Dr. Emma Morton awarded Iain Wallace Research Medal

March 6, 2019

Dr. Emma Morton awarded Iain Wallace Research Medal

Dr. Emma Morton has been awarded the Iain Wallace Research Medal for the Most Outstanding Doctorate Student, 2018.

This award is granted to one graduating doctorate student from Swinburne University of Technology based on both the contribution their research has made to their field of enquiry, and their accomplishments during their candidature. Eligible candidates are required to have their thesis marked as requiring ‘no revisions’ on at least two examination reports, and a publication in a leading journal in their discipline.

Advancing the study of Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder

Dr. Morton’s PhD thesis generated four innovative, published studies advancing the study and clinical utility of quality of life in bipolar disorder. Firstly, a systematic review identified four distinct constructs characterising quality of life in bipolar disorder, assisting researchers to select appropriate definitions and measurement instruments. Secondly, innovative modelling was used to demonstrate for the first time bi-directional relationships between quality of life and mood symptoms. This greatly expands the possible range of therapeutic strategies for bipolar disorders; as interventions specifically targeting quality of life may lead to further benefits for symptoms.

Finally, in her work with CREST.BD evaluating the Bipolar Wellness Centre, Dr. Morton conducted qualitative interviews with participants, asking about their experiences of self-management and quality of life. At the same time, Dr. Morton completed her training in clinical psychology, and is now registered as a psychologist.

Dr. Morton was supervised by CREST.BD Network Deputy Professor Greg Murray, Dr. Simone Buzwell, and CREST.BD Network Lead Dr. Erin Michalak.

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Dr. Morton at her thesis defense at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr. Emma Morton

Dr. Morton now works as the project coordinator of the Australian arm of the EMPOWER project, the largest study to date of a mobile phone app intervention to support wellbeing and relapse prevention in psychosis. She intends to do further research on innovative digital approaches to improving quality of life in bipolar disorder and other serious mental health conditions, and in particular hopes to incorporate community-based participatory research methods and peer support.

Learn more about Dr. Morton on her CREST.BD profile, or follow her @morton_emm.

Below are links to some of the publications Emma produced as part of her PhD.

  1. The ‘new normal’: relativity of quality of life judgments in individuals with bipolar disorder-a qualitative study.
    Morton E, Michalak E, Hole R, Buzwell S, Murray G

  2. ‘Taking back the reins’ – A qualitative study of the meaning and experience of self-management in bipolar disorder.
    Morton E, Michalak EE, Hole R, Buzwell S, Murray G.

  3. Quality of life in bipolar disorder: towards a dynamic understanding.
    Morton E, Murray G, Michalak EE, Lam RW, Beaulieu S, Sharma V, Cervantes P, Parikh SV, Yatham LN.

  4. What does quality of life refer to in bipolar disorders research? A systematic review of the construct’s definition, usage and measurement.
    Morton E, Michalak EE, Murray G.