Recruitment to his study is closed

Exploring Experiences of Visible Difference, Intimacy and Intimate Relationships

Researchers at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England are conducting a new research study looking to examine the experiences of intimacy amongst people who have an altered appearance or an appearance altering condition. They are looking for participants who are willing to speak to them about their experiences of intimate relationships and who:

  1. have an altered appearance or who are (or were) the partner of someone with an altered appearance;
  2. are at least 18 years old;
  3. are able to communicate verbally in the English language; and
  4. do not have a mental health condition which is currently uncontrolled by medication or intervention and which has a significant impact upon their daily life.

If you wish to participate you will be asked to speak to the researcher about your thoughts, feelings and experiences of appearance and intimate relationships. This will be done in a one-to-one individual interview and you will be able to choose whether this will be in person (at a location convenient for you), over the phone or over the internet via skype or a similar service. These interviews may last between 30 minutes and one hour, though the exact length will depend on what you have to say.

The research is being conducted as this is an area that little is known about and which remains relatively under-researched. It is intended that the findings will be published and otherwise disseminated in order to increase researcher and healthcare professionals’ awareness and understanding. The results will also be used to develop a measurement tool so that those who find this area of their life problematic may be identified and appropriate information and support may be offered.

If you may be interested in participating or you would like more information you can contact the researcher, Nick Sharratt, at [email protected] or 0117 328 1891 or you can follow this link: which will take you to a web-site where eligible participants can find more information about the study and where you can register your interest if you would like to take part. If you wish to participate you can either take Nick’s details from this site or leave your phone number or e-mail address so that he can contact you.

More general information about the Centre for Appearance Research can be found on this web-site:

Nick and the Centre for Appearance Research would like to extend their thanks to you for reading this and for considering participating in the research.

Research Process

Participants will be provided with a participant information sheet and, if interested in participating, can contact the researcher or leave their details here: so that the researcher may contact them, answer any questions that they may have and discuss their participation.

Participants will be asked to provide consent prior to the interview and the interview will be audibly recorded and transcribed. The interviews will focus on visible differences and intimacy and the experiences, thoughts and feelings of participants. Interviews will be semi-structured in nature as the researcher will have an interview guide indicating some topics that may be covered but will be flexible and responsive to the issues that are important to the participant and which the participant wishes to talk about.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval for this research has been granted by The University of the West of England’s Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences Faculty Research Ethics Committee.

The Researcher

Nick is conducting research towards a PhD and is based in the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England. Nick studied for a conversion Diploma in Psychology with the Open University and then completed a Health Psychology MSc at the University of Bath. He is a member of the British Psychological Society. Previously Nick worked within the legal profession having undertaken a law degree (LLB (Hons)) and completed a post-graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (both at Cardiff University) and then training and qualifying as a solicitor (now non-practising).