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Medication of childhood ADHD (MOCA): Adult outcomes and accounts after long-term treatment, MRC GW4 BioMed DTP, PhD in Medical Studies studentship

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, November 25, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Supervisory team:
Dr Ginny Russell, Institute of Health Services Research, College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter
Prof Tamsin Ford, College of Medicine and Health, University of Exeter
Dr Kate Langley College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Cardiff University
Dr Dheeraj Rai, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
Dr Abby Russell, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol

This project will suit a candidate who wishes to undertake mixed methods training in both epidemiology and qualitative research, and has an interest in ADHD. You will study the impact in adulthood of long-term (>3 years) pharmaceutical treatment for ADHD in childhood. You will train in up to date epidemiological techniques, and thematic analysis.

Background: An estimated 750,000 children and adolescents (aged 3-17) in Europe are currently taking medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with most prescribed methylphenidate. Clinical guidelines recommend drug treatment for severe cases of childhood ADHD, but evidence for benefits is largely drawn from randomised controlled trials in the US, most assessing medication use over short periods of time and with short term follow up.

This PhD project (MOCA) will assess outcomes for adults (aged 18+ years) who took medication to treat their ADHD for 3 years or more when they were children. MOCA will be a mixed methods project using qualitative research (Strand 1) to examine first person accounts that in turn inform epidemiological research (Strand 2). The research will involve PPI with parents of children with ADHD and adults with ADHD. These individuals may also be participants in Strand 1.

Research questions: Strand 1: qualitative What adult outcomes after medication for ADHD are of most importance to adults and parents? Strand 2: epidemiology Does long-term medication for ADHD (>3 years) in childhood continue to be associated with outcomes of interest (established in strand 1) at adulthood (5-10 years after medication initiation)?

Methods: Strand 1. Qualitative data will be collected via focus groups and semi-structured interviews with adults with ADHD, half of whom have taken medication for more than 3 years, and half who have never taken medication. An on-line survey will be conducted to establish which long-term outcomes are most important to people with ADHD. The types of questions that might arise include side-effects such as stunting, and functional outcomes such as autonomy and employment. Strand 2. Analysis of a UK population-representative cohort (the UK Millennium Cohort Study, MCS) which has ADHD, behavioural, medical, social and linked genetic data, will examine trends in ADHD medication data, and assess the association of long term ADHD medication with adult outcomes identified in strand 1. Comparisons of the trajectories of individuals with diagnosed ADHD and >3 years medication, ADHD with no medication and no ADHD will be conducted utilising longitudinal repeated measures mixed effects modelling. The analyses will control for ADHD severity using Strengths and Difficulties SDQ hyperactivity scores.

To apply for this project, please complete the application form at by 5pm Friday 25 November 2019.

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded through GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. It consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£15,009 for 2019/20, updated each year) for 3.5 years.

For further information relating to the funding please see: View Website

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