Mr Gareth Thomas
Address:1-3 Museum Place
Ph.D. in Sociology, Cardiff University (+3 ESRC funded): 2010-present
MSc Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University (Distinction): 2009-2010
Distinction in dissertation entitled ‘The Baby Breach: Cooling Out Mothers of Children with Down’s Syndrome’. The dissertation captures how mothers respond to a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.
BSc Econ. Sociology, Cardiff University (First Class Honours): 2006-2009
First class honours in dissertation entitled ‘Courtesy Stigma: Experiences of Down’s Syndrome in the Family’. The dissertation explores whether parents of children with Down’s syndrome feel stigmatised by their child.
- Medical sociology and anthropology
- Disability studies
- Pregnancy and prenatal screening/testing
- Medical technologies
- Body, health and illness
- Care in clinical settings
- The work of Erving Goffman
- Virtual worlds
PhD Topic / Area
Provisional PhD Title: ‘A Risky Business: Screening for Down’s Syndrome in Antenatal Care’.
My study intends to explore the experiences of both prospective parents and healthcare practitioners for the duration of Down’s syndrome screening and testing procedures in antenatal care. Drawing on ethnographic observations of two healthcare institutions together with semi-structured interviews and secondary data analysis, I focus on a number of issues, including: how clinicians communicate, and parents perceive, a ‘lower risk’ or ‘higher risk’ result during screening; how clinicians deliver good and bad news; the routinisation and everydayness of screening for foetal abnormalities; discrepancies between clinical and lay knowledge and understanding; why parents choose to undertake or avoid further diagnostic testing; the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding screening procedures; whether clinical professionals view hospital resources as adequate for the needs of patients; the importance of ‘risk’ as a concept; the increasing significance of visual tools in antenatal care; how the ‘informed choice’ maxim dictates decision-making processes, and; how parents who have undertaken a quad screen and/or diagnostic testing view their overall prenatal experience.