You may have seen Australian Pain Society (APS) member Hayley Leake on the latest season of Australian Survivor, now showing on 10 and 10 play on demand. The APS team were lucky enough to speak to Hayley about her experiences – read on to learn more about her work and how she plans on using her experience as a pain researcher to outwit the competition.

Photo Credit: Nigel Wright

I’m a physiotherapist, completing my PhD with Professor Lorimer Moseley at the University of South Australia, investigating pain science education for adolescents. Recently I was awarded the Australian Pain Society/ Australian Pain Relief Association/Cops for Kids (APS/APRA/CFK) #4 Clinical Research Grant to further this research. I also work with Professor James McAuley’s research group at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), where we have recently completed the RESOLVE trial for people with chronic low back pain. 

I’m a long-time fan of Survivor, so having the chance to play was a dream come true. Researching and treating chronic pain helped me develop my strategic approach to playing Survivor. Pain is all about threat – biological, psychological, and social threat. We try to treat pain by altering or reducing the impact of these threats for an individual. This contemporary view of pain holds parallels to the game of Survivor where social manoeuvring is key. My strategy going into Survivor was to manipulate social threats – for example, by making myself seem less threatening, and others more threatening. Survivor is also known for having gruelling endurance challenges where I hoped that psychological, pain-reduction techniques could come in handy. 

You can catch Hayley on Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn on Sunday – Tuesday at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 play on demand. Hayley can be found on Twitter @HayleyLeake and is one of thousands of Australians joining the conversation about @Survivor_Au – don’t be afraid to join them!

About Australian Pain Society

The Australian Pain Society is a multidisciplinary body aiming to relieve pain and related suffering through leadership in clinical practice, education, research and public advocacy.

One response »

  1. […] mentioned your threat manipulation strategy in an earlier interview with the Society and clearly had some success with it. Did you need to deviate from your […]


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