Dr Mary Larkin

Job: Principal lecturer and Programme leader

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort, University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 257 7985

E: mlarkin@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/hls


Personal profile

Mary Larkin is a Principal Lecturer in Health and Social Care in the Division of Social Work and Health Studies. Since completing her PhD on the post-caring experience in 2006, she has published widely in fields such as:

  • vulnerable groups
  • the social aspects of health
  • health and wellbeing across the life course
  • carers
  • carer and service user empowerment
  • adult social care
  • personalisation
  • the third sector

Her work in these areas is at both national and international levels. For example, she has undertaken consultancy work for the Department of Health, European Social Fund projects and European Carers’ organisations.

Her current external roles include Honorary Research Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre, consultant to the Finnish Caregivers Association, and the Social Care for Excellence co-production network.

As Principal Investigator for an ESRC Carers seminar series, she is establishing a national carer research network. Her other externally funded research projects include personal budgets and carers, and the impact of personalisation on Third Sector Organisations.

Research group affiliations

  • Third Sector Research Centre (Honorary Fellowship)
  • Carers Federation Research Forum
  • East Midlands Disability Research Group
  • East Midlands Medical Sociology Group
  • Participation and Social Justice Research Group, De Montfort University
  • Mary Seacole Research Centre, De Montfort University
  • Social Work Research Group, De Montfort University

Publications and outputs 

Click here to view a full listing of Mary Larkin's publications and outputs.


Larkin, M. (2009). Vulnerable groups in Health and Social Care. Sage Publications

Larkin, M. (2011). Social Aspects of Health, Illness and Healthcare. McGraw-Hill

2012: Health and wellbeing across the life course. Sage Publications (forthcoming)

2012: The Beginners Guide to Social Research. McGraw-Hill (in progress).


Book Chapters:

Larkin, M. (2010). "The management of long term conditions through the ages" for K217: Adult Health, Social Care and Wellbeing, The Open University.

Chapters entitled 'Disability and Illness: the perspective of people living with a long-term condition', 'Working with vulnerable people: experiences of disability' and 'What about the carers?' in Lloyd, C.E. and Heller, T.D. (2011). Long Term Conditions: Challenges in Health and Social Care Practice. Sage Publications.

Chapter entitled 'Care of Vulnerable Adults' in Blaber, A. (ed.) (2012) Foundations for paramedic practice. A theoretical perspective. McGraw-Hill (2nd ed.)

Key research outputs

Larkin, M. (1994). Quality and Team Teaching, Open D-Bate, The Open University

Larkin, M. (1997). Tutorial Resource Pack for Social Science Tutors. The Open University, East Midlands Region

Larkin, M. (1997). Residential Summer School. Open D-Bate, The Open University

1998: Contributor to “Good Essay Writing Guide: A Social Science Guide.”  The Open University

Larkin, M. (2007). Embedding Personal Development Planning into Undergraduate programmes. The Centre for Recording Achievement. www.recordingachievement.org

Larkin, M. (2008) "Group support during and post-caring -the role of carer's groups" Groupwork, 17 (2) 28-51

Larkin, M. (2009) "Life after caring: the post-caring experiences of former carers" British Journal of Social Work, 39 (6) 1026-1042

2011: New partnerships in health and social care for an era of public spending cuts. Health and social care in the community DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2011.01031.x.

Larkin, M. and Dickinson, H. (2011) "Personalisation: what will the impacts be for carers?" Briefing paper for the Third Sector Research Centre (http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/Publications/tabid/500/Default.aspx)

Research interests/expertise

  • Carers
  • Caring issues
  • Carer and service user empowerment
  • Adult social care
  • Personalisation
  • Health and well-being
  • Disability
  • The third sector
  • The life course approach to health and well-being.

Areas of teaching

  • Sociology
  • Social policy
  • Social science applied to health and social care
  • Social research and health policy
  • Dissertation supervision.


  • 1978 B.A. (Honours) in Sociology: Durham University.
  • 1980 Master of Social Science in British Local Government and the National Health Service: Birmingham University.
  • 1989 Further and Adult Education Teacher's Certificate: Stephenson College, Coalville.
  • 1999 Certificate in Counselling Skills: Leicester University.
  • 2006 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): De Montfort University. Thesis: “An exploration of the post-caring experiences of former carers”.
  • 2007 Certificate in Research Supervision: De Montfort University.

Courses taught

  • BA Health Studies
  • BA/BSc Health and Psychology
  • BSc Public and Community Health
  • BA Sociology
  • MA Applied Health Studies

Honours and awards

  • Dr Larkin was invited to be an Honorary Research Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre in October 2010 and this has recently been extended to November 2014
  • Dr Larkin's work on the life post caring has been used by Julia Neuberger in her latest book ‘Is that all there is? Thoughts on the meaning of life and leaving a legacy.’ Published by Ebury Publishing in 2011
  • The creative approach embodied in Dr Larkin's ESRC Seminar Series competition bid submitted in November 2011, has been widely endorsed by academics and non-academics. An extract from the peer reviewers' comments are as follows:
    • 'An innovative output which will help to ensure the continued influence of the series, is the development of a carers' research network, comprised of representatves of all stakeholders.'
  • The Department of Health hosted pre-and post ESRC carers events in order to maximise the impact of the seminar series
  • Dr Larkin is frequently asked to present on carer research at conferences

Forthcoming events

Dr Larkin is co-presenting with Dame Philippa Russell, Chair of the Standing Commission for Carers, at the Carers Research conference in Harrogate on 24th October. The title of their joint presentation is ‘ Is the third sector going to survive ‘personalisation’?’

