Recent Submissions

  • Transient elastography and video recovery narrative access to support recovery from alcohol misuse: Development of a novel intervention for use in community alcohol treatment services

    Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan; Jones, Katy A. (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Mortality from alcohol-related liver disease has risen significantly for 3 decades. Transient elastography (TE) is a noninvasive test providing a numerical marker of liver disease. Preliminary evidence suggests that TE can reduce alcohol consumption. The KLIFAD (does knowledge of liver fibrosis affect high-risk drinking behavior?) study has developed a complex intervention wherein people receiving alcohol treatment are provided with access to TE, accompanied by scripted feedback tailored to their disease state, and access to video narratives describing alcohol misuse recovery after receiving TE. Recovery narratives are included due to preliminary evidence from mental health studies which suggest that access to digital narratives describing recovery from mental health problems can help people affected by mental health problems, including through mechanisms with the potential to be transferable to an alcohol treatment setting, for example, by increasing hope for the future, enabling learning from the experience of others, or promoting help-seeking behaviors. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to develop the KLIFAD intervention to the point that it could be delivered in a feasibility trial and to produce knowledge relevant to clinicians and researchers developing interventions making use of biomarkers of disease. METHODS: In research activity 1, standardized scripted feedback was developed by this study, and then iterated through focus groups with people who had experienced alcohol misuse and TE, and key alcohol workers with experience in delivering TE. We report critical design considerations identified through focus groups, in the form of sensitizing concepts. In research activity 2, a video production guide was coproduced to help produce impactful video-based recovery narratives, and a patient and public involvement (PPI) panel was consulted for recommendations on how best to integrate recovery narratives into an alcohol treatment setting. We report PPI recommendations and an overview of video form and content. RESULTS: Through research activity 1, we learnt that patient feedback has not been standardized in prior use of TE, that receiving a numeric marker can provide an objective target that motivates and rewards recovery, and that key alcohol workers regularly tailor information to their clients. Through research activity 2, we developed a video production guide asking narrators what recovery means to them, what helped their recovery, and what they have learned about recovery. We produced 10 recovery narratives and collected PPI recommendations on maximizing impact and safety. These led to the production of unplanned videos presenting caregiver and clinician perspectives, and a choice to limit narrative availability to alcohol treatment settings, where support is available around distressing content. These choices have been evaluated through a feasibility randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN16922410]. CONCLUSIONS: Providing an objective target that motivates and rewards recovery is a candidate change mechanism for complex interventions integrating biomarkers of disease. Recovery narratives can contain distressing content; intervention developers should attend to safe usage. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054954.
  • The Role of awareness of age-related change in the longitudinal association between pain and physical activity

    Sabatini, Serena (2023)
    We examined how physical pain impacts the developmental construct of Awareness of Age-Related Change (AARC-gains and AARC-losses) and, in turn, how AARC mediates and moderates the association between pain and subsequent physical activity. We used longitudinal data from 434 participants of the UK PROTECT Study (mean age = 65.5 years; SD = 6.94 years). We found that pain in 2019 predicted higher AARC-losses (β = .07; p = .036) and less physical activity (β = -.13; p-value = .001) in 2020. Additionally, we found that AARC-losses partially mediated, but did not moderate, the association of pain in 2019 and physical activity in 2020. AARC-losses may explain physical inactivity in middle-aged and older adults experiencing pain. Incorporating developmental constructs such as AARC into theories and empirical studies on pain and pain management may be necessary to more fully capture people's responses to pain.
  • Breast feeding in infants diagnosed with phenylketonuria (PKU): a scoping review

