PSI Early Graduate Group Conference, 27-28 February 2015
Poster Session

Poster Presentation Session | 5 – 5:30pm

 

Theme A  Behavioural Approaches

 

Chair:     

Dr. Brian Slattery

1

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN CANNABIS USE

Brendan Molloy

 

 

Cannabis is the world’s most widely used illicit substance (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, 2010), and studies have suggested that there may be a link between usage of the substance and impaired functional outcomes and mental health (Ferguson et al., 2006). Additionally, differences in these outcomes have been linked to a gender component (Compton et al., 2004). Few studies have attempted to discern the cause behind this gender-based discrepancy from a neurocognitive perspective, but by pursuing this line of inquiry sex-specific risk and resilience factors for Cannabis Use Disorder may be identified. The participants are cannabis-users and non-users aged 18-24 years. Participants will be asked to complete a short series of questionnaires including the SF-12, a health-related quality of life survey, the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, a personality index, and the AUDADIS-IV, a measure of substance abuse and related disorders.

 

2

MEANINGFUL READING: A RELATIONAL FRAME TRAINING INTERVENTION TO INCREASE READING COMPREHENSION IN MATURE ACCESS STUDENTS

Gabriel Bourke

 

 

Relational frame theory is a behaviour analytic approach to human language and cognition that states that the unique ability of humans to derive new relations from already existing relations underlies all forms of verbal behaviour (Hayes, 2001). The current research proposes this largely malleable skill has an impact on the fluency and accuracy of a student’s reading comprehension. All participants were mature students (age M = 36). All completed four reading comprehension and general intelligence quotient tests prior to, and following the intervention phase. The control group (n = 10) were not given any further instruction. The experimental group (n = 13) received a 14-week training intervention on raiseyouriq.com. Preliminary results illustrate a large increase in experimental group scores compared to controls, and a similar increase across time in within-subject scores. Relational frame training has had a positive effect on reading comprehension in a mature population.

 

3

EXPLORING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A GROUP INTERVENTION IN PATIENTS RECOVERING FROM CANCER

Noreen Likely

 

 

‘Time to Adjust’ (TTA) is a 6 week group-based cognitive-behavioural-therapy (CBT) programme for patients recovering from cancer. The study aims to explore patient psychological adjustment and to identify the features of the programme reported most beneficial by patients. This mixed-method design retrospective study is part of a routine clinical evaluation of the group-based intervention. Responses from 59 patients who completed the programme between 2012 and 2014 were included in the study. Pre- and postintervention data was collected using self-report measures of stress and coping and patient qualitative feedback was analysed using thematic analysis. Exploratory analysis revealed favourable trends in the psychological adjustment of patients. Key themes identified include coping skills, thought monitoring, relaxation techniques, the therapist’s approach and the normalisation of their experiences. Findings indicate that Time to Adjust supports patients’ psychological recovery from cancer with multiple components of the programme facilitating the psychological adjustment.

 

4

BRIEF GUIDED INTERNET-DELIVERED ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) FOR PERSONS DIAGNOSED WITH ASTHMA IN IRELAND: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Christina Treacy

 

 

The aim of the current study is to investigate the utility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a psychological intervention for asthma sufferers. As the participants move through the process, it is hypothesised that participants will clearly identify what matters to them and notice when they are making value choices and living a valued life. Ultimately the aim of the intervention is to empower the participants so that they can accept the challenge of living with asthma. The ACT intervention will be compared to a psychoeducational group and a waitlist control group. It will include three 30 minutes internet delivered sessions scheduled to take place over two weeks, and a final follow-up scheduled for four weeks after the end of the intervention. This would advance empirical research on benefits of ACT and would provide a new potentially beneficial psychological approach for those with asthma.

 

5

COMPARING ONLINE ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) AND ONLINE CBT INTERVENTIONS TO REDUCE STRESS IN SOCIAL AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS: A RANDOMISED TRIAL

Kate Barrett

 

 

Social and health care workers experience high levels of illness, depression and burnout as a result of chronic stress. The purpose of this study was to examine whether an online ACT intervention could reduce the experience of stress and burnout in employees, while also improving mental health and psychological flexibility. A total of 42 individuals working within the social and health care professions were randomly assigned to 2-week online ACT or CBT interventions. Participants’ perceived stress, burnout, mental health and work-related psychological flexibility were assessed at baseline and posttreatment. Intent-to-treat analyses demonstrated significant improvements for stress, burnout and mental health scores from baseline to post-treatment. However, no significant differences were observed between groups on any outcome measures. Brief online ACT and CBT interventions are useful for the treatment of occupational stress. Online programmes with a longer duration and additional therapist support may improve the outcomes of future stress management interventions.

 

 

Theme B

Mental Health & Wellbeing

 

Chair:     

Dr. Sinéad Conneely

6

CONSULTING WITH CITIZENS IN THE DESIGN OF WELLBEING MEASURES AND POLICIES

Owen Harney

 

Current thinking suggests that to measure social progress and national wellbeing we need something more than GDP. Experts across a range of disciplines have increasingly highlighted a number of key values and domains of measurement that are influencing the way governments in different countries are thinking about wellbeing measures and policies. Different countries have focused more or less on citizen consultation in the design of wellbeing measures and policies. However, recent case studies highlight the dangers of failing to consult with citizens and the importance of citizen consultations in the design of wellbeing measures and policies. Here we highlight the value of citizen consultations and considers how best to optimize deliberation and co-design by experts, citizens, and politicians using systems science tools that facilitate individual talents and effective team dynamics.

7

THE DIRECT-PAYMENTS MODEL OF DISABILITY SERVICE PROVISION AND INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING

James Conroy

 

Well-Being is conceptualized as a multi-dimensional model which comprises of many different domains that contribute to fulfilment of human potential and a meaningful life. As it stands 68% of people who are in receipt of disability services in Ireland are not satisfied with the level of control they have over their own lives (Report on Public Consultation, 2010). This mixed-methods research project aims to investigate the experience of individuals who have the opportunity to direct their own personal assistance using the direct payments model; specifically in terms of psychological well-being. Participants will complete The Ryff’s Psychological Well Being-Scale (PWBS) as well as an interview- designed to examine the six PWBS sub-domains. The PWBS is a six factor model which was developed to measure psychological well-being through the dimensions of; self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, personal growth. Qualitative analysis shall follow data collection.

8

STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF THE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE & BARRIERS TO STUDENTS SEEKING HELP IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK

Steven Tierney

 

While there is large amount of literature on mental health and stigma, few studies focus on these issues in relation to university students. This study examined students’ perception of stigma and whether they see it as a significant barrier to seeking help, their perception of mental health issues on campus and their perception of the quality of help available on campus. University of Limerick students (n=145) completed a survey examining their perceptions of mental health issues on campus, stigma as barrier to seeking help, quality of help, entitlements people with mental health issues should have and examined past experiences of stigma and whether they influence future stigmatisation. Results found students perceived past experience of stigma to be a major barrier to seeking help. Also, students with mental health issues perceived past experience of stigma influenced further stigmatisation. These results highlight the need for more research involving young people and mental health.

9

INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT FINANCIAL STRESS, MENTAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL SUPPORT HAVE ON FARMERS’ HEALTH AND SAFETY BEHAVIOURS

Emilia Furey

 

Farming is among the most dangerous occupations in the world. In Ireland, farming fatalities constituted over a third of all workplace fatalities in the past three years. Recent research has highlighted the role of contextual factors in farmer health and safety behaviours. Occupational stress is a known predictor of occupational health and safety incidents and farming finances are currently under significant pressure. The current project assesses the contribution of financial indicators and financial stress to farmer health and safety and investigates whether such effects are mediated by mental health and social support. Lone working farmers, who work and own their farms, were recruited from a large convenience sample of farmers at Teagasc farm meetings and through contacts in the rural Galway farming communities. Results from this research will inform on some of the possible reasons farmers fail to engage with protocols and preventative measures when farming and why the intention behaviour gap exists in health and safety behaviours in farming.

