AUT - Kathryn McPherson


Professor Kathryn McPherson

Prof Kathryn McPherson B&W

Professor of Rehabilitation, Director of the Person Centered Research Centre, Health and Rehabilitation Research Institute

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext7110


Physical Address:
AA263, AUT North Shore Campus, 90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand

Postal Address:
School of Rehabilitation & Occupation Studies
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
AUT University, Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Links to relevant web pages:
Person Centred Research Centre (Director)


1998 PhD
1992 BA(Hons) Psychology    
1987 Diploma in Health Visiting
1983 Registered Midwife
1980 Registered Nurse

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • 2012: Cabinet Appointment as a Member of Work and Income Board (NZ)
  • 2012: Honorary Fellow of the Australasian College of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • 2012: Member of 2012 Performance Based Research Funding Health Panel (PBRF-Health)
  • 2012: Associate Editor of Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ)
  • 2011-2012: Member Ministry of Social Development Health and Disability Expert Advisory Panel
  • 2011: National Advisor to BAIL (Burwood Academy of Independent Living)012
  • 2011: President - NZ New Zealand Rehabilitation Association
  • 2011: Member - Health Workforce New Zealand’s working group on rehabilitation 
  • 2011:  Member - RACP NZ Rehab Medicine Working Party
  • 2011:  Member - Neuromuscular Research Fund Trust
  • 2010: Member of Council for Stroke Foundation (Northern Region)
  • 2010: Cabinet Appointment – the Welfare Working Group
  • 2009: Member - HRC Public Health Committee
  • 2008: Editor, Rehabilitation Research Review
  • 2007-9: Northern Rehabilitation Consortium (Chair)
  • 2008: Committee Member, NZ Rehabilitation Association
  • 2007: STARR (Capacity Building Funding TEC) Steering Group member
  • 2004: Director Person Centred Research Centre, AUT
  • 2004: Honorary Professor, University of Southampton
  • 2004: Honorary Professor, Kings College London
  • 2004: Editorial Board Member – Clinical Rehabilitation, Disability and Rehabilitation, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
  • 2001: Associate Editor, QSHC now BMJ Quality and Safety
  • 2001-4: Member of Council Society for Research in Rehabilitation


Subsequent to training as a nurse in Australia, Kath completed midwifery training and a Diploma in Health Visiting in Edinburgh Scotland. She completed her psychology honours degree with the Open University (UK) before undertaking her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1998. Kath was Associate Dean Postgraduate Studies at the University of Otago (Wellington) and Reader in Rehabilitation at the University of Southampton (UK) before joining AUT in 2004. Kath has authored/co-authored in excess of 100 peer-reviewed publications.  She also writes many publications for voluntary organisations and disseminates research and scholarship in training for organisations in New Zealand (District Health Boards, the Accident Compensation Corporation, other health and social services) and elsewhere. She is also a Visiting Professor, Kings College, University of London, and University of Southampton. 

Teaching Areas:

  • Concepts of Rehabilitation
  • Innovative Strategies: Engaging in Rehabilitation with developments of new postgraduate papers proposed in measurement and case management.

Research areas:

Neurorehabilitation, measuring what matters in rehabilitation, informing rehabilitation by psychological approaches, quality of life, goal setting, promoting engagement in rehabilitation, promoting participation, understanding the experience of disability, theory in rehabilitation, the ICF. Kath uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches as required.

Research Summary:

The main focus of Kath’s research is to: a) enhance understanding of what matters most to people with disabling conditions; b) target outcome measurement in accord with that understanding and; c) develop rehabilitation strategies that are both informed by better understanding of disabled peoples’ perspectives and more responsive to their priorities

Current Research Projects:

