Summary

For the upcoming 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), the ICD-11 Working Group for Disorders Specifically Associated with Stress disaggregated trauma-related symptoms into those that were deemed to be directly related to the traumatic event, and those that were deemed to reflect more pervasive psychological disturbances that can arise following traumatic exposure, but are not necessarily directly linked to the traumatic event itself (Maercker et al., 2013). This separation of symptoms led to the formulation of two distinct, but related, trauma-based disorders: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD). The diagnosis of CPTSD includes the core PTSD symptoms, and additional symptom clusters that reflect disturbances in self-organization (DSO). The DSO symptom clusters include (1) affective dysregulation, both hyperactivation and hypoactivation of emotional responses, (2) a persistent negative self-concept, and (3) disturbances in relationships. It is proposed that PTSD and CPTSD represent important elements in a ‘stress response continuum’, but also that other psychological disorders may be part of this. For example, anxiety, adjustment disorder, complicated grief, symptom indicators of borderline personality disorder, and psychotic-like experiences may all represent different points on the ‘stress response continuum’ and be predicted by specific patterns of trauma exposure. This model is analogous to the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) that models diagnoses as indictors of global trans-diagnostic latent variables (Kotov et al., 2017).This project will be based on data from a large nationally representative survey of the UK general population (data will be available December 2017) and is in collaboration with Thanos Karatzias, a Professor of Mental Health at Edinburgh Napier University, and a Clinical and Health Psychologist at the Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress, Edinburgh. It is expected that the successful applicant will (1) develop a comprehensive understanding of psychometric models of mental health, (2) skills in quantitative statistical methods, (3) work with Professor Karatzias and Dr Gorman on the clinical implications of the study, and (4) be instrumental in the production of high-quality publications.



References

Kotov, R., Krueger, R. F., Watson, D., Achenbach, T. M., Althoff, R. R., Bagby, R. M.,…Zimmerman, M. (2017). The Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP): A dimensional alternative to traditional nosologies. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(4), 454–477. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/abn0000258
Cloitre, M., Garvert, D. W., Weiss, B., Carlson, E. B., & Bryant, R. A. (2014). Distinguishing PTSD, complex PTSD, and borderline personality disorder: A latent class analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5(1), 25097.
Wolf, E. J., Miller, M. W., Kilpatrick, D., Resnick, H. S., Badour, C. L., Marx, B. P., ... & Friedman, M. J. (2015). ICD–11 complex PTSD in US national and veteran samples: Prevalence and structural associations with PTSD. Clinical Psychological Science, 3(2), 215-229.
Schnyder, U., & Cloitre, M. (Eds.). (2015). Evidence based treatments for trauma-related psychological disorders: A practical guide for clinicians. Springer.
Caspi, A., Houts, R. M., Belsky, D. W., Goldman-Mellor, C. J., Harrington, H., Israel, S., … Moffitt, T. E. (2014). The p factor: one general psychopathology factor in the structure of psychiatric disorders? Clinical Psychological Science, 2, 119-137.
Kotov, R., Ruggero, C. J., Krueger, R. F., Watson, D., Yuan, Q., & Zimmerman, M. (2011). New dimensions in the quantitative classification of mental illness. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68, 1003-1011.

Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Masters at 70%
  • Research project completion within taught Masters degree or MRES
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Publications record appropriate to career stage

Funding and eligibility

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

  • The scholarship will cover tuition fees and provide a maintenance allowance of £15,609 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). The scholarship also provides £900 per annum as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,750 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

  • The scholarship will cover tuition fees and provide a maintenance allowance of £15,609 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). The scholarship also provides £900 per annum as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation.
  • To be eligible for the full scholarship, applicants must meet UK residency requirements. This means that you must have been resident in the United Kingdom for the full three year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course.
  • EU nationals who do not meet UK residency are eligible to apply for a fees only award which will cover tuition fees (no maintenance support is provided).
  • Non-EU nationals must be ‘settled’ in the UK by the closing date of the application or have been ordinarily resident in the UK for purposes other than study for the past three years in order to be eligible for an award.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

Profile picture of Michelle Clements Clements

Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.

Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health Sciences

Watch Video  

Profile picture of Erik Spikol

I got my BSc in Psychology at Ulster and brought my interest in behavioural epigenetics to my PhD, testing the effect of prenatal maternal levels of socialisation on the mental health of children.My proudest moment was sending the email to submit my thesis in mid-September 2020, looking back on the 6 months I spent in lockdown, working for 10 hours a day sometimes, 7 days a week. I knew that in that instant, as I clicked 'Send', I'd made so many people proud of me but especially my wife, my clinician parents, my supervisors, and my friends in the doctoral cohort.

