Dr Nichola Shackleton

PhD Quantitative Social Science (UCL Institute of Education, London), MRes Education and Social Research (Distinction) (UCL Institute of Education, London), BSc Psychology with Clinical and Health Psychology (First Class Honours) (Bangor University, North Wales)

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Senior Research Fellow


Nichola Completed her PhD on "Socioeconomic Inequalities in Childhood Excessive Weight in the UK" at the UCL Institute of Education in 2014. She worked with the Adolescent Health Research team at the UCL Institute of Child Health until 2015, where she worked on projects relating to the importance of treating adolescence as a unique stage of development, measuring and reducing inequalities in adolescent health and the potential influence schools can have on adolescent health and wellbeing. She joined the University of Auckland in September 2015 as a Research Fellow at COMPASS Research Centre.   

Research | Current

My substantive research interests include inequalities in child health, the interplay between the school environment and child health, and improving children's educational outcomes.  I use advanced quantitative methodology to analyze survey data, and now work regularly with 'big data' in the Integrated Data Infrastructure. 

I am currently working on the following projects:

A Better Start: National Science Challenge. (from Dec 2016 - ongoing) I am a member of the Big Data theme using data from the Integrated Data Infrastructure to learn more about childhood obesity, literacy, and mental health. 

Child Poverty: Health Consequences, Costs, and Policy Interventions (from Aug 2017 to July 2020). HRC Ref 17/250. This study aims to answer three research questions. 1) what is the effect of childhood poverty on health, and for which health outcomes? 2) which aspects of poverty dynamics have the greatest impact on health outcomes? 3) What factors most strongly mediate the association between child poverty and health, and what are the likely benefits of intervening on these factors?

Tikanga Māori Strengths-based Index: Working with MSD to determine the feasibility and scope for a Māori stengths-based index of wellbeing to sit alongside and provide balance to measures of area-level deprivation.

The New Zealand Index of Multiple Deprivation (Jan 2017 - Oct 2017). The IMD was created by Dr. Dan Exeter and colleagues. My role is to implement this measure to bring a greater understanding of the relationship between area-level deprivation and health. 



Teaching | Current


Postgraduate supervision


Natalia Boven, PhD candidate: Assessing the impact of different methods of combining individuals socioeconomic position for predicting adult and child health.

Simon Swinton, Honours student: The influence of recency of migration to New Zealand on educational attainment. 


Previous (2017/2018)

Natalia Boven, Masters in Public Policy: The implications of different ethnicity outputting methods for understanding outcomes and developing policy in New Zealand.

Olivia Healey, Masters in Public Health: The Forgotten Generation. Creating a census-based measure of socioeconomic position (SEP) for the ≥65 population.

Lucas chen, Honours student: Who lives in deprived places? The association between individual and area level socioeconomic position.

Oliver Mills, Honours Student: The Impact Geographical Scales Have on Homogeneity and Suppression.



Associate Editor for Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online

Named Investigator for GUiNZ: co-leading the social context and neighbourhood environments theme
(SCONE). (Mar 2019-ongoing)

Associate Investigator at the National Centre for Life-course Research (2017 – ongoing)

Honorary Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant (2015-2016)

ESRC Advanced Quantitative Methods Stipend (2011-2014)

ESRC 1+3 Scholarship (2010-2014)

Skipton Building Society Scholarship (2004-2007)




Deputy Director of COMPASS Research Centre

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Campbell, T., & Shackleton, N. (2018). Pre-pregnancy body mass index and breastfeeding initiation, early cessation and longevity: evidence from the first wave of the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 72 (12), 1124-1131. 10.1136/jech-2017-209074
  • Shackleton, N., Darlington-Pollock, F., Norman, P., Jackson, R., & Exeter, D. J. (2018). Longitudinal deprivation trajectories and risk of cardiovascular disease in New Zealand. Health & place, 53, 34-42. 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.07.010
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rod Jackson, Daniel Exeter
  • Shackleton, N., Broadbent, J. M., Thornley, S., Milne, B. J., Crengle, S., & Exeter, D. J. (2018). Inequalities in dental caries experience among 4-year-old New Zealand children. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology, 46 (3), 288-296. 10.1111/cdoe.12364
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/43007
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Thornley, Barry Milne, Daniel Exeter
  • Darlington-Pollock, F., Shackleton, N., Norman, P., Lee, A. C., & Exeter, D. (2018). Differences in the risk of cardiovascular disease for movers and stayers in New Zealand: A survival analysis. International Journal of Public Health, 63 (2), 173-179. 10.1007/s00038-017-1011-4
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44126
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Arier Lee, Daniel Exeter
  • Lay-Yee, R., Milne, B. J., Shackleton, N., Chang, K., & Davis, P. (2018). Preventing youth depression: Simulating the impact of parenting interventions. Advances in Life Course Research, 37, 15-22. 10.1016/j.alcr.2018.05.001
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Barry Milne, Kevin Chang, Peter Davis, Roy Lay-Yee
  • Bevilacqua, L., Shackleton, N., Hale, D., Allen, E., Bond, L., Christie, D., ... Jones, R. (2017). The role of family and school-level factors in bullying and cyberbullying: A cross-sectional study. BMC Pediatrics, 17 (1)10.1186/s12887-017-0907-8
  • Shackleton, N., Fletcher, A., Jamal, F., Markham, W., Aveyard, P., Mathiot, A., ... Bonell, C. (2017). A new measure of unhealthy school environments and its implications for critical assessments of health promotion in schools. Critical Public Health, 27 (2), 248-262. 10.1080/09581596.2016.1191619
  • Zhu, T., Chang, K., Shackleton, N., & Milne, B. (2017). Knowledge Lab User Guide. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByGI4aqoCDeldHdNaDBLQzFLXzg/view. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kevin Chang, Barry Milne

Contact details

Primary office location

Level B1, Room B105
New Zealand