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Using health behaviour change to improve the physical health outcomes of young people experiencing first episode psychosis

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
PhD, Master’s
Psychological Medicine (Wellington)
Dr Matthew Jenkins


People living with psychosis die at a much younger age than the general population, primarily due to poor cardiometabolic health. The effects of medication are implicated in these outcomes, positive health behaviours such regular physical activity, good nutrition, and abstinence from smoking and other substances can help to mitigate risks to physical health.

Early intervention is crucial, before physical health deteriorates to the point it becomes irreversible and behavioural patterns are still amenable to change. Therefore, we are aiming to support young people who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis to lead healthy lives. This project may draw upon, among other things, co-design, motivational theory, aspects of nutrition and exercise prescription, pharmacology, and psychiatry to develop programmes alongside these young people. It is therefore suitable for a wide range of students at Masters and PhD levels.

Please note that this project is not yet funded and would therefore involve the preparation of a scholarship application in conjunction with the research team.


Matthew Jenkins