PhD, Nic Waals Institutt, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo, Norway

PhD fellowship to study the epidemiology of childhood self-harm at Nic Waals Institutt, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital

We are seeking a talented graduate (Master’s degree or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (e.g., psychology, biology, statistics, epidemiology) wishing to develop strong interdisciplinary skills at the interface of epidemiology, genetics, and children’s mental health. The student will be based at Nic Waals Institute, Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital, Oslo, with academic enrolment at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. The PhD student will be embedded within a team of international, cross-disciplinary researchers, using cutting-edge methods and large cohort data to better understand the emergence and course of mental illness and self-harm from birth to adulthood.

PhD Project DescriptionThe prevalence of self-harm in young people is increasing whilst the age of self-harm onset is decreasing. Prevention and early identification of self-harm is critical to prevent adverse outcomes. The majority of research to date has focused on self-harm during adolescence and adulthood. Little is known about the prevalence of childhood self-harm in the general population, its risk factors, and likely outcomes. The project’s primary aim is to better understand childhood self-harm and consequently, identify targets for intervention to prevent its occurrence. The project is uniquely positioned to answer these questions, with data on self-harm behaviours in children as young as three and up to young adulthood from across Norway (the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) and in Bristol, UK (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)). The successful applicant will leverage these amazing resources to build the most detailed picture to date of childhood self-harm in the general population. These analyses will paint a rich picture of an understudied behaviour and help inform intervention design to prevent childhood self-harm and consequently prevent later adverse outcomes.


The Research TeamThe PhD candidate will join the Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology (PaGE) group at the Nic Waals Institute and the PsychGen group at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, both led by Alexandra Havdahl. The fellow will receive primary supervision by Robyn Wootton and secondary supervision by Alexandra Havdahl and Line Indrevoll Stänicke. The candidate will also be integrated into a highly-engaged international network of experienced, multi-disciplinary collaborators from the University of Oslo, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol. Funding is provided from the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.