    Chadborn, Neil (2023)
    BACKGROUND: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is the most common inherited disease of amino acid metabolism, characterised by elevated levels of phenylalanine (Phe). There is a lack of infant feeding guidance for those with PKU. From birth to 6 months of age, breast feeding is the optimal nutrition for an infant and continuing breast feeding for infants with PKU is recommended by European guidelines. However, human breast milk contains Phe in varying quantities, and therefore, the effects breast feeding might have on infants with PKU needs careful consideration. AIM: To assess the effects of breast feeding (exclusive or partial) compared with low-Phe formula feeding in infants diagnosed with PKU, on blood Phe levels, growth and neurodevelopmental scores. METHODS: The Cochrane Inborn Errors of Metabolism Trials Register, MEDLINE and Embase were searched (date of latest search: 9 August 2022). Studies were included if they looked at the effects of breast feeding in infants diagnosed with PKU compared with formula feeding. Predetermined outcomes included blood Phe levels, growth in the first 2 years of life and neurodevelopmental scores. RESULTS: Seven observational studies (282 participants) met the inclusion criteria. All studies compared continuation of breast feeding with low-Phe formula versus formula feeding only. While most studies concluded that there was no difference in mean serum Phe levels in their follow-up period, two reported that breastfed infants were more likely to have a normal mean Phe level. Two studies described no difference in mean weight gain after birth, while one found that breastfed infants were more likely to have higher mean weight gain. Two studies commented that breastfed infants achieved higher developmental scores in childhood as compared with formula fed infants. CONCLUSION: Although there are no randomised trials, observational evidence suggests that continuation of breast feeding and supplementation with low-Phe formula is safe and may be beneficial for infants diagnosed with PKU.
  • Application and extension of the alcohol recovery narratives conceptual framework

    Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan (2023)
    Recovery narratives are personal stories of health problems and recovery. A systematic review proposed a conceptual framework characterising alcohol misuse recovery narratives, consisting of eight principal dimensions, each with types and subtypes. The current study aims to apply and extend this preliminary conceptual framework. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect alcohol misuse recovery narratives from adult participants. A two-stage inductive and deductive thematic analysis approach was used to assess the relevance of the dimensions and types included in the preliminary conceptual framework and identify new components. The sample consisted of 11 participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds who had previously displayed varying degrees of alcohol misuse. All conceptual framework dimensions (genre, identity, recovery setting, drinking trajectories, drinking behaviours and traits, stages, spirituality and religion, and recovery experience) were present in the collected narratives. Three dimensions were extended by adding types and subtypes. Whilst the existing conceptual framework fitted the collected narratives, a new dimension describing the alcohol environment was required to fully characterise narratives. Types included in the alcohol environment dimension were policy and practice and social dynamics. The extended framework could guide the production of resources enabling clinicians to engage with narratives shared by their clients.
  • How are hearing loss and physical activity related? Analysis from the English longitudinal study of ageing

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2023)
    Although cross-sectional studies suggest that hearing loss in middle- and older-aged adults is associated with lower physical activity, longitudinal evidence is limited. This study aimed to investigate the potential bi-directional association between hearing loss and physical activity over time. Participants were from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (N = 11,292) who were 50-years or older at baseline assessment (1998-2000). Individuals were followed-up biannually for up to 20-years (2018-2019) and were classified as ever reporting hearing loss (n = 4946) or not reporting hearing loss (n = 6346). Data were analysed with Cox-proportional hazard ratios and multilevel logistic regression. The results showed that baseline physical activity was not associated with hearing loss over the follow-up. Time (i.e., wave of assessment) by hearing loss interactions showed that physical activity declined more rapidly over time in those with hearing loss, compared to those without (Odds Ratios = 0.94, 95% Confidence Intervals; 0.92-0.96, p < .001). These findings highlight the importance of addressing physical activity in middle- and older-aged adults with hearing loss. As physical activity is a modifiable behaviour that can reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions, individuals with hearing loss may need additional, tailored support to be more physically active. Mitigating the decline in physical activity could be essential to support healthy ageing for adults with hearing loss.
  • Caloric restriction (CR) plus high-nitrate beetroot juice does not amplify CR-induced metabolic adaptation and improves vascular and cognitive functions in overweight adults: A 14-day pilot randomised trial

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2023)
    Caloric restriction (CR) and dietary nitrate supplementation are nutritional interventions with pleiotropic physiological functions. This pilot study investigates the combined effects of CR and nitrate-rich beetroot juice (BRJ) on metabolic, vascular, and cognitive functions in overweight and obese middle-aged and older adults. This was a two-arm, parallel randomized clinical trial including 29 participants allocated to CR + BRJ (n = 15) or CR alone (n = 14) for 14 days. Body composition, resting energy expenditure (REE), and hand-grip strength were measured. Resting blood pressure (BP) and microvascular endothelial function were measured, and Trail-Making Test A and B were used to assess cognitive function. Salivary nitrate and nitrite, and urinary nitrate and 8-isoprostane concentrations were measured. Changes in body composition, REE, and systolic and diastolic BP were similar between the two interventions (p > 0.05). The CR + BRJ intervention produced greater changes in average microvascular flux (p = 0.03), NO-dependent endothelial activity (p = 0.02), and TMT-B cognitive scores (p = 0.012) compared to CR alone. Changes in urinary 8-isoprostane were greater in the CR + BRJ group (p = 0.02), and they were inversely associated with changes in average microvascular flux (r = -0.53, p = 0.003). These preliminary findings suggest that greater effects on vascular and cognitive functions could be achieved by combining CR with dietary nitrate supplementation.
  • Impact of a dietitian in general practice: Paediatric food allergy

