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ADHD in girls & women over the life course


   School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

  Dr Jessica Agnew-Blais, Dr Georgina Hosang  Tuesday, January 31, 2023  Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

About the Project

  • Supervisors: Dr Jessica Agnew-Blais and Dr Georgina Hosang
  • Funding: China Scholarship Council (CSC)
  • Deadline: 31st January 2023

Research environment

The School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences at Queen Mary is one of the UK’s elite research centres, according to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We offer a multi-disciplinary research environment and have approximately 180 PhD students working on projects in the biological and psychological sciences. Our students have access to a variety of research facilities supported by experienced staff, as well as a range of student support services.

Training and development

Our PhD students become part of Queen Mary’s Doctoral College which provides training and development opportunities, advice on funding, and financial support for research. Our students also have access to a Researcher Development Programme designed to help recognise and develop key skills and attributes needed to effectively manage research, and to prepare and plan for the next stages of their career. The Department of Psychology, SBBS, and Queen Mary, provide a environment for high quality training.

Within Psychology, knowledge exchange and collaboration is supported via initiatives for all students and staff. Psychology organises weekly Departmental seminars where external speakers, staff, and students present their work to undergraduate and postgraduate students and staff. Supervisors hold regular lab meeting with PhD students and postdocs as formal space for mentoring (e.g., students learn to design, execute, and troubleshoot projects) and to encourage informal mentoring between students. PhD students are given the opportunity to co-supervise undergraduate projects aligned with their own research to develop management skills. Within SBBS, there is a 100% 4-year completion rate for PhD students, reflecting the emphasis on milestones and training support for students. 

Project description

Until recently, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was thought of as a childhood disorder predominantly affecting boys; thus the majority of research has neglected ADHD among girls and, to a greater extent, among adult women. Little is known about female-specific factors that may influence functioning among women with ADHD.

This project will address this research question with several aims using a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. The first aim will take a qualitative approach to generate new evidence on how hormonal changes affect women with ADHD. The student will run focus groups among girls and women with ADHD focusing on three key transitions over the life course: puberty, pregnancy and the perinatal period, and menopause. To-date no studies have investigated functioning among women with ADHD at these key life stages, thus this aim is a critical first step. Second, the student will use existing longitudinal data from two British cohort studies, BSC70 and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to investigate ADHD among women. In BCS70, they will examine the association between ADHD symptoms among women as reported at ages 11 and 16 with early onset of menopause later in life.

In MCS the student will investigate associations between early pubertal onset and ADHD symptoms among girls. This studentship collaborates across different QMUL areas, including the SBBS Department of Psychology, and the Centre for Psychiatry at the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine.

Eligibility and applying

Applicants must be:

- Chinese students with a strong academic background.

- Students holding a PR Chinese passport.

- Either be resident in China at the time of application or studying overseas.

- Students with prior experience of studying overseas (including in the UK) are eligible to apply. Chinese QMUL graduates/Masters’ students are therefore eligible for the scheme.

Please refer to the CSC website for full details on eligibility and conditions on the scholarship. 

Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with or expecting to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree (and a masters degree is desirable bit not essential) in an area relevant to the project including Psychology, Statistics, Psychiatry or Epidemiology.

Applicants from outside of the UK are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Please see our English language requirements page for details: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/international-students/englishlanguagerequirements/postgraduateresearch/

Informal enquiries about the project can be sent to Jessica Agnew-Blais at . Formal applications must be submitted through our online form by 31st January 2023 for consideration, including a CV, personal statement and qualifications. 

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a formal interview by the project supervisor. Those who are successful in their application for our PhD programme will be issued with an offer letter which is conditional on securing a CSC scholarship along with academic conditions still required to meet our entry requirements.

Once applicants have obtained their offer letter from Queen Mary they should then apply to CSC for the scholarship by the advertised deadline with the support of the project supervisor.

For September 2023 entry, applicants must complete the CSC application on the CSC website between 10th March - 31st March 2023.

Only applicants who are successful in their application to CSC can be issued an unconditional offer and enrol on our PhD programme. For further information, please go to: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/scholarships/items/china-scholarship-council-scholarships.html

Apply Online


Funding Notes

This studentship is open to students applying for China Scholarship Council funding. Queen Mary University of London has partnered with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to offer a joint scholarship programme to enable Chinese students to study for a PhD programme at Queen Mary. Under the scheme, Queen Mary will provide scholarships to cover all tuition fees, whilst the CSC will provide living expenses for 4 years and one return flight ticket to successful applicants.
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