Dr Susy Harrigan

Research Fellow

BA, MSc, PhD

Email: susy.harrigan@monash.edu

Telephone: +61 3 9903 1709


Susy is currently a Research Fellow at the Department of Social Work in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University.

Susy has over 22 years of experience in the design and analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in a variety of mental health research settings, including early psychosis and geriatric psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, and the Orygen Youth Health Research Centre. Her work has included psychotherapeutic and pharmaceutical trials, in addition to public health interventions. She has made a substantial contribution to a number of trials as statistical and methodological advisor, several of which have been published, with others ongoing. A number of these trials have received NHMRC support. In addition to her extensive knowledge of RCT methodology, she has developed substantial expertise in the application of a wide range of statistical techniques, including structural equation modelling and latent growth curve techniques.

Her demonstrated research ability is evidenced by 76 peer reviewed research publications, and a co-authored book chapter. She has a first author paper appearing in Psychological Medicine, a prestigious international journal. Her co-authored publications include top-ranking journals including Archives of General Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine.

Susy’s PhD was conferred in April 2018. In the thesis she employed techniques at the cutting edge of psychosis research. Her work investigated the evolution of positive and negative symptoms over the longitudinal course in young people with first-episode psychosis using individual growth curve (IGC) methods, which can accommodate most of the pitfalls associated with follow-up designs that traditional methods cannot. In psychiatry research, the flexibility and utility of these IGC approaches in detecting and describing individual change over time has not yet been realized.

One of the most enjoyable parts of Susy’s work is supervising the statistical and methodological aspects of Masters and PhD students’ theses. She has also supervised the thesis and research work of more than a dozen Royal Australiana & New Zealand College Psychiatrist dissertation candidates. This involved the provision of consulting services around methodological and design issues, as well as supervision of data structure, statistical analysis, interpretation of results, assistance in writing up, and statistical education.


Research Methods


2015:  NHMRC grant application ID 1102394: Does Antipsychotic Dose Reduction Lead to Better Functional Recovery in First Episode Psychosis: A Randomised Controlled Trial (CII). Funding commenced in 2016.

Select Publications

Berk, M., Mohebbi, M., Dean, O., Cotton, S., Chanen, A., Dodd, S., Ratheesh, A., Amminger, G., Phelan, M., Weller, A., Mackinnon, A., Giorlando, F., Baird, S., Incerti, L., Brodie, R., Ferguson, N., Rice, S., Schäfer, M., Mullen, E., Hetrick, S., Kerr, M., Harrigan, S., Quinn, A., Mazza, C., McGorry, P., & Davey, C. (2020). Youth Depression Alleviation with Anti-inflammatory Agents (YoDA-A): a randomised clinical trial of rosuvastatin and aspirin. BMC Medicine, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12916-019-1475-6

O'Donoghue, B., Francey, S. M., Nelson, B., Ratheesh, A., Allott, K., Graham, J., Baldwin, L., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., Thompson, A., Fornito, A., Polari, A., Berk, M., Macneil, C., Crisp, K., Pantelis, C., Yuen, H. P., Harrigan, S., & McGorry, P. (2018). Staged treatment and acceptability guidelines in early psychosis study (STAGES): A randomized placebo controlled trial of intensive psychosocial treatment plus or minus antipsychotic medication for first-episode psychosis with low-risk of self-harm or aggression. Study protocol and baseline characteristics of participants. Early Interv Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/eip.12716

Purcell, R., & Harrigan, S. (2017). Lifetime rates and correlates of crime victimisation in young people with mental ill-health. Australas Psychiatry, 25(2), 135-139. doi:10.1177/1039856216658826

Purcell, R., Jorm, A. F., Hickie, I. B., Yung, A. R., Pantelis, C., Amminger, G. P., Glozier, N., Killackey, E., Phillips, L. J., Wood, S. J., Harrigan, S., Mackinnon, A., Scott, E., Hermens, D. F., Guastella, A. J., Kenyon, A., Mundy, L., Nichles, A., Scaffidi, A., Spiliotacopoulos, D., Taylor, L., Tong, J. P. Y., Wiltink, S., Zmicerevska, N., & McGorry, P. D. (2015). Demographic and clinical characteristics of young people seeking help at youth mental health services: Baseline findings of the Transitions Study. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 9(6), 487-497. doi:10.1111/eip.12133

Quinn, A. L., Dean, O. M., Davey, C. G., Kerr, M., Harrigan, S. M., Cotton, S. M., Chanen, A. M., Dodd, S., Ratheesh, A., Amminger, G. P., Phelan, M., Williams, A., Mackinnon, A., Giorlando, F., Baird, S., Rice, S., O'Shea, M., Schäfer, M. R., Mullen, E., Hetrick, S., McGorry, P., & Berk, M. (2015). Youth Depression Alleviation-Augmentation with an anti-inflammatory agent (YoDA-A): Protocol and rationale for a placebo-controlled randomized trial of rosuvastatin and aspirin. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/eip.12280

Weller, A., Gleeson, J., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., McGorry, P., Nelson, B., Allott, K., Bendall, S., Bartholomeusz, C., Koval, P., Harrigan, S., O'Donoghue, B., Fornito, A., Pantelis, C., Paul Amminger, G., Ratheesh, A., Polari, A., Wood, S. J., van der El, K., Ellinghaus, C., Gates, J., O'Connell, J., Mueller, M., Wunderink, L., & Killackey, E. (2018). Can antipsychotic dose reduction lead to better functional recovery in first-episode psychosis? A randomized controlled-trial of antipsychotic dose reduction. The reduce trial: Study protocol. Early Interv Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/eip.12769

Books/Book Chapters

Marshall, M., Harrigan, S. and S. Lewis, Duration of untreated psychosis: Definition, measurement and association with outcome, in The Recognition and Management of Early Psychosis: A Preventive Approach, 2nd ed. 2009. p. 125-146.

Susy Harrigan Research: Monash University Research