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Elisabeth WellsBSc(Hons) PhD



As a consultant biostatistician, I am involved with many projects, from providing minor assistance to being a co-investigator.

These projects come from nearly all departments of the CSMHS and range from laboratory science to clinical studies and epidemiology. Some of the variety of content areas is seen in my publication list.

Assistance is also provided for grant applications, ethics committee applications, referee and reviewer comments.

I am also involved as the principal statistician and a principal investigator of the Mental Health Epidemiology Study, which consists of a national survey in 2004 of 12,000 people aged 16 years and older (The New Zealand Mental Health Survey, Te Rau Hinengaro).

Research Interests

  • Psychiatric epidemiology
  • Survey methods


2009: Gold Medal for Research Excellence, from the University of Otago, Christchurch.


  • 2012: (CMRF) Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus in breast cancer. (A. Richardson, B. Robinson, L. Walker, M. Currie, H. Morrin, E. Wells, J. Potter.)
  • 2011: (HRC) The Christchurch Health and Development Study – Birth to 35 Years. (D. Fergusson, J. Horwood, J. Boden, M. Kennedy, H. Gordon, A. Hikairo, R. Mulder, E. Wells, S. Gibb.)
  • 2010: (CMRF and Genesis Oncology Trust (Bruce Blue Award)) Chemotherapy response in an obese mouse model with colorectal cancer. (G.U. Dachs, M.J. Currie, J. Willis, J.E. Wells, B.A. Robinson.)
  • 2007: (HRC) Longitudinal studies of mental health and psychosocial wellbeing (D Fergusson, J Horwood, A Beautrais, E Wells, L Woodward.)
  • 2005: (Lottery Health) New Zealand survey of mental health and well being. (JE Wells, MA Oakley Browne, J Baxter, AL Beautrais, KM Scott, R Tapsell, M Durie, D Schaaf.)
  • 2004: (HRC) Longitudinal studies of mental health and psychosocial well-being. A programme grant. (DM Fergusson, LJ Horwood, AL Beautrais, JE Wells.)
  • 2002: (HRC) A study of the dose response association between infant iron status and later cognitive functioning (D Richards, E Wells, L Toop et al.)
  • 2001: (HRC) Psychiatric Disorder: Prevalence, Comorbidity and Treatment Seeking in Young Adults (D Ferguson & E Wells [5%])
  • 2001: (HRC) Consequences of Alcohol Use/Abuse in Young Adulthood (D Ferguson & E Wells [5%])

Research Contracts and Consultancies

  • 2007 – 2008: (Ministry of Health) Further use of datasets from the New Zealand Mental Health Survey.
  • 2006 – 2008 (Ministry of Health) On the Interim Monitoring Group for the 2006-2007 New Zealand Health Survey.
  • 2006: (Health Research Council): Senior editor/author of several chapters in report on substance use disorder results in the New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey
  • 1999-2007: (Ministry of Health) Contract for the Mental Health Epidemiology Study, a New Zealand national survey of mental health.
  • 2003: (Ngai Tahu Development Corporation) For pilot of a survey
  • 1997: (Mental Health Commission) Appointed to a committee to review the 'Blueprint for Mental Health Services'
  • 1993-1995: (Public Health Commission) Consultant
  • 1992-1994: (Ministry of Health). Consultant

Professional activities

  • Member of the New Zealand Statistical Association.
  • Elected member of the Epidemiology and Public Health Section of the World Psychiatric Association
  • Member of the Australasian Epidemiological Association.

Student Supervision

  • The mental health of Pacific people and their use of health services and practice for seeking help.
    [PhD, in progress] Jesse Kokaua
    (Primary supervisor with Patrick Graham and Richie Poulton as co-supervisors)
  • Decriminalisation: A harm minimisation and human rights approach to regulating sex work.
    [PhD] Gillian Abel, 2010
    (Primary supervisor with Lisa Fitzgerald and Cheryl Brunton as co-supervisors)
  • To establish the musculoskeletal treatment practices of primary health care practitioners to whom women can self refer, for chronic pelvic pain. [MHealSc] Warwick Shillitoe, 2009
    (Co-supervisor: Jim Borowczyk)

Publication Supplementary Material


Rapsey, C. M., Wells, J. E., Bharat, M. C., Glantz, M., Kessler, R. C., & Scott, K. M. (2019). Transitions through stages of alcohol use, use disorder and remission: Findings from Te Rau Hinengaro, The New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Alcohol & Alcoholism, 54(1), 87-96. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agy069

Wells, J. E., McGee, M. A., & Beautrais, A. L. (2017). Response to Greaves et al.'s (2017) "The diversity and prevalence of sexual orientation self-labels in a New Zealand national sample". Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(8), 2207-2208. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1047-9

MacLachlan, C., Shipton, E. A., & Wells, J. E. (2016). The cold pressor test as a predictor of prolonged postoperative pain: A prospective cohort study. Pain & Therapy, 5, 203-213. doi: 10.1007/s40122-016-0056-z

Mangin, D., Dowson, C., Mulder, R., Wells, E., Toop, L., Dowell, T., & Arroll, B. (2016). Can't fight this feeling? When and how to stop antidepressants [Invited]. Proceedings of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) Conference for General Practice. Retrieved from

Peek, K. N., Khashram, M., Wells, J. E., & Roake, J. A. (2016). The costs of elective and emergency abdominal aortic aneurysm repair: A comparative single centre study. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1433), 55-65. Retrieved from

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