High & Variable Mood

I am interested in understanding the role of psychological factors in people’s experience of high and variable mood. My interests spans the spectrum of high and variable mood, including understanding people’s experiences of living with a bipolar disorder diagnosis, the factors associated with more variable mood, and the factors associated with a behavioural risk for bipolar.

I work from a ‘continuum’ or ‘spectrum’ conceptualisation of bipolar disorder, high and variable mood. I avoid references to ‘abnormal experiences’ in the context of experiences of bipolar disorder. Rather I consider the ‘bipolar spectrum’ to be inclusive of everyone in the population (from those who experience little mood variability to those who experience clinically significant mood variability. I am interested in understanding why some people experience more severe aspects of what is medically defined as ‘bipolar disorder’

My current collaborative research into high and variable mood includes understanding the experiences and predictors of suicidality in people living with bipolar disorder, the experience of ‘high moods’, changeable and variable mood, as well as understanding the role of cognitive processes in the vulnerability to bipolar disorder.

Current projects
  • Understanding the role of appraisals of psychological and social factors in the experience of suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviours for people living with bipolar disorder (Completed PhD Student Project – Rebecca Owen, with some in development papers).
  • Understanding the psychosocial processes associated with the vulnerability to bipolar disorder (e.g. reward sensitivity, autobiographical memory).
  • Understanding the nature of resilience and risk for bipolar disorder.
  • Exploring the nature of self and identity amongst people living with bipolar disorder (Co-supervised DClinPsy Trainee research project).
  • Understanding experiences of high moods and mood swings amongst Higher Education students. I am part of a collaborative study of university students’ experiences of changeable moods which will be launching a survey in January 2018 in collaboration with the StudentMinds mental health charity and colleagues at other universities (including Northumbria, Manchester, Reading, Glasgow, King’s College London, Exeter and Newcastle). We have just launched the first online national survey as part of this project.

Representative Publications

Media Coverage & Blogs: