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

Life Satisfaction Across Life Span

What increases our life satisfaction?

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 invite individuals who are at least 60 years old and living in the community in Australia to complete our survey. The survey should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. 

Complete the survey

Integrating Community and Family Aged Care for Australians from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

Do you have a family member aged 65+ living at home in Australia and from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds?

Researchers from the University of Queensland and Swinburne University of Technology are inviting participants for the Australian Research Council funded research project, which aims to support older Australians from CALD backgrounds to age well at home and in their communities.

The research team is looking for family carers who support older CALD family members. Participants will be provided with a $30 Coles gift card as a token of appreciation for their participation in the study.

To participate or learn more about the project, contact Dr Kumchong Lee at or complete this form.

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

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

This study examined if the number of psychologists working primarily with older adults has increased over time, and the extent to which such patterns or work were associated with clinical placement experiences and barriers and facilitators to working with older adults.

An online survey was distributed to members of professional psychology organisations in Australia. We found a significant increase in the proportion of clients over 65 seen by psychologists in their current roles, compared to previous surveys of psychologists specialising in services to older adults.

We also found a highly significant increase in the number of psychologists who had had clinical exposure to older adults via their postgraduate clinical placements. Suggested factors for improving access to older adult clients were training opportunities such as specialist qualifications in geropsychology. Remuneration and placement opportunities within aged care also appeared to be influence the decision to work with older adults.

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.

This study examined if self-efficacy moderated the relationships between negative life events, hassles and life satisfaction in older adults. The involved 176 older adults aged 60+ completing online questionnaires.

Two moderation models were tested, controlling for gender, socioeconomic and health status. The relationship between negative life event and life satisfaction was stronger for individuals with lower self-efficacy.

There was no evidence that self-efficacy moderated the relationship between hassles and life satisfaction. The study found that self-efficacy is important for life satisfaction in context of negative life events. Interventions for improving self-efficacy are needed to enhance resilience in older Australians.

Despite facing various life stressors, older adults appear report having high levels of life satisfaction. This research aimed to identify the most important predictors of life satisfaction for older adults.

Participants (N = 161, mean age = 73.03, SD 9.08) completed online measures of life satisfaction, loneliness, social isolation, autonomy, self-efficacy and meaning in life. Hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to relationships between these predictors and life satisfaction, above and beyond economic, physical and demographic variables.

Social isolation, autonomy and self-efficacy were the most important predictors of life satisfaction for older adults. Such findings suggest a role for these factors in clinical practice for supporting life satisfaction in late life.

This research examined domains of life important for life satisfaction across the life span. The sample comprised 495 adults who were 18 years or older (mean age = 49.92 years, SD = 20.30, range = 18-96 years).

Participants rated their satisfaction in various life domains. The association between these ratings and overall life satisfaction was examined. Age significantly moderated the relationship between domains and life satisfaction.

The relationship between the following domains and life satisfaction was stronger with age: physical material wellbeing, personal development and fulfillment, relationships with others, recreation, and community participation.

These findings suggest that these domains become more important for life satisfaction as we get older.

Get in contact

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

Contact us