Associate PhD students

PhD students at any of the consortium universities who are conducting or have completed research on families and relationships can link to CRFR.

If you wish to be considered as a CRFR Associate PhD student (for students based at one of the consortium universities) download an application form and return it to Helen Walker

Lorraine Anderson, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: The Cultural Context of Body Size and the Implications for Public Health
A mixed-methods approach to address body size and health. The aim is to link epidemiological data with sociological enquiry to investigate the ways in which issues of health, risk, and body size relate to one another, and to inform approaches to best support health.

Amy Andrada, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Stigma and Middle Class Mothers
Amy is researching the dynamics and developments of identity among mothers, in context of in-group and out-group relations. Her research aims to explore the ways in which identity is shaped by parental, gender, and relationships statuses.

Thalia Thereza Assan, University of Edinburgh
My PhD research examines the intersections between girls’ friendships and their political participation. By employing ethnography and creative participatory methods, I will explore the friendship ties created and practised by activist adolescent girls and analyse how the meanings ascribed to these social bonds help shape girls’ political perceptions and actions.

Dena Ayra, University of Edinburgh
Current project:  How do young people in different positions across the spectrum of economic inequality politically participate to either maintain or disrupt the system? -The case of reformers and the radicals of the UK environmental movement
Dena’s research investigates youth political participation in the environmental movement in the UK. I am particularly interested in how economic inequality impacts the way in which young people engage in this movement. Using a multi-method qualitative approach, I explore how young people are engaging across the spectrum of actions from radical to reformist to understand if their intentions are to maintain or disrupt the system.

Katherine Baxter, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Young people in Nepal and their livelihoods
Katherine’s PhD research inquires into youth livelihoods, education practices, emotional lives and spaces of social change in Nepal, with an eye towards understanding the materiality of the ‘global schooling project’ in the everyday lived experiences of young people.

Tanya Beetham, University of Stirling
Current project:  Community-based young adult accounts of domestic abuse in childhood: an inter-sectional narrative analysis.
Tanya’s research explores young women’s narrations of domestic violence and abuse in childhood when no domestic abuse services were involved.  She uses an intersectional narrative analysis to adopt a critical, reflexive analytical approach which accounts for complexity and multiple subjectivities.  She aims to extend the domestic abuse research to include the experiences of young adults who did not receive specialist support.

Debbie Braybrook, Leeds Metropolitan University
Current project:
Given the importance placed on partner involvement in studies of health in straight relationships, Debbie’s current research explores how gay men in committed relationships influence one another’s health-related practices. This is an area that has been overlooked in health research. Debbie is interested in intimate relationships, social influences on health-related practices, gender, sexuality and intersectionality.

Sarah Brown, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Long-term neuropsychological change in mentally disordered offenders at The State Hospital
Focusing on schizophrenia, associated co-morbidities, and impact on risk.

George Burrows, The University of Glasgow
Current project: Trans and non-binary experiences of sex. This study aims to increase our understanding of transgender (or trans, including non-binary) people’s sexual experiences, including good experiences and difficulties around sex, as well as the relevance of some existing terms and definitions related to the topic.  It builds on issues of the body, sex and relationship, which arose during a previous “emotional safety” study.  Read George’s current biography, and find out the latest details of the study by emailing, on the project webpage, or via Twitter @TransRels.

Jade Catterson, University of Dundee
Current project: The effect of natural hazards on street children and their family relationships: The 2010 Earthquake and daily life life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The aim of the research is to provide a voice for street children, who as a marginalised population within society, have been relatively overlooked in social science research until recently.

Felicity Cawley, University of Glasgow
Current project: The effects of family form and parental marital status on experiences of childhood in 20th century Scotland.
Using oral history and a range of archival sources Felicity’s research examines the effects of family form on experiences of childhood in Scotland (c.1920-1970), including experiences of education, housing, and family relationships. This research forms part of the AHRC funded project ‘A History of Working Class Marriage, 1855-1976‘.

Chiara Cooper, University of Edinburgh
Project: Operation of masculine cultures on college campuses and universities in both the UK and USA.
Researching the operation of masculine cultures on college campuses and universities in both the UK and USA through sociolegal scholarships.  Looking specifically at the culture of laddism in the UK and fraternity culture in the US, assessing to what extent they are similar and examining their link to sexual violence against women students.