    Freeman-Hughes, Amy (2022)
    BACKGROUND: Food allergy in infants and young children places a significant burden on primary care. This study evaluated a dietetic-led paediatric food allergy service, which attempts to provide more rapid access to the dietitian and reduce the need for general practitioner (GP) and secondary care appointments. METHOD(S): Two community dietetic services for children referred with food allergy were compared. The first was dietetic-led care where dietitians train community children's nurses to recognise potential cases of food allergy, undertake basic diagnostic assessment and subsequently refer to the dietitian. The other is a more traditional dietetic community service where patients are referred predominantly by the GP or secondary care. RESULT(S): In dietetic-led care 86 patients were seen, compared to 96 in dietetic community care. Dietetic-led care received less referrals from the GP; 36% vs 67% (p<0.001), GP appointments for allergy-related conditions prior to dietetic referral were lower; 3 vs 6 visits (p=0.001) and input from secondary care was also lower; 8 vs 25 patients (p=0.002) compared with dietetic community care. Children referred to dietetic-led care were younger; 78% <6 months vs 40% (p<0.001) in dietetic community care. CONCLUSION(S): Dietetic-led care describes a model that has the potential to reduce GP and secondary care appointments, identify patients more quickly and reduce the time to receive dietetic input, thereby resolving symptoms more quickly and reducing prescribed medications. This model demonstrates the importance of integrated care and multidisciplinary working; offering a solution to reducing GP workload whilst maintaining or improving patient care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Developing a trauma-sensitive, compassion focused substance misuse treatment intervention for prisoners

    Fehrman, Elaine (2022)
    The aim of this paper is to present a newly developed substance misuse treatment intervention, which has been devised from an extensive review of the literature relating to the prevalence and repercussions of trauma amongst people who use forensic services and use substances. The clinical utility and applicability of integrating Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) within the context of delivering this new intervention is discussed. As the first pilot is preparing to launch at a high secure site, this paper provides a descriptive, theoretical account of the programme and the rationale for the various components.
  • Dietary nitrate and brain health. Too much ado about nothing or a solution for dementia prevention?

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2022)
    Dementia is a significant public health priority with approximately 55 million cases worldwide, and this number is predicted to quadruple by 2050. Adherence to a healthy diet and achieving optimal nutritional status are vital strategies to improve brain health. The importance of this area of research has been consolidated into the new term ‘nutritional psychiatry’. Dietary nitrate, closely associated with the intake of fruits and vegetables, is a compound that is increased in dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean and MIND diets and has protective effects on cognition and brain health. Nitrate is characterised by a complex metabolism and is the precursor of the nitrate–nitrite–nitric oxide (NO) pathway contributing to systemic NO generation. A higher intake of dietary nitrate has been linked to protective effects on vascular outcomes including blood pressure and endothelial function. However, the current evidence supporting the protective effects of dietary nitrate on brain health is less convincing. This article aims to provide a critical appraisal of the current evidence for dietary nitrate supplementation for improving brain health and provide suggestions for future research.
  • Impact of community dietetic leadership in paediatric food allergy on the burden of care for both primary care and families: A service evaluation comparison

