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The Effect of a Novel Psychosensory Intervention on Weight Loss and the Mental Health of Obese Adults S&T26

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: S&T26

The obesity epidemic is one of the biggest challenges of our time. There is an urgent need for new interventions which are effective for weight loss and maintenance, practical to implement, and cost effective. People living with obesity often experience psychological challenges that hinder weight loss efforts, but the opportunity to address them concurrently with weight loss is missing from most intervention programs.

Havening is a novel psychosensory technique which uses sensory input (gentle touch) to elicit positive changes in mood, and behaviour. It is used globally to improve motivation, and self-esteem, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Robust scientific evidence to support it is limited but expanding. Our multidisciplinary research group is working with Havening practitioners to generate evidence for the efficacy and mechanism of action of the technique; our team is the first to find support for the importance of Havening touch in reducing distress. The purpose of this project is to explore Havening as a therapeutic tool for common obesity-related psychological problems which, we hypothesize, will impact positively on weight loss and the psychological well-being of obese individuals.

This project is the first of its kind to investigate the efficacy of Havening to enhance weight loss outcomes. Using a mixed methods approach, we will explore physiological, anthropometric, and psychological variables to establish efficacy of Havening in a weight loss program.

We are looking for a committed nutritionist or dietitian with a 1st class honours degree and Distinction at Masters level. For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Kirsty Hunter.

The supervisory team consists of Director of Studies Dr Kirsty Hunter (NTU) and co-supervisors Dr Clayton (NTU), Dr Sumich (NTU) and Mr Burgess (Academy of High Achievers).

School strategic research priority

This project aligns with the universities Health and Wellbeing Research Theme and the focus of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement Research Centre.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

Still need help?

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