Dr Ruth Wells
Senior Lecturer

Dr Ruth Wells

PhD

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology 

Medicine & Health
School of Clinical Medicine

Ruth Wells is a Research Fellow in the Trauma and Mental Health Unit, School of Psychiatry, UNSW, and a registered psychologist. Her research focuses on understanding the social and cultural processes that shape individual and community responses to conflict and displacement. She has worked extensively with psychosocial professionals in the Syrian refugee communities in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq to culturally adapt clinical treatments and co-design research programs.

Ruth's has conducted in-depth qualitative and participatory research together with members of the Syrian refugee communities in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. This has included assessing community readiness to address the psychosocial consequences of war and displacement, with follow up training and supervision to share skills with Syrian professionals. A strengths-based framework has guided her ethnographic qualitative work in these Syrian communities towards developing an ecological model for intervention that can build on community resources. 

Ruth is currently working on the Reassure study, a 2.5 year longitudinal study to examine the impact of Australia's harsh immigration policies on Farsi and Dari speaking refugees and asylum seekers living in Sydney. She brings a critical lens to the design of quantitative research in culturally and linguistically diverse communities which includes collaborating with bi-cultural workers to inform statistical modelling of the consequences of social policy on well-being. 

She is currently leading a project, together with colleagues from social science and Black Dog Insititute, to work together with a member of the Syrian / Iraqi refugee community with lived experience of disability. This group aims to use arts-based qualitative research methods to highlight the unique service needs of this group. 

