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Home > Research > Researchers > Alyson Dodd
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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Alyson Dodd supervises 25 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Alyson Dodd

Lecturer

Alyson Dodd

Furness Building

Lancaster University

Bailrigg

Lancaster LA1 4YG

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 594620

Location:

Research overview

My research expertise is the psychology of mood regulation in non-clinical and clinical populations (i.e. bipolar disorder), including vulnerability factors for the development of bipolar disorder. This includes i) understanding the processes contributing to the development and maintenance of mood dysregulation, ii) development and validation of psychometric measures of psychological processes, iii) development and evaluation of novel psychological interventions to provide support for mood swings, iv) psychological processes underlying mental health stigma, and v)  student mental health including psychological factors that predict mood and academic outcomes. 

I have particular expertise in quantitative research methods and feasibility trials.

PhD supervision

Psychosocial processes/mechanisms underlying mood dysregulation in non-clinical and clinical groups (i.e. bipolar disorder)

Automatic and effortful mood regulation

Psychological processes/mechanisms underlying mental health stigma

Current Research

As Principal Investigator:

  • 2014-: Personality, cognitive style and beliefs about automatic mood regulation (with University of Colorado and Northwestern University, USA)
  • 2013-2015: Psychological processes and bipolar disorder. Funded by Lancaster University Early Career Small Grant
  • 2009-: Do positive and negative cognitive and response styles predict mania risk, mood and academic achievement?

As Co-Investigator

  • 2015-: Reflective thinking, cognitive style, and mood (with Northumbria University)
  • 2015-: Appraisals of internal states and conditional reasoning (with Northumbria University)
  • 2014-: North West ESM Collaboration. Mood and Affect Regulation Group (MARG) (with universities of Liverpool and Manchester)
  • 2012-2015:  Trial Manager on A pilot study to assess the feasibility of a web-based intervention for prevention of relapse in bipolar disorder (ERP-Online). Funded by National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit (with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and University of Nottingham)

Current postgraduate supervision:

  • Simon Bradstreet (2014- ). Internalized stigma in mental health: an investigation of the role of attachment style. (Co-supervisor Prof Steven Jones). PhD.
  • Steve Marshall (2013- ). The experience of teenagers and young adults treated for cancer in an adult setting. (Co-supervisor Dr Anne Grinyer). PhD.

  • Eliza Wood Lyndorff (2014-2015). The impact of dispositional and situational trust on stigmatised public attitudes     towards positive and negative media vignette depictions of individuals with bipolar disorder. (Co-supervisor Dr Stacey Conchie). MSc.

  • Lydia Donson  (2014-2015). Implementation intentions and mania risk. (Co-supervisor with Dr Kathleen McCulloch). MSc.

Research Interests

At the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, we conduct research into the psychosocial understanding of bipolar disorder and associated conditions, using this to develop effective interventions and establish these in clinical practice.

We recognise that mood dysregulation is distributed across the entire population on a continuum, and research the psychological processes underlying mood dysregulation among people with and without bipolar. This includes the processes associated with risk of bipolar disorder among children who have a parent with bipolar disorder. My research has an emphasis on the role of cognitive style and behavioural coping strategies (both automatic and effortful) in how people interpret and respond to how they are feeling.  

Students are passing through the peak age of onset of bipolar disorder (and other mental health issues). They are experiencing established risk factors for bipolar disorder, such as disruptions to sleep and routine, and stressors such goal-striving activities. In a series of my recent research projects, findings suggested that bipolar risk and depression are associated with how students think about and respond to the way they feel; overly positive and negative thinking styles, behaviours such as staying up later or repeatedly reflecting on mistakes, and impulsivity.  As well as mental health outcomes, we are interested in exploring how students successfully navigate their university experience – what factors are associated with doing well? This research will be the first to look at which factors interact with bipolar risk to predict academic outcomes. Research with undergraduates has direct implications for student mental health, and findings suggest that these processes are worth exploring further among individuals with bipolar disorder. 

Spectrum has a unique research stream around positive experiences in bipolar. In collaboration with Yale University (US), we found that inspiration was associated with bipolar risk. I am currently exploring associations between thinking style (including inspiration and positive beliefs about high mood), behaviour, mood and recovery in bipolar disorder, funded by an Early Career Small Grant. Research on the psychopathology of mood swings and bipolar disorder is vital to inform a coherent model. Improving our understanding can inform effective interventions, in line with Spectrum’s ethos. Based on findings that beliefs about mood and ineffective coping strategies are associated with poorer outcomes, Enhanced Relapse Prevention for bipolar is an intervention that focuses on helping people to recognise early warning signs for relapse, and develop effective coping strategies. We obtained funding from the National Institute of Health Research to develop and evaluate web-based ERP. Web-based interventions are an increasingly important way of reaching a broad range of individuals, many of whom find it hard to access mental health services through traditional pathways. This trial is currently underway until 2015.

Current Teaching

Blended Learning PhD programmes in the Division of Health Research, Faculty of Health & Medicine

  • DHR.405 Induction Academy
  • Autumn Academies
  • DHR.407 Adult mental health: Theory, research and practice (Module convener): Diagnosis, stigma, models of mental health, transdiagnostic processes, exploring psychological processes, psychological interventions, mental health policy.

MSc Programmes in Dept of Psychology

  • DHR.407a Adult mental health: Theory, research and practice (Module convener): Stigma, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychosis, models of mental health, transdiagnostic processes, exploring psychological processes. 

PhD supervision

Additional Information

Professional Memberships

I am a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a member of the British Association of the Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

 

Other Roles

  • Programme Director (years 1 + 2), Blended Learning PhD programmes in Mental Health, Organisational Health & Well-being, Palliative Care, and Public Health (2014-)
  • Member of the Teaching and Learning Forum planning committee (Faculty of Health & Medicine) (2015-)
  • College Advisor, Grizedale College (Lancaster University).

 

Previous Roles

  • Liaison Officer, Bipolar Disorder Special Interest Group of the British Association of the Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (2009-2015)
  • Director of Studies, PhD in Mental Health, Division of Health Research, Faculty of Health & Medicine, Lancaster University (2011-2014)

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