Holistic Human Health

Human health and well-being go well beyond the absence of disease. While modern medicine mostly focuses on ‘pathogenesis’ (the origins of disease), a broader focus might be ‘salutogenesis’ (the origins of health). In research, as in life, health and well-being can be a more attractive focus than disease. Moreover, strengths-based approaches emphasise the positives over deficit perspectives and celebrate what we have over what we need. Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This vision points beyond the absence of disease and embodies a holistic conceptualisation of human health, belonging, and well-being. Conducting research in these areas is crucial for advancing our understanding of the factors that influence quality of life and for developing effective treatments, interventions, and social policies.

In the field of disability, research may enable the creation of tailored assistive technologies and therapies that are more inclusive and improve daily functioning. In counselling and mental health, research may inform evidence-based practices that improve therapeutic outcomes and reduce the prevalence and impact of conditions such as depression and anxiety. Research on recovery from addiction may lead to better rehabilitation programs, relapse prevention strategies, and holistic community support systems. Research in areas of human belonging and social connections may shed light on the role and significance of communities, support networks, and inclusive environments. Overall, research in these areas contributes to human health, belonging, and well-being, thus informing public policies and creating healthier, more inclusive, and more resilient communities.


Hughes, P. (2024). Why People are Ceasing to Attend Churches and to Identify with Religious Institutions. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, No. 9, 101–149

Creed, F. (2024). Why Churches Should Consider the Formation of Social Capital in the Design of their Welfare Programs. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, No. 9, 150–190

Leal Filho, W., Wall, T., Lange Salvia, A., … Luetz, J. M. et al. (2024). The Impacts of the COVID-19 Lockdowns on the Work of Academic Staff at Higher Education Institutions: An International Assessment. Environment, Development and Sustainability. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-024-04484-x

Seyed Aghamiri, F., Luetz, J.M., & Hills, K. (2024). Why did God let this Happen? Assessing the Spiritual Impacts of Sexual Addiction on Intimate Female Partners: A Qualitative Investigation. Sexuality & Culture. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-024-10221-3

Leal Filho, W., Luetz, J.M., Thanekar, U.D., Dinis, M.A.P., & Forrester, M. (2024). Climate-Friendly Health Care: Reducing the Impacts of the Healthcare Sector on the World’s Climate. Sustainability Science, 19, 1103–1109 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-024-01487-5

Seyed Aghamiri, F., Luetz, J.M., & Hills, K. (2024). Investigating the Impacts of Compulsive Sexual Behaviours on Women Using Descriptive Phenomenology: A Research Agenda. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-024-00934-3

Arasaratnam-Smith, L. A., & Deardorff, D. K. (2023). Developing Intercultural Competence In Higher Education: international students’ stories and self-reflection. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003229551

Durga, P. (2023). Overcoming religious distance: Epiphanies in cross-cultural settings. In Johannes M. Luetz, Denise A. Austin & Adis Duderija (Eds.), Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide: Approaches, Experiences, and Practices (pp. 283–298). Springer Nature, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-3862-9_15

Luetz, J.M. (2023). “All Humans are Strangers—Almost Everywhere”: Reflections on Human Belonging. In J.M. Luetz, D.A. Austin, & A. Duderija (Eds.). Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide: Approaches, Experiences, and Practices. (Ch. 16; pp. 299–329). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-99-3862-9_16

Goncalves, G., Sousa, C., Rodriguez, N., & Carvalheiro, R., & Arasaratnam-Smith, L. A.(2023). The effect of multicultural attitude and perceived intergroup threat on attitudes towards immigrants in Portugal: A polynormal regression with response surface analysis. Psychological Reports, 0(0) 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1177/00332941221149182

Seyed Aghamiri, F., & Luetz, J.M. (2023). The Long-Lived Impacts of Sexual Addiction: Examples of Unwanted Gifts That Keep Giving, Sexual Health & Compulsivity; 30(1), 123–127; https://doi.org/10.1080/26929953.2022.2163013

Tucker, S., & Luetz, J.M. (2023). Art Therapy in Australian Prisons—A Research Agenda, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X231165350

Hukkinen, E., Lütz, J.M., & Dowden, T. (2023). Assessing Research Trends in Spiritual Growth: The Case for Self-Determined Learning. Religions 14(6): 809. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060809

Durga, P., Caffery, L. A., Muurlink, O. T., & Taylor‐Robinson, A. W. (2022). Under the regulatory radar: Unregulated rural healthcare in Bangladesh and Australia. Health & Social Care in the Community, 30(5), e3184–e3192. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13763

Seyed Aghamiri, F., Luetz, J.M., & Hills, K. (2022). Impacts of Sexual Addiction on Intimate Female Partners—The State of the Art, Sexual Health & Compulsivity, 29(1–2), 1–37. https://doi.org/10.1080/26929953.2022.2050862

Hughes, P.J. (2023). Re-Building Confidence as a Prelude to Ministry, Journal of Contemporary Ministry. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 7 pp.7-30

Muurlink, O., Durga, P., Awan, N. & Taylor Robinson, A.W.(2022). Success and its consequences: Bangladesh’s health report card at 50. In H. Khondker, O. Muurlink, & A. Bin Ali, The Emergence of Bangladesh (Ch. 18; pp. 339–354). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-5521-0_19

Seyed Aghamiri, F., Luetz, J.M., & Hills, K. (2022). Pornography Addiction and its Impacts on Intimate Female Partner Wellbeing—A Systematic Narrative Synthesis, Journal of Addictive Diseases, 40(4), 472–480. https://doi.org/10.1080/10550887.2021.2021058

Hughes, P.J. (2022). Voluntary Contributions to Society: The Impact of School Systems. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 31:2 113-137

Tucker, S. & Luetz, J.M. (2021). Art Therapy and Prison Chaplaincy—A Review of Contemporary Practices Considering New Testament Teachings. In J.M. Luetz & B. Green (Eds.), Innovating Christian Education Research—Multidisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 239–269). Springer Nature, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-8856-3_15

Seyed Aghamiri, F. & Luetz, J.M. (2021). Sexual Addiction and Christian Education—An Emerging Research Agenda. In J.M. Luetz & B. Green (Eds.), Innovating Christian Education Research—Multidisciplinary Perspectives (pp. 443–468). Springer Nature, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-8856-3_24

Hughes, P.J. (2021). Do Religion and Spirituality Make a Contribution to the Public Good? The Association of Religion and Spirituality with Volunteering. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 34(1) 96-121. https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.19466

Bohr, M. & Hughes, P.J. (2021). Why Gen Y are Leaving Hillsong and Other Pentecostal Churches. Journal of Contemporary Ministry, 5

Klingenberg, A., Luetz, J.M., & Crawford, A. (2021). Transnationalism—Recognising the Strengths of Dual Belonging for both Migrant and Society. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 22, 453–470; https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00744-2

Hills, K. J., Clapton, J., Dorsett, P., & Andersen, K. (2020). Conducting Research with People with Nonverbal Autism: An Inclusive Methodological Approach. Journal of Social Inclusion, 11(1), 5-23. https://doi.org/10.36251/josi.162

Arasaratnam-Smith, L. A. Pepper, N., Powell, R. A.(2020). A study of cultural empathy and attitude toward diversity: The case of Australian Christian church attenders. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 31. 251–272

Quak, D., & Luetz, J.M. (2020). Human Happiness—Conceptual and Practical Perspectives. In W. Leal Filho, A. Marisa Azul, L. Brandli, P. Gökcin Özuyar, T. Wall (Eds.), No Poverty—Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (pp. 1–16). Springer Nature, Switzerland. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69625-6_79-1

Gonçalves, G., Sousa, C., Arasaratnam-Smith, L. A., Rodrigues, N., & Carvalheiro, R. (2020). Intercultural Communication Competence Scale: Invariance and Construct Validation in Portugal. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 49(3), 242–262. https://doi.org/10.1080/17475759.2020.1746687

Hills, K; Clapton, J; Dorsett, P; Andersen, K (2019). Conducting Research with People with Severe Autism: An Inclusive Methodological Approach. Journal of Social Inclusion, 11 (1) 107

Leal Filho, W., Luetz, J.M., Sattler, D.N. and Nunn, P.D. (2020). Coronavirus—COVID-19 Transmission in Pacific Small Island Developing States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, 5409. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155409

Luetz, J.M, Margus, R., & Prickett, B. (2020). Human Behavior Change for Sustainable Development—Perspectives Informed by Psychology and Neuroscience. In W. Leal Filho, A. Marisa Azul, L. Brandli, P. Gökcin Özuyar, T. Wall (Eds.), Quality Education—Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (pp. 419–434). Springer Nature, Switzerland. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95870-5_12

Hills, K., Clapton, J., & Dorsett, P. (2019). Spirituality, silence and solitude: A reflective interpretation regarding mystery and people with nonverbal autism. Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 9 (2) 138-151. https://doi.org/10.1080/20440243.2019.1658266

Luetz, J.M. (2019). Over-researching migration ‘hotspots’? Ethical issues from the Carteret Islands. Forced Migration Review, (61), 20–22, The Ethics Issue (June 2019), Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. https://www.fmreview.org/ethics/luetz

Hills, K; Clapton, J; Dorsett, P (2019). Ethical considerations when conducting research with people with nonverbal autism: A reflective commentary. Journal of Social Inclusion, 10 (2) 58-64

