A Theory Guided Exploration of The Illness Perceptions of Working Age Attendees of Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme: Facilitation of long-term lifestyle change
Having completed an MA (Hons) in Social Anthopology at the University of St Andrews in 2003, I spent some time away from academia working in a number of roles including administrative roles for health and public services. It was with these experiences in mind, I chose to renew my pursuit of an academic career, taking on a part-time MSc in Social Research Methods in 2009 while continuing to work. After completing this course and achieving a merit award, I was fortunate enough to gain a position with the University of Dundee, Division of Neuroscience, in a research role where I was employed for over two years. While with the department, I was involved with a number of projects including: suicide and high risk behaviours; staff’s view toward working with substance users; staff attitudes towards co-morbidity; media reporting of suicide and the development of a risk of imitation measurement instrument; the Substance Misuse Information Tayside (SuMIT) project; ISAM 2015; Suicide Information Framework Tayside (SIFT). During this time, I had also been encouraged to work independently, and pursue and develop my own research interests, which include use of qualitative methods in health research, social and health inequalities, interactions between physical and mental health, and ideas of ‘normality’.
These interests led me into contact with the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews – and in particular Dr Gozde Ozakinci – which in turn lead to me being considered, and accepted, for the studentship ‘A Theory Guided Exploration of The Illness Perceptions of Working Age Attendees of Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme: Facilitation of long-term lifestyle change’, a project funded by Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences and Fife Sports and Leisure Trust.
Right from the beginning, I was excited about this studentship. As a Fife native it is great to have the opportunity to work in my home area, as well as being back at the University of St Andrews. The subject area too has so much depth. The PhD will focus on the experiences of working age individuals engaging with cardiac rehabilitation programmes – as this is an area that has not been often addressed with attention more often aimed at those in older age groups. The need to return to work and normal function coupled with the faster recovery due to better treatment options may impact on how lifestyle advice is received and acted upon in this group and may in turn be influenced by a number of other factors such as family influence, gender, employment type and so on.
Outside of work/studies I can be found at home being a slave to the cat, doing geeky things, enthusing about something car or motorbike related, or going out for a cheeky coffee & cake!
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