Hannah Merrick: “Exploring grandparenthood in the context of grandchild disability”

In Environmental Planning, Students by jvnf65

  • Newcastle University
  • Social Science and Health
  • h.merrick2@ncl.ac.uk


My PhD project seeks to explore the role of grandparents in the lives of grandchildren with a disability from a multi-generational perspective and to understand the impact of ageing on the grandparent-grandchild relationship. This is a collaborative PhD project with the North East branch of the charity, Contact a Family. Shifts in family relationships and roles, demographics and broader contexts are placing greater emphasis on the importance of grandparents in the care of children with a disability, however the significance of their role is under researched. This project will use an exploratory narrative approach to develop a deeper understanding of the practices, meanings and challenges involved in grandparenting children and young people with a disability. Interviews will be carried out with grandparents, and subsequently we will aim to interview some of the parents and then the grandchildren with a disability. The findings will detail the perspectives of each generation involved in the relationship. The findings will be used to help inform organisations such as Contact a Family who work to support families of children with a disability.

I previously studied undergraduate Psychology and completed a Masters in Psychological Research Methods. I have 7 years of experience working as a Research Assistant collecting data and carrying out quantitative data analysis. This included working on a 4 year longitudinal study investigating the transition from children’s healthcare services to adult services for young people long term complex health needs. Publications from these projects can be found on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hannah_Merrick2

My PhD project offers an opportunity to train in qualitative research methods and develop inter-disciplinary research skills.