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(MRC DTP) Characterising chronic pain experiences in children and young people with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and chronic pain

Project Description

The proposed PhD will investigate pain in children and young people with musculoskeletal conditions, including Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (or JIA). JIA is the name given to a group of long-term inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions diagnosed usually before the age of 16.

The successful candidate will undertake research into the pain experiences of both those with JIA and with other musculoskeletal conditions including those with no clear diagnosis. The candidate will investigate pain experiences and the beliefs about pain which individuals hold by direct data collection with those currently involved in treatment.

Our team have already developed new ways of assessing pain experiences and pain beliefs held by young people. The successful candidate will build upon this work to investigate relationships between beliefs and pain, and consider how these may inform new treatment strategies.

In addition, we engage with a range of patient representative groups, including those run by young people and parents of those with JIA. These groups help us develop research questions which address their priorities.
The findings from this study are likely to inform future recommendations for intervention and treatment.
The candidate will also use data from Childhood Arthritis Prospective Study, or CAPS, a national study based at the University of Manchester. It is one of the largest cohort studies of outcomes in JIA in the world and is led by one of the supervisors, Professor Wendy Thomson. The Childhood Arthritis Prospective Study, which began in 2001, has collected longitudinal data from over 1700 individuals with JIA including clinical, psychological, social, genetic and demographic information.

The successful candidate will be joining an interdisciplinary team including psychologists, geneticists, clinicians, ehealth application designers, statisticians, and other researchers in the field with opportunities to collaborate with other experts through existing links and conference attendance.

Entry Requirements:
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the MRC DTP website View Website

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


Lee, R.R., Shoop-Worrall, S., Rashid,A., Thomson,W & Cordingley, L., (Under review). “Asking too much?”: A randomised N-of-1 trial exploring patient preferences and measurement reactivity to frequent use of remote multi-dimensional pain assessments in children and young people with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Journal of Medical Internet Research

Lee, R.R. Rashid,A., Ghio.D., Thomson,W & Cordingley, L., (In Press). “Seeing pain differently”: A qualitative investigation into the differences and similarities of pain and rheumatology specialists interpretation of multi-dimensional mHealth pain data from children and young people with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Journal of mHealth and uHealth

Lee, R.R., Rashid,A., Thomson,W & Cordingley, L., (2019). “Reluctant to assess pain”: A qualitative study of healthcare professionals’ beliefs about the role of pain in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research,

Ghio, D. , Thomson, W. , Calam, R. , Ulph, F. , Baildam, E. M., Hyrich, K. and Cordingley, L. (2018), The prioritization of symptom beliefs over illness beliefs: The development and validation of the Pain Perception Questionnaire for Young People. Br J Health Psychol, 23: 68-87. doi:10.1111/bjhp.12275

Lee, R.R., Rashid,A., Ghio,D., Thomson,W & Cordingley, L., (2017). Chronic pain assessments in children and adolescents: A systematic literature review of the selection, administration, interpretation and reporting of uni-dimensional pain intensity scales. Pain Research and Management.

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