Mental-Health-Cropped

Symptoms of psychosis during the perinatal period: The role and contribution of unusual thoughts

About this project

To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull and the Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research (ICAHR) is offering a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates applying for the following project within the Maternal and Reproductive Health Group.

Puerperal psychosis is a rare but significant maternal mental health concern that within the contemporary psychiatric paradigm manifests following birth.  Importantly, the evidence base regarding both aetiology and treatment innovation in puerperal psychosis remains the most impoverished within perinatal mental health diagnoses and moreover, within the field of mental health more broadly.  This is surprising, given the potentially life-threatening impact of the condition and the dynamic nature of the evidence base in areas where psychosis represents a signature symptom such as schizophrenia.  Increasing evidence that psychosis represents a continuum of experience has been recently forthcoming in the schizophrenia field, particularly in relation to ‘positive symptoms’ such as hallucinations and delusions.  Extrapolating the continuum model of psychosis to birth experience highlights the significant potential of understanding ‘unusual thoughts’ as a potential indicator or risk factor for puerperal psychosis and moreover, may provide a valuable insight into the mechanisms which influence the experience of psychosis in chronic mental health diagnoses (e.g. schizophrenia).  Building on pilot work conducted by the supervisors, the programme of research will:

  1. Develop a psychometrically robust and valid self-report tool to measure the experience of unusual thoughts during the perinatal period.
  2. Evaluate the relationship of unusual thoughts to mental health status, including anxiety and depression.
  3. Compare the pattern and intensity of unusual thoughts to a non-perinatal control group.
  4. Examine the experience of unusual thoughts within a ‘stress-vulnerability’ model of psychosis.
  5. Determine the impact of birth experience on the experience of unusual thoughts postpartum.

Supervisors

Professor Colin R. Martin and Professor Julie Jomeen

Next steps

Funding

To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull and the Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research (ICAHR) is offering a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates applying for the following project within the Maternal and Reproductive Health Group.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant scientific area, together with relevant research experience, and should explain why they feel their experience is relevant when preparing their application. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will have a 1st class undergraduate degree and/or Masters level qualification.

How to apply

Applications for scholarship consideration at the University of Hull should be made through the Postgraduate Application system.

On the second page of your application, please select “Graduate Scholarship” as the type of scholarship you are applying for. 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to first identify and contact a potential supervisor. 

Application deadline: Monday 14 May

The Postgraduate Training Scheme

Professor Julie Jomeen