Susan Cadell Headshot


1996-2000    PhD, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON

1998-1990    MSW, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON

1983-1985    BA, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON


Contact Information

Twitter and Instagram: @SusanCadell

Contact Card


Susan's research concerns positive aspects of stress and coping in various health situations, particularly posttraumatic growth. She is a member of several multidisciplinary research teams in grief and beravement. Current research includes memorial tattoos and grief after an assisted death (Medical Assistance in Dying or MAiD). Past projects include posttraumatic growth in parents caring for a child with a life-limiting illness, couples coping with caregiving together as well as undertaking an exploration of family bereavement over time when a child dies. Susan was also a member of a team working to increase social work education in palliative care through the development of social work competencies.

Susan has always been passionate about strengths in social work and human service. One strength that she has always recognized is spirituality. For some, this is the same as religion and for others, those are very different. However they are defined, they can be a source of power and strength and meaning for individuals. Since discovering the notions of the strengths perspective in social work practice and posttraumatic growth, she has dedicated her career in academia to examining the positive aspects of stressful experiences alongside the negatives. She has advocated for more inclusion of both grief and spirituality in social work practice and education.

Courses Taught at Renison

SWK 601R       Health Policy

SWK 600R       Diversity and Health

SWREN 474R   Selected Theories for Social Work Practice: Analysis and Application

SWREN 423R   Advanced Social Group Work Practice

SWREN 471R   Social Work with Older Adults: Critical Issues and Future Trends

SWK 650R       Introduction to Psychosocial Oncology Theory and Practice

SWK 651R       Relational Practice with Families

SOCWK 240R    Palliative Care

Research Interests (keywords)

Grief; palliative care; Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD); tattoos; post traumatic growth

Selected Publications

Cadell, S. & Wright, D.K. (in press 2021). Assisted dying. In Gu, D. & Dupre, M.E. (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer.

Cadell, S., Reid Lambert, M., Davidson, D., Greco, C. & Macdonald, M.E. (revise and resubmit) Memorial Tattoos: Advancing Continuing Bonds Theory. Death Studies.

Widger, K., Eaton Russell, C., Steele, R., Barrera, M., Beaune, L., Cadell, S. & Rapoport, A. (2018). Siblings’ voices: A prospective investigation of experiences with a dying child. Death Studies, 42(3), 184-194. DOI: 10.1080/07481187.2017.1334009

Mantulak, A. & Cadell. S. (2018). Mothers’ experience of post-traumatic growth in pediatric kidney transplantation. Journal of Social Work in End of Life & Palliative Care, 14(1), 110-123.

Adamson, K., Loomis, C., Cadell, S., & Verweel, L. C. (2018). Interprofessional empathy: A four-stage model for a new understanding of teamwork. Journal of interprofessional care, 32:6, 752-761, DOI: 10.1080/13561820.2018.1511523

Betini, R. S., Hirdes, J. P., Lero, D. S., Cadell, S., Poss, J., & Heckman, G. (2017). A longitudinal study looking at and beyond care recipient health as a predictor of long term care home admission. BMC health services research, 17(1), 709.

Davies, B., Steele, R., Krueger, G., Albersheim, S., Baird, J., Bifirie, M., Cadell, S., Doane, G., Garga, D., Siden, H., Strahlendorf, C. & Zhao, Y. (2017). Best Practice in Provider/Parent Interaction. Qualitative Health Research, 27(3), 406-420.

Stephenson, E., DeLongis, A., Steele, R., Cadell, S., Andrews, G. & Siden, H. (2017). Siblings of Children With a Complex Chronic Condition: Maternal Posttraumatic Growth as a Predictor of Changes in Child Behavior Problems.  Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 42(1), 104-113.

Siden, H., Steele, R. & Cadell, S. (2016). Crocker, et al.: Reducing barriers to parent participation in pediatric palliative care research. Palliative Medicine, 30(47), 418.

Steele, R., Cadell, S., Siden, H., Andrews, G., Smit Quosai, T., & Feichtinger, L. (2014). Impact of research participation on parents of seriously ill children. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 17(7), 788-796.

Cadell, S., Hemsworth, D., Smit Quosai, T., Steele, R., Davies, B., Liben, S., Straatman, L. & Siden, H. (2014). Posttraumatic Growth in Parents Caring for a Child with a Life-Limiting Illness: A Structural Equation Model. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 84(2), 123–133.

Steele, R., Siden, H., Cadell, S., Davies, B., Andrews, G. Feichtinger, L. & Singh, M. (2014) Charting the territory: symptoms and functional assessment in children with progressive, non-curable conditions. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 99(8), 754-62.

Macdonald, M.E., Pineda, C., Kennedy, K., Moll, S., Stephenson, P., Mitchell, L., Cadell, S. (2015). Excluding Parental Grief: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Bereavement Accommodation in Canadian Labour Standards. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, 50(3), 511-526.

Recent Conference Publications


Cadell, S., Reid Lambert, M., Macdonald, M.E., Davidson, D., O'Gorman, M. & Baljko, M. (October 2018). "The Pain of the Tattoo Was a Relief": Advancing a Theory of Embodied Pain in a Study of Memorial Tattoos. International Congress on Palliative Care, Montreal, QC.

Cadell, S. Macdonald, M.E. & Gregoire, M.C. (October 2018). Issues in palliative care for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Workshop, International Congress on Palliative Care, Montreal, QC.

Cadell, S. & Reid Lambert, M. (July 2017). Memorial Tattoos. International Conference on Grief and Bereavement, Lisbon, Portugal.

Davidson, D. & Cadell, S. (May 2017) Tattoos as memorialization: Making grief visible through cross-collaboration and interdisciplinary research. Canadian Sociological Association Conference, Toronto, ON.

Macdonald, ME, Cadell, S., & Siden, H. (October 2016). Who gets my ITunes when I Die? International Congress on Palliative Care, Montreal, QC.

Cadell, S., Macdonald, M.E. (October 2015). Pediatric palliative care and social media. Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association Conference, Ottawa, ON.


Cadell, S. Reid Lambert, Davidson, D., Macdonald, M.E., O’Gorman, M. & Baljko, M. (April 2018). Memorial Tattoos: Inking the Bond. The International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement, London, ON.

Cadell, S. Reid Lambert, M. Gutierrez, O., Davidson, D., Macdonald, M.E., O’Gorman, M. & Baljko, M. (April 2018). Would you wear your loved one on your skin? Remember Me. The Changing Face of Memorialisation Interdisciplinary conference, Hull, UK.

Cadell, S. & Reid Lambert, M. (March 2018). Memorial Tattoos: Implications for Social Work. Poster presented at the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care (SWHPN) General Assembly/Conference, Boston, MA, USA.

Cadell, S. & Reid Lambert, M. (September 2017). Memorial Tattoos: Inking the Continuing Bond . Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference, Ottawa, ON.

Cadell, S. & Reid Lambert, M. (May 2017). Memorial Cancer Tattoos. Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Conference, Vancouver, BC.

Cadell, S., Hemsworth, D., Smit Quosai, T., Steele, R., Davies, B., Straatman, L., Liben, S., & Siden, H. (May 2015). Meaning in Caregiving for Parent Caregivers of Children with Life-Limiting Illnesses. Poster presented at the European Association for Palliative Care Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Current Projects (and associated links)

Memorial Tattoos project:

@inkingthebond (Instagram and Twitter)

Cadell, S., Davidson, D. (co-I), Macdonald, M.E. (co-I), O’Gorman, M., Baljko, M., & Reid Lambert, M. (collaborators) Memorial Tattoos: Inking the Bond. SSHRC Insight Development Grant. June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2019. $71,093

Grief in the era of medical assistance in dying:

Cadell, S. & Wright, D. (co-PI). Grief in the era of MAiD. University of Waterloo CIHR Research Incentive Fund. $10,000.

Montreuil, M., (co-PI) Wright, D. (co-PI), Cadell, S. (co-I), & Macdonald, M.E. (co-I). Grief in the age of medical assistance in dying: a narrative study of bereavement experiences. Réseau québécois de recherche en soins palliatifs et de fin de vie (RQSPAL) & Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l’humeur et les associés (RQSHA). $20,000

University of Waterloo