  • Book Chapters | 2020
    Yousef OS; Alhalabi A; Steel Z; Saral S; Wells R, 2020, 'Community Interventions in Conflict Settings', in Beyond the Psychology Industry, Springer International Publishing, pp. 69 - 82, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33762-9_7
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Dew A; Lenette C; Wells R; Higgins M; McMahon T; Coello M; Momartin S; Raman S; Bibby H; Smith L; Boydell K, 2022, '“In the beginning it was difficult but things got easier”: Service use experiences of family members of people with disability from Iraqi and Syrian refugee backgrounds', Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
    Journal articles | 2022
    McKeon G; Steel Z; Wells R; Fitzpatrick A; Vancampfort D; Rosenbaum S, 2022, 'Exercise and PTSD Symptoms in Emergency Service and Frontline Medical Workers: A Systematic Review', TRANSLATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE, vol. 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/TJX.0000000000000189
    Journal articles | 2022
    McKeon G; Tiedemann A; Sherrington C; Teasdale S; Mastrogiovanni C; Wells R; Steel Z; Rosenbaum S, 2022, 'Feasibility of an online, mental health-informed lifestyle program for people aged 60+ years during the COVID-19 pandemic', Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 33, pp. 545 - 552, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hpja.538
    Journal articles | 2022
    Rostami R; Wells R; Solaimani J; Berle D; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Silove D; Nickerson A; O'Donnell M; Bryant R; McFarlane A; Steel Z, 2022, 'The mental health of Farsi-Dari speaking asylum-seeking children and parents facing insecure residency in Australia', The Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific, vol. 27, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2022.100548
    Journal articles | 2022
    Smith L; Chescher I; Dew A; Lenette C; Boydell K; Wells R; Higgins M, 2022, 'Key characteristics of the refugee journey for Iraqi and Syrian family members who support someone with disability', Disability and Society
    Journal articles | 2022
    Wheatley L; McKeon G; Pebole M; Wells R; Rees S; B. Ward P; Rosenbaum S, 2022, 'Gender-Based Violence is a Blind Spot for Sports and Exercise Medicine Professionals', Sports Medicine, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40279-022-01742-8
    Journal articles | 2021
    McKeon G; Mastrogiovanni C; Chapman J; Stanton R; Matthews E; Steel Z; Wells R; Rosenbaum S, 2021, 'The experiences of peer-facilitators delivering a physical activity intervention for emergency service workers and their families', Mental Health and Physical Activity, vol. 21, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2021.100414
    Journal articles | 2021
    McKeon G; Steel Z; Wells R; Newby J; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Vancampfort D; Rosenbaum S, 2021, 'A mental health–informed physical activity intervention for first responders and their partners delivered using Facebook: Mixed methods pilot study', JMIR Formative Research, vol. 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/23432
    Journal articles | 2021
    McKeon G; Wells R; Steel Z; Moseley V; Rosenbaum S, 2021, 'Self-Reported Physical and Mental Health of Informal Caregivers of Emergency Service Workers', Journal of Loss and Trauma, vol. 26, pp. 507 - 518, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2020.1845020
    Journal articles | 2021
    Rees SJ; Wells R; Mohsin M; Nadar N; Moussa B; Hassoun F; Yousif M; Khalil B; Krishna Y; Nancarrow H; Silove D; Fisher J, 2021, 'The Association between Intimate Partner Violence, Depression and Influenza-like Illness Experienced by Pregnant Women in Australia', Women, vol. 1, pp. 192 - 203, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/women1040017
    Journal articles | 2021
    Wells R; Barker S; Boydell K; Buus N; Rhodes P; River J, 2021, 'Dialogical inquiry: multivocality and the interpretation of text', Qualitative Research, vol. 21, pp. 498 - 514, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1468794120934409
    Journal articles | 2021
    Wells R; Murad M; Higgins M; Smith L; Lenette C; Lappin J; Dew A; Boydell K; Bibby H; Cassaniti M; Isaacs D; Raman S; Zwi K, 2021, 'Exploring the intersection of human rights, health, disability and refugee status: An arts-based approach', Australian Journal of Human Rights, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1323238X.2021.1882044
    Journal articles | 2020
    Boydell K; Bennett J; Dew A; Lappin J; Lenette C; Ussher J; Vaughan P; Wells R, 2020, 'Women and Stigma: A Protocol for Understanding Intersections of Experience through Body Mapping', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, pp. 5432 - 5432, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155432
    Journal articles | 2020
    Chen A; Rosenbaum S; Wells R; Gould K; Ward PB; Steel Z, 2020, 'Obesity, physical activity and sleep quality in patients admitted to a posttraumatic stress inpatient ward', Australasian Psychiatry, vol. 28, pp. 270 - 273, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1039856220917075
    Journal articles | 2020
    Dew A; Lenette C; Smith L; Boydell K; Bibby H; Lappin J; Coello M; Raman S; Velkou K; Wells R; Momartin S; Blunden H; Higgins M; Murad M; Barry J; Mohammad Y, 2020, '“To the Arabic community disability is not normal”: Understandings of disability among Iraqi and Syrian people from refugee backgrounds.', Journal of Refugee Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrs/feaa111
