Stress & Wellbeing presentation

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CLEAR in the media

Research by Professor Antonia Bifulco and Dr David Westley was picked up by BBC Radio 4 recently in their show called “The Science of Resilience”, you can listen to it here.

Presenter Sian Williams used the discussion by psychologists expert on resilience to relate to her own recent experience of breast cancer and invasive surgery. She looked a bio-psycho-social aspects of both stress and resilience.

Professor Bifulco told presenter Sian Williams about the new measure developed by the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies. The Computerised Life Events Assessment Record (CLEAR) is an online measure, that collects personal information about the self and close others. It looks in detail at life change, particularly that stressful, experienced over the past year related to relationships, health or lifestyle. The measure provides a feedback report that identifies the number of stressors the respondent has experienced as well as which ones are contextually the most severely threatening. It also identifies vulnerability through looking at insecure attachment style, and provides a depression symptom count. A measure of wellbeing also enables an assessment of resilience to be made in the face of stress.

Professor Westley discussed the mechanisms within the brain that are affected when someone experiences a challenging event. Including the importance of the amgydala and what techniques might be able to boost resilience by training yourself to focus away from threat and towards more positive stimuli.

Toni Bifulco was invited to participate in a podcast, one of a series run on resilience, by Russell Thackeray of QED experts in change management in organisations.

The discussion was quite wide ranging on resilience in everyday life and in relation to vulnerable populations. Issues of childhood adversity, different attachment styles and responses to stress were outlined. Its application to stress in the workplace was also discussed. Toni Bifulco drew on research into resilience across the lifespan. Resilience factors include secure attachment style, good support and effective coping strategies. She also outlined her team’s latest ESRC project ‘Stress Online’ a computerised assessment of life events which provides  a relatively objective assessment of recent stressful experience. This is to be offered to different agencies in assessing stress, vulnerability and resilience, including organisations in relation to worker stress, and voluntary agencies in relation to client stress.

Listen to the podcast episode.