Summary

Complex trauma is increasingly being recognised as a form of psychological disturbance which relates to abusive or threatening conditions sustained over a period of time. There is a growing body of evidence for the impact of complex trauma on physical health (e.g. cardio vascular disease; chronic lung disease; and chronic liver disease and mental health (e.g. personality disorders; bi-polar disorder; and psychosis. Established theoretical models for trauma intervention, such as Golding’s Hierarchical model (2008) and Perry’s 3 Pillar model (2006) place ‘safety’ as the foundation for any intervention, including both physical and relational safety. Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is an established framework of intervention for addressing the physical and psychological effects of the complex trauma.

A systematic literature review of TIC in inpatient settings by Wilson et al. (2017) identified that the relationship between staff and patients was a key part of trauma recovery. TIC has been successfully delivered across community mental settings and also in LAC services for staff teams, and to some degree in Fostering and Adoption. It can be posited that people with an intellectual disability are more susceptible to significant interruptions in attachment relationships and exposure to adverse life events. Spencer et al. (2005) examined 119,000 children born between 1983 and 2000 in the UK and found that children with intellectual disability were: 5.3 times more likely to be neglected; 2.9 times more likely to be emotionally abused; 3.4 times more likely to be physically abused and 6.4 times more likely to be sexually abused than those in the general population.

More recently Skelly et al. (2018) highlighted that 28 of the 30 adults with an intellectual disability referred for therapy had some adverse childhood experiences. Many adults with intellectual disability present with depression, anxiety and challenging behaviour; with many services not recognising the underlying childhood trauma. Furthermore, many adults with intellectual disability are rarely offered the recommended evidenced-based psychological interventions such as TIC that is offered to the general population. More recently, TIC is on the Strategic Agenda for all Trusts across N. Ireland and the UK, where training will be rolled out across mainstream adult mental health settings in accordance with the National Trauma Training Network’s framework (NHS Education for Scotland, 2017). Despite its natural fit, TIC has not been delivered within intellectual disability services for those adults with a complex trauma history.

Aim: This doctoral project will be the first study to adapt and test a TIC intervention for adults with an intellectual disability who have an underlying complex trauma(s).


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.

  • Relevant professional qualification and/or a Degree in a Health or Health related area

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

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

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 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 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 £7,500 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 at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. 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.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


Reviews

Profile picture of Professor Stenver Lin

Ulster University has very enhanced independent  learning.  I strongly recommend my students to go abroad to broaden their vision to get  new motivation.  I tell them that when studying at Ulster University, they will receive an abundance of knowledge, new experiences and strong technology to enhance their life.

Professor Stenver Lin - PhD Radiology

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Profile picture of Anne Fee

My career has spanned working within the community for both voluntary and statutory organisations. After completing my degree (Psychology) and Masters many years ago I was drawn once again to the academic life and the challenge of a PhD. I was tremendously privileged a secure a fellowship from HSC R&D office to fund my PhD. After having most recently worked within a health Trust supporting family carers, I wanted to investigate the impact of support services for family carers. I knew that male carers were 'hidden' and as such were particularly in need of support, so my PhD was within this area.I'm definitely most proud of MYSELF! My proudest moment was when I initially secured the funding for the PhD. My favorite memories involved data collection with the wonderful interview participants; and also the camaraderie of my PhD peers, who were always on hand to share the laughter... and the tears. I'll never forget.... my viva!

Anne Fee - PhD in Nursing and Health


Profile picture of Hafi Saad

I am a medical doctor by training, graduating from the University of Khartoum. I have a clinical MD in Community Medicine from Sudan Medical Specialization Board and a Masters in Molecular Medicine in from Institute of Endemic Diseses/University of Khartoum. I was the head of the Community Medicine Department at Shendi University in Sudan from 2010 – 2013 before moving to Northern Ireland to complete a Master of Public Health at Queen’s University, Belfast. I moved to Northern Ireland to complete a Master’s of Public Health at Queen’s University, Belfast in 2012/13. I was awarded the Ulster University Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship (VCRS) to undertake a PhD in the prevalence and risk factors of congenital heart disease in Northern Ireland which contributes to the primary prevention of congenital heart disease in Northern Ireland by determining the extent to which specific maternal risk factors are associated with the risk of having a baby with

Hafi Saad - PhD in Nursing and Health


Profile picture of Professor Chein Huei Kao

I am currently the Director for the Department of Nursing-midwifery and Women's Heath at NTUNHS.  I studied at Ulster University for 3 years and it was a very happy time.  Ulster is very good for study, not only in academic work but it also shows you how to be a good teacher.

Professor Chein Huei Kao - PhD Health Science of Nursing

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