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Measuring Quality of Life of people with an intellectual disability: a multi-disciplinary perspective

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, March 04, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a funded PhD project investigating the measurement of Quality of Life (QoL) in adults with an intellectual disability. The PhD is funded by the ESRC DTP and Mencap (Royal Mencap Society) for a period of 3 years, starting from October 2020 as full-time PhD.

This is an innovative study that brings together psychology, epidemiology and health economics to build the evidence base for measuring QoL in intellectual disability. The Personal Outcomes Scale (POS; val Loon et al., 2017) is a promising measure of QoL that is based on Schalock’s 8-domain QoL model (Schalock et al., 2005). POS was developed in Belgium and developers have established its strong psychometric properties. Translations and validations in other countries (e.g., Italy, Portugal) have been successful. The PhD will examine, for the first time, the psychometric properties of POS in a UK context (e.g., factor structure, reliability and validity), and POS’ responsiveness to change. Changes in QoL will be examined in relation to changes in health and social care service use and costs. Findings of the PhD will shape international research in this field, and will also be very important for organisations that provide support to adults with intellectual disabilities.

Supervision will be provided by Dr Vaso Totsika (lead supervisor, Associate Professor in Intellectual Developmental Disability at UCL Division of Psychiatry) and Dr Manuel Gomes (second supervisor, Associate Professor in Health Economics at UCL Department of Applied Health Research). Supervision will be also provided by Mr Zac Taylor, Director of Quality at Mencap. The student will be provided with opportunities for further training as an accredited interviewer and Master trainer for POS. Supervisors’ collaborations in the Netherlands and Belgium will provide opportunities to link with international research and practice.

Location: the PhD will be primarily located at the Division of Psychiatry, UCL. The PhD student will spent 25% of each year at Mencap’s Quality Assurance Team. Travelling at various locations around the country (within a reasonable distance from base) will be needed for data collection.

Key requirements


A Master’s qualification (or to have completed their Master’s by September 2020) in an appropriate discipline and a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent in a first degree.
All applicants are required to have excellent written and verbal communication skills and demonstrated skills in quantitative data analysis. The student will be expected to work in a multi-disciplinary team, interacting with researchers as well as service providers, staff in residential services and adults with intellectual disability. Students should have a strong interest in social science research and quantitative methods.

Further details


If you have any queries about this studentship, please contact [enter first supervisor details here].
Further details about the UCL Division of Psychiatry are available here: https://ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry

How to apply


Send the following documents to
• CV, including full details of all University course grades to date and contact details (phone number and email).
• Contact details for two academic or professional referees (at least one academic). References will be taken up for all short-listed candidates.
• A covering letter (500 words maximum) outlining: (i) your suitability for the project, (ii) what you hope to achieve from the PhD, and (iii) your research experience to date.


Funding Notes

Funding period 3-year full time studentship (36.5 hours a week)
Stipend £17,009 per annum (2019-20 rate)

Related Subjects

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