Dr Nadia Svirydzenka

Job: VC 2020 Lecturer in Psychology

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort, University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116 250 6483

E: nadzeya.svirydzenka@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/appliedsocialsciences

 

Personal profile

Dr Nadia Svirydzenka is a Lecturer in Social Psychology at De Montfort University. She completed her BSc in Psychology at Drake University, United States; MSc in Cross-Cultural Psychology and Brunel University, London; and a PhD with the focus on Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Dundee, Scotland. She then spent four years as a Research Associate at the Greenwood Institute of Child Health at the University of Leicester.

Nadia’s primary research interests lie in the field of social psychology with the focus on self and identity processes in children and adolescents when applied in the area of mental health and psychological wellbeing.

Recently, Nadia has been using Identity Structure Analysis approach in studying emotional and social psychological processes underlying the development of self and identity in children and adolescents. This particular strand of research focuses on trying to understand the individual and group variations in identity development and its impact on psychological well-being of young people in a cross-cultural context.

Research group affiliations

  • Self and Identity Research Group (DMU)
  • Psychology (DMU)
  • Identity Structure Analysis (London)
  • Migration Network (University of Leicester)

Publications and outputs 

  • Review of mental health promotion interventions in schools
    Review of mental health promotion interventions in schools O'Reilly, Michelle; Adams, Sarah; Svirydzenka, N.; Dogra, N. Purpose The prevalence of mental disorders amongst children and adolescents is an increasing global problem. Schools have been positioned at the forefront of promoting positive mental health and well-being through implementing evidence-based interventions. The aim of this paper is to review current evidence-based research of mental health promotion interventions in schools and examine the reported effectiveness to identify those interventions that can support current policy and ensure that limited resources are appropriately used. Methods The authors reviewed the current state of knowledge on school mental health promotion interventions globally. Two major databases, SCOPUS and ERIC were utilised to capture the social science, health, arts and humanities, and edu- cation literature. Results Initial searches identified 25 articles reporting on mental health promotion interventions in schools. When mapped against the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 10 studies were included and explored. Three of these were qualitative and seven were quantitative. Conclusions A range of interventions have been tested for mental health promotion in schools in the last decade with vari- able degrees of success. Our review demonstrates that there is still a need for a stronger and broader evidence base in the field of mental health promotion, which should focus on both universal work and targeted approaches to fully address mental health in our young populations. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link. Open access article
  • Egocentrism and cyberbullying: Imaginary audience and personal fable ideation predict cyberbullying and cyber victimisation in adolescents and emerging adults.
    Egocentrism and cyberbullying: Imaginary audience and personal fable ideation predict cyberbullying and cyber victimisation in adolescents and emerging adults. Rai, Roshan; Smith, Emily; Svirydzenka, N. Egocentrism and cyberbullying: Imaginary audience and personal fable ideation predict cyberbullying and cyber victimisation in adolescents and emerging adults. Objectives: The imaginary audience and personal fable, or the egocentric beliefs in being the centre-of-attention and special respectively, are prominent in adolescence and emerging adulthood. The main focus of this research is to determine whether egocentric beliefs are associated with engaging in cyberbullying behaviour or being a victim of cyberbullying. Furthermore, the research also aimed to determine whether cyberbullying and victim behaviour differed according to age. Design: The study employed a cross-sectional questionnaire-based design, investigating whether cyberbullying behaviour or perceived cyber victimisation could be predicted from the imaginary audience, personal fable, and age. Methods: Fifty-two 14-15 year olds (attending school) and fifty 18-25 year olds (attending University) completed questionnaires measuring cyberbullying and cyber victim behaviour, the personal fable, the imaginary audience, and basic demographic information. Results: Multiple regression analysis showed that imaginary audience (β=.355, t(101)=3.97, p<.001), and age (β=.249, t(101)=2.80, p=.006) positively predicted cyberbullying behaviour. Cyber victim behaviour was positively predicted by the imaginary audience (β=.369, t(101)=3.98, p<.001) and negatively predicted by the personal fable (β=-.238, t(101)=-2.57, p=.012). Independent samples t-tests confirmed that emerging adults cyberbullied more than adolescents (t(100)= -2.32, p=.022; emerging adult mean = 6.58, adolescent mean = 4.50). Conclusions: Those higher in imaginary audience reported higher levels of both cyber victim and cyberbullying behaviour, whilst those higher in personal fable reported being a victim of cyberbullying less. Perhaps surprisingly, emerging adults cyber bullied more than adolescents. Aspects of developmental change, specifically egocentric ideation, could have importance to cyberbullying perpetration and victimisation.
  • Meaning and barriers to quality care service provision in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: Qualitative study of stakeholder perspectives