Sue Collier, Anglia Ruskin University
Research interests: Children’s rights to make decisions in their health care. health literacy.

Anne-Marie Craig, University of St Andrews
Current project: Investigating the nature and effectiveness of current knowledge translation activities across health social care and third sector organisations in Scotland. Anne-Marie’s interest is in how these diverse knowledge bases are supporting the integration of services and ultimately how they are or could contribute to improved outcomes across the population of Scotland.

Ariane Critchley, Edinburgh Napier University
Current project: Quickening Steps: An Institutional Ethnography of Pre-birth Child Protection in Scotland. An ESRC funded 1+3 PhD with the working title

Rafidah Mohamad Cusairi, Glasgow Caledonian University
Current project: Rafidah is currently carrying out research on family mediation in the UK with specific focus on the Muslim minority in Britain, including how the British legal system accommodates the Muslim minority needs, especially in terms of their Personal status law, sharia law and the court system and the administration of the muslim family law in Britain.

Robin Dallas-Childs, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:   My research focuses on the experiences young people who have spent time in the Scottish Care system. At the point of entering care, and indeed at points beforehand, the totality of society’s institutions and services converge to intervene at a moment of personal and family crisis and thereafter, the responsibility for the upbringing of a child is devolved to these institutions. My research is born out of a profound curiosity as to how these events are experienced and interpreted by the young people themselves.

Eva Duncanson, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:  My research analyses the development and maintenance of online relationships established between webcam models and their clients and the ways in which they establish boundaries. For this research I will be conducting interviews with webcam models, a survey of customers and observation on the hosting sites.

Nikki Dunne, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Biographies of Care: Indian migrant nurses in a globalising care economy. The thesis explores the working and family lives of migrant nurses from Kerala, India currently working in the UK.

Thomas Emery, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Intergenerational Transfers and Unemployment Spells in European Welfare Regimes.
This project looks at the changing role of older generations within the family, exploring in particular the role of financial payments from the elderly to adult children during times of unemployment.

Beverley Ferguson, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Beverley’s PhD will explore issues surrounding teenage parents and look at what support systems would be required to enable teenagers to continue in education after their baby is born.

Rebecca Foster, University of Glasgow
Current project: Exploring the ‘pains of imprisonment’ beyond the prison: an ethnographic study of prisoners’ visitors at a Scottish prison. This project aims to explore the effects of imprisonment on the families of prisoners, with a particular focus on their experiences of visiting the prison.

Nadine Fowler, University of Stirling
Current project: Nadine is undertaking an ethnographic study which seeks to explore the relationships between
staff and children in residential child care. As part of this, she is conducting a series of informal and semi-structured interviews using visual methodologies, most namely photo-elicitation.

Catriona Galbraith, University of Stirling
Current project: Experiences of chronic illness and informal caring in Scotland
Using a range of visual and interview methods my PhD is looking at how family identities are negotiated in relation to non-terminal illness and informal care, and whether being paid for informal care impacts the relationships between family members.

Brian Gallagher, Glasgow Caledonian University
Current project: Brian’s research involves exploring the intereconnections between fatherhood, masculinities and alcohol use. It is a qualititative study that will investigate the role that fatherhood and alcohol play in gendered identity construction, which may help address high rates of drinking and uncover aspects of the father-child relationship that are currently unclear.

Leah Gilman, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: How do sperm and egg donors understand donation?
Since April 2005, people donating gametes in the UK must consent to identifying information about themselves being disclosed to any person conceived from their donation, if they request it after the age of eighteen. The aim of this qualitative interview study is to understand how sperm and egg donors understand their role as donors and the act of donation, in this new legislative context.

Sarah Goldsmith, Glasgow Caledonian University
Current project: “Girls’ toys and boys’ toys: learning through play”
Sarah is planning to carry out child-centred research with children aged 6-9 to obtain their views and opinions about toys and gender in this under researched area. Hopefully involving the children in designing and carrying out the research in an interactive way in family groups, play settings and schools.

