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Appearance Matters: Prof Diana Harcourt and Maia Thornton

19 November 2019

Appearance Matters: Prof Diana Harcourt and Maia Thornton

Professor Diana Harcourt (left) is Director of the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of West England, and Maia Thornton (right) is a PhD student at the Centre. They describe their work, and its importance for people with NF

Diana:

“The Centre comprises a group of psychologists concerned with studying visible difference and body image. Visible difference can be something someone is born with, or the result of an accident or a medical condition. We are interested in what challenges they face, and what forms of intervention and support are effective. Why do some people manage very well, and other people struggle?

Some of our recent research includes an online study where participants were invited to write about how they feel about how their body functions. We are also doing a study of the experiences of disclosing a visible difference, when the difference is covered up but is revealed in situations of intimacy.

Of course, one example of a medical condition that can cause a visible difference is Neurofibromatosis. We are very grateful to Nerve Tumours UK as a member of the Appearance Collective, which is a group of charities that support people living with visible differences. They help us find participants for our research studies. Indeed, I’m grateful for this opportunity to invite members of the NF community to join our participant pool.” (Details are at the end of this article.)

Maia:

"My research is focused on the experiences of parents of children with physical differences. How do they feel, how do they cope, what interventions and support make a difference? We are certainly interested in the experiences of parents of children with Neurofibromatosis. We have a study coming up in the autumn, where we will be inviting parents to complete an online survey. If you are interested, follow the link to join the participant pool.”

Participant Pool at the Centre for Appearance Research

To find out about joining the participant pool, visit bit.ly/participant_ pool. Joining the pool does not commit you to participating in any research projects – it just means that you will be informed about opportunities to participate.

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