Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Transitioning into the caregiver role following a diagnosis of dementia: Understanding the needs of families to improve their well-being (KishitaU20FMH)

Project Description

Receiving diagnosis of dementia can be a difficult experience for people with dementia but also family members. Although physical support needs of the care recipient may be limited due to the level of independence at this stage, the emotional impact on families can be substantial. If families are faced with difficulties in transitioning into the new role, the quality of their care is also likely to be impacted. As such early intervention with families at this critical time is important for preventing future adverse outcomes for the whole family.

However, currently the majority of studies on family carers are focused on a much later stage of the trajectory. There are several potential reasons for this. During the early stage, many families don’t identify themselves as a ‘carer’ (often referred to as ’hidden carers’) and may be missed by researchers. In the clinical practice, families are often discharged from services following a diagnosis, not having regular contact again until they reach the point when they require more intense support.

To overcome such challenges, this PhD project aims to explore the effective approaches to identify families in the early stage of the trajectory within health and social care services by gathering information from professionals. The project will also collect information directly from families using qualitative and quantitative methods to obtain a better understanding of the needs of carers following a diagnosis.

This project is suitable for candidates with interest/experience in dementia care or mental health research. Dr Kishita is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience in working with family carers. The student will have opportunities to receive supervision from a vibrant multi-disciplinary dementia research team at UEA including Prof Mioshi (occupational therapist, secondary supervisor) and contribute to and benefit from other related research projects, which will be important for their career development.

More information on the supervisor for this project:
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 3 years

Entry requirements;
Acceptable first degree in
• Psychology related subject
• Health related subject
• The minimum entry requirement is a good first degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent). Preferably a Masters in a related topic area or equivalent research experience.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise of Home/EU fees, a stipend of £15,009 and £1000 per annum to support research training. Overseas applicants may apply but are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (in 2020-21 the international fee is £19,100 for lab based projects and £15,700 for non-lab based projects but fees are subject to an annual increase).


(i) Kishita, N., Hammond, L., Dietrich, C. M. & Mioshi, E. (2018). Which interventions work for dementia family carers?: an updated systematic review of randomized controlled trials of carer interventions. International Psychogeriatrics, (30)11, 1679-1696.
(ii) Kishita, N. & Laidlaw, K. (2017). Cognitive behaviour therapy for generalized anxiety disorder: Is CBT equally efficacious in adults of working age and older adults? Clinical Psychology Review, 52, 124-136.
(iii) Collins, R. N. & Kishita, N. (2019). Prevalence of depression and burden among informal care-givers of people with dementia: a meta-analysis. [Epub ahead of print]
(iv) Kaddour, L. & Kishita, N. (2019). Anxiety in informal dementia carers: A meta-Analysis of prevalence. Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology. [Epub ahead of print]
(v) Collins, R. N. & Kishita, N. (2018). The effectiveness of mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions for informal caregivers of people with dementia: a meta-analysis. The Gerontologist, doi: 10.1093/geront/gny024. [Epub ahead of print]

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