Sarah Golightley, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Therapeutic boarding schools in the USA
Sarah’s PhD research is on therapeutic boarding schools in the USA, which are residential facilities for teenagers who are considered to have had mental health or substance misuse problems.  Young people are typically sent to a therapeutic boarding school at their parents’ request, sometimes without the knowledge or consent of the young person.  The research is centred on in-depth interviews with former therapeutic board school students on their experiences and perspectives.

Kate Gould, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Female Sexual Dysfunction and the Social Construction of Disease. This research looks at the condition of female sexual dysfunction as one that has been socially constructed, examining it from theoretical perspectives and those of women with it, clinicians who diagnose it, and pharmaceutical companies that seek to treat it.

Amy Goulding, Glasgow Caledonian University
Current project: Scottish Institute of Policing Research (SIPR) funded Phd entitled ‘Police Attitudes to Youth and Youth Interventions: A Case Study of Inverclyde’.

Elizabeth Graham, University of Stirling
Current project: Currently researching children with Asperger Syndrome’s experiences of the support they receive in school. This qualitative study will explore their experiences of social and educational support in school.

Sharon Greenwood, University of Glasgow
Current project: ‘On Your Own Without a Net’? Experiences of young adults affected by parental substance use. Sharon’s PhD research focuses on unpacking the lived experience of young adults, aged between 16 and 30, who have been, or continue to be affected by parental drug and/or alcohol use. Sharon uses a combination of biographical interviewing and visual methods. This research is funded by the ESRC (2013-6)

Isy Hart, Glasgow Caledonian University
Current project: Women and domestic abuse’: experiences of the criminal justice system
This project will look at how women who have experienced domestic abuse use the Criminal Justice System in Scotland.  Isy will highlight their varying experiences of the different services that they come into contact with, including Police Scotland, Procurator Fiscal and the Domestic Abuse Courts, with a view to validating their experiences. The research will also offer a comparison involving service provision from the multi agencies working within the Criminal Justice System and find out ways in which the women came into contact with these multi agencies.

Somia Imran, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Association of Grandparent-grandchild Relationship with Empathy and Depression in Grandchildren.

Dora Jandric, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Imagined Futures of Same-sex couples
The research explores the imagined futures of older same-sex couples in Scotland using qualitative research methods. The aim is to fill gaps in literature on non-heterosexual ageing and imagined futures, as well as to contribute to policy and practice development on the issues of discrimination and homophobia.

Caroline Jarvis, University of Stirling
Current project: An investigation into the experiences of young people, with an additional support need, transitioning from state education to adult services.

Mufiza Zia Kapadia, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Evaluation of chlamydia testing and treatment service for young people in community pharmacies of Lothian, Scotland.
Mufiza is currently undertaking a PhD at the centre of population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, evaluating NHS Lothian community pharmacy chlamydia testing and treatment programme for young people.

Marta Kowalewska
Current project: Addressing the (in)visibility of Romani women in Central and Eastern European nationalist discourses: Implications for intersectional feminism and nationalism studies
Marta’s research uses feminist intersectionality to enrich studies of nationalism and racism whilst building evidence-based understandings of threats to health and social justice for Romani women. The research aims to suggest an approach where policies addressing healthcare access, reproductive rights, ethnic discrimination and poverty in Romani populations take into the account the specific situation of Romani women, rather than utilising a gender-blind approach.

Maggie Laidlaw, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: This near completed PhD is part of the Imagine programme which explores ways in which previously marginalised voices contribute new forms of knowledge about how communities change. Building on her active involvement in community arts projects, Maggie explores the temporal experiences of female volunteers in three community organisations. The findings show that the creation of democratic communities are often a result of extensive and on-going temporal negotiations between individuals, families, and personal relationships, so that possibilities of social change can occur at a scale, rate and pace that connects individuals and communities with their futures.

Samuel Lawton, University of Glasgow
Research interests: Sexual prejudice against bisexual men is a barrier to initiating and maintaining relationships. There is evidence that bisexual men suffer from dual discrimination because of their sexuality, and more surprisingly their gender. Sams research examines bisexual men’s relationships from the perspectives of sociology, social psychology, and gender studies, seeking to uncover bisexual men’s and their partner’s experiences through qualitative methods.

Hyunmin Lee, University of Seoul
Research interests: Living condition, quality of life, mental health, social participation, work condition, discrimination/of people living alone.

