Publications by year
Wright K, Dodd A, Warren F, Medina-Lara A, Dunn B, Harvey J, Javaid M, Jones S, Owens C, Taylor R, et al (2021). Psychological Therapy for Mood Instability within Bipolar Spectrum Disorder: a Randomised, Controlled Feasibility Trial of a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy-Informed Approach (the ThrIVe-B Programme). International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, 9
Edge D, Newbold A, Ehring T, Rosenkranz T, Frost M, Watkins ER
(2021). Reducing worry and rumination in young adults via a mobile phone app: study protocol of the ECoWeB (Emotional Competence for Well-Being in Young Adults) randomised controlled trial focused on repetitive negative thinking. BMC Psychiatry
Reducing worry and rumination in young adults via a mobile phone app: study protocol of the ECoWeB (Emotional Competence for Well-Being in Young Adults) randomised controlled trial focused on repetitive negative thinking
. Promoting well-being and preventing poor mental health in young people is a major global priority. Building emotional competence skills via a mobile app may be an effective, scalable and acceptable way to do this. A particular risk factor for anxiety and depression is elevated worry and rumination (repetitive negative thinking, RNT). An app designed to reduce RNT may prevent future incidence of depression and anxiety.
. The Emotional Competence for Well-Being in Young Adults study developed an emotional competence app to be tested via randomised controlled trials in a longitudinal prospective cohort. This off-shoot study adapts the app to focus on targeting RNT (worry, rumination), known risk factors for poor mental health. In this study, 16–24 year olds in the UK, who report elevated worry and rumination on standardised questionnaires are randomised to (i) receive the RNT-targeting app immediately for 6 weeks (ii) a waiting list control who receive the app after 6 weeks. In total, the study will aim to recruit 204 participants, with no current diagnosis of major depression, bipolar disorder or psychosis, across the UK. Assessments take place at baseline (pre-randomisation), 6 and 12 weeks post-randomisation. Primary endpoint and outcome for the study is level of rumination assessed on the Rumination Response Styles Questionnaire at 6 weeks. Worry, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and well-being are secondary outcomes. Compliance, adverse events and potentially mediating variables will be carefully monitored.
. This trial aims to better understand the benefits of tackling RNT via an mobile phone app intervention in young people. This prevention mechanism trial will establish whether targeting worry and rumination directly via an app provides a feasible approach to prevent depression and anxiety, with scope to become a widescale public health strategy for preventing poor mental health and promoting well-being in young people.
. Trial registration
. ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04950257. Registered 6 July 2021 – Retrospectively registered.
Watkins ER, Newbold A
(2020). Factorial Designs Help to Understand How Psychological Therapy Works. Front Psychiatry
Factorial Designs Help to Understand How Psychological Therapy Works.
A large amount of research time and resources are spent trying to develop or improve psychological therapies. However, treatment development is challenging and time-consuming, and the typical research process followed-a series of standard randomized controlled trials-is inefficient and sub-optimal for answering many important clinical research questions. In other areas of health research, recognition of these challenges has led to the development of sophisticated designs tailored to increase research efficiency and answer more targeted research questions about treatment mechanisms or optimal delivery. However, these innovations have largely not permeated into psychological treatment development research. There is a recognition of the need to understand how treatments work and what their active ingredients might be, and a call for the use of innovative trial designs to support such discovery. One approach to unpack the active ingredients and mechanisms of therapy is the factorial design as exemplified in the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) approach. The MOST design allows identification of the active components of a complex multi-component intervention (such as CBT) using a sophisticated factorial design, allowing the development of more efficient interventions and elucidating their mechanisms of action. The rationale, design, and potential advantages of this approach will be illustrated with reference to the IMPROVE-2 study, which conducts a fractional factorial design to investigate which elements (e.g. thought challenging, activity scheduling, compassion, relaxation, concreteness, functional analysis) within therapist-supported internet-delivered CBT are most effective at reducing symptoms of depression in 767 adults with major depression. By using this innovative approach, we can first begin to work out what components within the overall treatment package are most efficacious on average allowing us to build an overall more streamlined and potent therapy. This approach also has potential to distinguish the role of specific versus non-specific common treatment components within treatment. Abstract
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Newbold A, Warren FC, Taylor RS, Hulme C, Burnett S, Aas B, Botella C, Burkhardt F, Ehring T, Fontaine JRJ, et al
(2020). Promotion of mental health in young adults via mobile phone app: study protocol of the ECoWeB (emotional competence for well-being in Young adults) cohort multiple randomised trials. BMC Psychiatry
Promotion of mental health in young adults via mobile phone app: study protocol of the ECoWeB (emotional competence for well-being in Young adults) cohort multiple randomised trials.
