Exploring Non-Suicidal Self-Injury, suicide ideation and emotion regulation in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

We are no longer accepting applications for this studentship. If you have any enquiries, please email phdadmissions@derby.ac.uk

Project summary

The objective of this PhD is to explore non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), suicide ideation and emotion regulation in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The PhD programme of research will broadly cover three objectives:

This PhD programme builds on existing research by Dr Sophie Williams, who has been leading novel research into this area of mental health in women with PCOS. Their recent paper (Williams et al., 2022) identified that women with PCOS, relative to those without, reported significantly greater metrics across measures of emotion dysregulation, rumination and NSSI as well as self-reported indices of previous and future suicide intention. Moreover, this positive relationship between a PCOS diagnosis and future suicide intention was explained by an indirect pathway of increased emotion dysregulation, recent suicide ideation and NSSI.

This project also aligns with the current UK Government’s Women’s Health Strategy (DHSC, 2021) for England which details the government’s strategy to improve women’s health in the UK and specifically to ‘explore ways in which to improve awareness for, care of and treatment for those...with PCOS’. This PhD aligns with government ambitions to improve women’s health outcomes and place women’s voices at the centre of women’s health improvements.

Entry requirements

For this PhD programme, we expect you have to a first-class or upper-second (2:1) honours degree in psychology, or a psychology-related discipline and an MSc degree from a UK university in health or clinical psychology.

International students may also need to meet our English language requirements. For more about our entry requirements for international students.

How to apply

Please contact Dr Sophie Williams (s.williams3@derby.ac.uk) in the first instance for more information. However, please note that applications must be received by Friday 18 November 2022. Applications may take approximately three months to process. Please note that if you require a visa additional time will be required.

This PhD will begin in January 2023.


This PhD is partially funded by the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. Dr Sophie Williams can provide further information on the funding model upon request.