• One step forward and two steps back? The ‘20 Principles’ for questioning vulnerable witnesses and the lack of an evidence-based approach.

      Cooper, Penny; Dando, Coral J.; Ormerod, Thomas C.; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Marchant, Ruth; Milne, Rebecca; Bull, Ray; Birkbeck University of London; University of Westminster; University of Sussex; University of Chester, Triangle, University of Portsmouth, University of Derby (SAGE Publications, 2018-08-19)
      It is a widely held belief that questioning vulnerable witnesses is a specialist skill. In England and Wales vulnerable witness advocacy training built around ‘20 Principles’ has been developed and is being delivered. The 20 Principles do not cite a tested theoretical framework(s) or empirical evidence in support. This paper considers whether the 20 Principles are underpinned by research evidence. It is submitted that advocacy training and the approach to questioning witnesses in the courtroom should take into account the already available research evidence. The authors make recommendations for revision of the training and for a wider review of the approach taken to the handling of witness evidence.
    • Online information and support needs of women with advanced breast cancer: A qualitative analysis

      Kemp, Emma; Koczwara, Bogda; Butow, Phyllis N.; Turner, Jane; Girgis, Afaf; Schofield, Penelope; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Levesque, Janelle V.; Spence, Danielle; Vatandoust, Sina; et al. (Springer, 2018-04-24)
      Purpose: Women with advanced breast cancer (ABC) face significant adjustment challenges, yet few resources provide them with information and support, and attendance barriers can preclude access to face to face psychosocial support. This paper reports on two qualitative studies examining (i) whether information and support-seeking preferences of women with ABC could be addressed in an online intervention, and (ii) how an existing intervention for patients with early stage cancer could be adapted for women with ABC. Methods: Women with ABC participated in telephone interviews about their information and support- seeking preferences (N = 21) and evaluated an online intervention focused on early-stage cancer (N = 15). Interviews were transcribed and underwent thematic analysis using the framework method to identify salient themes. Results: Participants most commonly sought medical, lifestyle-related, and practical information/support; however, when presented with an online intervention, participants most commonly gave positive feedback on content on coping with emotional distress. Difficulty finding information and barriers to using common sources of information/support including health professionals, family and friends, and peers were reported; however, some women also reported not wanting information or support. All participants evaluating the existing intervention gave positive feedback on various components, with results suggesting an online intervention could be an effective means of providing information/support to women with ABC, given improved specificity/relevance to ABC and increased tailoring to individuals circumstances and preferences. Conclusions: Adaptation of an existing online intervention for early stage cancer appears a promising avenue to address the information and support needs of women with ABC.
    • Pain Processing in Psychiatric Conditions: A systematic review

      Vaughan, Sarah; Poole, Helen M.; Forshaw, Mark J.; McGlone, Francis; Failla, Michelle D.; Cascio, Carissa J.; Moore, David J.; University of Chester, Liverpool John Moores University, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (American Psychological Society, 2019-04-29)
      Objective: Pain is a universal, multidimensional experience with sensory emotional, cognitive and social components, which is fundamental to our environmental learning when functioning typically. Understanding pain processing in psychiatric conditions could provide unique insight into the underlying pathophysiology or psychiatric disease, especially given the psychobiological overlap with pain processing pathways. Studying pain in psychiatric conditions is likely to provide important insights, yet, there is a limited understanding beyond the work outside depression and anxiety. This is a missed opportunity to describe psychiatric conditions in terms of neurobiological alterations. In order to examine the research into the pain experiences of these groups and the extent to which a-typicality is present, a systematic review was conducted. Methods: An electronic search strategy was developed and conducted in several databases. Results: The current systematic review included 46 studies covering five DSM-5 disorders: autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder and eating disorders, confirming tentative evidence of altered pain and touch processing. Specifically, hyposensitivity is reported in schizophrenia, personality disorder and eating disorder, hypersensitivity in ADHD and mixed results for autism. Conclusions: Review of the research highlights a degree of methodological inconsistency in the utilisation of comprehensive protocols; the lack of which fails to allow us to understand whether a-typicality is systemic or modality-specific.
    • Paradoxical correlates of a facilitative parenting programme in prison—counter-productive intervention or first signs of responsible parenthood?

