Michael Larkin

Michael Larkin
Aston University · Department of Psychology

PhD.

About

90
Publications
178,367
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Citations
Introduction
I'm a researcher who uses experiential and phenomenological methods to explore various aspects of psychological distress. I'm particuarly interested in the relational context of experience, in how people make sense of anomalous experiences, and in the meaning of psychological interventions.
Additional affiliations
May 2004 - present
University of Birmingham
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (90)
Preprint
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Background Systematically screening for child anxiety problems, and offering and delivering a brief, evidence-based intervention for children who are identified as likely to benefit would minimise common barriers that families experience in accessing treatment. We have developed a short parent-report child anxiety screening questionnaire, and proce...
Article
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Background Anxiety disorders are common among primary-school aged children, but few affected children receive evidence-based treatment. Identifying and supporting children who experience anxiety problems through schools would address substantial treatment access barriers that families and school staff often face. We have worked with families and sc...
Article
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Background Appreciative Inquiry is a motivational, organisational change intervention, which can be used to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. It encourages organisations to focus on the positive and investigate the best of ‘what is’ before thinking of ‘what might be’, deciding ‘what should be’ and experiencing ‘what can be’. Its effects...
Article
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Objectives A very small proportion of children with anxiety problems receive evidence-based treatment. Barriers to access include difficulties with problem identification, concerns about stigma and a lack of clarity about how to access specialist services and their limited availability. A school-based programme that integrates screening to identify...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Anxiety disorders are common among primary-school aged children, but few affected children receive evidence-based treatment. Identifying and supporting children who experience anxiety problems through schools would address substantial treatment access barriers that families and school staff often face. We have worked with families and s...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Anxiety difficulties are among the most common mental health problems in childhood. Despite this, few children access evidence-based interventions, and school may be an ideal setting to improve children’s access to treatment. This article describes the design, methods and expected data collection of the Identifying Child Anxiety Throug...
Article
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Background: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is common. It usually starts in adolescence, and without treatment can disrupt key developmental milestones. Existing generic treatments are less effective for young people with SAD than with other anxiety disorders, but an adaptation of an effective adult therapy (CT-SAD-A) has shown promising results for...
Article
Background Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is common, typically starts in adolescence and has a low natural recovery rate. Existing psychological treatments for adolescent SAD are only moderately effective. It is possible that recovery rates for adolescents could be substantially improved by adapting a psychological therapy that is highly effective a...
Article
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Objectives: Most existing research on the family context of psychosis focuses on the 'burden' of caring for people experiencing psychosis. This research is the first to ask young people experiencing early psychosis to 'map' and describe their experiences and understandings of their family relationships, and how they have related to their psychosis...
Article
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Background Globally too many mothers and babies die during childbirth; 98% of maternal deaths are avoidable. Skilled clinicians can reduce these deaths; however, there is a world-wide shortage of maternity healthcare workers. Malawi has enough to deliver 20% of its maternity care. A motivating work environment is important for healthcare worker ret...
Article
Background All NHS providers collect data on patient experience, although there is limited evidence about what to measure or how to collect and use data to improve services. We studied inpatient mental health services, as these are important, costly and often unpopular services within which serious incidents occur. Aims To identify which approaches...
Poster
Trialing visual research methods (including photo elicitation and Pictor relational mapping) with a public involvement group. These methods were use to explore the parents' experiences of transition for their children who have profound and multiple learning disabilities.
Article
The definition of delusion is usually couched in terms of false beliefs held with conviction despite evidence to the contrary. Such beliefs are usually seen as impossible or implausible by others. In order to be classed as clinically significant, a delusion would lead a person to be distressed or to have significant problems with functioning. We no...
Article
Background This paper examines the appropriateness of using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) in research with people who have intellectual disabilities, focussing on quality. Methods We conducted a systematic search to identify published studies. We assessed the quality of the studies using a bespoke framework, adapted from previous...
Article
Background In-patients in crisis report poor experiences of mental healthcare not conducive to recovery. Concerns include coercion by staff, fear of assault from other patients, lack of therapeutic opportunities and limited support. There is little high-quality evidence on what is important to patients to inform recovery-focused care. Aims To cond...
Article
Background Early intervention services aim to improve outcomes for people with first episode psychosis and, where possible, to prevent psychiatric hospital admission. When hospitalisation does occur, inpatient staff are required to support patients and families who may be less familiar with services, uncertain about possible outcomes, and may be ex...
