Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Family-centred care for children with traumatic brain injury and/or spinal cord injury: a qualitative study of service provider perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Pollock, A ; D'Cruz, K ; Scheinberg, A ; Botchway, E ; Harms, L ; Amor, DJ ; Anderson, V ; Bonyhady, B ; Knight, S (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-06-01)
    OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 has led to rapid changes in rehabilitation service provision for young people living with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injury. The aim of this project was to understand the experiences of rehabilitation service providers during the acute response stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we aimed to identify innovative approaches to meeting the ongoing needs of young people with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injury during this time. SETTING: This study was conducted at a research institute and involved remote interviews with key informants around Australia and internationally. PARTICIPANTS: Key informants from 11 services supporting children and/or adolescents with traumatic brain injury and/or spinal cord injury were interviewed using a semistructured interview guide. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using inductive thematic analysis. RESULTS: Three key themes emerged: (1) recognising and responding to the experiences of families during the pandemic, (2) the impact of greater use of telehealth on care delivery, and (3) realising opportunities to enhance family-centred care. CONCLUSIONS: These themes capture shifting perspectives and process changes relevant to longer term practice. Research findings suggest opportunities for future service development, enabling service delivery that is more family centred, flexible and efficient in meeting the needs of families. Understanding these experiences and the changed nature of service delivery provides important insights with implications for future service improvement.
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    Diagnostic routes and time intervals for ovarian cancer in nine international jurisdictions; findings from the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP).
    Menon, U ; Weller, D ; Falborg, AZ ; Jensen, H ; Butler, J ; Barisic, A ; Knudsen, AK ; Bergin, RJ ; Brewster, DH ; Cairnduff, V ; Fourkala, EO ; Gavin, AT ; Grunfeld, E ; Harland, E ; Kalsi, J ; Law, R-J ; Lin, Y ; Turner, D ; Neal, RD ; White, V ; Harrison, S ; Reguilon, I ; Lynch, C ; Vedsted, P ; ICBP Module 4 Working Group, (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-09)
    BACKGROUND: International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership Module 4 reports the first international comparison of ovarian cancer (OC) diagnosis routes and intervals (symptom onset to treatment start), which may inform previously reported variations in survival and stage. METHODS: Data were collated from 1110 newly diagnosed OC patients aged >40 surveyed between 2013 and 2015 across five countries (51-272 per jurisdiction), their primary-care physicians (PCPs) and cancer treatment specialists, supplement by treatment records or clinical databases. Diagnosis routes and time interval differences using quantile regression with reference to Denmark (largest survey response) were calculated. RESULTS: There were no significant jurisdictional differences in the proportion diagnosed with symptoms on the Goff Symptom Index (53%; P = 0.179) or National Institute for Health and Care Excellence NG12 guidelines (62%; P = 0.946). Though the main diagnosis route consistently involved primary-care presentation (63-86%; P = 0.068), onward urgent referral rates varied significantly (29-79%; P < 0.001). In most jurisdictions, diagnostic intervals were generally shorter and other intervals, in particular, treatment longer compared to Denmark. CONCLUSION: This study highlights key intervals in the diagnostic pathway where improvements could be made. It provides the opportunity to consider the systems and approaches across different jurisdictions that might allow for more timely ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment.