BACKGROUND: Promoting well-being and preventing poor mental health in young people is a major global priority. Building emotional competence (EC) skills via a mobile app may be an effective, scalable and acceptable way to do this. However, few large-scale controlled trials have examined the efficacy of mobile apps in promoting mental health in young people; none have tailored the app to individual profiles. METHOD/DESIGN: the Emotional Competence for Well-Being in Young Adults cohort multiple randomised controlled trial (cmRCT) involves a longitudinal prospective cohort to examine well-being, mental health and EC in 16-22 year olds across 12 months. Within the cohort, eligible participants are entered to either the PREVENT trial (if selected EC scores at baseline within worst-performing quartile) or to the PROMOTE trial (if selected EC scores not within worst-performing quartile). In both trials, participants are randomised (i) to continue with usual practice, repeated assessments and a self-monitoring app; (ii) to additionally receive generic cognitive-behavioural therapy self-help in app; (iii) to additionally receive personalised EC self-help in app. In total, 2142 participants aged 16 to 22 years, with no current or past history of major depression, bipolar disorder or psychosis will be recruited across UK, Germany, Spain, and Belgium. Assessments take place at baseline (pre-randomisation), 1, 3 and 12 months post-randomisation. Primary endpoint and outcome for PREVENT is level of depression symptoms on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 at 3 months; primary endpoint and outcome for PROMOTE is emotional well-being assessed on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale at 3 months. Depressive symptoms, anxiety, well-being, health-related quality of life, functioning and cost-effectiveness are secondary outcomes. Compliance, adverse events and potentially mediating variables will be carefully monitored. CONCLUSIONS: the trial aims to provide a better understanding of the causal role of learning EC skills using interventions delivered via mobile phone apps with respect to promoting well-being and preventing poor mental health in young people. This knowledge will be used to develop and disseminate innovative evidence-based, feasible, and effective Mobile-health public health strategies for preventing poor mental health and promoting well-being. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov ( www.clinicaltrials.org ). Number of identification: NCT04148508 November 2019. Abstract
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Wright K, Dodd A, Warren FC, Medina-Lara A, Taylor R, Jones S, Owens C, Javaid M, Dunn B, Harvey JE, et al
(2018). The clinical and cost effectiveness of adapted dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) for bipolar mood instability in primary care (ThrIVe-B programme): a feasibility study. Trials
The clinical and cost effectiveness of adapted dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) for bipolar mood instability in primary care (ThrIVe-B programme): a feasibility study.
BACKGROUND: in bipolar spectrum disorder, some individuals experience ongoing, frequent fluctuations in mood outside of affective episodes. There are currently no evidence-based psychological interventions designed to address this. This feasibility study is a phase II evaluation of a dialectical behavioural therapy-informed approach (Therapy for Inter-episode mood Variability in Bipolar [ThrIVe-B]). It seeks to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a future definitive trial evaluating the clinical and cost effectiveness of the ThrIVe-B programme. METHODS/DESIGN: Patients will be randomised 1:1 to either treatment as usual only (control arm) or the ThrIVe-B intervention plus treatment as usual (intervention arm). Follow-up points will be at 3, 6, 9 and 15 months after baseline, with 9 months as the primary end point for the candidate primary outcome measures. We aim to recruit 48 individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for a bipolar spectrum disorder and reporting frequent mood swings outside of acute episodes, through primary and secondary care services and self-referral. To evaluate feasibility and acceptability, we will examine recruitment and retention rates, completion rates for study measures and feedback from participants on their experience of study participation and therapy. DISCUSSION: Proceeding to a definitive trial will be indicated if the following criteria are met: (1) trial participation does not lead to serious negative consequences for our participants; (2) any serious concerns about the acceptability and feasibility of the trial procedures can be rectified prior to a definitive trial; (3) follow-up data at 9 months are available for at least 60% of participants; (4) at least 60% of patients in the ThrIVe-B arm complete treatment. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ISRCTN54234300. Registered on 20 July 2017. Abstract
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Watkins E, Newbold A, Tester-Jones M, Javaid M, Cadman J, Collins LM, Graham J, Mostazir M
(2016). Implementing multifactorial psychotherapy research in online virtual environments (IMPROVE-2): study protocol for a phase III trial of the MOST randomized component selection method for internet cognitive-behavioural therapy for depression. BMC Psychiatry
Implementing multifactorial psychotherapy research in online virtual environments (IMPROVE-2): study protocol for a phase III trial of the MOST randomized component selection method for internet cognitive-behavioural therapy for depression.
