Katherine Jackson

Dr Kat Jackson is a Research Associate in the Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University. She is interested in applying feminist and sociological theories of care to understand health inequalities, and to inform the development of meaningful and appropriate health and social care interventions. Her research is mostly in the areas of alcohol use and mental ill health and wellbeing. Kat also has an interest in ethics in practice in research with marginalised groups.

‘This isn’t what we told you we wanted’: Building relationships and navigating responsibilities: using PPI and co-production to develop a digital resource for people with co-occurring heavy alcohol use and depression

Background / aims: Key funders of addiction-related research in the UK now require that people with lived experience of the phenomena under study are involved in the design, conduct, analysis and dissemination of research. This way of working is still relatively new for some scholars working in the scientific study of addiction, and case studies of patient and public involvement (PPI) and co-production work are needed to inform future research teams. Here we aim to provide considerations and recommendations for involving people with lived experience in addiction research, drawing on our own learning from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) ADEPT Study, which sought to develop a digital resource to support the care of people with co-occurring heavy alcohol use and depression.

Methods: A critical reflection methodology has been used to draw out our own insights of the PPI and co-production process in the NIHR ADEPT Study.

Results: We identified that: (1) relationships and social networks were pivotal to the success of this work; (2) significant practical resources and prior experience of working with people with experience of addiction are needed; (3) intersectionality within the target group should be addressed; and (4) research teams need to be explicit about how the views of people with lived experience will and can be considered alongside other bodies of knowledge.

Conclusions: PPI and co-production are complex relational processes which require a range of practical skills and ethical literacy. Our insights, while specific to this study, could be transferrable to other study settings and contexts and may help addiction researchers new to PPI and co-production work.