 

 

10

Mixed Methods Exploration of the Intersection of Alcohol Use, Consent to Sexual Activity and Gender in Emerging Adulthood

Elaine Byrnes

 

Theme C Developmental Approaches

 

Chair:     

Dr. Ronan Conway

 

The aim of this study is, by using a mixed-methods design, to better understand an identity based account of sexual activity and development in college, particularly in the context of existing gender and cultural scripts. The study also aims to explore how alcohol influences decision-making regarding sexual activity from both male and female perspectives.

The combination of sexual activity, gender and alcohol use is of particular research interest as it represents three important components of the human experience. It is necessary to understand the patterns of sexual knowledge that underpin current sexual behaviours. This has relevance in terms of sexual health issues (e.g. STIs) and highlights the importance of understanding how young adults regulate their own sexuality. Their regulatory practices will have implications for identity development as well, as young people navigate restrictions and opportunities for sexual expression. In an Irish context there are interesting possibilities to give a theoretical focus to the study of hooking up. In the current literature there is also a lack of research into the meaning, practices, social acceptability and gender roles relating to consent to sexual activity. Researchers have urged that future work needs to focus more specifically on gender differences in the communication of consent, and to further examine themes such as the use of deception by males to

obtain sex.

 

11

MENTAL HEALTH LITERACY AND HELP-SEEKING AMONGST ADOLESCENTS

Lynda Naughton

 

 

In the present study, 128 male and female adolescents completed a questionnaire composed of two measures; the General Help Seeking Questionnaire Vignette Version, and a shortened version of the Barriers to Adolescent’s Seeking Help measure. Significant differences were found between genders in terms of help-seeking, suicidal thoughts and psychosis. Differences were found between the genders in terms of perceived barriers to help-seeking, with groups differing on three separate items. The qualitative data expand on and complement the quantitative data. Further studies should be conducted in order to provide an enhanced understanding of mental health literacy, mental health care and the availability of services for adolescents in rural Ireland.

 

 

 

12

TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF MENTAL HEALTH IN THE CLASSROOM

Conor Nolan

 

 

Research investigates primary school teachers’ perceptions of common child mental health disorders. It compares teachers’ views on internalising (separation anxiety) and externalising disorders (ADHD). Teachers’ levels of concern for these disorders and their ratings of severity were obtained. Teachers were also asked in which child mental health disorders they would most value further education. Sample consisted of 73 primary school teachers, from 10 randomly selected schools. Research used vignettes to describe children with ADHD behaviours and separation anxiety behaviours. Teachers were assigned either the ADHD set of vignettes or the separation anxiety set of vignettes, and results were compared between the groups. Teachers are equally concerned about clinical levels of ADHD and separation anxiety and more concerned about sub-clinical levels of separation anxiety. Teachers rate separation anxiety and ADHD as equally severe at a clinical level, but are more likely to consider sub-clinical levels of ADHD as “mild” and sub-clinical levels of separation anxiety as “moderate”.

 

13

A PROFILE ON SOCIAL ANXIETY IN ADOLESCENTS

Cliodhna O’Connor

 

 

Social anxiety (SA) is characterised by significant anxiety in social situations. SA peaks in late adolescence and females report higher levels of SA than males. To date, there are no national data on SA among adolescents in Ireland. This study aims to profile SA in adolescents in Ireland. The Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents assesses SA in adolescents and the present study examines the construct validity and test-retest reliability of the SAS-A. Adolescents will complete the SAS-A, the Social Phobia Anxiety Inventory for Children and the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation with a 1-month follow-up. It is hypothesised that those 15-18 years will show higher levels of SA than other age groups and that females will show higher levels of SA than males.

 

14

UNDER PRESSURE? INVESTIGATING ADOLESCENTS’ EXPERIENCES OF STRESS AND COPING DURING PREPARATION FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE EXAMINATIONS

Sarah Hughes

 

 

The subject of stress has become a fairly hot topic both in academia and mainstream media in recent times. However, there is a lack of research into the stresses of adolescence and in particular the experience of the Leaving Certificate. This study will aim to examine qualitatively what stress and coping means to an adolescent undertaking the Leaving Certificate. This study will employ Constructivist Grounded Theory and data will be collected via focus groups, photo-voice and individual interviews. Participants will comprise sixth year students, and also possibly teachers and parents. It is hoped that this research will provide insight into the lives of adolescents with a view to developing a theory on normative stress for this population.