    Meaning and barriers to quality care service provision in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: Qualitative study of stakeholder perspectives Ronzoni, Pablo; Dogra, N.; Svirydzenka, N. Background Defining quality in health presents many challenges. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defined quality clinical care as care that is equitable, timely, safe, efficient, effective and patient centred. However, it is not clear how different stakeholders within a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) understand and/or apply this framework. This project aims to identify key stakeholders“ understanding of the meaning of quality in the context of CAMHS. Method The study sample comprised of three groups: (i) patients and carers, (ii) CAMHS clinical staff, and (iii) commissioners (Total N = 24). Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data and thematic analysis was applied to explore participant’s views on the meaning and measurement of quality and how these might reflect the IOM indicators and their relevance in CAMHS. Results An initial barrier to implementing quality care in CAMHS was the difficulty and limited agreement in defining the meaning of quality care, its measurement and implementation for all participants. Clinical staff defined quality as personal values, a set of practical rules, or clinical discharge rates; while patients suggested being more involved in the decision-making process. Commissioners, while supportive of adequate safeguarding and patient satisfaction procedures, did not explicitly link their view on quality to commissioning guidelines. Identifying practical barriers to implementing quality care was easier for all interviewees and common themes included: lack of meaningful measures, recourses, accountability, and training. All interviewees considered the IOM six markers as comprehensive and relevant to CAMHS. Conclusions No respondent individually or within one stakeholder group identified more than a few of the indicators or barriers of a quality CAMHS service. However, the composite responses of the respondents enable us to develop a more complete picture of how to improve quality care in practice and guide future research in the area. Open Access journal
  • Research and partnerships with schools
    Research and partnerships with schools Svirydzenka, N.; Aitken, Jill; Dogra, N. Purpose Despite the quantity of research on child and adolescent mental health being done in schools, little out- put has focused on the practical aspects of recruiting schools and students into a study. Furthermore, there is limited knowledge on how to develop and sustain pro- ductive and mutually beneficial partnerships with schools after the project finishes. Methods A large study examining prevalence of mental health problems in young people involving nine schools is used as an example for the procedure of recruitment and carrying out a research project, while developing and sustaining partnerships with schools. Results While recruiting the schools, a three-stage model was developed that corresponded closely to the school’s needs and existing demands. The suggested procedure for the study, thus, closely reflected the varying existing cul- tures of participating schools. Partnerships, developed as a result of the project, were used in developing further pro- jects and interventions for promoting good mental health in schools. Conclusions Rather than a blanket research recruitment and procedural approach with an end to school involve- ment at the end of the project, the paper advocates for a deeper understanding of the schools’ internal culture for improved recruitment and study outcomes. Developed partnerships, when sustained past the completion of research, prove to be a useful tool in applying the findings in promoting good mental health in schools and continuing research further. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • A qualitative exploration of how adopted children and their parents conceptualise mental health difficulties.
    A qualitative exploration of how adopted children and their parents conceptualise mental health difficulties. O’Reilly, Michelle; Bowlay-Williams, Jeanette; Svirydzenka, N.; Vostanis, P. Adopted children tend to have high levels of emotional, behavioural and developmental need and are more likely to present to a range of services, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Although research exploring adopted children’s’ perspectives is growing, it remains limited. Furthermore, there has been little work t0 engage adopted children in research. Our project aimed to examine adopted children’s viewpoints of mental health and services alongside those of their adoptive carers. Results indicated that, although there were some similarities between carer and child perspectives, they also frequently differed. They provided different constructions of the problem but agreed that family relationships were strained. Some acknowledgement of the role of the school was offered and other external sources of support cited. Coping was considered to be complex and, while some issues were analogous to ‘normal’ family life, much was inherent to the adoption status. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Young people’s perceptions of mental and physical health in the context of general wellbeing
    Young people’s perceptions of mental and physical health in the context of general wellbeing Singletary, Joanne H.; Bartle, Craig L.; Svirydzenka, N.; Suter-Giorgini, Nicola M.; Cashmore, Annette M.; Dogra, N. Objectives: Recognition of the need for health education in schools has seen advances in health literacy in recent years. Most of these have focused on physical health whereas education about mental health is generally lacking and focused on tackling stigma rather than promoting good mental health. This study evaluated a pilot intervention designed to improve young people’s understanding of good mental health as a key aspect of wellbeing and explores their perceptions of health and wellbeing. Methods: Two hundred and eighteen 13-year-olds participated in an interactive workshop about healthy eating, physical activity and mental health. Young people’s understanding and perceptions were assessed through anonymous questionnaires at the start and end of the workshop. Common themes were identified and differences pre- and post-workshop and between girls and boys were analysed. Results: Nearly all young people (100% before, 97% after) perceived being healthy to mean being physically healthy. A minority (8%) also considered mental health to be a component of general health, which increased to 12% after the workshop. Understandings of mental health broadened after the workshop. Interestingly many mentioned physical health when asked to describe mental health, both before and after the workshop. Girls’ and boys’ responses were similar except for more girls including social relationships in their descriptions of mental health. Conclusions: In this study, we have discovered more about how young people perceive health in general and mental health. Such information is useful for targeting future interventions. Students’ understanding of mental health and its importance to wellbeing can be improved through short combined health interventions. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Schoolchildren’s perspectives on the meaning of mental health.
    Schoolchildren’s perspectives on the meaning of mental health. Svirydzenka, N.; Bone, C; Dogra, N. Purpose – Mental health of children and young people is often discussed in terms of mental illness, however, such an approach is limited. The purpose of this paper is to explore young people's views of what mental health is and how to stay mentally healthy. Design/methodology/approach – The paper investigated young people's views on these two issues through a series of workshops. In total 218, 13-year-old schoolchildren produced posters with their impressions of the issues. Themes that young people identified were then discussed with them in terms of the existing Bright Futures definition of mental health. Poster responses were subsequently transcribed and thematically analysed. Findings – The paper identified a number of themes for each question. Mental health was viewed in terms of personal attributes of an individual, illness, ability for personal management and establishing social relations. Young people saw mental health maintained through a combination of lifestyle choices, personal attributes, management of self and environment, social support and relationships, as well as treatment of illness. These themes corresponded to the ones identified by the Bright Futures. Research limitations/implications – This study highlights the complexity of young people's views on the meaning of mental health. They were also more positive, open and competent in discussing mental health than previously suggested. However, a more systematic investigation of views and attitudes is necessary, including younger children. Additionally, health care professionals are likely to benefit from young people's engagement in planning and implementing strategies for better mental health. Originality/value – This paper is one of the few to investigate the positive meaning of mental health with young people.
  • Characteristics and rates of mental health problems among Indian and White adolescents in two English cities. A letter response to: Gnanavel, S. Exploring the Indian advantage and addressing the unmet health care needs of adolescents.
    Characteristics and rates of mental health problems among Indian and White adolescents in two English cities. A letter response to: Gnanavel, S. Exploring the Indian advantage and addressing the unmet health care needs of adolescents. Svirydzenka, N.; Dogra, N.; Vostanis, P.; Dugard, P.; Singh, S.
  • Mental health service use by adolescents of Indian and White origin.
    Mental health service use by adolescents of Indian and White origin. Vostanis, P.; Svirydzenka, N.; Dugard, P.; Singh, S.; Dogra, N.
  • Characteristics and rates of mental health problems among Indian and White adolescents in two English cities.
    Characteristics and rates of mental health problems among Indian and White adolescents in two English cities. Dogra, N.; Svirydzenka, N.; Dugard, P.; Singh, S.; Vostanis, P. Background: Sampling techniques for national surveys have constrained the statistical power in estimating prevalence rates of child mental health problems in minority ethnic groups. Aims: To establish the prevalence rates of mental health problems in ethnic Indian adolescents in England and compare these with matched White adolescents living in the same areas. Method: A cross-sectional survey with oversampling of Indian adolescents aged 13–15 years of age. Results: The sample size was 2900 (71% response rate) with 1087 (37%) Indian and 414 (14%) White adolescents. Ethnically Indian adolescents had lower rates of all types of mental health problems (5% v. 13% and 21% v. 30% for abnormal Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire scores, respectively) and substance misuse (18% v. 57%, 5% v.15% and 6% v. 9% for regular alcohol, smoking and drug use, respectively), with the exception of eating disorders, compared with their White counterparts. The odds of an abnormal score on the mental health questionnaires were worse for White compared with Indian children irrespective of sociodemographic variables. Conclusions: Factors relating to how Indian adolescents are parented or their social support networks may be influencing their mental health and may warrant further investigation. Declaration of interest: None.

