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Psychological Trauma: Understanding risk, building resilience

School of Psychology

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Prof J.L. Ireland No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Reference Number: RS/20/03

Applications are invited for a full time PhD (via MPhil) studentship in the School of Psychology. The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years full-time [subject to satisfactory progress]. The award will provide fees at the Home/EU rate of £4,440* for 2020/21 and a maintenance grant of £15,009* per annum for three years. International students are welcome to apply, but tuition fees will only be covered to Home/EU rate. It is expected the successful applicant will start on 21 September 2020.

The PhD research programme will be carried out at UCLan School of Psychology under the supervision of Professor Jane L. Ireland, Dr Carol A Ireland and Dr Michael Lewis. However, the PhD will be based in a high secure forensic psychiatric unit, Ashworth High Secure Hospital, where UCLan has a research centre. Candidates should be prepared to work within such an environment and expect to pass an Enhanced DBS to be successful. As such, the successful appointment will be subject to an Enhanced DBS clearance.

Project Title:

Psychological Trauma: Understanding risk, building resilience

Project Description:

Psychological trauma can represent a known potential result of being exposed to stress, particularly that building over time, was unexpected and/or brings with it a threat to personal safety and a risk of loss. COVID represented an unprecedented risk that fulfilled these challenging expectations. It is a pandemic that exposed our frontline health workers and their families to significant stress. The current study will explore how workers (namely nurses, doctors and paramedics), coped with this and what we can do in the future to support them and their families. What is known is that trauma is not inevitable and that certain factors, such as resilience and support, can really help. We also know that if trauma does occur, it can be recovered from, although it may require some particular support to do this.

The current study aims to examine the development of trauma in frontline workers and their families as part of the COVID pandemic, what factors made it more likely to occur and what positive factors likely helped, including in the recovery from trauma. It will do this through careful review of the literature, by interviewing frontline workers and their families and by assessing levels of psychological trauma. It will also capture the potential role for moral injury in developing our understanding of how trauma can present and, ultimately, be addressed.

Applicants are required to provide supporting information as part of their application form that specifies the following: (i) how you meet the Research Student Specification; (ii) your reasons and motivation for applying to study at the University of Central Lancashire; and (iii) your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied

Further information

Candidates should have a UK BSc Honours degree at a high 2:1 level or above in Psychology (or equivalent qualification). EU and International applicants will need to hold an English Language qualification at IELTS 6.5 (no sub-score below 6.0) or equivalent qualification. In addition, experience in a mental health related service (of at least approximately 6 months) is essential.

Informal project related enquiries about the post can be made to Professor Jane L. Ireland, [Email Address Removed]

For the application form and full details go to:

Completed application forms should be returned to the Research Student Registry email [Email Address Removed] quoting the studentship reference number RS/20/03

Closing Date: 02 August 2020
Proposed Interview Date: TBC
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