Stephen Claxton-Oldfield

Associate professor, psychology

Stephen Claxton-Oldfield

Contact Information

(506) 364-2463
Crabtree 218
Office hours
Fall 2014 Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:30 AM - NOON or by appointment
Other websites
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Mount Allison University. My main area of research focuses on the people who volunteer in hospice palliative care settings. They are the “heart” of the hospice palliative care team, working closely with other formal caregivers (e.g., doctors, nurses, social workers) and family members to provide companionship, emotional support, and practical assistance to dying persons and their families. I am interested in, for example, what motivates people to become a hospice palliative care volunteer, the roles that volunteers play in hospice palliative care, the impact of volunteering on the volunteers as well as on the dying person and his or her family, how best to retain volunteers, and so on. I am also a member of the Volunteer Issues Committee, a committee of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Association that champions the volunteer component of hospice palliative care in Canada. Locally, I am the Chair of the Tantramar Hospice Palliative Care Organization Inc. and a trained hospice palliative care volunteer. I am also a regular contributor to 'The Exchange' section of the Canadian Virtual Hospice's website and a Certified Thanatologist with the Association for Death Education and Counseling.


1993 Ph.D. (Psychology), University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon, England

1987 M.A. (General Experimental Psychology), Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario

1983 B.A. (Honours Psychology), Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario



PSYC 2001 - Research Design & Analysis I
PSYC 2301 - Social Psychology
PSYC 3331 - Death and Dying
PSYC 4301 - Advanced Topics in Social Psychology


Research interests

Canada's population is aging rapidly and, as a result, the number of Canadians who will require hospice palliative services, including support from carefully selected, well-trained and motivated volunteers is going to increase dramatically in the coming years. Therefore, more research is needed to ensure that volunteer support services are available to all Canadians at the end of life, wherever they may choose to die. My research focuses on all aspects of volunteering in hospice palliative care.



Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Dunnett, A. (in press). Hospice palliative care volunteers’ experiences with unusual end-of-life phenomena. OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Blacklock, K. (in press). Hospice palliative care volunteers as program and patient/family advocates. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Bhatt, A. (in press). Is there a place for humor in hospice palliative care? Volunteers say “Yes”! American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine.  

Claxton-Oldfield, S. (2016). Hospice palliative care volunteers: A review of commonly encountered stressors, how they cope with them, and implications for volunteer training/management. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 33 (2), 201-204.

Claxton-Oldfield, S. (2015). Hospice palliative care volunteers: The benefits for patients, family caregivers, and the volunteers. Palliative & Supportive Care, 13  (3), 809-813.

Claxton-Oldfield, S. (2015). Got volunteers? The selection, training, roles, and impact of hospice palliative care volunteers in Canada’s community-based volunteer programs. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 27 (1), 36-40.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Miller, K. (2015). A study of Canadian hospice palliative care volunteers’ attitudes toward physician-assisted suicide. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 32 (2) 305-312.

Garbay, M., Gay, M. C., & Claxton-Oldfield, S. (2015). Motivations, death anxiety, and empathy in hospice volunteers in France. American Journal of Hospice &  Palliative Medicine., 32 (5), 521-527.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Marrison-Shaw, H. (2014). Perceived barriers and enablers to referrals to community-based hospice palliative care volunteer programs in           Canada. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 31 (8), 836-844.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., Claxton-Oldfield, J., & Paulovic, S. (2013). Personality traits of British hospice volunteers. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 30 (7), 690-695.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., Claxton-Oldfield, J., Paulovic, S., & Wasylkiw. L. (2013). A study of the motivations of British hospice volunteers. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 30 (6), 579-586.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Jones, R. (2013). Holding on to what you have got: Keeping hospice palliative care volunteers volunteering. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 30 (5), 467-472.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Claxton-Oldfield, J. (2012). Should I stay or should I go?: A  study of hospice palliative care volunteer satisfaction and retention. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 29 (7), 523-528.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., Gibbon, L., & Schmidt-Chamberlain, K. (2011). When to say “Yes” and when to say “No”: Boundary issues for hospice palliative care volunteers. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 28 (6), 429-434.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., & Gosselin, N. (2011). How can I help you? A study of the perceived importance of different kinds of hospice palliative care volunteer support. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 28 (4), 271-275.

Claxton-Oldfield, S., Wasylkiw, L., Mark, M., & Claxton-Oldfield, J. (2011). The Inventory of Motivations for Hospice Palliative Care Volunteerism: A tool for recruitment and retention. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 28 (1), 35-43.

Grants, awards, & honours

2010 recipient of the J.E.A. Crake Teaching Award in the Faculty of Science, Mount Allison University