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Research degrees
Research areas
Health, social work and social care
Living with disability and long-term conditions

Living with disability and long-term conditions

The School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care’s work in this area covers research on a wide spectrum of people’s experiences and care across the life course, including physical and learning disability, living with a long-term condition and receiving and giving care.

Key strands include the social history of learning disability; theory; policy and practice in disability; advocacy for people with learning disabilities; disability, sexuality and reproductive health; disability and end-of-life issues; disability and diabetes; neurodiversity and autism; determinants of help-seeking for mental health-related issues and subsequent engagement with mental health services; the benefits and challenges of providing social support and for mental health issues; carer wellbeing.

Research in the field of long-term conditions includes the experience of co-morbidity (physical and mental health); motherhood, and issues around screening; caring policy; carers’ perspectives; diversity and gender; and the discursive construction of autism and ADHD. Projects in this area have also focused on the development of inclusive research methodologies, scoping reviews and life story work.

Collaboration with colleagues in other universities, with service-user and provider organisations, and with disabled people - in the UK and internationally - is a central component of research in this area.

Qualifications available

PhD, Professional Doctorate


For detailed information on current fees visit Research degree fees.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus either a masters degree or research methods training at masters level (or equivalent).

Potential research projects

  • The social history of learning disability, including life story work
  • Theory, policy and practice in disability
  • Learning disability, belonging and inclusion
  • Learning disability and families
  • Advocacy and self-advocacy for people with learning disabilities
  • Learning disability and ageing
  • Disability/long-term conditions and end-of-life issues
  • Disability, learning disability, and sexual and reproductive health
  • Disability and parenthood
  • Disability, learning disability and diabetes
  • The experiences of disabled children in the UK and internationally
  • The relationship between physical and mental ill-health
  • The health of people from minority ethnic groups
  • The differing experiences of people with long-term conditions
  • Coping with co-morbid psychological and physical conditions
  • Neurodiversity and autism
  • Identity issues and autism or ADHD
  • Critical approaches to autism
  • Rehabilitation
  • Care of those living with disability and long-term conditions
  • Caring for a relative with disability and long-term conditions
  • The role of new technologies in managing disability/long-term conditions
  • Provision of support for carers
  • Mental health
  • The experience of diabetes in people with learning disabilities and their carers
  • The experiences of the carers of people with diabetes
  • The social construction of quality diabetes care appointments in primary care by adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities, their supporters and healthcare professionals.

Current/recent research projects

  • The construction of ADHD - a discursive psychological approach to the talk of mothers of children with ADHD
  • The implications of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 on black and minority ethnic people with learning difficulties
  • The impact of rural and urban environments on the lived experience of people with learning difficulties
  • Neurological rehabilitation...what next?
  • The role of assistance dogs in the lives of people with MS
  • An exploration of mental wellbeing, bisexual identity and monogamy
  • The social construction of quality diabetes appointments for people with learning disabilities.

Potential supervisors


Women teaching man with special needs

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Inma Alvarez, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655364