  • McPherson, Theadom, Levack, Fadyl, Kayes et al Health Research Council (HRC)Experiences of recovery and adaptation after disabling traumatic brain injury: $850,000
  • Levack,  Kayes, McPherson, Fadyl, Taylor, Weatherall, Siegert University of Otago Research Grant Development of a measure of self-identity and personhood for people with TBI: $44,000
  • Feigin, McPherson, Barker-Collo et al Health Research Council (HRC) ARCOS IV (Auckland incidence and outcomes study of stroke): $5million
  • McPherson, Gray, Nichols et al Health Research Council (HRC) Portable airway support in stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: $120,000
  • McPherson, Kayes, Mudge et al Health Research Council (HRC) Prevention of obesity and its related disorders for disabled people: $250,000
  • Feigin, Barker-Collo, McPherson et al Health Research Council (HRC) TBI Incidence Study: $2.5 million
  • McPherson, Siegert, Taylor, Kayes et al Goal setting and self regulation skills in brain injury: an RCT $1.6 million
  • McPherson, Fadyl, Turner-Stokes  ACC Testing a new measure of workability: $106,000


Selection of recent publications:

1.    Kathryn McPherson, Nicola M. Kayes. Response to commentary on: ‘Qualitative research: its practical contribution to physiotherapy’. Physical Therapy Reviews, May 2013. Doi: 10.1179/1743288X13Y.0000000076
2.    Theadom, A., Mahon, S., Barker-Collo, S., McPherson, K., Rush, E., Vandal, A., Feigin, V. (2013). Enzogenol for cognitive functioning in traumatic brain injury: a pilot placebo-controlled RCT. European Journal of Neurology, 5 Feb 2013. Doi: 10.1111/ene.12099
3.    Theadom A Cropley M, Smith HE, Feigin VL, McPherson K. Mind and body therapy for fibromyalgia. Cochrane Review Protocol C138-R review in progress
4.    Feigin VL, Theadom A, Barker-Collo S, Starkey NJ, McPherson K, Kahan M, Dowell A, Brown P, Parag V, Kydd R et al.  Incidence of traumatic brain injury in New Zealand: a population-based study. The Lancet Neurology January 2013. Volume 12, Issue 1, 53-64. Doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70262-4
5.    Craddock, D., O'Halloran, C., McPherson, K., Hean, S., & Hammick, M. (2012). A top-down approach impedes the use of theory? Interprofessional educational leaders' approaches to curriculum development and the use of learning theory. Journal of Interprofessional Care. Doi:  10.3109/13561820.2012.736888
6.    Bright, F.A.A, Kayes, N.M, McCann, C.M, McPherson, K.M. Hope in people with aphasia. Aphasiology 2013. 27 (1);41-58. Doi: 10.1080/02687038.2012.718069
7.    Taylor, D., Hale, L., Schluter, P., Waters, D., Binns, E., McCracken, H., McPherson, K., Wolf, S.  Effectiveness of Tai Chi as a community-based falls prevention intervention: a randomized controlled trial. Jouirnal The American Geriatrics Society 2012. 60 (5), 841-8 Doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.03928.x
8.    Armstrong, J., McPherson, K.M Nayar,S. External memory aid training after traumatic brain injury: ‘making it real’.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2012 75(12). Doi: 10.4276/030802212X13548955545459.
9.    Harwood, M., Weatherall, M., Talemaitoga, A, Barber, PA, Gommans, J, Taylor, W. McPherson, K., McNaughton, H.An assessment of the Hua Oranga outcome instrument and comparison to other outcome measures in an intervention study with Māori and Pacific people following stroke Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 26-October-2012, Vol 125 No 1364
10.    Fadyl, J. K., Nicholls, D. A., & McPherson, K. M. Interrogating discourse: the application of Foucault's methodological discussion to specific inquiry. Health. 2012 . Nov 1, 2012.
Doi:  10.1177/1363459312464073
11.    McPherson, K.M, Kayes, N.K. Qualitative research: its practical contribution to physiotherapy.  Physical Therapy Reviews 2012, Vol 17, No 6, 382-389. Doi:10.1179/1743299X12Y.00000000044
12.    Bright, F.A.S, Kayes, N.M, McCann, C.M, McPherson, K.M. Clarifying the concept of hope after stroke. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation (in press)
13.    Armstrong, J., Nayar,S., McPherson, K.M. External memory aid training after traumatic brain injury: ‘making it real’. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 75 (12), 541-548. Doi:
14.    Fogg, L., Purdy, S.C., Talmage, A., Leao, S., Tippett, L., MacPherson, K., Leung, J., Buetow, S. Sing together: group choral singing improves quality of life and mood following stroke. International Journal of Stroke, Vol 7 (Suppl. 1) 66, September 2012. Doi: 10.1111/j.1757-4930.2012.00907.x
15.    Levack, WMM., Siegert, RJ., Dean SG., McPherson, K., Hay-Smith, EJC., Weatherall, MM.
Goal setting and activities to enhance goal pursuit for adultswith acquired disabilities participating in rehabilitation (Protocol). The Cochrane Collaboration, The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 4
16.    Kayes, N. McPherson, K.M. Human technologies in rehabilitation: ‘Who’ and ‘How’ are we
 with our clients?  Disability and Rehabilitation 2012, 34(22): 1907-1911,
Doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.670044
17.    McPherson, K.M, Kayes N, Hale L.  Engaging rehabilitation technologies:making things happen. Disability and Rehabilitation 2012, 34(22): 1853-1854, Doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.670023
18.    Foster, AM., Armstrong. J., Buckley. A., Sherry, J., Young, T., Foliaki, S., James-Hohaia, T., Theadom, A., McPherson, K.M. Encouraging family engagement in the rehabilitation process: a rehabilitation provider’s development of support strategies for family members of people with traumatic brain injury. Disability and Rehabilitation 2012, 34(22): 1855-1862. Doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.670028
19.    McPherson K, Kayes N, Bishop M, Kersten P.   Making rehabilitation engaging. Brain Injury 2012, 26(4-5):495-495. Doi:10.3109/02699052.2012.660091
20.    McPherson K.M, Theadom A, Wilkinson-Meyers L.  The experience of recovery – a qualitative study. Brain Injury 2012, 26(4-5):493-493. Doi:10.3109/02699052.2012.660091

