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- PublicationFocus groups versus individual interviews with children : A comparison of dataIn recent years there has been an increase in the use of qualitative data collection techniques in research with children. Among the most common of these methods are focus groups and individual interviews. While many authors claim that focus groups have advantages over individual interviews, these claims have not been tested empirically with children. The present study reports on the use of focus groups and interviews to collect qualitative data from 116 children in three age groups, with mean ages of 8.4, 11.5 and 14.3 years. The children were randomly allocated to participate in either focus groups or individual interviews where they were presented with identical material and questions relating to their beliefs about peers with psychological disorders. In line with previous research, the interviews produced significantly more relevant and unique ideas about the causes of these disorders than the focus groups, but the latter gave rise to greater elaboration of ideas. The participating children showed no significant difference in their preference for one method over the other. Thus, whether to choose individual interviews or focus groups is likely to depend on the nature of the research question in any given study.
14167Scopus© Citations 43
- PublicationFactors influencing the food choices of Irish children and adolescents : a qualitative investigationFood choices established during childhood and adolescence tend to persist into adulthood with consequences for long-term health. Yet, to date, relatively little research has examined factors that influence the food choices of children and adolescents from their perspectives. In this article, previous research is extended by examining developmental differences between children's and adolescents' perceptions of factors influencing their food choices. Focus group discussions were conducted with 29 young people from three age groups (9-10, 13-14 and 16-18 years). An inductive thematic analysis identified three key factors as influencing food choices. These factors included intra-individual factors: the link between food preferences and awareness of healthy eating; intra-familial factors: the role of the home food environment; and extra-familial factors: eating away from the home. Findings indicate that there were developmental differences between children's and adolescents' perceptions of factors influencing food choice. Among adolescents, parental control began to diminish and adolescents exercised increased autonomy over their food choices compared with children. To develop effective nutrition interventions, it is important to gather child and adolescent input regarding factors perceived as influencing their food choices.
Scopus© Citations 142 1087
- PublicationCausal information on children's attitudes and behavioural intentions toward a peer with obesityBackground: This study examined the effect of types of causal information about overweight on children's attitudes and intentions toward a peer presented as overweight. Methods: Participants (N = 176) were randomly assigned to read a vignette of an overweight peer in one of three conditions, which varied in the explanatory information provided for the aetiology of the peer's overweight condition: biological, environmental or no causal information, along with a vignette of an average-weight peer. Results: The provision of information that the overweight was the result of biological factors and of no causal information yielded more positive attitudes toward the overweight peer compared to those who were provided with environmental information. Information on overweight had no impact on behavioural intentions. A social desirability bias was found for each of the three experimental conditions and for the average weight condition. Conclusion: Information explaining overweight had a minimal positive effect on attitudes and no effect on intentions toward an overweight peer.
Scopus© Citations 8 375
- PublicationThe use of focus group interviews in pediatric health care researchObjective: To review and synethize the research material that exists on focus groups with children and adolescents and to provide guidelines for future development. Methods: Psychlit, Medline and Cinahl electronic databases, as well as the reference lists of those papers consulted were reviewed for information regarding the running of focus groups with participants under the age of 18 years. Both empirical and methodological papers were part of this review. Results: The utility of focus groups for exploratory research, program evaluation, program development and questionnaire construction or adaptation is reviewed. Based on previous research, guidelines for running focus groups with children and adolescents are provided and suggestions for future development are outlined. Conclusions: There is evidence to suggest that focus groups are a valuable means of eliciting children’s views on health related matters given an appropriate research question. However, empirical research is required in order to investigate systematically the effect of different processes and variables on the final outcome of focus group interviews.
Scopus© Citations 258 1196
- PublicationUsing implicit measures to evaluate mental health stigma and atitudes to help-seekingAims: The paper introduces and describes the use of implicit measures of attitude in two separate studies. The aim of the first study was to explore children's and adolescents, (10 to 16 years) stigmatizing responses towards hypothetical peers with either ADHD or depression. The aim of the second was to investigate whether a brief on-line intervention could change young adults, (18 to 25 years) attitudes towards help-seeking for mental health problems. Conclusions: Implicit measures may prove to be a useful tool for researchers who are interested in stigma associated with mental health problems in young people and their treatment. Lessons learned from the use of implicit measures in these studies will be highlighted.
- PublicationExplicit and implicit stigma towards peers with mental health problems in childhood and adolescenceBackground: Children and adolescents with mental health problems are widely reported to have problems with peer relationships, however, few studies have explored the way in which these children are regarded by their peers. For example, little is known about the nature of peer stigmatization and no published research has investigated implicit attitudes thus ensuring that stigma is not well understood. In order to address this issue the current study explored patterns of explicit and implicit stigmatization of peers with depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: The sample was 385 children (M = 10.21 years) and adolescents (M = 15.36 years). Participants completed a questionnaire assessing explicit stigma towards an age and gender matched peer with ADHD or depression and another peer with "normal issues" who were described in vignettes. They also completed a modified version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) that explored implicit attitudes towards the target peers. Results: Questionnaire data indicated that the peer with ADHD was perceived more negatively than the peer with depression on all dimensions of stigma, except perceived dangerousness and fear. In contrast, the IAT findings suggest that some participants had more negative views of the peer with depression than the peer with ADHD. Specifically, the findings demonstrate that adolescent males demonstrated significantly stronger negative implicit evaluations of depression compared to younger males and adolescent females. Conclusions: Children and adolescents demonstrate stigmatising responses to peers with common mental health problems. The nature and extent of these responses depends on the type of problem and the type of measurement used. The findings highlight the importance of using both explicit and implicit measures of stigma.
