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Prestigious Awards in Psychology

Media Release
10 September, 2014
For immediate release

Attention: Health and Social Issues Reporters

Prestigious Awards in Psychology

The New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS) -the largest membership association for psychologists in New Zealand, offers awards for excellence in practice and research related to psychology and social justice issues.

The following three prestigious awards were conferred on this year’s recipients at the recent New Zealand Psychological Society Conference in Nelson.

Professor Michael O’Driscoll – awarded the Jamieson Award

Professor Michael O’Driscoll of the University of Waikato is a leading New Zealand and international figure in industrial-organisational psychology. This award recognises not only his sustained outstanding contribution in the field in New Zealand, but also the excellence of his academic research. Michael came to New Zealand with a PhD from Flinders University in 1981, after a period at the University of Papua New Guinea. He initiated the teaching of industrial-organisational psychology at Waikato, and his efforts culminated in the establishment of a post-graduate programme. He also established and developed a broad-based research programme focusing on work stress and work-life balance, which has achieved world-wide recognition for excellence and awareness of social responsibility. As an illustration of his commitment to investigating important social issues relating to work in this country, in the past 12 months he has published nine papers on aspects of family life and work, and on the issue of work-place bullying. In addition to his academic research and

teaching, Michael has been a mentor for many post-graduate students, and collaborator with a network of colleagues nation-wide. He has made a significant contribution to the practice of industrial-organisational psychology in this country. President of the Society, Dr Kerry Gibson said that Professor O’Driscoll was a very worthy recipient of the Award and congratulated him on his valuable contribution to our understanding of psychological issues in the work-place.

Heather Heron-Speirs- awarded the GV Goddard Award for Early Career Achievements in Applied Psychology

This award recognises the outstanding achievement of Heather Heron-Speirs in publishing three articles in international journals describing her meta-analysis of the effectiveness of psycho-oncology. These papers address practical and applied concerns such as demographic factors and patient characteristics as moderators of therapy outcomes in an important field of health service. Meta-analysis is a technically complex method of integrating large numbers of research trials and requires considerable statistical and methodological expertise. Heather has published peer reviewed articles in the international literature and her impressive achievements to date indicate that she will make a substantial contribution to psycho-oncology in the future, both as a scientist and a practitioner. NZPsS President, Dr Kerry Gibson congratulated Heather noting the important nature of her work and contribution to psycho-oncology.

Mihiroa Gillies -awarded the Karahipi Tumuaki- President’s Scholarship

Mihiroa Gillies was awarded the Karahipi Tumuaki- President’s Scholarship for her research which aims to provide information about factors which may contribute to the higher prevalence rates of mental disorders amongst Māori adolescents than their non-Māori counterparts. In particular Mihiroa’s research aims to explore the nature of this descrepancy, examining the role of cultural identity, social disadvantage and childhood adversity in adolescent mental health. This research is utilising data gathered on mental health and cultural identification, socio-economic factors and childhood adversity as part of the longitudinal study of a New Zealand birth cohort – the University of Otago’s Christchurch Health and Development Study and is based on 1265 young people – aged 15-18. President of the Society, Dr Kerry Gibson congratulated Mihiroa on selecting a research

topic which is relevant and important to Māori and wished her every success in completing her research.

Background to the New Zealand Psychological Society

The New Zealand Psychological Society is the largest professional association for psychologists in New Zealand. It has over 1400 members and subscribers and aims to improve individual and community wellbeing by representing, promoting and advancing the scientific discipline and practice of psychology.

For more information on the NZPsS go to

For more information on the NZPsS Awards


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