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PhD Studentship - Leveraging Process Models of Self-Regulation to Understand Self-Quitting in Scotland

University of Dundee - Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Dundee
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Annual maintenance grant and tuition fees
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 20th April 2020
Closes: 1st June 2020

Closes June 1st 2020

Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Collaborative Studentship

+3/1+3 Studentship available – University of Dundee

This studentship, funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences, is a collaboration between University of Dundee and Action on Health and Smoking (ASH) Scotland.

1. Project

Smoking is a prevalent public health problem, with a total societal cost greater than £1.1 billion per year in Scotland alone. Despite ambitious targets to quarter smoking rates by 2034, the prevalence of smoking in Scotland has plateaued. Scientific understanding and related policy recommendations are further complicated by findings that most individuals who quit smoking long-term do so unassisted. Little is currently known about these self-quitters, often because they achieve cessation outside of any formal program.

This PhD studentship, in collaboration with Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland, will be supervised by Dr. Blair Saunders (primary supervisor), Professor Nick Hopkins (secondary supervisor), and Sheila Duffy (chief executive of ASH Scotland). The project apply a self-regulation framework to a) provide evidence-based insights into unassisted cessation, and, b) test if the psychological mechanisms underlying unassisted cessation predict and encourage cessation in new-quitters. Recent frameworks indicate that self-regulation comprises a range of strategies that support long-term goal attainment (e.g., going smoke-free), and the recruited student will seek to learn from community members that have achieved cessation unaided, often despite challenging circumstances. The project will take a mixed-method approach to investigate health behaviors in community members related to smoking cessation.

Collaboration with ASH Scotland will be embedded across all stages of the project. The student will benefit by jointly setting an impactful research agenda and making contact with frontline organisations and communities to ensure that the research is generalizable to those most affected by tobacco. The collaboration will further focus on dissemination, ensuring that the findings are impactfully and inclusively communicated to a range of academic, public policy, and community stakeholders.

2. Information on the University and Collaborative Partner:

University of Dundee, School of Social Sciences:

We seek to inform, illuminate and enhance lives through our distinctive mix of disciplines and commitment to impactful teaching and research.

The University of Dundee aims to transform lives locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge. We reflect this aim by:

  • Excelling in teaching and research;
  • Contributing to social, economic and cultural development;
  • Shaping the future by solving important, real-world problems.

ASH Scotland:

ASH Scotland – Action on Smoking and Health (Scotland) - is the independent Scottish charity taking action to reduce the harm caused by tobacco. ASH Scotland seeks to improve health and quality of life by limiting the number of young people taking up smoking, reducing the number of adult smokers, protecting people from second hand smoke, and tackling the inequality resulting from tobacco use.

3. How to apply

For more information on Eligibility, Award Details, and How to Apply, please visit the SGSSS Gradhub Webpage:

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