Morgan Laird

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Research Assistant Secretary for the PATH Research Committee

9399 1040


Morgan completed a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours First Class) and received the Macquarie University Award for Academic Excellence. She is a registered Provisional Psychologist, and is currently undertaking a Master of Clinical Psychology at Macquarie University.

Morgan has previously worked as a research assistant on a range of projects including cognition, behavioural neuropharmacology, and personality.

At NeuRA, Morgan works as a research assistant across various driving and ageing-related projects. She is also the secretary for the PATH Research Committee.

Morgan is particularly interested in the relationship between psychopathology, health and cognitive functioning across the lifespan, and she would like to complete a PhD looking at these factors in the future.

Projects Morgan Laird is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

The Driving, Ageing, Safety and Health (DASH) project

Older adults represent a growing sector of the driving population in Australia, and while driving can be important for maintaining social engagement in late life, age-related changes such as cognitive and visual impairment can impact on driving safety.

The Driving, Ageing, Safety and Health (DASH) project is designed to develop and validate screening measures for older drivers to support determinations of driving safety. The DASH project is a collaboration with Joanne Wood and the Queensland University of Technology.

Over 550 older drivers, across three groups, were followed for two years to evaluate how well laboratory assessments and an on-road test predict driving outcomes. The three groups included a) older drivers referred for assessment by GPs and Road Safety Authorities, b) older drivers with eye disease and c) older drivers drawn from the community.

Primary Aims:

Secondary Aims:

  • To compare the efficacy of the Multi-D and other screening instruments in predicting prospective self-reported crash rates (derived from standardized monthly diaries) between three groups of older drivers
  • To evaluate the screening instruments and assessments in relation to mobility outcomes (driving cessation, driving frequency, driving distance) over two years and longer pending further funding
  • To collaborate with practitioners to develop clinical practice guidelines for using the Multi-D battery in the context of older driver assessment
  • To inform the development and design of interventions to prevent injuries among older drivers.

Findings from this research project will enable health professionals and licensing authorities to assist in their decision-making regarding the fitness to drive of older adults.

DASH is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

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The Driving, Ageing, Safety and Health (DASH) project

The Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project 

The Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project is co-hosted by the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales and has been led by Professor Anstey since 2006. It is a large on-going population-based longitudinal cohort study comprising approximately 7500 participants. The study includes three cohorts including a younger (aged 20–24 at baseline), midlife (aged 40–44 at baseline) and older (aged 60–64 at baseline) adults randomly sampled from the electoral roll of the ACT and the nearby city of Queanbeyan. Additional waves of data collection have occurred in 4-year increments, with the 5th wave of data collection underway. The study involves many national and international collaborations.

The broad aims of the PATH study relate to clinical outcomes that constitute the major burden of disease within the Australian community.

Primary PATH Objectives:

  • To delineate the course of depression, anxiety, substance use and cognitive ability with increasing age across the adult life span
  • To identify environmental risk, genetic risk and protective factors influencing individual differences in the course of these characteristics
  • To investigate interrelationships over time between the three domains of: depression and anxiety, substance use, and cognitive ability and dementia
  • To examine the mental health related impact of various personal, social and lifestyle transitions and events experienced by the different age cohorts, including infertility, fertility and pregnancy, changes in family structure, relationship formation and separation, menopause, and retirement.

Several design features of the PATH project contribute to its unique standing among population-based longitudinal cohort studies.

  • Obtaining measures of genetic, biological (including MRI), psychosocial and lifestyle risk and protective factors for mental health and wellbeing
  • Use of a narrow age cohort design with longitudinal follow ups as an optimal means of separating age and cohort effects
  • Assessment of participants across the full adult lifespan, permitting investigation of developmentally significant, though under-studied periods such as midlife
  • Recruitment and follow up of a young-old population, providing important pre-clinical data for studying the development of age-related changes in memory and cognition.

This project has been funded primarily by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Wave 5 40s and 60s follow-ups (led by Professor Kaarin Anstey) are funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research. 

For more information, please visit the study website at www.pathstudy.org.au. PATH participants can also contact the research team by phone on 1300 917 295.

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The Personality and Total Health (PATH) Through Life Project 

RESEARCH TEAM

KIRSTY ZMISA Executive Assistant : 9399 1021
: k.zmisa@neura.edu.au