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PhD Top Up Scholarship Research Overview: Maggie Harrigan

In 2020 I was awarded $37,500 for the Golf PhD top Up Scholarship from the Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust (ACFRT)  / the Glenn Brown Memorial Grant (Institute for Respiratory Health) to research self-concept in adults with CF in an evolving era of CF care.

I have been a respiratory social worker for eight years and am passionate about the psychosocial care of adults with CF, and this PhD proposes self-concept to be an important aspect of that care. Self-concept is commonly defined as one’s self-perception, a sense of who you are as a person, and is widely associated with mental and social wellbeing beyond the CF context. There is a significant lack of self-concept research within the CF setting, despite a range of pertinent disease factors, including high treatment burden, infection control guidelines and rates of anxiety and depression symptoms.

Additionally, CFTR modulator drugs, Trikafta in particular, mark the beginning of a new era of CF care and have the potential to revolutionise self-concept and what it means to have CF. As CF medical treatment advances, so too must understanding of associated psychosocial needs. Mixed methods research will be used to explore self-concept for adults with CF in order to produce contemporary CF psychosocial knowledge and educational resources.

I am currently enrolled at The University of Western Australia (Perth), and completing my study in collaboration with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) CF Clinic, Cystic Fibrosis Western Australia (CFWA) and the Institute for Respiratory Health (IRH).


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