Worth So Much More

I’m very proud to have been involved with No1 Magazine’s Body Campaign #worthsomuchmore.

This is something that I feel very passionate about (as readers of my blog will know!), and in this article, I have offered some advice to help readers work towards feeling better about themselves (mostly by focussing on things other than appearance!).

I think the No1 Team (and Ida who wrote the article) deserve a great deal of credit for approaching the ‘body image’ issue in a different way from how it is usually discussed in the media.

 

Publication in British Psychological Society’s ‘Educational and Child Psychology’ Special Issue

I have recently had some more of my PhD research published in a special edition of the BPS’ ‘Educational and Child Psychology’ journal. The theme of the edition was ‘Research in Schools’ and my article highlighted the importance of identification with the school for young people’s psychological wellbeing.

Specifically, we found that identification with (or attachment to) the school helped protect young people from developing psychological problems up to one year later. In contrast, identification with other groups did not have a significant impact on the young people’s mental health.

These findings highlight the unique position that education practitioners are in to influence, and protect, young people’s psychological wellbeing. This knowledge is worth capitalising upon, particularly given the current emphasis on Health and Wellbeing in the Curriculum for Excellence, as well as the SNP government’s commitment to improving young people’s mental health.

To view the paper, please see:

Miller, K., Wakefield, J. R. H., & Sani, F. (2018). Identification with the school predicts better mental health amongst high school students over time. Educational and Child Psychology Special Edition, 35 (2), 21-30.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328942485_Identification_with_the_school_predicts_better_mental_health_amongst_high_school_students_over_time

 

Putting things off… BBC discussion about procrastination

I was delighted to again be invited to contribute to BBC Scotland’s Personal Best programme; this time discussing a phenomenon that most of us are familiar with: procrastination! In the programme I chat to Gillian Russell about various reasons why we procrastinate, as well as ways to overcome it.

You’ll find the programme here (or below), do let me know what you think!

Publication in British Journal of Clinical Psychology

My colleagues and I recently had a paper published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology. Our paper, ‘On the reciprocal effects between multiple group identifications and mental health: A longitudinal study of Scottish adolescents’ is my fourth publication from my PhD research, and I would like to once again, thank the pupils and staff who contributed to it.

Our paper examines the link between social group identifications and mental health outcomes in high school students. We found that greater number of high group identifications predicted better mental health outcomes amongst students. However, we also found that better mental health also predicted greater number of high group identifications, suggesting that there is a cyclical relationship between both variables.

The findings highlight the importance of conceptualizing the link between group identification and mental health as cyclical, rather than unidirectional. This reconceptualization has implications for mental health promotion strategies, as it highlights the importance of attempting to turn a potentially ‘vicious cycle’ of social disidentification and mental ill health into a ‘virtuous cycle’ of social identification and mental health.

To view the paper, please see:

Miller, K., Wakefield, J. R. H., & Sani, F. (2017). On the reciprocal effects between multiple group identifications and mental health: A longitudinal study of Scottish adolescents. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, DOI:10.1111/bjc.12143.

Higher Education Academy Conference

A poster that I contributed to was recently presented at the prestigious Higher Education Academy Conference in Manchester. It was a privilege to work on this with my colleague David Martin from the School of Life Sciences at Dundee University.  David’s presentation at the conference considered the role of self-assessment in teaching – a project that I hope we will be able to develop further in the future.

 

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Addiction, Behavioral Change and Social Identity

A chapter that my colleagues and I wrote has been published today in a book entitled ‘Addiction, Behavioral Change and Social Identity: The path to resilience and recovery’ . The book ‘explores the social and cognitive processes that enable people who join recovery groups to address their addictive issues. In an era of increasing concern at the long-term costs of chronic ill-health, the potential to leverage group identity to inspire resilience and recovery offers a timely and practical response.’

It ‘examines the theoretical foundations to a social identity approach in addressing behavior change across a range of contexts, including alcohol addiction, obesity and crime, whilst also examining topics such as the use of online forums to foster recovery’ and promises to be essential reading for students, researchers and policy makers across health psychology, social care, as well as anyone interested in behavioural change and addiction recovery.

The chapter that I wrote with my colleagues Juliet Wakefield (Nottingham Trent University) and Fabio Sani (University of Dundee) considers the impact of group identification on addictive health behaviours amongst an adolescent population. We hope you find it interesting and informative!

 

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Publication in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology

Along with my colleagues Juliet Wakefield, and Fabio Sani, I have recently had a paper published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. Our paper, entitled ‘Greater Number of Group Identifications is Associated with Healthier Behaviour in Adolescents’, investigated the relationship between group identification (with the family, school, and friendship groups) and adolescent health behaviour (smoking, binge drinking, and cannabis use).

We found that identification with the family and school groups predicted reduced odds of substance use, whereas identification with the friend group predicted increased odds of substance use. Furthermore, the greater the number of social groups with which the participant strongly identified, the lower the odds that he/she participated in negative health behaviours. In contrast, merely having contact (rather than identifying strongly) with these groups increased the odds of participation in these behaviours.

We took our findings to suggest that group identification influences behaviour to the extent that it encourages adherence to group norms.

To read the paper in full, please see:

Miller, K., Wakefield, J. R. H., & Sani, F. (2016). Greater Number of Group Identifications is Associated with Healthier Behaviour in Adolescents. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 34 (2), 291-305. DOI: 10.1111/bjdp.12141.

Publication in Psychiatry Research

I am delighted that my first paper from my PhD research has been accepted for publication in Psychiatry Research. I must extend thanks to my colleagues and co-authors Fabio Sani and Juliet Wakefield, for their expertise, help and support.

Our paper entitled ‘Identification with Social Groups is Associated with Mental Health in Adolescents: Evidence from a Scottish Community Sample’, investigates whether there is a link between mental health symptoms and identification with a variety of groups (family, school and friends) in an adolescent sample.

Higher identification with each group predicted better mental health. There was also an additive effect of group identification, with the odds of reporting psychiatric disturbance decreasing for every additional group with which participants identified strongly. These effects held even when age, gender, and group contact were controlled for.

Our findings have implications for the prevention and treatment of mental problems, offering an alternative to traditional ways of viewing mental illness in adolescence and beyond.

To view the paper in full, please see:

Miller, K., Wakefield, J. R. H, & Sani, F. (2015). Identification with Social Groups is Associated with Mental Health in Adolescents: Evidence from a Scottish Community Sample. Psychiatry Research, 228, 340-346. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2015.05.088.

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