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Is Green Exercise an effective tool for combatting stress in children?

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

Project Description

Stress is a major social and economic burden, estimated to cost £10billion per year in the UK. While the mental health issues of children were previously under-recognised, we now know that 1 in 6 children experience stress. Stress results in physiological and emotional changes that negatively influence health and can adversely affect behaviour and academic achievement. Stress also tracks from childhood into adulthood where it is associated with poor physical health and an increased chance of mental illness. Green Exercise provides numerous benefits for health and can reduce stress in adults. Our project uniquely examines the role of green exercise in enabling children to better cope with and recover from stress. Through this research, we will develop strategies to minimise the physiological and emotional impact of stress, and in doing so aim to reduce the negative impact of stress on health.

Through the project, the student will learn a range of experimental techniques, including salivary cortisol and heart rate variability analysis; enabling them to develop vital laboratory skills. The student will also use innovative qualitative approaches to examine children’s experiences of green exercise. They will also take part in the University Graduate School and Faculty Doctoral Research Development Programme and will present their research at conferences. The supervision team have a good track record in mixed methods, and of supporting students to submit articles for publication in peer reviewed journals. Our programme will enable the candidate to gain transferable skills including presentation, employability and scientific writing skills; and will aid career progression following the PhD.

Funding Notes

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.

References

Related publications

Wood et al (2015). A case-control study of the health and wellbeing benefits of allotment gardening. Journal of Public Health, DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdv146.

Wood et al (2014). A repeated measures experiment of school playing environment to increase physical activity and enhance self-esteem in UK schoolchildren. Plos One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108701

Thorn et al (2013). Salivary cortisol as a biomarker in social science research. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7: 605-625.

Ward Thompson et al (2012). More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns. Landscape and urban planning, 105: 221–229.

Ridge & Ziebland (2006). “The old me could never have done that”: how people give meaning to recovery following depression. Qualitative Health Research, 16: 1038-1053.

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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