Conference attendance

  • July 2009: “Once a carer, always a carer? Exploring identity changes post-caring” 11th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 3rd UK Social Work Research Conference
  • March 2010: Key note speech on “Promoting service user and carer empowerment in health and social care” for a conference on “Promoting individual and group empowerment in social services and health care” at Laurea University, Finland
  • June 2010: “A forgotten partnership? The carer-service user partnership and personalisation” at the 12th UK Joint Social Work Education Conference with the 4th UK Social Work Research Conference
  • July 2010. "Effective partnerships between voluntary organizations for carers and academia in social care in an era of public spending cuts”at the 5th International Carers UK Conference, New frontiers in caring, 2010 and beyond
  • September 2010. “Carer empowerment” at a conference organised for for all those taking part in this European Social Fund project “Driving change in welfare services for the aged project, 2008-2010”at Helsinki University, Finland
  • February 2011. “The UK’s National Carers Strategy 2008 - how did we get there and where are we going?” Finnish National Association of Family Caregivers Conference, Helsinki
  • March 2011. “Partnerships between Third Sector and Universities” for a conference on Promoting Welfare Service Innovations - Entrepreneurship, Voluntary Work and Third Sector”, in connection with the European Year of Volunteering 2011” at Laurea University, Finland
  • February 2012. "The circle of life – our health and our life course” – guest lecture to staff and students at Bath Spa University
  • March 2012. “Making sure aging is active: the influence of health and well-being throughout the life course on active aging.”at Laurea University, Finland
  • March 2012. “The UK’s National Carers Strategy 2008.”  Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and Ministry of Employment and Economics, Helsinki, Finland
  • April 2012: Co-organised and led a Third Sector Research Centre roundtable event for leading academics, practitioners and policy makers entitled “Carers, the third sector and personalisation: the future research agenda?” University of Birmingham
  • May 2012: “Carers research” for Care and Compassion Week, De Montfort University
  • May 2013: ‘Carers voices” at the “Compassionate Care: Patient Voice” event at De Montfort University
  • June 2013: “Personal budgets and the carer-service user relationship”. Carers Federation Board of Trustees, Nottingham
  • July 2013: “Personal budgets and the carer-service user relationship: Developing the knowledge base about carers and personalisation”. Yorkshire and Humberside Carers Lead Officer Network, SPRU, University of York

Current research students

Masters Dissertations:

2nd supervisor to Claire Gregory who is undertaking a PhD entitled “Charting the emergence of a New Social Movement of Black and Minority Ethnic Carers”.

Externally funded research grants information

  • Principal Investigator - “Carers, Service Users and Personal Budgets” - funded by The Carers Federation Ltd
  • Principal Investigator - “Carers in the 21st century: developing the evidence base” – Seminar series funded by the ESRC
  • Co-investigator - “Personalisation, the third sector and carers” - funded by the Third Sector Research Centre
  • Principal Investigator  - “Third sector support for carers in an era of personal budgets. The answer or an emergent problem?” - funded by The Carers Federation Ltd

Professional esteem indicators

  • Book proposal reviewer for Sage Publications, McGraw-Hill, Routledge  and Pearsons Textbooks
  • Reviewer for British Journal of Social Work, Journal of Social Policy and Society, Journal of  Social Work in Health Care
  • Economic and Social Research Council peer reviewer
  • Following the publication of Dr Larkin's article “Life after caring: the post-caring experiences of former carers” British Journal of Social Work, 39 (6) 1026-1042, she was invited to be an external consultant to the Department of Health for the “Caring with confidence” programme. Dr Larkin helped develop materials for their course on life post-caring

Case studies

  • Dr Larkin’s article “Life after caring: the post-caring experiences of former carers” (British Journal of Social Work, 39 (6) 1026-1042), was used to inform an ESF project carried out at Trinity College Dublin. This project extended the original study that Dr Larkin had carried out. The University of Plymouth also requested copies of her data gathering instruments for this study.
  • In 2009, The Department of Health invited her to be an external consultant for their “Caring with confidence” programme. Dr Larkin helped develop materials for their course, 'Towards the end of caring’.
  • Presentations she made on carers at Laurea University, Finland and for the ESF project that she has been involved in, led to further invitations to speak at two conferences
  • Dr Larkin developed a model for collaborative research in conjunction with a carers organisation which she jointly presented with the CEO of the Carers Federation at the Carers UK conference. At this conference, other delegates suggested writing it up and submitting it for publication in order to disseminate it more widely. This has now been done.
  • In November 2010, following a presentation Dr Larkin made for the ESF project, she was invited to be an external consultant to the Finnish Association of Caregiving Relatives and Friends on developing a Finnish National Carers Strategy. This has involved presenting at the their national conference, meeting with Finnish MPs and giving presentationsd at the both the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Employment and Economics, Helsinki, Finland
Mary Larkin

Search Who's Who


News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events target area image

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.