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How does trust impact participation in health promoting activities and how has this changed during and as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nottingham?

   School of Social Sciences

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  Prof Jonathan Tallant, Dr Leah Jayes  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Research shows that there is a correlation between trust and health outcomes (Birkhauer, et al. 2017), that (in the US) there is a correlation between low income and low trust in physicians (Blendon et al, 2014) and that low levels of trust within an ethnic group create barriers to taking up social and financial opportunities (Smith, 2010). Research has also shown that, generally, high degrees of ethnic diversity (initially) correlate with low levels of trust (Dinesen et al, 2020); low levels of education correlate with low trust (Wu, 2021), and that poverty and deprivation correlate with low levels of trust (Jachimowicz, et al, 2017). Other findings have reinforced the intuitive notion that trust in social ‘outgroups’ is low (Gundelach, 2014).   

In sum, low levels of trust correlate with poor health outcomes and low levels of trust correlate with poverty, low educational attainment and ethnic diversity. This leaves Nottingham facing a significant challenge.    

These specific issues should be viewed against a backdrop of generally declining trust in institutions, especially government. The UK has consistently experienced lower levels of trust in government than other liberal democracies. Though there was an uptick in trust during the COVID-19 pandemic, this has now returned to pre-pandemic levels (IPPR, 2021: 15). Despite the national outlook, Adams and Lalot (2021) report higher than expected levels of trust in local government, with this trust proving more resilient than trust in national government.   

Generally, then, during the pandemic there were significant changes to all aspects of interpersonal attitudes and relationships and to the attitudes and relationships between healthcare providers, governance mechanisms, and the populations that they serve—including in the area of trust. There are known correlations between trust and a range of other phenomena.    

Overall, the health of people in Nottingham is generally worse than the England average. This can be clearly seen when comparing life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in Nottingham to other parts of the Country (Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 22-25). Through exploring the changes that have occurred in Nottingham City, especially as they impact trust, we hope to ultimately improve the health of the local area through listening to the local voice and the resultant impact on health-promoting activities. 

This project has been co-created and is supported by researchers from Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and partners at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The successful candidate for this project would be enrolled at the University of Nottingham 


Prof Jonathan Tallant, UoN; Dr Leah Jayes, NTU; Rich Brady, Nottingham City Integrated Care Partnership; Dr Jo Morling, UoN.

Project Aims 

This project will explore how relationships and interactions affect traditionally excluded populations’ health. In doing so, it will maintain a specific focus on the changes that have occurred through the Covid-19 pandemic and the extent to which social attitudes towards healthcare and local support services are supporting/inhibiting improvements to health outcomes. 

What is Co(l)laboratory? 

Co(l)laboratory is pioneering new programme supported by Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and the Universities for Nottingham partnership. The programme aims to bring together researchers, community-focused organisations and local citizens to deliver meaningful change for the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. All our studentships have been developed through collaborations between academics and local, community-focused organisations to shape the research projects around the priorities of local communities.   

Who are we looking for? 

Co(l)laboratory aims to bridge the gap between academia and communities through a holistic programme of co-created research that actively engages with public groups. As we work to build a different way of doing PhD research, we need candidates who are socially conscious and invested in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire communities to join us. If you are an inspired individual with practical experience and a passion for creating positive change, Co(l)laboratory can help you elevate your knowledge and skills and make a lasting impact.  

How to Apply 

Applications to all Co(l)laboratory 2023 PhD studentships must be submitted through through our online applications portal HERE. This also applies to Co(l)laboratory studentships which are hosted at the University of Nottingham. Applications open at 12pm on Thursday 22nd December 2023 and close at 12pm on Monday 6th February 2023. 

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