phd studentship in psychology: investigating the role of mindfulness in eating disorder recovery and relapse prevention

phd studentship in psychology: investigating the role of mindfulness in eating disorder recovery and relapse prevention

United Kingdom 19 Jan 2021
University of Bath

University of Bath

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OPPORTUNITY DETAILS

State University
Area
Host Country
Deadline
19 Jan 2021
Study level
Opportunity type
PhD
Specialities
Opportunity funding
Full funding
Eligible Countries
This opportunity is destined for all countries
Eligible Region
All Regions

Funding for: UK and EU Students

Funding amount: £15,285 p.a. in living costs (current rates) and Home tuition fees.

Hours: Full Time

Closes: 19th January 2021

Eating disorders are severe conditions that significantly impact physical and mental health and well-being. Research has shown modest recovery rates from available evidence-based treatments, with a high risk of relapse. Greater understanding of factors that are associated with maintenance of benefits following treatment is needed, as well as development and evaluation of targeted intervention strategies to help prevent relapse and promote full recovery.

Mindfulness-based interventions have shown effectiveness in the context of eating disorder prevention (e.g., Beccia et al., 2018), but more mixed findings have been obtained in clinical eating disorder samples (Atkinson & Wade, 2019). We also know little about whether and how mindfulness could be useful in aiding full recovery and relapse prevention following treatment. This project therefore aims to investigate mindfulness-based strategies for supporting recovery from eating disorders.

The first phase of the project will involve a review and selection of candidate factors that could provide relevant targets for mindfulness-based intervention during recovery, drawing on existing literature from experimental, cognitive, and positive psychology approaches (e.g., attention and self-regulation; cognitive biases and flexibility; metacognitive awareness and non-reactivity; body awareness and functionality; values clarification). The successful candidate will then design and carry out a prospective longitudinal study to evaluate the role of these factors in recovery and relapse outcomes, to justify and inform mindfulness-based intervention in this population. This will involve training in advanced quantitative methods such as statistical modelling.

The second phase of the project will use these findings to first develop and then evaluate a mindfulness-based intervention strategy with regard to acceptability, feasibility and preliminary efficacy. It is intended that this research will take a mixed-methods approach to develop a digital intervention, including both qualitative and quantitative methods and co-creation with individuals in recovery from eating disorders. This will be informed by the Person-Based Approach (PBA) to intervention development.

The results of this work will contribute to improving our understanding of factors and intervention strategies that aid full recovery from an eating disorder, which is critical given the modest recovery rates observed to date in clinical settings.

Supervision will be provided by a clinical psychologist, Dr Melissa Atkinson, and the successful candidate would join the recently established Bath Centre for Mindfulness and Compassion. This PhD project would provide a strong foundation for pursuing a career in clinical psychology (including applying to DClinPsych programmes).

Applicants are advised to contact Dr Atkinson as soon as possible, and ideally by the 30th November, to register their interest in this project: ma2293@bath.ac.uk

The final deadline for applications to the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership and internal studentship competitions is the 19th January 2021. 

References:

Atkinson, M., & Wade, T. D. (2019). Mindfulness Training. In T. Tylka, & N. Piran (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Body Image and Embodiment: Constructs, Protective Factors, and Interventions (pp. 312-325). Oxford University Press.

Beccia, A. L., Dunlap, C., Hanes, D. A., Courneene, B. J., & Zwickey, H. L. (2018). Mindfulness-based eating disorder prevention programs: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Mental Health & Prevention, 9, 1-12.


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