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Professor Catherine Hennessy

School of Nursing and Midwifery (Faculty of Health & Human Sciences)


Chair in Public Health and Ageing


Dr.P.H., Behavioral Sciences Program, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 1990

M.A., Anthropology, Certificate in Gerontological Studies, University of Florida, 1983

M.P.H., Gerontology Program, School of Public Health, University of Hawaii, 1980.

B.A., Anthropology (honours), University of Georgia, 1975

Professional membership

Fellow and member of the Gerontological Society of America
Member, British Society of Gerontology
Member, Association for Anthropology and Gerontology

Roles on external bodies

Visiting Professor, School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University
Editorial Board member, Journal of Occupational & Physical Therapy in Geriatrics, British Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies
Member, Economic and Social Research Council Peer Review College
Trustee, Plymouth Age Concern

Teaching interests

Research methods
Cultural aspects of health
Health and ageing

Research interests

Health promotion and disability prevention with older people; family caregiving; health and well-being of ethnic minority groups; long-term care service provision; the nursing home culture change movement; health-related quality of life; qualitative research methods, interdisciplinary research on ageing.

Selected publications

Blakely, G., Hennessy, C., Chung, M. and Skirton, H. (2012). “A Systematic Review of the Impact of Foreign Postings on Accompanying Spouses of Military Personnel.” Nursing and Health Sciences (accepted for publication).

 Smithson, J., Hennessy, C., and Means, R. (2012). “Online Interaction and ‘Real Information Flow’: Analysis of an Interdisciplinary Research Forum” Journal of Research Practice, 8(1).

Davies, M., Harries, P., Gilhooly, K., Gilhooly, M., Cairns, D., Notley, E., Penhale, B., Stanley, D., Gilbert, A., and Hennessy, C. (2011). 'Factors Used on the Detection of Elder Financial Abuse: A Judgement and Decision-Making Study of Social Workers and Their Managers.' International Journal of Social Work, 1-16.

Hennessy, C.H. and Walker, A. (2011). 'Promoting Multi-disciplinary and Inter-disciplinary Ageing Research in the United Kingdom.' Ageing and Society, 31(1):52-69.

Hennessy, C.H. (2010). 'Civic Engagement in Later Life and Lifelong Learning.' International Journal of Education & Ageing, 1(2): 153-156.

Hennessy, C.H. (2010). 'Aging and Place: Situating Lives and Care in the Community.' The Gerontologist, 50(4): 564-568.

Smith, J.E., Jenkin, A., and Hennessy, C. (2009). 'A Retrospective Chart Review of Elderly Patients Who Cannot Bear Weight Following a hip Injury But Whose Initial X-Rays are Normal.' Emergency Medicine Journal, 26:50-51.

Taylor, L.F., Whittington, F.J., Strasser, D.C., Hennessy, C.H., Miller, S.W. and Archea, C. (2006). ‘Gender Differences in Chemical Restraint Use in a Nursing Home: Patterns of Psychotropic Drug Prescribing.’ Journal of Aging and Pharmacotherapy, 13(2): 67-81.

Goins, T., John, R., Hennessy, C.H., and Buchwald, D. (2006). 'Determinants of Health-Related Quality of Life Among Older American Indians.' Journal of Applied Gerontology, 25, 1 (supplement): 73S-88S.

Walker, A., Hennessy, C.H. (2005). “Investigating Quality of Life in the Growing Older Programme.” In Walker, A. (ed.). Understanding Quality of Life in Old Age. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Walker, A., Hennessy, C.H. (editors). (2004). Growing Older: Extending Quality of Life. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Hennessy, C.H. (2004). “Conclusion.” In Walker, A. and Hennessy, C.H. (editors). Growing Older: Extending Quality of Life. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Hennessy, C.H. (2004). “Chronic Diseases of Aging.” In Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Health and Illness in the World’s Cultures. New York: Kluwer Academic Press.

John, R., Kerby, D., Hennessy, C.H. (2003). “Patterns and Impact of Comorbidity and Multimorbidity Among Community-resident American Indian Elders.” Gerontologist, 43, 5: 649-660.

Taylor, L.F., Whittington, F.J., Strasser, D.C., Hennessy, C.H., Miller, S.W., Archea, C. (2003). ‘Psychotropic Drug Use in a Nursing Home: A Six-Year Retrospective.’ Journal of Applied Gerontology, 22, 4.

