I am interested in understanding the role of psychological factors in the experience of, and vulnerability to, bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder is characterised by the experience of often severe, recurring mood swings, including the experience of mania and depression alongside other symptoms; however, many people with a bipolar diagnosis manage their symptoms very effectively and maintain a high quality of life.
My research in this area has been motivated by a dissatisfaction with the scientific understanding of the psychological factors implicated in the experience of bipolar disorder. I work from a ‘continuum’ or ‘spectrum’ conceptualisation of bipolar disorder, and I dislike reference to ‘abnormal experiences’ in the context of bipolar disorder – rather I consider the ‘bipolar spectrum’ to be inclusive of everyone and I am interested in understanding why some people experience more severe aspects of what is medically defined as ‘bipolar disorder’
Current collaborative work in this area includes understanding the experiences and predictors of suicidality in people living with bipolar disorder, as well as understanding the role of cognitive processes in the vulnerability to bipolar disorder.
- 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.
- Dempsey, R. C., Gooding, P. A., & Jones, S. H. (2017). A prospective study of the vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder in relation to behavioural activation, behavioural inhibition and Dysregulation of the Behavioural Activation System. European Psychiatry, 44, 24-29.
- Owen, R., Gooding, P., Dempsey, R., & Jones, S. (2017). The reciprocal relationship between Bipolar Disorder and social interaction: A qualitative investigation. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(4), 911-918.
- Jones, S., Calam, R., Sanders, M., Diggle, P., Dempsey, R., & Sadhnani, V. (2014). A pilot web based positive parenting intervention to help Bipolar parents to improve perceived parenting skills and child outcomes. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 42(3), 283-296.
- Dempsey, R. C., Gooding, P. A., & Jones, S. H. (2014). Assessing the specificity of autobiographical memory in individuals at a trait-based vulnerability to bipolar disorder using a sentence completion task. Memory, 22(3), 222-231.
- Dempsey, R. C., Gooding, P. A., & Jones, S. H. (2011). Positive and negative cognitive style correlates of the vulnerability to hypomania. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67(7), 673-690.
Media Coverage & Blogs:
- February 2018, InPsych Blog: Innovative national study of university students’ experiences of high mood launched at Staffordshire University
- March 2017, BBC Radio Stoke Interview on World Bipolar Day 2017 (link to programme)
- March 2017, InPsych Blog: World Bipolar Day 2017: Raising awareness & new research at Staffordshire University
- February 2017, InPsych Blog: Mental Health Research Seminar: “Bipolar Disorder & Suicidality” and “Books, Meaning and Hope”
- November 2016, InPsych Blog: New research explores the reciprocal relationship between Bipolar Disorder & Social Interaction