An exciting opportunity has arisen through collaborations between the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Department of Psychology at Staffordshire University for a Band 6 trainee health psychologist. The trainee will be based within the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital for two years and will undertake Stage 2 training as a full-time student on the highly successful Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University.
The role includes outpatient psychological assessment and therapy contributing towards the psychological component of the inpatient pain management programmes at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. The 0.8 w.t.e post presents a unique opportunity for a highly motivated and professional person who has already completed their Stage 1 health psychology training, to complete competences required for their Stage 2 training, directly supported by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. (Please note that the full-time fees of £6,300 per annum and writing up fees will be payable from the salary provided).
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RNOH) is the largest orthopaedic hospital in the UK and is regarded as a leader in the field of orthopaedics both in the UK and world-wide. The RNOH provides a comprehensive range of neuro-musculoskeletal health care, ranging from acute spinal injury or complex bone tumour to orthopaedic medicine and specialist rehabilitation for people with chronic pain. This broad range of services is unique within the NHS.
Dr Rachel Povey, Co-Director of the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology said:
“We are very excited about this new collaboration between the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Staffordshire University. The two-year Band 6 post at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital will be a unique opportunity for a trainee to complete their competences in an applied and stimulating environment, whilst studying with us on the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology.”
that the closing date is: Thursday, 4th
For further information about this exciting opportunity please contact: Dr Rachel Povey, Co-Director of the Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Dr Andrew Lucas, Consultant Lead Health Psychologist at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (Andrew.email@example.com).
Staffordshire University – The Home of Health Psychology
I am Sarah Rose, the Course Leader for the BSc Psychology and Child Development Award and while I have been at home with my children, I have been having a go at recreating some classic cognitive psychology experiments with them. Today we had a go at some of the classical Piagetian Tasks. These tasks are particularly suitable for children between the ages of about 4 and 8 years old. We would love to hear how your children got on with these experiments, please tweet us @StaffsPsych or add your comments to this post!
Jean Piaget developed an influential theory of cognitive development, suggesting that as children grow older the way that they understand and think about the world alters. He was one of the first the argue that the way that young children understand the world is not just an immature version of adult understanding, instead he argued that it was fundamentally different. He developed a series of tasks, known as conservation tasks, which demonstrated this. I have had a go at recreating these tasks at home with my 4- and 6-year-old. If you cannot load any of the videos within the blog piece please watch them here.
Task 1: Conservation of quantity
Materials: Traditionally this task is done with water, but to make tidying up easier we used rice. In addition to this some plastic glasses (ideally transparent) of different shapes and sizes, although two of them need to be the same size, are needed.
First, put an approximately equal amount of rice in the two glasses that are the same size.
Ask your child if there is the same amount of rice in both.
If they say ‘no’ encourage them to move a little from one to the other until they are happy that there is the same amount in both.
Once they are happy with this ask them to pour the rice from one of the glasses into another one (ideally one that is noticeably taller and narrower, or fatter and wider).
Now ask them if there is the same amount in both glasses, or if one glass now has more rice in than the other.
You might be surprised by their answer, you could ask them to explain it to you.
Results: According to Piaget, and also my recreation of this experiment with my own children, under the age of about 6-years might struggle with this, and believe that by pouring the rice from one container to another the amount has actually changed. This suggests that their mental representation and understanding of quantity might be quite different to ours. I was interested to see how my 6-year old’s understanding was clearly still shifting and developing as he explained why it looked like there was more in one glass than the other but actually it was the same amount.
This is how my two children got on:
Task 2: Conservation of number
Materials: 14 counters of equal size, we used pennies as I could not find the counters. You might also like a Teddy Bear to act as an assistant!
Place the counters in two rows so that both rows have the same number of counters and they are equally spaced.
Ask your child if both rows have the same number of counters (hopefully, they will agree that they do but if they do not, just remove a counter from both rows until they agree that there is the same number).
Now either you, or that cheeky Teddy assisting you, could move the counters in one of the rows so that they are spaced further apart. This will make one of the rows appear to be longer.
Now ask your child whether there are the same number of counters in both rows, or whether one row has more counters than the other.
Again, you might be surprised by their answer and you could ask them to explain their thinking to you.
Results: Again, children under the age of about 6-years old may struggle with this. It has been found that making slight adaptions to Piaget’s original task, such as having a naughty Teddy assist, can help children of a younger age to pass this task. It was still a bit tricky for my 4-year-old though!
Task 3: Conservation of mass
Materials: Two balls of play dough that are different colours. A surface that you can roll the play dough on.
