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PhD Research Project – Fear of Falling in Women Newly Diagnosed with Osteoporosis: A Case-Control Study

logo-university-of-manchesterOsteoporosis is a common musculoskeletal disorder involving reduction in bone density, which often results in increased risk of fractures. It is common for a fragility fracture due to a fall to be the trigger for individuals to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. Individuals with osteoporosis are at a higher risk of falls, which may result in further fractures. Having a diagnosis of osteoporosis may lead to increased anxiety, particularly fear of falls leading to restriction in lifestyle and activity. There has been limited research which has looked at fear of falling in women diagnosed with osteoporosis and this study will investigate fear of falling and impact of diagnosis of osteoporosis in women newly diagnosed with osteoporosis.

The PhD is designed as a case-control study. It involves identifying 70 women newly diagnosed with osteoporosis, with no history of falls (these are referred to as cases) and asking them to complete a structured questionnaire. The controls will be 140 women matched on socio-demographic and disease variables within the same general practices as the cases but who do not have osteoporosis. They will be asked to complete the same questionnaire. This will enable us to identify whether there is a greater fear of falling among women with osteoporosis affects their quality of life or ability to cope. In addition, there will be in-depth interviews with around 20 women with osteoporosis to explore the impact of being diagnosed with osteoporosis, their support requirements and information needs. In the future, using the results from this study, we want to be able to develop a package of care which will help individuals reduce their risk of falling and fear of falls.

This project forms part of our 2014 MRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Due to commence October 2014, the studentship provides full support for tuition fees and a tax-free annual stipend at Research Council rates (currently £13, 726).

Applicants should initially contact the primary supervisor (link below) to discuss the project and their suitability. If encouraged, an online application must then be submitted, selecting “MRC DTP Studentship” on the University online application form.


Deadline for applications: Tuesday 6 December 5pm.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates: 13/14 January 2014.

Further details available on the Find a PhD website.

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