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Mental health promotion and prevention: Understanding the role of the workplace in reducing risk for depressive and anxiety disorders (SandersonU17SF1)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof K Sanderson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Background and Aims: Depression and anxiety in working adults are prevalent and costly. Mental health promotion and prevention in workplaces is a collective responsibility but much of the evidence base focusses on the individual and much of the evidence comes from outside the UK. There are important questions to be addressed on how to: i) prevent both new onset of depressive/anxiety disorders and recurrence; ii) understand the impact of actions that UK employers and employees are already taking to protect mental health, including both positive impacts and unintended consequences; iii) promote wider engagement of workplaces with mental health and implementation of initiatives; iv) tailor a suite of prevention strategies that targets both the individual and their work environment in different settings; v) capture the psychological, social, and economic outcomes of prevention at the level of the individual, their family, and their employer.

PhD objectives: These will be developed in consultation with the candidate and may include a focus on a particular industry or work setting of interest to them, and will address one or more of the evidence gaps noted above. The research will be predominately quantitative but applications that also include a qualitative component will be welcome. Most questions will require a systematic review as the initial piece of work, and some of a candidate’s program may be completed through analysis of secondary data sources.

Supervision and training: The candidate will join a new group in the School of Health Sciences led by the recently appointed Chair in Applied Health Research, Professor Kristy Sanderson. A tailored training program in research and professional skills is available.

This project is suitable for candidates with experience/interest in mental health or public health research and a degree in psychology, public health, epidemiology, nursing, allied health, or other health-related discipline.

Application deadline is 31st July 2018.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:
Type of programme: PhD.
Start date of project: Flexible.
Mode of study: Full time or part time.

Acceptable first degree: Psychology, public health, epidemiology, nursing, allied health, other health-related discipline.
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1 or above.

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

A bench fee may also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


Memish K, Martin A, Dawkins S, Bartlett L, Sanderson K (2017). Workplace mental health: an international review of guidelines. Preventive Medicine, 101:213-222

Cocker F, Sanderson K, LaMontagne AD (2017). Estimating the economic benefits of eliminating job strain as a risk factor for depression. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59: 12-17

Bartlett L, Otahal P, Lovell P, Sanderson K (2016). Acceptability, feasibility and efficacy of a workplace mindfulness program for public sector employees: a pilot randomized controlled trial with informant-reports. Mindfulness, doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0643-4

Jarman L, Martin A, Venn A, Otahal P, Sanderson K (2015). Does workplace health promotion contribute to job stress reduction? Three-year findings from Partnering [email protected] BMC Public Health, 15:1293.

Martin A, Karanika-Murray M, Biron C, Sanderson K (2014). The psychosocial work environment, employee mental health, and organizational interventions: Improving research and practice by taking a multilevel approach. Stress and Health doi: 10.1002/smi.2593.

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