    Journal articles | 2020
    McKeon G; Steel Z; Wells R; Newby J; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Vancampfort D; Rosenbaum S, 2020, 'A Mental Health–Informed Physical Activity Intervention for First Responders and Their Partners Delivered Using Facebook: Mixed Methods Pilot Study (Preprint)', , http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/preprints.23432
    Journal articles | 2020
    Rebar AL; Stanton R; Wells R; Steel Z; Rosenbaum S, 2020, 'Feeling states of people experiencing depression, anxiety, or comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms during a multi-day charity cycling ride: An ecological momentary assessment study', Psychology of Sport and Exercise, vol. 47, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.02.004
    Journal articles | 2020
    Rees S; Wells R, 2020, 'Bushfires, COVID-19 and the urgent need for an Australian Task Force on gender, mental health and disaster', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0004867420954276
    Journal articles | 2020
    Shakespeare-Finch J; Bowen-Salter H; Cashin M; Badawi A; Wells R; Rosenbaum S; Steel Z, 2020, 'COVID-19: An Australian Perspective', Journal of Loss and Trauma, vol. 25, pp. 662 - 672, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2020.1780748
    Journal articles | 2020
    Wells R; Jacomb I; Swaminathan V; Sundram S; Weinberg D; Bruggemann J; Cropley V; Lenroot RK; Pereira AM; Zalesky A; Bousman C; Pantelis C; Weickert CS; Weickert TW, 2020, 'The Impact of Childhood Adversity on Cognitive Development in Schizophrenia', Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 46, pp. 140 - 153, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbz033
    Journal articles | 2019
    McKeon G; Steel Z; Wells R; Newby JM; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Vancampfort D; Rosenbaum S, 2019, 'Mental health informed physical activity for first responders and their support partner: A protocol for a stepped-wedge evaluation of an online, codesigned intervention', BMJ Open, vol. 9, pp. e030668, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030668
    Journal articles | 2019
    Wells R; Abo-Hilal M; Steel Z; Hunt C; Plested B; Hassan M; Lawsin C, 2019, 'Community Readiness in the Syrian Refugee Community in Jordan: A Rapid Ecological Assessment Tool to Build Psychosocial Service Capacity', American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ort0000404
    Journal articles | 2019
    Wells R; Némorin S; Steel Z; Guhathakurta M; Rosenbaum S, 2019, 'Physical activity as a psychosocial intervention among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: A rapid ecological community assessment', Intervention, vol. 17, pp. 140 - 148, http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_15_19
    Journal articles | 2018
    Othman M; Steel Z; Lawsin C; Wells R, 2018, 'Addressing occupational stress among medical staff in non-government controlled Northern Syria: Supporting resilience in a dangerous workplace', Torture : quarterly journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture, vol. 28, pp. 104 - 123, http://dx.doi.org/10.7146/torture.v28i3.111200
    Journal articles | 2018
    Rhodes P; Wells R, 2018, 'Special Issue: Community, Psychology and Family Therapy', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, vol. 39, pp. 281 - 282, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anzf.1327
    Journal articles | 2018
    Van Rheenen TE; Cropley V; Zalesky A; Bousman C; Wells R; Bruggemann J; Sundram S; Weinberg D; Lenroot RK; Pereira A; Shannon Weickert C; Weickert TW; Pantelis C, 2018, 'Widespread Volumetric Reductions in Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Patients Displaying Compromised Cognitive Abilities', Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 44, pp. 560 - 574, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbx109
    Journal articles | 2018
    Weickert T; Cai H; O’Donnell M; Balzan R; Wells R; Liu D; Galletly C; Weickert CS, 2018, 'O1.5. ICAM-1 IS INCREASED IN BRAIN AND PERIPHERAL LEVELS OF SOLUBLE ICAM-1 IS RELATED TO COGNITIVE DEFICITS IN SCHIZOPHRENIA', Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol. 44, pp. S73 - S74, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sby015.187
    Journal articles | 2018
    Wells R; Lawsin C; Hunt C; Said Youssef O; Abujado F; Steel Z, 2018, 'An ecological model of adaptation to displacement: individual, cultural and community factors affecting psychosocial adjustment among Syrian refugees in Jordan', Global Mental Health, vol. 5, pp. e42 - e42, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/gmh.2018.30
    Journal articles | 2016
    Weinberg D; Lenroot R; Jacomb I; Allen K; Bruggemann J; Wells R; Balzan R; Liu D; Galletly C; Catts SV; Weickert CS; Weickert TW, 2016, 'Cognitive subtypes of schizophrenia characterized by differential brain volumetric reductions and cognitive decline', JAMA Psychiatry, vol. 73, pp. 1251 - 1259, http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2925
    Journal articles | 2016
    Wells R; Steel Z; Abo-Hilal M; Hassan AH; Lawsin C, 2016, 'Psychosocial concerns reported by Syrian refugees living in Jordan: Systematic review of unpublished needs assessments', British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 209, pp. 99 - 106, http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.115.165084
    Journal articles | 2015
