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PhD Studentship: Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship - Exploring Shared Risk Factors and Causal Mechanisms Between Substance Misuse and Psychosis (2023)

University of Sussex

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Falmer
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £17,668 pa
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 25th November 2022
Closes: 18th January 2023

A significant body of literature evidences frequent comorbidity between substance misuse and psychosis. Both problems typically develop early and tremendously impact the quality of life and health of those who suffer from them. The nature of the relationship between substance misuse and psychosis seems to be intricate and interdependent. For example, research shows that prior cannabis use increases the incidence and poor prognosis of first-episode psychosis. On the other hand, many individuals with psychosis frequently misuse substances such as nicotine, cocaine and cannabis. In general, those who present co-occurring misuse experience poorer functioning, higher symptom severity and a greater risk of relapse. Thus, clarifying the links between addictions and psychosis would have a tremendous impact in terms of prevention and treatment effectiveness.

This PhD fellowship will explore the critical topic of shared risk factors and causal mechanisms between substance misuse and psychosis. By determining shared risk factors, we can effectively develop screening strategies to identify high-risk individuals earlier. In addition, we can recognise highly relevant therapeutic targets by exploring shared causal mechanisms and establishing more effective individually-tailored intervention strategies.

The PhD student will be co-supervised by Dr Raquel Nogueira-Arjona, a clinical psychologist and expert on addictions and comorbid problems, and Professor Kathy Greenwood, a clinical psychologist and renowned expert on psychosis. In addition, the PhD student will be able to interact with dynamic Sussex research communities such as 1) the Sussex Addiction Research & Intervention Centre, bringing together an interdisciplinary cohort of researchers focussed on addictions, and 2) the Sussex Psychosis Research Interest Group, a vibrant group of clinical and academic researchers interested in psychosis.

Keywords: Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Psychotherapy

Eligibility

  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Merit (an average of 60% overall) in a Master’s degree in Psychology or other relevant discipline (e.g. Neuroscience, Engineering).
  • The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background. 

How to apply

Timetable

  • Deadline: Wednesday 18 January 2023 (23:59 GMT)
  • Interviews (on Zoom): February 2023
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