Luetz, J.M., & Havea, P.H. (2018). “We’re not Refugees, We’ll Stay Here Until We Die!”—Climate Change Adaptation and Migration Experiences Gathered from the Tulun and Nissan Atolls of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. In W. Leal Filho (Eds.), Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for Coastal Communities (pp. 3–29). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-70703-7_1

Hills, K., Clapton, J., & Dorsett, P. (2019). Ethical considerations when conducting research with people with nonverbal autism: A commentary on current processes and practices. Journal of Social Inclusion, 10 (2) 58-64

Hughes, P.J. (2019). The Churches’ Role in Volunteering in Urban and Rural Contexts in Australia. Rural Theology, 17 (1) 18-29

Hills, K., Clapton, J., & Dorsett, P. (2019). Spirituality in the context of nonverbal autism: Practical and theological considerations. Practical Theology, 12 (2) 186-197

Hills, K., Clapton, J., Dorsett, P., & Andersen, K. (2019). Spirituality in the context of nonverbal autism: A research process – Findings and Analysis. Journal of Disability and Religion, 23 (4) 365-386


Arthur, Sally. Inquiry into teachers’ preparedness working with students who have neurodiverse needs (MPhil)

Attia, Yvon. Theological beliefs and factors regarding healing among Pentecostals and Charismatics in Miami (DMin)

Billard, Jennifer. Australian Pentecostal experiences of spiritual struggles – a hybrid hermeneutical phenomenological study and spiritual theology framework (PhD)

Blanche, Sean. The significance of emotional and spiritual intelligence in effective mentoring (PhD)

D'sa, Pamala. Workplace Gender Equality within CRC Churches International. (DMin)

Floyd, Jemma. Violence Against Women: Gendered Attitudes in the ACC (PhD)

Green, Aziza. Approaching digital wisdom: How do Christian ministry leaders understand and apply digital literacies to participate and lead in digital contexts? (PhD)

Hukkinen, Esa. Heutagogy and spiritual growth: A qualitative investigation on self-determined learning (PhD)

Suk Lee, Hong. A Study on Healing and Restoration for Multicultural Individuals with Disabilities in Australia through the Disability Theology Approach: Focusing on the ‘NDIS’ and ‘SILOAM Model’ of John 9 (MPhil)

Lenga, John. Challenges refugees in Australia, who live with disability face when accessing support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) (PhD)

Menzel, Miranda. How do Pentecostal Women Explain, Understand and React to Pornography Consumption by Household Partners? (PhD)

Moores, Robert. The Impact of Retirement on Pastors, their Families and the Church (MPhil)

Narlapati, Suresh. How are small group leaders navigating the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in Perth? (DMin)

Newton, Judith. What aspects of inner healing prayer do Australian clients find most helpful to well-being? (DMin)

Ram, Navishkar. Christian social identity and group membership as protective against mental ill-health? An Australian qualitative study (PhD)

Rengger, James. A Mixed Methods Study of the Trinitarian Foundations of Local Church Caregiving 'In the Moment': Integrating Clinical Pastoral Education Practices and the Theology of Jürgen Moltmann into C3 Church Caregiving Praxis (PhD)

Skinner, Elizabeth. Identifying Traits of Coercive Control in Dating Relationships Within Christian Communities: An Australian Qualitative Investigation (MPhil)

Smith, Bette. Challenges with intercultural communication using English between second-language English speakers in the multicultural church setting in Melbourne churches (DMin)

Webb, Mark. Pastors’ Perceptions About Leadership in Ministry and their impact on Burnout? A Phenomenological Study (PhD)


Seetahal, Kavish. An Exploration Of The Influence Which Governmental And Multilateral Donor Organizations Have On The Poverty Alleviation Methods Of Christian Faith-Based Organizations (PhD)



  • Sally Arthur
  • Yvon Attia
  • Jennifer Billard
  • Sean Blanche
  • Pamala D'sa
  • Jemma Floyd
  • Aziza Green
  • Esa Hukkinen
  • Hong Suk Lee
  • John Lenga
  • Miranda Menzel
  • Robert Moores
  • Suresh Narlapati
  • Judith Newton
  • Navishkar Ram
  • James Rengger
  • Elizabeth Skinner
  • Bette Smith
  • Mark Webb


  • Dr Kavish Seetahal


Some research in this cluster is supported by a $150,000 grant from Mission Australia, with the aim of developing a model of chaplaincy for disadvantaged communities.


Full scholarships are currently available for doctoral research relating to chaplaincy in Australia. For details, contact Dr Nigel Pegram.


This research cluster contributes to the advancement of the following goals: