Professor Bernice Andrews

Personal profile

RESEARCH INTERESTS                      

Biographical, cognitive-affective and psychosocial approaches to the understanding of mental disorder with a focus on the antecedents and psychological consequences of stressful and traumatic experiences throughout the life-course. A component of this is the impact of trauma and life stress on memory.

My research in these areas has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, Nation Health Service, and the UK Ministry of Defence.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

I have been involved in research on PTSD since the early 1990s starting with a study of victims of violent crime (e.g. Andrews et al., 2000), and a subsequent widely cited meta-analysis of risk factors for PTSD (Brewin, Andrews & Valentine, 2000). This was followed by an investigation of delayed-onset PTSD in British war veterans. Factors under investigation have included, symptom patterns, and cognitive, affective and psychosocial variables associated with delayed and immediate onset (e.g., Andrews et al, 2009). Our systematic review of delayed-onset PTSD in the American Journal of Psychiatry (Andrews et al, 2007) informed the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Manual (DSM-V) on PTSD diagnosis.

Memory and adverse life experiences.

The validity of retrospective reports.Central to my research has been examining the validity of retrospective reports of experiences throughout the life course. Publications include a seminal review of the validity of reports of past childhood experiences (Brewin Andrews & Gotlib, 1993). More recently investigations have included the validity of student’s reports of mental health problems (Andrews, Hejdenberg & Wilding, 2006) and the validity of war veterans’ retrospective accounts of traumatic experiences (Andrews & Brewin, 2010).

Recent publications include a systematic review of the experimental evidence on the creation of false childhood memories (Brewin & Andrews 2016; Andrews & Brewin, 2016).

Trauma and Memory.  I was a member of the British Psychological Society’s Working Party on Recovered Memories. This led to our survey and in-depth investigations of recovered memories in clinical practice (e.g. Andrews et al., 1999, 2000), and other research on the nature of sexual abuse victims’ memories (Hunter & Andrews, 2002).

Life-stress, Achievement and Working Memory.  I developed new research linked to concerns about student achievement and wellbeing in higher education. Among other things it has shown that life difficulties and mental state can have a deleterious effect on students’ achievement (Andrews & Wilding, 2004) and on their working memory capacity (Wilding, Andrews & Hejdenberg, 2007).

Non-disclosure of life experiences.The distinction is not always made between forgetting and deliberate non-disclosure of past experiences. My research on specific emotions in clinical and offender populations has demonstrated an association between shame and non-disclosure in therapy in different patient populations (Swan & Andrews, 2003; Hook & Andrews, 2005).

Shame

My research into shame has cut across the above domains. It also covers the relation of shame to anger and self-harm in clinical, offender and student populations. Using a multi-method approach we have developed interview and questionnaire measures to investigate the nature, origins and consequences of this often hidden emotion. This includes development of the Experience of Shame Scale, (ESS; Andrews, Qin & Valentine, 2002), which has been successfully administered internationally in a wide variety of clinical and other contexts, and translated into many different languages.

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