      Skar, Ane-Marthe Solheim; von Tetzchner, Stephen; Clucas, Claudine; Sherr, Lorraine; University of Oslo; University College London; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2014-04-07)
      Purpose. Parenting programmes are rarely part of prisoners’ rehabilitation, and evaluations of such programmes are lacking. Methods. The present mixed-methods study investigates the International Child Development Programme (ICDP) with 25 incarcerated fathers and a comparison group of 36 community fathers through questionnaires administered before and after parenting courses. Interviews with 20 incarcerated fathers were analysed using thematic analysis. Results. Before the course, the prison group self-reported better parenting skills and poorer psychosocial health than the comparison group. Both groups improved on parenting strategies. On several measures the comparison group improved, while the prison group revealed the same or lower scores. The incarcerated fathers described becoming more aware of their paternal role but also saw the course as emotionally challenging. Conclusions. Some of the self-reported scores of the prison participants related to parental skills and psychosocial health decreased from ‘before’ to ‘after’ ICDP sensitization, pointing to the possibility that the ICDP courses may have contributed to overcoming a ‘prisonization process’, where the prisoner identity overshadows the parental identity, by making them more aware of their parental responsibilities. Due to the emerging possibility of counter-productive influences, a randomized controlled study is needed in the future to ascertain the parenting and recidivism-related effects of this programme.
    • Participant Concerns for the Learner in a Virtual Reality Replication of the Milgram Obedience Study

      Gonzalez-Franco, Mar; Slater, Mel; Birney, Megan E.; Swapp, David; Haslam, S. Alexander; Reicher, Stephen D.; Microsoft Research; University College London; University of Barcelona; University of Chester at University Centre Shrewsbury; University of Queensland; University of St. Andrews (Public Library of Science, 2018-12-31)
      In Milgram’s seminal obedience studies, participants’ behaviour has traditionally been explained as a demonstration of people’s tendency to enter into an ‘agentic state’ when in the presence of an authority figure: they attend only to the demands of that authority and are insensitive to the plight of their victims. There have been many criticisms of this view, but most rely on either indirect or anecdotal evidence. In this study, participants (n = 40) are taken through a Virtual Reality simulation of the Milgram paradigm. Compared to control participants (n = 20) who are not taken through the simulation, those in the experimental conditions are found to attempt to help the Learner more by putting greater emphasis on the correct word over the incorrect words. We also manipulate the extent to which participants identify with the science of the study and show that high identifiers both give more help, are less stressed, and are more hesitant to press the shock button than low identifiers. We conclude that these findings constitute a refutation of the ‘agentic state’ approach to obedience. Instead, we discuss implications for the alternative approaches such as ‘engaged followership’ which suggests that obedience is a function of relative identification with the science and with the victim in the study. Finally, we discuss the value of Virtual Reality as a technique for investigating hard-to-study psychological phenomena.
    • Patient-reported depression measures in cancer: a meta-review

      Wakefield, Claire E.; Butow, Phyllis N.; Aaronson, Neil A.; Hack, Thomas F.; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Jacobsen, Paul B.; University of Chester (Lancet, 2015-07)
      It is unclear which patient-reported depression measures perform best in oncology settings. We conducted a meta-review to integrate the findings of reviews of more than 50 depression measures used in oncology. We searched Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE and grey literature from 1999-2014 to identify 19 reviews representing 372 primary studies. Eleven reviews were rated as being of high quality. The Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) was most thoroughly evaluated, but was limited by cut-point variability. The HADS had moderate screening utility indices and was least recommended in advanced cancer/palliative care. The Beck Depression Inventory was more generalizable across cancer types/disease stages, with good indices for screening and case finding. The Centre of Epidemiology-Depression Scale was the best-weighted measure in terms of responsiveness. This meta-review provides a comprehensive overview of the strengths and limitations of available depression measures. It can inform the choice of the best measure for specific settings and purposes.
    • Patient-reported outcomes of sexual and gender minority cancer survivors in Australia

