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How, when and for whom do interventions achieve sustained changes in physical activity? A 4-year physical activity intervention in a multi-ethnic population at risk of type 2 diabetes. (HardemanHSCOct2020)


Project Description

Physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, but there is uncertainty about how to achieve sustained changes in physical activity in at-risk populations, how interventions work, when and for whom. In the PROPELS study 1,366 people at risk of type 2 diabetes were randomised to one of three interventions: a leaflet, an annual group-based intervention (Walking Away), and Walking Away plus phone calls and a tailored text-messaging intervention using pedometers. The interventions lasted four years. We collected quantitative and qualitative data including objectively-measured physical activity.

The PhD project provides a unique opportunity to understand long-term maintenance of physical activity change. In discussion with supervisors, the PhD student will design a research proposal. They could focus on understanding how the interventions worked to achieve long-term maintenance, assessment of intervention delivery and participant engagement and how these relate to physical activity change, and influence of context. There may be an opportunity to collect additional data, e.g., interviews with purposively sampled PROPELS participants. The findings will enhance understanding about how to scale up interventions in practice and inform wider policy decisions. They will be disseminated in the Thesis and peer-reviewed publications.

The student will join a multi-disciplinary team conducting world-class research into physical activity, prevention of long-term conditions, behaviour change and understanding whether, how, when and for whom interventions work. The training programme includes behavioural science methods, quantitative and qualitative research methods, dissemination/impact, and personal development. We are seeking a student with a good first degree (at least 2:1) and preferably a Masters in a related topic area (e.g., health psychology, behavioural science, public health, primary care) or equivalent research experience. The student will have an interest in physical activity, behaviour change and conducting real-world research and be committed and self-directed. Applications for a part-time PhD are welcomed.

More information on the supervisor for this project: https://people.uea.ac.uk/en/persons/w-hardeman
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 3 years

Entry requirements;
This project is suitable for applicants with a good first degree (at least 2:1) and preferably a Masters in a related topic area (e.g., health psychology, public health, primary care) or equivalent research experience. The student will have an interest in physical activity, behaviour change and conducting real-world research and be committed and self-directed. Applications for a part-time PhD are welcomed.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise of Home/EU fees, a stipend of £15,009 and £1000 per annum to support research training. Overseas applicants may apply but are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2020-21 the international fee is £19,100 for lab based projects and £15,700 for non-lab based projects but fees are subject to an annual increase).

References

i) Yates T, Griffin S, Bodicoat D, Brierly G, Dallosso H, Davies M, Eborall H, Edwardson C, Gillett M, Gray L, Hardeman W, Hill S, Morton K, Sutton S, Troughton J, Khunti K (2015). Promotion of physical activity through structured education with differing Levels of ongoing support for people at high risk of type 2 diabetes (PROPELS): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial in a diverse multi-ethnic population. Trials, Jul 2; 16:289. doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0813-z.
ii) Moore G, Audrey S, Barker M, Bond L, Bonell C, Hardeman W, Moore L, O’Cathain A, Tinati T, Wight D, Baird J (2015). Process evaluation of complex interventions: UK Medical Research Council guidance. British Medical Journal 350:h1258.iii).

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