3-year PhD studentship in Visual Impairment in Childhood

University College London

A 3-year PhD Studentship is available within the Population, Policy and Practice Programme, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health under the supervision of Professor Jugnoo Rahi, Dr Val Tadić and Professor Roz Shafran.

The purpose of the proposed investigation/project description:

Visual impairment (VI) in childhood can have far reaching consequences for the affected child and her family, being associated with poor social and educational outcomes, curtailed career prospects and impaired quality of life (QoL).

There is a significant variation in how individual children adapt to living with a visual disability and how they self-regard their quality of life, which we have shown to be unrelated to VI severity. However, the underlying factors that influence, both positively and negatively, the level and nature of adjustment, good self-perceived quality of life and coping strategies in individual children and their families have otherwise received scant attention. Thus, currently, there is a very limited evidence base from which interventions to facilitate adjustment and promote good QoL can be developed.

The proposed studentship will address this gap by tackling the key first stage in the process of developing interventions, i.e. the identification of predictive/associated factors which could serve as ‘targets’ for intervention. This will be achieved using mixed methods approach that combines primary novel data collection through via a large scale survey enhanced by individual qualitative interviews of visually impaired children/young people and their family members, together with secondary analysis of our archived data. Using a life course approach, interaction between these factors will be examined, delineating ‘critical periods’ for intervention.

 The findings from this project are intended to inform future research in which a model for a complex, multi-modal intervention (including psychosocial functioning, mobility, habilitation and other aspects of health) is developed and formally evaluated.

Further details on the studentship are available on the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health website - https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ich/education/fellowships-studentships/phd-studentships/phd-studentships-2017-18/jrahi

Deadline for receipt of applications: Monday 26th February 2018

Interviews will take place on Thursday 22nd March 2018

Expected studentship start date between March and end August 2018

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