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Funded PhD Opportunity

Trauma, PTSD and Complex PTSD: An analysis of the “Children and Young People’s Mental Health in Northern Ireland Survey”

Subject: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience


Summary

The “Children and Young People’s Mental Health in Northern Ireland Survey” is the largest, nationally representative, survey of mental health of children and young people in Northern Ireland. The survey was commissioned by the Health & Social Care Board (HSCB) to assess the prevalence and predictors of a broad range of psychological problems. The survey is based on a representative sample of almost 3,000 children and young people from across Northern Ireland aged from 2 to 20 years. The survey is ongoing and aims to be completed in early 2020.

This project will involve the analysis of data from this survey. One of the innovative aspects of the project is that it will be assessing trauma and stressful life events, and estimating the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD based on the new diagnostic criteria in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This marks a significant departure from the DSM-5 model of PTSD. There has been a substantial body of research that has examined the validity of these new diagnoses and there have been many studies of the predictors of PTSD and CPTSD in population and clinical sample (Brewin et al., 2017; Cloitre et al., 2019).

The primary aim of this project is to assess the quality of a new measure of ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD for use with children, the International Trauma Questionnaire for Children (ITQ-C). This is a new measure that has only been used once, in a clinical sample (see Haselgruber, Sölva, & Lueger‐Schuster, 2019), and this project will provide information on how this scale operates at the level of the general population.

The objectives of the research are to:

1. Assess the rates of trauma exposure in children and young people in Northern Ireland, and test for gender differences.

2. Conduct a psychometric evaluation of the International Trauma Questionnaire for Children (ITQ-C) by testing reliability and construct validity.

3. Assess the level of PTSD and CPTSD in the population of children and young people in Northern Ireland.

4. Determine the association between PTSD and CPTSD and other commonly mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

5. Disseminate the research findings in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and to clinicians and policy-makers.

This will be a quantitative project and so the successful applicant will be required to be familiar with basic statistical analysis (descriptive statistics, regression, ANOVA), relevant software (SPSS, Mplus), and most importantly be willing to develop their skills in quantitative methods.

Applicants should have an interest in mental health research.

Brewin, C. R., Cloitre, M., Hyland, P., Shevlin, M., Maercker, A., Bryant, R. A., ... & Somasundaram, D. (2017). A review of current evidence regarding the ICD-11 proposals for diagnosing PTSD and complex PTSD. Clinical psychology review, 58, 1-15.

Cloitre, M., Hyland, P., Bisson, J. I., Brewin, C. R., Roberts, N., Karatzias, T., & Shevlin, M. (2019). ICD-11 PTSD and Complex PTSD in the United States: A population-based study. Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Haselgruber, A., Sölva, K., & Lueger‐Schuster, B. (2019). Validation of ICD‐11 PTSD and complex PTSD in foster children using the International Trauma Questionnaire. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.


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 Mark Shevlin


Other supervisors

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