Maureen Ashe

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Rehabilitation Care and Services
Social Aspects of Aging
Health Care Technologies

Research Interests

Older Adults
Physical Activity
systematic reviews
built environment

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

Mixed methods
Systematic Reviews
Randomized Controlled Trials


Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).

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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2020)
Objective measurement of sedentary behaviour and physical activity in older adults after hip fracture: results from a randomised controlled trial (2016)

Introduction: Hip fracture is a serious event with longstanding implications for older adults. These fractures frequently lead to reduced mobility, prolonged periods of sitting time, and consequently, a lack of physical activity. Objectives: I aimed to test how a comprehensive geriatric management clinic affects sedentary behaviour and physical activity patterns over a 12-month period, and to characterise the recovery patterns of sedentary behaviour and physical activity for older adults after hip fracture. Methods: This study collected prospective objective measurements (accelerometry) of sedentary behaviour and physical activity patterns from older adults with hip fracture. I described and tested sedentary behaviour and physical activity using accelerometry at baseline, 6 and 12 months from a parallel-group, 1:1 single-blinded randomised controlled trial for older adults 3-12 months after hip fracture. The usual care group received standard post-operative management; the intervention group received usual care plus a clinical management by health professionals. Results: The study enrolled 53 participants [mean age (SD) 79(8) years], 3-12 months post-fracture. Forty-five participants had valid data (intervention (n=22) or usual care (n=23) group). Participants had a mean (SD) age of 79.2 (7.4) years, ranged 65-98 years, with a median (p10, p90) of 203 (143, 335) days since fracture. Participants from both groups spent approximately 10 hours/day in sedentary behaviour. There were no statistically significant differences between groups for sedentary behaviour or physical activity variables at midpoint and final assessment. Men engaged in significantly more sedentary time (47 minutes; p=0.049), and spent less time in light physical activity (44 minutes; p=0.044) compared with women, across the study. Although men had more sedentary time at each time point, the difference was attenuated at final assessment and was no longer statistically significant. Conclusion: Older adults after hip fracture spend prolonged periods of waking hours sedentary and without much activity. Decreasing and breaking up sedentary time and increasing physical activity is an important target for rehabilitation. Differences between sexes should be acknowledged and addressed by health professionals. Further, strategies should be developed and tested to reduce time spent in sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity for older adults after hip fracture.

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Sedentary time in the workplace: a natural experiment of the transition to an activity-permissive workplace physical environment (2012)

Objective: To describe the change in objectively measured sitting, standing and stepping time for officebased workers as they transitioned from a conventional to an activity-permissive workplace physical environment. Methods: This pre-post study observed 17 office-based working adults [mean age 33 (SD 7) years] from an academic research centre as they transitioned from a conventional to a purpose-built, innovative activity-permissive workplace physical environment with flexible layouts, workspaces, and working conditions. Participants wore an activity monitor (activPAL3, PAL Technologies Limited, Glasgow, UK) forseven consecutive days at both the conventional and innovative workplaces to determine time spent sitting, standing, stepping, the number of sit to stand transitions and the length and number of sitting bouts ≥ 30 minutes. They also completed a self-reported log of workplace time and monitor wear time. Participants’ height, weight, descriptive characteristics, body composition (measured by DXA) and moderate-to-vigorousphysical activity (measured by ActiGraph GT3X+; LLC, Fort Walton Beach, FL) were recorded. Istandardized results to an 8-hour workday and compared outcomes between the conventional andinnovative workplaces using Hodges-Lehmann median point estimate (90% CI). Results: The transition to the innovative workplace resulted in a non-significant decrease in workplace sitting time (-24 minutes/ 8-hour workday; 90% CI = -55 to 9 minutes/ 8-hour workday) and a correspondingincrease in workplace standing (12 minutes/ 8- hour workday; 90% CI = -42 to 61 minutes/ 8-hourworkday). There were no differences in the number of sit to stand transitions or sitting bouts ≥ 30 minutes in the workplace. Participants spent more time sitting in bouts ≥ 30 minutes at the innovative workplace (increase of 16 minutes/ 8-hour workday; 90% CI = -7 to 44 minutes/ 8-hour workday). None of these changes were statistically significant. Conclusions: This group of office workers did not significantly change their total workplace sitting time or how it was accumulated with the transition to the innovative workplace physical environment. The results of this preliminary investigation suggest that interventions include a multifaceted approach to complement physical environment changes in order to reduce prolonged sitting time.

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