Hennessy, C.H. and John, R. (2002). 'Elder Care in Pueblo Indian Families.' In Contemporary Ethnic Families in the United States: Characteristics, Variations, and Dynamics. Edited by N.V. Benokraitis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hennessy, C.H., Buchner, D., Jordan, J., Leveille, S., Shefer, A., and Stevens, J. (2001). “The Public Health Perspective in Health Promotion and Disability Prevention with Older Adults: The Role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Journal of Rural Health, 17, 4: 364-369.

John, R., Hennessy, C.H., Dyeson, T.B., Garrett, M.D. (2001). “Toward the Conceptualization and Measurement of Caregiver Burden Among Pueblo Indian Caregivers.” Gerontologist, 41, 2: 210-219.

Hennessy, C.H., John, R., and Anderson, L. (1999). 'Diabetes Education Needs of Family Members Caring for American Indian Elders.' The Diabetes Educator, 25, 5: 747-754.

Sharon, B., Hennessy, C.H., Brandon, J.L., and Boyette, L. (1997). “Older Adults’ Experiences of a Strength Training Program.” Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, 1, 2.

Hennessy, C.H., Moriarty, D., Zack, M., Scherr, P., and Brackbill, R. (1994). “Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life for Public Health Surveillance.” Public Health Reports, 109, 5:665-672.

Hennessy, C.H. (1989). “Culture in the Use, Care, and Control of the Aging Body.” Journal of Aging Studies, 3, 1:39-54.

Reports & invited lectures


Hennessy, C.H. and Giarchi, G.G. The Cultural Third Age: Understanding the Impact of Demographic Ageing on South West England's Cultural Sector. Taunton: Culture South West, 2006.

Hennessy, C.H. and Beckles, G.L.A. “The Older Years.” Pp. 147-167 in Diabetes and Women’s Health Across the Life Stages: A Public Health Perspective. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2001.

Hennessy, C.H., John, R., and Roy, L. Long-Term Care Service Needs of American Indian Elders: The Indian Health Service Santa Fe Service Unit. (86 pages). Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1999.

Shen, J., Takeda, S., and Hennessy, C.H. On Lok's Risk-Based CCODA (Community Care Organization for Dependent Adults): The Impact of Prospective Capitation on Comprehensive Care to the Elderly. San Francisco: On Lok Senior Health Services, 1985.

Invited lectures:

'Civic Participation among Rural Older Adults: Findings from the Grey and Pleasant Land Project.' Presentation at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, National University of Ireland, Galway, May 2013. 

'Ageing in Today’s Society: Elderly Care, Nursing Homes and Age-Related Challenges.' Presented at the Nohr-Con conference “Nursing Homes of the Future”, Copenhagen , Denmark, November 2012.

'Older People’s Participation in Rural Community Life: Barriers and Facilitators to Active Ageing.' Presented at the Peninsula Public Health Network event 'So You Think You Know About Ageing?', Torquay, January 2012.

'Doing Interdisciplinarity: An Example from Ageing Research.' Keynote presentation at the Vice-Chancellor's Research and Innovation Conference, University of Plymouth, March 2011.

'Doing Multidisciplinary Research.' Presented at the FLARE (Future Leaders of Ageing) Summer School, Varna, Bulgaria, September 2010.

'The Potential of Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Health and Social Care Research.' Presented at the ERA-AGE (European Research Area on Ageing) Workshop on Health and Social Care, Bucharest, Romania, June 2006.

“Interdisciplinary Research Priorities in Public Health Gerontology.” Presented at the First Annual Conference of NHS West of Scotland Research and Development, Glasgow, October 2003.

“The Compression of Morbidity: A Gerontological Fantasy?” Presented at the Second Annual Meeting of BSGScotland, University of Stirling, June 2003.

“Adding Value Through Multidisciplinary Approaches to Research: The Perspective of the Research Councils.” Presented at the First Annual Meeting of the Scottish Dementia Network. Dundee, June 2002.

“The National Collaboration on Ageing Research, ESRC Growing Older Programme and the EQUAL Programme.” Presented at the conference to launch BSGScotland, Glasgow Caledonian University, June 2002.

'Long-Term Care Needs and Family Caregiving in an American Indian Population.' Presented at the Centre for Research into Nursing and Health Care, University of South Australia, Adelaide, February 2001.

Additional information

Recent Previous Posts:
Lecturer in Qualitative Research, Trent Institute for Health Services Research, University of Sheffield, 2004-2005.

Deputy Director, ESRC Growing Older Programme and the UK National Collaboration on Ageing Research, University of Sheffield, 2001-2004 (see weblink below).

Epidemiologist, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta Georgia, 1991-2001.