Resilience in mental health: investigating neurocognition as a protective factor

Stainton, Alexandra Grace ORCID: 0000-0002-4969-3122 (2020). Resilience in mental health: investigating neurocognition as a protective factor. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Individuals who are exposed to risk factors for psychiatric illness often demonstrate a diverse range of clinical and functional trajectories. One potential reason for this is that they have differing levels of resilience. The present thesis aimed to clearly define resilience, before investigating neurocognition as a potential protective factor. Resilience was defined as a dynamic process in which individuals utilise available protective factors in the face of risk or adversity, leading to better outcomes than might have been expected. After establishing that neurocognition is significantly impaired in people experiencing psychosis-spectrum disorders, this thesis demonstrated that neurocognitive performance is preserved in a transdiagnostic sample of people demonstrating resilience to the effects of psychopathology. Neurocognition was also associated with a measure of resilience to childhood trauma. Though neurocognitive performance was not associated with scores on a self-report measure of resilience in this sample, the findings of this thesis provide tentative evidence that neurocognition may exert a protective effect. Further longitudinal research which examines neurocognitive performance across the whole spectrum of mental health is required. Ultimately, high quality resilience research can inform new interventions which look to strengthen protective factors, and thus improve outcomes for individuals experiencing, or at-risk for, psychiatric illness.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: European Commission
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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