Translating research

Areas of translating research and the associated staff:

Helping families of people with drug and alcohol addiction - Professor Alex Copello

Professor Alex Copello has conducted research on the consequences of drug and alcohol addiction for the families of the substance users as well as the users themselves. This has led to the Stress-Strain-Coping-Support (SSCS) model of understanding addictions and the impact of these problems on families. The model was used to develop and evaluate family treatment interventions. Compared with other psychosocial treatments for substance users, family treatment interventions have the key advantage of addressing the difficulties also experienced by families of substance users, in addition to the users themselves. 

This work has increased national and international recognition of the importance of families in treating substance addiction in policy, and has resulted in the needs of the family being recognised for the first time in the 10-year Drug Strategy for England in 2008. It has led to family-based interventions being recommended in national clinical guidance from NICE and from the National Treatment Agency for substance misusers.

De-institutionalisation of babies and children in care - Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis

Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis works in the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, based in the School of Psychology. She has co-led a series of projects that have charted the extent and consequences of institutionalised care for children across Europe, and devised best practice recommendations for deinstitutionalisation. Among the key findings were that institutionalisation was much more widespread across the EU than previously thought; that it is particularly harmful before the age of three; and that alternative care with superior outcomes for children is also less expensive to implement. 

These findings have contributed to changes in child-care policy recommendations by NGOs such as UNICEF and the UN, and to changes to national child-care policies in a number of countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia. Through the activity of UNICEF the impact is now extending beyond Europe to central and South America. These changes have demonstrable benefits for the health and psychological welfare of children, as well as bringing cost savings to the national childcare systems that implement them

Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis profile

Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology

Early intervention for psychosis - Professor Max Birchwood

Professor Max Birchwood, in the School of Psychology, has a longstanding involvement in the development of early intervention practice and policy for young people at risk for schizophrenia. Schizophrenia affects 1.1% of the adult population. It is one of the most debilitating of the psychiatric disorders, leading to costs of approximately £12Bn/year in the UK. Historically one of the major gaps in service provision has been any approach to prevention, whether primary or secondary. Work based in the School has pioneered the concept and practice of early intervention in psychosis, which is a key feature and indication of schizophrenia. This has improved outcomes for people at risk for schizophrenia, and is now recommended in NICE Guidance. Evaluation of this approach has found that is preferred by clients, reduces the suicide rate, reduces lost productivity due to illness and over three years the long term benefit of early intervention is between £17,427 and £36,632 per patient compared to standard care.

Professor Max Birchwood profile

Classification of Sex Offenders - Professor Antony Beech

Professor Antony Beech works in the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, based in the School of Psychology. One strand of his work has examined how sex offenders in prison can be appropriately assigned to rehabilitation and treatment that reduces the risk of reoffending. Recent work has involved the development of an algorithm, which has been used by the Probation Service to classify the entire prison population of over 8000 sex offenders attending treatment in England and Wales, enabling allocation to the best treatment available at the time. This approach to treatment led to a 40% reduction in reoffending in those who were treatment responders, it enabled length of treatment to be matched to high-risk offenders’ level of pre-treatment risk/need, and resulted in a reduced rate of reconviction among high-risk offenders to the level of reconviction observed among lower risk/need offenders. Such reduction in reoffending also enables sex-offenders to lead more fulfilling offence free lives.

Professor Antony Beech profile

Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology

A screen to assess cognitive impairments after stroke - Dr Wai-Ling Bickerton

Wai-Ling BickertonDr Wai-Ling Bickerton is the Birmingham lead for a project that has developed an improved method for assessing cognitive impairments after stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Europe. There are around 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK. More than half have been left with disabilities that affect their daily life. Clinical response to stroke has often focused on resulting physical disabilities, but cognitive disability can be an equally substantial source of difficulty for patients and their carers. Researchers at the University of Birmingham, Oxford and Louvain-la-Neuve have developed a comprehensive stroke-specific screening tool (the BCoS), which enables early and efficient detection of cognitive impairment after a stroke for a wider range of patients than is possible with existing methods. Through this development and its associated training programme, the BCoS is changing the way stroke survivors are assessed in the UK and internationally. And it is influencing practice in other areas, such as traumatic brain injury.

Dr Wai-Ling Bickerton profile