Prof Steven Jones, Prof Fiona Lobban, Dr Paul Rayson Deadline: Monday, July 30, 2018
Awards are available for UK or EU students for a maximum of three years full-time study. Awards will cover University Tuition Fees and pays a Stipend at Research council rate (2018-2019: £14,777).
Project Description Bipolar disorder is a severe mental health problem characterised by recurrent periods of elevated and depressed mood. In between distinct mood episodes many people experience extended periods of subsyndromal mood symptoms, which can have a detrimental impact on day-to-day functioning (Judd et al., 2003). People living with bipolar disorder often experience additional difficulties including problems with anxiety, substance use, self-harm and suicide risk. Despite these multiple challenges, many individuals value aspects of their bipolar experiences, which can lead to ambivalence about engagement with treatments that might be perceived as taking such experiences away (Lobban et al., 2012).
Initiated by the service user movement and more recently supported by national government policy, there is increasing interest in personal recovery in bipolar disorder. Personal recovery has been described as ‘a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life. Recovery involvement the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness’ (Anthony, 1993). Personal recovery is therefore possible alongside illness experiences and does not require eradication of symptoms or relapse, which would be the primary targets of clinical recovery.
Our team have conducted a series of qualitative and quantitative studies to understand more about this potential contentious topic in bipolar disorder. This has led to development of a measure of personal recovery and a new form of therapy to enhance personal recovery outcomes (Morrison et al., 2016, Jones et al., 2013, Jones et al., 2015). However, evidence to date on personal recovery has come from structured measures and structured interview situations.
The purpose of this PhD is apply techniques from corpus linguistics and natural language processing to explore how people living with bipolar disorder talk about personal recovery in unstructured communications such as through social media/third sector forums. Web as corpus techniques will be used to collect the data from open access sources, and then frequency profiling and collocation methods (Rayson, 2015) to investigate how people describe key topics, plus the extension and domain adaptation of sentiment and semantic methods (Rayson, 2008) will allow conceptual profiling of personal recovery concepts. The patterns emerging from online forums will be compared with patterns observed in our existing transcripts of qualitative interviews around recovery.
This PhD will help inform and elaborate our theoretical understanding of personal recovery in bipolar disorder and help understand the relevance (or otherwise) of this concept for the wider population of individual living with this mental health condition.
If you wish to be considered for this PhD project please contact Professor Jones directly (s.jones7 at lancaster.ac.uk) including a copy of your CV and a covering letter explaining why you wish to be considered for this opportunity.
Dr. Paul Rayson Director of UCREL and Reader in Natural Language Processing Director of Studies (UG) Group Lead (Data Science) School of Computing and Communications, InfoLab21, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, UK. Web: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/rayson/ Tel: +44 1524 510357 Fax: +44 1524 510492
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