Donncha Hanna

Queen's University Belfast, Béal Feirste, N Ireland, United Kingdom

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Publications (17)23.98 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The incentive sensitisation model of obesity suggests that modification of the dopaminergic associated reward systems in the brain may result in increased awareness of food-related visual cues present in the current food environment. Having a heightened awareness of these visual food cues may impact on food choices and eating behaviours with those being most aware of or demonstrating greater attention to food-related stimuli potentially being at greater risk of overeating and subsequent weight gain. To date, research related to attentional responses to visual food cues has been both limited and conflicting. Such inconsistent findings may in part be explained by the use of different methodological approaches to measure attentional bias and the impact of other factors such as hunger levels, energy density of visual food cues and individual eating style traits that may influence visual attention to food-related cues outside of weight status alone. This review examines the various methodologies employed to measure attentional bias with a particular focus on the role that attentional processing of food-related visual cues may have in obesity. Based on the findings of this review, it appears that it may be too early to clarify the role visual attention to food-related cues may have in obesity. Results however highlight the importance of considering the most appropriate methodology to use when measuring attentional bias and the characteristics of the study populations targeted while interpreting results to date and in designing future studies.
    The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety symptoms are common outcomes following earthquakes, and may persist for months and years. This study systematically examined the impact of neighbourhood damage exposure and average household income on psychological distress and functioning in 600 residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, 4–6 months after the fatal February, 2011 earthquake. Participants were from highly affected and relatively unaffected suburbs in low, medium and high average household income areas. The assessment battery included the Acute Stress Disorder Scale, the depression module of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), along with single item measures of substance use, earthquake damage and impact, and disruptions in daily life and relationship functioning. Controlling for age, gender and social isolation, participants from low income areas were more likely to meet diagnostic cut-offs for depression and anxiety, and have more severe anxiety symptoms. Higher probabilities of acute stress, depression and anxiety diagnoses were evident in affected versus unaffected areas, and those in affected areas had more severe acute stress, depression and anxiety symptoms. An interaction between income and earthquake effect was found for depression, with those from the low and medium income affected suburbs more depressed. Those from low income areas were more likely, post-earthquake, to start psychiatric medication and increase smoking. There was a uniform increase in alcohol use across participants. Those from the low income affected suburb had greater general and relationship disruption post-quake. Average household income and damage exposure made unique contributions to earthquake-related distress and dysfunction.
    British Journal of Psychology. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Based on the theory of incentive sensitization, the aim of this study was to investigate differences in attentional processing of food-related visual cues between normal weight and overweight/obese males and females.Methods Twenty-six normal weight (14M, 12F) and 26 overweight/obese (14M, 12F) adults completed a visual probe task and an eye-tracking paradigm. Reaction times and eye movements to food and control images were collected during both a fasted and fed condition in a counterbalanced design.ResultsParticipants had greater visual attention towards high energy dense food images compared to low energy dense food images regardless of hunger condition. This was most pronounced in overweight/obese males who had significantly greater maintained attention towards high energy dense food images when compared with their normal weight counterparts however no between weight group differences were observed for female participants.Conclusions High energy dense food images appear to capture visual attention more readily than low energy dense food images. Results also suggest the possibility of an altered visual food cue-associated reward system in overweight/obese males. Attentional processing of food cues may play a role in eating behaviors thus should be taken into consideration as part of an integrated approach to curbing obesity.
    Obesity 08/2014; · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Following trauma, most people with initial symptoms of stress recover, but it is important to identify those at risk for continuing difficulties so resources are allocated appropriately. There has been limited investigation of predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder following natural disasters. This study assessed psychological difficulties experienced in 101 adult treatment seekers following exposure to a significant earthquake. Peritraumatic dissociation, posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, depression, and emotional support were assessed. Path analysis was used to determine whether the experience of some psychological difficulties predicted the experience of other difficulties. As hypothesized, peritraumatic dissociation was found to predict posttraumatic stress symptoms and anxiety. Posttraumatic stress symptoms then predicted anxiety and depression. Depression and anxiety were highly correlated. Contrary to expectations, emotional support was not significantly related to other psychological variables. These findings justify the provision of psychological support following a natural disaster and suggest the benefit of assessing peritraumatic dissociation and posttraumatic stress symptoms soon after the event to identify people in need of monitoring and intervention.
