Self-harm is a systemic health issue within the student population, with high levels of previous and current self-harm. There is some evidence for the applicability of mindfulness techniques to help regulate emotions and reduce rumination in those who self-harm, but there is a lack of tailored interventions for this population. Additionally, evidence suggests that males differ from females in method of self-harm and willingness to disclose, but few interventions take gender into account. Previous research suggests that internet based interventions can be successful in teaching mindfulness skills and these may be particularly attractive and accessible to student users given their high use of technology. The PhD candidate will develop a tailored intervention specifically designed to meet the needs of the student population who self-harm, with a particular focus on gender differences. Stage one of the project will involve qualitative interviews with both male and female students who self-harm to better understand their experiences and gain insight into appropriate gender-specific interventions, as well as their attempts to stop self-harming. Stage two will involve the co-creation of an intervention drawing on mindfulness-based techniques, developed for both face-to-face settings and an internet-based platform. Using mixed methods, stage three will evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention delivered in each medium, as well as comparing the outcomes for each gender. The PhD candidate will have flexibility in designing and implementing the project. Experience of both qualitative and quantitative methods is desirable, although research training will be provided during the course of the doctoral programme. The candidate will also receive training as part of the Doctoral Researcher Development Programme, will be encouraged to present at both national and international conferences and will be mentored to publish their findings in peer reviewed journals. We welcome interest from those that wish to embark on research with real world impact and are particularly interested in supporting vulnerable populations.
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.
Mackenzie, J. M., Cartwright, T., Beck, A., & Borrill, J. (2015). Probation staff experiences of
managing suicidal and self-harming service users. Probation Journal, 62 (2), 111-127.
Lomas, T., Cartwright, T., Edginton, T., Ridge, D (2015). A Qualitative Analysis of
Experiential Challenges Associated with Meditation Practice. Mindfulness, 5 (4), 848-60.
Borrill, J., Fox, P., Flynn, M., & Roger, D. (2009). Students who self-harm: Coping style,
rumination and alexithymia. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 22(4), 361-372.
How good is research at University of Westminster in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?
FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.50
Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
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