    Freeman-Hughes, Amy (2022)
    Objectives: Food allergy is common in infants and young children and symptoms overlap with other common gastrointestinal disorders and atopic conditions, all impacting on primary care practitioner (GP) workload. This project aimed to describe the potential benefits of a dietetic-led allergy service to support this. Method: Between October 2019 and July 2020, two dietetic services for children aged 0-11 years referred with food allergy were compared. One is a dietetic-led service where dietitians train community children's nurses (0-19 team) to recognize potential cases of food allergy. The second is a traditional model of dietetic community care, obtaining referrals from GPs and secondary care. Ethical approval was obtained. Results: In the dietetic-led service 86 patients were seen [80% non-IgE cow's milk allergy) CMA)], of which 62% were referred by the 0-19 team. In the community service 96 patients were seen (85% non-IgE CMA), of which 27% were referred by the 0-19 team and 67% from GPs. 78% of children referred to the dietetic-led service were under 6 months of age, compared to 40% in the community service, where 34% were over 1 year. Hypoallergenic formula was first prescribed at a mean age of 9.4 weeks in dietetic-led vs 13.9 weeks in community care. Patient contacts with GPs prior to referral was 3 vs 6 visits (p = 0.001) and input from secondary care was also lower (8 vs 25 patients; p = 0.002) in dietetic-led vs community services respectively. There were similar numbers of patient contacts with the 0-19 team in both services (median 2). A substantial reduction in prescription of medications occurred following diagnosis (Figure 1). Conclusions: Real-world data highlight that a dietetic-led paediatric service can relieve the burden of care of food allergy in primary care, empowering community children's nurses as part of integrated care system working.
  • Experiences of peer support workers supporting individuals with substance use disorders in Egypt: phenomenological analysis

    Ng, Fiona; Slade, Mike (2022)
    Background: Peer support work for substance use disorders is widely implemented in high-income countries. More research is still needed to understand its applicability in settings which have proportionately low budgets allocated to mental health. Peer Support Workers are individuals who managed to achieve recovery from substance use disorders and help people remain engaged in their recovery and prevent relapse through shared understanding. Aim: To investigate the experience of peer support workers providing recovery support to people with substance use disorders in Egypt. Methods: A qualitative phenomenological design was used in which 17 adults working as peer support workers for substance use disorders were recruited by means of purposive and snowball sampling. A semi-structured interview with participants was conducted by phone or video-call. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed based on descriptive phenomenology. Results: Three superordinate themes were identified: role responsibility, Peer Support Workers’ need for organizational and stakeholders’ support, and challenges to the role integrity. Conclusion and recommendations: The findings indicate the need for national and governmental support to peer support workers engaged with people with substance use disorders in Egypt and educating families and the public about the role of peer support workers in substance use disorders.
  • Mind and spirit. Chaplaincy and spiritual care in inpatient psychiatry - a qualitative study

    Diamantis, Elias; Miles-Marsh, Rupert; Stowell, Anita
    Aims: Introduction. Despite society's secularisation, as of 2019 only 38.4% of the population of England and Wales identified as “No Religion”. The integration of chaplaincy and spiritual care teams into health services varies widely and we undertook this qualitative research to better understand the spiritual needs on psychiatric wards. Methods: Between October 2021 and January 2022, we carried out semi-structured interviews with 10 patients and 10 staff-members, convenience sampled from acute General Adult Wards. The interviews were approximately 10–15 minutes long, documented in shorthand, compiled, and analysed thematically. Results: Themes (P = patient, S = staff member) 1. Religion and belief, or lack of it, defies categorisation P1 (36M) identified as Christian but didn't really believe, whilst S2 (Nurse Clinical Team Leader) professed no religion but prayed that her sister would be healed. P7 (59F) was brought up Christian but thought religion was a fantasy. P2(21M) identified as Wiccan but thought all religions hold truth. 2. An incarnational, embodied service P9 (33F) wished chaplains wandered around the wards and S10 (F1 Junior Doctor) praised their presence in general hospitals. P1 wanted a “prayer circle” and S5 (Student Nurse) suggested weekly worship services. 3. Space to “be” S10 liked an empty chapel to think in and P4 (29M) said he was Lacking space for reflection and meditation. 4. Unmet needs P9 felt abandoned by God during the admission and her vicar had recently died. She wanted someone to sit, pray with her and point her to helpful scriptures but was not aware of the existence of chaplaincy. Of the patients, only P3 knew how to contact the service and S8 said it was rarely discussed by the MDT. 5. Caution, ignorance and suspicion S1 and S8 said chaplaincy visits are sometimes distressing for patients preoccupied with devils and demons and P5 (26M) was worried they'd judge him. 6. Links with wider faith communities P6 (46F) would like to attend church with her family, P4(29M) would like to know where he could go to worship and S2 was also curious of what's available outside hospital. Conclusion: Discussion and clinical implications Despite limitations of small size and recruitment bias, the themes emphasise the complexity of understanding someone's spirituality. It highlights a call for a more visible presence and thoughtful consideration of what a spiritual need is and how it can be met. Ward visits should be prioritised, having recently been limited by COVID-19 restrictions. Patient information and staff education regarding chaplaincy and spiritual care is urgently needed on psychiatric inpatient wards.
  • Smoking habits, awareness and support needs for cessation among people with multiple sclerosis in Australia: findings from an online survey

