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Alexandra Carne

Host university: Teesside University

PhD research project: The impact of comorbid chronic pain and depression in older adults

Project summary:  This project aims to explore how the presence of comorbid persistent pain (pain lasting for more than three months) affects adults over 65 years with depression who are receiving a talking therapy called behavioural activation.

The first step of this project will use data that has already been collected from other studies called CASPER, CASPER+ and SHARD. These three trials are the largest trials of behavioural activation delivered in the UK, led by the University of York. The analysis will explore if the presence of pain affected patients’ response to treatment. This analysis will potentially identify groups of individuals who do not respond as well to behavioural activation for the treatment of depression.

The second phase of this PhD is to explore via interviews the lived experiences of older adults with depression enrolled in a study called BASIL + (Behavioural Activation for Social Isolation) and receiving the behavioural activation treatment. The aim is to explore with patients how pain impacted their depression and treatment.

Together these results will help in developing behavioural activation and customising treatment (called satisfied medicine) to support individuals who suffer both chronic pain and depression.

My background and research interests:   In addition to being an NIHR ARC PhD student, I hold an Honorary Research Associate position at the University of York and am employed at Tees, Esk Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust as a Clinical Research Assistant for the NIHR North East North Cumbria Clinical Research Network. I am responsible for the delivery and oversight of several mental health and neurodegenerative studies. My expertise is in mental health and neurogenerative conditions of adults and older adults.

Expected PhD completion date: March 2024

Contact: [email protected]