Europe’s future prosperity and sustainability strongly depend on the young generation’s ideas, knowledge, skills and initiative. Understanding youth’s values and attitudes with regard to sustainable lifestyles is therefore highly relevant. Most importantly, values and attitudes clearly direct behaviour: People who value sustainability are more likely to show pro-environmental behaviour (e.g., recycling, saving water) and prosocial behaviour (e.g., helping those in need such as the elderly, people in poverty, or immigrants). Recent research further suggests that sustainable lifestyles not only lead to higher well-being in society, but may also predict higher social and mental well-being at the individual level. While there is some evidence of adults’ sustainability values, attitudes, and behaviour, studies with younger participants are missing.
The PhD project will focus on late childhood to late adolescence and follow up a sample of young people in a longitudinal mixed methods study, incorporating both survey and qualitative methods. Looking at values and attitudes, pro-environmental and prosocial behaviour, social and mental wellbeing over a one-year period, the project will thus provide insights into developmental pathways to sustainable lifestyles. The project’s major focus will be on the UK, but there is also the potential to collect data in a second European country as we have a number of existing collaborations with researchers and charities in Europe.
We invite applications from candidates with a strong background in psychology and an interest in developmental research. Our supervisory team brings together expertise in personality, developmental, social, and health psychology, and we are happy to provide training in all these areas. The PhD student will further acquire advanced research methods skills (psychometric assessment in childhood and adolescence, quantitative and qualitative approaches, analysis of longitudinal data sets). There is scope to adapt and develop the project to reflect the background and interests of the candidate.
The Studentship consists of a fee waiver and a stipend of £16,000 per annum. Successful candidates will be expected to undertake some teaching duties.
Döring, A. K., Daniel, E., & Knafo-Noam, A. (in press). Special section. Value development from middle childhood to early adulthood: New insights from longitudinal and genetically-informed research. Social Development.
Smith, N. W. & Joffe, H. (2013). How the public engages in climate change: A social representations approach. Public Understanding of Science, 22, 16-32.
How good is research at University of Westminster in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?
FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.50
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