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Weathering a Perfect Storm: Narratives of Multi-morbidity in Mid-life

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, January 23, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Bridging the Divide: Living with Multimorbidities

To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull is offering a full-time UK/EU/International PhD Scholarship for candidates applying for each of the following projects as part of a new research cluster.

Studentships will start on 16th September 2019

Interested applicants should contact Professor Liz Walker (Project Lead) () for additional details.

Summary of Cluster

The aim of this interdisciplinary cluster is to develop an understanding of Multimorbidity (MMB) through determining the ‘lived experience’ of MMB, which is essential to advance patient care, improve the education of health and social care professionals and ensure the effective use of increasingly limited resources. Research, all too often, shies away from the ‘messy reality’ of living with multiple medical conditions. It is not uncommon, for example, to exclude people living with MMB from clinical trials, or to prioritise one condition over another to the detriment of understanding the collective interaction of comorbidities. This research cluster prioritises the collection of voices of people living with MMB and their families and carers.

The research team will adopt an ecological perspective that focuses on the whole person and their various support networks, recognising the importance of family carers as well as health practitioners. The cluster will draw on the collaborative and collective practice, diverse expertise and research experience of the team in gathering and understanding people’s stories and narratives around illness, long-term conditions (LTCs) and, crucially, their intersection.

You will join an interdisciplinary research team based in Faculty of Health Sciences ( where we have a vibrant student network (supported by the Institute of Clinical and Applied Research) which is committed to supporting your personal and professional development.

Summary of PhD Project

Weathering a Perfect Storm: Narratives of Multi-morbidity in Mid-life

The rationale for this study is underpinned by two currently unconnected observations – an increase in the onset of multi-morbidity in mid-life and increased risk of suicide amongst this population. Most research on MMB focuses on later life, yet MMB increasingly now begins in mid-life. When it occurs in midlife (variously defined as between 40-65 years of age), it is commonly associated with mixed mental and physical health conditions. Very little is known about the quality of life for this population, but evidence suggests that MMB presents distinct challenges to those at mid-life, or in the ‘squeezed middle’.

In order to interrupt negative trajectories of MMB at this stage of life and promote well-being for those living with it, it is necessary to understand their lived experiences. We are concerned not only with how MMB at mid-life is experienced holistically (emotionally, economically, physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually, culturally), but also the systemic impacts MMB has upon those affected (including carers, family members, spouses etc). The research will address the following questions:

• What does well-being mean to those affected by MMB and mental distress (e.g. heart disease, obesity, and depression) in mid-life?
• How do those affected by these issues in mid-life live well?
• What factors contribute to wellbeing for those who are affected by MMB and mental distress at mid-life?

Project Team: Dr Jo Bell, Dr Tim Buescher, Jackie Hutchison, Lolita Alfred, Dr Jackie White

Applicants for all projects should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in health, social work or a social science discipline, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

Applicants will be required to submit a research proposal (approx. 1500-2000 words) with their application. Within each scholarship there is scope to develop the project in accordance with an individual applicant’s disciplinary interests and experience.

To apply for these Scholarships please click on the Apply button below.

Full-time UK/EU and International PhD Scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Interviews will be held between 7th and 27th February 2019

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 15th March 2019 at the latest.

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