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City academic wins outstanding doctoral dissertation award

Dr Sadie Wickwar wins The Seymour Fisher Outstanding Body Image Dissertation Annual Award

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Dr Sadie Wickwar, a Research Fellow and Chartered Psychologist in the School of Health Sciences at City University London, has won The Seymour Fisher Outstanding Body Image Dissertation Annual Award and a $1000 prize in recognition of her doctoral dissertation.

The prestigious award is affiliated with Body Image: An International Journal of Research and is named after the late Dr Seymour Fisher, who contributed years of research to developing a model of body image. Each year’s recipient is announced in the next year’s first quarterly issue of the journal.

Dr Wickwar’s PhD investigated the psychosocial and clinical outcomes of surgery for disfiguring Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) and recruited patients from Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, and Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre. The project used mixed methods to investigate which clinical and psychological factors might predict quality of life outcomes after surgery for TED and explore patients' expectations of their upcoming surgery. Dr Wickwar’s thesis highlighted the importance of the individual’s perceptions of their appearance and the social world, over and above the clinical severity of their TED.

Dr Wickwar also received a Research Progress Award in 2014 for the timely submission of her PhD thesis and her contribution to the School of Health Sciences, and she continues to investigate the impact of chronic eye conditions and their treatments on quality of life, psychosocial cognitions and mood using mixed research methods as Research Fellow.

Speaking about the award, Dr Wickwar said:

“I’m delighted to win this year’s The Seymour Fisher Outstanding Body Image Dissertation Annual Award. To enter the award I had to submit a copy of my PhD thesis and a letter confirming that my PhD had been completed and successfully defended to Dr Thomas Cash, Editor of Body Image, who evaluated the entries. My PhD was an investigation of quality of life in TED, whether surgery improves quality of life, and what factors predict changes in quality of life – a previously under-researched area. I had received positive feedback about my thesis from my examiners, Professor John Lawrenson (internal) and Professor Robert Newell (external), which made me consider submitting my thesis for this award.”

“You don’t always hear about awards being offered by journals or societies unless you happen to be looking in the right place at the right time. I would recommend any City students or staff who receive positive feedback on dissertations or theses to look for out similar awards in their professional area.”

Professor Stanton Newman was the Lead Supervisor of the project along with Geoff Rose, a consultant from Moorfields Eye Hospital. Dr Hayley McBain from City University London and Daniel Ezra, consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital were also part of the committee that supported the project.

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