Erik Spikol - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Profile picture of Katrin Lehmann

I completed my BSc in Health Studies many years ago and studied part-time through most of my career in child & adolescent mental health completing two MScs in the process. I was privileged to have received a Public Health Agency funded R&D fellowship which allowed me to complete my PhD full-time. I conducted a clinical study focused on autism trait prevalence in people attending specialist gender services in Northern Ireland under the supervision of Professor Gerard Leavey, Dr Michael Rosato and Professor Hugh McKenna.I am proud to have finished my PhD during one of the most challenging years ever. I couldn`t have got through this without the support of my supervisors and experts by experience who supported my research. I`ll never forget the generosity of participants who allowed me some insight into their lives.

Katrin Lehmann - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Profile picture of Deirdre Timlin

I completed my degree in Forensic Psychobiology at Abertay University Dundee. I then completed a MSc in Health Psychology at Ulster University and published my research on the benefits of Yoga on the psychological well-being of first time mums, supervised by Dr Liz Simpson. I started my PhD at Ulster University following the completion of my MSc in Health Psychology.One of my proudest moments was having the opportunity to lead an international collaborative piece of research, spending time in Rome with Italian researchers, which led to a publication. I am very proud to have completed my PhD during a very challenging time through the Covid-19 pandemic and completing with 3 published papers. Doing a PhD is a transformational journey, and my supervisors played a crucial role in my success.

Deirdre Timlin - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Profile picture of Kelly Trearty

I completed my first degree in Product Design at LYIT, in my home county of Donegal. After which, I completed my degree in Psychology and master’s in Applied Psychology at Ulster University.While this PhD may have been challenging, it has been equally one of the most rewarding resilience building experiences of my professional and personal life. My proudest moments were i) getting accepted as a PhD candidate, ii) the following year publishing my first paper, and iii) then successfully defending my project in the viva. I am extremely proud to achieve this PhD and to have successfully completed my doctorate despite the unforeseen challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.I could not have got through this without the support and expertise of both my supervisors Professor Brendan Bunting and Doctor John Mallett. I would also like to thank my family and friends for all their morale support and agricultural input over the years. I would like to wish every one of my fellow

Kelly Trearty - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Profile picture of Ann Doherty

I started my PhD at Ulster University after completing my BSc Psychology degree at Magee campus. Returning to education to complete a PhD was a goal of mine ever since I completed my BSc Pharmacy degree in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2006. My PhD research examined patterns of healthcare utilisation by older adults using service evaluation and longitudinal epidemiological data. Looking back at my PhD I have many fond memories including having the opportunity to spend a week in Utrecht University developing my longitudinal data analysis skills, presenting my research at the FIP World Congress in Glasgow, collaborating with the Medicines Optimisation in Older People team in Northern Ireland, and contributing to Project ECHO NI. I am incredibly grateful to the many friends and colleagues in the School of Psychology and Doctoral College who made my PhD experience at Ulster a thoroughly enjoyable one. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to my wonderful supervisory team Prof

Ann Doherty - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Profile picture of Maeve Murphy

My PhD journey as a part-time student was not straight forward and I am delighted to have completed my PhD under the phenomenal supervision of Prof. Siobhan O'Neill and Dr. Edel Ennis. I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Masters in Addiction Studies in Dublin Business School, as well as gaining a PgDip in Applied Behaviour Analysis from NUI Galway. My PhD research looked at unemployment and mental health examining the process of being unemployed and seeking work. It also looked at suicidal ideation with people who experienced unemployment.A PhD part-time is hard, particularly as life will drag your attention off course from time to time! During the course of my PhD journey I got married, built a house and had a baby. There were definitely times when I didn't think I'd get here. My advice to anyone is 'keep going', it will be hard at times but it will be worth it. Surround yourself with people who understand the commitment needed and come up with some good one liners

Maeve Murphy - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Profile picture of Nargis Khan

My name is Nargis Khan and I am originally from Pakistan. I first came to Ulster University to study psychology at the undergraduate level and later joined a doctoral course which I have now successfully completed. I had a fantastic time studying in Ulster at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Throughout my PhD, I was well catered for in terms of resources with access to well-stocked libraries full of friendly and helpful staff, funding to travel to conferences, the availability of various courses (e.g., statistics) and above all a supportive and stimulating environment which fostered my academic development. The seminars organised during the term time allowed me to present my work and hear about the research of others across a range of areas. I particularly appreciated the teaching opportunities available to me during my PhD. My supervisors were supportive and generous with their time. Other members of staff in the Psychology department also took a genuine interest in the

Nargis Khan - PhD in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience