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A year in the life: tracking fluctuations in adolescent mood and school engagement (HOLMESJ_U23PSY)

   School of Psychology

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  Prof Joni Holmes  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD student to work on a project investigating changes in adolescent mood and how these changes impact on school engagement and learning.

Whether we feel happy, sad, angry, or relaxed, can change moment-to-moment, day-to-day and week-to-week. It can be affected by many things in our daily lives (e.g., a positive social interaction, an argument), in our work or school environments (e.g., exams), and in the wider world around us (e.g., a global pandemic). It can also be affected by how our friends feel – emotional states can spread across groups.

Adolescence is a time of pronounced development marked by biological changes in hormones and brain development, rapid improvements in thinking and reasoning skills, and changes in relationships with friends and family. These changes are associated with increased instability in mood. Teenagers with more stable moods often have better mental wellbeing, while those with greater mood variability are at increased risk of developing mood disorders such as depression.

The aim of this project is to measure changes in mood and everyday functioning in adolescents across a school year with a view to modelling changes for each individual young person, and then exploring whether changes in mood in one person cascade across their social networks.

This PhD project is in a competition for a Faculty of Social Sciences funded studentship. The studentship covers full tuition fees for Home or International students, a tax-free maintenance grant equivalent to UKRI studentship rates (currently £17,688) and a research training support grant (currently £750 per year).

For further information, please see Studentships and Stipends: and information on maintenance grant levels:

Please also see the UEA Studentship terms and conditions:


i) Holmes, J., Mareva, S., Bennett, M.P., Black, M.J., & Guy, J. (2021). Dimensions of psychopathology in a neurodevelopmental transdiagnostic sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 130, 909.
ii) Maciejewski, D. F., van Lier, P. A., Branje, S. J., Meeus, W. H., & Koot, H. M. (2015). A 5‐year longitudinal study on mood variability across adolescence using daily diaries. Child Development, 86(6), 1908-1921.
iii) Klootwijk, C. L., Koele, I. J., van Hoorn, J., Güroğlu, B., & van Duijvenvoorde, A. C. (2021). Parental support and positive mood buffer adolescents’ academic motivation during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 31(3), 780-795.

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