PhD Studentship: The acceptability and understanding of alcohol-related risks: Examining how perceptions of risk shape alcohol consumption and alcohol policy.

University of Sheffield - School of Health & Related Research

Research Environment: The successful candidate will join the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, an internationally leading centre of excellence for alcohol policy research. We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers with backgrounds in public health, psychology, operational research/mathematics, systems engineering, sociology, social policy and economics. The group attracts significant grant income, and publishes in leading academic journals including the Lancet and BMJ.

This PhD project would suit candidates who wish to use the PhD as a springboard to a scientific career. In addition to Sheffield’s excellent doctoral training programme, the candidate will have the opportunity to engage in the wider research activities of the group, contribute to publications, gain experience of contributing to funding applications and develop their teaching experience.

Background: The acceptability and understanding of alcohol-related risks may play an important role in the amount of alcohol consumed by a society, public debate around alcohol and the policies which governments choose to pursue. Decisions about risk acceptability are influenced by a range of factors including the scale, nature and social distribution of the risk, how aware people are of it, the perceived benefit of the activity and the degree to which harmful outcomes are believed to be under people’s control. However, this broad conception of risk acceptability has rarely been applied in public health research on alcohol. Understanding of alcohol-related risks is also inconsistent and improved knowledge is needed on how attempts to communicate risk are interpreted by the public.

Aims: Students undertaking this PhD project will have scope to define their own research questions in this area. They may aim to examine topics including the extent to which different aspects of risk acceptability influence alcohol consumption, public debate around alcohol and/or support among different stakeholder groups for different policy options. They may also investigate how risk acceptability and communication inform individuals’ decision-making processes around alcohol and may give particular attention to recent health promotion messages linked to the new UK lower risk drinking guidelines and associated warning labels

Methodological approach: Applications are encouraged from students interested in applying either quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods approaches.

Entry Requirements

Candidates must have either a first or upper second class honours degree or a Masters degree in public health or a related topic (e.g. a social science).

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Northern England