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Funded PhD Opportunity

Examining the economic and social burden of transgenerational trauma in NI

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Summary

The NI Study of Health and Stress established, for the first time, the rates of PTSD in NI that were related to the NI Troubles and the extent of Troubles, and trauma related mental illness here. A series of followup studies established the burden on the population and identified the costs associated with PTSD (Ferry et al., 2015; O’Neill, Ferry and Heenan, 2016)1,2. Attention has now turned to the transgenerational legacy of the conflict and the risk of childhood adversities (ACEs) and subsequent mental illness, in the next generation who had not witnessed the conflict directly (O’Neill & Hamber, 2019)3. Studies in NI have shown that this generation have high rates of mental illness and suicidal behaviour, especially young people who live in areas affected by the conflict’s legacy of poverty and ongoing paramilitarism.

The NISHS contains a range of data on adversities and trauma, family structure, parenting behaviour, mental illness, physical health, substance use, suicidal behaviour and medication/ treatments/ service use. The survey is representative of the general population with a high response rate (68.4%). The data is a key source of evidence on the mental health needs of the population and it has to date not been fully utilised to examine the issues associated with intergenerational trauma and inform policy and practice. The survey was designed to facilitate economic analyses of the burden of various mental illness and these analyses are vital for policy and practice impact. This is a mixed methods study.

Part a is a secondary anlaysis of the NISHS data linked with existing external data on economic costs (using the same data sources as our costs of PTSD study):

* The proportions of those with exposure to the Troubles and the relative risk/ likelihood of adversities and mental illness in their offspring.

* The economic impact of particular types of trauma exposures and mental illness in the population and in subgroups.

* The economic costs associated with trauma related conditions in terms of medications and service use.

* The differential economic cost of the impact of Troubles related transgenerational trauma.

This involves assessing the indirect costs (days out of role, working days lost and income loss) in offspring of parents who experienced Troubles- related trauma in comparison with a matched control group.

Part b will involve qualitative work within communities most affected by the legacy of the conflict or alternatively young people identified as having risk factors for transgenerational trauma in ongoing research in Ulster University students and students at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, as part of a depression intervention study. These qualitative studies will examine the ways in which parental trauma has been passed on, and importantly, identify mechanisms for halting this transmission. An examination of the barriers to accessing services and treatment will be a key feature of this element of the research programme, and this is necessary to ensure that the work aligns with policy and practice developments and generates impact on the ground.

1. Ferry, F., Brady, S.E., Bunting, B.P., et al. (2015). The Economic Burden of PTSD in Northern Ireland. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(3), 191-197.

2. O'Neill, S., Ferry, F. & Heenan, D. (2016). Mental health disorders in Northern Ireland: the economic imperative. Lancet Psychiatry, 3(5), 398-400.

3. O’Neill S. & Hamber, B. (2019). Addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past. The View Digital, Issue 51, pp.30-31.


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.
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • A demonstrable interest in the research area associated with the studentship

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.

  • Hold a Masters degree in Psychology or related area
  • Recognition of the importance of research integrity and Open Science practices

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 £ 15,009 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 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

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Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
18 + 19 + 20 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Coleraine campus

Coleraine campus
The feeling of community at our Coleraine campus makes for a warm and welcoming student experience.


Contact supervisor

Professor Siobhan O'Neill


Other supervisors

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