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PhD Studentship Opportunity in Exploring and addressing the unmet treatment needs of women with diabetes experiencing sexual health problems

   Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences

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  Dr DD Cooke  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Guildford United Kingdom Clinical Psychology Gender Studies Health Psychology Psychology

About the Project

Women with diabetes are likely to experience sexual health problems at some point during their life. For many it manifests as painful sexual intercourse with a partner which can affect emotional relationships and subsequent psychological well-being. Women are often unaware it is associated with diabetes and do not seek treatment. Unlike for men where discussion of sexual health is part of diabetes consultations for women the focus is on contraception and avoiding unplanned pregnancy. Therefore, women’s sexual health comes second place to health professionals’ concerns regarding avoiding or planning for pregnancy. Identification of sexual problems in women with diabetes is a significant problem preventing treatment. Women may be unwilling to discuss sexual problems with health care professionals and unaware that some of these problems are diabetes-related.

This studentship will aim to meet the unmet treatment needs of women with diabetes experiencing sexual health problems and produce a blueprint for new resources and interventions for women with diabetes to access.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To conduct a systematic review of the views and experiences of women with sexual health problems and diabetes (months 1-12).
  2.  To determine the prevalence and correlates of sexual health problems in women with diabetes across UK care settings (months 6-24).
  3. To investigate the lived experience of women with diabetes and sexual health problems via qualitative, semi-structured interviews (months 12-24).
  4.  To determine health care professionals’ views of sexual dysfunction identification for women with diabetes; the current and future treatment and service provision for women with sexual health problems and diabetes using survey methods (months 18-30).

Supervisory Team

Dr Debbie Cooke, Health Sciences

Dr David Griffiths, Sociology

Dr Kirsty Winkley, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, King’s College London


Jackie Fosbury, Diabetes Care for You, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

This is a three-year project commencing in October 2021.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a good honours degree (upper second) in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or health and social care may be acceptable. An MSc in an appropriate discipline is desirable.

IELTS requirements: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category.

How to apply

Applications should be made through the PhD Health Sciences course page. Please submit copies of educational qualifications, your CV and a research proposal for this project of up to 5 pages including the following sections: rationale, research question and objectives, study design and methodology. 

Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application. Interviews will be held from Monday 3rd May 2021.

Funding Notes

Funding covers:
• Full UK/EU tuition fee
• Stipend at £15,285 p.a. (2020/21)
• RTSG of £1,000 p.a.
• Personal Computer (provided by the department)