Alopecia UK funds invested: £500

When:  October 2020-July 2021

Project type:  Psychological Research

Project Lead:  Dr Shruti Narayaswamy

Length of project: 18 months

Research Institute: University of St Andrews

Condition of interest:  All types of female hair loss, including Alopecia Areata

Funds being used for:  Staff costs

Research question:

How do media representations (or the lack thereof) of Alopecia and hair loss impact women with these conditions?

Justification for research project:

This is a feasibility study focused on how female-identifying people with Alopecia react to the visual representation (or its lack thereof) of Alopecia and hair loss in media, such as film, TV, advertising and social media. The findings of this study will help inform guidelines for mainstream media representations of Alopecia and hair loss.

Data from questionnaires and transcribed interviews will be analysed and compiled into a report. This feasibility study could be scaled-up later into a larger study, to examine how media representation - or the absence of representation - of Alopecia and hair loss shapes body image and confidence.

Who is leading the project:

Dr Narayanswamy recently received her PhD in Film Studies from the University of St Andrews. She is a teaching assistant in the Department of Film Studies and works with CEED, the University’s student development body.

Over the course of her PhD research, Dr Narayanswamy worked on several projects analysing the social significance of film and media and understanding how the media around us shapes and impacts us.  She has Alopecia herself and has written about her experiences with media representation on her blog.