What are your research interests?
- Quantitative and qualitative research in women's health
- Reproductive health, family dynamics and the health impact of stressful life events, including the health impact of abuse, such as domestic violence
- Sexual assault and adult sexual health
- Developing and conducting survey based research
Why did you get into research?
I wanted to know what the health impact of domestic violence was and what factors mitigated that impact. My idea was, and remains, that if mitigating factors can be identified then targeted services can be developed to help in the recovery from domestic violence. I was fortunate in that I was able to access data collected by the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), one of the few national health studies that has asked about experiences of domestic violence over the long term.
These days my research is more broadly focused and, along with investigating the impact of abuse across the lifespan, I am also examining factors that predict adverse and healthy pregnancy and maternal outcomes.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
I believe that continuing to unpack the multifaceted impacts and predictors of interpersonal violence will assist in the development of effective prevention and treatment strategies. The ultimate goal is to end violence, however even if that did happen, we would still need to identify and address the long-term health deficits that are caused by experiences of abuse among those who had lived in these situations.
Professor Deborah Loxton is co-director of the Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing, a priority research centre of the University of Newcastle, and Deputy Director of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). Professor Loxton is a prolific researcher, expert in the impacts of violent relationships on women, as well as different aspects of reproductive health.
Professor Loxton’s research is largely undertaken using data from the ALSWH, a longitudinal survey that collects data from four age cohorts of over 57,000 Australian women. She has extensive experience in developing and conducting survey based research, including participant recruitment and retention in large cohort studies. In 2012-13, Professor Loxton led the ALSWH research team in recruiting the newest cohort of participants, which includes over 17,000 women born 1989-95.
In her role as Deputy Director of ALSWH, Professor Loxton oversees data collection and cohort maintenance, in addition to leading and contributing to publications and reports to government that arise from the study. She has authored over 80 peer reviewed publications and has produced a further 15 government reports (six as lead author). Professor Loxton’s program of work has informed health policy in Australia, New Zealand and USA in the areas of domestic violence, superannuation, reproductive health and sole motherhood. In addition, her work has been used by the World Health Organisation to develop a screening tool for elder abuse.
Professor Loxton is also leading a program of research that investigates the health impact of abuse across the lifecourse. She is also currently facilitating a consortium which includes researchers from University of Newcastle, La Trobe University, Planning NSW, Victorian Assisted Reproductive Technology Association, the Jean Hailes Foundation, and the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service to examine Aboriginal reproductive health. Recently, Professor Loxton has started working in the area of improving maternal mortality in developing nations.
She has been awarded over $24 million funding and has been involved in over 120 collaborations in Australia and internationally. Her international collaborations include the USA Academy of Violence and Abuse and the Korean Women’s Development Institute. Professor Loxton has initiated formal relationships between the Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing and these organisations.
A relatively new area of work that I am leading concerns the wellbeing of women having children in low income countries. My dream for women having children is that worldwide we see the elimination of maternal and infant mortality.
Survey development including:
- Participant retention
- Participant recruiting
- Data collection
- Large cohorts
- PhD, Masters and Honours supervision