Article
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Some aspects of experience can be challenging for research participants to verbalise. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) researchers need to get experience-near to meet their phenomenological commitments, capturing the “texture” and quality of existence, and placing participants in relation to events, objects, others, and the world. Inc...
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Researchers using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) within applied research typically use homogenous samples exploring shared perspectives on a single phenomenon of interest. This article explores the challenges and opportunities involved with developing rigorous and epistemologically coherent research designs for capturing more comple...
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Background: In Malawi there are too few maternity healthcare workers to enable delivery of high quality care to women. These staff are often overworked and have low job satisfaction. Skilled maternity healthcare workers are essential to improve outcomes for mothers and babies. This study focuses on understanding the working life experience of mate...
Article
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Introduction Inpatient mental healthcare continues to be an area of high risk and where patients report negative experiences. To ensure the patient voice is heard, National Health Service (NHS) Trusts are required to collect feedback from patients routinely. We do not know what kinds of feedback are most important or what management processes are n...
Article
Objectives: To explore the perspective of adults with intellectual disabilities from minority ethnic groups, on their relationship with social care services. Methods: Thirty-two adults took part in semi-structured interviews. Transcripts were analyzed within a Pluralist framework, adopting the structure of Template Analysis and then drawing on phen...
Chapter
Of particular focus in this study (currently in print) was the exploration of the meaning participants made of their religious and spiritual experiences during periods of incarceration. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted, allowing an in-depth examination of participants’ experiences during these particular contexts. Nine in-...
Article
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Substance use amongst people with schizophrenia is well-established: up to 50% report using illicit substances. The occurrence of both conditions can also induce people to disengage from mental health services. The research question sought to understand, from the perspective of both service users and clinicians, cannabis use within the experience...
Article
Research into carers’ experience of, and engagement with, forensic mental health services is limited. Given the complexity of issues within a forensic population, it is important to understand the needs of this group of carers. The purpose of this paper is to gain greater insight into the experience of carers and their relationship with forensic me...
Article
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Behavioral variant fronto-temporal dementia (bvFTD) is distinctly different as empathy, awareness and social relationships are affected early. Almost no research has explored how FTD is experienced by the whole family. We aimed to develop a detailed understanding of inter-generational family experience of bvFTD over time. We took a social construct...
Article
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This article aims to understand and explore the meaning of adaptation to First Episode Psychosis (FEP). An innovative method of data collection was used with ten participants who experienced FEP which integrated drawings of their lived experience within semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analy...
Article
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Recently, health policy in the UK has begun to engage with the concept of ‘parity of esteem’ between physical and mental healthcare. This has led one recent initiative to improve service provision for first episode psychosis, which aims to bring it into line with some of the principles underpinning good practice in cancer care. In this paper, we co...
Article
Background: Lifetime risk of suicide in first-episode psychosis far exceeds the general population, with the risk of suicide persisting long after first presentation. There is strong evidence to suggest that women more frequently attempt suicide, while men are at a greater risk of completing suicide. First-hand experiential evidence is needed in o...
Article
Background and aims: Carers and service users with intellectual disabilities from minority ethnic groups have typically been reported to be dissatisfied with the social care services they receive. However, service users themselves have rarely been asked directly about their experiences of social care. This paper aims to understand the meaning of s...
Article
Art therapy enables individuals to use art to creatively express themselves and communicate differently with themselves, others, and their reality. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines for psychosis and schizophrenia suggest that arts therapies, which include art therapy, are considered to improve negative symptoms o...
Article
This study examines the unique experience of participants who during their reintegration back into the community, following a conviction for sexual offending, re-engaged with religious and spiritual communities. To explore meaning Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted. Four in-depth interviews of men convicted for sexual crimes...
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Plain English summary(Please see www.Toolsfortalking.co.uk for an easy read summary of the project.)The Tools for Talking are a set of resources that were developed through collaboration between Black, Asian and minority ethnic people with learning disabilities and researchers at the University of Birmingham. The resources were designed to be used...
Article
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Purpose – India has one of the more progressive disability frameworks in the developing world which tends to adopt western philosophies and principles (e.g. parent participation and advocacy) which to some degree mirrors the type of service delivery in the UK. The purpose of this paper is to adopt a cross-cultural perspective to explore caregiving...
