|UK Students, EU Students, International Students
|£18,622 Competition Funded Project (Home and International)
|31st October 2023
|15th January 2024
Sleep problems have long been known to be common amongst people with psychotic disorders, yet they have historically been ignored. Only recently has a causal contribution of sleep problems to psychiatric symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and depression been establishedi,ii,iii. However, there is a plausible additional role of sleep disorders in contributing to the physical health comorbidity among patients with psychosis that has not yet been explored. Cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and a range of other conditions occur at higher rates among patients with psychosis, and in part explain the 10-20 year reduced life expectancy of patients with psychosis (‘the mortality gap’). These physical health conditions are all known to be linked with sleep problems, and therefore sleep could be a novel treatment target – with already demonstrated patient acceptability, efficacy, and feasibility– for improving physical health in patients with psychosisiv,v.
This PhD would focus on exploring, specifying, and substantiating the relationship between sleep and physical health conditions in psychosis populations. The first stage would be a systematic review/meta-analysis to identify specific plausible relationships between sleep problems common in psychosis, and physical health consequences. The second stage will involve testing those relationships in existing cohort datasets and in real-world clinical data in the region (e.g. CRATE dataset). A final planned stage would employ a small-n case design to explore effects of sleep intervention on physical health in patients. There may be scope for including other methods (e.g. experimental or qualitative approaches) depending on applicant background and interests.
The applicant would benefit from expert supervision on sleep, psychosis, and the mortality gap on SMI and would be supported throughout the research process. Training would be offered on systematic reviews/meta-analysis, and on access, management, and statistical analysis of data, with open science approaches being encouraged.
You would have a strong interest in improving outcomes for those with serious mental illnesses, a curiosity in learning new skills, and a first degree in psychology or medical sciences. The PhD would be suitable for those interested in continuing to the clinical psychology doctorate, or other clinical academic routes.
This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK (Home) fees, an annual stipend of £18,622 and £1,000 per annum for research training (RTSG). International applicants may apply but are required to secure additional funding to fund the difference between UK and overseas tuition fees (visit: https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/fees-and-funding/fees for details of Home and Overseas fee rates).
Start Date: October 2024
For more information on this project, please visit https://www.uea.ac.uk/search/courses/
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