Dr Cath Quinn

Dr Cath Quinn

Senior Research Fellow

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)

Dr Cath Quinn can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Health inequalities
  • Health services
  • Mental health
  • Primary care
  • Public health
  • Offender health
  • Socially marginalised groups
  • Appreciative inquiry
  • Discourse analysis
  • Framework analysis
  • Grounded theory
  • Mixed-methods


Cath Quinn (Weyer Brown) is a qualitative researcher who has developed in interest in mixed methods working, particularly within realistic evaluation frameworks. Cath's research has focused on the mental health of socially marginalised groups, particularly offenders. She co-leads the Offender Health work stream with Professor Richard Byng. Cath has become increasingly interested in promoting mental and emotional wellbeing, rather than 'treating' mental illness, particularly how this might be enacted for socially deprived populations.

Cath joined the Primary Care department in 2008, having previously worked in research positions in Exeter and Plymouth Universities and the NHS, and she began her career in the history of psychiatry.



PhD                Medical History                                Exeter University                 2004

 “Include the Mother and Exclude the Lunatic, a social history of puerperal insanity, 1860-1922” was based on extensive qualitative and quantitative research in asylum archives. The study interrogated the role of the disease within a society in which motherhood was becoming increasingly regulated.


M.A.               Cultural History        Distinction     Manchester University         1998

 “Representations of Puerperal Insanity in England and Scotland. 1850-1900” examined the images of the disease in medical journals and photography, and analysed the similarities and contrasts between them within the context of the developing psychiatric profession.


B.A. Hons.    Politics and              First              Manchester University         1997   

                       Modern History

 “The Manchester Lunatic Hospital and Asylum, 1769-1849” examined the prevailing spirit of ‘philanthropy over psychiatry’ in this institution, the first outside London.

Previous roles:

11/2004 –


Project Manager

Specialised Services Commissioning, Exeter Primary Care Trust


Developed and co-ordinated a series of depth-interviews with people living with Multiple Sclerosis and care staff. Produced reports that made recommendations for service development and skills training in terms of Government targets.



Research Analyst

Dr Kate Fisher – Oral History Researcher

Analysed interviews on experiences of intercourse and contraception. Produced report for funding body on progress against original project aims.


10/2003 – 09/2004

Research Fellow

Centre for Medical History, Exeter University

Developed and conducted a series of depth interviews about birth experiences. Produced a report recommending areas for further study.


10/2000 – 09/2003


History Department, Exeter University

Taught undergraduates research skills, including quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

Professional membership

Member of Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) since 2009.

Member of British Sociological Association (BSA) since 2012.

Roles on external bodies

Member of scientific panel for SWSAPC conference (2012) and reviewer for this and submissions to SAPC Annual Conference (2012-2015).

NIHR reviewer, for reports and funding applications; Offender Health and qualitative methods.


Teaching interests

PhD Supervisor, Alexandors Georgiadis, (2nd with Professor Richard Byng and Professor Ross Coomber. 'Offenders with common mental health problems: a multidimensional and multi-perspective study'. PenCLAHRC studentship. 2012–15.

PUPSMD: Research in Action SSU on Health Inequalities.

I am happy to discuss supervising:

  • Qualitative research
  • Offender Health research
  • Mental Health and/or Wellbeing research
  • Social Inequalities research


Research interests

Areas of research interest

  • Mental health and Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
  • Socially marginalised groups, particularly offenders
  • Qualitative research methods, particularly combining within case and cross case analysis
  • Process Evaluations, particularly their role in intervention development and their place in mixed methods teams
  • The involvement of people with lived experience of conditions in research

Current research projects:

  • Engager 2: Developing and evaluating a collaborative care intervention for prisoners, with common mental health problems, near to and after release; applicant and work stream 1 lead, 2013-2018.


Completed research projects:

  • Engaging offenders with common mental health problems (ENGAGER); Study co-ordinator, Research Fellow, applicant. 2010–12. http://clahrc-peninsula.nihr.ac.uk/project/55-engager.php
  • A research evaluation of the South West Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme; Lead for persons with lived experience, applicant. 2009–12.
  • Improving community health networks for people with severe mental illness: a case study investigation; Qualitative researcher. 2011–13. 

Grants & contracts


Co-Applicant and work stream 1 lead: Engager 2: Developing and Evaluating a collaborative care intervention for prisoners, with common mental health problems, near to and after release. NIHR Programme Grant. 2013–18 (£2M).

Co-Applicant: Engaging Offenders with Common Mental Health Problems. NIHR Programme Development Grant. 2010–11. (£100K).

Co-Applicant: A research evaluation of the south west Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme. NHS Southwest. 2009–12. (£300K).

Principal Applicant: Economic and Social Research Council, Social Science Awareness Week – Grant to facilitate and lead workshops and focus groups. June 2004. (£500).

Grant Holder: ESRC ‘Include the Mother and Exclude the Lunatic a Social History of Puerperal Insanity’ PhD award. 1999–2003.

Grant Holder: AHRB ‘Cultural Representations of puerperal insanity’. MA award. 1997–98.

Trout History Prize (BA Dissertation), Manchester University. 1997.



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

McCusker C, Quinn C, Smyth B, Irwin M, McCavert M-E, Raleigh N & McCrudden E (2024) '‘Family first’ – feasibility and pilot outcomes of a community intervention for families of children in recovery following brain injury' Brain Injury 1-9 , DOI
Wheat H (2023) 'Practitioners’ Ability to Remotely Develop Understanding for Personalised Care and Support Planning: a Thematic Analysis of Multiple Data Sources from the Feasibility Phase of the Dementia PersonAlised Care Team (D-PACT) Intervention' Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice , DOI Open access
Wheat H, Weston L, Oh TM, Morgan-Trimmer S, Ingram W, Griffiths S, Sheaff R, Clarkson P, Medina-Lara A & Musicha C (2023) 'Longitudinal realist evaluation of the dementia PersonAlised care team (D-PACT) intervention: protocol' BJGP Open , DOI Open access
Byng R, Lennox C, Kirkpatrick T, Quinn C, Anderson R, Brand SL, Callaghan L, Carroll L, Durcan G & Gill L (2022) 'Development and evaluation of a collaborative care intervention for male prison leavers with mental health problems: the Engager research programme' Programme Grants for Applied Research 10, (8) 1-46 , DOI Open access
Byng R, Kirkpatrick T, Lennox C, Warren FC, Anderson R, Brand SL, Callaghan L, Carroll L, Durcan G & Gill L (2022) 'Evaluation of a complex intervention for prisoners with common mental health problems, near to and after release: the Engager randomised controlled trial' The British Journal of Psychiatry 1-9 , DOI Open access
Weston L, Rybczynska-Bunt S, Quinn C, Lennox C, Maguire M, Pearson M, Stirzaker A, Durcan G, Stevenson C & Graham J (2022) 'Interrogating intervention delivery and participants’ emotional states to improve engagement and implementation: A realist informed multiple case study evaluation of Engager' PLoS ONE 17, (7) , DOI Open access
Lennox C, Leonard S, Senior J, Hendricks C, Rybczynska-Bunt S, Quinn C, Byng R & Shaw J (2022) 'Conducting Randomized Controlled Trials of Complex Interventions in Prisons: A Sisyphean Task?' Frontiers in Psychiatry 13, , DOI Open access
McGrath J, Cawley B, McTiernan D, Marques L, Goncerz E, Heron EA, Madden J, Bond L, Quinn C & Mulholland K (2022) 'Service user satisfaction with care in a specialist service for young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder' Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine 1-8 , DOI
Griffiths S, Weston L, Morgan-Trimmer S, Wheat H, Gude A, Manger L, Oh TM, Clarkson P, Quinn C & Sheaff R (2022) 'Engaging Stakeholders in Realist Programme Theory Building: Insights from the Prospective Phase of a Primary Care Dementia Support Study' International Journal of Qualitative Methods 21, 160940692210775-160940692210775 , DOI Open access
Rybczynska-Bunt S, Weston L, Byng R, Stirzaker A, Lennox C, Pearson M, Brand S, Maguire M, Durcan G & Graham J (2021) 'Clarifying realist analytic and interdisciplinary consensus processes in a complex health intervention: A worked example of Judgemental Rationality in action' Evaluation 27, (4) 473-491 , DOI Open access
