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ESRC SWDTC Studentship: The effects of self-compassion on mother-child interactions and adolescents’ wellbeing

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Psychogiou
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The University of Exeter is pleased to be offering a total of up to 22 ESRC funded 1+3 or +3 studentships, including any collaborative projects, as part of the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) for entry in 2016-17. Within the DTC, the College of Life and Environmental Sciences is currently inviting applications for the project entitled: The effects of self-compassion on mother-child interactions and adolescents’ wellbeing. This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding. Studentships will be awarded on the basis of merit and strategic fit with the aims of the DTC.

For eligible UK/EU students the full time studentship will cover fees and an annual Research Council stipend of at least £14,057 (2015-16 rate) for up to three years (+3 award) or four years (1+3 award).

For the 1+3 studentships we would require you to register initially on one of the following Masters programmes:
• MSc Psychological Research Methods (Streatham campus)
• MSc Social and Organisational Psychology (Streatham campus)

For the +3 studentships we would require you to register on the MPhil/PhD Psychology (Streatham campus).
Applicants are encouraged to discuss their applications with the supervisors prior to submission.

Supervisor

Drs Lamprini Psychogiou Psychology (University of Exeter)
Heather O’Mahen Psychology (University of Exeter)
Anke Karl Psychology (University of Exeter)

Project Description

Theoretical background: Depression rises significantly during adolescence and remains prevalent in adulthood for a substantial number of youths. Conflict in the parent-child relationship becomes more evident during this time period and is associated with increased risk of depression in both the youth and the parent. Although parenting interventions have focussed on changing concrete parental behaviours, there is limited evidence of the impact of these interventions on youth depression outcomes. Furthermore, there has been little research investigating how changing emotion regulation strategies might impact on both the parent-youth relationship and youth emotional well-being, particularly in terms of both reducing depression and improving general well-being.

This PhD will focus on novel emotion regulation strategies that may enhance positive parenting behaviours and adolescents’ wellbeing. It will specifically examine the role of self-compassion, defined as “being open to one’s suffering, offering non-judgemental understanding to inadequacies and failures, being kind towards oneself, and seeing one’s experience as part of the larger human experience” (Neff, 2003). Accumulating evidence show that self-compassion is associated with psychological well-being and more effective emotional regulation. Preliminary findings also suggest that self-compassion is associated with more adaptive parenting behaviours (e.g., less criticism, more problem-focused and fewer distress reactions to cope with their children’s difficult emotions) and lower levels of emotional problems in their children (Psychogiou et al. under review).

Therefore, the aims of the proposed work are:

1) To examine if mothers who take part in a self-compassionate parenting manipulation paired with experience sampling methodology show more adaptive parenting behaviours (e.g., less criticism, more acceptance and validation of their child) compared to a control group.
2) To investigate if adolescents who score low on self-compassion have more depressive symptoms and worse psychological functioning (e.g., low self-worth, high self-criticism and isolation) cross-sectionally and longitudinally.
3) To examine if adolescents who take part in a self-compassionate manipulation show more adaptive functioning in interactions with their mothers (e.g., more openness, higher flexibility) and also lower levels of depressive symptoms and higher psychological functioning post-manipulation and longitudinally.

For further information about the project and about eligibility please visit: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/funding/award/?id=2080

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