    Weickert T; Weinberg D; Lenroot R; Catts SV; Wells R; Vercammen A; O'Donnell M; Galletly C; Liu D; Balzan R; Short B; Pellen D; Curtis J; Carr VJ; Kulkarni J; Schofield PR; Weickert CS, 2015, 'Adjunctive raloxifene treatment improves attention and memory in men and women with schizophrenia', Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 20, pp. 685 - 694, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/mp.2015.11
    Journal articles | 2015
    Wells R; Swaminathan V; Sundram S; Weinberg D; Bruggemann J; Jacomb I; Cropley V; Lenroot R; Pereira AM; Zalesky A; Bousman C; Pantelis C; Weickert CS; Weickert TW, 2015, 'The impact of premorbid and current intellect in schizophrenia: Cognitive, symptom, and functional outcomes', npj Schizophrenia, vol. 1, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/npjschz.2015.43
    Journal articles | 2015
    Wells R; Wells D; Lawsin C, 2015, 'Understanding Psychological Responses to Trauma among Refugees : the Importance of Measurement Validity in Cross-cultural Settings', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, vol. 148, pp. 60 - 69
    Journal articles | 2012
    Wells R; Outhred T; Heathers JAJ; Quintana DS; Kemp AH, 2012, 'Matter Over Mind: A Randomised-Controlled Trial of Single-Session Biofeedback Training on Performance Anxiety and Heart Rate Variability in Musicians', PLoS ONE, vol. 7, pp. e46597 - e46597, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046597
  • Preprints | 2022
    McKeon G; Wells R; Steel Z; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Teasdale S; Vancampfort D; Rosenbaum S, 2022, An online mental health informed physical activity intervention for emergency service workers and their families: A stepped-wedge trial, http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.02.10.22270712
    Preprints | 2021
    McKeon G; Wells R; Steel Z; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Teasdale S; Vancampfort D; Rosenbaum S, 2021, An online mental health informed physical activity intervention for emergency service workers and their families: A stepped-wedge trial (Preprint), http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/preprints.35524
    Conference Abstracts | 2018
    Weickert T; Cai H; O'Donnell M; Balzan R; Wells R; Liu D; Galletly C; Weickert CS, 2018, 'ICAM-1 IS INCREASED IN BRAIN AND PERIPHERAL LEVELS OF SOLUBLE ICAM-1 IS RELATED TO COGNITIVE DEFICITS IN SCHIZOPHRENIA', in SCHIZOPHRENIA BULLETIN, OXFORD UNIV PRESS, ITALY, Florence, Vol. 44, pp. S73 - S74, presented at 6th Biennial Conference of the Schizophrenia-International-Research-Society (SIRS), ITALY, Florence, 04 April 2018 - 08 April 2018, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sby015.187
    Conference Abstracts | 2017
    Weickert T; Cai H; O'Donnell M; Balzan R; Wells R; Liu D; Galletly C; Weickert CS, 2017, 'Increased Soluble ICAM-1 is Related to Verbal Memory, Reasoning and Processing Speed Deficits in Schizophrenia', in NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, CA, Palm Springs, Vol. 42, pp. S249 - S250, presented at 56th Annual Meeting of the American-College-of-Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and Cognitive-Neuroscience-Society, CA, Palm Springs, 03 December 2017 - 07 December 2017, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000416846301215&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Papers | 2016
    Van Rheenen TE; Cropley V; Wells R; Bruggemannd J; Swaminathan V; Sundram S; Weinberg D; Jacomb I; Lenroot R; Pereira AM; Zalesky A; Bousman C; Weickert CS; Weickert TW; Pantelis C, 2016, 'An Investigation of Brain Structural Abnormalities in Neurocognitive Subgroups of Schizophrenia', in BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY, ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC, pp. 392S - 392S, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000432440805108&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2015
    Weickert T; Weinberg D; Lenroot R; Catts SV; Wells R; Vercammen A; O'Donnell M; Galletly C; Liu D; Balzan R; Short B; Pellen D; Curtis J; Carr VJ; Kulkarni J; Schofield PR; Weickert CS, 2015, 'ADJUNCTIVE RALOXIFENE TREATMENT IMPROVES ATTENTION AND MEMORY IN MEN AND WOMEN WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA', in SCHIZOPHRENIA BULLETIN, OXFORD UNIV PRESS, CO, Colorado Springs, Vol. 41, pp. S339 - S340, presented at 15th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR), CO, Colorado Springs, 28 March 2015 - 01 April 2015, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000353548200898&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Papers | 2015
    Weickert TW; Weinberg D; Lenroot R; Catts SV; Wells R; Vercammen A; O'Donnell M; Galletly C; Liu D; Balzan R; Short B; Pellen D; Curtis J; Carr VJ; Kulkarni J; Schofield PR; Weickert CS, 2015, 'Adjunctive raloxifene treatment improves attention and memory in men and women with schizophrenia', in Molecular Psychiatry, pp. 685 - 694, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/mp.2015.11
    Preprints |
    Rostami R; Wells R; Solaimani J; Berle D; Hadzi-Pavlovic D; Silove D; Nickerson A; O'Donnell M; Bryant R; McFarlane A; Steel Z, The Mental Health of Farsi-Dari Speaking Asylum-Seeking Children and Parents Facing Insecure Residency in Australia, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3969821

Embodied Experiences of Syrian and Iraqi Refugees Living with Disability Through a Lived Experience Lens. Disability Innovation Institute Seed Funding