Instructions: Take the two balls of play dough and roll them into balls. These two balls should be the same size, and you should check with your child to make sure that they think they are the same size too! If they do not adjust the size by removing small amounts from the one that they think is biggest until they are happy that they are both the same size. Now, while your child watches, take one of the balls and roll it so that it becomes more of a cylinder shape. Once you have done this ask your child whether both shapes have the same amount of playdough, or whether one has more than the other. Again, you might be surprised by their answer and you could ask them to explain their thinking to you.
Results: Children younger than about 7-years-old are likely to tell you that the amount has changed. Piaget found that children did not show adult understanding all his conservation tasks at the same point, rather as they developed, they would ‘pass’ some before they passed others. This task involving mass is often passed later than those involving quantity or number. Again I found it really interesting to see the difference in my 4 and 6-year olds understanding.
We would love to hear how your children got on with these experiments. Please tweet us @StaffsPsych!
If you have not been able to view the videos within the blog piece you can find them all here.
Although this has been going on for several weeks now and it looks like restrictions are beginning to relax, possibly even with some children going back to school next month, this is not necessarily making the strain on families any easier.
So, I am going to give you six tips based on psychology evidence and theory.
They won’t necessarily make parenting any easier, but I hope they may give you something useful to think about – and maybe make you feel a little more confident about some of the decisions that you make as a parent.
Tip 1: Show connection
A large body of evidence suggests that feeling “securely attached”, connected and loved is important for children’s development and wellbeing.
For young children, physical touch is very important and can reduce stress. Furthermore, there is no evidence that being more affectionate with your children will make them clingy, in fact to the contrary it will help them feel safe and build their emotional resilience.
Older children may not want you to show them physical affection, but it is important to still find time to connect with them. Maybe making some time to exercise together, or sitting down to watch a film as family, may provide an opportunity for this.
Tip 2: Be a balanced parent
While it is important that we listen to and respond to our children’s needs it is also important that we place reasonable, age appropriate demands on them. Psychology evidence suggests that we should aim to be an “authoritative” parent who sets the boundaries and has clear expectations of our children while also being supportive and responsive to our children.
Tip 3: Manage anger (own, child and between children!)
It is completely normal for both us and our children to feel angry sometimes, especially during the stress of a pandemic. Remember that anger is often a symptom of stress and the demands of the environment we find ourselves in.
This means that you should not feel cross with yourself, or your child for showing signs of anger. Instead see it as a symptom, a sign that you, or your child, need to try and take some time to calm down and reduce your stress levels. Maybe now would be a good time to go outside and run around the garden (whatever your age) or lock yourself in the toilet (maybe just for adults this one!).
Tip 4: Develop routine
This pandemic is affecting everybody, but it is affecting people in different ways.
You might be at home trying to work or worrying about whether you will have a job to go back to after furlough while also feeling pressured to entertain your children and support their learning.
Or you might be a key worker, working extra hours, feeling stressed about the risks to yourself and your family as you drop your child off at school or nursery.
Whatever your circumstances, all our experiences, both as parents and as children, are likely to be very different to what they were. This can be very unsettling for everyone. However, routines can help to give us a sense of control and a sense of predictability within our lives. So, try and develop a routine that works for your family.
There may have to be adjustments and flexibility but knowing that there are certain times during the day when parents will focus on work, children will focus on school work, entertain themselves or everyone will focus on having fun, or maybe exercising together, can be very reassuring for everyone. This can also help with those feelings of parent guilt as you try and meet the demands of working and meeting your children’s needs.
Tip 5: Manage screen time
Something that you may be worrying about is the amount of time that your child is spending in front of a screen, especially as more and more providers are making educational resources available online for free. Evidence suggests that screen time can be part of a balanced childhood, and indeed it may be very useful to make it part of your daily routine.
I have heard some lovely stories of extended family and friends interacting with children over screens, for example helping out with some schoolwork or reading a story, and evidence suggest that connecting with others in this way is very positive for children.
Furthermore, evidence suggests that although children learn best through interacting with others screen content can support their development. So do not feel guilty about using screen time within your daily routine. With children and young people spending more time online, many parents may be worried about their online safety. Through talking to your child, voicing your concerns and regularly checking in with them when they are online you can support them through promoting dialogue about online safety and what they should do if they feel unsure or threatened.
Tip 6: Build “emotional resilience”
It is a fact of life that things are not always easy, we want to try and develop our children so that they have the inner strength to cope with this, I think my dad would have called this having a thick skin!
The suggestions that I have given already will help your child to develop this emotional resilience, or thick skin. Other things that are important are talking to your child, try and let them know what to expect:
Talk about times of change that they have experienced – explain that this will be a time of change.
Provide clear answers to questions, that are as truthful and as age appropriate as possible.
It is okay to tell themthat you are worried too, or that you do not know when the virus will end or when they will be able to see Nana and Grandad again.
But also reassure them that you will look after them and help them feel safe and help them to keep perspective, for example by shifting beyond the current situation to a time when families will be able to be together again.