 

15

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE COACHING BEHAVIOURS OF ELITE YOUTH SOCCER COACHES

David McHugh

 

 

The behaviours coaches engage in have an influence on the skill acquisition of athletes and should be related to the age and stage of development of athletes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the behaviours of elite youth soccer coaches adapt to the age and stage of development of the athletes. Eight professional youth soccer coaches were filmed with four coaches in the U8-U11 group and the U13-16 groups respectively. A modified version of the Coach Analysis Intervention System (CAIS) (Cushion et al, 2013) was used to collect the behaviours coaches engage in during practice. There was a significant main effect for praise (P<0.05) and interaction between age and instruction behaviours (P<0.05). Praise and instruction were the behaviours used most often. The results highlight a lack of age related progression of coaches’ behaviours, where coaching is based on tradition rather than contemporary research.

 

 

 

Theme D

Health Psychology

 

Chair:     

Dr. Jennifer McSharry

16

NOT SEEING EYE-TO-EYE: DIFFERENTIAL REPORTING OF CHRONIC PAIN BY CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS (PRIME C)

Hannah Durand

 

 

Research suggests that parents underestimate the extent and impact of chronic pain for their children. The PRIME C study investigated chronic pain amongst children aged 5–12 in Ireland. A survey was used to assess location, quality, and intensity of pain amongst children (n≈3100). Another survey was completed by their parents. ≈10% of children reported having chronic pain. Completed parental data was received from ≈1600 children, including 50% of parents whose children reported having chronic pain. Among parents, 4% reported that their child had chronic pain (versus 10% of children who self-reported pain). Only 23% of children who self-reported chronic pain had a confirmatory parental report. Similarly, parental reports of chronic pain were not supported by children in 20% of cases. These children were reported as living with painful chronic conditions, yet did not report any associated chronic pain. Results suggest there are significant inconsistencies between children’s self-report and parental reports of pain.

 

17

PREDICTORS OF NON-ADHERENCE TO A PREVENTIVE CARDIOLOGY PROGRAMME: A QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF FACTORS INFLUENCING NON COMPLETION

Ann Colleran

 

 

Despite evidence that participation in preventive cardiology programmes (CP) can improve risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, participation rates in these programmes are low. Previous research illustrates that the decision to continue with participation in CP is not an arbitrary matter, indicating that non-adherence is likely to be a behaviour that is modifiable. Time, opportunity and financial costs involved with non-adherence are a significant cost to healthcare budgets. Improving adherence would not only potentially benefit more cardiac patients, but would also be a more cost effective form of secondary prevention. Using a data set involving 300-350 participants of a 16 week preventive cardiology programme, this observational cohort study will use regression analysis to investigate the demographic, biological and particularly psychosocial factors associated with noncompletion. Thematic analysis of qualitative data involving 10-25 participants will explore the intervening processes that account for the variation in predictors and highlight previously unmeasured factors.

 

18

TO ASSESS WHETHER TRAIT MINDFULNESS AND SELF-REGULATION PROCESSES MODERATE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN APPETITE RESPONSIVENESS AND SNACK INTAKE IN THE DIET OF EARLY ADOLESCENTS

Sarah Summerville

 

 

In Ireland the prevalence of obesity and overweight is among the highest in Europe. Research of late has acknowledged the possibility that external food cues present a facilitating role in overeating and indulgent behaviour. This is particularly relevant in Ireland due to the obesogenic environment. Selfregulation skills are thought to buffer against the effects of environmental cues and overeating. This study aims to distinguish whether trait mindfulness and self-regulation processes moderate the effect of food responsiveness on snack intake in the diet of early adolescents. This research is grounded in the theoretical framework of ‘Elaborate Intrusion Theory of Desire’ (EI). Participants will be early adolescents (12-15 years), recruited through purposive sampling from participating secondary schools. The study will take place on school grounds during school hours, using a battery of self-report questionnaires. Results from the current study will indicate the mechanisms that maintain or diminish the effects of food responsiveness on snack consumption.

