Funded PhD studentship available to research self-harm in dancers
Self-harm is a problem that dance teachers recognise in their students, but there is no current evidence-base to guide dance-specific practice and policy. This PhD project will be the first to determine the prevalence and predictors of deliberate self-harm in UK dancers training in vocational and private dance schools.
Using a mixed-methods approach, key questions to be addressed include: What is the prevalence of self-harm in dance students? What dance-specific/non-dance specific self-injury methods are used? Do disordered eating and/or body image concerns coincide with self-harm in dancers?
This PhD would be suitable for a candidate with an undergraduate degree in dance science, psychology, sport science, or sociology, though other strong and motivated applicants will be considered. Interests in child and adolescent mental health, the performing arts, and early specialisation would be valuable.
The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Jennifer Cumming and Dr Anna Lavis from the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, and Erin Sanchez from One Dance UK. They will be based within the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and will undertake a research placement at One Dance UK’s new offices within the Dance Hub in Birmingham alongside the Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Dance Xchange during the studentship.
The deadline for applying is 28th February 2020 and more details are available here.
Nurwina Anuar successfully defended her thesis on “Imagery Ability in Sport and Movement” on 21st October March 2016. Nurwina was supervised by Dr Sarah Williams and myself and she received funding from the Ministry of Malaysia Higher Education and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for her PhD. Her research showing the effectiveness of using PETTLEP imagery to improve ease and vividness of external visual imagery, internal visual imagery, and kinesthetic imagery has already led to several publications. She has also contributed to the literature by establishing a relationship between emotional regulation tendencies and sport imagery ability in athletes. Her thesis was examined by Dr Martin Edwards (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium) and Dr Maria Kavussanu (University of Birmingham), and chaired by Dr David Punt (University of Birmingham).
Our Mental Skills Training for Life programme is featured in St Basils’ new leaflet highlighting their transformational services for homeless youth. The leaflet was launched at a symposium event jointly hosted by St Basils and the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston Cricket Club on the 22nd of April 2016.
Our latest paper investigating the psychosocial determinants of physical activity in older adults was published in Psychology & Health. Led by Maria-Christina Kostelli as part of her PhD, the findings outline the main barriers and enablers to physical activity in pre- and post-retirement adults, as well as emphasise the importance of other psychosocial determinants of physical activity according to social cognitive theory (e.g., social support, positive outcome expectations, and self-regulatory strategies).
ESRC-funded PhD student, Maria-Christina Kosteli, successfully defended her thesis on “Imagery use in older adults” on 2nd March 2016. Maria-Christina was supervised by Dr Sarah Williams and myself and has been an active member of the BRIO group. Her research provides insight into perceptions of physical activity in healthy and unhealthy middle-aged and older adults underpinned by Bandura’s social-cognitive theory (SCT). She also examined whether imagery could be a beneficial strategy to promote physical activity in this population. Her thesis was examined by Dr Afroditi Stathi (University of Bath) and Dr Anna Philips (University of Birmingham), and chaired by Dr Rebekah Lucas (University of Birmingham).
It was a real pleasure to speak with former colleague, Dr Rob Grey, for his Perception and Action Podcast. Rob’s fantastic podcast series focuses on sport science, psychology, analytics, and human factors, and features hot topics like “hot hands, cold hands, and performance streaks and “deliberate practice and the 10k hour rule”. In our chat, Rob asked me about my research on imagery and mental skills training, both within sport and the latest work with young homeless people support by St Basils. Rob’s website is http://perceptionaction.com/ and you can also him on twitter: @shakeywaits.
Jennifer enjoyed participating in this summer’s FEPSAC conference held in the beautiful and historic city of Bern, Switzerland. As part of the pre-conference sessions organised by ENYSSP, Jennifer along with her PhD student, Fredrik Weibull, delivered part of the BRIO workshop on how to develop more effective images by using layered stimulus response training (LSRT). Fredrik presented a poster from his work on exercise imagery, and Jennifer also contributed to a symposium on life skills about the role sport psychology can play in supporting homeless young people.
The BRIO research group will be hosting another imagery workshop on June 17, 2015 at the University of Birmingham. Also, as part of a pre-FEPSAC congress workshop on July 14th 2015, Dr Jennifer Cumming and Fredrik Weibull are putting on a session on how to deliver Layered Stimulus Response Training (LSRT) which is a method used to improve imagery ability. Click here for more information about both events.
A Royal Visit to St Basils
Jennifer, along with Sam Cooley and Mark Holland, were thrilled to meet HRH Duke of Cambridge when he visited St Basils on the 12th December 2014. Jennifer was interviewed for ITV News Central about how the use of sports psychology is being used to help residents rebuild their lives.