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Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship - The Development and Consequences of Symptoms of Pain and Common Mental Health Problems (2024)

University of Sussex - School of Psychology

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sussex, Falmer
Funding for: UK Students, International Students
Funding amount: A stipend for 3 years to cover living costs. The amount is tied to the UKRI studentship rates; for 2023/24 it is £18,622 per year.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th March 2024
Closes: 17th April 2024

Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship - The development and consequences of symptoms of pain and common mental health problems

Chronic pain, defined as persistent or recurrent pain lasting three months or more, is a global health concern affecting an estimated 20% of the world population. Pain symptoms are very common in early life and strongly associated with future psychiatric morbidity, especially depression, and long-term negative health, education, and employment outcomes. Notably, is it well established that a majority of individuals who experience lasting pain symptoms also go on to experience symptoms of depression, however, less is known about why some individuals are more likely to develop poorer mental health outcomes than other.

This PhD project will leverage existing data from population studies to investigate the predictors, mechanisms and outcomes involved in the development of symptoms of pain and anxiety and depression. Quantitative data will be analysed in large pre-existing studies with pain and mental health data spanning childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood (e.g., the Twin Early Development Study, The Québec Newborn Twin Study).

Aims include:

  1. Characterise childhood-onset versus adolescent-onset pain symptoms and examine associations with anxiety and depression in young adulthood.
  2. Investigate the shared genetic and environmental aetiology of common mental health problems and pain symptoms using twin based model fitting.
  3. Explore longitudinal associations between pain symptoms and common mental health problems across childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
  4. Test the mediators involved in the development of pain and common mental health problems.

Supervisors and training

This is an exciting opportunity to join a multi-disciplinary project spanning psychology, epidemiology, and behavioural genetics. We welcome applicants that are interested in developing their own ideas within this area. Further, the PhD will include interdisciplinary training in developmental psychopathology, epidemiology, and analysis of genetically sensitive large longitudinal data sets.

Psychology at Sussex

The School of Psychology at the University of Sussex is one of the largest and most diverse research-intensive psychology schools in the UK with 70+ academic faculty and 90+ PhD students. We were ranked in the top 10 Psychology Schools in the UK in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF) and 91% of our research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

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 Master’s degree in Psychology, Neuroscience or a related discipline.
  • 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 celebrate and promote diversity, equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background.
  • This award will pay fees at the Home or International rate. International students must move to Sussex for the duration of the PhD and will not be permitted to register as Distance Learners. The studentship does not include additional funding towards the costs of visas or travel to the UK for International students.

How to apply

Deadline: Wednesday 17 April 2024 (23:59)

Interviews are likely to take place late April.

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