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Background Due to contradictory findings regarding the effects of seeing and holding stillborn infants on women’s worsening mental health symptoms, there is a lack of clear of guidance in stillbirth bereavement care. Although some current research examines this phenomenon we are still not certain of the meaning of such experiences to women and what...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of culture in shaping the caregiving experiences of British South Asian families caring for a child with developmental disabilities in the UK. In particular it explores how the coexistence of two distinct cultures (British/South Asian) impacts upon these caregiving experiences. Design/meth...
Article
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This research examines the experiential impact of hospitalisation on the parents of young people with early psychosis. In-depth interviews were conducted with a small sample of parents, and the resulting transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five themes emerged from the data: Accepting and blaming, Feeling out of...
Article
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Empathy is fundamental for interpersonal relationships, and therapy. There is some theoretical dissensus about its underlying process. This study investigated the lived experience of understanding another person through an innovative combination of qualitative methods. The design involved making video recordings of interpersonal interactions betwee...
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Breast cancer diagnosis and treatments can have a profound impact upon women's well-being, body image, and sexual functioning, but less is known about the relational context of their coping and the impact upon their intimate partners. Our study focuses upon couples' experiences of breast cancer surgery, and its impact on body image and sexual intim...
Article
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Inpatient mental health services in the United Kingdom are currently dissatisfactory for service-users and staff. For young people with psychosis, being hospitalized is often distressing, and can lead to disengagement with mental health services. This article describes how we took three qualitative research studies about hospitalization in early ps...
Article
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This review aimed to explore the evidence base of psychodynamic therapy for personality disorder (PD). A systematic approach was applied to the literature search with the use of a clear inclusion/exclusion criteria and a quality assessment checklist. Nineteen studies investigating the use of psychodynamic therapy for PD were reviewed. Four randomis...
Article
Purpose: The study explored how service providers address the challenges of providing culturally competent care within disability services in the United Kingdom. Design/method: Focus groups and interpretative phenomenological analysis were used to explore the experiences of 20 service providers from a range of professions, working with South Asi...
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Evidence-based medicine is crucial to contemporary healthcare. It is dependent on systematic review methodology modelled on an arguably inadequate hierarchy of evidence. There has been a significant increase in medical and health research using qualitative and mixed method designs. The perspective taken in this article is that we need to broaden ou...
Article
Despite outcome research demonstrating that a rupture–repair process in the therapeutic relationship can be beneficial, there is a lack of qualitative research on ruptures and how they are repaired. This study explored parallel accounts of therapeutic ruptures produced by clients and therapists during long‐term psychodynamic therapy. Interviews wer...
Article
Objectives: The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based on self-report and indirect measures and thus is unavoidably influenced by patients' own understanding of their symptoms. In order to provide appropriate support for people with fibromyalgia, it is important to understand variation in patients' interpretations of their own symptoms. Methods: Twe...
Article
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The prevalence of learning disabilities amongt South Asian communities in the United Kingdom is thought to be almost three times higher than in any other community. Despite this, service utilisation amongst this group remains low and working cross-culturally can pose unique challenges for service providers. The experiences of South Asian families c...
Article
Older homeless people are likely to have additional support needs in relation to well-being and housing. This study focuses on the experiences of hostel living for older, long-term homeless men in the UK. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 10 participants. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. There...
Article
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Background: Trauma-focused CBT (TFCBT) is an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but little is known about whether it is an acceptable and effective treatment for asylum-seekers presenting with PTSD. Aims: This study considers the acceptability of TFCBT for asylum-seekers with PTSD by exploring their experiences of...
Article
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Purpose: This study aims to explore the cultural context of care-giving amongst South Asian communities caring for a child with intellectual disabilities in the United Kingdom. Design/methodology/approach: In the context of the United Kingdom's Children's Intellectual Disability Services, the study set out to develop a culturally sensitive account...
Article
Adult mental health problems can impact on parents, and research highlights that their children are at higher risk of developing mental health problems. In extreme cases, mental health problems are associated with a risk of fatal child abuse. Despite this, there are few studies exploring clinical decision-making by adult mental health professionals...
Article
Illuminated by the writings of Edith Stein (1917/1989), this paper presents a model of empathy as a very particular intersubjective understanding. This is commonly a view absent from psychology literature. For Stein, empathy is the experience of experientially and directly knowing another person's experience, as it unfolds in the present, together...
Article
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This study examines carer attributes associated with placement stability for teenagers growing up in long term foster care, focusing on unexpected placement success. We explored experiences and perceptions relating to family, belonging and commitment in a group of foster carers providing a stable placement for a young person who had not been expect...
