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A feasibility study of Behavioural activation (BA) in young people with asthma and depression in Pakistan (GCRF)


Project Description

Lower respiratory infections (LRI) are considered to be one of the top five causes of mortality and disability-adjusted life years lost in adolescence globally. Adolescents with established asthma are at higher risk of experiencing exacerbations or losing control of the disease as a result of LRIs and depression whereas psychological interventions have been found to improve pulmonary function and asthma outcomes. Currently, more than 20 million individuals in Pakistan are suffering from asthma. Brief cost-effective psychological interventions which will improve mental and physical health outcomes in this vulnerable population are both timely and imperative.

The present study aims to:
(1) develop a culturally appropriate Behavioral Activation-LAMIC-manual based on an established BA manual for adolescents, and a training programme for non-specialist clinicians;
(2) deliver the intervention, by non-specialistclinicians, to adolescents with asthma and moderate to severe depression;
(3) evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the LMIC-BA intervention in reducing symptoms of depression and improving asthma outcomes (asthma control, quality of life, exacerbations) via a feasibility RCT trial, comparing BA to treatment as usual (TAU)

Methods: The study will use quantative and qualitative methods;
1. A systematic review of prevalence of depression and anxiety and its associated factors in adolescents with asthma comorbidity
2. Qualitative studies both in UK and in Pakistan
3. A feasibility study of LMIC-BA intervention with (n=36) adolescents.

Qualitative outcomes: The qualitative part of the study will be conducted during the feasibility stage and aims:
(1) to explore barriers and facilitators to retention of the study participants;
(2) to explore intervention acceptability from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives (e.g., young people, carers, clinicians, and case managers);

The student after training will conduct 2 separate focus groups, one for young people and carers and one for clinicians; at two time-points: before and after the intervention. In addition, during the feasibility stage the manual to be used will be co-produced with feedback from adolescents, carers, and clinicians at the end of each session using a structured interview by an independent researcher, and the relative sensitivity of the outcome measures will be determined. The study will help to determine the feasibility of the culturally adapted ΒΑ intervention when implemented in Pakistan.

Entry Requirements
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject.

If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - choose PhD Mental Health. Full details on how to apply can be found on the GCRF website https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/golden/gcrf/

Funding Notes

The GCRF PhD studentship programme is a 4 year programme with integrated teaching certificate. There are up to 12 studentships available. Applicants can apply to one project which will start in either April or September 2020.

Funding for the programme will include tuition fees, an annual stipend at the minimum Research Councils UK rate (around £15,000 for 2019/20), a research training grant, training allowance and travel allowance.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

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