 

19

DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF AN ONLINE VERSION OF THE FEELING BETTER PAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME FOR CHILDREN: FEASIBILITY AND CLINICAL EFFECTIVENESS

Angeline Traynor

 

 

Aims: To develop and evaluate the effectiveness of an online version of the Feeling Better pain management programme for children (age 7-12 years) with chronic pain and their care-givers. Rationale: Health care organizations in Ireland struggle to meet the pain management needs of pediatric chronic pain patients. Information and communication technologies may offer a solution to improving the delivery and uptake of psychological treatment for pain management. Proposal: A participatory study involving a series of interviews and focus groups with children with chronic pain and their caregivers will be used to inform prototype development. A Pilot RCT design, with 6-month follow-up, compared with a waitlist control group will then be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme. This will be the first integrated web-and app-based programme specifically designed to address the needs of young children with chronic pain and their caregivers.

 

20

A WEB-BASED TAILORED PROGRAM FOR DISEASE-FREE CANCER SURVIVORS WITH CANCER-RELATED FATIGUE: A PILOT TRIAL

Teresa Corbett

 

 

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) can be a distressing symptom that persists after treatment. The development of CRF in some individuals may be linked to maladaptive cognitions and behaviours. This thesis aims to expand understanding of cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in post-treatment cancer survivors, and to develop an online intervention to reduce CRF and improve quality of life (QoL). Methods: I. Systematic literature review to evaluate psychosocial interventions to reduce fatigue in samples comprised exclusively of post-treatment cancer survivors. II. Focus groups to explore the experience of post-treatment cancer survivors with CRF. III. The findings of the review and focus group will be combined with existing theory to develop an online intervention for CRF. This study may be useful for cancer survivors in need of additional support. It will provide an extensive analysis of the potential psychological correlates of CRF and evaluate an intervention that could greatly improve QoL in cancer survivors.

 

 

21

The experience of participating in an intensive milk-based weight management programme: A qualitative study

Yvonne Murphy

 

 

At its simplest, obesity is caused by an excess of energy intake over energy expended. While the global prevalence of obesity has risen over the past three decades, the rise in severe obesity (body mass index >40 kg) has been particularly dramatic and the number of people with severe obesity is now a major health issue. Almost a quarter of us are obese and a further 37pc of Irish adults are overweight. This is a qualitative study with 12 obese patients, involved in a milk based weight loss programme through the weight management clinic at University Hospital Galway. The aim is to explore participants’ experience of the programme, the facilitators and barriers to effective engagement, as well as the outcome of participation.  Participants will be interviewed three times: at baseline, at three months and finally on completion of the programme. Key research questions are: (1) what was the general experience of the programme? (2) For those who completed the programme, was it beneficial? (3) What factors influenced the ability of participants to adhere to the diet? (4) What factors were associated with good versus poor outcomes? (5) Was social support an important determinant of success? (6) What was the effect of not completing the programme for future weight loss intentions? All interviews will be recorded transcribed verbatim and subjected to thematic content analysis

 

 

 

Theme E

Cognition

 

Chair:     

Dr. Christopher Dwyer

22

IMPAIRED SOCIAL COGNITION IN SCHIZOPHRENIA: GENETIC RISK FACTORS RELATED TO MHC

Jessica Holland

 

Although the etiology of schizophrenia (SZ) is largely unknown, it is increasingly clear that genetic and environmental interactions contribute to symptoms of this disorder, and deficits in social cognition. Recent genome wide association studies (GWAS) have indicated a link between SZ and immune dysregulation, namely genetic mutations of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). This study aims to explore the relationship between MHC risk variants and social cognitive deficits in SZ. To test if MHC risk variants relate to impaired social cognition, MANCOVA analysis is performed on data previously collected in a GWAS. Four social cognition measures are compared in groups with and without MHC genetic risk, in a population of SZ sufferers and healthy controls. MHC genetic risk variants may serve as markers for schizophrenia, and further elucidate etiology of this disorder. Future studies on neurobiology of social cognition, and greater knowledge of genetic risk may establish targets for interventions.

