Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio

  • Helen Wood

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Main ProjectThis study aimed to 1) investigate if adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are high in social anxiety underestimate their social performance when compared with those low in social anxiety, and 2) investigate the association between social motivation and social anxiety. Participants (n=20) aged 14-21 years completed measures of social anxiety, loneliness and social satisfaction before taking part in a video-recorded group discussion. Self and observer ratings of social performance were analysed. Results revealed that participants high in social anxiety rated themselves significantly poorer than did observers. The interaction between social anxiety group and rater was non-significant. Loneliness significantly correlated with social anxiety. This study highlights how cognitive factors may be involved in social anxiety for young people with ASD and discusses implications for psychological intervention. Service Improvement ProjectObjective: Chronic illness, such as Cystic Fibrosis, can make adolescence and young adulthood challenging. During this time, young people must move on from using paediatric to adult healthcare services. This transition is a current research focus, acknowledged to require careful preparation and planning and be considered within a developmental context. This study aimed to explore the experiences of some young people with Cystic Fibrosis and their parents during this transition in order to inform a transition pathway. Method: Five young people and three parents who were either approaching or had experienced transition were interviewed about their experiences. Transcribed interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four key themes emerged: moving on from the familiarity and security of children’s services; changes in the nature of relationships with healthcare professionals; transition as a condensed process in the context of adolescence; and changing roles in healthcare. Conclusions: Results highlighted the strong attachment to paediatric team and the anxiety about change for both patients and parents. Themes are discussed along with service recommendations which aim to reduce this anxiety for patients by supporting the establishment of new relationships and increase familiarity and confidence with the new setting and processes. Literature ReviewFamily members often become significantly involved in obsessive compulsive disorder, changing their lives to accommodate the symptoms. Relatives can experience distress, and feel a great deal of burden relating to the OCD. Families are recognised as a key factor in treatment effectiveness and therefore understanding their burden and how they cope is essential. The aim of this review was to synthesize studies concerned with family burden and coping in OCD to build on the understanding of family experiences and help inform treatment. A search was conducted of Pub Med, Web of Science and APA Psych NET using terms OCD, burden, coping, family, relatives etc. Thirteen articles were included in the review. Burden was found to be a far-reaching and complex construct associated with increased severity of OCD, dysfunction, family accommodation and depressive symptoms. Families have been reported to struggle to know how to cope. Avoidant coping has been associated with decreased hope, negative affect and accommodation whereas active reframing and social support appear to have the opposite associations. Results are discussed along with implications for treatment and further areas of research.
Date of Award17 Sep 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAilsa Russell (Supervisor), Joanna Adams (Supervisor) & Claire Lomax (Supervisor)

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