PhD Studentship in Health Psychology at University of Plymouth

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Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates for a full-time PhD studentship in the Peninsula Medical School’s Institute of Health and Social Care Research, working in the Institute’s Primary Care Research Group.

The Peninsula Medical School is a joint initiative between the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and the NHS.

The studentship will cover a tax-exempt stipend of £12,300 per annum and tuition fees at the home rate for a 3-year period.

Candidates from countries outside the European Union will be liable for the difference between 'home student fees' and 'foreign student fees'.

This project aims to improve our understanding of the psychological processes which are important in behavioural interventions for improving patient self-care of chronic illnesses.

The consequences of poor self-care in people with chronic illnesses (e.g. medication use, lifestyle) are a major source of NHS cost and developing NHS systems to improve the support of patient self-care is central to current government policy.

At the same time, the science of self-care intervention development and evaluation is a rapidly developing area in behavioural medicine, but one which still needs strengthening with empirical evidence and methodological development (Hardeman W et al. Health Educ Res 2005;20:676-87. Michie S et al. Quality and Safety in Health Care 2005;14:26-33).

The proposed studentship will be conducted initially in the context of the piloting and trial evaluation of an intervention for promoting better asthma self-care.

This is part of an ongoing programme of work developed by Dr Colin Greaves.

The studentship will focus initially on addressing the following objectives:

  • Identifying suitable process measures to assess the inter-relationship between variables in a theoretical model of self-care behaviour modification in an asthma self-care intervention.
  • Piloting the process measures framework alongside the intervention pilot (or in a separate study).
  • Conducting qualitative research to elicit patient and practitioner experiences of using the intervention and to gain further insights into the processes involved.
  • Applying the process measures framework and qualitative feedback in the planning of larger studies, including a randomised controlled trial evaluation of the asthma self-care intervention.

    The post will allow the student to develop a range of qualitative and quantitative research skills in a growth area of behavioural science and to gain experience in an applied research setting.

    This would be particularly relevant for candidates considering a career in behavioural science/behavioural medicine research.

    The student will be based in the Primary Care Research Group. Supervision will be provided jointly by Dr Colin Greaves (Health Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow) and Professor John Campbell (Professor of Primary Care and General Practice) and the work will be supported by the PMS Clinical Trials Methodology Unit.

    Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Colin Greaves (01392 262751, 0798 9895165 Colin.Greaves [at]

    Students should hold, or expect to obtain, a minimum of an upper-second class degree in a relevant health related subject.

    Relevant disciplines include psychology, health psychology /behavioural medicine.

    For an application form, please contact:

    The Postgraduate Office,
    Peninsula Medical School,
    John Bull Building,
    Tamar Science Park,
    PL6 8BU.

    Telephone number: 01752 437300 or

    Email: Vicky.Clarke [at]

    Follow the links below for more details and application contacts.

    For more: International Scholarships » Academic Grants » University Scholarships

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