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Self-Funded PhD in Developmental Psychology: Parenting and parenting interventions for those with children and/or young people diagnosed with autism

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Barnes
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

PhD applications (incl. a brief proposal) are currently being welcomed from students who wish to conduct research in the area of training interventions for parents of children and/or young people diagnosed with Autism. The focus in these applications should be on the parents and centre on topics such as, parental self-efficacy, parenting skills and family relationships. These types of interventions may be designed for use in a range of settings; for example, in primary care, schools, nurseries or community centres. Psychological interventions may aim to increase the parents' abilities, understanding of, sensitivity and responsiveness to, and/or management of the child’s or young person's behaviour.

In children and young adults with autism, effective parental interventions and strategies are a key way of improving long-term outcomes. Therefore, prospective students should consider how their programme of research will build on existing literature, provide a unique contribution to new knowledge and what elements will comprise the time spent during studies (e.g. conducting literature reviews and the types of studies needed to answer the studies research questions).

Prospective students may choose to focus on research outcomes that address how parents deal with challenging behaviour and aggression, obsessions, anxiety, dealing with change/transitions, sensory difficulties, meltdowns, and other difficulties associated with communication and/or social interaction.

Therefore, consideration should be given to the practicalities of conducting this type of research and how you will, for example;
• Gather data about views and needs of parents/stakeholders;
• Review existing literature on parental interventions for autism;
• Review and evaluate appropriate measures related to parenting;
• Develop, implement and test a suitable parenting intervention;
• Evaluate the efficacy of parental strategies/interventions;

The PhD supervisory team is expected to comprise Drs Christopher Barnes, Simon Bignell, and Sigrid Lipka and will form part of a wider initiative to establish a PhD community in the study of Autism. If your application is successful then you will also become a student member of the Centre for Psychological Research (

Location: Psychology discipline, College of Life and Natural Sciences, Kedleston Road Campus, Derby

Entry Requirements:

1. Good (first or upper second class honours) degree in Psychology or a closely related subject
2. Quantitative research skills.
3. Familiarity with Developmental Psychology research.
4. Knowledge and awareness of research issues related to autism.
5. Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
1. MSc in Developmental Psychology or a closely related subject.
2. Knowledge or experience of intervention design.
3. Experience with people diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder families and/or children.
4. Knowledge or experience of multidisciplinary research.

Responsible to: Dr Christopher Barnes, Senior Lecturer in Psychology.

Applying: During the next 12 months we are accepting applications from students who are able to self-fund and are suitably qualified and experienced to undertake a programme of study at doctoral level. There is no fixed deadline and all applications are welcome.

For details of how to apply, please see: Completed applications should be sent to Stuart Wain at [email protected] and clearly make reference to Dr Christopher Barnes as the Director of Studies.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Christopher Barnes by email ([email protected]) or telephone (+0044 01332-592216)

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