    das Nair, Roshan (2022)
    OBJECTIVES: To assess smoking habits, nicotine use, exposure to passive smoking, awareness of associated harms, and experiences with and preferences for smoking cessation support among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). DESIGN: Online survey, convenience sampling. SETTING: Community setting, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Adults living in Australia with probable or diagnosed MS were recruited via social media and newsletters to participate in 2020. RESULTS: Of the 284 participants in our convenience sample, 25.7% were current smokers (n=73) and 38.0% were former smokers (n=108). Awareness of the harms of smoking on MS onset (n=68, 24.3%) and progression (n=116, 41.6%) was low. Almost a quarter (n=67, 23.8%) of participants were regularly exposed to passive smoke, and awareness of associated harm was also low (n=47, 16.8%). Among current smokers, 76.1% (n=54) had tried quitting and 73.2% considered quitting within 6 months (n=52). Many participants reported perceived short-term benefits of smoking, and long-term benefits of quitting, on MS symptoms and general well-being (short-term n=28, 40.0%; long-term n=28, 82.4%). While most participants reported that their neurologist (n=126, 75.4%) or other healthcare providers (n=125, 74.9%) had assessed smoking status, very few neurologists (n=3, 1.8%) or other healthcare providers (n=14, 8.4%) had provided help with quitting. Most current smokers preferred speaking about smoking to a neurologist (n=36, 52.2%) or general practitioner (n=41, 59.4%). Almost 60% of the current smokers wanted additional cessation information specific to MS (n=41, 59.4%), and 45.5% said this information would motivate them to quit smoking (n=30). CONCLUSIONS: Our convenience sample, which may not be representative, indicated an urgent need for regular evidence-based smoking cessation supports for people with MS. Most participants felt they would benefit from smoking cessation advice. MS clinicians, in collaboration with patient organisations, smoking cessation services and general practitioners, should make smoking cessation promotion with people with MS a priority.
  • Trajectories of adolescent psychotic-like experiences and early cannabis exposure: Results from a Finnish Birth Cohort Study

    Sami, Musa (2022)
    BACKGROUND Longitudinal studies examining the effect of cannabis exposure (CE) on the prognosis of adolescents with psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) are scarce. We examined trajectories of mental health in adolescents with PLEs and cannabis exposure.METHODSThe Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (n = 6552) with linkage to nationwide register data was used. Information on lifetime cannabis exposure was collected when participants were aged 15/16. Register-based outcome data on diagnoses made in clinical practice were obtained until age 33. Logistic regression was used to study the association of PLE/CE patterns and subsequent psychiatric disorders. The group with neither PLEs nor CE was utilized as the reference group. Parental psychiatric disorders, family structure, sex, frequent alcohol intoxications, daily smoking and illicit substance use other than cannabis were adjusted for.RESULTSIn all, 6552 subjects (49.2 % males) were included in analysis. PLEs with cannabis exposure were associated with any psychiatric disorder (OR = 2.59; 95 % CI 1.82-3.68), psychotic disorders (OR = 3.86; 95 % CI 1.83-8.11), mood disorders (OR 4.07; 95 % CI 2.74-6.04), depressive disorders (OR = 4.35; 95 % CI 2.93-6.48), anxiety disorders (OR = 2.06; 95 % CI 1.34-3.17) and substance use disorders (OR = 2.26; 95 % CI 1.13-4.50) compared to reference group. Effect sizes were greater for group with both PLEs and cannabis use than for group with PLEs only.CONCLUSIONSEarly-onset cannabis use is an adverse prognostic marker for adolescents with PLEs after extensive confounder control including other substance use.
  • Characteristics of alcohol recovery narratives: Systematic review and narrative synthesis

