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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
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Academic background
Health Sciences, Sciences
Host campus
Psychological Medicine (Wellington)
Dr Elliot Bell, Associate Professor Giles Newton-Howes


Research into the rehabilitation of addiction has a long history, however despite the wealth of research, development of novel interventions and increasing understanding of the harms of many drugs of abuse, prevalence rates remain high as does the damage these drug do. Possible problems in translating research into practice include differences in the social and political factors that prevent generalisability of research and the ability of services to translate research into practice. An obvious solution to this problem is to engage in clinically oriented research, examining in depth programs embedded within operating services. This allows questions of purpose, approach, personnel and population to be addressed.

This PhD project aims to answer these questions for a residential rehabilitation service in Wellington, New Zealand. This service is run by the Salvation Army, an international church-based organisation who provide an AA-oriented residential service with a spiritual element. The project may initially involve developing an understanding of the addictions context internationally and in New Zealand, with a view to developing a general theory of the context of the Salvation Army service. This could then be tested, using a grounded theory approach with service users, ex-service users, and staff. The theory developed could be further examined quantitatively, by obtaining demographic, addiction, and outcome data on a cohort of patients within and through the service in order to examine how closely outcome matches the principles of treatment, and what, if any changes could potential improve these outcomes. Areas such as religion, spirituality, and ethnicity are relatively under-researched and of potential interest.

Funding is available to cover the costs of the project, but not a salary for the candidate. Contestable scholarships are available at the University of Otago.


Elliot Bell
Tel +64 27 473 9886

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