Dr Rachael Docking

Senior Research Fellow

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Nursing & Midwifery

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Psychology , Health and wellbeing

Rachael's research is in the disciplines of psychology and epidemiology. Her specific interests are in attitudes to ageing, chronic and/or disabling pain in older adults, risk factors for pain onset and methods for self-management of pain.


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Rachael has a PhD in epidemiology, which looked at psychosocial risk factors for back pain onset in older adults.

Before joining Anglia Ruskin, Rachel was a research fellow for three years at University of Greenwich, working on the EOPIC study (Engaging with older adults in designing and developing strategies for the self management of chronic pain). She's now a senior research fellow, and her research interests include attitudes to ageing, chronic and/or disabling pain in older adults, risk factors for pain onset and methods for self-management of pain. Additionally, she has an interest in dementia and pain, particularly in how accurately pain can be assessed in those with dementia.

Rachael recently completed a project looking at peer education for developing a curriculum, for older adults and by older adults, on positive ageing and self-management of long term conditions. She is working on a number of bids focused on my work on pain in people with dementia and how to improve pain assessment and management.

Research interests

  • Epidemiology
  • Psychology
  • Pain
  • Dementia
  • Older adults
  • Attitudes to ageing

Rachael has an undergraduate honours degree in psychology and completed her PhD in 2011 (graduated 2012) looking at the epidemiology of back pain in older people. Her research focused on the occurrence of disabling and non-disabling back pain in older people and the risk factors associated with their pain.

Areas of research supervision

Rachael would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Older adults
  • Epidemiology
  • Psychology
  • Pain (management and assessment)
  • Dementia
  • Attitudes to ageing
Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:
  • An epidemiological study of pain and the relationship between quality and quantity of social networks and chronic pain in older adults using data from the MOBILIZE Boston Study


Rachael doesn't currently teach at Anglia Ruskin University, but in her previous role she taught basic epidemiology on the Public Health Nursing course. In her current role, she leads the early- and mid-career researcher development programme.


  • PhD in Epidemiology, University of Aberdeen (2008-2011)
  • MA Honours Psychology, University of Aberdeen (2003-2007)

Memberships, editorial boards

  • British Journal of Pain editorial board
  • Review publications for: British Journal of Pain; Pain; Rheumatology; European Journal of Pain; Arthritis Care & Research

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2015-2016 - South London Innovative awards: Peer education for self-management of long term conditions and positive ageing (£56,405)
  • 2015-2016 - College of paramedic small grant scheme: Paramedic mentoring (£1000)
  • 2014-2017 - University of Greenwich: 2 x University of Greenwich funded studentships (£45,000 each)
  • 2014-2015 - University of Greenwich (internal): Drug delivery in dementia (£36,928)
  • 2014-2015 - Kent, Surrey and Sussex AHSN: Assessment of iPhone pain app (£10,150)
  • 2014-2015 - University of Greenwich (internal): Memory films for adults with dementia (£10,000)
  • 2013-2014 - Medway Community Healthcare: End of life and dementia care (£15,000)
  • 2013-2014 - Kent and Medway Commissioning: Dementia challenge project (£10,000)

Selected recent publications

  • (In press) Docking, R.E., Lane, M. & Schofield, P.A. (2015) Paramedics’ views of the iPhone App to improve pain assessment for older adults with cognitive impairment: A qualitative study. Pain Medicine
  • Docking, R.E., Stock, J. Eds (2016) International Handbook of Positive Aging, London: Routledge
  • Chandler, R.C., Zwakhalen, S.M., Docking, R.E., Bruneau, B. & Schofield, P.A.  (2016)  Attitudinal & knowledge barriers towards effective pain assessment & management in dementia: A narrative synthesis, Current Alzheimer’s Research, Epub
  • Docking, R.E., 2016. Chapter 9. Role of Emerging Technologies in Geriatric Pain Management. Clinics in geriatric medicine, 32(4), pp.787-795.
  • Lane, M.. Rouse, J. & Docking, R.E. (2016) Mentorship within the paramedic profession: a practice educator’s perspective. British Paramedic Journal, 1(1), pp. 2-8
  • Docking, R.E., Fleming, J., Brayne, C., Zhao, J., Macfarlane, G.J. & Jones, G.T. (2014) The relationship between back pain and mortality in older adults varies with disability and gender - results from the Cambridge over-75s Cohort (CC75C) study.  European Journal of Pain, 19(4), pp.466-72
  • Docking, R.E., Beasley, M., Steinerowski, A., Jones, E.A., Farmer, J., Macfarlane, G.J. & Jones, G.T. (2014) The epidemiology of regional and widespread musculoskeletal pain in rural versus urban settings in those ≥55 years. British Journal of Pain, 9(2), pp.86-95 
  • Docking, R.E., Fleming, J., Brayne, C., Zhao, J., Macfarlane, G.J. & Jones, G.T.  (2014) Pain reporting in older adults: the influence of cognitive impairment – results from the Cambridge City >75 Cohort Study.  British Journal of Pain, 8(3), pp.119-124
  • Macfarlane, G.J., Beasley, M., Jones, E.A., Prescott, G.J., Docking, R.E., Keeley, P., McBeth, J. & Jones, G.T.  (2012) The prevalence and management of low back pain across adulthood: results from a population based cross-sectional study (the MUSICIAN study).  Pain, 153(1), pp.27-32
  • Docking, R.E., Fleming, J., Brayne, C., Zhao, J., Macfarlane, G.J. & Jones, G.T.  (2011) Epidemiology of back pain in older adults: prevalence and risk factors for back pain onset.  Rheumatology, 50(9), pp. 1645-1653

Recent presentations and conferences

Stock, J., Docking, R., Schofield, P. Developing a peer-education self-management training programme on Positive Ageing for older adults & by older adults. World Congress on Active Ageing, Melbourne, Australia, June 2016.