Warwick Medical School (WMS)

University of Warwick fully-funded PhD studentship exploring development and testing of a screening tool for Eating Disorders in Type 1 Diabetes patients

We are looking for a motivated MSc graduate in health or medical disciplines with experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods and an interest in the areas of endocrinology, epidemiology and health/clinical psychology.

Project Details

Developing and testing a screening tool for Eating Disorders in Type 1 Diabetes

Supervisory team: First supervisor: Dr Talar Moukhtarian
Second supervisors: Dr Carla Toro and Prof Saravanan Ponnusamy

Application deadline: Friday 8 December 2023
Interview date: w/b Monday 11 December 2023

There is consistent evidence of elevated rates of eating disorders in young women with type 1 diabetes with estimates ranging from 5 to 25.6%.

Once established, these conditions carry very poor prognoses, principally because of the use of insulin restriction as a means of weight control. This is associated with impaired blood glucose control and an increased incidence of both acute and chronic complications, as well as a significantly elevated mortality. The mortality in those with both anorexia nervosa and type 1 diabetes is 35% over 10 years; this is three times greater than those with only type 1 diabetes and fifteen times that of people with neither condition.There is currently no simple, validated screening measure for eating disorders in people with diabetes, which can be administered as part of a routine consultation by a diabetes professional without specific training.

This project will develop an easy to use screening tool for eating disorders in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which can be used by diabetes professionals without specialist training. In the first stage, the study will refine existing questions on the Screen for Eating Disorders in Diabetes (SEDD) through focus groups of PWDs and professionals and cross-validate it against a standard clinical interview measure for eating disorders.

In the second stage, we will undertake a qualitative process evaluation to explore the views of stakeholders concerning the feasibility and acceptability of administering the SEDD in routine clinical practice, including perceptions of the potential impacts of false positive screen results and the effects of screening on engagement with diabetes services.

We expect this project to lead to a minimum of three peer-reviewed articles including a review. The study will also facilitate grant applications to fund Phase 2 of the study (evaluation of the reliability and validity of the scale and cost-predictive analyses using the tool in routine clinical practice).

Longer term, the instrument will make it possible to screen people with type 1 diabetes for the presence of an eating disorder as part of normal clinical care. This will enable more patients to be offered treatment. This will in turn have a positive impact on the level of illness and death rates in this group. It will also reduce the number of admissions in type 1 diabetes and thereby reduce costs to the NHS.

Find out more about the project

Warwick Medical School (WMS)

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a strong first degree (2:1 or above) or international equivalent in a relevant subject. Previous research experience is an advantage. The studentship is available to UK students.

Studentship available for January 2024 Entry

A studentship covering full fees, consumables allowance and monthly stipend is available. This is a Warwick Industrial Fellowship (WIF) studentship and collaboratively funded by the University of Warwick and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT).

How to apply

Please send a CV, personal statement and two references to wms.rdcoord@warwick.ac.uk.

The deadline for applications is Friday 8 December 2023. Interviews will likely take place w/b Monday 11 December.


For general enquiries about the project, please contact Dr Talar Moukhtarian - Talar.moukhtarian@warwick.ac.uk or Dr Carla Toro - carla.toro@warwick.ac.uk.

Warwick Medical School (WMS)