Nicola Douglas-Smith

Accepting PhD Students


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


My main research interests are in the area of Health, Social and Environmental Psychology. In particular, I am interested in the health of older adults and how the environment can influence wellbeing, and more broadly the impact of engagement with nature for all groups. My PhD thesis focused on working with care home staff to explore their perspective of the physical environment of a specific dementia unit. The staff knowledge was then utilised to develop an environmental intervention (garden view) with the aim of reducing agitation in residents living with dementia. 

I have a keen interest in utilising creative methods in research. I am currently involved in both a photoelicitation and photovoice project. To further support my development in this area, I have been engaging with workshops for visual and creative methods supported by the BPS and the NRCM. 

Current research activities

My primary interest remains in projects that utilise a creative methods approach or that are focused on the wellbeing of older adults. 

  • Exploring the experiences of new teaching and learning workspaces. (Douglas-Smith, N., Simpson, A., Kaparounaki, K. & Sidhva, D.)

  • Can handedness and Vitamin D levels predict the development of dementia? (Hatin, D., Bakhshi, A., Douglas-Smith, N., Lithgow, H. & Macrae, R.) 

  • What is the meaning of work and retirement to women born in the UK during the 1950s? (Douglas-Smith, N. & Simpson, A.)

Desired research direction

I aim to further develop my research in terms of methods, with the adoption of novel and innovative techniques, and I am happy to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects utilsing these.

I also wish to explore older adults health and wellbeing further, both for people living in the community and in care homes. In terms of care home research I am also interested in how the physical environment can support care home staff, visitors, as well as the residents. Another area of interest that I am hoping to further explore is the benefits
 of exposure and engagement with nature for all groups. 

Target collaborative organisations


Care Home Providers

Local Authorities 


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