Associate Professor Maree Petersen

Associate Professor

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 334 67314


Maree's program of research centres on older people experiencing disadvantage. Underpinning her research is the recognition of the rights of older people to participate in healthy ageing, and as such be housed well with access to community aged care services. Her work incorporates a number of themes but the central aim is to use research to improve the delivery of health and welfare services in the context of elder abuse, housing, homelessness with particular emphasis on the intersection of the policy areas of housing, health and income security necessary for ensuring wellbeing as people as they age. The results from her research have implications for how we think about older people without access to their rights, and living in poverty and at risk of homelessness with restricted access to community aged care and support.

Research Interests

  • Older people in precarious housing
    Life course with particular attention to the housing history of older people; understanding the pathway to living in precarious housing; access to home modification and maintenance in private rental housing
  • Elder abuse
    Developing social work intervention to address elder abuse
  • Older people (including particular needs of older women) and homelessness
    The pathway to homelessness, the nature of services to assist older people to secure housing, addressing homelessness
  • Retirement villages and residential aged care
    The financial and contractual obligations relating to retirement village entry, residency and exit
  • Rural Service provision for older people
    Understanding the ways in which people grow older in rural areas; including access to health and aged care services including volunteer initiatives

Research Impacts

Findings from a national project concerned with preventing older people homelessness provided empiricial understanding that older people's homelessness in Australia is predominately a pathway arising from renting in the private market. This project also examined approriate policy and practice interventions to prevent, rehouse, and support older people. Invitations to present as several housing conferences; as well as consumer and service provider forums provided opportunity to disseminate results. This has led to ongoing relationships with service providers across housing and community care for older people, and presenting at the Senate Committee of Housing Affordability.

Closely aligned but distinct is research on housing and suport to assist older women experiencing homelessness. This project received extensive media coverage across print, radio and television venues. Politicans has requested this report. I along with the Mercy Foundation, communities agencies specialising in this area work together in a national group to advocate for housing for older women.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Postgraduate Diploma, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


View all Grants


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Petersen, Maree (2021). Rural ageing, housing and homelessness. Rural gerontology: towards critical perspectives on rural ageing. (pp. 129-139) edited by Mark Skinner, Rachel Winterton and Kieran Walsh. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781003019435-14

  • Jones, Andrew and Petersen, Maree (2014). Older people. Homelessness in Australia, an introduction. (pp. 135-154) edited by Chris Chamberlain, Guy Johnson and Catherine Robinson. Sydney, NSW, Australia: NewSouth Publishing.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Petersen, M. (2012). A geography of older women at risk of homelessness in Brisbane, Queensland. 6th Australasian Housing Researcher's Conference, Adelaide, SA, Australia, 8-10 February 2012.

  • Petersen, M. (2012). Older Australians experiencing homelessness. 45th National Conference of the Australian Association of Gerontology, Brisbane, Australia, 20-23 November 2012. Richmond, VIC., Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2012.00655.x

  • Petersen, M. (2010). The making of home in a residential complex. 43nd National Conference of the Australian Association of Gerontology, Hobart , Tas., Australia, 17-19 November 2010. Richmond, Vic., Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2010.00481.x

  • Petersen, M., Wilson, J., Wright, O. and Capra, S. (2010). Understanding food in aged care facilities: Findings from a case study  . 43rd National Conference of the Australian Association of Gerontology. Islands of Ageing: Building Bridges for people, policy and practice, Hobart, TAS, Australia, 17-19 November 2010. Richmond, VIC, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2010.00481.x

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor