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Partnership Approaches to Hoarding (PATH): An investigation into the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing techniques to address hoarding behaviour

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, May 19, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Masters by Research Opportunity

Here is an exciting opportunity to study the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing in addressing hoarding behaviour, which could lead to an entirely new approach in working with clients to minimise the occurrence of this behaviour.
The selected candidate will apply their research skills and ambition to complete a one year investigation into the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing for hoarding behaviour. This project will allow the student to develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of applied mental health research.

This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be held in the Faculty Life Sciences and Education at the University of South Wales. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The project will focus on hoarding behaviour, since the environmental impact of hoarding behaviour is a huge health and safety risk not only for the tenant concerned but within the local and wider community. For example, rodent or insect infestation, fire risk, smell, and general untidiness of the property. The proposed project will be aimed at minimising the environmental impact of hoarding behaviour through early detection and resolution of the problem. It will also have a focus on reducing the interpersonal distress associated with this behaviour.
The project is backed by United Welsh, a Housing Association based in South Wales, who have a commitment to social welfare, social well-being, and have a duty as a social landlord to support vulnerable adults in their community.

Programme of research

The proposed project will aim to pilot the use of Motivational Interview (MI) techniques as a behavioural intervention, aiming to assist tenants to curb hoarding behaviour and to generate their own insights and solutions into their situation. MI can be defined as a person-centred method of guiding behaviour in order to elicit and strengthen personal motivation for change (Miller & Rollnick, 2009). The proposed model of MI aims to work with tenants own agendas to facilitate longer-term internal changes, rather than short-term externally motivated solutions (e.g., fear of eviction).

Delivery of the guided dialogue towards insight into a problem and motivation to change generally requires a series of nuanced conversations which are orchestrated with skill, depth and length. The successful MRes student will be trained in MI techniques in order to guide these conversations, and such detailed and structured interactions with tenants are not currently part of routine tenant management procedures at United Welsh.


The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time MbyRes programme and pay a stipend of circa £11k p.a. There is also around £3k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.
The position is available from 1st October 2019.

Eligibility of Student:
To be eligible to hold a KESS studentship, you must:
• have a home address in East Wales area (details below)* at the time of registration.
• have the right to take up paid work in the East Wales area* on completion of the scholarship.
• be classified by the University as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ for tuition fees purposes according to the University’s guidelines.
• satisfy University of South Wales’s admissions criteria: see below, qualifications and experience and application process

Qualifications and experience

• Have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate psychology related discipline
• Possess a reasonable understanding of mental health issues and their social consequences.
• Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop Motivational Interviewing techniques
• Have well-developed and positively collaborative interpersonal skills
• Have an ability to deliver research reports and communicate findings
• Be willing to travel and work in community support settings

Application Process

To download an application package, please visit: Participant Application Package:

For any queries on eligibility, please contact: KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: Tel: 01443 482578

For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Dr Philip John Tyson ().

Further information at:

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