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  The social lives of people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities

   School of Psychology and Sport Science

  Dr M Finlay, Dr E Kaminskiy, Dr Lewis Goodings  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

For most people, what is considered a good life includes such things as social inclusion, a sense of belonging, social interaction and relationships. For many reasons, this can be hard for people with severe and profound disabilities, who may rely on others for mobility and access to activities and environments, and who may have little symbolic communication or use atypical means of interacting with others. Research has illustrated how opportunities for meaningful relations are often limited for this group, and how good quality encounters might require atypical patterns and modes of communication and interaction (e.g. Nicholson, Finlay & Stagg, 2021; Finlay et al, 2008). This project will investigate the opportunities and barriers to social relationships among this group, identifying the main relationships people have, what forms these take, and how people with severe and profound disabilities can be supported to have more extensive and better quality relations with others. Importantly, it will examine how people in this category interact socially with others.

A range of methods could be applied to this research, from surveys completed by supporters, services and family members, ethnographic observations in homes, day services, schools and clubs, video recordings of social encounters, and interviews with informants.

Where you'll study:


Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Psychology PhD. In the section of the application form entitled 'Outline research proposal', please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

Psychology (31) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded. Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.
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