      Lisy, Karolina; Ward, Andrew; Schofield, Penelope; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Bishop, Jim; Jefford, Michael; Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne; The Social Research Centre, Melbourne; Swinburne University, Melbourne; University of Chester, UK; Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Melbourne; University of Melbourne (Wiley, 2018-12-03)
      Five key points: This is the first population‐based survey of Australian cancer survivors to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) identity. Few respondents (1.6%) identified as LGBTI, less than half the reported prevalence in Australia. LGBTI respondents were more likely to be younger, employed, and born in Australia. LGBTI people may experience more problems with anxiety/depression, body image and financial benefits, and greater needs for diet and lifestyle information. Commonly used patient‐reported outcome measures may not be sensitive to LGBTI issues; areas for future enquiry are proposed.
    • Perceived Barriers that Prevent High School Students Seeking Help from Teachers for Bullying and their Effects on Disclosure Intentions

      Boulton, Michael J.; Boulton, Louise; Down, James; Sanders, Jessica; Craddock, Helen; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-01-29)
      Many adolescents choose not to tell teachers when they have been bullied. Three studies with 12-16 year-old English adolescents addressed possible reasons. In study 1, students (N = 411, 208 females/203 males) identified reasons with no prompting. Three perceived negative outcomes were common; peers would disapprove, disclosers would feel weak/undermined, and disclosers desired autonomy. In study 2, students (N = 297, 153 females/134 males/10 unspecified) indicated how much they believed that the perceived negative outcomes would happen to them, and a substantial proportion did so. Perceived negative outcomes significantly predicted intentions to disclose being bullied. Study 3 (N = 231, 100 females/131 males) tested if the perceived negative outcomes would be strong enough to stop participants from telling a teacher even though the teacher would stop the bullying. This was the case for many of them. Participants did not report disliking peers who disclosed bullying. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
    • Perceived Parenting Styles Fail to Mediate Between Anxiety and Attachment Styles in Adult Siblings of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

      O’Neill, Linda P.; Murray, Lindsay; University of Chester (Springer, 2016-07-14)
      Adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities often experience higher levels of anxiety than individuals in the general population. The present study tested whether perceived parenting could mediate the relationship between attachment styles and anxiety in the sibling group compared to a control group. Little association was found between perceived parenting and attachment styles or anxiety for the siblings but there were robust and expected findings for the control. Adult attachment-related-anxiety was a significant unique predictor of anxiety in the sibling group but there was no mediational role for perceived parenting. Conversely, the majority of parenting styles significantly mediated the relationship between attachment and anxiety in the control. Implications for the atypical findings in the sibling group are discussed.
    • Perceived stress and professional quality of life in nursing staff: how important is psychological flexibility?

      Kent, William; Hochard, Kevin D.; Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-08-14)
      Objectives: Nurses are at high risk of chronic stress. Tailored, evidence-based stress-management interventions may minimise absenteeism and staff turnover, whilst at the same time promoting good quality patient care. Current literature for nurse-focused stress-management interventions is varied in quality, with little focus on data-driven intervention development. This study explores how process measures related to Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) are associated with perceived stress and professional quality of life in nurses, in order to guide intervention development. Design: A cross-sectional, online psychometric survey was implemented using LimeSurvey software. Methods: One-hundred and forty-two nurses were recruited from various specialties across four English National Health Service (NHS) Trusts. Questionnaires assessed demographic and work-related sample characteristics, ACT processes (mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion, self-as-context, values and committed action), and four work-related wellbeing outcomes (perceived stress, burnout, compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction). Correlation and regression models were used to analyse data. Results: All six ACT processes negatively correlated with perceived stress, burnout and compassion fatigue, and positively correlated with compassion satisfaction (all p<.05). In regression models, these same processes explained significant variance for all outcomes (R2 range=.36-.61), above and beyond that explained by socio-demographic and work-related factors. Acceptance (β range: -.25 to -.55), mindfulness (β range: -.25 to -.39), and values-based processes (β range: -.21 to -.36) were frequent independent contributors to work-related wellbeing. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the ACT framework provides a promising platform from which to develop nurse-focused stress-management interventions. Interventions focusing on acceptance, mindfulness, and values-linked processes may be most effective.
    • Perceived Stress, Thinking Style and Paranormal Belief

