The clinic conducts research on various topics related to mental health and older adults. Our research is supported by industry contracts, government grants, scholarships and philanthropy funding.

Current research

Improving Communication of Dementia Diagnoses Study

Have you received a dementia diagnosis or ever cared for someone who has?

The Improving Communication of Dementia Diagnoses (ICODD) study wants to hear from you! Sharing your experiences, both good and bad, can help improve the way dementia diagnoses are communicated. Just four questions and 15 minutes is all it takes to contribute to this important study.

Complete the survey

Survey on Delivery of Psychological Services to Older Adults

Calling all registered psychologists.

We invite you to complete a 15–20-minute anonymous online survey investigating psychological services to older adults. The aim is to better understand factors that may influence service delivery to this growing population.

This research has implications for psychological wellbeing for older adults, as well as preparing psychologists to meet the future mental health needs of this group.


  • Dr Deborah Koder, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Noemi D’Aversa, Honours candidate, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Dr Monica Cations, Flinders University
  • Professor Sunil Bhar, Swinburne University of Technology

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at Swinburne University of Technology (approval no. 20236847-16168). Your participation is entirely voluntary.

Find out more

Life Satisfaction Across Life Span

What increases our life satisfaction?

Are diet, health and money important to satisfaction in older adults or are relationships, purpose, autonomy and attitudes? Our researchers are interested to find out which psychological attributes (e.g. attitudes, beliefs, social connections) are most important in predicting and maintaining life satisfaction across the life span.

We are also interested in whether these attributes help us remain satisfied with life despite experiencing stressful life events. We invite individuals who are at least 60 years old and living in the community (not residential care) in Australia to complete our survey. The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey

Breaking Down Barriers

Exploring beliefs and help seeking in older adults

It is common for older adults to experience depression and anxiety symptoms as life circumstances change with age. Many of us face barriers in receiving suitable mental health support. We want to hear about your experiences. 

Our researchers are interested to find out what factors impact on your willingness to seek support and whether certain beliefs might encourage or discourage you from seeking help.

We invite individuals who are at least 60 years old and living in the community (not residential care) in Australia to complete our online survey.

After completing the survey, you may be invited to an interview to further explore your beliefs about mental health issues and the barriers you face when seeking support. You can choose to accept or reject the invitation.

Find out more

Elders AT Ease program (ELATE)

Delivering a blue print for mental health services in residential aged care

By 2031, 25 per cent of Australians will be aged 65 or older. Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders, are prevalent in this age group, particularly for those living in residential aged care settings.

We are not prepared for addressing the high prevalence of mental health conditions amongst those living in residential aged care. 

Currently, there are inadequate systems for identifying, assessing and treating residents living with poor mental health conditions. There are very few psychologists, social workers and counsellors who are trained to deliver specialist mental health treatments to this population of our elders.

The ELATE program examines the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and reminiscence techniques for reducing depression, anxiety and suicide ideation in residential aged care settings. Funded by the National Medical and Research Council, this study involves more than 50 residential aged care facilities in Victoria.

The program involves a systemic treatment approach involving residents, their family members and facility staff. Postgraduate students provide one to one psychological services to residents. In addition, family members and facility staff are upskilled and supported to better identify and manage depression and anxiety symptoms in residents.

The study provides an immediate accessible service to residents. It addresses the need to improve the training of aged care staff in recognising and responding to mental health care needs of the resident. It also addresses the need to involve families in meaningful ways to assist their relatives living in residential care.

This study will help us understand the health, personal and economic outcomes of CBT and reminiscence therapy for our elders living in residential aged care settings, and will provide a blueprint for a mental health service delivery within such settings.

Chief Investigators

  • Professor Sunil Bhar, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Doctor Tanya Davison, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Professor Penelope Schofield, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Doctor Stephen Quinn, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Professor Julie Ratcliffe, Flinders University

Research team

  • Dr Joanna Waloszek, Research Fellow PhD, Research Project Manager (on maternity leave)
  • Ms Sofie Dunkerley, Project Manager
  • Rebecca Collins, Coordinator, External Relations
  • Mark Silver, Social Worker, Treatment Coordinator (Counselling services)
  • Deborah Koder, Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Research Supervisor
  • Jenny Linossier, Treatment Coordinator (Staff and family services)

If you have any questions, please contact our team at

If you would like to complete a supervised student placement with us on this project, please contact Mark Silver at

Past research

Ageism has been associated with negative physical and psychological consequences for older adults, including the lack of acceptance of physical appearance. Research focusing on the association between ageism and body image within older adults has been limited.

The aim of the current study was to expand the current literature focusing on body image within older adults, specifically to understand how older adults’ subjective ageism impacts their body image. An online survey was conducted with a sample of 55 older adults responding to a series of questionnaires, including BAS-2, BAPQ and the health-related changes questionnaire.

A correlation analysis found that higher subjective ageism was associated with lower body appreciation. The findings from a hierarchical regression analysis found that poor physical health was the strongest predictor for low body image within older adults, and that subjective ageism does not significantly explain any variance in body image for older adults when physical health is included.

The findings highlight that more research is needed to understand the relationship between subjective ageism and body image within older adults, particularly the potential effects that physical health may have on the body image of older adults.

Get in contact

For research-related enquiries, please contact Professor Sunil Bhar on +61 3 9214 8371 or at

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