    Jones, Katy A.; Llewellyn-Beardsley, Joy; Rennick-Egglestone, Stefan (2022)
    BACKGROUND AND AIMSNarratives of recovery from alcohol misuse have been analysed in a range of research studies. This paper aims to produce a conceptual framework describing the characteristics of alcohol misuse recovery narratives that are in the research literature, to inform the development of research, policy, and practice.METHODSSystematic review was conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Electronic searches of databases (Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHAL, PsychInfo, AMED and SCOPUS), grey literature, and citation searches for included studies were conducted. Alcohol recovery narratives were defined as "first-person lived experience accounts, which includes elements of adversity, struggle, strength, success, and survival related to alcohol misuse, and refer to events or actions over a period of time". Frameworks were synthesised using a three-stage process. Sub-group analyses were conducted on studies presenting analyses of narratives with specific genders, ages, sexualities, ethnicities, and dual diagnosis. The review was prospectively registered (PROSPERO CRD42021235176).RESULTS32 studies were included (29 qualitative, 3 mixed-methods, 1055 participants, age range 17-82years, 52.6% male, 46.4% female). Most were conducted in the United States (n = 15) and Europe (n = 11). No included studies analysed recovery narratives from lower income countries. Treatment settings included Alcoholic Anonymous (n = 12 studies), other formal treatment, and 'natural recovery'. Eight principle narrative dimensions were identified (genre, identity, recovery setting, drinking trajectory, drinking behaviours, stages, spirituality and religion, and recovery experience) each with types and subtypes. All dimensions were present in most subgroups. Shame was a prominent theme for female narrators, lack of sense of belonging and spirituality were prominent for LGBTQ+ narrators, and alienation and inequality were prominent for indigenous narrators.CONCLUSIONSReview provides characteristics of alcohol recovery narratives, with implications for both research and healthcare practice. It demonstrated knowledge gaps in relation to alcohol recovery narratives of people living in lower income countries, or those who recovered outside of mainstream services.PROTOCOL REGISTRATIONProspero registration number: CRD42020164185.
  • The effect of attitudes towards individuals with sexual convictions on professional and student risk judgments

    Hicks, Rachel (2022)
    Attitudes towards individuals with sexual convictions is an area with growing research interest, but the effects of such attitudes on professional judgments is largely unexplored. What is known from the existing literature is that attitudes guide the interpretation of sexual crime related information, which cascade into potential biased or heuristically driven judgments. In this study we recruited samples of both students (n = 341) and forensic professionals (n = 186) to explore whether attitudes towards individuals with sexual convictions predicted risk judgments of hypothetical sexual offense scenarios, and whether this relationship is moderated by professional status or perpetrator characteristics. Forensic professionals expressed more positive attitudes overall, but the significant effect of attitudes on risk judgments was consistent between participant groups and was not moderated by perpetrator age or sex. We suggest that relying on attitudes as a basis for risk judgments opens the door to incorrect (and potentially dangerous) decision-making and discuss our data in terms of their potential clinical implications. An open-access preprint of this work is available at
  • "Drunk people are on a different level": A qualitative study of reflections from students about transitioning and adapting to United Kingdom university as a person who drinks little or no alcohol

    Davies, E. Bethan (2021)
    Background: Though sobriety in young people is on the rise, students who drink little or no alcohol may experience social exclusion at University, impacting well-being. We aim to understand the social experiences of United Kingdom (UK) undergraduate students who drink little or no alcohol. Methods: A mixed-methods study using semi-structured, one-to-one interviews and the 24-Item Social Provisions Scale and Flourishing Scale with 15 undergraduate students who drink little or no alcohol. Descriptive statistics are presented for quantitative data and thematic analysis for qualitative. Results: Eight main themes and four subthemes were generated from thematic analysis summarised in two sections 'views of drinkers from non-drinkers' and 'how peer pressure feels and how people deal with it.' The initial transition to University represented a challenge, where participants struggled to find their 'true' friends. However, students generally had high levels of social provision, well-being and enjoyed close friendships with fewer casual acquaintances. All students experienced some kind of peer pressure (of a varying extremity) and developed coping strategies when in social situations involving alcohol. Fear of missing out on the 'typical' University experience heightened self-imposed expectations to drink. Despite participants acknowledging their counter-normative behaviour, some felt they were subject to stigmatisation by drinkers, doubting their non-drinker status, causing feelings of exclusion or being 'boring.' Their desire to 'be like everyone else' exposed some insight into the negative stereotypes of sobriety, including frustration behind alcohol's status elevation. Conclusion: Students adopt strategies to minimise peer pressure and to fit in. Future research should interrogate drinkers' perceptions of their sober peers to deepen understanding, better break down 'us and them,' and mitigate future expectations within the University drinking culture.
  • Feasibility and acceptability of a dietary intervention to reduce salt intake and increase high-nitrate vegetable consumption in Malaysian middle-aged and older adults with elevated blood pressure: Findings from the DePEC-Nutrition trial