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    Adapting Peer Researcher Facilitated Strategies to Recruit People Receiving Mental Health Services to a Tobacco Treatment Trial
    Baker, AL ; McCarter, K ; Brophy, L ; Castle, D ; Kelly, PJ ; Cocks, N ; McKinlay, ML ; Brasier, C ; Borland, R ; Bonevski, B ; Segan, C ; Baird, DE ; Turner, A ; Williams, JM ; Forbes, E ; Hayes, L ; Attia, J ; Lambkin, D ; Barker, D ; Sweeney, R (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-05-26)
    Introduction: One of the most challenging aspects of conducting intervention trials among people who experience severe mental illness (SMI) and who smoke tobacco, is recruitment. In our parent "QuitLink" randomized controlled trial (RCT), slower than expected peer researcher facilitated recruitment, along with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, necessitated an adaptive recruitment response. The objectives of the present study were to: (i) describe adaptive peer researcher facilitated recruitment strategies; (ii) explore the effectiveness of these strategies; (iii) investigate whether recruitment strategies reached different subgroups of participants; and (iv) examine the costs and resources required for implementing these strategies. Finally, we offer experience-based lessons in a Peer Researcher Commentary. Methods: People were included in the RCT if they smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day and were accessing mental health support from the project's two partnering mental health organizations in Victoria, Australia. The majority of people accessing these services will have been diagnosed with SMI. Recruitment occurred over 2 years. We began with peer facilitated recruitment strategies delivered face-to-face, then replaced this with direct mail postcards followed by telephone contact. In the final 4 months of the study, we began online recruitment, broadening it to people who smoked and were accessing support or treatment (including from general practitioners) for mental health and/or alcohol or other drug problems, anywhere in the state of Victoria. Differences between recruitment strategies on key participant variables were assessed. We calculated the average cost per enrolee of the different recruitment approaches. Results: Only 109 people were recruited from a target of 382: 29 via face-to-face (March 2019 to April 2020), 66 from postcards (May 2020 to November 2020), and 14 from online (November to December 2020 and January to March 2021) strategies. Reflecting our initial focus on recruiting from supported independent living accommodation facilities, participants recruited face-to-face were significantly more likely to be living in partially or fully supported independent living (n = 29, <0.001), but the samples were otherwise similar. After the initial investment in training and equipping peer researchers, the average cost of recruitment was AU$1,182 per participant-~US$850. Face-to-face recruitment was the most expensive approach and postcard recruitment the least (AU$1,648 and AU$928 per participant). Discussion: Peer researcher facilitated recruitment into a tobacco treatment trial was difficult and expensive. Widely dispersed services and COVID-19 restrictions necessitated non-face-to-face recruitment strategies, such as direct mail postcards, which improved recruitment and may be worthy of further research. Clinical Trial Registration: The trial is registered with ANZCTR (www.anzctr.org.au): ACTRN12619000244101 prior to the accrual of the first participant and updated regularly as per registry guidelines. The trial sponsor was the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
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    Cost and Effort Considerations for the Development of Intervention Studies Using Mobile Health Platforms: Pragmatic Case Study.
    Thorpe, D ; Fouyaxis, J ; Lipschitz, JM ; Nielson, A ; Li, W ; Murphy, SA ; Bidargaddi, N (JMIR Publications Inc., 2022-03-31)
    BACKGROUND: The research marketplace has seen a flood of open-source or commercial mobile health (mHealth) platforms that can collect and use user data in real time. However, there is a lack of practical literature on how these platforms are developed, integrated into study designs, and adopted, including important information around cost and effort considerations. OBJECTIVE: We intend to build critical literacy in the clinician-researcher readership into the cost, effort, and processes involved in developing and operationalizing an mHealth platform, focusing on Intui, an mHealth platform that we developed. METHODS: We describe the development of the Intui mHealth platform and general principles of its operationalization across sites. RESULTS: We provide a worked example in the form of a case study. Intui was operationalized in the design of a behavioral activation intervention in collaboration with a mental health service provider. We describe the design specifications of the study site, the developed software, and the cost and effort required to build the final product. CONCLUSIONS: Study designs, researcher needs, and technical considerations can impact effort and costs associated with the use of mHealth platforms. Greater transparency from platform developers about the impact of these factors on practical considerations relevant to end users such as clinician-researchers is crucial to increasing critical literacy around mHealth, thereby aiding in the widespread use of these potentially beneficial technologies and building clinician confidence in these tools.
