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This study is being led by Tamsin Miles of Exeter University and Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. We are supporting Tamsin to raise awareness of her study.


Do differences in executive function alter the effectiveness of self-compassion inductions in PTSD?

I’m interested in understanding how some of the effects of trauma, such as changes to the brain and thinking skills, could alter the effectiveness of certain psychological interventions. I’m investigating how these changes could affect self-compassion in people who are suffering due to having experienced trauma.

Purpose of research

We know that trauma can lead to people feeling more negatively about themselves and having low levels of self-compassion. We also know that improving self-compassion is important in helping people to recover from the effects of trauma. When people struggle to increase their self-compassion, this could be due to some of the other effects of trauma, such as changes to the way we think and how we can recognise and regulate emotions.

This study aims to look at both these factors, self-compassion and a specific group of thinking skills known as executive function skills, to understand how differences in those executive functions skills, might affect the ability to improve self-compassion levels in people who been affected by trauma.

Who can take part?

We are looking to recruit people who have experienced one or more significant traumatic events.

This could include being exposed to actual or threatened: death, serious injury, or sexual violence, and could be in any number of different ways such as:

  • Direct exposure
  • Witnessing the trauma
  • Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
  • Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)N.B. participants will need to be over 18 years of age

By participating in this research, you will be contributing to the development of effective approaches to support people who are suffering distress as a result of having experienced trauma.

Participants will be entered into a draw to win one of two £100 vouchers.

What does it involve?

All volunteers will be called to complete a couple of screening questionnaires over the phone (5-10 minutes). Those to be included in the study will then be sent a short questionnaire to complete themselves; this could be paper-based or online, depending on preference (15-20 minutes).

Finally, there will be a face to face session lasting around 50 minutes to complete a few assessments and to listen to a short recording. The face to face session can take place at the participant’s home or another location, as agreed between the researcher and participant.

Who is running the study?

Tamsin Miles
Exeter University and
Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Contact Tamsin:


National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff University, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

+44 (0)29 2068 8401
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