Effects on Physical Outcomes Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG). Flinders University Research Budget, Flinders University, $AUD 1441. Principal Investigator.

Program Co-ordination:

Master of Psychology (Health)

Course Co-ordination:

Undergraduate:

Psychology Internships (PSYCHOL 3028; Semester 1 and 2)

Postgraduate:

Psychological Assessment (PSYCHOL 7232)

Health Psychology (PSYCHOL 7134 and PSYCHOL 7234)

Teaching:

Undergraduate:

Advanced Career and Research Skills (PSYCHOL 3011A)

Psychology Internships (PSYCHOL 3028)

Current Issues in Psychology (PSYCHOL 4302)

Postgraduate:  

Psychological Assessment (PSYCHOL 7232)

Health Psychology (PSYCHOL 7134 and PSYCHOL 7234)

Master of Psychology (Health) Internal Placement Supervisor            

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Principal Supervisor Development and Evaluation of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Program to Improve the Mental Health of Women Undergoing Fertility Treatment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Emma Joy Warne
    2020 Principal Supervisor Communicating Cancer-Related Information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Megan Elizabeth Riley
    2019 Principal Supervisor Grand Parents Experiences of Grief and Support Following their Child's Pregnancy Loss Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Psychology (Health) Doctorate Full Time Ms Jane Belinda Lockton
    2019 Co-Supervisor Pre-conception Weight management Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Jodie Michelle Scott
    2019 Principal Supervisor Male discourses of depression and help seeking Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Phoebe Grace Drioli-Phillips
    2018 Co-Supervisor The Psychological Impact of Pregnancy Loss in Under-Researched Populations in Australia Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Psychology (Health) Doctorate Full Time Miss Kate Louise Obst
    2018 Co-Supervisor Objectification Among Couples in Romantic Relationships Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Stephenie Joulie Pagoudis
    2018 Principal Supervisor Analysis of the #MeToo Movement Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Chloe Luke Drewett
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2008 - 2013 Co-Supervisor 'If you don't manage diabetes it will manage you': Type two diabetes self-management in rural Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Laura Jones
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Bereavement Services for Parents After the Death of a Child from Cancer. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Full Time Ms Isabella Loxton
    2019 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Women’s Lived Experiences of Transvaginal Mesh Implant Surgery. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Part Time Ms Kate McKinlay
    2019 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Knowledge and Attitudes of Australian Women Towards Cervical Cancer Screening. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Full Time Dr Sze Yan Cheung
    2019 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Experiences of Insulin Restriction or Omission in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Evidence-Based Guidance for Practice: A Meta-Synthesis of Patient Experiences. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Full Time Ms Georgia Goddard
    2019 - 2019 Co-Supervisor ‘It’s all on me’: Exploring Experiences of Parents with Hearing-Impaired Children in the NDIS and Impact on Family Wellbeing. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Part Time Ms Angela Asimakopoulos
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor A Qualitative Exploration of Individuals Preferences, Expectations, Lived Experiences and Satisfaction with Treatment for Depression. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Ms Sarah Funnell
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor The Lived Experience of Myocardial Infarction. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Ms Schae Matthews
    2018 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Comparing the Lived Experience of Men and Women Bereaved by Stillbirth: A Meta-synthesis of Qualitative Studies. University of Adelaide Master of Clinical Psychology (Defence) Master Part Time Ms Natasha Robinson
    2018 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Psychosocial Risk Factors for Depression Among Women with Endometriosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Full Time Ms Louise S. Twyford
    2018 - 2019 Principal Supervisor News Media Stories about Cancer on Facebook: How Does Story Framing Influence Response Framing, Tone and Attributions of Responsibility? University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Full Time Ms Tegan Starr
    2011 - 2011 Principal Supervisor Identifying Barriers to Seeking Support for Women with Post-Natal Depression: A Qualitative Study of Mothers and Health Professionals. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Ms Stephanie De Garis
    2011 - 2011 External Supervisor Using a Socio-Ecological Framework to Enhance Understanding of Post-Natal Depression. University of South Australia Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Ms Lisa Shetler
    2010 - 2010 External Supervisor Factors Associated with Young Women's Efforts to Prevent and Detect Cervical Cancer. University of Adelaide Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) Honours Full Time Ms Emily Small
    2010 - 2010 External Supervisor Predicting Sun Exposure, Sun Protection and Tanning Behaviour Among Young Women. University of Adelaide Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) Honours Full Time Ms Ashley Day
    2009 - 2009 External Supervisor Equipping Children for Life: An Evaluation of the Optimistic Kids Resilience Program. University of South Australia Master of Psychology (6 year Program - Honours) Honours Full Time Ms Lisa Carlino
    2009 - 2009 External Supervisor Melanoma and Its Relationship with Solarium Use: Health Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour of Young Women. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Health) Master Full Time Ms Anna Boynton
    2009 - 2009 External Supervisor Identifying Psychological Distress Among Adult Cancer Patients: A Comparison of Screening Tools for Depression and Anxiety. University of Adelaide Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Mr Noel Bekker
    2008 - 2008 External Supervisor Foster Carer Well-Being, Satisfaction and Intention to Continue Providing Out-Of-Home Care University of South Australia/Child Protection Services Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Ms Rachel Whenan
    2008 - 2008 External Supervisor The Utility of Forensic Interviews for Children Aged 3 Years and Below Following Allegations of Child Abuse. University of South Australia/Child Protection Services Master of Psychology (Clinical) Master Full Time Ms Hala Abokamil
    2007 - 2010 External Supervisor The Relationship Between Work-Related Compassion Fatigue, Burnout, Compassion Satisfaction and the Parenting of Child Protection Workers University of South Australia/Child Protection Services Doctorate of Psychology Doctorate Full Time Ms Lydia Kovacev
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Member ANZICA Research Sub-Committee Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association/Fertility Society of Australia Australia
    2017 - ongoing Secretary Australian Psychological Society SA College of Health Psychologists Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2010 - ongoing Member Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association Australia
    2010 - ongoing Member Fertility Society of Australia Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian Society of Hypnosis Australia
    2007 - ongoing Member Australian Psychological Society College of Clinical Psychologists Australia
    2007 - ongoing Member Australian Psychological Society College of Health Psychologists Australia
    2006 - ongoing Member Australian Psychological Society Australia
  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83136411
  • Email: melissa.oxlad@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Hughes, floor 7
  • Room: 7 16
  • Org Unit: Psychology

Connect With Me
External Profiles