BACKGROUND: Depression is a global health challenge. Although there are effective psychological and pharmaceutical interventions, our best treatments achieve remission rates less than 1/3 and limited sustained recovery. Underpinning this efficacy gap is limited understanding of how complex psychological interventions for depression work. Recent reviews have argued that the active ingredients of therapy need to be identified so that therapy can be made briefer, more potent, and to improve scalability. This in turn requires the use of rigorous study designs that test the presence or absence of individual therapeutic elements, rather than standard comparative randomised controlled trials. One such approach is the Multiphase Optimization Strategy, which uses efficient experimentation such as factorial designs to identify active factors in complex interventions. This approach has been successfully applied to behavioural health but not yet to mental health interventions. METHODS/DESIGN: a Phase III randomised, single-blind balanced fractional factorial trial, based in England and conducted on the internet, randomized at the level of the patient, will investigate the active ingredients of internet cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for depression. Adults with depression (operationalized as PHQ-9 score ≥ 10), recruited directly from the internet and from an UK National Health Service Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service, will be randomized across seven experimental factors, each reflecting the presence versus absence of specific treatment components (activity scheduling, functional analysis, thought challenging, relaxation, concreteness training, absorption, self-compassion training) using a 32-condition balanced fractional factorial design (2IV7-2). The primary outcome is symptoms of depression (PHQ-9) at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes include symptoms of anxiety and process measures related to hypothesized mechanisms. DISCUSSION: Better understanding of the active ingredients of efficacious therapies, such as CBT, is necessary in order to improve and further disseminate these interventions. This study is the first application of a component selection experiment to psychological interventions in depression and will enable us to determine the main effect of each treatment component and its relative efficacy, and cast light on underlying mechanisms, so that we can systematically enhance internet CBT. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN24117387. Registered 26 August 2014. Abstract
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Edworthy J, Hellier E, Newbold L, Titchener K
(2015). Passing crisis and emergency risk communications: the effects of communication channel, information type, and repetition. Appl Ergon
Passing crisis and emergency risk communications: the effects of communication channel, information type, and repetition.
Three experiments explore several factors which influence information transmission when warning messages are passed from person to person. In Experiment 1, messages were passed down chains of participants using five different modes of communication. Written communication channels resulted in more accurate message transmission than verbal. In addition, some elements of the message endured further down the chain than others. Experiment 2 largely replicated these effects and also demonstrated that simple repetition of a message eliminated differences between written and spoken communication. In a final field experiment, chains of participants passed information however they wanted to, with the proviso that half of the chains could not use telephones. Here, the lack of ability to use a telephone did not affect accuracy, but did slow down the speed of transmission from the recipient of the message to the last person in the chain. Implications of the findings for crisis and emergency risk communication are discussed. Abstract
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Hellier E, Edworthy J, Newbold L, Titchener K, Tucker M, Gabe-Thomas E
(2014). Evaluating the application of research-based guidance to the design of an emergency preparedness leaflet. Applied Ergonomics
Evaluating the application of research-based guidance to the design of an emergency preparedness leaflet
Guidelines for the design of emergency communications were derived from primary research and interrogation of the literature. The guidelines were used to re-design a nuclear emergency preparedness leaflet routinely distributed to households in the local area. Pre-test measures of memory for, and self-reported understanding of, nuclear safety information were collected. The findings revealed high levels of non-receipt of the leaflet, and among those who did receive it, memory for safety advice was poor. Subjective evaluations of the trial leaflet suggested that it was preferred and judged easier to understand than the original. Objective measures of memory for the two leaflets were also recorded, once after the study period, and again one week or four weeks later. Memory for the advice was better, at all time periods, when participants studied the trial leaflet. The findings showcase evaluation of emergency preparedness literature and suggest that extant research findings can be applied to the design of communications to improve memory and understandability. Statement of relevance: Studies are described that showcase the use of research-based guidelines to design emergency communications and provide both subjective and objective data to support designing emergency communications in this way. In addition, the research evaluates the effectiveness of emergency preparedness leaflets that are routinely distributed to households. This work is of relevance to academics interested in risk communication and to practitioners involved in civil protection and emergency preparedness. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and the Ergonomics Society. Abstract
Zahra D, Qureshi A, Henley W, Taylor R, Quinn C, Pooler J, Hardy G, Newbold A, Byng R
(2014). The work and social adjustment scale: reliability, sensitivity and value. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract
The work and social adjustment scale: reliability, sensitivity and value.
OBJECTIVE: to investigate the psychometric properties of the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS) as an outcome measure for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy programme, assessing its value as an addition to the Patient Health (PHQ-9) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder questionnaires (GAD-7). Little research has investigated these properties to date. METHODS: Reliability and responsiveness to change were assessed using data from 4,835 patients. Principal components analysis was used to determine whether the WSAS measures a factor distinct from the PHQ-9 and GAD-7. RESULTS: the WSAS measures a distinct social functioning factor, has high internal reliability, and is sensitive to treatment effects. CONCLUSIONS: the WSAS, PHQ-9 and GAD-7 perform comparably on measures of reliability and sensitivity. The WSAS also measures a distinct social functioning component suggesting it has potential as an additional outcome measure. Abstract
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Hellier E, Edworthy J, Newbold L, Titchener K, Tucker M, Gabe-Thomas E (2013). Evaluating the application of research-based guidance to the design of an emergency preparedness leaflet. Applied Ergonomics
Newbold A, Hardy G, Byng R (2013). Staff and patient experience of improving access to psychological therapy group interventions for anxiety and depression. Journal of Mental Health, 22(5), 456-464.