|£18,622 per annum
|24th November 2023
|8th January 2024
With a reduced life expectancy of up to 20 years, individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) have much to gain from a healthier lifestyle. Physical activity and better diet may work to decrease the negative symptoms associated with SMI, as well as reduce susceptibility to a wide range of physical co-morbidities (e.g. obesity [exacerbated by many of the drugs used in treatment], hyperglycemia and metabolic syndrome).
Multi-component lifestyle interventions are showing promise for those with SMI and is associated with both psychological and physical improvements (e.g., subjective and psychological wellbeing, quality of life, and reduced cardiometabolic risk). Although research has addressed lifestyle behaviour change in those with mild to moderate mental health concerns; a focus on SMI is rare, and for those in inpatient care even rarer.
Despite the physical and psychological benefits of positive lifestyle behaviours, individuals with SMI experience some of the biggest physical health inequalities of any population group. The effect of poor lifestyle behaviours is magnified within secure mental health settings where negative symptoms are at their severest.
As such, identifying effective strategies that can deliver sustainable behaviour change is a crucial next step. In collaboration with St Andrew’s Healthcare – a charity providing specialist mental healthcare for patients with some of the most complex, challenging mental health needs in the UK – the proposed mixed-methods project will contribute to an on-going original body of work investigating and promoting positive lifestyle behaviour for SMI in this unique setting.
The successful candidate will develop, test and evaluate a newly developed evidence-based lifestyle intervention working closely with the research team and multidisciplinary clinical teams at St Andrew’s. The data collection will take place at St Andrew’s hospital so the PhD will require some travel between the hospital and Loughborough.
Primary supervisor: Dr Florence Kinnafick
Secondary supervisor: Dr James King
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a Allied Health Professional subject or related field (e.g., Sport and Exercise Science, Sport and Exercise Psychology).
A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: psychology, sport and exercise sciences sport and exercise psychology, physical activity and health, physical activity and mental health, Biosciences
Applicants must also meet the minimum English language requirements, please find further available on the international website.
The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £18,622 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to funding restrictions, this is only available to those eligible for UK fees.
This studentship is subject to external funding and the advert may be withdrawn if funding is not secured.
How to apply
All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select *School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences*. Please quote the advertised reference number: SSEHS/FK23/2 in your application.
To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.
The following selection criteria will be used by academic schools to help them make a decision on your application.
The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £18,622 per annum, plus tuition fees at the UK rate.
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