    Journal of Trauma & Dissociation 01/2013; 14(5):501-18. · 1.72 Impact Factor
  • Donncha Hanna, Martin Dempster
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effect of statistics anxiety and attitudes on first year psychology students' predicted and actual statistics class test scores. A total of 52 students completed the Statistics Anxiety Rating Scale and estimated their class test scores one week before their test at the end of first year. Regression models were conducted with the six attitude and anxiety subscales as predictors and the predicted and actual test scores as criterion variables. The results showed that computation self-concept and fear of asking for help accounted for 37% of the variance in predicted test scores. However, when actual test scores were analysed, the significant predictors were worth of statistics and interpretation anxiety, which accounted for 20% of the variance. These results suggested that while statistics anxiety does influence students' perceptions of their competence, it appears to have less effect on their actual performance. Results also suggested that students were unaware of their own statistical competence. Remedial action is required to address the level of statistics anxiety experienced by first year undergraduate psychology students, as it appears to result in unrealistic assessments of their ability, and has detrimental effects on their statistics self-efficacy.
    The Irish Journal of Psychology. 11/2012; 30(3):201-209.
  • Martin J Dorahy, Donncha Hanna
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    ABSTRACT: The current study sought to elaborate and test a theoretical proposition that introjective personality functioning, which has been implicated in various psychological difficulties (e.g., self-critical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder), has an emotional foundation in the self-conscious emotion of shame and is supported by dissociation. Moreover, introjective functioning was predicted to be associated with reduced interpersonal intimacy. To test the model, a Web-based survey design using path analysis was used. Three hundred and fifteen university students were assessed with measures of self-conscious emotions (i.e., shame, guilt, and embarrassment), introjective (self-definition) and anaclitic (relational) personality style, pathological dissociation, and interpersonal intimacy. Introjective personality was found to be associated with increased shame and reduced interpersonal intimacy. However, the path between pathological dissociation and introjective functioning was not significant. The results are discussed with reference to the moderating influence of introjective functioning between shame and reduced interpersonal intimacy.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 08/2012; 200(8):699-704. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed the efficacy of a school-based healthy lifestyle intervention (Sport for LIFE) for increasing physical activity, decreasing sedentary behaviour, reducing screen time behaviour, encouraging healthy attitudes and behaviour to nutrition, and reducing body mass index (BMI) in 8-9-year-old primary school children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds in Northern Ireland. A non-randomised controlled trial of 416 children from 24 schools took part. Schools were randomly assigned to one of two groups, an intervention or control group with 12 schools in each group. The intervention group received a 12-week school-based programme based on social cognitive theory. At baseline and follow-up, groups completed questionnaires assessing physical activity, screen time behaviour and dietary patterns. On each occasion anthropometric assessments of height and weight were taken. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour were measured by accelerometry. Significant effects were observed for vigorous, moderate and light activity for the intervention group at follow-up. Sedentary behaviour was significantly reduced for the intervention group but not for the control group. No significant effects of the intervention on BMI, screen time behaviour or attitudes to nutrition, with the exception of non-core foods, were shown. The programme was effective in increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour, however no significant changes in screen time behaviour and attitude to nutrition, with the exception of non-core foods, were observed. Future research ideas are offered for tackling low levels of physical activity in children.