      Lasikiewicz, Nicola; University of Chester (2016-03)
      Paranormal beliefs often become stronger in times of stress. Such beliefs have also been found to vary in accordance with thinking style, whereby stronger beliefs are often observed in experiential thinkers. Little research, however, has explored the interaction between perceived stress and thinking style. 82 males and females aged 18 to 62 years (mean = 29.96 ± 12.53 years) completed measures of perceived stress, thinking style (rational and experiential) and paranormal belief. The results revealed stronger beliefs in experiential thinkers, compared with those with a rational thinking style. Perceived stress alone, was not a prominent predictor of belief but the combination of stress and thinking style, specifically high perceived stress with a rational thinking style, significantly predicted greater global paranormal belief, belief in superstition, traditional religious belief, and belief in psi. High perceived stress appeared to facilitate belief in rational thinkers as conversely, belief was lowest in rational thinkers under conditions of low-perceived stress. These findings suggest that stress may lower the propensity for rational thinking and consequently, encourage belief in scientifically unsubstantiated phenomena. This interaction may have implications for coping during stressful situations.
    • Persistence in gestural communication predicts sociality in wild chimpanzees.

      Roberts, Anna I.; Roberts, Sam G. B. (2018-10-19)
      A key challenge for primates is coordinating behaviour with conspecifics in large, complex social groups. Gestures play a key role in this process and chimpanzees show considerable flexibility communicating through single gestures, sequences of gestures interspersed with periods of response waiting (persistence), and rapid sequences where gestures are made in quick succession, too rapid for the response waiting to have occurred. The previous studies examined behavioural reactions to single gestures and sequences, but whether this complexity is associated with more complex sociality at the level of the dyad partner and the group as a whole is not well understood. We used social network analysis to examine how the production of single gestures and sequences of gestures was related to the duration of time spent in proximity and individual differences in proximity in wild East African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Pairs of chimpanzees that spent a longer duration of time in proximity had higher rates of persistence sequences, but not a higher rate of single gestures or rapid sequences. The duration of time spent in proximity was also related to the rate of responding to gestures, and response to gesture by activity change. These results suggest that communicative persistence and the type of response to gestures may play an important role in regulating social interactions in primate societies.
    • Persistence of social signatures in human communication

      Saramäki, Jari; Leicht, Elizabeth A.; Lopez, Eduardo; Roberts, Sam G. B.; Reed-Tsochas, Felix; Dunbar, Robin I. M.; Aalto University School of Science; University of Oxford; University of Chester (2014-01-06)
      The social network maintained by a focal individual, or ego, is intrinsically dynamic and typically exhibits some turnover in membership over time as personal circumstances change. However, the consequences of such changes on the distribution of an ego’s network ties are not well understood. Here we use a unique 18-mo dataset that combines mobile phone calls and survey data to track changes in the ego networks and communication patterns of students making the transition from school to university or work. Our analysis reveals that individuals display a distinctive and robust social signature, captured by how interactions are distributed across different alters. Notably, for a given ego, these social signatures tend to persist over time, despite considerable turnover in the identity of alters in the ego network. Thus, as new network members are added, some old network members either are replaced or receive fewer calls, preserving the overall distribution of calls across network members. This is likely to reflect the consequences of finite resources such as the time available for communication, the cognitive and emotional effort required to sustain close relationships, and the ability to make emotional investments.
    • A personal journey of a long and winding road to Professorial status: An alternative pathway and the challenges, trials and tribulations.