21.    Besley, J., Kayes, N. M., & McPherson, K. M. (2011). Assessing therapeutic relationships in physiotherapy: Literature review. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 39(2), 81-91                                      
22.    Besley, J., Kayes, N. M., & McPherson, K. M. (2011). Assessing the measurement properties of two commonly used measures of therapeutic relationship in physiotherapy. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 39(2), 75-80
23.    Harwood M, Weatherall M, Talemaitoga A, Barber PA, Gommans J, Taylor W, McPherson K, McNaughton H. .Taking charge after stroke: promoting self-directed rehabilitation to improve quality of life – a randomized controlled trial Clin Rehabil 2011 26(6) 493-501 Doi: 10.1177/0269215511426017
24.    Bright, F.A.S, Kayes, N.M, McCann C.M, McPherson K.M. Understanding Hope After Stroke: A Systematic Review of the Literature Using Concept Analysis Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation 2011 18(5):490-508.
25.    Taylor, W.J, Brown, M, Levack, W, McPherson, K.M, Reed, K, Dean, S.G, Weatherall, M.  A pilot cluster randomized controlled trial of structured goal-setting following stroke. Clinical Rehabilitation 26(4):327-338 1-12. Doi: 10.1.1177/0269215511419384
26.    Bright, F.A.S, Boland, P, Rutherford, S.J, Kayes, N.M, McPherson, K.M.  Implementing a client-centred approach in rehabilitation: an autoethnography.  Disability and Rehabilitation 2012, 34(12): 997-1004. Doi: 10.3109/09638288.2011.629712
27.    Levack, W.M.M, Dean, S.G., Siegert, R.J., McPherson, K.M.  Navigating patient-centred goal setting in inpatient stroke rehabilitation: how clinicians control the process to meet perceived professional responsibilities.  Patient Education & Counseling 85 2011, 206-213. Doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.01.011
28.    Williams, V,  Bruton, A, Ellis-Hill, C,  McPherson K. The importance of movement for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Qualitative Health Research 2011 21(9) Doi: 10.1177/1049732311405801
29.    Verheyden G, Ashburn A, Burnett M, Lawrence J, Hyndman D on behalf of the Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre Investigating head and trunk rotation in sitting: a pilot study comparing people after stroke and healthy controls.  Physiotherapy Research International 2011, Online. Doi: 10.1002/pri.514
30.    Lewis GN, Woods C, Rosie JA, McPherson KM. Virtual reality games for rehabilitation of people with stroke: Perspectives from the users. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology 2011; 6(5): 453-463. Doi: 10.3109/17483107.2011.574310
31.    Reeve JC, Stiller K, Denehy L, McPherson KM. Reply to Agostini et al. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surg. 2011;39:612-613. Doi:10.1016/j.ejcts.2010.07.035
32.   Airini, Midson B, Wilson C, Conner L, McPherson K.M. Collings, S. Learning to be leaders in higher education: What helps or hinders women’s advancement as leaders in universities. Educational Management Administration and Leadership 2011 39(1) 44–62 
33.    Lucas-Carrasco R, Eser E, Hao Y, McPherson KM, Green A, Kullmann L, WHOQOL-Dis Group.  The quality of care and support for people with disability scale (QOCS): development and psycometric properties. Research in Developmental Disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities 32(3):1212–1225 2011
34.   Fadyl J, McPherson KM, Kayes N,. Perspectives on quality of care for people who experience disability. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2011(20):87-95. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs.2010.042812