Lennox C, Stevenson R, Owens C, Byng R, Brand SL, Maguire M, Durcan G, Stevenson C, Shaw J & Quinn C (2021) 'Using multiple case studies of health and justice services to inform the development of a new complex intervention for prison-leavers with common mental health problems (Engager)' Health and Justice 9, (1) , DOI Open access
Griffiths S, Manger L, Chapman R, Weston L, Sherriff I, Quinn C, Clarkson P, Sutcliffe C, Davies K & Byng R (2020) 'Letter on “Protection by exclusion? The (lack of) inclusion of adults who lack capacity to consent to research in clinical trials in the UK”' Trials 21, (1) , DOI Open access
Callaghan L, Thompson TP, Creanor E, Quinn C, Senior J, Green C, Byng R, Wallace G, Sinclair J & Kane A (2019) 'Individual Health Trainers to support health and wellbeing for people under community supervision in the criminal justice system: the STRENGTHEN pilot RCT' Public Health Research , DOI Open access
Kay EJ, Quinn C, Gude A, Taylor A & Erwin J (2019) 'A qualitative exploration of promoting oral health for infants in vulnerable families' British Dental Journal 227, (2) 137-142 , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Kay E, Plessas A, Burns L, Quinn C, Brennan N & White S (2019) 'Barriers and enablers to accessing dental services for people experiencing homelessness: A systematic review' Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology Author Site , DOI Open access
Brand SL, Quinn C, Pearson M, Lennox C, Owens C, Kirkpatrick T, Callaghan L, Stirzaker A, Michie S & Maguire M (2018) 'Building programme theory to develop more adaptable and scalable complex interventions: Realist formative process evaluation prior to full trial' Evaluation , DOI Open access
Quinn C, Byng R, Shenton D, Smart CA, Mitchie S, Stewart A, Taylor R, Maguire M, Harris T & Shaw J (2018) 'The feasibility of following up prisoners, with mental health problems, after release: A pilot trial employing an innovative system, for engagement and retention in research, with a harder to engage population' Trials , DOI Open access
Owens C, Carter M, Shenton D, Byng R & Quinn C (2018) 'Engaging Without Exposing: Use of a Fictional Character to Facilitate Mental Health Talk in Focus Groups With Men Who Have Been Subject to the Criminal Justice System' Qualitative Health Research 28, (13) 2102-2114 , DOI Open access
Taylor C, Gill L, Gibson A, Byng R & Quinn C (2018) 'Engaging "seldom heard" groups in research and intervention development: Offender mental health' Health Expectations Author Site , DOI Open access
Thompson TP, Callaghan L, Hazeldine E, Quinn C, Walker S, Byng R, Wallace G, Creanor S, Green C & Hawton A (2018) 'Health trainer-led motivational intervention plus usual care for people under community supervision compared with usual care alone: a study protocol for a parallel-group pilot randomised controlled trial (STRENGTHEN)' BMJ Open 8, (6) e023123-e023123 , DOI Open access
Bernardes Delgado M, Burns L, Quinn C, Moles D & Kay E (2018) 'Oral Care of Palliative Care Patients - Carers' and Relatives' Experiences. A Qualitative Study' British Dental Journal , DOI Open access
Annison J, Byng R & Quinn C (2018) 'Women offenders: Promoting a holistic approach and continuity of care across criminal justice and health interventions' Criminology and Criminal Justice , DOI Open access
Kirkpatrick T, Lennox C, Taylor R, Anderson R, Maguire M, Haddad M, Michie S, Owens C, Durcan G & Stirzaker A (2018) 'Evaluation of a complex intervention (Engager) for prisoners with common mental health problems, near to and after release: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial' BMJ Open 8, (2) e017931-e017931 Author Site , DOI Open access
