HDR Scholarship - Psychosocial and functional effects of caring for a person with an eating disorder

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Psychosocial and functional effects of caring for a person with an eating disorder'.

Location

Geelong Waterfront Campus

Research topic

Families and carers are critical to the recovery of persons with an eating disorder. While the impact of caring for someone with an eating disorder have been linked to increased burden and stress, little is known about

(i) the effect of caring for someone with an eating disorder on psychosocial variables like loneliness, social isolation, and quality of life,

(ii) the functional effects of caring for someone with an eating disorder on carers life roles and participation in daily activities, and

(iii) the economic impact of caring for someone with an eating disorder. To answer these questions, we will partner with Eating Disorders Families Victoria (EDFA).

EDFA is nation-wide organisation founded by parents of people with an eating disorder. With chapters across Australia, EDFA values the power of lived experience and advocate for a strong presence and active role of parents and carers in eating disorder treatment plan and implementation from early identification to post-recovery support.

This PhD will rest on a unique collaboration between eating disorders researchers and EDFA to ensure an experienced-based understanding of the impact of caring for someone with an eating disorders and co-designed solutions to better support parents and carers becoming partners in the recovery of their loved one with an eating disorder.

Project aim

This PhD will aim to answer the following research questions though three different studies:

Study 1 - What are the psycho-social effects of caring for a person with an eating disorder across illness duration?

This quantitative study will be developed as a RedCap survey shared globally via social networks relevant for family and carers of persons with an eating disorder and through EDFA’s networks. Outcomes of interest will be measured using validated tools, and include loneliness, subjective strain and burden, social isolation, depression and anxiety. In addition to demographics of the carers including age, gender, and family relationship (with the person with an eating disorder), we will also collect the location (post code) of the respondents, how long they have been a carer for this person with this condition, and other potential confounders of the relationship. Demographic information about the person with the eating disorder will be collected to explore similarities or differences between age groups and diagnoses of the person with the disorder. Surveys will be completed at three points over a 12-month period to explore changes in the effects of caring for someone with an eating disorder, plus also considering that over 12 months various celebratory experiences may challenge the carer and person with an eating disorder (such as birthdays, end of year celebrations, holidays, etc).


Study 2 – What are the functional effects of caring for a person with an eating disorder across illness duration?

This question will be addressed using a constructionist grounded theory qualitative study design. Participants will be carers of people currently having and who have had an eating disorder and recruited through EDFA’s networks. Interviews will focus on understanding (i) the lived experience of caring for someone with an eating disorder with a focus on life roles and participation in daily activities (impact on employment, consequences of the eating disordered behaviours like binging and purging, need to seek and engage with different services for the person with the disorder or for carers themselves or other members of the family, etc.), and (ii) type, context and platform for support needed by carer’s across different stages of the illness of their family member.

Study 3 – Co-designing a suite of resources for carers of persons with or who recovered from an eating disorder.

The study design for this study will include Participatory Action Research and co-design methodologies. Results from these studies will (i) identify Australian-specific needs of carers and inform the development of resources and services to better support carers across the duration of the illness and following-recovery of the person with the eating disorder, (ii) engage in co-designing the resources to ensure they reflect cares needs to ensure usability, relevance, and appropriateness of the resources and material, (iii) identify globally common outcomes experienced by carers of persons with an eating disorder, thus the potential of some globally relevant resources.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Sunday 31 October 2021

Benefits

This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,600 per annum tax exempt (2021 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Interest in and knowledge of eating disorders

How to apply

Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page

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Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin

Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin
Email Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin
+61 3 522 78462