35.    Reeve, J. Stiller, K. Nicol, K. McPherson K.M. Birch, P. Gordon, I. Denehy, L.  A postoperative shoulder exercise program improves function and decreases pain following open thoracotomy: a randomised trial. Journal of Physiotherapy 2010 Vol 56, pages 245-252. Doi: 10.1016/S1836-9553(10)70007-2
36.    Collier, L. Bucks, R. Ellis-Hill, C. Staal, J. McPherson K.M. Multi-sensory stimulation to improve functional performance in moderate to severe dementia. American Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Other Dementias  December 4,2010 vol.25 no 8 698-703. Doi: 10.1177/1533317510387582
37.    Kayes NM, McPherson KM, Schluter P, Taylor D, Leete M, Kolt GS. Exploring the Facilitators and Barriers to Engagement in Physical Activity for People with Multiple Sclerosis Disability and Rehabilitation 2010:33(12):1043-1053. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.520801.
38.    Kayes NM, McPherson KM, Taylor D, Schlüter PJ, Kolt GS. Facilitators and barriers to engagement in physical activity for people with multiple sclerosis: a qualitative investigation. Disabil Rehabil, 2010 33(8):625-642. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2010.505992
39.    Power J, Green AM, WHOQOL-Dis Group.  Development of the WHOQOL disabilities module. Development of the WHOQOL disabilities module. Qual Life Res. 2010;19(4):571-84.
40.    Power J, Green AM, WHOQOL-Dis Group.  The Attitudes to Disability Scale (ADS): development and psychometric properties. Journal of Intellectual Disability ResearchVolume 54, Issue 9, pages 860–874,
41.    Lewis JS, Kersten P, McPherson KM, Taylor GJ, Harris N, McCabe CS, Blake DR.Wherever is my arm? Impaired upper limb position accuracy in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Pain. 2010 Jun;149(3):463-9.
42.    Kayes NM, McPherson KM. Measuring what matters: does 'objectivity' mean good science? Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(12):1011-9. 
43.    Kersten P, Ellis-Hill C, McPherson KM, Harrington R. Beyond the RCT -understanding the relationship between interventions, individuals and outcome the example of neurological rehabilitation. Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(12):1028-34.
44.    McPherson KM, Taylor WJ, Leplege A. Rehabilitation outcomes: values, methodologies and applications. Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(12):961-4.
45.    Payne D, McPherson KM.  Becoming mothers. Multiple sclerosis and motherhood: a qualitative study. Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(8):629-38. PubMed PMID: 20205575.
46.    Fadyl JK, McPherson KM, Schluter PJ, Turner-Stokes L. Factors contributing to work-ability for injured workers: literature review and comparison with available measures. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2010;32 (14):1173-84
47.    Reeve JC, Nicol K, Stiller K, McPherson KM, Birch P, Gordon IR, Denehy L. Does physiotherapy reduce the incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications following pulmonary resection via open thoracotomy? A preliminary randomized single-blind clinical trial. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracis Surgery: Official Jounal of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (Eur J Cardiothorac Sug). ISSN: 1873-734X,2010:37 (5):1158-66; PMID: 20138778
48.    Reeve JC, Stiller K, Denehy L, McPherson KM. Reply to Cusumanao et al. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2010;38:817-818 doi:10.1016/j.ejcts.2010.03.034 
49.    Demain S, Wiles R, McPherson K, Ellis-Hill C, Kileff J, Robison J. Qualitative research highlights the challenges of developing new roles for physiotherapy in the optimisation of activity following stroke. Physiotherapy. 2010 Mar;96(1):75. Epub 2009 Dec 23. 
50.    Fadyl JK, McPherson KM. Understanding decisions about work after spinal cord injury. J Occup Rehabil. 2010 20:69-80. Doi: 10.1007/s10926-009-9204-1. 
51.    Williams V, Bruton A, Ellis-Hill C, McPherson K. The effect of pulmonary rehabilitation on perceptions of breathlessness and activity in COPD patients: a qualitative study. Prim Care Respir J. 2010 Mar;19(1):45-51. 
52.    Robison J, Wiles R, Ellis-Hill C, McPherson K, Hyndman D, Ashburn A. on behalf of the Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre  Resuming previously valued activities post-stroke: who or what helps? Disabil Rehabil.2009;31(19):1555-66.
53.    Pickering R, Hyndman D, Jenkinson D, Fitton C, Ashburn A on behalf of the Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre In-hospital recruitment to observational studies of stroke. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 2010. 33(1): p. 56-63

