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- PublicationExploring themes in the narratives of couples in which one partner has dementia to identify what short couple interventions should focus on(2019-11-01)Objective: Despite strong evidence showing the association between relationship quality and outcomes for both partners in couples with dementia, studies show little or no statistical evidence of the effectiveness of short-term couple interventions in dementia. The aim of this study was to address the question of what topics a short couple intervention should focus on, and what content and components such an intervention should include. Method: In this cross-sectional, qualitative investigation we used thematic analysis of transcribed interviews from couples (N=4), after they participated in the short-term couple intervention for dementia. Using thematic analysis, we extracted codes and identified the themes appearing in the narratives of couples obtained in in-depth interviews. Results: The main four themes which emerged were Loss, Change, Relationships, and Coping with difficulties, which included several sub-themes. Conclusion: This study indicates that high relationship quality and effective dyadic coping should be seen as a “relationship reserve” (a concept alike to cognitive reserve), that may act as a resilience factor in dementia. Well-designed, structured, multi-component couple interventions can enhance couples’ relationship reserve and, what follows, help to prevent carer burden, depression and burn-out, slower cognitive decline in the partner with dementia and improve the psychological well-being of both partners. To be more effective, such interventions should include both an educational and a therapeutic modules (with the latter consisting of a relational component, a component focused on self-care of caregiving partner, and a component addressing depression in both partners), and should be tailored for the needs of individual couples and adjusted depending on stages of dementia.
- PublicationThe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and their intra- and intergroup relations(Ethics International Press, 2022-09-27)In this chapter, we address how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people on an individual level as well as affected their intra- and intergroup relationships. At the individual level, many people have suffered from anxiety, depression, and inadequate sleep during the pandemic, the prolonged nature of which has also made them feel lonely and isolated. However, simultaneously feeling connected to their in-group members during the pandemic has made them feel as if their well-being has improved. Added to that, their (dis)trust of national institutions has influenced their willingness to comply with measures to mitigate COVID-19. Furthermore, in-group normativity (e.g., information about in-group members’ compliance with health advice) brought people together and encouraged them to believe fewer conspiracy theories about COVID-19. However, in relation to out-group members, the pandemic has resulted in individuals’ heightened prejudice, dehumanization, distrust, and negative affect.
- PublicationA blueprint for providing resources to parents of adolescents who self-harm(Health Service Executive, 2022-07-07)This report presents the findings of a research project funded by the Irish National Office for Suicide Prevention and was a collaboration between UCD School of Psychology and Pieta. The report details the findings of a scoping review, parent survey and Delphi study with professionals that sought to identify the information needs of parents of adolescents who self-harm. The report presents the findings of all elements of the research and provides recommendations on the information that should be provided to parents to support them at all stages of their journey from discovery of self-harm, through treatment and into recovery.
- PublicationDeveloping in a Dynamic World Harnessing Psychology to Support the COVID-19 Generation(Hogrefe, 2022-05-09)In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and other social dynamics created a myriad of challenges and changes for individuals, groups, and societies. The impacts on youth are particularly noteworthy given developmental processes of adolescence and emerging adulthood. As psychologists, we have much to offer in studying how 2020 influenced their development and in shaping effective supports. To be useful, the work must be nuanced, iterative, and attentive to their lived realities. We argue for a dynamic research framework to study these developmental processes. Through such an approach, psychological science can provide insight into diverse young people’s experiences of COVID-19 with a focus on addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3, 4, and 16 on increasing a sense of well-being, making education more equitable, and developing more peaceful societies. The paper lays out three theoretical frameworks—Synthetic, Augmentative, Generative, and Experiential (SAGE), Meanings, Observations, Viewpoints, and Experiences (MOVE), and the Developmental Peacebuilding Model (DPM)—that can be used to capture the dynamism of meaning making and development within changing contexts. We then provide examples from our research with young people in the United States and Ireland. The paper ends with a call for psychologists across the globe to understand and address COVID-19’s impacts on youth through iterative, integrative research methods with a focus on meaning making. In coordination with macro-level metrics, such work can help understand lived psychosocial impacts on diverse groups of young people, while highlight opportunities to support SDGs 3, 4, and 16.
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- PublicationHealth Literacy of COVID-19 and Compliance with Precautionary Measures: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adolescents and Young Adults in Ireland(MDPI, 2022-05-11)The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with an ‘infodemic’, and young people have reported difficulties dealing with COVID-19-related information. The present cross-sectional study aimed to explore health knowledge related to COVID-19 and accessing relevant information as aspects of health literacy in a cohort of adolescents and young adults residing in Ireland. It also aimed to explore COVID-19-related concerns and levels of compliance with precautionary measures. Data were collected from young people (n = 1009) aged 12–25 years old through an online anonymous survey. Our findings highlight that young people possessed sufficient knowledge about COVID-19 transmission routes and adhered to most precautionary measures. Young people believed that they were moderately likely to contract COVID-19 and highly likely to survive COVID-19 should they get infected. However, these patterns seemed to differ between adolescents and young adults as well as between participants living with and without a chronic health condition (CHC). These findings have implications that can inform knowledge on youth health literacy and health-related attitudes that go beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Contextual factors such as country context, age group, gender, and the absence or presence of a CHC are important characteristics to consider when designing public health awareness campaigns targeting a global health crisis.