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Emese Mayhew

MA Translation Studies (University of Sheffield), MA Social Policy (University of York), MA English Language and Literature (University of Leiden) 

PhD student 


Thesis supervisor

Professor Bryony Beresford

Thesis topic

Characterising the structure and nature of social connectedness in populations living with impairment.

Thesis summary

Being socially connected has been shown to be vital for people’s psychological and physical wellbeing. At the individual level, close personal relationships contribute to the formation of personal identity, self-esteem, to feelings of belonging, it buffers stress and enables one to succeed in life. People living with impairments have historically occupied a marginalised position in societies. Even as recently as the late 20th century, people with disabilities were segregated from mainstream society within educational institutions and the labour market. As a result, they have on average lower educational attainment, higher unemployment rates and are more likely to live in poverty than the general population. These outcomes put people with disabilities at high risk of social disconnectedness, in other words, social isolation.

This PhD thesis is going to explore the levels and types of social connectedness in a population of people with impairments using the British Life Opportunities Survey, also comparing this to the connectedness of the general population. The thesis is grounded in the social model of disability and it will use a network theory approach to measure ‘connectedness’. The project will use a mixed methods approach:

  • It will employ quantitative strategies like Structural Equation Modelling and Latent Class Analysis to create a social connectedness typology. 
  • It will employ qualitative interviews to explore how relationships with weak network ties (for example, paid social or health care support) contribute to feelings of connectedness.


Research interests

  • Social connectedness, its determinants and outcomes
  • Disability research
  • Health intervention evaluations
  • Quantitative methods



Peer-reviewed articles

Beresford, B. A., Neves De Faria, R. I., Mayhew, E. T., Duarte, A. I., Weatherly, H. L. A., Aspinal, F., Parker, G. M. & Kanaan, M. (2019) Outcomes of reablement and their measurement: findings from an evaluation of English reablement services.  Health and Social Care in the Community. 27, 6, p. 1438-1450 13 p.

Beresford, B. A., Mann, R. C., Parker, G. M., Kanaan, M., Neves De Faria, R. I., Rabiee, P., Weatherly, H. L. A., Clarke, S. E., Mayhew, E. T., Duarte, A. I., Laver-Fawcett, A. & Aspinal, F. (2019) Reablement services for people at risk of needing social care: the MoRe mixed-methods evaluation, Health Services and Delivery Research. 7, 16, p. 1-254 254 p.

Mayhew, E. T., Beresford, B. A., Laver-Fawcett, A., Aspinal, F., Mann, R. C., Bechtold, K. & Kanaan, M., (2019) The Hopkins Rehabilitation Engagement Rating Scale - Reablement Version (HRERS-RV): Development and Psychometric Properties In : Health and Social Care in the Community. 27, 3, p. 777-787.

Contributions to conference papers

Beresford, B. A., Mayhew, E. T. & Stuttard, L. (2019) Longer term support for adults diagnosed with autism.

Beresford, B. A., Mayhew, E. T., Mann, R. C., Kanaan, M., Laver-Fawcett, A. & Aspinal, F. (2019) Understanding and supporting user engagement in reablement (without learning disability): An evaluation of multidisciplinary teams in England.

Beresford, B. A., Mann, R. C., Parker, G. M., Kanaan, M., Neves De Faria, R. I., Rabiee, P., Weatherly, H. L. A., Clarke, S. E., Mayhew, E. T., Duarte, A. I., Laver-Fawcett, A. & Aspinal, F. J. (2017) CoModels of Reablement: a mixed methods evaluation of a complex intervention: The MoRe project (Accepted/In press) NIHR Journals Library.


Emese first joined the School for Business and Society after completing her MA in Social Policy in 2002. She collaborated on numerous research projects on child wellbeing, family poverty and comparative social policy led by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw. Emese has developed expertise in conducting quantitative research, data management and survey development techniques using a wide range of software.

Between 2012 and 2017, Emese took a break from academia to pursue her interest in supporting children with special needs across secondary schools in York. She has seen first hand the roles that education policies, mental health services and social perceptions play in the lives of disabled young people. On her return to the school in 2017, Emese took part in several research projects evaluating interventions aimed at improving the lives and independence of populations with chronic health problems and those with long-standing impairments. Emese is passionate about disability rights and believes that people with disabilities have unique insights and experiences to contribute to society. This is why her PhD thesis is focusing on the types of social connectedness experienced by people with impairments, with a special focus on identifying the main barriers and facilitators to disabled people’s social inclusion.



Emese Mayhew

Contact details

Emese Mayhew
PhD student
Research Centre for Social Sciences
School for Business and Society