Scopus© Citations 94 2030
- PublicationChildhood interventions to reduce stigma towards peers with disabilities and chronic health conditions: a systematic reviewStigma is a problem for children with a wide range of disabilities and chronic health conditions including epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and mental health problems (e.g. ADHD). When stigma occurs, it has particular significance for a child¿s psychological wellbeing and development. Evidence that stigmatizing attitudes develop early in life make it imperative that interventions for school-age children are developed to prevent or reduce stigma. While several interventions exist, most focus on single stigmatized conditions rather than attempting a broader focus on acceptance of peers who are different. The primary goal of the review is to present an evidence-based analysis of anti-stigma interventions. Method: Population: Children and adolescents (6-18 years). Intervention: Interventions must aim to change the study population¿s attitudes or behaviour towards individuals who are disabled or who have chronic health conditions. Search strategy: (i) Searches of: PsycINFO, CINAHL, ERIC, Medline; (ii) checking references at the end relevant articles; and (iii) using Social Science Citation Index and Google Scholar to find articles that cite key references. Conclusions: Conclusions will focus on the transfer of learning from well-developed interventions regarding health conditions, to health conditions for which few anti-stigma interventions currently exist. Age appropriateness of interventions will be a particular focus.
- PublicationUsing implicit measures to evaluate mental health stigma and attitudes to help-seekingAims: The paper introduces and describes the use of implicit measures of attitude in two separate studies. The aim of the first study was to explore children's and adolescents' (10 to 16 years) stigmatizing responses towards hypothetical peers with either ADHD or depression. The aim of the second was to investigate whether a brief on-line intervention could change young adults' (18 to 25 years) attitudes towards help-seeking for mental health problems. Methods: Implicit measures, such as the Implicit Associations Test (IAT) do not require research participants to overtly express their beliefs. They are used where there is a high risk that research participants will offer socially desirable responses about stereotypes and prejudices. In the first study, an adapted IAT, in conjunction with questionnaires, was used to measure attitudes towards a vignette describing a peer who had ADHD or depression. In the second study, the Single Category IAT was used to measure young adults' attitudes towards professional help-seeking for mental health problems. Results: The findings showed that young people were more stigmatising towards peers with mental health problems and treatment seeking on implicit compared to explicit measures. The patterns of responses between the measures highlights the value of using implicit measures to enhance our understanding of such phenomena. Conclusions: Implicit measures may prove to be a useful tool for researchers who are interested in stigma associated with mental health problems in young people and their treatment. Lessons learned from the use of implicit measures in these studies will be highlighted.
- PublicationDevelopment of the Children's Attributions about Psychological Problems in their Peers (CAPPP) ScaleBackground Research has shown that children's beliefs about the causes of psychological problems are related to their attitudes and reactions towards affected peers. This study describes the development of the Children's Attributions about Psychological Problems in their Peers (CAPPP)Scale, which assesses children's beliefs about the causes of an internalizing and an externalizing condition. Methods The 16 items comprising the CAPPP are derived from previous qualitative research findings. Five hundred and ninety-five young people, drawn from five different age groups spanning early childhood to late adolescence, completed a CAPPP Scale for each of two vignettes describing the behaviour of hypothetical peers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)and depression.Results Modifications following consideration of psychometric properties and conceptual fit resulted in a 12-item scale. For both the ADHD and depression conditions, the components that emerged were Volition, Recent Life Stress, Family Factors and School Factors.Conclusions The present study represents the first field trial of the CAPPP. Results suggest that children's and adolescents' beliefs about the causes of psychological problems are multidimensional and incorporate both individual and environmental factors
Scopus© Citations 2 200
- PublicationThe development of children's understanding of common psychological problemsBackground: The aim of the present study was to explore children’s beliefs about the causes of psychological problems and their beliefs about potential sources of help for peers experiencing these problems. Despite its importance this is an area that has received relatively little attention from researchers. Methods: One hundred and sixteen children were read short vignettes in focus groups or individual interviews. The vignettes described the behaviour of hypothetical children with ADHD, conduct disorder and depression. Following each vignette children were asked questions about the likely causes of the behaviour and possible sources of help. A cross sectional research design was used with equal numbers of boys and girls of three age groups, the average age of the children in each group was: 8.4 years; 11.5 years and 14.3 years respectively. Results: Children of all ages were able to offer a range of explanations for the behaviour of the children described in the vignettes and these explanations varied systematically with age and the nature of the behaviour described. The majority of children believed that behaviour could change and that help to support change could be provided by family and friends. Conclusions: Results confirm and extend the findings of earlier studies that there are developmental changes in children’s understanding of some common psychological problems.
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