The Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University has an internationally renowned research programme in chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders in primary care, underpinned by several existing and ongoing high-quality observational cohorts and randomised clinical trials, with linkage to medical records. The Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre includes a multidisciplinary grouping of clinicians working alongside epidemiologists, psychologists and statisticians. Our funding framework gives us a strong remit to increase research capacity by providing training opportunities and career support for early experience researchers.
The aim of this 3-year PhD studentship is to examine the role of health, psychological and lifestyle factors in determining mortality in older adults with musculoskeletal pain. With the support of the supervisory team, first of all, you will conduct a systematic literature review to identify and synthesise evidence on the strength and mechanisms of association between musculoskeletal pain and mortality, with particular reference to the potential role of health, psychological and lifestyle factors. Then, with the development of skills to conduct quantitative research, you will undertake a structured series of “mini-analyses” of the North Staffordshire Osteoarthritis Project (NorStOP) dataset, which includes survey and consultation data, with further links to mortality data. Using NorStOP data you will attempt to replicate the results of previous studies that have reported a link between pain and mortality and examine putative mechanisms of association.
The specific objectives of the study will be to test the hypotheses that:
- Compared to individuals reporting no pain, those reporting regional or widespread pain have an increased risk of all cause mortality.
- The risk of mortality conferred by musculoskeletal pain will be independent of socioeconomic and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and educational level.
- The relationship between musculoskeletal pain and mortality will be mediated via levels of psychological distress and physical activity.
Funding is available for three/four years to cover fees for PhD registration (2010/11 home/EU rates: £3,732) and a research studentship stipend of currently £13,590 per annum for 2011. Non-EU students would be required to pay the balance of the overseas fees themselves.
Applicants should have a good (2:1 or above) in a science/maths, psychology or health-related subject.
A Masters degree in a relevant discipline is highly desirable.
For an informal discussion or to arrange a visit to the Centre, please contact either:
Dr Ross Wilkie on 01782 734845 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Dr John McBeth on 01782 733965 or email@example.com
Full details of application procedures for study are on official website
Closing date: 28 October 2011.