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The impact of historical trauma on the lived experience of dementia

   Faculty of Health Studies

About the Project

People now in the most at-risk age cohorts for late-onset dementia were born between the years approximately 1920 and 1945. These were years of global upheaval, with mass displacements of people, depression, war and famine. Historical trauma is a term that has been coined to describe the ongoing, and often intergenerational, psychological impact of events such as the Holocaust, the partition of India, the Siege of Leningrad and the Dutch famine of 1944. Its symptoms are similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder, and can easily be confused with Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD). Many features of dementia care environments have been found to trigger traumatic memory in people with dementia, who become less able to repress unpleasant memories than their peers without dementia.

Your PhD could focus on any aspect of the above. It might, for example, concentrate on the elicitation of personal testimony using a case study approach, or on the long-term implications of a particular historical event for older survivors. Alternatively you may choose to focus on increasing awareness of historical trauma among direct care providers and other stakeholders.

You will study within our Dementia research cluster, which focuses on person-centred care, living well with dementia, and improving quality of care.

We are looking for applicants with a good Bachelors degree (2:1 or above) and/or a Masters degree in social or health sciences, who can demonstrate some knowledge of qualitative and/or mixed research methods. Some experience of working - in a paid or voluntary capacity - with adult service users in a health or social care context would be essential.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded PhD project; applicants will be expected to pay their own fees or have a suitable source of third-party funding. UK students may be able to apply for a Doctoral Loan from Student Finance for financial support.

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