    Archives of Disease in Childhood 06/2012; 97(7):618-24. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between physical activity and wellbeing in children, and to further explore the extent to which this may vary by gender and weight status. A representative sample of 1424 9- to 11-year-olds completed a self-report measure of physical activity, the Child Health and Illness Profile, KIDSCREEN, and a self-esteem scale. Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements were also obtained. 24% of children achieved the recommended level of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) per day, with more boys than girls achieving this level. Children achieving the recommended level of MVPA scored significantly higher on measures of the Child Health and Illness Profile (F(5, 1354) = 5.03; P < .001), KIDSCREEN (F(3, 1298) = 4.68; P = .003), and self-esteem (F(1, 1271) = 18.73; P = .003) than less active children although the effect sizes were small (ηp2 ≈ .01). Substantial gender differences in wellbeing were found reflecting gender specific behaviors and socialization. Weight status had negligible influence on wellbeing. Children who meet the recommended guidelines of MVPA were more likely to have better wellbeing. When attempting to raise children's physical activity levels consideration should be given to the specific relationships between wellbeing and physical activity.
    Journal of Physical Activity and Health 03/2012; 9(3):394-401. · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper was to confirm the factor structure of the 20-item Beck Hopelessness Scale in a non-clinical population. Previous research has highlighted a lack of clarity in its construct validity with regards to this population.Based on previous factor analytic findings from both clinical and non-clinical studies, 13 separate confirmatory factor models were specified and estimated using LISREL 8.72 to test the one, two and three-factor models.Psychology and medical students at Queen’s University, Belfast (n=581) completed both the BHS and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).All models showed reasonable fit, but only one, a four-item single-factor model demonstrated a non-significant chi-squared statistic. These four items can be used to derive a Short-Form BHS (SBHS) in which increasing scores (0–4) corresponded with increasing scores in the BDI. The four items were also drawn from all three of Beck’s proposed triad, and included both positively and negatively scored items.This study in a UK undergraduate non-clinical population suggests that the BHS best measures a one-factor model of hopelessness. It appears that a shorter four-item scale can also measure this one-factor model.
    Personality and Individual Differences - PERS INDIV DIFFER. 01/2011; 51(1):17-22.
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assert that memory processes play a significant role in PTSD (see e.g., Ehlers & Clark, 2000). Intrusive reexperiencing in PTSD has been linked to perceptual processing of trauma-related material with a corresponding hypothesized lack of conceptual processing. In an experimental study that included clinical participants with and without PTSD (N = 50), perceptual priming and conceptual priming for trauma-related, general threat, and neutral words were investigated in a population with chronic trauma-induced complaints as a result of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The study used a new version of the word-stem completion task (Michael, Ehlers, & Halligan, 2005) and a word-cue association task. It also assessed the role of dissociation in threat processing. Further evidence of enhanced perceptual priming in PTSD for trauma stimuli was found, along with evidence of lack of conceptual priming for such stimuli. Furthermore, this pattern of priming for trauma-related words was associated with PTSD severity, and state dissociation and PTSD group made significant contributions to predicting perceptual priming for trauma words. The findings shed light on the importance of state dissociation in trauma-related information processing and posttraumatic symptoms.
    Journal of Abnormal Psychology 11/2010; 119(4):777-90. · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about similarities and differences in voice hearing in schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder (DID) and the role of child maltreatment and dissociation. This study examined various aspects of voice hearing, along with childhood maltreatment and pathological dissociation in 3 samples: schizophrenia without child maltreatment (n = 18), schizophrenia with child maltreatment (n = 16), and DID (n = 29). Compared with the schizophrenia groups, the DID sample was more likely to have voices starting before 18, hear more than 2 voices, have both child and adult voices and experience tactile and visual hallucinations. The 3 groups were similar in that voice content was incongruent with mood and the location was more likely internal than external. Pathological dissociation predicted several aspects of voice hearing and appears an important variable in voice hearing, at least where maltreatment is present.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 12/2009; 197(12):892-8. · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relationships amongst personality traits and attitudes of 311 dairy stockpeople and the milk yield they obtained. A questionnaire pack consisting of a big-five measure of personality (which includes the traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and intellect), a four-factor attitude questionnaire and associated demographic and production questions was posted out to Northern Ireland dairy farmers. Pearson correlations were used to assess the relationship between personality and attitudes and partial correlations were calculated between milk yield and these psychometric measures. The personality traits of agreeableness and conscientiousness were most strongly correlated to positive attitudes towards working with dairy cows. None of the stockpeople's personality traits were significantly correlated with the milk yield they obtained. Three of the attitude scales, however, were significantly correlated with milk yield; milk yield was related to higher levels of empathy and job satisfaction and lower levels of negative beliefs. These findings, along with previous research, suggest stockperson attitudes may be important in relation to dairy cow welfare and production.
