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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondSo I was able to test out some of these ideas in a research study that we conducted with the help of the BBC on my website. We've included a link to a short article about the study on the course website here. What we were looking at was to try to test the idea of whether a combination of different factors could predict the level of mental health difficulties and well-being that a person was experiencing.

Skip to 0 minutes and 30 secondsSo we were interested in whether biological factors, which we measured by looking at the experience of mental health problems in a person's family of origin, in their parents and in their siblings, could predict mental health problems, which would then have a variety of psychological and social consequences, or whether, on the other hand, life events like trauma in early childhood or experiencing a range of negative life events in the last six months would predict people's mental health problems, or as we hypothesised, whether psychological factors-- and what we looked at was a combination of rumination, where people would go over and over things in their minds, or self blame, where people would blame themselves for the difficulties they were experiencing-- would explain more of a person's mental health problems.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsWhat we were looking at was whether different combinations of those factors would better predict a person's experience. So we were interested in whether, on the one hand, biological factors would predict somebody's mental health problems or whether social factors would predict that mental health problems or whether, as I hypothesised, a combination of social and biological factors would affect somebody's tendency to ruminate and to blame themselves, and that combination would predict their mental health problems. We were also interested in whether those psychological factors were causes or consequences of mental health problems. To do that, we gave people quite a long survey.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsWe then used a statistical technique called structural equation modelling to see which combination of variables in which order had the most predictive value. I was fortunate, I guess, or accurate because when we looked at the results, it seemed reasonably clear that social factors were very influential in predicting people's mental health problems, with biological factors playing a part, but a less important part. But importantly, both social and biological factors were mediated, in statistical speak, by the psychological factors. So rumination and self blame seem to be the gateways towards mental health problems. You can see the paper itself and also a brief magazine article hosted by the BBC describing the paper on the website.

Skip to 3 minutes and 9 secondsAnd I think it would be reasonable to read those and think about the implications of them.

Testing the model

In this video, I explain the large study we conducted with the help of the BBC, testing out the relationships between the variables in my model of mental health and well-being.

We will explore this study over the next few steps.


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This video is from the free online course:

Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture

University of Liverpool

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • What makes us tick?
    What makes us tick?
    video

    Peter Kinderman introduces us to the nature vs nurture course and discusses what makes us tick

  • What does the brain actually do?
    What does the brain actually do?
    video

    In the videos and papers this week, we explore the role of biological factors in the development of mental health problems.

  • Life events and mental health
    Life events and mental health
    video

    Peter Kinderman discusses the role of life events and environmental factors in the development of mental health problems.

  • Doing things differently (perhaps...)
    Doing things differently (perhaps...)
    video

    This video introduces why Peter Kinderman suggests psychological science offers robust scientific models of mental health problems and well-being.

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