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Research at PROMIS

Research plays an important role in the work of the PROMIS Recovery Centre. Here we describe briefly the background to the work of the PROMIS Research Group, also some of our current work and its impact on treatment at the Centre, and how it contributes to scientific understanding and treatment of addictions more generally.

Background to research at PROMIS

In 1989 the PROMIS Research Trust gave a grant to the University of Kent to enable Professor Geoffrey Stephenson and Dr. Neo Morojele to undertake an assessment of outcomes amongst patients admitted to the centre.

This led to the establishment of the PROMIS Research Group (PRG) which since its first meeting in January 1993 has met on a regular basis to plan, approve and co-ordinate basic and applied research into addiction. The PRG has a core membership of PROMIS and University researchers, but invites visitors and occasional research collaborators as appropriate. The Research Department at PROMIS has a special relationship with the Psychology Department at the University of Kent, where Professor Stephenson is now Emeritus Professor. Students studying an Applied Psychology 4-year degree spend their 3rd year on a research placement, and PROMIS has made provision for a student to be supervised in their Research Department over the last 15 years or so.  In addition, PROMIS research staff have studied for higher degrees at the University and four have obtained their PhD for research conducted at PROMIS. Finally, PRG gives the opportunity to a limited number of exceptional psychology undergraduates to join our team to contribute as volunteers and gain valuable insight as research assistants.

The role of the Research Department

Evaluating the effectiveness of treatment is a major ongoing task of the research team. The Department maintains contact with all patients every 3 months for a period of one year and subsequently on a yearly basis. In addition different aspects of treatment, for example the involvement of family members and the use of positive psychological interventions like diary reviews and goals groups, are selected for special evaluation. The aim is to ensure that research is focussed on the treatment process; that it will serve to accelerate progress in treatment; to evaluate more effectively who is responding well; and to identify where changes might be beneficially introduced.

Indicative Research Findings

The content of daily diaries which patients write has been shown to be associated with successful progress in treatment. This has two important practical implications. First, aspects of the treatment programme can be evaluated by reference to the content of diaries, and second, the diary material can be more effectively used to monitor patients’ progress in treatment, so directing attention to particular needs of individuals.

Another important ongoing feature of our work is the measurement of addiction problems. PROMIS has pioneered scientific work in the study of cross-addiction. From the time PROMIS was established in 1986 Dr. Lefever used the PROMIS Questionnaire to assess the degree of involvement on some 16 addictive areas. This led to the formulation of the concept of “addictive orientations” evident in two broad factors which we termed Hedonism and Nurturance. The scales were further developed in our work and results using the revised Shorter PROMIS Questionnaires have led to new discoveries. Sub-groups of addictive behaviours have been established as well as important differences in relation to gender. These findings all have implications for treatment both at PROMIS and elsewhere, and have achieved maximum influence by their publication in leading scientific journals, and their adoption and translation in other centres internationally. Currently, the Shorter PROMIS Questionnaire has been translated into Greek, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian and French. Fill in and get personalised results in any language here.

PROMIS’ scientific contribution

Research at PROMIS has a wide impact because we make publicly available all our work through our web-site, University Libraries and publication in scientific journals. Copies of our published studies have been requested from Institutes in many countries like Italy, Austria, France and especially in from the USA. It is evident that our work is influencing both research and practice elsewhere. The quality of the work undertaken on behalf of the PROMIS Research Trust has also been recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council, who funded additional studies through their Research Grant scheme.
The work of the PROMIS Research Group is carefully explained to all patients who come to PROMIS and their co-operation requested after they have settled in. We trust that new patients appreciate that they will benefit from the results of past research, and that by co-operating they are helping to establish a sound basis for the treatment of addicts in the future. All patients are asked to complete standardised psychological, psychiatric and addiction questionnaires including the Shorter PROMIS Questionnaire. This and other information is held in strict confidence, and all projects conducted in accordance with ethical guidelines imposed by our respective professional bodies.

Latest Conferences

Zygouris, N. (2007, April). Reflection as a positive psychology intervention in addiction treatment: Building upon the strengths. Paper presented at the 1st Applied Positive Psychology Conference, Coventry, UK. See PowerPoint presentation

Stephenson, G.M., Zygouris, N. & Smith, K. (2005, October) Self-reflection and progress in treatment. Paper presented at the 1st Addiction Psychology Conference, London, UK. See PowerPoint presentation

Publications of the PROMIS Research Group and affiliates

Stephenson, G.M. & Zygouris, N. (2007). Effects of self reflection on engagement in a 12-step addiction treatment programme: A linguistic analysis of diary entries. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 416-424. Read the abstract …

Haylett, S.A., Stephenson, G.M. & Lefever, R.M.H. (2004). Covariation in addictive behaviours: A study of addictive orientations using the Shorter PROMIS Questionnaire. Addictive Behaviors, 29(1), 61-71. Read the abstract …

Christo, G., Jones, S., Haylett, S. & Stephenson, G. (2003). The Shorter PROMIS Questionnaire: Further validation of a tool for simultaneous assessment of multiple addictive behaviours. Addictive Behaviors, 28(2), 225-248. Read the abstract …

Hope, L.C., Cook, C.C.H. & Stephenson, G.M. (2002). Exploration of the perceptions of social climate for three types of substance abuse treatment programmes in England. Therapeutic Communities: International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations, 23(1), 17-32. Read the abstract …

Larkin, M. & Griffiths, M.D. (2002). Experiences of addiction and recovery: The case of subjective accounts. Addiction Research and Theory, 10(3), 281-312.

Stephenson, G.M. & Haylett, S. (2000). Self Narrative Framing: The effects of systematic written reflections on personal progress in 12-step facilitation therapy. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 13(4), 313-319. Read the abstract …

Stephenson, G.M., Laszlo, J., Ehmann, B.,Lefever, R.M.H. & Lefever, R. (1997). Diaries of significant events: Socio-linguistic correlates of therapeutic outcomes in patients with addiction problems. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 7(5), 389-411. Read the abstract …

Stephenson, G.M., Maggi, P. & Lefever, R.M.H. (1997). Some antecendents of hedonistic and nurturant addictive orientations in relation to gender: An archival study. Issues in Criminological and Legal Psychology¸ 27, 23-33. Read the abstract …

Stephenson, G.M., Maggi, P., Lefever, R.M.H. & Morojele, N.K. (1995). Excessive behaviours: An archival study of behavioural tendencies reported by 417 patients admitted to an addiction treatment centre. Addiction Research, 3(3), 245-265. Read the abstract …

Morojele, N.K. & Stephenson, G.M. (1994). Addictive behaviours: Predictors of abstinence and expectations in the Theory of Planned Behaviour. In D. R. Rutter & L. Quine (Eds.), Social psychology and health: European perspectives (pp. 47-70). Brookfield, VT, US: Avebury/Ashgate Publishing Co. Read the abstract …

Morojele, N.K. & Stephenson, G.M. (1992). The Minnesota Model in the treatment of addictions: A social psychological assessment of changes in beliefs and attributions. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 2(1), 25-41. Read the abstract …


How to obtain copies of our reports

If you wish to obtain copies of any of the above reports, please contact us.

Should you wish to ask more about the results of our work, please write to the chairman of the PROMIS Research Group Professor Geoffrey Stephenson at the same address, or at:

University of Kent,
Department of Psychology
Keynes College

The University

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