Kathy Parkes

Dr

  • The University of Western Australia (M304), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile

Biography

I took an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Subsequently, I worked in industry for a year before going to Loughborough University to do a Masters degree in Ergonomics, followed by a doctoral degree in Applied Psychology. In 1976, I returned to Oxford to do a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. My research seeks to bring together knowledge from these diverse fields to address issues of  work conditions, psychosocial factors, stress and health in organizational settings.

Appointments

1964 to 1976. I held a series of appointments in the Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, UK, including a tenured Lectureship, 1970-76. During these years, I taught undergraduate courses in Ergonomics, and carried out a variety of human factors research projects in industrial and military environments.  In 1968, I was granted a NATO Study Visit Award to attend a Human Factors course at the University of Michigan, and to visit aviation organizations in the USA. I also spent a year as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkely, USA.

1979 – 2014  Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford.  Principal Investigator for a research program funded by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  Initially I was appointed as a Research Fellow; subsequently, I became a University Research Lecturer (1989 - 1999), and I received the formal title 'Reader in Applied Psychology' in 1999.

Research

My research has always sought to address 'real-world' issues, combining a rigorous research approach and academic publication with a strong emphasis on communicating findings and recommendations to industry managers, occupational health specialists, and safety professionals. 

In the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford, my group carried out research into psychosocial stress and health in a range of work environments, including healthcare, teaching, and the UK civil service. The more recent research was based in the petroleum industry, primarily North Sea oil/gas installations, but also in comparable onshore oil/gas processing plants. Consistent with our research approach, we collected all data on site (visiting multiple offshore installations), using a combination of performance measures and survey methods.

The main focus of this research was on work conditions, mental health, sleep, fatigue and performance (particularly in relation to work/leave patterns, and shift rotation), and human factors, accidents and safety issues. This research was written up in a series of peer-reviewed journal articles, and as technical reports for the HSE and the North Sea oil/gas industry.

Other recent work for the HSE included a series of interviews with senior managers and safety specialists, and a review of offshore living accommodation and cabin occupancy levels in relation to sleep and fatigue among North Sea personnel, together with other ad hoc projects.  Although now formally retired, I continue to publish research papers and reviews related to the offshore oil industry, with a recent focus on work hours, overtime work, age, and the physical/psychosocial environment on offshore installations.

Visiting appointments

1974-75   Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, USA

1987-90   IPIA Research Fellow in Occupational Health, Green College, Oxford.

1997   Australian Psychological Society Visiting Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia.  [Royal Society Travel Award].

2007- 2019  Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Western Australia, WA.

2008-09   Senior Gledden Fellowship in the School of Psychology, University of Western Australia.

 

Graduate supervision

During my appointment in the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, I supervised 14 doctoral students and 2 MSc students, all of whom successfully completed their theses. I also contributed to 1st year graduate classes, and was responsible for supervising 1-3 research staff working on projects funded by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other grants. I also hosted several overseas academic visitors. 

 

Other academic activities

I have previously served on the Boards of several high-rated journals including the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the British Journal of Health Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Psychology.  I currently act as ad hoc reviewer for a range of journals concerned with occupational health, physical/psychosocial work environment, shiftwork, sleep, and work/family issues, and I am regularly asked to review manuscripts for leading journals.

 

Contacts with industry

The HSE research carried out at Oxford University involved extensive contact with the oil and gas industry in the UK, Norway, and Australia, and I have frequently given presentations to senior managers, medical personnel and safety specialists of the organizations concerned.

 

Consultancy

Since retiring from my post at Oxford University in 2014, I have carried out a number of consultancy projects administered through Oxford Univerity Consulting Services.  The work has included providing advice to organizations (primarily related to the oil and gas industry), data analysis and interpretation, preparation of reports, and attendance at court hearings as an expert witness.


Research collaboration at UWA

During my visits to UWA, I have collaborated with UWA colleagues in collecting and publishing data relating to safety in high-hazard industries. Currently, I am working on large-scale survey data collected from FIFO personnel working in the WA mining, oil/gas, and construction industries. The main focus of the work is to identify work characteristics associated with psychological distress.

 

Education/Academic qualification

Clinical Psychology, MSc, University of Oxford

19761978

Award Date: 30 Jun 1978

Applied Psychology, PhD, Loughborough University

Award Date: 15 Apr 1972

Ergonomics, MSc, Loughborough University

1 Oct 19631 Aug 1964

Award Date: 1 Oct 1964

Chemistry, M.A. (Oxon.), University of Oxford

15 Oct 19581 Aug 1962

Award Date: 30 Aug 1962

Research expertise keywords

  • Shiftwork
  • Stress and health
  • Resilience
  • Work Design
  • Work stress and coping

Industry keywords

  • Health
  • Mining and Resources
  • Environmental

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