Alcohol was once something that former professional chef Alan Price used in his creative cooking. Now the Edge Hill University graduate is continuing his academic career by carrying out a study into the darker side of drinking in a life-changing research project.
His research will examine the effects of foetal alcohol syndrome and neglect. It will look at how children born with the syndrome can suffer birth defects, as well as cognitive and behavioural problems, and the wider issues which can affect their long-term wellbeing.
Alan, who is working towards his PhD, says:
“Often alcoholic mothers will have problems after they have given birth and, because of this, their children can end up being neglected. This study will research a range of disorders, using psychology and public health information, to see how early childhood neglect can cause problems in later life. There can be similar effects of neglect and foetal alcohol syndrome and it can be difficult to separate the root causes of those problems – this study at the University of Salford aims to pick those apart.”
Alan was a chef for 15 years so came later to university. He did an access course at college in Southport and chose Edge Hill for his Psychology degree because the course and the campus location fitted in with his two young children.
“I had always had an interest in psychology,” says Alan, “and, particularly, the research side of academia.
“During the first year of my degree at Edge Hill I worked as a research assistant. It was something I was keen to do – it seemed to match my skills and it felt like I was doing something important that could help people. I learnt a lot about research processes and went on to help a research student with their data collection. I’ve built long standing relationships too – my research supervisor became my undergraduate dissertation supervisor.”
Alan also says being a mature student at Edge Hill was a hugely enjoyable experience.
“I was one of the oldest students on my course,” he adds. “I think I was 32 at the time.
“I would definitely recommend it. There’s a real community feel and I really enjoyed my time there.
“Something else that Edge Hill taught me is that you have to find a subject and a job that interests you. Before my degree, I was going into work thinking ‘not another day of this…’ Now I look forward to every minute of my research. The idea of finding things that no-one has ever found about before really encourages and excites me.”