Article
Recent debates about the care provided to looked-after children have been characterised by uncertainty about the differing roles and responsibilities of foster carers, birth parents, and social workers. To explore the assumptions underlying these uncertainties, we drew upon Foucauldian Discourse Analysis and compared the discourses used by professi...
Article
Although a wide literature details the psychological impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis, it predates the introduction of effective treatment for HIV (i.e. anti-retroviral therapies, ARTs). This article explores the psychological impact of HIV diagnosis in post-ART accounts. This is important, given the recent policy developments...
Article
'Service User Involvement' is a key directive for mental health services. This is thought to be especially complex in child services-despite evidence that it can be achieved-because of the need to use developmentally-appropriate tools. Children are in a multi-faceted position of disempowerment when they enter mental health services; attempts to inv...
Chapter
Description of the Method Origins and InfluencesEpistemological AssumptionsWhat Kind of Research Questions Suit IPA?What Kind of Data is Appropriate for IPA?How Can IPA Involve Service Users and People from the Research Population Under Study?A Step-by-Step Approach to Using IPAQuality IssuesHow Might Studies Using This Method Relate to the Develop...
Article
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We describe here some of the developing conversations between “third phase” cognitive science and phenomenological philosophy. Contributors to these conversations treat cognition as an embodied, active, and situated phenomenon. We argue that, despite much promise, proper engagement with the foundational phenomenological concept of a situated, meani...
Article
This article reports the results of a survey on the use of interpretative phenomenological analysis on clinical psychology training programmes. The implications of the survey for research training in the use of experiential qualitative approaches are discussed and specific recommendations made.
Article
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Multiple placement transitions have been associated with poorer psychosocial outcomes for children growing up in local authority care. However, although there is an expanding literature examining the risk and protective factors connected with placement breakdown, very few studies have explored the quality of the move experience for those most close...
Article
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The current study aimed to explore the personal meaning of eating difficulties. Eight women with a variety of eating issues were interviewed. These conversations were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to construct a framework for understanding the personal world of the interviewees. Three overarching themes identified in...
Article
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Social phobia (SP) is a common and disabling condition for which cognitive-behavioral treatments (CBT) have demonstrated efficacy. However, there remains room for improvement. Hence, further exploration of the means by which CBT helps patients with SP is warranted. Studies examining patients' perspectives on which aspects of treatment were most or...
Article
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Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is an approach to qualitative research that is now well-established in British psychology. This approach is concerned with understanding people's experiences of the world and of themselves. The aims of IPA studies have been met most frequently through the use of one-on-one interviews. Relatively few st...
Article
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Romantic relationships are of particular importance to young people, and play a key role in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Psychosis typically develops during late adolescence or early adulthood, a crucial period for gaining romantic experience. The significance of these relationships for young people with psychosis has never been ex...
Article
In the context of one of the United Kingdom's Early Intervention Services (EIS) for psychosis, we set out to explore the treatment experiences of families of Pakistani origin, and their beliefs about treatment and psychosis. We took a phenomenological and hermeneutic approach. In-depth interviews were conducted with 11 British Pakistanis, from six...
Article
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Successful long-term weight-loss is exceptional, even with the best dietary and psychological interventions. Nomothetic accounts of diet failure focus on cognitive processes and emotional regulation. However, qualitative research suggests that successful dieters draw on wider understandings in explaining their success; this study extends this liter...
Article
Carers play an essential role in the lives of people suffering from mental health problems. Caring is very often a relational activity carried out by family members. Assertive Outreach (AO) services ought to be particularly well placed to support carers, but their impact upon families is not well understood. We set out to understand the interventio...
Article
In this paper we argue that psychology must address issues of subjective experience in accounting for addictive behaviour problems, and further, that self and identity are integral to such experiences. While the importance of self and identity issues is often recognised implicitly at the level of therapeutic practice, the extent of their involvemen...
Article
This project investigates patients' and practitioners' experiences and understandings of the consent process, as it is governed by the Mental Health Act in Great Britain. We aim to illuminate our respondents' experiences of the consent process, and to explore their attempts to make sense of that process. Semi-structured interviews with 5 Responsibl...
Book
Full-text available
Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) is an increasingly popular approach to qualitative inquiry. This handy text covers its theoretical foundations and provides a detailed guide to conducting IPA research. Extended worked examples from the authors' own studies in health, sexuality, psychological distress and identity illustrate the bread...