Studentship in Gender and Mental Health in the West of Scotland c.1970-c.1990

Published: 3 July 2017

2017 Applied Research Collaborative Studentship (ARCS): Gender and Mental Health in the West of Scotland c. 1970 – c. 1990

Project summary

From the 1970s many West of Scotland communities experienced the profound structural changes that we now call de-industrialisation. Loss of employment in the heavy and extractive industries had a significant public health impact upon men and women in terms of their physical but also mental wellbeing. This project, situated at the intersection between gender history and health history and profiting from the experience of a leading mental health advocacy organisation, will explore the relationship between deindustrialisation and mental illness, determining in particular how gender affected the ability of individuals to adapt to such momentous changes in their social, economic and emotional lives.

Aims & Objectives

1. Provide an historical understanding of the relationship between mental health outcomes and gender identities and roles and to inform current policy and practice in mental health provision.
2. Provide historical insights into the ‘Glasgow Effect’, by bringing together research on health and wellbeing and gender
3. Work with the Mental Health Foundation Scotland to identify relevant research and practical means of support within these communities as they re-structure.
4. Produce a series of briefings for the research community on the relationship between gender and mental health in the context of communities undergoing profound economic and social change

Research question

What can a comparison of working class men and women’s experiences of mental health tell us about the gendering of mental health experience, diagnosis and treatment under conditions of de-industrialisation?

Research methods

Qualitative and quantitative research methods will be utilised. The primary research will utilise details of work, employment and housing resettlement. Broad patterns of health will be compiled using data from medical journals and the records of medical groups held by NHS Greater Glasgow. Qualitative sources include social work reports and oral history interviews with men, women and medical professionals. Underpinning all of this will be the insights and experience of the Mental Health Foundation who will be able to offer advice and guidance with respect to interpretation and also, in relation to the oral history, practice and ethics.


  • Lynn Abrams, Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow is a leading scholar in the history of gender and in the theory and practice of oral history. She is also a member of the Centre for Gender History. 
  • Matthew Smith is Professor of Health History at the University of Strathclyde and co-Director of the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare. He is a leading historian of medicine with particular expertise in mental health. 
  • Lee Knifton is Head of The Mental Health Foundation for Scotland where he leads the policy, research, programmes and external relations teams. He has extensive experience of working in the NHS, the University and Third sectors in the field of mental health. 

Entry requirements

  • First degree (at least a 2i) in a relevant subject 
  • Masters degree in a relevant subject (awarded or pending)

How to Apply

Candidates should apply with a letter of application which explains their motivation for applying for this studentship and outlines their relevant skills and experience in relation to this research project. The letter should be accompanied by a full cv and a sample piece of writing (such as a piece of masters coursework, chapter from a dissertation or similar).
Applications should be sent by email to by 31 July 2017. Please put ‘SGSARCS mental health’ in the Subject line.
Interviews will be held in August.

Informal enquiries can be made to

Website links

First published: 3 July 2017

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