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Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of ethnic groups and the role of intersectional characteristics within this impact: A sequential-explanatory mixed-method case study.


   Institute for Lifecourse Development

  Dr Paul Newton, Prof P McCrone  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Research has shown that longstanding health inequalities relating to wider health and mental health exist in the UK, and that these have been exposed, and often exacerbated, by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is established that the negative health impact of COVID-19 fell disproportionately on certain ethnic groups, on women and on people in lower socioeconomic groups. The key purpose of the proposed research – a PhD study - is to explore the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of ethnic groups and how further characteristics such as gender and socioeconomic status have shaped this. The research will start with a full review of the relevant evidence in the area by the candidate. The candidate will then conduct a survey in one geographical area (that represents the themes and trends the evidence review) to gather data on the impact of COVID-19 on people living in one diverse area. Following this, the candidate will look for significant trends in the survey data that will shape how to conduct a qualitative study exploring people’s lived experience of mental health during the pandemic. The outcomes of the evidence review, survey and qualitative study will then be synthesised and presented at workshop of key stakeholders and residents who will be encouraged to discuss and make recommendations on issues that have emerged. The study will be written up and the findings and recommendations will be reported back to national organisations and local groups to provide evidence for decision-making on future mental health projects and interventions.

The aim of this study is to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of ethnic groups, and the role that intersectional characteristics play within this impact. The objectives supporting this aim will seek to:

1.      Conduct an evidence review of the existing understanding of the role of intersectional characteristics on the mental health of different ethnic groups;

2.      Gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of different ethnic groups during the pandemic within an ethnically diverse geographic area and any help-seeking behaviour that occurred;

3.      Explore the role of intersectional characteristics on the mental health of different ethnic groups within a geographical study area during the COVID-19 pandemic;

4.      Explore the mental health experiences of different ethnic groups within the geographical study area during the COVID-19 pandemic;

5.      Synthesise the data outcomes from objectives 1-4, and provide evidence-based recommendations aimed at ameliorating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of ethnic groups, and the utility of intersectional approaches to inform and address any issues that emerge.

Duration: 3 years Full-Time Study or 6 years Part-Time Study.

Person Specification

Education and Training:

• 1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) Honours Degree or a taught Master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project (e.g. Nursing, Sociology, Psychology and Public Health)

• For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g., UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.

Experience & Skills:

• Previous experience of undertaking research in undergraduate or taught Master’s dissertation

• Knowledge of methods used in mixed method research

• Good writing skills

• Good quantitative / qualitative skills

Personal Attributes:

• Understands the fundamental differences between a taught degree and a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation

• Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully

Other Requirements:

• A PhD project research proposal that is related to the research area

Closing date for applications: applications are accepted all year round   

For further information contact: Dr Paul Newton: or Professor Paul McCrone -

How to Apply:

Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: https://www.gre.ac.uk/research/study/apply/application-process. Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.

1.      Personal statement outlining the motivation for a PhD and this particular project

  1. Research proposal (about 1500 words) related to the subject topic *
  2. A CV including 2 referees * (one ideally being from a dissertation supervisor)
  3. Academic qualification certificates/transcripts and IELTs/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be a PDF format.

Before submitting your application, you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above. 

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