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Improving care and support for psychological morbidity in patients with advanced COPD and their informal carers (FarquharMU18SF)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common chronic respiratory condition with high symptom-burden, slow relentless progressive impact, and substantial informal carer-burden. Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent in these patients and carers and associated with lower quality of life and increased healthcare use [1-5].

The Living with Breathlessness Study (LwB [4-5]) followed a population-based cohort of patients with advanced COPD and their carers for up to 3 years collecting a range of quantitative and qualitative data, qualitative data from key health care professionals (HCPs) and engaged with stakeholders. Self-reported anxiety and/or depression were positively associated with Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores (HADS) which were higher than population norms (patients and carers). Patients did not always report anxiety and depression to HCPs – they felt little could be done about these symptoms and they “just had to get on with it”. Carers described the challenge of managing patient anger and frustration: some reported limited skills and knowledge for directly meeting the needs of the person they supported.

The specific focus of the research will depend on both the subject and methodological related interests of applicant but will relate to improving care/support for psychological morbidity in patients or carers living with advanced COPD. Activities/objectives may include:
1. Research proposal development.
2. Systematic review of literature relating to care/support for psychological morbidity in patients and carers living with advanced COPD
3. Analysis of mixed method longitudinal data from the LwB Study relating to psychological morbidity in patients and carers living with advanced COPD and care/support received.
4. Observational studies using quantitative/qualitative methods to identify means to improve care/support of psychological morbidity in patients and carers living with advanced COPD.
5. Intervention development
6. Engagement in relevant training in research skills and personal/professional development
7. Dissemination to academic/non-academic audiences

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

The type of programme: PHD

Project Start Date: 2018/19


- Entry Requirements: This project is suitable for someone with a Health-related first degree (minimum 2:1)
Masters in a related topic area (health, research methods) or equivalent research experience

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website.


1) Willgoss TG, Yohannes AM. Anxiety disorders in patients with COPD: a systematic review. Respir Care 2013; 58(5): 858-66
2) Hill K, Geist R, Goldstein RS, Lacasse Y. Anxiety and depression in end-stage COPD. Eur Respir J 2008; 31(3): 667-77
3) Maurer J, Rebbapragada C, Borson S, et al. Anxiety and depression in COPD: current understanding, unanswered questions, and research needs. Chest 2008; 134(4 Suppl): 43S-56S
4) Mi E, Mi E, Ewing G, Mahadeva R, Gardener C, Holt Butcher H, Booth S, Farquhar M. Associations between the psychological health of patients and carers in advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. International Journal of COPD 2017:12 2813-21
5) Mi E, Mi E, Ewing G, White P, Mahadeva R, Gardener C, Farquhar M. Do patients and carers agree on symptom burden in advanced COPD? International Journal of COPD 2018;13:969-977

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