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Illness Perceptions and Explanatory Models of Psychosis in Caregivers in Indonesia: Scale Development (GCRF)

Project Description

The primary focus of this PhD project is to develop a measure of illness perceptions for caregivers of people with psychosis or schizophrenia in Indonesia. Specifically, this PhD will explore carer’s beliefs about causal factors, symptom identification, illness course perceptions and their views on the consequences of having an illness for their family member. Caregivers and family are often central to the care of people with psychosis. Psychosis is a severe mental health condition comprising unusual symptoms such as delusional beliefs and hallucinations alongside negative symptoms that affect motivation, drive and goal attainment. These conditions can be lifelong, distressing with marked impairment in functioning and the subsequent family impact can be substantial.

Patient’s beliefs about their illness are linked with health-related behaviours and are a strong predictor of outcomes. Patients who believe there are greater negative consequences from experiencing psychosis have higher levels of depression, poorer quality of life, are less satisfied with their mental health and function less well than those who view it positively. Perceiving treatments as unhelpful also predicts those who are less likely to continue taking their medications. The existing literature predominantly focuses on illness perceptions in people with serious mental health problems and research in carer illness perceptions is limited.

There is extensive evidence that carer behaviours influence the course of illness for people with psychosis or schizophrenia but less evidence of the underlying illness perceptions that potentially influences carer- patient relationships. Understanding illness perceptions and explanatory models of mental illness is key to developing and evaluating interventions that improve caregiver coping strategies and develop therapeutic family interventions that focus on aligning explanatory models to improve interpersonal relationships. This is especially true in Indonesia where poor knowledge and prevailing misconceptions about schizophrenia in the community can lead families to implement non-evidence-based treatments and even harmful treatments which reduces access to appropriate care.

This PhD has two principle aims
I. Develop a measure of illness perceptions for people experiencing psychosis using deductive and inductive methods
II. Conduct preliminary measure validation tests among caregivers of people with psychosis

This PhD project will involve evidence synthesis of the existing literature of measuring illness perceptions, fieldwork conducting interviews with people with psychosis/schizophrenia and their families in Indonesia to inform scale development and testing the psychometric properties of this new measure in a large survey of key stakeholders.

Entry Requirements
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject.

If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - choose PhD Nursing. Full details on how to apply can be found on the GCRF website

Funding Notes

The GCRF PhD studentship programme is a 4 year programme with integrated teaching certificate. There are up to 12 studentships available. Applicants can apply to one project which will start in either April or September 2020.

Funding for the programme will include tuition fees, an annual stipend at the minimum Research Councils UK rate (around £15,000 for 2019/20), a research training grant, training allowance and travel allowance.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

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