    animal 05/2009; 3(5):737-43. · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between PTSD and complex PTSD remains unclear. As well as further addressing this issue, the current study aimed to assess the degree to which DESNOS (complex PTSD) was related to interpersonal trauma and had relational consequences. Eighty one treatment-receiving participants with a history of exposure to the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland, were assessed on various forms of interpersonal trauma, including exposure to the Troubles, and measures of interpersonal and community connectedness. DESNOS symptom severity was related to childhood sexual abuse and perceived psychological impact of Troubles-related exposure. A lifetime diagnosis of DESNOS was related to childhood Troubles-related experiences, while a current diagnosis of DESNOS was associated with childhood emotional neglect. PTSD avoidance predicted current DESNOS diagnosis and severity. Feeling emotionally disconnected from family and friends (i.e., interpersonal disconnectedness) was related to all three indices of DESNOS (i.e., lifetime diagnosis, current diagnosis and current symptom severity). Sample characteristics (i.e., treatment-receiving) and size may limit the generalizability of findings. Complex PTSD is associated with PTSD but when present should be considered a superordinate diagnosis.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 06/2008; 112(1-3):71-80. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anxiety, negative attitudes, and attrition are all issues presented in the teaching of statistics to undergraduates in research-based degrees regardless of location. Previous works have looked at these obstacles, but none have consolidated a multilingual, multinational effort using a consistent method. Over 400 Spanish-, English-, and German-speaking undergraduate students enrolled in introductory psychology statistics courses were given the Composite Survey of Statistics Anxiety and Attitudes to determine the precursors and effects of existing problems. Results indicated that student background was heavily linked to attitudes and anxieties. The measure was supported as a viable method for more than one class or university in addressing issues in statistics education, developing interventions to improve students’ experiences, and then determining the success of those changes.
    Psychology Teaching Review. 01/2008; 14(2):94-104.
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    Donncha Hanna, Mark Shevlin, Martin Dempster
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to examine the structure of the statistics anxiety rating scale. Responses from 650 undergraduate psychology students throughout the UK were collected through an on-line study. Based on previous research three different models were specified and estimated using confirmatory factor analysis. Fit indices were used to determine if the model fitted the data and a likelihood ratio difference test was used to determine the best fitting model. The original six factor model was the best explanation of the data. All six subscales were intercorrelated and internally consistent. It was concluded that the statistics anxiety rating scale was found to measure the six subscales it was designed to assess in a UK population.
    Personality and Individual Differences. 01/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between stockperson behaviour, measured as verbal and physical interactions with the dairy cows (no.=210), during milking and the subsequent milk yield obtained was examined. The numbers of steps and kicks made by the cows during milking was recorded. The behaviour of two stockteams, each consisting of two stockmen, were recorded over 10 weekend sessions. The two teams varied in the types of interactions and when the stockteam that performed more positive interactions worked with the cows (team A), the cows had a significantly higher milk yield (P<0·05) although this difference was small (17·54 v. 17·44 kg). When team A was milking the cows also stepped and kicked on the platform significantly more (P<0·05) compared with team B. The results also indicated that while each stockteam tended to interact with the same cows each session, different stockpersons interacted with different cows. These findings highlight the importance of the rôle of the stockperson in milk output and dairy cow behaviour in a commercial setting.
    Animal Science. 11/2006; 82(06):791 - 797.

Publication Stats

60 Citations
23.98 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2014
    • Queen's University Belfast
      • School of Psychology
      Béal Feirste, N Ireland, United Kingdom
  • 2012
    • University of Canterbury
      • Department of Psychology
      Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
  • 2008–2012
    • University of Ulster
      • School of Psychology
      Aontroim, N Ireland, United Kingdom
    • Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
      • Trauma Resource Centre
      Béal Feirste, N Ireland, United Kingdom