• Harriet Mowat Mowat Research Co. Ltd.
  • Claire Wilson
  • Geoff Lachlan
  • William Gray
  • Alastair Gray
  • Ellen Faubert
  • Liz Adams
  • Stuart Coates
  • Suzanne Bunniss



healthcare chaplaincy, participatory research, gerontology, methods, case study


This article focuses on both methods and outcomes of a piece of participatory research. The intention was to combine an educational experience with the production of useful research. Here we see that a group approach to research might serve chaplaincy well. The combination of perspectives and skills is greater than the parts. This article shows that reflection and discussion can produce “new horizons”. We have used the gadamerian stages of the hermeneutic cycle as headings for the presentation of the data. We have also identified the findings before showing the workings. This deviates from the standard presentation of research but we think that it allows the research story and the workings to be exposed more helpfully. Our conclusions show that adapta-tion both internally and externally are required in old age and a major task for chaplaincy is to help in the adaptive process through focussing on the underlying meaning to a life’s experience.

Author Biography

Harriet Mowat, Mowat Research Co. Ltd.

Harriet Mowat is Director of Mowat Research and Chair of the National Healthcare Chaplains Re-search Committee. 52 Richmondhill Place, Aber-deen AB15 5 EP


BALTES PB & BALTES M M 1990 Psychological perspectives on successful ageing: the model of selective optimization with compensation in BALTES PB & BALTES MM (Eds) Successful Aging: Perspectives from the Behavioural Sciences The European Science Foundation, University of Cambridge Cambridge 1-34

GADAMER H-G 1975 Truth and Method, New York Continuum

GEERTZ C 1973 Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays New York: Basic Books 3-30.

GERKIN CV 1989 The Living Human Document: revisioning pastoral counseling in a hermeneutical Mode Abingdon Press Nashville

GLEASON J & HEFFEMAN F 2010 The ideal intervention project

JEWELL A (ed) 2004 Ageing, Spirituality and Well being Jessica Kingsley Publications London and New York

KILLINGER J 2005 Winter Soulstice : celebrating the spirituality of the wisdom years The Cross Road Publishing Company NY

MACKINLAY E (ed) 2008 Ageing Disability and Spirituality: addressing the challenge of disability in later life Jessica Kingsley Publishers.London and New York

MACKINLAY E, ELLOR J & PICKARD S 2001 Aging, Spirituality and Pastoral Care: a multi national persepective Haworth Pastoral Press NY

MOWAT H 2008 The potential for efficacy of healthcare chaplaincy and spiritual care provision in the NHS (UK) A scoping review of recent research. Commissioned by NHS (UK) Yorkshire and the Humber. Available from

MOWAT H 2007 Gerontological chaplaincy: the spiritual needs of older people and staff who work with them. Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy 10 (1)

OSMER R 2008 Practical Theology and introduction William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge, UK

REID G 2009 Ageing and Spirituality: Reviewing the state of current research The Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality

SADLER E & BIGGS S 2006 Exploring the links between spirituality and “successful ageing”. Journal of Social Work Practice 20 3 267-280

SWINTON J & MOWAT H 2006 Practical theology and qualitative research SCM Press Division of Canterbury Press

WHITE G 2006 Talking about spirituality in healthcare practice: a resource for the multi professional health care team Jessica Kingsley London.

WOLFE D 2007 Jung?s 7 tasks of ageing.

WOODWARD J 2008 Valuing Age: Pastoral Ministry with Older People SPCK London



How to Cite

Mowat, H., Wilson, C., Lachlan, G., Gray, W., Gray, A., Faubert, E., Adams, L., Coates, S., & Bunniss, S. (2013). THE SPIRITUAL CARE OF OLDER PEOPLE: THE REPORT OF A GROUP RE-SEARCH STUDY. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, 13(1), 3–11.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>