Thursday, 17 November 2016

Research Seminar: Prof Ellen Townsend (University of Nottingham)

*** Everyone Welcome! No need to book in advance ***

Date: Thursday 1st December
Time: 12:00-13:00
Room: Town Hall Committee Room 2

Professor Ellen Townsend (University of Nottingham)

Temporal Dynamics Underpinning Patterns of Clinical, Psychological and Social Factors in Adolescent Self-Harm

Abstract: Self-harm is a significant clinical issue in adolescence and is strongly linked to death by suicide.  There is little research on the dynamic interplay of key factors in the months, weeks, days and hours leading to self-harm which is a significant gap in current knowledge.  In this talk I will present data from studies in which we have taken a sequential approach in order to determine the key transitions in factors leading to self-harm.  We have developed the Card Sort Task for Self-Harm (CaTS) to investigate the patterns of thoughts, feelings, events and behaviours leading to self-harm. Young people (aged 13-21 years) with recent repeated self-harm completed the CaTS to describe their first ever/most recent self-harm episode. Lag sequential analysis determined significant transitions in factors leading to self-harm. A significant sequential structure to the card sequences produced was observed demonstrating similarities and important differences in antecedents to first and most recent self-harm. Life-events were distal in the self-harm pathway and more heterogeneous. Of significant clinical concern was that the wish to die and hopelessness emerged as important antecedents in the most recent episode. First ever self-harm was associated with feeling better afterward, but this disappeared for the most recent episode. A crucial finding here is that the factors most proximal to self-harm (negative emotions and cognitions, impulsivity and access to means) are modifiable with existing clinical interventions.  

Biography:  Professor Townsend is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham and PI leading the Self-Harm Research Group (SHRG).  The group researches psychological factors associated with self-harm and suicidality, and interventions that promote recovery, especially in young people using a range of techniques including sequence analysis, the Card Sort Task for Self-Harm (CaTS), experiments, questionnaires, epidemiology, interviews and systematic reviews.  This work has been funded by the NHS, NIHR and the ESRC.  The work has influenced policy – earlier versions of their systematic review of interventions for self-harm were included in the 2011 NICE Guidance on the Longer Term Management of Self-Harm.

Professor Townsend also led a national Clinical Research Group on self-harm funded by the Mental Health Research Network (NIHR) and is a Fellow of the Institute of Mental Health.  She is a collaborator on the Multicentre Study of Self-Harm in England and is co-leading the development of INTERACT - a new research initiative for participatory research and public engagement working with colleagues from across the university.  She is PI on a Wellcome Trust People Award supporting the development of the CafĂ© Connect model of public engagement.  They were finalists in the UoN Knowledge Exchange and Impact Awards 2016 for this work.

She is PI on a project investigating self-harm in looked-after young people funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme.  She is a Fellow of the International Academy of Suicide Research and a member of the BPS Expert Panel on the Psychology of Suicidal Behaviour.  She was a participant in the Nottingham Research Leaders Programme 2015-16.  She has recently been awarded a Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the University of Melbourne, Australia which will take place in April 2017.

In 2016 a publication co-authored with Dr Katie Glazebrook received the Institute of Mental Health ‘Best Overall Publication Award - Glazebrook K, Townsend E, Sayal K (2015). The role of attachment style in predicting repetition of adolescent self-harm: a longitudinal study. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12159.

No comments:

Post a Comment