Design and test of a psychological intervention to support people adjusting to the loss of biological parenthood
Most people desire to have children at some point of their lives and consider parenthood to be one of life’s most central goals. However, many experience infertility or cannot conceive spontaneously (for instance, due to their sexual orientation). One third of those who decide to undergo fertility treatment do not succeed in achieving parenthood. For these people, the end of treatment represents the loss of their desired biological children, their parenthood project and their self-identity as (future) parents. There is a consensual body of research showing that failed fertility treatment is followed by a period of intense grief and that these former patients have lower mental health and wellbeing than those who manage to conceive. In a similar way to bereavement, adjusting to the loss of biological parenthood implies accepting one’s childless status, making meaning of the infertility and treatment experience and reconstructing one’s life by pursuing new fulfilling goals or activities. Despite the well-documented distress and difficulties experienced involuntary childless people, so far no single psychological intervention has been developed to support them.
This project brings together knowledge from Health and Clinical Psychology. We will draw knowledge from clinical therapeutic frameworks to design and test a web-based psychosocial intervention to support people adjusting to the loss of biological parenthood. The first stage of the project consists in the design and piloting of the intervention. After a clinical trial will be run to empirically validate the intervention in a clinical sample.
For further information please email Sofia Gameiro: [Email Address Removed]
The studentships will commence in October 2016, and will cover your tuition fees (at UK/EU level) as well as a maintenance grant. In 2015-16 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £14,057 per annum. As well as tuition fees and maintenance grant, you will receive a participant allowance of £300 per annum, and conference funding (£100 in Year 1, £600 in Years 2 and 3). You will also receive a computer and office space, and access to courses offered by the University's Graduate Centre and become members of the University Graduate College.
The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic and innovative individual, have good written and oral communication skills, and be able to work in a team. You will have, or expect to gain, a first class/good upper second degree, or a distinction/merit at masters level in psychology. Research experience in developmental, health or clinical psychology is desirable but not essential. You will need to have experience of using standard software for data analysis (e.g., Excel, SPSS, R) and expertise in multivariate statistics.
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