Applications are invited from motivated early stage research psychologists to work on a 36 month, open ended contract as part of a European-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN), “DISTINCT” (Dementia: Intersectorial Strategy for Training and Innovation Network for Current Technology).
The overarching research goal of DISTINCT is to improve the usability of technology in dementia care by evaluating effectiveness and implementation issues in relation to social health. The DISTINCT network comprises of ten world-leading research organisations plus IDES, an enterprise for technology, research and care, as well as nine partner organisations including Alzheimer Europe, Alzheimer’s Disease International, the World Occupational Therapists Federation, two other major universities and three other enterprises. DISTINCT works with INTERDEM (Early detection and timely INTERvention in DEMentia), a large international collaboration enabling training and development opportunities for all grades of researcher from PhD students to senior academics to develop capacity for future research in dementia care.
The UCL-based DISTINCT project (ESR10) is: “Use of technology in disclosure of dementia by the diagnosed individual to their social networks”. The drive for early diagnosis in dementia means that many individuals are diagnosed whilst still working or carrying out socially valued roles. Such individuals may be concerned not to disclose their diagnosis to others due to fear of others’ adverse reactions, or stigma. Other individuals use their dementia identity to curate a social media profile and dementia advocacy role. ESR10 will be based in UCL’s Unit for Stigma Research (UCLUS; www.ucl.ac.uk/pals/research/cehp/stigma-research ) – a cross-University grouping, based in the Research Department of Clinical, Health and Educational Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences. Guided by psychological theories, with close attention to the broader sociocultural context, UCLUS conducts research in the field of stigma, including the relationship between stigma and disclosure, and interventions to reduce disclosure-distress.
The post-holder will (1) investigate the use of technology by the diagnosed individual and their family to facilitate disclosure of dementia to their wider social networks. This includes literature review, surveys and case studies of decision-making about disclosure by individuals and their family members, sampling to illustrate congruence and divergence of opinions within decision-making units (couples, families) within different societal milieu and ethnic groups. (2) develop and evaluate an online resource /app for people with mild dementia and family carers to support decision-making about “who to tell, how and when”, building on a paper-based manual devised and evaluated within UCLUS, based on the ‘Honest Open Proud’ programme. The post-holder will be expected to register for a PhD at the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (CEHP), University College London, engage in a DISTINCT network-wide training program, public engagement activities and collaboration with network partners through two short-term secondments.
The post-holder will be accountable to, and supervised by Dr Georgina Charlesworth (Associate Professor) with involvement from Dr Katrina Scior (Associate Professor, UCLUS Director) and Professor Paul Higgs (Professor of the Sociology of Ageing).
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