Symptom comorbidity networks in psychiatry

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Masters by Research, Post Doctor Researchers
Department / Centre
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Vanessa Cropley 83441876 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Associate Professor Andrew Zalesky +61390357747 Personal web page

Summary Investigate causal links between psychiatric symptoms and cognition across mental illnesses

Project Details

Network theories of psychopathology suggest that psychopathology is the result of cyclic and causal relationships between individual symptoms, which may also be influenced by distinct environmental, biological or clinical factors. For example, a network framework might identify that a certain symptom (e.g. anxiety) triggers other symptoms (e.g. paranoia), that certain symptoms reinforce each other through feedback systems (e.g. sleep disturbance leading to worry, and worry leading to sleep disturbance), or indirectly through a third symptom (e.g. sleep disturbance influencing depression through worry), and that certain symptoms (e.g. inattention or arousal) may be particularly important, connecting to a number of different symptoms in a network. These models have important implications for understanding unique and causal relations between symptoms or other psychobiological factors, and for identifying potential symptoms for intervention.

Early-life adversity or childhood trauma is a well-known risk factor for psychopathology, including the development and course of psychotic disorders. Network analysis provides an advanced method to understand the relationship between different forms of early-life adversity and psychotic symptoms in young people.

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Further research and key questions

  • Understand causal links between psychopathology and environmental factors, including childhood trauma and early-life adversity
  • Identify modifiable risk and resilience factors that exert a causal influence on psychopathology

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Masters by Research, Post Doctor Researchers
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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