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    Impression formation stimuli: A corpus of behavior statements rated on morality, competence, informativeness, and believability
    Mickelberg, A ; Walker, B ; Ecker, UKH ; Howe, P ; Perfors, A ; Fay, N ; Galak, J (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2022-01-01)
    To investigate impression formation, researchers tend to rely on statements that describe a person's behavior (e.g., "Alex ridicules people behind their backs"). These statements are presented to participants who then rate their impressions of the person. However, a corpus of behavior statements is costly to generate, and pre-existing corpora may be outdated and might not measure the dimension(s) of interest. The present study makes available a normed corpus of 160 contemporary behavior statements that were rated on 4 dimensions relevant to impression formation: morality, competence, informativeness, and believability. In addition, we show that the different dimensions are non-independent, exhibiting a range of linear and non-linear relationships, which may present a problem for past research. However, researchers interested in impression formation can control for these relationships (e.g., statistically) using the present corpus of behavior statements.
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    Including migrant oncology patients in research: A multisite pilot randomised controlled trial testing consultation audio-recordings and question prompt lists.
    Hyatt, A ; Lipson-Smith, R ; Gough, K ; Butow, P ; Jefford, M ; Hack, TF ; Hale, S ; Zucchi, E ; White, S ; Ozolins, U ; Schofield, P (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    Background: Oncology patients who are migrants or refugees face worse outcomes due to language and communication barriers impacting care. Interventions such as consultation audio-recordings and question prompt lists may prove beneficial in mediating communication challenges. However, designing robust research inclusive of patients who do not speak English is challenging. This study therefore aimed to: a) pilot test and assess the appropriateness of the proposed research design and methods for engaging migrant populations, and b) determine whether a multi-site RCT efficacy assessment of the communication intervention utilising these methods is feasible. Methods: This study is a mixed-methods parallel-group, randomised controlled feasibility pilot trial. Feasibility outcomes comprised assessment of: i) screening and recruitment processes, ii) design and procedures, and iii) research time and costing. The communication intervention comprised audio-recordings of a key medical consultation with an interpreter, and question prompt lists and cancer information translated into Arabic, Greek, Traditional, and Simplified Chinese. Results: Assessment of feasibility parameters revealed that despite barriers, methods utilised in this study supported the inclusion of migrant oncology patients in research. A future multi-site RCT efficacy assessment of the INFORM communication intervention using these methods is feasible if recommendations to strengthen screening and recruitment are adopted. Importantly, hiring of bilingual research assistants, and engagement with community and consumer advocates is essential. Early involvement of clinical and interpreting staff as key stakeholders is likewise recommended. Conclusion: Results from this feasibility RCT help us better understand and overcome the challenges and misconceptions about including migrant patients in clinical research.
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    Failure to attend radiation oncology appointments during COVID-19: Analysis of data from an Australian public hospital.
    Wilson, C ; Romaniuk, H ; Orellana, L ; White, V ; Foroudi, F ; Livingston, PM (Wiley, 2022-09)
    INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 has impacted lives worldwide. Public health guidance has advocated for minimisation of infection risk by encouraging social isolation and physical distancing. In response, many health services have changed delivery practices to increased use of telehealth. We undertook an audit of hospital attendance data collected from a radiation oncology service in a large public hospital in Victoria, Australia between January and September in 2019, and the same period in 2020. The aim was to discern the impact of COVID-19 on attendance at appointments and whether attendance rates differed by appointment type. METHODS: Attendance data and appointment type for the two targeted periods (a total of 62,528 appointments for 3383 patients) were extracted from the database maintained by the radiation oncology service. Logistic generalised estimating equation (GEE) models were run with the final model including the COVID-19 period (pre, during) and all patient and appointment characteristics. RESULTS: Results indicated a small decrease in attendance in 2020 (OR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.01-1.25, P = 0.026) with this predominantly reported for the non-treatment appointments, which consisted of follow-up appointments, nurse appointments, and treatment review appointments. CONCLUSION: Attendance for radiation oncology treatment was largely unaffected by COVID-19 although other services experienced slight reductions. Changes to work practices, specifically the increased use of telehealth, may have moderated the impact. Given the focus on one service in one location, it is not possible to generalise these results and future research should closely monitor both patient and staff satisfaction with services delivered via modified processes.
