Dr Caroline Dickson

Senior Lecturer – Lifespan Development and Communication
Doctor of Philosophy

Dr Caroline Dickson

Dr Caroline Dickson’s research interest is the well-being and health of adolescents.

Caroline completed her Master of Health Science thesis in 2008, looking at the experiences of adolescent females in relation to physical activity. Caroline noticed a research gap around disability and physical activity and felt concerned about it.

After looking for available literature with regard to adolescents, disability and physical activity she found that there was a lack of research in this area and even less in relation to Pacific adolescents.

With the use of a mixed methods, both a quantitative and qualitative approach, Caroline set out to conduct her Doctor of Philosophy research. Her doctoral thesis looked into Pacific adolescent girls with a physical disability and their experience in participating in physical activity.

The ability to use qualitative research to tell these girls’ stories was important for Caroline. The quantitative data was also useful to depict an overall picture of the research problem through looking at Pacific adolescents with and without a physical disability in relation to physical activity. The intention is to make change through working with policy makers including the Ministry of Health.

“While participating in physical activity is not going to completely change their world, it will definitely help. If we can engage them in physical activity it will make a huge difference to their lives.”