Help With Project Design.

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yaz93
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Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:34 pm

Hi there!

I am currently in the process of designing my third year clinical psychology project. I am aiming to investigate the effect of low socioeconomic status on schizophrenic-like symptoms in a non-clinical population. Research has consistently shown that schizophrenia has a higher prevalence rate in those from a lower socioeconomic status; however, I have failed to find research that shows what, in particular, it is about a lower socioeconomic status that increases the likelihood of developing schizophrenia (e.g. lower income, poor education, the area in which one lives, etc.).

I have all of the scales that I will use to measure schizphrenic-like symptons (paranoia, delusions and hallucinations). I want to prime participants with photos (perhaps of a poor environment, an empty wallet, etc.) or a story and then distribute the questionnaires, but I am stuck for ideas on what to prime the participants with.

Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Yasmin :)

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sarahg
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by sarahg » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:50 pm

I may have missed the point -

But how are you proposing that prime-ing a participant and then measuring psychotic-like experiemcess will identify which aspects of lower SES predict higher prevalence of PLE?

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:00 pm

sarahg wrote:I may have missed the point -

But how are you proposing that prime-ing a participant and then measuring psychotic-like experiemcess will identify which aspects of lower SES predict higher prevalence of PLE?
For example, if I was to show them a series of photographs for 5 minutes, I would distribute the questionnaire and then ask them to rate if they have felt any of these experiences within the past 5 minutes. Therefore, if they did, I think it would provide some indication as to whether the lower SES in the photographs influenced their answers.

lakeland
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by lakeland » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:03 pm

But showing people photos of low SES environments isn't the same as living in a low SES situation?

I'm not sure your design would let you make the conclusions that you are trying to make.

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sarahg
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by sarahg » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:07 pm

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that design is majorly flawed. Symptoms of psychosis will not be produced from looking at an empty wallet or a run down street for 5 minutes.

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:11 pm

lakeland wrote:But showing people photos of low SES environments isn't the same as living in a low SES situation?

I'm not sure your design would let you make the conclusions that you are trying to make.
Yes I see. It was my supervisor who suggested I prime people with photographs. Perhaps it would be best to use a questionnaire to assess the participants socioeconomic status and then the scales I aforementioned.

Thank you for the comments.

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:15 pm

sarahg wrote:I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that design is majorly flawed. Symptoms of psychosis will not be produced from looking at an empty wallet or a run down street for 5 minutes.
No, thank you I prefer an honest opinion. Yes I see what you mean, I just wanted to do something a bit different but now I think the best method will probably be to ask questions about the participants SES and then use the questionnaires to measure schizophrenic-like symptoms.

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sarahg
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by sarahg » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:16 pm

Yes, I personally would adopt a cross-sectional approach - measuring a number of factors associated with SES, as identified within literature, and then measures associated with PLE. You may want to potentially consider any mediating factors as well.

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sarahg
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by sarahg » Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:58 pm

Sorry just had another thought, if you use a cross-sectional approach you could come under scrutiny as to the direction of the relationship. i.e. Do psychotic-like symptoms lead to lower SES? However if you can find a longitudinal study identifying low SES as a causal factor this can provide a basis for your study :)

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:22 pm

sarahg wrote:Sorry just had another thought, if you use a cross-sectional approach you could come under scrutiny as to the direction of the relationship. i.e. Do psychotic-like symptoms lead to lower SES? However if you can find a longitudinal study identifying low SES as a causal factor this can provide a basis for your study :)
Yes I do have one longitudinal study, to date, identifying low SES as a causal factor. I now need to research if there are any factors that mediate this, so that I could include them in my study. Thank you for the suggestion :)

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miriam
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by miriam » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:55 pm

I'm not sure how you'd separate cause and effect or whether they came from a confounder. The fact is that symptoms of psychosis may cause a person to be less able to secure and retain work and relationships and may cause socio-economic hardship, whilst socio-economic hardship may cause stress and lead to expression of psychotic symptoms, whilst both may be associated with a greater prevalence of people who have experienced trauma, or who have come from other cultures (where "psychotic" symptoms might not be interpreted so catastrophically) or who have had minor brain injury, or whatever.

But that aside, psychotic features like those you describe don't happen in a five minute interval, and certainly don't happen with great regularity (even over a one month interval) in the majority of the non-clinical population. Thus if you recruit 100 participants you may only get one who reports "paranoia, delusions and hallucinations" as they appear in psychosis, which won't tell you anything useful. However, if you survey a large group of people and ask about less extraordinary experiences like unusual beliefs or sensory experiences or unfounded worries you might get quite a few people who report things like in this thread. Whether that has any relationship to socio-economic status or current levels of stress might make an interesting but realistic piece of research, and thus a good project.
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:39 pm

miriam wrote:I'm not sure how you'd separate cause and effect or whether they came from a confounder. The fact is that symptoms of psychosis may cause a person to be less able to secure and retain work and relationships and may cause socio-economic hardship, whilst socio-economic hardship may cause stress and lead to expression of psychotic symptoms, whilst both may be associated with a greater prevalence of people who have experienced trauma, or who have come from other cultures (where "psychotic" symptoms might not be interpreted so catastrophically) or who have had minor brain injury, or whatever.

But that aside, psychotic features like those you describe don't happen in a five minute interval, and certainly don't happen with great regularity (even over a one month interval) in the majority of the non-clinical population. Thus if you recruit 100 participants you may only get one who reports "paranoia, delusions and hallucinations" as they appear in psychosis, which won't tell you anything useful. However, if you survey a large group of people and ask about less extraordinary experiences like unusual beliefs or sensory experiences or unfounded worries you might get quite a few people who report things like in this thread. Whether that has any relationship to socio-economic status or current levels of stress might make an interesting but realistic piece of research, and thus a good project.
I've seen that a few studies ask for where the participants were born or have spent most of their lifetime, so that, combined with evidence from longitudinal studies, should provide me with a good indication of the causal effect of SES I think. I have found scales that measure paranoia, delusions and hallucinations specifically for a non-clinical population (and not to the extent of scales used for assessing psychosis) and a number of studies that have used these scales have found significant results. I think I shall mix some of the items from these scales with some of the unusual beliefs, sensory experiences and worries from the thread that you have directed me to. Thank you for the suggestion Miriam :)

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sarahg
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by sarahg » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:53 pm

Just thought I'd add that if you need any help with psychotic-like experiences stuff you drop me a PM. My MSc project is examining PLE in adolescents. Specifically looking at the relationship between bullying and PLE, and associated protective factors such as social support.

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:18 pm

sarahg wrote:Just thought I'd add that if you need any help with psychotic-like experiences stuff you drop me a PM. My MSc project is examining PLE in adolescents. Specifically looking at the relationship between bullying and PLE, and associated protective factors such as social support.
Thank you Sarah, I appreciate it :)

yaz93
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Re: Help With Project Design.

Post by yaz93 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:53 pm

Hi again!

After doing a lot more reading and with help from your suggestions (thank you!), I have redesigned my study. As you know, I would like to investigate the relationship between socioeconomic status and schizophrenic-like symptoms. I have decided that I would like to look at stress levels, as a covariate, related specifically to the environment (I have found a scale that measures socioecological stress) and measure what coping strategies people use in response to this. For example, perhaps a low socioeconomic status increases socioecological stress, and if people use maladaptive coping strategies in response to this, it could increase schizophrenic-like symptoms (such as unusual beliefs, sensory experiences or unfounded worries). Do you think this would make a good study?

Yasmin :)

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