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Intersectionality and Allostatic Load

Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport

About the Project

The aim of this project will be to provide an extensive analysis of the social, economic and demographic categories (such as ethnicity, social class and gender) that interconnect and interact to create modes of discrimination and privilege which can be manifested in worse health outcomes in certain groups within our populations. The project will aim to identify and quantitatively measure this ‘intersectionality’ in the UK general population and examine how these factors are related to health with a focus on pre-disease physiological wear-and-tear. We hypothesise that these combinations of factors will be linked to poorer physiological health and risk of ill health, and that those experiencing several of these factors linked to discrimination simultaneously and over time (e.g. ethnic minority women living in poverty) will in turn have the worst relative health outcomes.
We will use statistical methods to analyse data from UK cohort studies, which collect repeat information from a wide-range of residents of UK households. Extensive data are available on factors such as socioeconomic circumstances, ethnicity and gender, as well as having health outcomes, including detailed biological measures (such as blood pressure and cholesterol). These ’biomarkers’ will be combined to produce a measure of physiological wear-and-tear known as allostatic load, an emerging measure which has the potential to offer important new insights on pre-clinical health and health inequalities.
If you are interested in investigating the intersectionality, social determinants of health and health inequalities, then this PhD is for you. You will be supported to develop an interdisciplinary research project that combines epidemiology, public health, sociology and statistics. You will be based in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport at the University of Stirling and will be part of the Population and Public Health Research Group. Your supervisors will be able to provide expertise in public health, social epidemiology, social stratification, health inequalities and quantitative methods. Our Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport was ranked 1st in Scotland and top 15 in the UK for Health Sciences in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) – highlighting our commitment to producing world-leading research that improves healthcare and reduces health inequalities on a global and local scale. You will be supported in your studies by your supervisors who have strong and established research records, public health experience and a wealth of world-class publications. In addition we have a fantastic network of PhD students, postdocs and Faculty staff who will support you throughout the process.

If you are interested in this opportunity we would welcome questions and a chance to discuss your ideas for developing the project. Part-time and full-time students are invited to apply.

• A first or 2.1 undergraduate degree, ideally in the health or social sciences or statistics
• A Masters degree in a related subject with a good fundamental knowledge of quantitative methods.
• IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Funding Notes

If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.

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