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

Alyson Dodd supervises 27 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 bipolar disorder, from understanding the processes contributing to the development and maintenance of mood swings to developing effective interventions for bipolar and associated conditions.  I research the psychological processes underlying mood swings among people with and without bipolar, including vulnerability factors for the development of bipolar disorder.  I am also involved with the development and evaluation of novel psychological interventions to provide support for mood swings.

PhD supervision

Psychology of mood swings and bipolar disorder
Student mental health

Current Research

  • Principal investigator: Psychological Processes and Bipolar Disorder.  Funded by Lancaster University Research Committee Early Career Small Grant.
  • Principal investigator: Do positive and negative cognitive and response styles predict mania risk, mood and academic achievement?
  • Co-investigator:  A pilot study to assess the feasibility of a web-based intervention for prevention of relapse in bipolar disorder (ERP Online).  Funded by Research for Patient Benefit, National Institute for Health Research
  • Co-investigator:  Development and validation of a new multidimensional measure of inspiration: Associations with risk for bipolar disorder.

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 swings are distributed across the entire population on a continuum, and research the psychological processes underlying mood swings among people with and without bipolar. My research has an emphasis on the role of cognitive style and behavioural coping strategies in mood swings.  This includes investigating the processes associated with risk of bipolar among children who have a parent with bipolar disorder, and students.  Students are passing through the peak age of onset of bipolar disorder. They are experiencing established risk factors for bipolar 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.

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 among students. 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.  I am currently exploring associations between thinking style, 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 swings 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

PhD in Mental Health (Director of Studies)

  • DHR.407 Adult mental health: Theory, research and practice (Module convener): Stigma, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychosis, models of mental health, transdiagnostic processes, exploring psychological processes.
  • DHR 405 Summer Academy (Module co-convener)

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. 

PgCert in Clinical Research

  • DHR 410 Turning research evidence into health care policy and practice: Linking theory, research and practice.

PhD supervision

Additional Information

Professional Memberships

  • British Association of the Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
  • BABCP Bipolar Disorder Special Interest Group
  • British Psychological Society (Chartered Psychologist)

 

Other Roles

  • Frontline Adviser in quantitative methods for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service - North West (RDS-NW).
  • College Advisor, Grizedale College.
  • Liaison Officer, BABCP Bipolar Disorder Special Interest Group.

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