Aigli Raouna

Thesis title: Bipolar Disorder and Transition to Parenthood

Background

I started my PhD in January 2018 after working as a research assistant in Mellow Parenting for over a year (a third-sector charity that provides early intervention parenting programmes to mothers, fathers and their young children). Previous to this, I graduated with a First Class MSc in Children and Young People's Mental Health and Psychological Practice at the University of Edinburgh in August 2016 and I completed a BSc (Hons) in Psychology at the University of Athens in February 2015. During my undergraduate studies, I was also awarded an Erasmus Exchange Student funding and I had the opportunity to study for one year in the Department of Psychology in the University of Federico II in Naples, Italy (2012-2013).

I am particularly interested in the field of perinatal mental health for both mothers and fathers and in the field of intergenerational transmission of risk and resilience.

My current research is funded by the Principal's Career Development PhD Scholarship and it focuses on the transition to parenthood in the context of mood instability using a mixed-methods approach. 

Qualifications

MSc (Hons) in Children and Young People's Mental Health and Psychological Practice, University of Edinburgh, UK

BSc (Hons) in Psychology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Erasmus exchange student in Psychology, University of Federico II, Naples, Italy

Responsibilities & affiliations

Research Assistant at the 'Butterfly Baby Clinic' - co-organising the activities for the Parent Exper Panel (PEP) | 2020-current

Founder and editor-in-chief of  'Research Bow' - a postgraduate research blog from and for the PGRs of the School of Health in Social Science | 2019-current (Twitter: @ResearchBow)

Co-Organiser of 'ConveRACEions' - an initiative which aims to discuss and dismantle barriers to racial equality, as well as ways of moving forward | 2020-2021

Committee Member of the University of Edinburgh Salsa Society | 2018-2021

Postgraduate Researcher Representative at the School of Health in Social Science | 2019-2020

Committee Member of the Scottish Developmental Psychology Network for Graduates | 2018-2020

Member of the Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology (CADP)

Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS)

Member of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD)

Postgraduate teaching

Tutor for the MSc course "Psychological Research Methods: Data Management and Analysis" 2021/2022

Tutor for the MSc course "Developmental Psychology & Developmental Psychopathology" 2021

Research summary

The birth of the first child – often referred to as transition to parenthood- is an important and often joyful life event, however, it can also be a time of heightened psychosocial distress and of complex decision-making.

My PhD employs two distinct methodologies to shed light on 1) the psychosocial factors of parents in general and specifically of parents experiencing mood instability that support the socio-emotional development of their babies via an online survey and 2) the support needs and decision-making process of new mothers with bipolar disorder and of their partners via a grounded theory approach (one-to-one interviews).

Current research interests

Bipolar disorder; transition to parenthood; perinatal mental health; lived experience; partners; risk and resilience; attachment; emotion regulation; early intervention, prevention strategies; early socio-emotional developmental pathways

Knowledge exchange

Author of the Teaching Matters blog post: ‘Research Bow’: Independently growing together https://www.teaching-matters-blog.ed.ac.uk/research-bow-independently-growing-together/

Co-author of the Research Bow blog post: The support you never knew you needed https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/c/  

Author of the Research Bow blog post: Online Recruitment Part 2: To academia and beyond https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/online-recruitment-part-2-to-academia-and-beyond/  

Author of the Research Bow blog post: Online Recruitment Part 1: Becoming a JENGA master https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/research-bow/online-recruitment-part-1-becoming-a-jenga-master/ 

Author of the Psychreg blog post: The Rolling Stones: Emotional Links Between Babies and Their Parents https://www.psychreg.org/emotional-links-babies-and-parents/

Author of the PsyPAG Quarterly blog post  The 21st Annual Conference of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders http://www.psypag.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/PsyPag-112.pdf

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

Research Bow editorial team: Student Experience Grant
ConveRACEions team: Social Responsibility and Sustainability Student Project Grant

Past project grants

Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) - Development Fund (2020)
Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) - Student-Led Training Fund (2019)
Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) – Workshop Grant (2019)
Institute for Academic Development (IAD) - Action Fund Small Grants (2019)
Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG) - Research Grant Bursary (2018)

Conference details

  • Oral Presentation - September 2020 Postgraduate Research Conference 2020: "Facebook as an online recruitment source: When Plan C is actually the most effective one"
  • Poster Presentation - October 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting of the NRS Mental Health Network, Glasgow, UK: "Transition to Parenthood and Bipolar Disorder:​ The parenthood journey of women with bipolar disorder and their partners through their voices​ (study protocol)"
  • Oral Presentation - May 2019 Postgraduate Research Conference 2019: What is Health in Social Science, Edinburgh, UK: "Bipolar Disorder and Transition to Parenthood​: PhD protocol"
  • Poster Presentation - March 2019 21st Annual International Society for Bipolar Disorders Conference, Sydney, Australia: "Clinical Staging Model in Offspring of Parents with Bipolar Disorder: ​A Systematic Review"
  • Poster Presentation - November 2018  Annual Scientific Meeting of the NRS Mental Health Network, Edinburgh, UK: "Clinical Staging Model in Offspring of Parents with Bipolar Disorder: ​A Systematic Review"
  • Poster Presentation - October 2018  11th International Conference on Early Intervention in Mental Health, Boston, USA: "Clinical Staging Model in Offspring of Parents with Bipolar Disorder: ​A Systematic Review"

 

Invited speaker

Oral Presentation - December 2020 SHSS Clinical Psychology Seminar Series: "A beginner's guide to online recruitment"

Organiser

  • Co-organiser (PGR reps) of the School of Health in Social Science - Postgraduate Research Conference, Edinburgh, UK, September 2020 
  • Co-organiser of the Public Engagement in Mental Health Research Workshop, Edinburgh, UK, November 2019 
  • Co-organiser (ScotDPN) of the Thinking Impact: Research Impact in Psychology and Beyond, Dundee, UK May 2019
  • Raouna A, Malcolm R, Ibrahim R, MacBeth A (2021) Promoting sensitive parenting in ‘at-risk’ mothers and fathers: A UK outcome study of Mellow Babies, a group-based early intervention program for parents and their babies. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0245226. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245226

  • Morales, M. F., Girard, L. C., Raouna, A., & MacBeth, A. (2020). Systematic Review on the Impact of Different Presentations of Maternal Depression on Children's Socio-Emotional Development. Social Science Protocols, 3, 1-7.

  • Raouna, A., Schwannauer, M., & MacBeth, A. (2020). Transition to Parenthood and Bipolar Disorder: What is the Decision-Making Process, Information and Support Needs of Women with Bipolar Disorder and their Partners from Pre-Conception to the Early Postnatal Period?. Social Science Protocols, 3, 1-9.

  • Raouna, A., Osam, C. S., & MacBeth, A. (2018). Clinical staging model in offspring of parents with bipolar disorder: a systematic review. Bipolar disorders, 20(4), 313-333.
  • Dimaggio, G., MacBeth, A., Popolo, R., Salvatore, G., Perrini, F., Raouna, A., ... & Montano, A. (2018). The problem of overcontrol: Perfectionism, emotional inhibition, and personality disorders. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 83, 71-78.