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Examining the impact of clustering of cognitive, sensory, and psychological impairment on health outcomes, care needs, and mortality in older adults

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Cruise
    Dr D O'Reilly
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

PLEASE NOTE: Successful applicant must start no later than Monday 7 January 2019 (no exceptions)

Cognitive impairment is a significant and ongoing public health issue as a result of population growth in older age groups. For example, it is estimated that 15-20% of adults aged ≥65 years have mild cognitive impairment (MCI),which is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and that an average of 32% of those with MCI will progress to Alzheimer’s within a five-year period. However, cognitive impairment is often accompanied by other impairments such as diminished hearing or vision, or psychological impairment such as depression and/or anxiety.

Whilst the co-occurrence of cognitive, sensory, and psychological impairment is acknowledged, there is relatively little research that has focused on clustering in these three areas of impairment. Therefore, the aims of the proposed study are as follows.

i) To examine the epidemiology of cognitive, sensory, and psychological impairment clustering in a cohort of older adults in Northern Ireland and create a typology of impairment.

ii) To examine associations between impairment and health, health behaviours, and healthcare utilisation.

iii) To establish if psychosocial factors mediate associations between impairment and health outcomes.

iv) To examine the longer-term trajectories of those with impairments in terms of care needs and mortality rates.


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant public health, psychology, economics or social sciences subject

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU

Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link:


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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