    Stephan, Blossom C. M. (2022)
    The DePEC-Nutrition trial is a complex dietary and behavioural intervention of salt intake reduction combined with increased high-nitrate vegetable consumption among Malaysian middleaged and older adults with elevated blood pressure. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the trial. Participants were recruited from the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) database and randomised into one of four groups: (1) low salt; (2) high-nitrate vegetable; (3) combined high-nitrate vegetable and low salt; and (4) control. The intervention included a combination of group counselling sessions, information booklets, reinforcement videos and text messages to modify dietary behaviour. The primary outcomes evaluated were the measures of feasibility and acceptability of (1) recruitment, follow-up attendance and retention; (2) data collection procedures and clinical outcome measures; and (3) individual and combined multi-modal dietary interventions. A total of 74 participants were recruited, and the 10-month retention rate was 73%. Data collection procedures were acceptable with minimal missing data. All intervention strategies were feasible and acceptable, with group counselling being the most acceptable strategy. This study provides important insights into improving the screening process of participants, facilitating their access to the research facilities and refining the measurement protocols and dietary recommendations, which are instrumental in formulating the design of a full-scale definitive DePEC-Nutrition trial. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
  • Are dental-related psychological variables important for dental attendance in China? A cross-sectional study

    Topcu, Gogem (2021)
    OBJECTIVEDental services are expanding in China, yet there is little evidence available on the dental-related psychological factors contributing to the uptake of dental services. Our study explored whether beliefs, anxiety, and cognitions significantly differ across different levels of attendance, and whether dental-related psychological variables can independently predict dental attendance in Chinese adults. We also explored the extent to which cognitions and beliefs relate to attendance as a function of dental anxiety.METHODIn our cross-sectional study 480 adult participants in China completed a questionnaire including dental attendance and measures of dental-related psychological variables (dental cognitions, beliefs, anxiety, and fear of dental pain).RESULTSOnly 25.8% of participants visited the dentist regularly. There was a significant difference for all dental-related psychological variables (p < 0.001), across all three levels of dental attendance (never; irregularly or regularly attend). Thus, fear of dental pain and dental anxiety are higher, and cognitions and beliefs are more negative, for those who have less favorable dental service utilization. All these variables, except fear of dental pain, were also independent predictors of dental attendance (p < 0.05). Moreover, how individuals think, and what they believe, about the dentist (and the dental context) were only partially explained through dental anxiety. Thus, beliefs (β = 0.579, SE = 0.035, p < 0.001) and cognitions (β = 0.594, SE = 0.045, p < 0.001) are impacting on dental attendance, mostly independent of whether the individual is anxious.CONCLUSIONOur preliminary findings show dental-related psychological factors are related to dental attendance and these should be explored further in a larger sample.
  • "I don't want to take buprenorphine for the rest of my life": Acceptance and commitment therapy for a client struggling to reduce low-dose buprenorphine (a hermeneutic single-case efficacy design)

    Prity, Beth; Tickle, Anna C. (2021)
    The misuse of substances is often maintained by both physical and psychological factors. Opioid-substitution medications manage physical aspects of addiction; however, difficulties with emotional regulation and avoidance perpetuate continued substance misuse. In the UK, individuals who misuse substances are often excluded from mental health services, meaning these underlying difficulties are not addressed. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) seeks to reduce emotional avoidance. A hermeneutic single-case efficacy design was used to evaluate the effects of ACT within drugs and alcohol service. Quantitative and qualitative data was critically analysed to understand factors involved in identified changes. Analysis recognised the client progressed towards two of three of their goals, related to motivation and anxiety. Their psychological flexibility also increased. ACT processes played a key role in this; however, the therapeutic relationship and psychopharmacological factors were also noted. Study limitations and clinical and research implications are discussed.

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