York St John University
The Bridge
October 2009
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This e-bulletin is our main method for communicating with people interested in the work of the Centre so we hope you find it interesting and informative, please feel free to send any feedback or comments about the work of the Centre to

E: RCOMH@yorksj.ac.uk 

hinking of doing a PhD?

If you are thinking about doing a PhD related to occupation and mental health please email RCOMH and we may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help.

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Bridging the gap between research and practice

Welcome to the latest edition of the Research Centre for Occupation & Mental Health’s e-bulletin, The Bridge.  It has been quite an exhilarating year for RCOMH with a number of quite big events. However the topics we have focussed on in this edition of The Bridge show how in small ways we can change the culture so that more occupation based interventions are not only researched but that the research that is conducted is published. It is only if research is in the public domain that it can contribute to an evidence base to ensure that it is used in practice to benefit people who use mental health services.

Meeting with Candi
Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust (Candi) are updating their occupational therapy R&D strategy – Sue Newell (Head Occupational Therapist) and Katrina Bannigan (Director of RCOMH) met in Islington to discuss how RCOMH may link with individual or groups of occupational therapists and how individuals can engage with RCOMH’s research programmes. Together we agreed that individuals can
  • Subscribe to The Bridge
  • Join one of RCOMH’s network to ensure that their interest in an area of RCOMH’s work is registered.
  • Volunteer to get involved in research when opportunities arise.

Candi are putting this in their R&D strategy and will audit against this. If you are involved in developing your trust’s R&D strategy perhaps you should consider putting similar auditable statements in your strategy? We also agreed that RCOMH has an important role to play by

  • being a resource to enable practitioners to keep in touch with latest developments in the field
  • developing networks to bring people together who want to engage in research, and
  • developing research programmes that will enable the development of  large multi-centre studies
Theses publication in occupational therapy
A recent exercise undertaken by Hannah Spring on behalf of RCOMH revealed some very interesting results in relation to the publication of both undergraduate and postgraduate research related to occupational therapy and mental health.  We wanted to identify the extent to which students publish the findings of their research.  This exercise was not meant to be an accurate measure of the current situation, but a short, directed exercise that gave us a snapshot of one aspect of occupational therapy that is relevant to the work of RCOMH.  In order to identify the extent to which students are publishing their research, we accessed the COT Theses Database and searched for all mental health related theses completed within the previous ten years (January 1999 – July 2009).  We identified that
  • there were thirty nine theses; two were undergraduate dissertations, thirty three were Masters theses, and four PhDs. 
  • twenty nine of these studies had been highlighted in the ‘Focus on Research’ feature of the British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 
  • only nine of these past students had published the full results of their research.  Of these nine, eight were postgraduate students on Masters programmes, and one was a PhD student.

It must be accepted that these figures cannot be taken as an accurate measure of how many students publish the results of their work.  This is due to a number of variables.  It should be noted for instance that searches were carried out on the names of the authors as identified on their theses.  If surnames were changed and research was published at a later date then this would not have been identified in our search.  Those completing PhDs at the earlier part of the time scale may well have had publications earlier than 1999 and these would also not have been picked up from the search.  It should also be borne in mind that not all students will submit their work to the College of Occupational Therapists for inclusion in the theses database, but may have published their research despite this.  As we searched by author names identified from the theses database those not indexed on the database would not have been included in the search.

Whilst these factors should be taken into careful consideration, we feel that the exercise did give us a brief indication of the current situation in mental health occupational therapy research publishing.  The results identify that there is a great deal of valuable research taking place but only a small handful of individuals are going on to publish the details of this work.  This means that the professional community is missing a large amount of potentially important research.

