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OU PhD student researches the psychology of managing illness through diet

Shutterstock-488873683 Diabetic diet and healthy eating concept

An OU PhD student will present research into the psychology of managing diet-controlled conditions such as type 2 diabetes and coeliac disease, at an event at the OU Milton Keynes on Thursday (22 March).

Catherine MacKenzie, a first year PhD student in Life, Health and Chemical Sciences in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will present her research topic: Increasing our understanding of how psychological mechanisms impact the self-management of type 2 diabetes and coeliac disease.

She will present some early realisations at PubhD, an event where PhD students explain their research in a pub. At the event, Catherine will describe how the prevalence of conditions that are diet mediated is increasing rapidly; in some countries in the world, the prevalence of coeliac disease is 55 percent of the population.

“We are not addressing the multi-faceted levels of management needed as we should be and there are huge amounts there that we still do not know especially in terms of psychology over medicine,” Catherine said.

Catherine will research how psychological mechanisms play a part in the management of both type 2 diabetes and coeliac disease through quantitative, statistical analysis and focus groups.

 “In my research, I want to really get to grips with how having to control your diet every single day to manage an illness has an impact how your psychology and mental health,” she said.


Catherine was also among a group of OU PhD students who put questions to MPs in March as part of the annual Voice of the Future event.

Hear what Catherine has to say about her research in the video below:

PubhD will be held at The Cellar Bar at The Open University from 6:00 - 8.30pm on Thursday 22 March.

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