Christine Torrance

As a PhD student I was supervised by Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox (CBCD) and Prof Jane Barlow (SPI – Oxford) and funded through the University of Warwick as an International Chancellor’s Scholar. My main academic interests were newborn social abilities and the well-being of new mothers and fathers. My thesis considered the relationship between newborn social behavior, parents’ mental health before and after birth, and parent-child interaction (PCI) in the earliest months. Within the BRIGHT project, my main role has been in the preparing and contextualising the Mental Health Questionnaires (MHQs) and the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) for the Kiang West setting, and in training colleagues in Keneba in these measures. To this end, I spent twelve months at the Keneba Field Station. During my first two months, I and a small team of driven, experienced field assistants and translators conducted semi-structured interviews to understand parents’ daily experiences and their perceptions of newborn behavior, and carried out pilot NBAS sessions to gather feedback on the items’ acceptability to parents and grandparents in Keneba. Across the following eight months, I lead another perseverant local team in translating and field testing the five mental health questionnaires into Mandinka; trained and supervised colleagues in the administration of these questionnaires; collected NBAS data; and supervised and supported training of two Keneba colleagues in administering, scoring and filming NBAS’s. I handed over MHQ and NBAS data collection with confidence to our adept and extremely hard-working Keneba colleagues in September 2016 before moving back to the UK. I graduated in 2018 a year after my Viva and worked outside of academia for two years in Southampton, with university students through my local church. My husband and I are due to move to Tanzania next and very much looking forward to our son quickly showing us up in the language learning department.