PhD Researcher

The title of my PhD is Understanding and Improving the Mental Well-being of Older Adults in Residential Care

My background

I have a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Reading and an MSc in Psychiatry from Cardiff University. I have worked in residential care supporting younger adults with learning disabilities and mental health disorders. I have also worked in primary and secondary education (Welsh medium and English medium) supporting pupils with ASD, learning difficulties and learning disabilities. My most recent role has involved supporting university students with mental health issues.

My research

In July 2016 I started a PhD at the Centre for Innovative Ageing. The research is funded by the Healthcare Management Trust and  uses a mixed methods design to develop a better understanding and a more detailed view of well-being for older adults in residential care in Wales; to explore ways to improve and maintain older adult’s well-being and quality of life, and to offer recommendations for best practice in assessing and maintaining well-being and improving the mental health and well-being of older adults in residential care.

The first, quantitative stage of the research used a standardised well-being scale - the Mental Health Continuum Short Form - to measure the mental well-being of 141 older adults living in 22 care homes.

The results from the first stage were then used to inform and develop the interview questions for the second, qualitative stage of the study, which involved semi-structured interviews with 20 care home residents. These will be analysed using Thematic Analysis

Preliminary Findings
  • The majority or participants were women (71%).
  • The mean age of participants was 86.
  • Participants scored lower on questions about society, responsibilities, and meaningful experiences.
  • The Mental Health Continuum Short Form categorises participants as ‘Languishing’, ‘Moderately mentally healthy’, or ‘Flourishing’.
    • Participants categorised as ‘languishing’ had a lower mean age (77).
    • Participant mean age for the ‘Moderately mentally healthy category’ and the ‘Flourishing’ category was 87.


Dr Charles Musselwhite, Dr Michael Coffey


Picture of Caitlin Reid