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Weathering a Perfect Storm: Narratives of Multi-morbidity in Mid-life


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January

About this project

The rationale for this study is underpinned by two currently unconnected observations – an increase in the onset of multi-morbidity in mid-life and increased risk of suicide amongst this population. 

Most research on MMB focuses on later life, yet MMB increasingly now begins in mid-life. When it occurs in midlife (variously defined as between 40-65 years of age), it is commonly associated with mixed mental and physical health conditions. Very little is known about the quality of life for this population, but evidence suggests that MMB presents distinct challenges to those at mid-life, or in the ‘squeezed middle’. 

In order to interrupt negative trajectories of MMB at this stage of life and promote well-being for those living with it, it is necessary to understand their lived experiences. We are concerned not only with how MMB at mid-life is experienced holistically (emotionally, economically, physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually, culturally), but also the systemic impacts MMB has upon those affected (including carers, family members, spouses etc).  The research will address the following questions

  • What does well-being mean to those affected by MMB and mental distress (e.g. heart disease, obesity, and depression) in mid-life?
  • How do those affected by these issues in mid-life live well?
  • What factors contribute to wellbeing for those who are affected by MMB and mental distress at mid-life?

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Full-time UK/EU and International PhD Scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants for all projects should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in health, social work or a social science discipline, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

Applicants will be required to submit a research proposal (approx. 1500-2000 words) with their application. Within each scholarship there is scope to develop the project in accordance with an individual applicant’s disciplinary interests and experience.

Interviews will be held between 7 and 27 February 2019.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 15 March 2019 at the latest.

Studentships will start on 16 September 2019.

Interested applicants should contact Professor Liz Walker (Project Lead) for additional details.