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)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Shackleton, N., Chang, K., Lay-Yee, R., D'Souza S, Davis, P., & Milne, B. (2019). Microsimulation model of child and adolescent overweight: making use of what we already know. International journal of obesity (2005), 43 (11), 2322-2332. 10.1038/s41366-019-0426-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stephanie D'Souza, Peter Davis, Barry Milne, Roy Lay-Yee
  • Shackleton, N., Derraik, J. G. B., Audas, R., Taylor, R. W., Glover, M., Morton, S. M. B., ... Cutfield, W. S. (2019). Decomposing ethnic differences in body mass index and obesity rates among New Zealand pre-schoolers. International journal of obesity (2005), 43 (10), 1951-1960. 10.1038/s41366-019-0390-4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Susan Morton, Wayne Cutfield, Barry Milne, José Derraik
  • Exeter, D. J., Shackleton, N., Browne, M., Zhao, J., Lee, A., & Crengle, S. (2019). Different domains of deprivation and their relationship with obesity in New Zealand 4-year-old children. Pediatric obesity, 14 (8)10.1111/ijpo.12520
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Daniel Exeter, Michael Browne, Jinfeng Zhao, Arier Lee
  • Milne, B. J., Atkinson, J., Blakely, T., Day, H., Douwes, J., Gibb, S., ... Teng, A. (2019). Data Resource Profile: The New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). International Journal of Epidemiology, 48 (3), 677-677. 10.1093/ije/dyz014
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Barry Milne, Andrew Sporle
  • Gibb, S., Milne, B., Shackleton, N., Taylor, B. J., & Audas, R. (2019). How universal are universal preschool health checks? An observational study using routine data from New Zealand's B4 School Check. BMJ open, 9 (4)10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025535
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Barry Milne
  • Gibb, S., Shackleton, N., Audas, R., Taylor, B., Swinburn, B., Zhu, T., ... Milne, B. (2019). Child obesity prevalence across communities in New Zealand: 2010–2016. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 43 (2), 176-181. 10.1111/1753-6405.12881
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Boyd Swinburn, Wayne Cutfield, Barry Milne, José Derraik
  • Shackleton, N., Milne, B. J., & Jerrim, J. (2019). Socioeconomic Inequalities in Adolescent Substance Use: Evidence From Twenty-Four European Countries. Substance use & misuse, 54 (6), 1044-1049. 10.1080/10826084.2018.1549080
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Barry Milne
  • 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

Contact details

Primary office location

Level B1, Room B105
New Zealand