Dr Linda Thomas
- Research Associate (Sociology)
- Associate (School of Health & Wellbeing)
I am a Research Associate in the School of Social & Political Sciences (Sociology) on Healthy Dads Healthy Kids in Prisons (HDHK-P) feasibility study of an intervention to improve the mental health, wellbeing and relationships of men in prison and their primary school aged children. The aim of the study is to make final adaptations to HDHK-P based on HDHK program developed in Australia, and test it in two prisons in Scotland. We want to find out whether HDHK-P appeals to fathers in custody and their families, and if it appears to improve the mental health, wellbeing and self-esteem of fathers and children, and strengthen father-child relationships.
I have extensive expereince of working in mixed-methods intervention and evaluation studies:
- You’re in Your Own Time Now’: Understanding Current Experiences of Transition to Civilian Life in Scotland (Edinburgh Napier University)
The study was funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), led by Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Military Research, Education & Public Engagement and supported by the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh. This study is the first of its kind to look at the journey from military to civilian life specifically in Scotland. This mixed-methods study includes input from nearly 100 service personnel, 200 veterans and more than 60 employers. A briefing document can also be read here.
- Unforgotten Forces (University of West of Scotland)
The Unforgotten Forces project was an innovative Poppyscotland led consortium of 14 complementary partners delivering services to enhance the existing support for older veterans in addressing loneliness and isolation, respite breaks, a new day centre, therapeutic programmes in care homes and advice on issues such as benefits, support for those in medical pathways and help with essential transport.
- National Evaluation of New Models of Primary Care in Scotland (University of Glasgow)
In 2015, SG established a Primary Care Development Fund , which included £30 million to test new models of care through a Primary Care Transformation Fund (PCTF) and the Primary Care Fund for Mental Health (PCFMH). ‘Tests of change’ began in every territorial health Board in April 2016, funded until March 2018. The Scottish School of Primary Care (SSPC) – a multidisciplinary consortium of Scottish universities with expertise in academic primary care (www.sspc.ac.uk) - was commissioned by SG to evaluate the progress of these tests of change funded by the PCTF and PCFMH, plus any other innovative primary care projects identified that had the potential to be transformative. The evaluation involved a two-phase approach, the first exploring the planning and expected impacts of the tests of change, and the second exploring actual or perceived impacts, learning, spread and sustainability. This included any unintended negative consequences. The key sources of data were (a) interviews with key informants and (b) national and local documents.
- Prevention First: a crime prevention strategy in Ayrshire (Univeristy of West of Scotland)
The aim of this study was to conduct, an assessment of the Police Scotland, ‘Prevention First’, Crime Prevention Strategy currently being operated in Ayrshire. The approach has been operationalised previously in New Zealand (See ‘Prevention First’ document, undated) and is operating across the Local Authority areas in North, East and South Ayrshire. The programme encapsulates a partnership approach to tackling violence, anti-social behaviour and community concerns regarding violent crime. The evaluation assessed the veracity of initial internal assessments of the pilots in North and East Ayrshire that indicate that ‘Prevention First’ is delivering better outcomes for individuals and communities whilst simultaneously significantly reducing demand on police and partner resources through the early implementation of more effective, joined up, solutions.
My PhD critically examined the culturally diverse patterns of immigrants' use of alcohol and other drugs in the west of Scotland. Since completing my PhD, I have worked in the field of Veterans studies on various projects that explored the diverse experiences of military veterans and their families in society.
With my multi-disciplinary research background, I have particular expertise and interest in working with underrepresented groups (ethnic minorities, veterans, women, etc.) concerning topics of mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and drug use and misuse and health.
I am committed to research that informs future policy and practice by providing policy makers and service providers with original evidence to address issues of health and wellbeing, underrepresented groups (ethnic minorities, veterans, women, etc.), employment and skills, in order to reduce inequalities. I draw on both psychological and sociological theory to increase understanding of how to engage hard-to-reach groups in different settings and with different cultural backgrounds in sustained health behaviour change.