York St John University - Research for Occupation and Mental Health
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The Bridge                                                      Issue 27

Bridging the gap between research and practice

This edition focuses on the Research Programme for Occupation and Older People’s Mental Health. We are sharing the work of staff in that research programme based at York St. John University and our aspirations for this research programme. A common thread is assessment and measurement issues pertinent to research related to occupation and mental health.


Research Programme for Occupation and Older People’s Mental Health

This RCOMH research programme is orientated towards investigating the relationships between occupational engagement and the mental health of people aged 65 years and over, regardless of diagnosis. Researchers in this research programme strive to raise awareness of older people’s mental health needs and seek an evidence base to underpin the importance of occupation in relation to these.

Alison LaverFawcettThe Research Programme for Occupation and Older People’s Mental Health is led by Dr. Alison Laver-Fawcett, Head of the full-time BHSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy Programme at York St John University and the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT) and College of Occupational Therapists (COT) Council member for International affairs (including serving as the BAOT delegate on World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Council).  To become involved in the work of this research programme please contact

E: a.laverfawcett@yorksj.ac.uk,
T: +44(0)1904-876419.

More details


Early stages in the development of a culturally relevant measure of occupational engagement for use with older adults: the Activity Card Sort –United Kingdom (ACS-UK)

Sarah MallinsonSarah Mallinson, research assistant in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, writes about a current recent project to develop a United Kingdom (UK) version of the Activity Card Sort.

Read Sarah's report 

More information about the ACS-UK project



Stephen Wey writes about his doctoral work to explore the dynamic assessment of zones of proximal development in the context of dementia rehabilitation and enablement.

The aim of this doctoral research project is to explore the role of dynamic assessment in identifying potential interventions for rehabilitative and enabling practice with people with dementia to increase people’s occupational engagement, social inclusion and quality of life. Dynamic assessment is an interactive or transactional approach to conducting assessment that aims to assess areas of potential; particularly in terms of learning potential or potential to make use of rehabilitative interventions. The theoretical basis for dynamic assessment is found in the work of the psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his concept of “The Zone of Proximal Development” (or ZPD). The study will discuss the utility of the ZPD concept as guiding principal in rehabilitation with people who have dementia and include a critical analysis and review of dynamic assessment tools and procedures that may be used with people who have dementia in the context of rehabilitative and enabling practice. The overall outcome will be the development of a dynamic assessment toolkit for use with people who have dementia to identify areas of potential and skills that are hard to identify using current assessment approaches.

Stephen WeyStephen can be contacted on
E: S.Wey@yorksj.ac.uk
T: +44(0)1904-876790

Read more about Stephen's work


Professor Chris Mayers, Research Fellow within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences provides an update on developments with the Mayers’ Lifestyle Questionnaires.

Chris MayersOne of Professor Mayers’ research interests is the development of person centred practice within occupational therapy and the Mayers’ Lifestyle Questionnaires highlight this. The Mayers’ Lifestyle Questionnaire (3) has recently been developed for use by older people to identify their quality of life priorities. This, plus the Mayers’ Lifestyle Questionnaires (1) and (2), can be accessed from Chris’ website at: www.mayersLSQ.org.uk. The German and French versions of the Mayers’ LSQ (1) and (2) are also available from the website. The instruments have also been translated into Norwegian and Greek and a study is being undertaken in Austria to evaluate the use of the Mayers’ LSQ (1) and (2). Translations of the Mayers’ LSQ (3) into French and German are being undertaken at present.

For further information please visit the MayersLSQ website or e-mail Chris at c.mayers1@yorksj.ac.uk



NMHDU published a new Mental Wellbeing Checklist

Genevieve Smyth, member of the RCOMH Steering group, and the College of Occupational Therapists Professional Affairs Officer for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, has brought to our attention that the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU)  has developed and published a mental wellbeing checklist.  It is described as simple and easy to use and helps the reader become more familiar with the major influences on mental well-being and provides a quick reference source to help with local improvements and actions as part of local commissioning, development, review, delivery or evaluation. The checklist is designed for use across organisations and sectors e.g. the voluntary and community sector, private sector, education, community development and particularly for those working in Public Health and Health Improvement, Local Government, Social Care, NHS and Employment where mental well-being is a growing priority.

For more information go to: Mental wellbeing checklist

This checklist is based on what determines mental well-being from the evidence used within the Mental Well-being Impact Assessment (MWIA) Toolkit. The MWIA Toolkit and further information on evidence is available
at www.hiagateway.org.uk


Spotlight on research

This month’s Spotlight on Research has been written by Professor Chris Mayers, Research Fellow at York St John University and looks at a research study which is pertinent to the impact of occupational engagement on mental health problems secondary to physical disability. This is a paper by van Nes, Runge and  Jonsson entitled: ‘One body, three hands and two minds: A case study of the intertwined occupations of an older couple following stroke’ which was published in the Journal of Occupational Science in 2009.

Read this month's review


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