Project Details

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Dr Fiona Ng

Project area or title

The influence of explanatory models on posttraumatic growth in psychosis


Psychosis is an umbrella term to describe a range of diagnoses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, alternative explanatory models of psychosis have emerged from survivor and lived experience voices. These include hearing voices movement, the Power Threat Meaning framework, non-ordinary/extreme states, or spiritual emergence. Despite the emergence of alternative explanatory models of psychosis, the biomedical view continues to be dominant within mental health services.

An individual’s explanatory model of psychosis affects how an individual copes and responds to psychosis experiences. Five components are implicated in guiding individual responses; 1) identity of the illness, 2) perceived consequences, 3) likely causes, 4) likely timeline, and 5) potential for control or cure. Causal explanations have been identified to influence the way people engage with services, treatment, and how they come to terms with their experiences.

Posttraumatic growth (PTG) refers to the positive psychological changes that occur following adversity. Coping, meaning making and narrative identity changes are implicated within experiences of PTG. There is overlap between factors implicated in PTG and an individual’s explanatory model. However, this has been minimally explored. This PhD will examine the relationship between explanatory models in psychosis and PTG. The student will finalise the methods and epistemological stance, but the work programme is likely to include a systematic review to develop a typology of explanatory models, development and psychometric evaluation of an explanatory model assessment, and use of this measure within our broader programme of PTG and psychosis research.


Severe Mental Health (covering psychosis, forensic)


University of Nottingham

Specific Project Eligibility