Nitzan Levenberg, The University of Edinburgh
Research interests:  Exploring notions of love and intimacy amongst British and Israeli Millennials, with special interest in the search for long-term, committed relationships in post-modernity.

Aisha Macgregor, The University of Glasgow
Current project: This PhD explores how community based Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs) impact families and relationships. This research has utilised semi-structured interviews with people on community based CTOs, their families and mental health advocates.

Jingyu Mao, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:  My current research explores how inequalities profoundly impact on people’s emotions, sense of self and relationships. I also use these ‘intimate negotiation’ as theoretical lens to reveal the broader social structures.

Leah McCabe, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: The development of domestic abuse policies in post-devolution Scotland by applying a Feminist Institutionalist perspective. There is an emphasis on substantive representation of women and the influence this has on policymaking. This research aims to analyse the gendered dimensions of the Scottish Parliament and the influence this has had on domestic abuse policy.

Aimee McCullough, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: On the margins of family and home: Working-class fatherhood and masculintiy in Scotland c 1970 – 1995
Using oral history and a range of archival sources, this research examines men’s relationships, attitudes and practices in relation to family and home life in late twentieth century Scotland.

Hannah McInnes-Dean
Current project: An ethnographic enquiry into men’s experiences of the transition to fatherhood in Edinburgh. Focusing on experiences of childbirth and parental leave.

Caitlin McLean, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Childcare Policy and Provision in the United States and United Kingdom
Caitlin is undertaking a PhD in Social Policy, with research interests in comparative family policy and non-state welfare provision. Her thesis is a comparative case study of two market-based childcare regimes – the US and UK.

Maggie Morrison, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Maggie’s PhD, currently without a title, explores perspectives of Bangladeshi migrants, in particular young children, on Early Years provision and socialisation in Scotland.

Javita Narang, University of Edinburgh
Current project: Are existing clinical therapeutic interventions and models useful in the South Asian context for treating the effects of child sexual abuse?
Javita aims to examine existing clinical intervention models for recovery and healing of the effects of child sexual abuse and evaluate their relevance and application to the South Asian context.

Lakshmi Neelakantan, University of Edinburgh
Current project:
Lakshmi’s PhD research explores pathways to child sexual abuse victimization and perpetration, with a particular focus on accessing the views and experiences of children, caregivers and teachers in Zimbabwe to inform intervention development. This research will feed into the development and adaptation of an evidence-based intervention aimed at preventing child sexual abuse victimization.

Gina Nowak, University of Glasgow
Current project: Policy influence of children’s voluntary organisations
Gina’s research is an ESRC CASE studentship exploring the ways in which the children’s voluntary sector influences policy in a devolved Scottish context. The studentship is co-sponsored by Barnardo’s, a national children’s voluntary organisation.

Sena Nukata, Kyoto University/The University of Edinburgh
Current project:
Sena’s master thesis will focus on Japanese Filipino double children, who have moved from the Philippines after 2009. I will discuss the relationship between their problems in daily life and the Japanese nation state. Sena is especially interested in mobile people and their identities in this globalizing world.

Chelle Oldham, University of West Scotland
My research looks at the value families place on education and the spaces in which education takes place. I am asking families to consider why they chose to educate their children in spaces such as schools, churches and home. My research compares the transfer, if one occurs, of education capital (the accumulation of knowledge, skills, behaviours and experiences) from children to adults at home. Education capital is part of a families cultural capital collectively; can children’s learning experience(s) improve, alter or increase their parents/carers learning and knowledge? or

Naomi Partridge, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Survivors experiences of dissociating in therapy sessions. Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse have dissociative experiences as a result of early trauma. Naomi’s research explores what such experiences are like for survivors when they occur within the context of the therapy sessions. It aims to add survivors’ voices to discussions of psychotherapeutic practice with trauma and dissociation.

Zoe Picton-Howell, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Zoe is currently researching a PhD in the School of Law. This will examine the influence of medical and judicial professionals on the human rights of children with disability in the UK. The knowledge, attitudes, culture and awareness inter alia professionals have of child disability and the relevant law will all be examined.