Of course, talking may not be easy, but try and open conversations and look for opportunities when your child may feel under less pressure, for example maybe while you are watching TV, taking some exercise together or engaging in a craft activity. Ask them their opinion about what is happening and listen to their answer.
Parenting is hard and I certainly make lots of mistakes. But do not be hard on yourself, try and praise yourself and your children when things are going well. Notice and remember the good times as evidence suggests that praise and positive memories are much better for promoting good behaviour than punishment.
Here are some resources that you might find useful:
Dr Alison Owen appeared on BBC Radio Ulster on May 1st 2020 on the Evening Extra show with Devon Harvey and Julie McCullough to discuss the impact that lockdown may be having on people’s body image.
The discussion was based around the way that people are feeling about themselves during lockdown. For example, in terms of people not being able to get their hair cut or dyed or maintain their usual beauty regime.
Dr Owen talked about the fact that although many people are
in lockdown at the moment, they are finding that they do still feel a lot of
pressure on their appearance.
She discussed the impact that video calling may have on people’s body image. Many people are taking part in video calling, using applications such as Zoom and FaceTime, both for work and for keeping in touch with friends and family. This means that people are looking at their faces on a screen much more often than they usually would. This can really add to the pressure of maintaining a more polished appearance, so things like making sure that their hair looks presentable, or maybe feeling like they should apply makeup.
Another factor that was discussed during the programme was that video calling can bring attention to appearance-based flaws that people wouldn’t normally be focussing on. So, for example, wrinkles or imperfections that they can see whilst watching themselves on the screen.
Additionally, Dr Owen discussed how people may be spending more time on social media during lockdown, because they aren’t able to get out and see friends and family in person it’s a good way of feeling connected to them. However, this can also lead to pressures in terms of looking at more heavily filtered images of their friends and family as opposed to seeing them in person where they may not look so polished!
You can catch up on the radio interview, which is available up to June 1st. Dr Owen’s discussions are from around 55 minutes in.
I am a Trainee Clinical Psychologist working in the NHS and am currently looking for participants to take part in my research study. I am interested in exploring your experiences of managing mood symptoms.
Due to the under-representation of men in this type of research, I am looking for male participants only. This is to make sure that male voices and perspectives are heard.
You will be asked to take some photographs which represent your experiences of managing mood symptoms. You are encouraged to be as creative as you like with this! These photographs will then be used to guide an interview about your experiences.
If this sounds like it might be for you (or you would just like to know a bit more) then please contact me by either email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (07547 330408). Please be aware that my research phone will only be turned on Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm.
Please note participants must be at least 18 years old to take part. To make sure that I am studying a relatively similar sample, participants must also have been diagnosed within the last 5 years.
Many thanks for taking the time to read this advert.
I look forward to hearing from you,
The Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research is home to research activity in the Psychology Department at Staffordshire University. The Centre houses a number of research-active psychologists who are engaged in research across a wide range of psychological subdisciplines.
For more details about the Centre, its research activities, events and consultancy, please visit our website (click here).
The BPS Undergraduate Assistantship Award marks out a student as a future researcher and potential academic. It allows students to work alongside a senior researcher to develop skills in research development as well as research measures. With the support and supervision of Dr. Sarah Rose, I decided to apply for this Award to carry out research into the potential of mindfulness colouring for reducing exam anxiety among A-Level pupils.
Although I was nervous when applying for the Assistantship, the application process was also exciting as I could focus on a topic that was of great interest to me. My interest in reducing anxiety felt by A-level pupils preparing for their exams came in part from my own experience. A-level exams are one of the most crucial points in education; pressure to do well is increased as the next stages is to move on to study at University, apply for a job or for an apprenticeship, all of which require good grades. The colouring aspect of this research came from the expertise of Dr Sarah Rose. Sarah’s expertise gave me the confidence to want to assess mindfulness-based colouring as a means of reducing the anxiety induced by exams.
As I prepared the application form, I enjoyed carrying out in depth reading about exam anxiety and mindfulness-based colouring interventions. It was also a great opportunity to put my knowledge of research design that I had already developed during the first 18 months of my degree in Psychology and Child Development into practice. I not only to think of what research I wanted to conduct but, also how I would go about measuring and collecting the data from participants. In particular, the experience that I had gained during the Research Assistantship Module, which had allowed me to develop skill in data collection, helped me to plan what I would need to do.
When choosing the materials for the study I wanted to take measures as accurately as possible, so I decided to combine self-report measures and physiological measures. This led me to use a BioPac, this was a great opportunity to learn about a new piece of equipment under the guidance of Paul Gallimore, one of the Psychology Technicians. Under the guidance of Dr. Sarah Rose, I selected questionnaires to assess state anxiety and mindfulness. The conditions were constructed based on past research and past interventions including mindfulness colouring. This led me to use mandala colouring, both with and without the addition of mindfulness instructions, and a control condition in which participants spent time doing a free drawing.