23

THE ROLE OF AROUSAL IN THE 'JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS' BIAS

Aoibhinn Tormey

 

The ‘jumping to conclusions’ bias (JTC) is a data-gathering bias found in 50% of those with delusions. Research indicates that clinical and non-clinical delusional experiences are linked. Increasing arousal levels may have an effect on the decision making process. It was hypothesised that arousal would decrease evidence gathering, and that this would particularly affect emotionally based materials. 24 students were randomly assigned to a control or experimental condition. The Beads Task and salient words task were completed before and after the arousal manipulation. Arousal levels were increased by watching a clip from ‘The Blair Witch Project’. The arousal manipulation was successful at significantly increasing arousal levels. No difference was found in decision making between state of arousal or type of task. The findings suggest the amount of information required to make a decision is not altered under conditions of heightened arousal or by the content of the information.

 

 

24

INVESTIGATING THE TEMPORAL AND PHASE STRUCTURE OF OSCILLATORY MECHANISMS IN AUDITORY BINDING

Naomi duBois

 

This study examined the psychophysical mechanisms concerned with combining tonal signals into auditory Gestalten. Previous research revealed a rate (33 Hz) and timespecific reaction-time (RT) enhancement for inharmonic tones. The present study investigates an enhancement effect that is dependent on a temporal relationship defined by the frequency of the oscillatory response, thus is not confined to oscillations of 33Hz. Using a priming paradigm to establish controlled auditory gamma-band oscillatory activity, participants (N = 13) responded as rapidly and accurately as possible to the presence or absence of a target tone in the second of a sequence of two sounds. An inharmonic enhancement effect, evident for all frequencies, was found. By converting the ISIs for each level of rate into fractions of the evoked oscillatory cycle and mapping the reaction time data for the inharmonic as a function of this cyclic phase, an anti-phase relationship was revealed.

25

AN INVESTIGATION OF EXPERT-NOVICE DIFFERENCES IN VISUAL SEARCH BEHAVIOUR (INCLUDING QUIET EYE) IN EQUESTRIAN ATHLETES

Aoife Quinn

 

For two decades, researchers have investigated expert-novice differences in visual attentional processes among athletes. One difference concerns the “quiet eye” (QE) phenomenon or the time between a performer’s last fixation on a specific target and the initiation of a relevant motor response. This study had two objectives. It investigated expert-novice differences in the visual search behaviour of equestrian athletes and QE differences across skill levels. 15 participants grouped into expert, amateur and novice riders were eyetracked as they performed perceptual and motor tasks while viewing film clips of a horse and rider approaching a fence. Partial evidence was found suggesting expert show jumpers demonstrate more efficient visual gaze strategies along with partial support for the existence of skill-based QE differences among equestrian athletes. The theoretical significance of the findings is evaluated and directions for improving the cognitive and technical skills of equestrian athletes are identified.

26

EVALUATING READING INTERVENTIONS IN REAL LIFE SETTINGS: WHAT WORKS?

Laura Lee

 

Reading fluency refers to the ability to read connected text with speed, accuracy, and appropriate expression. Many children develop reading fluency ability with relative ease. However, there are many other children who, for a multitude of possible reasons, struggle to develop reading fluency ability. For these children, supplemental reading fluency instruction (SRFI: instruction which complements regular classroom teaching) is essential. SRFI can take many forms, and can be designed to be implemented in the home and/or school environment. The current work explores the implementation of two methods of SRFI (an educational computer game called GraphoGame-Fluent and Paired Reading) in home/school settings. This work specifically evaluates these methods in terms of their “real world effectiveness” i.e. how well these methods of instruction actually worked in the settings they are designed for. This emphasis is rooted in a desire to create a more comprehensive overview of SRFI methods rather than those which focus solely on potential gains in reading outcomes.