Aigli Raouna, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:  Aigli is particularly interested in the field of perinatal mental health for both mothers and fathers and in the field of intergenerational transmission of psychopathology.  Her current research is funded by the Principal’s Career Development PhD Scholarship and it focuses on transition to parenthood in the context of bipolar disorder using a mixed methods approach.

Emily Ross, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: In light of increasing amounts of research pointing to a link between fetal health and health in later life, Emily’s PhD will focus on pregnant women’s interpretations of their relationship with the fetus, and the influence this has on their health behaviours.

Emily Rose, Australian National University
Current project: Emily’s research considers whether the use of information and communication technologies during the workday for personal purposes helps employees to manage their work and personal lives. She draws on literature from the social studies of technology and also that focusing on the work/family interface.

Kristina Saunders, University of Glasgow
Current project:
Qualitatively exploring how women make and experience reproductive decisions in a supposed age of choice. This study will explore the connections between wider theoretical debates and structures regarding individualization and neoliberalism, and the lived realities of women’s lives and decision making.

Anna Shucksmith, Glasgow Caledonian University
Current project:
Anna’s PhD is nested within the process evaluation of THRIVE (Trial of Healthy Relationships Initiative for the Very Early Years), a three-armed randomised control trial that will compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two interventions (Mellow Bumps and Enhanced Triple P for Baby) with usual care.
Anna aims to assess whether the building of social capital amongst pregnant women in the form of improved social relationships is a critical part of the success (or otherwise) of the intervention, and to understand how the intervention could be located in a wider social context.

Robert Stephenson, Queen Mary University of London
Current project:
This qualitative study will explore the everyday lived experiences of self-identified ‘male primary caregivers’ juggling competing activities of work, home and family in London in the (post) recession period focusing particularily on households supported by a female breadwinner.

Simon Stones, University of Leeds
Current project:
Simon’s project involves working in partnership with young people living with arthritis, asthma and diabetes, as well as their families, doctors, nurses and teachers to better support them in understanding their condition and communicating about it with others.

Andreea Tocca, University of Suffolk
Current project:  The study main aim is to provide the participants with a voice to tell their story of what life is like living with Marfan Syndrome.

  • What are the lived experiences of young people (aged 13 to 24) and their families who have been given a diagnosis of Marfan Syndrome?
  • How does Marfan Syndrome impact on the participants and their families’ everyday experiences?

Chih-Yung Celeste Wang
Current project:
Chih-Yung’s PhD will explore how work culture influences family relationships, how parents’ perceptions of work impacts on family relationships, child aspirations and child well-being.

Kwanravee Wangudom, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: My PhD project aims to explore intergenerational family dynamics at the cosmopolitan turn by bringing both sociology and psychoanalytic approaches.  This means taking into account an interplay between social structure and individuals, the latter also with unconscious aspects of being.

Britt Evy Westergaard, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Person-Focused Approach in services for older people with intellectual disabilities: doing life story work with older people with mild or moderate intellectual disability.
The project will focus on life story work, service recipient’s reactions and the effects of knowing a person’s life story on the attitudes and practice of service providers.

Catherine Whittaker, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Are gender rights opposed to cultural rights? Catherine studies divergent narratives surrounding violence against women among Nahuatl speakers of Central Mexico, where women often prioritise protecting their life worlds, which include their communities and sentient mountains, over individual rights. Her ethnographic research thus questions the divisibility of indigenous rights, gender rights, environmental and spiritual justice.

Alex Wright, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:What Works Scotland

Hong Yang, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: The study seeks to explore relationship dynamics of international couples between Chinese women and British men in UK by discussing questions such as whether different dimensions of power (individual, interpersonal, and structural)  is related to intimacy; whether perceptions and exertion of power varied by gender and ethnicity; whether different dimensions of power are rotational between couples; what strategies couples take can lead to the rotation of power; and how does the rotation of power shape the way to construct intimacy.

Hannah Zagel, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Hannah’s PhD focuses on single mothers in Germany and the UK. Using national panel data sets (BHPS and GSOEP), the research looks at single mothers’ work patterns, especially in the event of partnership transitions, in different policy settings.

Developed by Learning Technology Section, University of Edinburgh  |  Privacy Policy
Banner Images: © NHS Scotland, 2011 & ©