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  • David Harper

INTERSECT PHD STUDENTSHIP

Opportunity to do a PhD on the impact of sexual violence on birth and mental health

Sexual violence is experienced by 1 in 4 women living in Western societies.There is little research looking at the interplay between sexual trauma and women’s experiences of birth, despite such research having the potential to inform changes to maternity care provision, funding and policy at national and international levels. It can also inform initiatives such as screening and support for women who have experienced sexual violence to prevent and reduce morbidity worldwide. Determining the prevalence of sexual violence during childhood and adulthood, and the negative impact it has on women’s experiences during birth and mental health is important to raise awareness, increase understanding and to inform screening and interventions, such as trauma informed care, being implemented worldwide.


Aims: This PhD will examine the impact of sexual violence on women’s birth experiences and postnatal mental health. Specific research questions are:

  1. What are the prevalence rates of sexual violence in childhood and adulthood in different countries?

  2. How does sexual violence in childhood or adulthood affect women’s experiences of birth?

  3. Is a history of sexual violence associated with greater risk of developing PTSD or depression after birth?

The PhD involves conducting secondary analysis of the INTERSECT data to address these research questions. If you have any questions please contact us.

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