Through work initially as a clinical psychologist, my central interest is in the part social connections (within families, neighbourhoods, communities and cultures) play in building capacities to avoid and adapt to threats to mental wellbeing. While most of my work in this area has focused on addiction, I am still active in mental health research.



This book explores the special moments, big and small, that rupture the surface of everyday life and that can help readers adjust to the disrupting effects of major life crises. Peter Adams delves into the two forces, finitude (the aspects that constrain a person to a situation) and transcendence (those aspects that enable movement beyond such constraints). Building on this framework, Adams looks at the processes and circumstances that both facilitate and block the tensions between finitude and transcendence in life challenges such as separation, depression, chronic illness, injury, violence, addiction, aging, death, and forgiveness. Read more

  • [ARTICLE]  Romalho R, Groot S, Adams P. (2022). Community mental health care in Aotearoa New Zealand: Past, present, and the road ahead. Consortium Psychiatricum 3(4), 53-62. Read more
  • [ARTICLE]  Schneller, A., K. Thom. P. Adams P. (2018) Towards changing compulsory community mental health treatment in New Zealand: Shining light on how community treatment orders are produced. Laws, 7(3), 30; Read more.
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J. (2017) Oscillating imbalances: Responding to the existential in major life transitions. Journal of Social Work Practice, 31(3): 323-36. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Adams, P.J. (2016) Responding to the existentials of non-life-threatening chronic conditions. Medical Hypotheses, 93, 48–52. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Liggins, J, Kearns, R., Adams, P.J. Using autoethnography to reclaim the ‘place of healing’ in mental health careSocial Science & Medicine, 91, 105-109. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Bennett, S. Coggan, C. Adams, P. (2003) Problematising depression: young people, mental health and suicidal behaviours. Social Science and Medicine, 57: 289-299.  Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Bennett S, Coggan C, Hooper R, Lovell C, Adams P. (2002) Presentations by youth to Auckland Emergency departments following a suicide attempt. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 11:144-153. Read more
  • [ARTICLE] Bennett S, Coggan C, Adams P. (2002) Young peoples pathways to wellbeing Following a suicide attempt. International Journal of Health promotion, 4(3): 25-32.  Read more
  • [CHAPTER] Adams, P.J. (1997) Men. Chapter 9 in P.M. Ellis & S.C.D. Collings (eds.) Mental Health in New Zealand from a Public Health Perspective. (pp213-242). Public Health Report No. 3. Public Health Group, Wellington: Ministry of Health. Read more(PDF)
  • [ARTICLE] Hector Taylor, L. & Adams, P.J. (1996) State versus trait loneliness in the elderlyPsychological Reports, 78, 1329-1330.
  • [ARTICLE] Aburn, G., Hoare, K., Adams, P., Gott, M. (2020) Connecting theory with practice: Time to explore social reality and rethink resilience among health professionals. International Journal of Nursing Practice. 26(6) e12893. Read more
Peter J. Adams when first working as a psychologist in 1980 at Carrington Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Auckland


  • [OP-ED] Peter Adams, How to make good on a mental health promise. Newsroom, June 14, 2019. (Comment on leadership and governance following the recommendations of the mental health inquiry.) Link
  • [OP-ED] Peter Adams, Don’t confuse mental health with addiction. NZ Herald, March 12, 2018. (Comment in the lead up to the national Mental Health Inquiry. Link
  • Decision short-sighted. The University of Auckland News, October 25, 2012. (Discussion of the mental health implications of Government intentions to phase out counselling for couples on the verge of or undergoing marital separations.) Read more


  • Involved in practice and research in the areas of addictions and problem gambling (see gambling research).
Teaching two postgraduate courses with content relating to gambling:

  • POPLHLTH 737 Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Studies. (Semester 1) Provides an introduction and overview to studies on alcohol and other drugs. Incorporates theory and research developed within public health, mental health, and specialised treatment frameworks.
  • POPLHLTH 774 Addictive Consumptions and Public Health. (Semester 2) Focuses on the extensive health impacts of addictive consumptions, particularly in relation to the legalised consumptions of tobacco, alcohol and gambling. Outlines applications of public health principles to reducing harm from these consumptions.