Click here to view a full listing of Nadia Svirydzenka's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Identity (social, ethnic, national, cultural)
  • Development of self
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Identity and health
  • Wellbeing
  • Vulnerable groups (fostered/homeless children)
  • Group processes
  • Entitativity
  • Identity Structure Analysis
  • Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed methods research.

Areas of teaching

  • Social Psychology
  • Research methods

Qualifications

PhD in Social and Developmental Psychology, University of Dundee, Scotland, UK

MSc in Cross-Cultural Psychology, Brunel University, London, UK

BSc in Psychology, Drake University, Iowa, United States

Membership of professional associations and societies

European Association of Social Psychology (EASP) 2011 - Present

Conference attendance

International 

Svirydzenka, N. The 2nd International Conference on Social Identity and Health: Building Resilience by Mobilizing Connections, 2-4 June, 2014 (Attendance).

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. Ethnic Diversity and Child and Adolescence Mental Health. Poster presented at the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions Congress, July 21 – 25, 2012, Paris, France.

Svirydzenka, N. & Dogra, N. Predicting mental health of British adolescents by their ethnic membership: A guide for services. Poster presented at the Annual Excellence in Child Mental Health Conference, November 30 – 3 December, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey. 

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. Ethnic diversity and child and adolescent mental health. Poster presented at the 25th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, September 20 – 24, 2011, Crete, Greece. – Won best poster at the conference.

Svirydzenka, N., Bennett, M., & Sani, F. Perceiving Groups as Entities: Adults' and Children's Perspectives. Poster presented at the 15th General Meeting of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology, June 10 – 13, 2008, Opatija, Croatia.

National

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. Defining quality in child and adolescent mental health services: Stakeholder perspective. Poster presented at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Annual Residential Meeting, 17 – 19 September 2014, Cardiff.

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. Mental health needs and service use in Indian and White adolescents in the UK. Poster presented at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress, July 10 – 13, 2012, Liverpool, UK.

Svirydzenka, N., Bennett, M., & Sani, F. Children’s perception of group entitativity. Poster presented at the British Psychological Society Developmental Section Conference, August 28 – 30, 2007, Plymouth, UK.

Challenges for Democracy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Prospects and Achievements. Open Society Institute Global Supplementary Grant Program Annual Grantee Conference, October 20 – 22, 2006, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK.

Regional

Svirydzenka, N., Dogra, N., & Vostanis, P. Ethnic diversity and child and adolescent mental health. Invited talk at the Research Fair of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, November 25th, 2011, Leicester, UK.

Externally funded research grants information

  • 2012-2013 NHS Clinical Research Networks (£16,156)
    Supported ongoing research activity in the area of child and adolescent mental health.
  • 2011 UNLtd University of Leicester, UK (£5,000)
    Development of good mental health promotion materials for delivery in school context.
  • 2010-2011 Impact award from Higher education innovation fund (HEIF) Support Fund (£5,000)
    Research dissemination and community impact.
  • 2006 – 2008 Global Supplementary Grant, Soros Foundations Network, Open Society Institute (Total $10,000)
    Higher education support stream.

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