      Lafferty, Moira E.; University of Chester (Springer: Palgrave, 2019-11-01)
      For many years, the awarding of a professorial title was seen as a realistic objective and target for those with a substantive international portfolio of research publications and grant income success. With the changing landscape in Higher Education and a drive within the UK for Universities to show much more social responsibility and engagement we are beginning to see much needed change. In this chapter, I reflect on my personal journey to professorship and how my numerous experiences and diverse portfolio of activity finally came together to have personal and professional meaning. In telling my story, I am to raise awareness of the numerous challenges I encountered as a female, from my early years entering higher education through to my professorial application and beyond. I also reflect on my thoughts and feelings and provide ideas about what we can do to help more women thrive and succeed within academia.
    • Personality and behavioral changes in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) following the death of herd members

      Rutherford, Lucy; Murray, Lindsay Elaine; University of Chester
      Elephants are highly social beings with complex individual personalities. We know that elephants have a general interest in death, investigating carcasses, not just limited to kin; however, research does not explore in depth whether individuals change their behavior or personality following traumatic events, such as the death of a conspecific. Within a captive herd of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) housed at Chester Zoo, UK, we measured social behavior and proximity and personality using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, and found age-related and relationship-related changes in both behavior and personality following the deaths of herd members. Overall, the herd spent less time socializing and engaging in affiliative behaviors following the death of the adult female when compared to baseline data, yet spent more time engaging in these behaviors after the death of two calves. The death of the central female had a dramatic impact on her infant calf, resulting in increasingly withdrawn behavior, yet had the opposite effect on her adult daughter, who subsequently established a more integrated role within the herd. Emotional Stability fell in the motherless calf but rose in an adult female, who had lost her adult daughter, but had a new calf to care for. We suggest that the greater impact on the behavior and personality of surviving herd members following the deaths of calves, compared to an adult member, attests to the significance of the unifying role played by calves within an elephant herd.
    • A Pilot Study Investigating the Influence of Oxytocin on Attentional Bias to Food Images in Women with Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder

      Leslie, Monica; Leppanen, Jenni; Paloyelis, Yannis; Treasure, Janet; King's College London
      Background: Previous research has found that exogenous oxytocin administration has the potential to modulate attentional biases in women with anorexia nervosa. Recent work has indicated that attentional biases to food may reinforce the recurrent binge eating behaviour which characterises bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. To date, however, no study has yet investigated the effect of oxytocin on attentional biases to palatable food in women with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Methods: This study employed a single-session crossover design to test the hypothesis that a divided dose of 64IU intranasal oxytocin, administered as one intranasal dose of 40IU oxytocin followed by a top-up of 24IU oxytocin 80 minutes later, versus placebo administration administered in the same dosing schedule, would reduce attentional biases towards food images in a dot probe task. We hypothesised that oxytocin administration would reduce vigilance towards food to a greater degree in women with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder, versus healthy comparison women. Twenty-five women with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder and 27 comparison women without history of an eating disorder were recruited to take part in the study. Results: Contrary to our hypothesis, there was no main effect of diagnosis on attentional bias to food (fixed effect = 5.70, p = .363), nor a significant interaction between diagnosis and drug condition (fixed effect = -14.80, p = .645). There was a main effect of drug condition, such that oxytocin increased vigilance towards food, versus neutral, images in the dot probe task (fixed effect = 10.42, p = .044). A correlation analysis revealed that this effect was moderated by attentional bias in the placebo condition, such that greater avoidance of food stimuli in the placebo condition was associated with a greater increase in vigilance induced by oxytocin. Conclusion: The current findings add to a mixed body of literature investigating the therapeutic effects of oxytocin in women. Future research would benefit from dose-response studies investigating the optimal dose of oxytocin for modulating the attentional processing of palatable food in populations with eating disorders.
    • Piloting a brief relational operant training program: Analyses of response latencies and intelligence

