Education and Work SIG


SIG leaders

List of Investigators

  • Prof Andrew Whitehouse, Telethon Kids Institute
  • Ms Anu Bharadwaj, University of Western Australia
  • Francesco Cangiano, University of Western Australia
  • Dr Garth Kendall, Curtin University
  • Leon Straker, Curtin University
  • Mr Paul Koshy, Curtin University
  • Richard Seymore, Curtin University
  • Adj/Prof Rob Eikelboom, University of Western Australia
  • Prof Mark Harris, Curtin University
  • Professor Sharon K. Parker, Curtin University
  • Dr Preety Srivastava, RMIT
  • Prof Nikos Chatzisarantis
  • A/Prof Anja van den Broeck, University of Leuven
  • Prof Kathy Parkes, University of Oxford
  • Dr Jianghong Li, WZB (Berlin Social Science Centre)
  • Prof Nigel Rice, York University, UK
  • Dr Jennifer Roberts, Sheffield University, UK
  • Dr Pieter Coenen, Vrie University Medical Centre, Amsterdam

Overview of the current data resources available in the SIG area

Highest education and occupational history is available for Gen1 (from cohort inception to most recent Gen 1_26 followup) and Gen2 (from adolescence onwards). Work productivity and broad perceptions (job satisfaction, demand control support) data are available for Gen 1_26 and Gen 2 from 22 onwards. Detailed data about Gen2 individuals’ work experiences and attitudes was the focus of an online substudy with collections at 25 and 28. Education data include Gen 2 end of school subjects and grades from TISC. WALNA data in primary and secondary school are linkable. Further data about school issues is also available for Gen 2 across school years, and a process to acquire tertiary education data is currently being developed.

Overview of current/recent SIG activity

The current focus of the Work and Education SIG is on investigating Raine Study participant’s educational and work outcomes and experiences.  Example studies include:

  • How work design (e.g., the level of job autonomy) affects ethical behaviour in the work place
  • How work design interacts with personality factors to affect mental health controlling for individuals’ earlier mental health
  • What pathways (e.g., demographics, toddler temperament, educational experiences) predict the quality of young adults’ current work design
  • How does early childhood background shape education and labour market outcomes
  • What health factors contribute to poorer absenteeism and presenteeism outcomes
  • Whether there are potential benefits from unemployment
  • Whether school starting age influences achievement
  • How shiftwork may effect psychological and physiological health

Outline of SIG plans for next 5 years

The main plans for the Work and Education SIG in the next 5 years includes:

  • A full analysis of existing data sets
  • Expand opportunities for masters/ PhD student’s participation
  • Possibly will seek additional funding for a further work-oriented survey (consistent with the original goals of the ARC project to track the developmental effects of work, although one challenge is the decreasing size of the cohort over time.)

Brief list of potential student/early career researcher projects

Please contact the Education & work SIG Leaders if you are interested in a research project incorporating Education & work data and they will coordinate whom to contact within the group.

  • Potential PhD Project: An in-depth investigation of work productivity in the Raine Study – Recent research has identified an association between comorbidity of spinal pain and mental ill-health on work productivity in the Raine Study (Beales et al. 2017). Previous projects have only begun to explore the depth of the work data in the Raine cohort. Opportunity exists for an interested person to perform a series of studies that provides a detailed analysis of factors related to work productivity in the Raine Cohort Study (eg, individual, health and workplace factors). For additional information contact Dr Darren Beales (

Top 5-10 key findings (with reference)


  • Sarah Johnson, Jianghong Li, Garth Kendall, Lyndall Strazdins, Peter Jacoby. Mothers’ and Fathers’ Work Hours, Child Gender and Behavior in Middle Childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 2013, 75: 56-74.
  • Jianghong Li, Therese O’Sullivan, Sarah Johnson, Fiona Stanley, Wendy Oddy. Maternal work hours in early to middle childhood link to later adolescent diet quality. Public Health Nutrition 2012, 15 (10): 1861-1870.

List of recent publications

Kyaw-Myint, S., Smith, A., Beales, D., Job, J. & L. Straker. (2015). Work productivity loss in young workers. Canberra: Safe Work Australia.

  • Nyaradi A, Li J, Foster JK, Hickling S, Jacques A, O’Sullivan TA, Oddy WH. Good quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Acta Paediatrica (2016) 105 5 e209–e218.

Beales, D., Kwaw-Myint, S., Smith, A., O’ Sullivan, P., Pransky, G., Linton, S., Job, J., & Straker, L. (2017). Work productivity loss in young workers is substantial and is associated with spinal pain and mental ill-health conditions. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(3), 237-245

Coenen, P., Smith, A., Kent, P., Harris, M., Linton, S., Pransky, G., Beales, D., O’Sullivan, P., & Straker, L. (2018). The association of adolescent spinal pain related absenteeism with early adulthood work absenteeism – six year follow-up data from a population based cohort. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 44(5), 521-526.

Reynolds, A., Paterson, J., Ferguson, S., Mori, T., McArdle, N., Straker, L., Beilin, L., Bucks, R., & Eastwood, P. (2018). Working (longer than) 9 to 5: Are there cardiometabolic health risks for young Australian workers who report longer than 38 hour working weeks? International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 91(4), 403-412.

List of current/recent grants

Straker, L., Beales, D., Smith, A., Moorin, R., Hendrie, D., Pransky, G., O’Sullivan, P. and Linton, S. (2013-2014) Work productivity loss associated with musculoskeletal pain in young adults. Safe Work Australia $70,000

2015-2019; Parker, S.K, Dunlop, P.D, Parkes, K.R, Straker, L.M; Work design matters: The dynamic interplay of work and person factors. Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, DP150103312; $334,100.

Examples of recent media