RCOMH strongly encourages anyone who does research related to occupation and mental health to publish it so it is in the public domain. The editor of ‘Mental Health OT’ Jane Clewes is happy to discuss with anyone who has yet to publish their postgraduate work who may be interested in publishing in her journal, which is the official publication of the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section in Mental Health, one of RCOMH’s partners. Please contact Jane at cleweshj@btopenworld.com

Hannah Spring
Senior Lecturer – research and evidence based practice support Clinical librarian AHP project

STOP PRESS*******************STOP PRESS RCOMH steering group member publishes her research

Dr Wendy Bryant has recently had a chapter published in the ‘International Handbook of Occupational Therapy Interventions’. This is a diverse text in which each of the chapters is based on published research. There are a number of chapters on mental health so it should be a useful resource for anyone interested in the research underpinning the use of occupation and mental health. Open the link below for more details


It is quite expensive so it may be as well to see if you local higher education institution has it on their reference shelves. You can usually join these libraries as an external borrower for a small fee.

Dr Wendy Bryant
Senior Lecturer, Brunel University

Spotlight on research
This edition’s article is reviewed by Hilary Williams, Lead Occupational Therapist – Research and Development, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust…

‘Lisa Wegner (Department of Occupational Therapy) and her colleague, Alan Flisher (Adolescent Health Research Unit), from the University of Cape Town, have recently published a paper presenting the findings from a systematic review of the literature synthesising the current knowledge within the field of leisure boredom and risk behaviour within adolescents.   Their study addresses the following research questions:

  1. What evidence is there of leisure boredom amongst adolescents, and its association with risk behaviour?
  2. How is leisure boredom measured?
  3. What interventions have addressed leisure boredom amongst adolescents?

They confirmed that research in this field has only started to emerge and the majority of the studies investigating leisure boredom and risk behaviour have taken place within the developed, rather than the developing world.   The literature to date indicates that adolescents’ experience of leisure boredom is influenced by a variety of different factors, including the environment and the context in which they are situated.

They were able to locate three studies that measure leisure boredom specifically and two studies that report on interventions designed to address leisure boredom.  The authors note that studies so far are too heterogeneous with regards to both the methodologies adopted and the context in which they occurred to draw any conclusions with regards to this area of significant interest.

They acknowledge there are a number of limitations with this study, including the possibility of selection bias with regards to the papers considered and only those published in English were included.

The relevance of this paper is two fold:

  1. it provides an important summary of the work in the field of leisure boredom and risk behaviour in adolescents so far, but perhaps more crucially,
  2. it highlights the paucity of research into not only leisure boredom and adolescent risk behaviour, the psychometric properties of measurements of leisure boredom in this population and interventions to address this but into the phenomena of leisure boredom in general.’

If you would like to read this article, the full reference is: 
Wegner. L & Flisher, A.  (2009). Leisure boredom and adolescent risk behaviour: a systematic literature review.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 21(1): 1-28.

Hilary Williams, Lead Occupational Therapist
Research and Development
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

STOP PRESS*******************STOP PRESS
NIHR Clinical Academic Training

PathwaysWorkshop for AHPs 20 January 2010

Hosted by the College of Occupational Therapists, London
on behalf of the Research Forum for Allied Health Professions
Are you an AHP who is considering applying for an award under the NIHR CATP scheme in 2010? Or an academic supervisor, clinical supervisor, service manager or departmental head who anticipates supporting an applicant? If so, this event is for you.

Building on the experience gained from the 2009 funding round, which has been very successful for the AHPs, this event offers the opportunity to gain:

  • a greater understanding of the CATP schemes
  • direct feedback from CATP panel members and others on what makes a successful application
  • insight from a successful applicant
  • an understanding of the role of service managers and clinical supervisors in supporting clinical research career
  • a chance to discuss your queries with CATP panel members and NIHR staff

The event is free to attend but heavy demand is anticipated so early booking is recommended.

For further information and a booking form contact lesley.gleaves@cot.co.uk

The Research Forum for Allied Health Professions comprises members and officers from across 11 allied health professions. Its remit is to be a primary point of contact for matters relating to AHP research, to enhance the research capacity of AHPs and to influence the policy contexts that shape AHP research in the UK.

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