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  Social Workers’ Implementation of National Guidelines With Looked-After Children Who Self-Harm

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Prof Chris Armitage, Prof Dawn Dowding, Dr Dharman Jayasimha  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Deliberate self-harm is more frequent among looked-after children than in the general population. Social worker responses to self-harm are geared around implementing the NICE guidelines on the management of self-harm. However, it is not known how often social workers actually implement the guidelines, nor what are the barriers and enablers to implementing the guidelines. This mixed methods PhD will first explore current social work practice, including if/how current guidelines are used to guide practice (e.g., Leather et al., 2020; in press). It will then use the behaviour change wheel (Michie et al., 2014) and stakeholder involvement (Faija et al., 2021) to develop an intervention to support social workers’ management of self-harm among looked-after children. 

Entry Criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a minimum upper second class undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology or cognate discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant subject and/or experience in relation to social work and/or self-harm is desirable. 

How to Apply

1.     For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (   Interested candidates must first make contact with the Primary Supervisor prior to submitting a formal application, to discuss their interest and suitability for the project. On the online application form select PhD Health Psychology.

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Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This project is funded by jointly by NIHR Greater Manchester PSRC and NIHR ARC-GM. Studentship funding is for a duration of three years to commence in October 2023 and covers UK tuition fees and a stipend . Due to funding restrictions the studentship is only open to UK nationals.


Faija, C. L., Gellatly, J., Barkham, M., Lovell, K., Rushton, K., Welsh, C., Brooks, H., Ardern, K., Bee, P., & Armitage, C. J. (2021). Enhancing the Behaviour Change Wheel with synthesis, stakeholder involvement and decision-making: A case example using the ‘Enhancing the Quality of Psychological Interventions Delivered by Telephone’ research programme. Implementation Science, 16. Article Number 53. doi: 10.1186/s13012-021-01122-2
Leather, J. Z., Keyworth, C., Kapur, N., Campbell, S. M., & Armitage, C. J. (in press). Examining drivers of self-harm guideline implementation by general practitioners: A qualitative analysis using the theoretical domains framework. British Journal of Health Psychology.
Leather, J. Z., O'Connor, R. C., Quinlivan, L., Kapur, N., Campbell, S., & Armitage, C. J. (2020). Healthcare professionals' implementation of national guidelines with patients who self-harm. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 130, 405-411. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.08.031
Michie, S., Atkins, L., & West, R. (2014). The Behaviour Change Wheel: A guide to designing interventions. London: Silverback Publishing.