      McLoughlin, Shane; Tyndall, Ian; Pereira, Antonina; University of Chester; University of Chichester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08-06)
      Previous research suggests that training relational operant responding using the SMART (Strengthening Mental Abilities with Relational Training) program over several months can result in improved performance on cognitive intelligence tests. This study aimed to investigate whether engaging in a 3-week relational training program would improve (i) scores and (ii) reaction times on a standardised intelligence test, and (iii) to pilot a new multiple exemplar training procedure targeting complex analogical operant responding (SMARTA; SMART for Analogy). We administered the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2) to eight adults across four time points. Control: Time 1–4: No intervention. Experimental: Time 1–2: No intervention. Time 2–3: SMART relational operant training. Time 3–4: SMARTA analogical relational operant training. Experimental participants demonstrated greater improvements in terms of both (i) response latencies and (ii) response fluencies on the Verbal Knowledge subscale of the KBIT-2.
    • Police officers’ and Registered Intermediaries’ use of drawing during investigative interviews with vulnerable witnesses

      Dando, Coral J.; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; University of Chester; University of Westminster (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-19)
      Attempts to enhance episodic retrieval focus largely on verbal strategies which do not always address the limited or impaired free recall ability of vulnerable witnesses. Asking a witness to draw while recalling episodic information has long been deemed an effective method of improving communication and cognitive performance. Thus far, research has revealed these effects within laboratory settings but with scarce attention paid to real-life interview practice. In this paper, we explore police officers’ and Registered Intermediaries’ use of drawing during investigative interviews with vulnerable witnesses. A sample of specialist practitioners (n=85), comprising of vulnerable witness interviewing police officers (n=50) and Registered Intermediaries (n=35) completed a self-report questionnaire. As expected, frequent use of drawing was reported by both practitioner groups, and there was a positive correlation between reported use and perceived effectiveness. There were similarities between groups in reported techniques employed when using drawing, but some differences were apparent and these were attributed to the differing functions in police and Registered Intermediary roles. Overall, a consensus between empirical research and practice is evident, but these findings warrant further exploration in order to establish whether such practice is wide-spread.
    • Police officers’ beliefs about, and use of, cues to deception

      Wheatcroft, Jacqueline M.; Wright Whelan, Clea; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Wiley, 2017-03-26)
      Meta-analytic findings indicate that people, including police officers, are generally poor at detecting low-stakes deception. Related to this, investigations of behaviours that people reportedly use to make truth/lie judgements tend to conclude that people rely on incorrect stereotypes. However, consistent findings suggest that police officers are able to detect high-stakes deception; this implies that, at least in some contexts, police officers utilise reliable cues to deception. The research presented here was an investigation of cues to deception used by police officers (N = 69), when making veracity decisions about real world, high stakes communications. Data were collected on both free report cues, and also prescribed cues that were known (from previous research), to discriminate between liars and truth-tellers in the communications that the police officers observed. Officers free reported using cues related to verbal content, emotion, body language, eyes, vocal cues, and external cues. Most prescribed cues were self-reportedly used correctly by large majorities of the officers, suggesting that they may not rely on inaccurate stereotypes. Self-report use of categories of free report cues, and prescribed cues, was not related to accuracy in detecting deception. As people may not always be aware of the behaviours on which their judgements are based, the relationships between some of the behaviours actually displayed in the communications, and group accuracy in detecting deception in those communications, were also investigated. Group accuracy was related to the presence of subjective, emotion-related cues in the communications.
    • Predicting changes in children's self-perceptions from playground social activities and interactions

      Boulton, Michael J.; University College Chester (Wiley, 2005-06)
      This article examines the concurrent and longitudinal associations between children's social activities and interactions during recess and their self-perceptions. The underlying rationale was that recess provides an important, and hitherto unstudied, context in which children's experiences can impact on their views of themselves.