Dr Oliver Mason

Reader in Clinical Psychology

Qualifications: Doctor of Philosophy (Oxon), Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Email:
Phone: Work: 01483 68 6860
Room no: 38 AD 02

Office hours

Wed 12-1pm and 

Fri 10.45-11.45am

Further information

Biography

After completing a PhD. in experimental psychopathology at the University of Oxford supervised by Professor Gordon Claridge, I trained clinically at the University of Wales, Bangor. Since that time I have taught at the University of Birmingham and University College London with part-time roles in the NHS as a clinical psychologist.

Research Interests

My research interests include risk factors for psychopathology and in particular psychotic disorders; the causes and nature of unusual experiences such as hallucinations; Voice hearing; stigma and media representation of mental illness; psychosocial interventions in severe mental illness.

Research Collaborations

I collaborate with colleagues at both University College London, Kings College London and others internationally.

Publications

Journal articles

  • Milton A, Lloyd-Evans B, Fullarton K, Morant N, Paterson B, Hindle D, Kelly K, Mason O, Lambert M, Johnson S. (2017) 'Development of a peer-supported, self-management intervention for people following mental health crisis'. BMC Research Notes, 10 (1)

    Abstract

    Background

    A documented gap in support exists for service users following discharge from acute mental health services, and structured interventions to reduce relapse are rarely provided. Peer-facilitated self-management interventions have potential to meet this need, but evidence for their effectiveness is limited. This paper describes the development of a peer-provided self-management intervention for mental health service users following discharge from crisis resolution teams (CRTs).

    Methods

    A five-stage iterative mixed-methods approach of sequential data collection and intervention development was adopted, following the development and piloting stages of the MRC framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions. Evidence review (stage 1) included systematic reviews of both peer support and self-management literature. Interviews with CRT service users (n = 41) regarding needs and priorities for support following CRT discharge were conducted (stage 2). Focus group consultations (n = 12) were held with CRT service-users, staff and carers to assess the acceptability and feasibility of a proposed intervention, and to refine intervention organisation and content (stage 3). Qualitative evaluation of a refined, peer-provided, self-management intervention involved qualitative interviews with CRT service user participants (n = 9; n = 18) in feasibility testing (stage 4) and a pilot trial (stage 5), and a focus group at each stage with the peer worker providers (n = 4).

    Results

    Existing evidence suggests self-management interventions can reduce relapse and improve recovery. Initial interviews and focus groups indicated support for the overall purpose and planned content of a recovery-focused self-management intervention for people leaving CRT care adapted from an existing resource: The personal recovery plan (developed by Repper and Perkins), and for peer support workers (PSWs) as providers. Participant feedback after feasibility testing was positive regarding facilitation of the intervention by PSWs; however, the structured self-management booklet was underutilised. Modifications to the self-management intervention manual and PSWs’ training were made before piloting, which confirmed the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention for testing in a future, definitive trial.

    Conclusions

    A manualised intervention and operating procedures, focusing on the needs and priorities of the target client group, have been developed through iterative stages of intervention development and feedback for testing in a trial context.

  • Evans D, Lusk L, Slane M, Michael A, Myers S, Uljarević M, Mason O, Claridge G, Frazier T. (2017) 'Dimensional assessment of schizotypal, psychotic, and other psychiatric traits in children and their parents: development and validation of the Childhood Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences on a representative US sample'. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,

    Abstract


    Background

    Healthy functioning relies on a variety of perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral abilities that are distributed throughout the normal population. Variation in these traits define the wide range of neurodevelopmental (NDD) and neuropsychiatric (NPD) disorders. Here, we introduce a new measure for assessing these traits in typically developing children and children at risk for NDD and NPD from age 2 to 18 years.

    Method

    The Childhood Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (CO-LIFE) was created as a dimensional, parent-report measure of schizotypal and psychotic traits in the general population. Parents of 2,786 children also self-reported on an adapted version of the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE-US).

    Results

    The CO-LIFE resulted in continuous distributions for the total score and for each of three factor analytically-derived subscales. Item response theory (IRT) analyses indicated strong reliability across the score range for the O-LIFE-US and the CO-LIFE. Internal consistency and test–retest reliability were high across all scales. Parent–child intraclass correlations were consistent with high heritability. The scales discriminated participants who reported a lifetime psychiatric diagnosis from those who reported no diagnosis. The O-LIFE-US and CO-LIFE scores correlated positively with the Social Responsiveness Scale 2 (SRS-2) indicating good convergent validity.

    Conclusions

    Like the original O-LIFE, the O-LIFE-US and the CO-LIFE are valid and reliable tools that reflect the spectrum of psychiatric and schizotypal traits in the general population. Such scales are necessary for conducting family studies that aim to examine a range of psychological and behavioral traits in both children and adults and are well-suited for the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative of the NIMH.

  • Johnson S, Mason O, Osborn D, Milton A, Henderson C, Marston L, Ambler G, Hunter R, Pilling S, Morant N, Gray R, Weaver T, Nolan F, Lloyd-Evans B. (2017) 'Randomised controlled trial of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a peer-delivered self-management intervention to prevent relapse in crisis resolution team users: study protocol'. BMJ Open, 7 (10) Article number e015665

    Abstract

    Introduction

    Crisis resolution teams (CRTs) provide assessment and intensive home treatment in a crisis, aiming to offer an alternative for people who would otherwise require a psychiatric inpatient admission. They are available in most areas in England. Despite some evidence for their clinical and cost-effectiveness, recurrent concerns are expressed regarding discontinuity with other services and lack of focus on preventing future relapse and readmission to acute care. Currently evidence on how to prevent readmissions to acute care is limited. Self-management interventions, involving supporting service users in recognising and managing signs of their own illness and in actively planning their recovery, have some supporting evidence, but have not been tested as a means of preventing readmission to acute care in people leaving community crisis care. We thus proposed the current study to test the effectiveness of such an intervention. We selected peer support workers as the preferred staff to deliver such an intervention, as they are well-placed to model and encourage active and autonomous recovery from mental health problems.