Quinn C, Denman K, Smithson P, Owens C, Sheaff WR, Campbell J, Porter I, Annison J & Byng R (2018) 'General practitioner contributions to achieving sustained healthcare for offenders: a qualitative study' BMC Family Practice 19, Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Lennox C, Kirkpatrick T, Taylor RS, Todd R, Greenwood C, Haddad M, Stevenson C, Stewart A, Shenton D & Carroll L (2017) 'Pilot randomised controlled trial of the ENGAGER collaborative care intervention for prisoners with common mental health problems, near to and after release' Pilot and Feasibility Studies 4, (1) , DOI Open access
Georgiadis A, Byng R, Coomber R & Quinn C (2016) 'The social, relational and mental health characteristics of justice-involved men in the south-west England' The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 27, (6) 835-852 , DOI Open access
White A, Tough L, Eyre V, Vickery J, Asprey A, Quinn C, Warren F, Pritchard C, Foster NE & Taylor RS (2016) 'Western medical acupuncture in a group setting for knee osteoarthritis: results of a pilot randomised controlled trial' Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2, (1) , DOI Open access
Marshall D, Quinn C, Child S, Shenton D, Pooler J, Forber S & Byng R (2015) 'What IAPT services can learn from those who do not attend' Journal of Mental Health , DOI
Pearson M, Brand SL, Quinn C, Shaw J, Maguire M, Michie S, Briscoe S, Lennox C, Stirzaker A & Kirkpatrick T (2015) 'Using realist review to inform intervention development: methodological illustration and conceptual platform for collaborative care in offender mental health' Implementation Science 10, (1) , DOI Open access
Pinfold V, Sweet D, Porter I, Weyer-Brown C, Byng R & Griffiths C (2015) 'Improving community health networks for people with severe mental illness: a case study investigation' Health Services and Delivery Research 3, (5) , DOI Open access
Zahra D, Qureshi AW, Henley W, Taylor R, Byng R, Quinn C, Pooler J, Hardy G & Newbold A (2013) 'The Work and Social Adjustment Scale: Reliability, Sensitivity, and Value' International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice Publisher Site
Weyer-Brown C 'Images and impulses: representations of puerperal insanity and infanticide in late Victorian England' Mark Jackson Ed., Infanticide. Historical perspectives on child murder and concealment, 1550-2000, 2002; 193-215
Conference Papers
Quinn C, Porter I, Pinfold V & Byng R (2016) 'Retaining Cross-Case Generalisability and Within-Case Specificity: A Methodological Exploration'
Quinn C, Brand S, Owens C & Byng R (2016) 'Synthesizing Multiple Qualitative Data Sets and Refining the Results in Complex Settings: Power and Paradigms'
Byng R, Quinn C & Sheaff R (2014) 'A new causal model of access and continuity for marginalised groups'
Qureshi AW, Byng R, Newbold A, Zahra D, Pooler J, Hardy G, Forber S, Weyer-Brown C, Taylor R & Henley W (2012) 'Variations in access to therapy for depression and anxiety with the new Improving Access to Psychological Therapy Services' South West Society for Academic Primary Care Torquay 3-/-0/20123-/-0/2012
Byng R, Newbold A, Qureshi A, Hardy G, Forber S, Pooler J, Zahra D, Weyer-Brown C, Taylor R & Henley W (2011) The South West Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Evaluation Study. Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Quinn C (2006) Listening to Voices and Making them Count! Exeter PCT, Specialised Services Commissioning.
Byng R, Quinn C, Sheaff R, Samele C, Duggan S, Harrison D, Owens C, Smithson P, Wright C & Annison J COCOA: Care for Offenders, Continuity of Access. Final Report.
Weyer-Brown C, Byng R, O'Sullivan S, Harvey M & Barnaby C Women Vulnerable to Offending, Plymouth: Access and Barriers to Services. Devon & Cornwall Probation, Boosting Community Sentences Project.
Presentations and posters
Chapman R, Griffiths S, Manger L, Sherriff I, Creanor S, Quinn C, Mann V & Byng R Chapman R, Griffiths S, Manger L, Sherriff I, Creanor S, Quinn C, Mann V & Byng R 'How do we optimise approach and recruitment strategies for inclusion of people with dementia in primary care clinical trials?' Author Site