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    'Unprepared for the depth of my feelings'-Capturing grief in older people through research poetry
    Gerber, K ; Brijnath, B ; Lock, K ; Bryant, C ; Hills, D ; Hjorth, L (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2022-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: Older people are more likely to experience bereavements than any other age group. However, in healthcare and society, their grief experiences and support needs receive limited attention. Through innovative, arts-based research poetry, this study aimed to capture older people's bereavement stories and the effects of grief on their physical and mental health. METHOD: Semi-structured in-depth interviews with 18 bereaved older adults were analysed using thematic and poetic narrative analysis, following a five-step approach of immersion, creation, critical reflection, ethics and engagement. RESULTS: Research poems were used to illustrate three themes of bereavement experiences among older adults: feeling unprepared, accumulation of losses and ripple effects of grief. While half of participants reported that the death of their family member was expected, many felt unprepared despite having experienced multiple bereavements throughout their life. Instead, the accumulation of losses had a compounding effect on their health and well-being. While these ripple effects of grief focussed on emotional and mental health consequences, many also reported physical health effects like the onset of a new condition or the worsening of an existing one. In its most extreme form, grief was connected with a perceived increased mortality risk. CONCLUSIONS: By using poetry to draw attention to the intense and often long-lasting effects of grief on older people's health and well-being, this article offers emotional, engaging and immersive insights into their unique bereavement experiences and thereby challenges the notion that grief has an expiry date.
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    Using Network Science to Understand the Aging Lexicon: Linking Individuals' Experience, Semantic Networks, and Cognitive Performance
    Wulff, DU ; De Deyne, S ; Aeschbach, S ; Mata, R (WILEY, 2022-01-18)
    People undergo many idiosyncratic experiences throughout their lives that may contribute to individual differences in the size and structure of their knowledge representations. Ultimately, these can have important implications for individuals' cognitive performance. We review evidence that suggests a relationship between individual experiences, the size and structure of semantic representations, as well as individual and age differences in cognitive performance. We conclude that the extent to which experience-dependent changes in semantic representations contribute to individual differences in cognitive aging remains unclear. To help fill this gap, we outline an empirical agenda that utilizes network analysis and involves the concurrent assessment of large-scale semantic networks and cognitive performance in younger and older adults. We present preliminary data to establish the feasibility and limitations of such empirical, network-analytical approaches.
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    Exercise alone impacts short-term adult visual neuroplasticity in a monocular deprivation paradigm
    Virathone, L ; Nguyen, BN ; Dobson, F ; Carter, OL ; McKendrick, AM (ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2021-10-01)
    Adult homeostatic visual plasticity can be induced by short-term patching, heralded by a shift in ocular dominance in favor of the deprived eye after monocular occlusion. The potential to boost visual neuroplasticity with environmental enrichment such as exercise has also been explored; however, the results are inconsistent, with some studies finding no additive effect of exercise. Studies to date have only considered the effect of patching alone or in combination with exercise. Whether exercise alone affects typical outcome measures of experimental estimates of short-term visual neuroplasticity is unknown. We therefore measured binocular rivalry in 20 healthy young adults (20-34 years old) at baseline and after three 2-hour interventions: patching (of the dominant eye) only, patching with exercise, and exercise only. Consistent with previous work, the patching interventions produced a shift in ocular dominance toward the deprived (dominant) eye. Mild- to moderate-intensity exercise in the absence of patching had several effects on binocular rivalry metrics, including a reduction in the dominant eye percept. The proportion of mixed percept and the time to first switch (onset rivalry) did not change from baseline across all interventions. Thus, we demonstrate that exercise alone can impact binocular rivalry outcomes measures. We did not observe a synergistic effect between patching and exercise in our data.