Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio

  • Andrew Merwood

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE LITERATUREDivergent Thinking and ADHD: A Systematic Review Objective: ADHD may be associated with enhanced divergent thinking (DT); however, the extent to which this is a consistent finding across empirical studies is unclear. Accordingly, this paper reviews the association between ADHD and DT. Method: A systematic review of case/control studies was completed. There were 179 records identified, of which 10 met inclusion criteria for this review. Results: The majority of studies were of low-to-moderate quality and it was therefore not possible to meta-analyse the results across studies. A narrative review indicated only modest case/control differences in DT and for only some DT domains, specifically for Originality and Flexibility. Conclusions: Overall, these findings indicate that DT is not impaired among individuals with ADHD and is possibly enhanced in the domains of Originality and Flexibility; however these findings are limited by the low quality of included studies. High quality research into ADHD and DT is therefore required in future.SERVICE IMPROVEMENT PROJECTVideo Information and Expectations of therapeutic Work (VIEW): Development and evaluation of an information video about psychological therapyBackground: Psychological therapists have a clinical duty to provide patients with information prior to completing an initial assessment or therapy appointment. This is important not only for the process of informed consent, but also since accurate knowledge and expectations about therapy have been linked to higher rates of therapy attendance. The Video Information and Expectations of therapeutic Work (VIEW) project is a Service Improvement Project, in which an information video about psychological therapy was developed and evaluated in a collaborative venture between a University and the staff and patients of an NHS Community Mental Health Team.Methods: The VIEW project followed a Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) model of service improvement and moved through four distinct phases: Phase 1 was stakeholder consultation to determine video content; Phase 2 was development of the video; Phase 3 was piloting the video to determine whether it improved patient knowledge/expectations for therapy and whether it was associated with greater rates of therapy attendance; Phase 4 was analysis of the data.Results: A video was developed in Phases 1-2. During phase 3 only five individuals provided feedback on the video and due to missing data it was not possible to analyse these results. An audit identified no significant difference in rates of therapy attendance between the five individuals who viewed the video vs. five individuals who had not; however these results are limited by the small sample size.Conclusions: The successful development and rollout of an information video about psychological therapy is an example of service improvement in practice. Further work is now required to evaluate the effectiveness of the video.MAIN RESEARCH PROJECTSocial anxiety among adults with ADHD: A result of cognitive bias?Background: Around 30% of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also experience clinical levels of social anxiety, yet no studies have sought to fully understand the extent to which a cognitive model of social anxiety can be applied in this population. Aims: This study aimed to test the cognitive theory of social anxiety in ADHD.Methods: An online questionnaire was used to examine social anxiety cognitions, safety-seeking behaviours, wellbeing and impairment among 86 adults: 23 adults with ADHD who scored high for social anxiety (ADHD+SA), 5 adults with ADHD who scored low for social anxiety (ADHD-SA), 36 adults without ADHD who scored high for social anxiety (Control+SA), 22 adults without ADHD who scored low for social anxiety (Control-SA). The ADHD-SA group was excluded from some analyses due to the small sample size.Results: The ADHD+SA group scored significantly higher than both comparison groups for frequency of negative cognitions about social situations, belief in negative cognitions about social situations, use of safety-seeking behaviours in social situations and functional impairment. However, there was no difference in wellbeing between the ADHD+SA and Control+SA groups, suggesting that social anxiety is a more prominent determinant of wellbeing than is ADHD. Within the entire sample (N=86), regression analyses additionally indicated an association of inattentive ADHD symptoms with the frequency of social anxiety cognitions but not with use of safety-seeking behaviours. Conclusions: Overall, these results suggest that a cognitive model of social anxiety can be applied when working with adults with ADHD who also experience social anxiety.
Date of Award8 Sep 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAilsa Russell (Supervisor) & Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis (Supervisor)

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