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Stigma, ethnicity, and mental illness – an intersectional approach to improving understanding and developing interventions

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Edge
    Dr G Haddock
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Background: Stigma related to mental illness affects all ethnic groups, contributing to the production and maintenance of mental illness and restricting access to care and support. However, stigma is purportedly especially prevalent in minority communities, thus potentially increasing ethnically based disparities. Recently, stigma and help-seeking for mental illness has been explored in African-descended faith communities in the UK (Mantovani, Pizzolati, & Edge, 2016). African-Caribbean service users report high levels of stigma, contributing to delayed help-seeking and worse outcomes, including high rates of relapse and hospital readmission. Building on this work, the study population will be widened to include other ethnic minorities with a specific focus on psychosis.

Aim: To explore the factors in stigma associated with psychosis among Black & Minority Ethnic communities in the UK diagnosed with schizophrenia and related psychoses.

Participants: Service users diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders recruited from the UK’s 5 largest ethnic groups: i) White British ii) White ‘Other’ (including European and Irish) iii) South Asian (e.g. Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) iv) East Asian (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese) and v) Black (e.g. African and Caribbean descent).

Method: Mixed methods.
Quantitative: Assess mental health stigma using the Stigma Scale (King et al., 2007) and Attitudes to Mental Illness Questionnaire (AMIQ).
Qualitative: In-depth semi-structured interviews. Study design to be developed with trainee.

The candidate will receive in-house training and supervision from renowned experts in cultural adaptation of intervention/measures in ethnic minority communities (Edge) and mental health stigma (Haddock, Mantovani). Additionally, they will receive training in mixed methods via courses offered by the University of Manchester’s: i) Doctoral Academy ii) Summer School and iii) Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMIST) thereby developing the necessary skills to successfully undertake PhD research. This is likely to include: advanced qualitative and quantitative data collection and analyses, clinical assessment of psychotic symptoms and stigma, research ethics and governance e.g. Good Clinical Practise.

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area (e.g. Psychology). Candidates with experience in quantitative and/or qualitative methodology, with an interest in mixed-methodology are encouraged to apply. The project will require competence in statistical methods and academic writing. As the project will involve collecting data from NHS Trusts and community settings, ability to travel is therefore essential. University lone worker policy will be invoked.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website ( For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (

Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. Please note this project is available for a September 2019 start date.


Mantovani, N., Pizzolati, M., & Edge, D. (2016). Exploring the relationship between stigma and help-seeking for mental illness in African-descended faith communities in the UK. Health Expectations, 20(3), 373-384. doi:

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