    Methods and analysis

    The CORE (CRT Optimisation and Relapse Prevention) self-management trial compares the effectiveness of a peer-provided self-management intervention for people leaving CRT care, with treatment as usual supplemented by a booklet on self-management. The planned sample is 440 participants, including 40 participants in an internal pilot. The primary outcome measure is whether participants are readmitted to acute care over 1 year of follow-up following entry to the trial. Secondary outcomes include self-rated recovery at 4 and at 18 months following trial entry, measured using the Questionnaire on the Process of Recovery. Analysis will follow an intention to treatment principle. Random effects logistic regression modelling with adjustment for clustering by peer support worker will be used to test the primary hypothesis.

    Ethics and dissemination

    The CORE self-management trial was approved by the London Camden and Islington Research Ethics Committee (REC ref: 12/LO/0988). A Trial Steering Committee and Data Monitoring Committee oversee the progress of the study. We will report on the results of the clinical trial, as well as on the characteristics of the participants and their associations with relapse.

  • Lloyd-Evans B, Bond G, Ruud T, Ivanecka A, Gray R, Osborn D, Nolan F, Henderson C, Mason O, Goater N, Kelly K, Ambler G, Morant N, Onyett S, Lamb D, Fahmy S, Brown E, Paterson B, Sweeney A, Hindle D, Fullarton K, Frerichs J, Johnson S. (2016) 'Development of a measure of model fidelity for mental health Crisis Resolution Teams'. BMC Psychiatry, 16 Article number 427

    Abstract

    Background: Crisis Resolution Teams (CRTs) provide short-term intensive home treatment to people experiencing mental health crisis. Trial evidence suggests CRTs can be effective at reducing hospital admissions and increasing satisfaction with acute care. When scaled up to national level however, CRT implementation and outcomes have been variable. We aimed to develop and test a fidelity scale to assess adherence to a model of best practice for CRTs, based on best available evidence. Methods: A concept mapping process was used to develop a CRT fidelity scale. Participants (n = 68) from a range of stakeholder groups prioritised and grouped statements (n = 72) about important components of the CRT model, generated from a literature review, national survey and qualitative interviews. These data were analysed using Ariadne software and the resultant cluster solution informed item selection for a CRT fidelity scale. Operational criteria and scoring anchor points were developed for each item. The CORE CRT fidelity scale was then piloted in 75 CRTs in the UK to assess the range of scores achieved and feasibility for use in a 1-day fidelity review process. Trained reviewers (n = 16) rated CRT service fidelity in a vignette exercise to test the scale’s inter-rater reliability. Results: There were high levels of agreement within and between stakeholder groups regarding the most important components of the CRT model. A 39-item measure of CRT model fidelity was developed. Piloting indicated that the scale was feasible for use to assess CRT model fidelity and had good face validity. The wide range of item scores and total scores across CRT services in the pilot demonstrate the measure can distinguish lower and higher fidelity services. Moderately good inter-rater reliability was found, with an estimated correlation between individual ratings of 0.65 (95% CI: 0.54 to 0.76). Conclusions: The CORE CRT Fidelity Scale has been developed through a rigorous and systematic process. Promising initial testing indicates its value in assessing adherence to a model of CRT best practice and to support service improvement monitoring and planning. Further research is required to establish its psychometric properties and international applicability.

  • Fonseca-Pedrero E, Ortun˜o-Sierra J, Sierro G, Daniel C, Cella M, Preti A, Mohr C, Mason O. (2015) 'The measurement invariance of schizotypy in Europe'. European Psychiatry, 30 (7), pp. 837-844.

    Abstract

    The short version of the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (sO-LIFE) is a widely used measure assessing schizotypy. There is limited information, however, on how sO-LIFE scores compare across different countries. The main goal of the present study is to test the measurement invariance of the sO-LIFE scores in a large sample of non-clinical adolescents and young adults from four European countries (UK, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain). The scores were obtained from validated versions of the sO-LIFE in their respective languages. The sample comprised 4190 participants (M = 20.87 years; SD = 3.71 years). The study of the internal structure, using confirmatory factor analysis, revealed that both three (i.e., positive schizotypy, cognitive disorganisation, and introvertive anhedonia) and four-factor (i.e., positive schizotypy, cognitive disorganisation, introvertive anhedonia, and impulsive nonconformity) models fitted the data moderately well. Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis showed that the three-factor model had partial strong measurement invariance across countries. Eight items were non-invariant across samples. Significant statistical differences in the mean scores of the s-OLIFE were found by country. Reliability scores, estimated with Ordinal alpha ranged from 0.75 to 0.87. Using the Item Response Theory framework, the sO-LIFE provides more accuracy information at the medium and high end of the latent trait. The current results show further evidence in support of the psychometric proprieties of the sO-LIFE, provide new information about the cross-cultural equivalence of schizotypy and support the use of this measure to screen for psychotic-like features and liability to psychosis in general population samples from different European countries.

Teaching

7. I teach the Classics in Personality Theory module and contribute to the modules on Personality, Intelligence and Psychopathology and Clinical Psychology.

Affiliations

8. I am a chartered clinical psychologist within the British Psychological Society.

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