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Social inequalities in the impact of wealth on mental wellbeing among adolescents in three countries: UK, Netherlands and Spain

Project Description

There is strong evidence for adults that social/economic standing in society impacts individuals’ wellbeing. Research from studies including the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC Cross-National Study has shown that this is also found for adolescents living in countries across Europe. However, what has not been explored is whether the strength of this association varies according to social group. The project will investigate the question of whether the impact of family wealth on mental wellbeing among adolescents varies according to various social determinants, such as culture, national wealth and economic climate, gender, family socio-economic conditions, migrant status and age. The study will have two parts : 1) secondary data analysis of using HBSC data from the UK, Netherlands and Spain; and 2) a new questionnaire based study developed from findings from part 1) to explore in greater depth the mediating factors in the association between wealth and wellbeing that relate to social/cultural/economic characteristics. It is intended that the research be framed within the context of contemporary approaches to public health often referred to as the asset approach) ( Morgan 2014 ). It is hoped that one of the proposed research outputs will be a protocol for a new multi-dimensional longitudinal study to further our understanding of how a range of social determinants impact on opportunities for health and wellbeing, during development years and beyond

Brief description of supervisor esteem

The rationale for comparing three countries is that the supervisors (Currie and Morgan) have access to this HBSC data. Currie is a member of the Dutch HBSC research group and Morgan a member of the Spanish HBSC research group. Both Currie and Morgan have extensive knowledge of the UK HBSC data having worked with it and published on it in the past. The student would be able to spend time with each the UK, Dutch and Spanish teams and through these connections implement part 2 in each country. Currie was the former International Coordinator of the study and 400 strong research network. Morgan was the Chair of the networks Policy Development Group with a responsibility to find ways of translating research into practice.

Specific requirements of the project:

Candidates are requested to submit a detailed proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) which would support the advancement of the project area described above.

Candidates from a range of disciplinary background that reflect the social determinants of health are welcomed (for example, sociology, psychology, epidemiology, political science). Candidates with experience of research in the field of adolescent health are particularly welcomed. Previous experience of survey methodology is also desirable.

How to apply:

Project Reference Number: GCUL-2019-007 Currie


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please attach copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation to the online application.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on how to apply and the online application form please go to:

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded. A variety of scholarship packages including funded studentships (tuition fees and stipend) and fees only scholarships are available to UK/EU and international candidates. The studentships are not guaranteed and candidates interested will be competing against others in the funding opportunity.

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