Research Output

Occupational narratives to explore participation among offenders with personality disorder

  Background: Offenders with personality disorder (PDOs) experience worse health and desistance outcomes than other offender and mentally disordered groups, prompting significant cross-government investment in the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway. Participation in prosocial occupation (such as employment and prosocial leisure) is known to be integral to health, associated with desistance and protective against reoffending. However, participation among PDOs has received only cursory attention to date.

Systematic literature reviews revealed insufficient evidence to determine what factors influence participation among PDOs, and no good evidence for effective interventions. Consequently, service providers are restricted in their ability to deliver evidence-based intervention

Purpose/aims: Identify factors that influence participation among PDOs.

Design: This qualitative study adopts narrative research methods underpinned by a critical realist philosophy. It forms the second of four work packages in the POPPED project, an intervention development study informed by Medical Research Council guidelines (Craig et al., 2008).

Methods: Interviews conducted with approximately twenty PDOs who have been purposively sampled from the National Probation Service community caseload will be analysed using a grounded theory approach. Interviews include an unstructured narrative section, followed by a semi-structured interview to gather occupational narratives. Qualitative findings will be triangulated with interviewer-rated occupation-focused psychometric measures. Data are transcribed verbatim and analysed by two independent researchers.

Results: Preliminary findings are presented.

Conclusions: This is the first study to take an occupational perspective of the needs and experiences of PDOs.

Findings will inform development of an evidence-based and theoretically informed intervention to improve participation among PDOs.

Ethical approval granted by University of Warwick Biomedical and Scientific Research Ethics Committee (Reference: REGO-2016-1822).

This report is independent research supported by Health Education England and the National Institute for Health Research (HEE/NIHR ICA Programme Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, Miss Catriona Connell, ICA-CDRF-2015-01-060). The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    19 June 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Connell, C., McKay, E., Furtado, V., & Singh, S. (2017, June). Occupational narratives to explore participation among offenders with personality disorder. Paper presented at RCOT Annual Conference 2017, Birmingham



Criminal justice, Forensic practice, Mental health

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