research student

Kevin McInerney

Postgraduate Research Student

Kevin McInerney


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences





I am passionate about recovery from alcohol/substance misuse, due to my own lived experience and 32 years in recovery. My PhD explores the phenomenon of late-onset problematic drinking in older adults with no prior history of alcohol problems, who begin to drink later in life, due to major events that occur with ageing (e.g., loss of a spouse/partner, retirement, social isolation, pain). The research is theoretically framed within Viktor Frankl’s theory of meaning and his concept of an existential vacuum. The thesis posits the notion that the events outlined above lead to existential frustration and a lack of meaning and purpose in life.

In 2011, I was made redundant. For many years, I had worked in the creative side of advertising as a graphic designer/typographer. My redundancy turned out to be a positive event, as I no longer found my career to be challenging or satisfying, I was in fact, just sitting in the ‘comfort zone’. I realised that I could use my redundancy as a catalyst to change my life and give it greater meaning. I could have taken early retirement, however, for me, life has to have meaning, and I felt that I could still make a difference in the lives of others. I have always been fascinated with human behaviour (especially my own), its causes and its consequences. I, therefore, decided to study psychology/addiction.

I currently work on a sessional basis for an NHS Trust, as a Lived Experience Practitioner, working with older people with a dual diagnosis of mental health and alcohol/substance abuse. I also do voluntary work for another Trust in a similar capacity but with a more general population.

Thesis title

Late-onset Problem Drinking in Older Adults (50+): Psychosocial Characteristics and the role of Meaning and Purpose in Life.