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The role of economic adversity, marginalisation, and identity in symptoms of psychosis among people from ethnic minority backgrounds

   Faculty of Health

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  Prof G A Hutcheon, Dr Jason McIntyre  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Two Full-time PhD (via MPhil) studentships are available at Liverpool John Moores University, via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC). NIHR ARC NWC is one of 15 regional ARCS funded by the NIHR to bring together those needed to support research to improve health and care. Our vision is to address the considerable health inequalities across our region through the collaborative production and implementation of high-quality applied health research in our five themes. Research supported by the ARC NWC must be relevant to the needs of the diverse communities served by the NIHR ARC NWC and its local health and care system, and be generalisable across health and care nationally, as well as within the local health and care system where it is conducted. Our Doctoral Fellows are distributed across the themes and universities and are a crucial part of our Academic Career Development Strategy.

The supervisory teams have a broad range of expertise, and experience in successful supervision to PhD completion. Two from the 11 projects currently advertised will be funded, reference ARC1-11.

The role of economic adversity, marginalisation, and identity in symptoms of psychosis among people from ethnic minority backgrounds

People from ethnic minority backgrounds experience severely elevated rates of psychosis. For example, compared to White Britons, people from African-Caribbean backgrounds have a 7x higher incidence risk of psychosis, while Black African (4x) and Asian (3x) incidence rates are also substantially higher (Fearon et al., 2006).

Evidence suggests that psychosis symptoms in ethnic minority populations may stem from having their social (or group) identities de-valued and stigmatised (McIntyre et al., 2019, McIntyre et al., 2021). Indeed, people from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to experience adversity linked to marginalised identities, such as financial hardship, systemic racism, and lack of opportunities in the workplace. The intersectionality of these marginalised identities may be an important cause of ethnic differences in psychosis.

Past research suggests that people who have positive social identities (i.e., identities that furnish people with pride, belonging, and self-esteem) report lower levels of paranoia (McIntyre et al., 2016,2017,2018; Sani et al., 2017; Elahi et al., 2018), which is the most common symptom of psychosis. However, research on identity and psychosis in ethnic minority populations is sparse, investigations have not included clinical samples, studies have primarily focused on the symptom of paranoia, and evidence for causal pathways is severely lacking. Understanding the role of marginalised and positive social identities in psychosis could help reduce this inequality in mental health by informing social identity education initiatives, clinical social identity assessment, and social identity support for people with psychosis.

This project therefore aims to understand the role of social group identification and marginalisation in psychotic symptomology among people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Contact details: For informal enquiries or for any further information please contact Dr Jason McIntyre ([Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The full-time studentships are tenable up to 3 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress) and will cover the cost of tuition fees at Home rates. A stipend in line with the UK Research Council is payable at £15609 per annum, and an additional Research Training Support Grant of up to £1000 per year will be paid for approved research costs.
Due to funding restrictions, the studentships are open to Home applicants only. It is expected the successful applicant (s) will commence on 1st February 2022.


Within their application, potential applicants must:
• Provide their CV
• Provide a cover letter that:
• states the title of the project they are applying for.
• includes a statement explaining why they would want to undertake postgraduate research in this specific area. Please contact the relevant supervisor for further details if required.
• demonstrates consideration of the HIAT toolkit for the proposed research project.
Applicants should have (or expect to have been formally awarded by 31st December 2021) at least a UK Bachelor honours degree at second class (upper division) level (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant discipline
Applicants must have completed and been awarded any current course of study by the proposed start date (before 1st February 2022) otherwise they will not be shortlisted.

Applicants require an English Language level of UKVI IELTS 6.5 (no sub-score less than 6.0) or acceptable UCLan equivalent qualification.
Further information
Completed applications consisting of a CV and cover letter should be returned by email to Prof. Gillian Hutcheon quoting the studentship reference number ARC5.
Fixed Interview Date: 7th December 2021
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