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Funded Studentships 2020-2021

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Psychology lecturer Rebecca Owens

Funded Studentships 2020-2021

Jointly funded by the University of Sunderland and The National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaborative North East and North Cumbria (NIHR ARC NENC).

PhD – 3 years full-time

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North East and North Cumbria.
Theme Description: Multimorbidity: Ageing and Frailty

Purpose: To promote healthy ageing, prevent disability and optimise the care, experiences and outcomes of people living with multiple conditions and age-related illness and frailty

Title: Factors Influencing the Psychological Wellbeing of Dementia Care Health Workers within a care home setting.

Number of awards: 1

Start date and duration: 1st February 2021. The funding covers a three year PhD.


You will join a vibrant and growing research team in the School of Psychology at the University of Sunderland.

The proposed study will investigate the experience of dementia care health workers while providing essential and challenging support for residents within care homes. The focus of the study will be on examining the factors which influence the psychological well-being of these key workers. While there has been considerable research undertaken examining the satisfaction of dementia care receivers within a non-community setting, much less has focused on those providing the care. Aspects of the qualitative research that has been undertaken has revealed that this workforce is relatively low paid, low status, have high turnover and are reliant on temporary or migrant staff, where training is not rewarded, mandatory or culturally valued. This, it is argued, makes the application of psychosocial interventions challenging.

The present investigation will investigate factors which contribute to the psychological wellbeing of this workforce. The approach taken will be one of mixed methodological perspectives. These perspectives taken are proposed to adopt the following pattern, although this is a proposal not a directive.

Phase 1: The lived experience – This phase will take the form of an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) perspective.

Phase 2: Qualitative Investigation – Based upon the meta-themes which are revealed within the IPA a survey will be developed and administered with the anticipated outcome that the research team will then be able to identify findings which are generalizable to a broader population. Responses will be used to establish a model for psychological wellbeing support.

Phase 3: Focus Groups – The model for psychological wellbeing support will be presented to focus groups and these discussions will be analysed using qualitative methods.

Sponsor: University of Sunderland

Name of supervisor(s):

Dr Richard Darby-Davis, Dr Sarah Pickup, Dr Nicola Davinson

Eligibility Criteria:

The candidate should have a first degree (minimum 2:1) in Psychology and preferably a Master’s degree, a strong desire to work in the subject area using a mixed methods approach. A willingness to interact with people from a range of academic backgrounds as well as a strong motivation to present their research findings at national and international meetings.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only.

This vacancy is now closed.

Funding Notes:

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid, jointly funded by the University of Sunderland and The National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaborative North East and North Cumbria (NIHR ARC NENC), research consumables and annual living expenses stipend of £15,000 for each of the 3 years.


For further details regarding this exciting venture and opportunity, please contact Dr Richard Darby-Davis, Richard.Darby-Davis@Sunderland.ac.uk

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