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27 January 2020

New PhD studentship on mental health in the UK now available

King's Centre for Society & Mental Health announces a new PhD studentship on 'Welfare reform, poverty, food bank use and mental health in the UK'.

Student working at a laptop

The Centre for Society & Mental Health is proud to announce a new PhD studentship opportunity.

This studentship aligns with the research areas of faculty in the centre and is affiliated with The London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP).


Project details

Title: Welfare reform, poverty, food bank use and mental health in the UK

Application deadline: 1 March 2020, 23:59
How to apply: see here

Primary supervisor: Professor Mauricio Avendano Pabon
Secondary supervisor: Dr Rachel Loopstra

Overview: This exciting project aims to examine how recent policy changes in the UK welfare system influence the mental health of individuals and families experiencing food insecurity, and how this is linked to the increasing use of food banks in the UK.

The prevalence of mental health problems is high amongst food bank users, affecting over 35% of this population. The causal mechanisms underlying this association, however, are complex: poor mental health may be caused by poverty and food insecurity, but poor mental health may also be the cause of food insecurity and poverty.

This project will examine the relationship and underlying causal mechanisms between welfare reform, food insecurity and mental health, with a particular focus on the rise in the use of food banks since 2010 in the UK. 

The project aims to explore the potential causes of food insecurity, food bank use and mental health disorders, and assess the role of welfare reform policy changes in understanding these relationships. It will use quantitative data to examine the causal effect of welfare reform and to understand how life histories influence the complex links between food insecurity, mental health and welfare benefits.

Depending on the interest of the candidate, it may also involve in-depth interviews with food bank users and policymakers.

In this story

Mauricio Avendano

Visiting Professor of Public Policy & Global Health

Rachel  Loopstra

Affiliate Lecturer in Nutrition