54.    McPherson KM, Kayes N, Weatherall M, on behalf of the Goals-SR group). A pilot study of self-regulation informed goal setting in people with traumatic brain injury. Clinical rehabilitation. 2009 Apr;23(4):296-309.
55.    Levack WM, Siegert RJ, Dean SG, McPherson KM. Goal planning for adults with acquired brain injury: how clinicians talk about involving family. Brain Inj. 2009 Mar;23(3):192-202.
56.    Kayes NM, Schluter PJ, McPherson KM, Leete M, Mawston G, Taylor D. Exploring actical accelerometers as an objective measure of physical activity in people with multiple sclerosis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009 Apr;90(4):594-601.
57.    Jackson D, Turner-Stokes L, Murray J, Leese M, McPherson KM. Acquired brain injury and dementia: A comparison of carer experiences. Brain Inj. 2009 Mar 9;23(5):433-44.
58.    Ellis-Hill C, Robison J, Wiles R, McPherson K, Hyndman D, Ashburn A. Going home to get on with life: patients and carers experiences of being discharged from hospital following a stroke. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2009;31(2):61-72.
59.    Ackerley SJ, Gordon HJ, Elston AF, Crawford LM, McPherson KM. Assessment of quality of life and participation within an outpatient rehabilitation setting. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2009 Jan 28:1-8.
60.    Fadyl JK, McPherson KM. Approaches to vocational rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury: a review of the evidence. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2009 May-Jun;24(3):195-212.


  1. 2012 Vice Chancellor's Award for Academic Excellence in Research (Established Team) (AUT)
  2. 2012 Faculty Award for Research Team Excellence (AUT)
  3. 2010 Mitchell Rosenthall Memorial Award (American Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine)
  4. 2010 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence  (AUT)
  5. 2009 Invited scholar (1st in competitive award) - Universite Paris Diderot 7

Last updated: 04 Dec 2013 11:15am

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