Originally we had planned to try and collect data from 90 A-level pupils but due to various delays this was not possible as the exam period was almost over when we began data collection. So, although I collected a small amount of pilot data which gave me valuable experience in working with colleges, I plan to collect data again next summer.
To make the most of the Research Assistantship we decided to write up our plan for the research as a preregistered report. This means that we have submitted the introduction and method sections to a journal and are now awaiting their feedback. Writing this was interesting as it differed more than I expected to the write up of a laboratory report. It requires a lot more references to past research as well as a description of how we intended to analyse the data.
We have also submitted a poster for the BPS Annual conference next year. I found this more interesting and fun to create as I was able to think about how to make the deign engaging. The poster required an outline of why the research was being conducted, what we expected to find, how we were going to collect and analyse the data. Both the preregistered report and the poster have helped me to learn how to write more concisely and to report research in an accurate and detailed manor. The Research Assistantship has given me an insight into what being a researcher is like and helped me to develop skills that will be useful for my third-year project and my future research career.
Dr Daniel Jolley (Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology & member of the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research) was featured on TRT World’s Roundtable television programme discussing the psychology and consequences of beliefs in conspiracy theories as part of a discussion panel. Dr Jolley discussed some of his recent research into the potential negative effects of believing in conspiracy theories with other leading experts researching why individuals believe in conspiracies.
You can view the Roundtable programme featuring Dr Jolley via the below Youtube video:
By Dr Sarah Dean (Health Psychologist & Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology).
A large amount of research has shown that breastfeeding has several health benefits for both the parent and the child. For example, mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop conditions such as ovarian cancer, breast cancer and diabetes, and breastfeeding protects infants from a range of health problems and illness. Benefits can continue across the lifespan with breastfed individuals having lower rates of obesity and diabetes when they are adolescents and adults (WHO, NHS).
Breastfeeding can also help with bonding and attachment and when women have positive experiences with breastfeeding it can support their mental health.
Lots of people are surprised to learn that the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and that breastfeeding continues alongside appropriate complementary food until the child is aged 2 years and beyond!
Unfortunately, even though a lot of new mums would like to breastfeed their babies, many find it difficult. There are various different things that can make breastfeeding hard, for example, finding it painful, being unsure if baby is getting enough milk, not wanting to breastfeed in public, having a lack of support, feeling worried that other people might have negative views towards breastfeeding and not being able to carry on breastfeeding when going back to work.
At the Staffordshire Centre for Psychological Research, here at Staffordshire University, we are carrying out research to try and understand more about people’s experiences of feeding their children so that we can work towards removing some of these barriers. This will hopefully mean that more women, who want to, can breastfeed for longer and more women could consider breastfeeding as a realistic option.
Staffordshire University Psychology Breastfeeding Research:
We have a growing number of staff and students carrying out research into breastfeeding.
Dr. Amy Burton, Dr. Jenny Taylor, Dr. Alison Owen and myself are currently involved in a study exploring the experiences of mums who are breastfeeding a child over the age of 1 year. In this exciting research mums took pictures of their breastfeeding experiences and were then interviewed about these. So many people wanted to take part that we are also collecting additional pictures and information online! We are currently planning the next phase of the research, where we will develop and evaluate an intervention to help change and improve people’s attitudes towards breastfeeding.
Sarah is working on a joint project with Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology graduate Dr Sarah Thurgood, to explore the experiences that new Mums in Stoke have of feeding their babies. This research is important because the UK has some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world and Stoke-on-Trent has low rates compared to other areas of the country. Sarah Thurgood is also working with Jenny and Amy to publish her doctorate research that explored the breastfeeding support experiences of first time mothers.
Alison and MSc by Applied Research Graduate Alex Morley-Hewitt recently published a paper that reviewed research into body image and breastfeeding (click here to view the published paper). They found that women who had negative feelings towards their bodies were less likely to start breastfeeding and those who did were less likely to carry on breastfeeding compared to women with more positive feelings towards their bodies.
Another Masters student, on our MSc Foundations of Clinical Psychology course, Lucy Pudsey, is working with Sarah and Jenny to write up her dissertation research that explored the experiences of women who breastfeed a child for over 12 months.
We are keen for more of our UG and PG students to join us in researching breastfeeding!
Dr Sarah Rose (Senior Lecturer in Psychology & Child Development, Award Leader – BSc (Hons) Psychology & Child Development) was featured on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan show discussing recent research suggesting that screen time may not be as harmful for children’s health and wellbeing as commonly assumed. Dr Rose was featured discussing these findings and recommendations for screen time use for children.
You can listen to Dr Rose’s contributions to the debate via the BBC Sounds website and app: