From how secrets influence our emails to personality traits that increase the risk ofobesity - a guide to some talks with new research in personality and social psychology at the APA Convention in Honolulu, July 31 – August 4, 2013 …
Linguistic Fingerprints of Secrets
Keeping a secret not only burdens someone with the guilt of withholding information but also changes the way the person interacts with others, according to new research. In two studies, researchers looked at linguistic changes in the emails of people harboring secrets. They found that interactions with friends became more deceptive and detached, while interactions with acquaintances became more superficially positive and frequent.
Judging Health Based on Behavior, Personality
Can you accurately size up someone’s health just by watching them? In a recent set of studies, researchers sought to answer this question by filming research participants and asking research assistants to assess their health or behavior. In one study, researchers judged participants on 15 health dimensions – including general health, tobacco use, alcohol use, physical activity, sleep quality, cholesterol, and blood pressure – based on just 5 minutes of film. They found that intuitive snap judgments of health can be surprisingly accurate.
Personalty Traits That Increase Risk of Obesity
A complex mix of biological and social factors affects a person’s likelihood of becoming obese. Across four studies that looked at more than 8,900 people, researchers have found significant links between personality traits and obesity – showing that that high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, among other traits, are consistently associated with increased risk for obesity. These associations are similar across samples that vary in ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status.
The Benefits of Confronting Bias
Confronting discrimination may boost your well-being, according to new research. In three studies, researchers found that while experiencing discrimination is associated withdepression, confronting that bias gives people more autonomy, which helps to moderate the stressful situation. These results were true not only for minorities but also for Whites.
Being Grateful Trains Our Brains for the Good
Feeling grateful can train us to feel better, finds a new study. Asking people daily for one week to write about three good things that made them grateful increased their well-being after the week, and even five weeks later. Researchers think that the gratitude exercise trains the brain for cognitive processes that support well-being, such as increasing attention so that individuals are more likely to notice benefits in their lives.
Two Hormones Together Explain Status-Seeking
Looking at only testosterone as a hormonal measure of status-seeking behaviors is incomplete, argues new research. Testosterone’s influence on status-related behavior critically depends on levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Six studies suggest that researchers must consider the effects of testosterone and cortisol together. The studies show that a profile of high testosterone and low cortisol is associated with leadership, social dominance, risk-taking, emotional stability, and monetary reward maximization. On the other hand, a hormone profile of high testosterone and high cortisol is associated with subordinate behaviors, socioemotional sensitivity, anxiety, and monetary loss.
Positive Anticipation Helps Overcome Stress
Past research has shown that eliciting positive emotions immediately to offset stress can ameliorate the negative effects of the stressor. Now researchers are testing the effects on stress of anticipating positive events – as that more realistically mirrors how people use emotion to regulate stress in daily life. In two studies, they found that anticipating a positive event leads to improved recovery after stress and is more effective in coping with stress than experiencing a positive event just prior to being stressed.
Recognizing that Life is Meaningful
In our never-ending quest to understand the meaning of life, social psychologists are bringing a different perspective: urging us to think of meaning as an experience that involves seeing, recognizing, and noticing rather than something to search for or struggle to create. Simply maintaining a positive mood, for example, can facilitate meaning in our everyday lives and connect us more to the world.
As with most things in life, romantic relationships are, for many of us, a double-edged sword: while most find it wonderful to love and be loved, developing intimate emotional ties to someone makes us emotionally vulnerable—vulnerable not only to being hurt by our partner’s opinions of and feelings toward us, but also vulnerable to being affected by our partner’s bad moods. If a colleague or a friend gets depressed, we’re often able to offer a comforting word or two without ourselves being drawn into his or her emotional maelstrom. When our partner becomes depressed or sad or angry or jealous or anxious, however, our own emotions are often triggered in unpleasant ways. Just what can we do to manage our own bad moods that arise as a result of our partner’s?
1. Identify and understand your typical reactions to your partner’s bad moods. In medical school, students are taught that if they find themselves feeling depressed when interviewing a patient it’s often because the patient is depressed. Moods are contagious. Often—but certainly not always—your reaction to your partner’s mood will be to mimic it (i.e., he’s down so you become down; she’s angry so you become angry, and so on). For example, when my wife gets irritated at someone, I often become irritated at her. Why? Because I don’t like having to deal with angry people (it’s not rational, I know, but emotional reactions often aren’t).
2. Take responsibility for your own mood, not your partner’s.
Criminal psychopathy can be both repulsive and fascinating, as illustrated by the vast number of books and movies inspired by this topic. Offenders diagnosed with psychopathy pose a significant threat to society, because they are more likely to harm other individuals and to do so again after being released. A brain imaging study in the Netherlands shows individuals with psychopathy have reduced empathy while witnessing the pains of others. When asked to empathize, however, they can activate their empathy. This could explain why psychopathic individuals can be callous and socially cunning at the same time.
Why are psychopathic individuals more likely to hurt others? Individuals with psychopathy characteristically demonstrate reduced empathy with the feelings of others, which may explain why it is easier for them to hurt other people. However, what causes this lack of empathy is poorly understood. Scientific studies on psychopathic subjects are notoriously hard to conduct. “Convicted criminals with a diagnosis of psychopathy are confined to high-security forensic institutions in which state-of-the-art technology to study their brain, like magnetic resonance imaging, is usually unavailable,” explains Professor Christian Keysers, Head of the Social Brain Lab in Amsterdam, and senior author of a study on psychopathy appearing in the journal Brain this week. “Bringing them to scientific research centres, on the other hand, requires the kind of high-security transportation that most judicial systems are unwilling to finance.”
The Dutch judicial system, however, seems to be an exception. They joined forces with academia to promote a better understanding of psychopathy. As a result, criminals with psychopathy were transported to the Social Brain Lab of the University Medical Center in Groningen (The Netherlands). There, the team could use state of the art high-field functional magnetic resonance imaging to peak into the brain of criminals with psychopathy while they view the emotions of others.
- The Unrepentent (Canadian Broadcasting Company-The Fifth Estate)
”They are marked by their ability to kill without passion and without remorse. Some are called psychopaths – a term that evokes nightmare images of murderers and monsters. But the label can also apply to men and women who are successful, intelligent, charismatic, charming and amusing – and so all the more dangerous. This week on the fifth estate, Linden MacIntyre looks at what makes a psychopath through the fifth estate’s close encounters with of four of Canada’s most frightening criminals. [From the CBC site...video at this site is only accessible in Canada]
- Brain research shows psychopathic criminals do not lack empathy, but fail to use it automatically (esciencenews.com)
- Inside the Mind of a Psychopath – Empathic but not Always (psychologytoday.com)
- Coldhearted Psychopaths Feel Empathy Too (livescience.com)
- Psychopaths ‘have empathy switch’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Psychopaths can ‘switch on’ empathy (bigpondnews.com)
- Psychopaths can ‘switch on’ empathy (news.com.au)
- You: Brain scans of inmates turn up possible link to risks of reoffending (latimes.com)
- Psychopathy and the law (neoneocon.com)
The NLM Director showed some courage in commenting on the force feeding of prisoners in Guantanamo.
This is indeed a health issue, because we are indeed responsible for the health (including mental health) of these detainees.
Some excerpts from the comments, full text may be found here.
A candid and stimulating editorial, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, strongly suggests physicians at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba should not force feed detainees who are on a hunger strike. The editorial’s three authors argue the force feeding of some Guantanamo prisoners is medically unethical — and the practice warrants more criticism from health care professionals.
A news story about the editorial published in the U.K. Guardian reports the Guantanamo Bay camp currently houses about 166 prisoners (most of whom are held for alleged terrorist activities). Many of these detainees or prisoners have been held at Guantanamo Bay (a U.S. military base in Cuba) in an era that began with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. At the time the editorial was published, the Guardian reported 104 prisoners were on a hunger strike and 43 detainees received forced feeding.
The editorial’s authors (who are highly respected senior faculty at Boston University’s Schools of Public Health and Medicine) write [and we quote]: ‘Guantanamo is not just going to fade away, and neither is the stain on medical ethics it represents’ (end of quote).
The editorial’s authors explain the ethical principle to not force feed prisoners initially was advanced by the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki after World War II. The authors cite the declaration that says (and we quote): ‘forcible feeding (of mentally competent hunger strikers) is never ethically acceptable’ (end of quote). The authors add forced feeding (and we quote): ‘is a form of inhumane and degrading treatment’ (end of quote).
The editorial’s authors note a U.S. Department of Defense’s 2006 directive on force feeding detainees says (and we quote): ‘In the case of a hunger strike, attempted suicide, or other attempted serious self-harm, medical treatment or intervention may be directed without the consent of the detainee to prevent death or serious harm’ (end of quote).
However, the authors explain a hunger strike is not an attempt to commit suicide. They discern the goal of the hunger strikers (and we quote): ‘is not to die but to have perceived injustices addressed’ (end of quote).
In addition, the authors suggest physicians abdicate their professional responsibilities to make individual and independent medical assessments when they participate in penological decisions that maintain prison order by force feeding detainees. The authors write (and we quote): ‘physicians who participate in this nonmedical practice become weapons for maintaining prison order’ (end of quote).
The editorial’s authors also imply a sense of frustration with the dearth of criticism among physicians regarding Guantanamo’s forced feeding efforts.
The authors conclude (and we quote): ‘As (Guantanamo) increasingly becomes a medical ethics-free zone, we believe it’s time for the medical profession to take constructive political action to try to heal the damage and ensure that civilian and military physicians follow the same medical ethics principles’ (end of quote).
We should add it is rare to see such a frank and critical editorial in one of the world’s leading medical journals. The editorial is a reminder of the field of medical ethics’ capacity to illuminate health and social issues.
Meanwhile, a helpful overview of the legal and ethical issues in health care (provided by Merck and Co. Inc) is provided in the ‘overviews’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s medical ethics health topic page.
A link to information about the nutritional needs of end-of-life patients is available within the introduction of MedlinePlus.gov’s medical ethics health topic page. MedlinePlus.gov’s medical ethics health topic page also provides updated, comprehensive, evidence-based information about diverse healthcare ethics issues such as: genetic and prenatal testing, birth control, organ donation, and patient rights.
MedlinePlus.gov’s medical ethics health topic page additionally contains links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. From the medical ethics health topic page, you can sign up to receive email updates with links to new information as it becomes available on MedlinePlus.
To find MedlinePlus.gov’s medical ethics health topic page, just type ‘medical ethics’ in the search box at the top of MedlinePlus.gov’s home page. Then, click on ‘Medical ethics (National Library of Medicine).’ MedlinePlus.gov also has a health topic page devoted to nutrition and health.
Vitamins and minerals can boost energy and enhance mood
CHICAGO- Vitamin and mineral supplements can enhance mental energy and well-being not only for healthy adults but for those prone to anxiety and depression, according to a July 15 panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo® held at McCormick Place.
Bonnie Kaplan, Ph.D., professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, said Monday vitamins and mineral supplements can be the alternative to increasing psychiatric medicines for symptom relief of anxiety and depression. The supplements, she said, also can provide the mental energy necessary to manage stress, enhance mood and reduce fatigue.
In a series of studies she recently conducted in Canada, Kaplan found of the 97 adults with diagnosed mood disorders who kept a three-day food record, a higher intake of vitamins and minerals were significantly correlated with overall enhanced mental functioning.
Other vitamins that have been known to enhance mood, said C.J. Geiger, Ph.D., president of Geiger & Associates, LLC, and research associate professor in the division of nutrition at the University of Utah, include 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP), Vitamins B and D, as well as ginkgo biloba and Omega 3.
In her research, Geiger has found most adults define energy throughout the day as peaking mid-morning, falling to a valley in the afternoon after lunch and recovering with a pickup in late afternoon, settling back down before bedtime. However, these peaks and valleys did vary with gender, age and climate. She said many adults are known to use coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and candy bars as well as energy drinks, bars and chews with high sugar boosts to maintain energy throughout the day. She found other adults ate more frequent, smaller meals to sustain energy while making time for lots of rest and exercise.
For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.
- Taking Vitamins And Minerals Boosts Energy And Enhances Mood (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Minerals and Vitamins Enhance Mood and Increase Energy Levels (hngn.com)
- Vitamins Boost Energy and Mood in People Prone to Depression (counselheal.com)
- Control your anxiety by taking vitamin and mineral supplements (gohealthsite.com)
July 18, 2013
New PTC Research Finds Teen Girls the New Target of Sexual Exploitation on TV
Source: Parents Television Council
New research from the Parents Television Council’s “4 Every Girl Campaign” found that underage female characters on primetime broadcast television are more likely to be presented in sexually exploitative scenes than adult women, and the appearance of underage female characters in a sexually exploitative scene increased the probability that the scene would be presented as humorous.
Study results revealed that out of 238 scripted episodes which aired during the study period, 150 episodes (63%) contained sexual content in scenes that were associated with females and 33% of the episodes contained sexual content that rose to the level of sexual exploitation.
The likelihood that sexual exploitation would be considered humorous increased to 43% when the sexual exploitation involved underage female characters. Topics that targeted underage girls and were presented as humorous included: sexual violence, sex trafficking, sexual harassment, pornography, and stripping.
- Study Finds Sexual Exploitation of Underage Girls on TV (entertainment.time.com)
- New Study Says Teenage Girls Are Sexualized On Network Television (themarysue.com)
- Teenage female characters often sexually exploited on TV, study finds (newsday.com)
- New PTC Research Finds Teen Girls the New Target of Sexual Exploitation on TV (paramuspost.com)
- Network Television Is None Too Kind to Teen Girls (jezebel.com)
- Female TV characters are sexual targets, says new study (cbsnews.com)
- Sexual exploitation of underage girls rampant on primetime, Parents Television Council says (scooprocket.com)
Yoga can improve mood and mental wellbeing among prisoners, an Oxford University study suggests, and may also have an effect on impulsive behaviour.
The researchers found that prisoners after a ten-week yoga course reported improved mood, reduced stress and were better at a task related to behaviour control than those who continued in their normal prison routine.
‘We found that the group that did the yoga course showed an improvement in positive mood, a decrease in stress and greater accuracy in a computer test of impulsivity and attention,’ say Dr Amy Bilderbeck and Dr Miguel Farias, who led the study at the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at Oxford University. ‘The suggestion is that yoga is helpful for these prisoners.’
Dr Bilderbeck adds: ‘This was only a preliminary study, but nothing has been done like this before. Offering yoga sessions in prisons is cheap, much cheaper than other mental health interventions. If yoga has any effect on addressing mental health problems in prisons, it could save significant amounts of public money.’
If yoga is associated with improving behaviour control, as suggested by the results of the computer test, there may be implications for managing aggression, antisocial or problem behaviour in prisons and on return to society, the researchers note — though this is not measured in this initial study.
Dr Bilderbeck, who practices yoga herself, cautions: ‘We’re not saying that organising a weekly yoga session in a prison is going to suddenly turn prisons into calm and serene places, stop all aggression and reduce reoffending rates. We’re not saying that yoga will replace standard treatment of mental health conditions in prison. But what we do see are indications that this relatively cheap, simple option might have multiple benefits for prisoners’ wellbeing and possibly aid in managing the burden of mental health problems in prisons.’
Sam Settle, director of the Prison Phoenix Trust, says: ‘Almost half of adult prisoners return to prison within a year, having created more victims of crime, so finding ways to offset the damaging effects of prison life is essential for us as a society. This research confirms what prisoners have been consistently telling the Prison Phoenix Trust for 25 years: yoga and meditation help them feel better, make better decisions and develop the capacity to think before acting — all essential in leading positive, crime-free lives once back in the community.’
- Yoga Improves Mental Health Among Prisoners (medindia.net)
- Prisoners should do yoga as a cheap way of improving their behaviour, according to academics (telegraph.co.uk)
- Teaching prisoners yoga stops them bending rules, says study (oxfordmail.co.uk)
When older adults lose control as they move into residential care, they adapt and accept what cannot be changed in order to stay happy. According to a new study, by Jaclyn Broadbent, Shikkiah de Quadros-Wander and Jane McGillivray from Deakin University in Australia, when it comes to satisfaction in later life the ability to accept what cannot be changed is as important as the feeling of being able to exert control.
Ageing with satisfaction has been linked to maintaining a sense of control into the later years. Perceived control consists of two components. Primary control relates to the capacity to make changes to the environment to suit your desire or needs — this applies to older adults living independently in the community. Secondary control describes making cognitive changes within yourself to adapt to the environment — for example when older adults move into residential care. In effect, secondary control buffers losses in primary control by helping us to accept what cannot be changed.
Their analyses revealed that the unique relationship between primary control and satisfaction was always larger for the elderly living in the community than those in residential care. Equally, the contribution of secondary control to satisfaction was larger in the residential care group than in the community group. Having a strong sense of control is therefore likely to be more important to older adults living in the community than those living in residential care. In contrast, acceptance is likely to be more important to the well-being of care residents than community dwellers.
The authors conclude: “In order to protect the well-being of older individuals, adaptation involves both a sense of control and the active acceptance of what cannot be changed. Primary and secondary perceived control may predict satisfaction with comparable strength depending on the older person’s situation. Acceptance takes more of a prime position in low control situations.”
- Satisfaction In Later Life Hinges On Acceptance (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Acceptance predicts satisfaction in later life (eurekalert.org)
- Acceptance May Prolong Life (mindgardenpathways.wordpress.com)
- Why Older Adults Are Happier (livescience.com)
- Senior Moment? Ageist Stereotypes Can Hurt – Or Help – Older Adults’ Memory (psychologicalscience.org)
Young men who are gang members suffer unprecedented levels of psychiatric illness, placing a heavy burden on mental health services, according to new research led by Queen Mary, University of London.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Maurice & Jacqueline Bennett Charitable Trust funded study surveyed 4,664 men aged 18 to 34 in Britain. The survey covered measures of psychiatric illness, violence and gang membership. It is the first time research has looked into whether gang violence is associated with psychiatric illness, other than substance misuse.
In terms of mental health, gang members and violent men were significantly more likely to suffer from a mental disorder and access psychiatric services than non-violent men. The exception was depression, which was significantly less common among gang members and violent men.
Violent ruminative thinking, violent victimisation and fear of further victimisation were significantly higher in gang members and believed to account for high levels of psychosis and anxiety disorder in gang members.
The findings showed that, of the 108 gang members surveyed:
- 85.8 per cent had an antisocial personality disorder;
- Two-thirds were alcohol dependent;
- 25.1 per cent screened positive for psychosis;
- More than half (57.4 per cent) were drug dependent;
- Around a third (34.2 per cent) had attempted suicide; and
- More than half (58.9 per cent) had an anxiety disorder.
The authors suggest that the higher rate of attempted suicide attempts among gang members may be associated with other psychiatric illness, but could also correspond with the notion that impulsive violence may be directed both outwardly and inwardly.
Street gangs are concentrated in inner urban areas characterised by socioeconomic deprivation, high crime rates and multiple social problems. The authors report that around one per cent of 18 to 34-year-old men in Britain are gang members. The level rises to 8.6 per cent in the London borough of Hackney, where one in five black men reported gang membership….
- Unprecedented Levels Of Psychiatric Illness Found In Gang Members (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Gang Members at an Increased Risk of Psychiatric Illnesses (counselheal.com)
- Most Gang Members Have a Diagnosable Mental Illness (motherboard.vice.com)
- Gang Members May Suffer From Unprecedented Illnesses (scienceworldreport.com)
- Gang Membership Tied To Mental Health Problems (medicalnewstoday.com)
“You don’t have any idea what you’re dealing with, do you?” asked Mr. Johnson a mere two minutes into my interview. The scene is the Crisis Intervention Unit. The time is 3:00am. I have a feeling my breath is terrible. The hospital pizza I engulfed earlier in the evening has decided to stage a churning acidic protest in my guts. However, far worse than my half-closed eyes, my halitosis or my gastrointestinal distress is the fact that he’s absolutely right. Mr. Johnson is here because he has come to the realization that living sober is about as awful as living as an alcoholic. As a result, he has decided life is simply not worth living.
As a practitioner, patients caught in this double-bind are among the most frustrating to treat. They are living proof that substance dependence treatment can be quite shortsighted. The logic is charmingly simple and irritatingly simplistic: if you’re drinking too much, then you should probably stop. Once you stop, all will be better.
To properly understand the failure of this logic, we need to distinguish the brain from the mind. Although our medications and therapies are effective in removing alcohol from the brain, we are less successful filling the empty space left in the mind. Mr. Johnson’s alcohol use started as a coping strategy and slowly evolved into a way of navigating the world: a drink to take the edge off at a dinner party; a libation or five to take the edge off of a bad day at the office; a quick stop at the corner bar after work to steel himself against a troubled marriage and a wayward teen. Alcohol played prominently in the way his mind functioned for years….
- 5 Ways to Stay Sober After Rehab (24sober.wordpress.com)
- Addiction Recovery – Like Coming Out of a Black Hole (nakunion.wordpress.com)
- What to Do if Your Family Has a History of Addiction (narcononarrowheadreview.wordpress.com)
From the Criminal Injustice Blog item of April 2, 2013
By Louellyn Lambros
It is time that drug use be viewed as a public health issue, rather than a matter for the criminal justice system. Too many drug users are saddled unnecessarily with criminal records, making it extraordinarily difficult to have fulfilling lives including being able to work and to make other kinds of valuable contributions to their families and society.
The skyrocketing incarceration rate in our country has been an outgrowth of the War on Drugs, which began over thirty years ago and had its roots in a political strategy to gain the votes of disaffected whites, in the wake of a successful Civil Rights struggle. Since outright discrimination on the basis of race was no longer acceptable or legal, an alternative route was to label African-Americans as criminals, thereby opening the door to reintroduce all the same forms of discrimination – in employment, housing, voting rights, and so on.
As the number of incarcerated people in the US grew from 300,000 in the last half of the 20th century to over 2.2 million today, racism continues to fuel the revolving door of our fellow citizens into the criminal justice system. In addition, the system has become big business, employing a growing number of judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and all types of ancillary personnel. Prisons themselves are becoming increasingly privatized, run as money-making corporations which sell shares on the NYSE. In thirty-seven states, prison labor is contracted to major corporations who pay 16 to 28 cents an hour, ensuring astronomical profits.
While the majority of Americans, once educated on the issue, may be persuaded by the injustice of the situation as it affects minority communities and may be horrified by how the one percent is capable of turning anything into a lucrative business, it will take more time and effort to address the concerns of those whose loved ones have suffered from addiction and subsequent incarceration.
The truth is that no one, particularly the most vulnerable dealing with drug addiction, is served by the current system. Those who are susceptible to addiction are even more vulnerable and in need of self-soothing in the face of extreme stress. Why do therefore we respond to their difficulties with a system of incarceration which stresses them to the max and saddles them with second-class citizen status as a ‘felon’ upon release back into their home communities?
A policy of decriminalization, as has been in place in Portugal since 2001, would take the whole issue of drug addiction out of the criminal justice system and make it a civil and public health matter. A panel of three– made up of two individuals with a health background and one with a legal background–would make a determination: is this person’s drug use a problem? If not, perhaps a fine or a warning will suffice. If it is deemed a problem, treatment and rehabilitation are in order. Treatment facilities could easily be funded by resources reallocated from the criminal justice system.
- A new day for the ‘war on drugs’ (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Jason Silverstein: More Treatment, Less War: The White House Drug Policy Reform (huffingtonpost.com)
- 21st Century Drug Policy (propresobama.org)
- Drug Policy Reform In Action: A 21st Century Approach (whitehouse.gov)
- Focusing On Prevention And Neuroscience, President Ends Reagan’s War On Drugs (newsone.com)
With the school system failing them, many children are turning to drugs. Heard this one before, right? Well, how about the part where the pusher is your pediatrician, and the fed is subsidizing?
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
A recent NYT article spot lighted increasing psych diagnoses in children for the purpose of acquiring “brain boosting” pharma creations to increase academic performance. The purpose is to make a child more competitive on a college application, and increase funding for a school district as test scores rise. Children are being force-fed drugs instead of given the attention they need or the freedom to be creative and learn discipline on their own as pharmaceutical “solutions” are abused as steroids for the brain. Worse yet, the behavior is sanctioned by those in authority, who are supposed to advocate for their well-being–their parents, doctors and the federal government…
Education is a highly competitive arena, whether it’s a student vying for a scholarship or admission to their college of choice, or a district teaching to standardized test scores and praying for funding. The Obama administration’s lauded “Race to the Top” initiative even goes so far as making funding an actual competition–schools submit innovative proposals for education reform in an effort to win federal money.
An anonymous California superintendent pontificated that “diagnosis rates of A.D.H.D. have risen as sharply as school funding has declined.” Poor children are being prescribed stimulants at increasing rates, and Medicare is paying the bill. If we are not directly funding public education in this country, we are indirectly doing so in efforts to respond to the problem….
- Athletes and Drug Abuse (ajochum23.wordpress.com)
- Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse by Teens Up 33 Percent, According… (prweb.com)
- Prescription Drug Abuse: Top 10 Things CDC Says You Should Know (pbs.org)
- Reports Show Hospice Saves Medicare Dollars (krextv.com)
- payment cuts and hospice (hospicesupport.wordpress.com)
- $300,000 for Hospice NZ to help improve care (national.org.nz)
- GUEST OPINION: Get acquainted with the value of hospice (tauntongazette.com)
- Hallmark, Where Are The Hospice Cards? (forbes.com)
Originally posted on As Our Parents Age:
When a person is approaching the end of life, we can find no easy answers, no solution that fits every person’s or family’s situation, even when they know a lot about the options available to them.
To illustrate this you will want to read For Hospice Pioneer, Still a Tough Call, by Paula Span at the New York Times New Old Age Blog. She describes the end-of-life period for Paul Brenner, age 73, who spend years organizing and leading hospice organizations around the country. Despite all of this experience, it was still challenging for Mr. Brenner and for his family to engage with hospice.
The first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking victimization by sexual orientation was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey.
The survey also found that bisexual women (61.1 percent) report a higher prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbian (43.8 percent) and heterosexual women (35 percent). Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two -thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.
The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. …
Other key findings include:
- The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
- Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.
CDC will work to create resources to bring attention to these issues within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.
For more information about NISVS, including study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html.
To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS 2010 Summary findings, please visit PreventConnect, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.
- CDC Releases First National Study On Rape And Domestic Violence Based On Sexual Orientation (queerty.com)
- Bisexual Women at Especially High Risk of Sexual Violence, CDC Says (nlm.nih.gov)
- LGB People Experience Domestic Violence at Same Rate as Heterosexuals (advocate.com)
- Domestic violence, rape an issue for gays (vitals.nbcnews.com)
- Bisexual Women Twice As Likely To Be Abused And/Or Raped, Study Says (thoughtcatalog.com)
Originally posted on The Fly:
Come back Mom and Dad
You’re growing apart; you know that I’m growing up sad
I need some attention
I shoot into the light.
- Peter Gabriel, “Family Snapshot”
Purposeless boys are dangerous.
Michael Gurian, in his book The Purpose of Boys (2010), lists some of the effects of the growing population of boys without purpose.
Who Multi-Tasks and Why? Multi-Tasking Ability, Perceived Multi-Tasking Ability, Impulsivity, and Sensation Seeking
The present study examined the relationship between personality and individual differences in multi-tasking ability. Participants enrolled at the University of Utah completed measures of multi-tasking activity, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. In addition, they performed the Operation Span in order to assess their executive control and actual multi-tasking ability.
The findings indicate that the persons who are most capable of multi-tasking effectively are not the persons who are most likely to engage in multiple tasks simultaneously. To the contrary, multi-tasking activity as measured by the Media Multitasking Inventory and self-reported cell phone usage while driving were negatively correlated with actual multi-tasking ability.
Multi-tasking was positively correlated with participants’ perceived ability to multi-task ability which was found to be significantly inflated. Participants with a strong approach orientation and a weak avoidance orientation – high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking – reported greater multi-tasking behavior.
Finally, the findings suggest that people often engage in multi-tasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task. Participants with less executive control – low scorers on the Operation Span task and persons high in impulsivity – tended to report higher levels of multi-tasking activity.
- If You Think You’re Good at Multitasking – You Probably Aren’t (richandco.wordpress.com)
- Study: If You Multitask Often, You’re Impulsive and Bad at Multitasking (theatlantic.com)
- Motorists Overrate Ability To Talk On Cell Phones When Driving (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Think you can multitask? Congratulations, you’re probably living a lie. (io9.com)
Yoga on our minds: The 5,000-year-old Indian practice may have positive effects on major psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, ADHD and sleep complaints
Yoga has positive effects on mild depression and sleep complaints, even in the absence of drug treatments, and improves symptoms associated with schizophrenia and ADHD in patients on medication, according to a systematic review of the exercise on major clinical psychiatric disorders.
Published in the open-access journal, Frontiers in Psychiatry, on January 25th, 2013, the review of more than one hundred studies focusing on 16 high-quality controlled studies looked at the effects of yoga on depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, sleep complaints, eating disorders and cognition problems.
Yoga in popular culture
Yoga is a popular exercise and is practiced by 15.8 million adults in the United States alone, according to a survey by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau, and its holistic goal of promoting psychical and mental health is widely held in popular belief.
“However, yoga has become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become difficult for physicians and patients to differentiate legitimate claims from hype,” wrote the authors in their study. “Our goal was to examine whether the evidence matched the promise.”
Practical ways parents and others can help children in the days, weeks, and months after traumatic events.
From the US National Institute on Mental Health.
Tips are practical and some are arranged by age groups.
An excerpt from the booklet
How Parents Can Help:
After violence or a disaster parents and family should:
- Identify and address their own feelings — this will allow them to help others
- Explain to children what happened
- Let children know:
- You love them
- The event was not their fault
- You will take care of them, but only if you can; be honest
- It’s okay for them to feel upset
- Allow children to cry
- Allow sadness
- Let children talk about feelings
- Let them write about feelings
- Let them draw pictures
- Expect children to be brave or tough
- Make children discuss the event before they are ready
- Get angry if children show strong emotions
- Get upset if they begin:
- Acting out
- If children have trouble sleeping:
- Give them extra attention
- Let them sleep with a light on
- Let them sleep in your room (for a short time)
- Try to keep normal routines (such routines may not be normal for some children):
- Bed-time stories
- Eating dinner together
- Watching TV together
- Reading books, exercising, playing games
- If you can’t keep normal routines, make new ones together
- Help children feel in control:
- Let them choose meals, if possible
- Let them pick out clothes, if possible
- Let them make some decisions for themselves, when possible.
- How to talk with children about the Connecticut shooting, other tragedies (q13fox.com)
- SAMHSA Coping with Violence and Traumatic Events (samhsa.gov)
- How to Cope With Fear After School Shootings (livescience.com)
- NAEYC Tips for Talking to Young Children (drcindysimpson.com)
- Save the Children Offers 10 Tips to Help All Children Cope (5minutesformom.com)
Thinking insecurities lead to sexist attitudes in other realms, including government, religious, and civic organizations….
A new study led by Joshua Hart, assistant professor of psychology, suggests that men’s insecurities about relationships and conflicted views of women as romantic partners and rivals could lead some to adopt sexist attitudes about women…
Hart’s study found that anxiously attached men tend to be ambivalent sexists – both hostile and benevolent – whereas avoidantly attached men typically endorse hostile sexism, while rejecting benevolent sexism.
“In other words, anxious men are likely to alternate between chivalry and hostility toward female partners, acting like a knight in shining armor when she fulfills his goals and ideals about women, but like an ogre when she doesn’t,” Hart explained this month to the Society of Personality and Social Psychology’s web-based news site, Connections. “Avoidant men are likely to show only hostility without any princely protectiveness.”
The survey results also showed that anxiously attached men tend to be romantics at heart who adopt benevolently sexist beliefs, while avoidantly attached men lean toward social dominance. That, in turn, leads them to embrace hostile sexism.
The findings highlight how personality traits could predispose men to be sexists, according to Hart. This information could help couples build stronger relationships, particularly during therapy.
- Delusions of Gender: How Male Insecurity May Lead to Sexist Views (sciencedaily.com)
- The bad news is that gentlemanly behavior makes people happy (aei-ideas.org)
- How to Capture the Heart of a ‘German Female Student’ (andrewhammel.typepad.com)
- When Men on the Left Refuse to See Their Sexism (muslimreverie.wordpress.com)
- That’s not a “response”, Michael, it’s a “denial” (freethoughtblogs.com)
- Big Idea: Let’s Bring Back Gentlemen (or Even Chivalry) (bigthink.com)
- Top Conservative Author Endorses ‘Benevolent Sexism’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Undead sexist cliches: Men are supposed to be heroes, women should just cringe and cry (frasersherman.wordpress.com)
- Death to Chivalry, Long Live Politeness! (jezebel.com)
- A Troubled Response. (thisisntitatall.wordpress.com)
Please do not promote “miracle diets” for the New Year, British Women and Equalities Minister, Jo Swinson has urged magazine editors.
Every year throughout the world, magazines are awash with miracle cure diets that guarantee incredible results after weeks of overindulgence during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Jo Swinson, MP (Member of Parliament) for East Dunbartonshire, says magazine editors must avoid the temptation of falling into the annual diet hype among their New Year resolutions for 2013. The Minister made the request in an open letter to magazine editors.
Swinson urges editors to think twice about the consequences of promoting unrealistic and untested diets on girls and women.
Swinson said “Surely by now we’re all aware that there are no miracle diets or if there are, they are miracles that come with a cost. Given that most diets fail within a very short time, it is irresponsible for magazines to offer ‘tips’ ‘tricks’ and ‘simple steps’ so that people can be thin. Not healthy or vibrant, just thin.”…
- UK News: Magazines warned on new year diets (walesonline.co.uk)
- Magazines warned on new year diets (express.co.uk)
- Minister wants magazine diets axed (bbc.co.uk)
- Minister wants magazine diets axed (oddonion.com)
I think horrific incidents as school shootings are a wake up call to address the root causes of violence and for us to be more compassionate to one another.
Getting tougher on crime is not the answer. On a wider scale, being on constant alert for enemies and preparing for war is not the answer to differences among people.
This is why I find this study so saddening. If only we as humans would use our capabilities more to build, rather than defend.
By holding on, and asserting ownership…in the end, we only lose so much, including our humanity.
Historically, who are most revered? I would venture to say it is the peacemakers..Buddha, Jesus the Christ, and Ghandi to name a few….
From the summary….
The development of technologies to modify natural human physical and cognitive performance is one of increasing interest and concern, especially among military services that may be called on to defeat foreign powers with enhanced warfighter capabilities. Human performance modification (HPM) is a general term that can encompass actions ranging from the use of “natural” materials, such as caffeine or khat as a stimulant, to the application of nanotechnology as a drug delivery mechanism or in an invasive brain implant. Although the literature on HPM typically addresses methods that enhance performance, another possible focus is methods that degrade performance or negatively affect a military force’s ability to fight.
Advances in medicine, biology, electronics, and computation have enabled an increasingly sophisticated ability to modify the human body, and such innovations will undoubtedly be adopted by military forces, with potential consequences for both sides of the battle lines. Although some innovations may be developed for purely military applications, they are increasingly unlikely to remain exclusively in that sphere because of the globalization and internationalization of the commercial research base.
Based on its review of the literature, the presentations it received and on its own expertise, the Committee on Assessing Foreign Technology Development in Human Performance Modification chose to focus on three general areas of HPM: human cognitive modification as a computational problem, human performance modification as a biological problem, and human performance modification as a function of the brain-computer interface. Human Performance Modification: Review of Worldwide Research with a View to the Future summarizes these findings.
- The Human API And The Advent Of The Cybernetic Renaissance (doktorspinn.com)
- U.S. spy agency predicts a very transhuman future by 2030 (io9.com)
- How Science Can Build a Better You (funkensprungnuts.wordpress.com)
- Susanne Posel ~ Transhumanism: How The Elite Plan To Live Forever (shiftfrequency.com)
- News Analysis: How Science Can Build a Better You (nytimes.com)
…”Decent people participate in horrific acts not because they become passive, mindless functionaries who do not know what they are doing, but rather because they come to believe — typically under the influence of those in authority — that what they are doing is right,” Professor Haslam explained.
Professor Reicher, of the University of St Andrews, added that it is not that they were blind to the evil they were perpetrating, but rather that they knew what they were doing, and believed it to be right.”…
- Human obedience: The myth of blind conformity (eurekalert.org)
- Rethinking the Classic ‘Obedience’ Studies (psychologicalscience.org)
- Human Obedience: The Myth of Blind Conformity – followership, results from identifying with authorities who represent vicious acts as virtuous (engineeringevil.com)
- Revisiting Milgram and Zimbardo’s Studies (thesituationist.wordpress.com)
BOSTON, MA—Achieving mindfulness through meditation has helped people maintain a healthy mind by quelling negative emotions and thoughts, such as desire, anger and anxiety, and encouraging more positive dispositions such as compassion, empathy and forgiveness. Those who have reaped the benefits of mindfulness know that it works. But how exactly does it work?
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have proposed a new model that shifts how we think about mindfulness. Rather than describing mindfulness as a single dimension of cognition, the researchers demonstrate that mindfulness actually involves a broad framework of complex mechanisms in the brain.
In essence, they have laid out the science behind mindfulness.
This new model of mindfulness is published in the October 25, 2012 issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The model was recently presented to His Holiness The Dalai Lama in a private meeting, entitled “Mind and Life XXIV: Latest Findings in Contemplative Neuroscience.”
The researchers identified several cognitive functions that are active in the brain during mindfulness practice. These cognitive functions help a person develop self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART) which make up the transformative framework for the mindfulness process.
The S-ART framework explains the underlying neurobiological mechanisms by which mindfulness can facilitate self-awareness; reduce biases and negative thoughts; enhance the ability to regulate one’s behavior; and increase positive, pro-social relationships with oneself and others-all-in-all creating a sustainable healthy mind.
The researchers highlight six neuropsychological processes that are active mechanisms in the brain during mindfulness and which support S-ART. These processes include 1) intention and motivation, 2) attention regulation, 3) emotion regulation, 4) extinction and reconsolidation, 5) pro-social behavior, and 6) non-attachment and de-centering.
In other words, these processes begin with an intention and motivation to want to attain mindfulness, followed by an awareness of one’s bad habits. Once these are set, a person can begin taming him or herself to be less emotionally reactive and to recover faster from upsetting emotions.
“Through continued practice, the person can develop a psychological distance from any negative thoughts and can inhibit natural impulses that constantly fuel bad habits,” said David Vago, PhD, BWH Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, and lead study author.
Vago also states that continued practice can also increase empathy and eliminate our attachments to things we like and aversions to things we don’t like.
“The result of practice is a new You with a new multidimensional skill set for reducing biases in one’s internal and external experience and sustaining a healthy mind,” said Vago.
The S-ART framework and neurobiological model proposed by the researchers differs from current popular descriptions of mindfulness as a way of paying attention, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. With the help of functional MRI, Vago and his team are currently testing the model in humans.
This research was supported by the Mind and Life Institute, Impact Foundation, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (5-R21AT002209-02).
- The Science Behind Good Vibes: How Mindfulness Actually Works (wakingtimes.com)
- 6 benefits of mindfulness which can support the resolution of conflict (westallen.typepad.com)
PTSD – not just a war zone related condition.
The real eye opener was that 2/3 of the survivors were not suffering from this condition according to the parameters of the study.
Note to self: Research factors
One in three former political prisoners of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) still suffers from sleeping disorders, nightmares and irrational fear. Professor Andreas Maercker from the University of Zurich and PD Matthias Schützwohl from Dresden University of Technology reveal these post-traumatic stress disorders in a study — the first to examine the post-traumatic consequences in former political prisoners over a period of 15 years…
…To our surprise, post-traumatic stress disorder is still present in a third of the people studied,” says Professor Maercker, summing up the results. “While some have recovered compared to 15 years ago, in others the stress disorder has only manifested itself in recent years.” In all, such a delayed or recurrent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was apparent in 15 percent. We know from studies from other countries — mostly on prisoners of war or other victims of violence — that delayed or recurrent PTSD exists, albeit to a lesser extent. Maercker and Schützwohl’s study is the first to demonstrate this for former political prisoners. It appears in the journal Nervenarzt and additional analyses are to be published in the English-language journal Torture…
Decline in dependency on addictive substances
Other psychological disorders that former GDR prisoners suffered from decreased during the 15 years. Specific phobias such as claustrophobia were less common, for instance. The number of people addicted to alcohol and medication also fell. However, the number with acute depression quadrupled to 41 percent of those studied last year. At both time points, a more or less equal number suffered from anxiety disorders such as panic disorder (24 percent last year)….
- Traumatic consequences long after fall of the Berlin Wall (medicalxpress.com)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Not Only Members of the Military Affected (maddsuspicions.wordpress.com)
- Ethically Treating the Post-Traumatic Brain (nation.time.com)
- Great Educational Video on PTSD: Introduced by Dr. Barbara Kamholz, MD (jajsamos.wordpress.com)
- Cops with post-traumatic stress disorder ‘deserve respect,’ expert says (metronews.ca)
- Early Altered Resting-State Functional Connectivity Predicts the Severity of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Acutely Traumatized Subjects (plosone.org)
- Trauma switch identified: Mechanism protects our brains from turning stress and trauma into post-traumatic stress disorder (sciencedaily.com)
Please read the entire article, there are many factors that need to be “teased out” in future studies (as the author emphasizes).
A fascinating read, nonetheless.
It’s a common lament among parents: Kids are growing up too fast these days. Parents worry about their kids getting involved in all kinds of risky behavior, but they worry especially about their kids’ forays into sexual relationships. And research suggests that there may be cause for concern, as timing of sexual development can have significant immediate consequences for adolescents’ physical and mental health.
But what about long-term outcomes? How might early sexual initiation affect romantic relationships in adulthood?
Psychological scientist Paige Harden of the University of Texas at Austin wanted to investigate whether the timing of sexual initiation in adolescence might predict romantic outcomes — such as whether people get married or live with their partners, how many romantic partners they’ve had, and whether they’re satisfied with their relationship — later in adulthood…
- Young Porn Users Need Longer To Recover Their Mojo (psychologytoday.com)
- Fathers Matter When It Comes To Their Teenager’s Sexual Behavior (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Ontario slammed for outdated sex ed and mental health curriculum (metronews.ca)
- Does Your Child Have a Mental Health Disorder? (psychologytoday.com)
We might like to think that our judgments are always well thought-out, but research suggests that our moral judgments are often based on intuition. Our emotions seem to drive our intuitions, giving us the gut feeling that something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ In some cases, however, we seem to be able to override these initial reactions.
Matthew Feinberg and colleagues hypothesized that this might be the result of reappraisal, a process by which we dampen the intensity of our emotions by focusing on an intellectual description of why we are experiencing the emotion.
Across several studies, participants read stories describing moral dilemmas involving behaviors participants would probably find disgusting. Participants who reappraised the scenarios logically were less likely to make intuition-based moral judgments. These findings suggest that although our emotional reactions elicit moral intuitions, these emotions can also be regulated.
“In this way,” the researchers write, “we are both slave and master, with the capacity to be controlled by, but also shape, our emotion-laden judgmental processes.”……
- Why Mental Pictures Can Sway Your Moral Judgment (psychologicalscience.org)
- Why Pictures Can Sway Your Moral Judgment (npr.org)
- Inner Conflicts – Which Aspect Prevails? (emotionaldetective.typepad.com)
- The more people rely on their intuitions, the more cooperative they become (sciencedaily.com)
The main reason that misinformation is sticky, according to the researchers, is that rejecting information actually requires cognitive effort. Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true — it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources. If the topic isn’t very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold.
And when we do take the time to thoughtfully evaluate incoming information, there are only a few features that we are likely to pay attention to: Does the information fit with other things I believe in? Does it make a coherent story with what I already know? Does it come from a credible source? Do others believe it?
Misinformation is especially sticky when it conforms to our preexisting political, religious, or social point of view. Because of this, ideology and personal worldviews can be especially difficult obstacles to overcome.
Even worse, efforts to retract misinformation often backfire, paradoxically amplifying the effect of the erroneous belief.
“This persistence of misinformation has fairly alarming implications in a democracy because people may base decisions on information that, at some level, they know to be false,” says Lewandowsky….
In their report, Lewandowsky and colleagues offer some strategies for setting the record straight.
- Provide people with a narrative that replaces the gap left by false information
- Focus on the facts you want to highlight, rather than the myths
- Make sure that the information you want people to take away is simple and brief
- Consider your audience and the beliefs they are likely to hold
- Strengthen your message through repetition
- The Penn State Medical Center Library has a great guide to evaluate health information on the Internet.
The tips include
- Remember, anyone can publish information on the internet!
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If the Web site is primarily about selling a product, the information may be worth checking from another source.
- Look for who is publishing the information and their education, credentials, and if they are connected with a trusted coporation, university or agency.
- Check to see how current the information is.
- Check for accuracy. Does the Web site refer to specific studies or organizations?
The Family Caregiver Alliance has a Web page entitled Evaluating Medical Research Findings and Clinical Trials
- General Guidelines for Evaluating Medical Research
- Getting Information from the Web
- Talking with your Health Care Provider
- Consumer’s Guide to Taking Charge of Health Information (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis)
- How to Evaluate Health Information on the Internet (US National Cancer Institute)9iiu9
- Quackwatch (a private corporation operated by Stephen Barrett, MD)
…And a Rumor Control site of Note (in addition to Quackwatch)National Council Against Health Fraud National Council Against Health Fraud is a nonprofit health agency fousing on health misinformation, fruad, and quackery as public health problems. Links to publications, position papers and more.
- Misinformation: Psychological Science Shows Why It Sticks and How to Fix It (psychologicalscience.org)
- Why misinformation sticks (indiavision.com)
- Misinformation: Psychological Science Shows Why It Sticks and How to Fix It (tricitypsychology.com)
- Misinformation and Its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing (psychologicalscience.org)
- Why Misinformation Sticks and Corrections Can Backfire (healthland.time.com)
- New study analyzes why people are resistant to correcting misinformation, offers solutions (ns.umich.edu)
It seems there is still debate (see related articles).
One in every two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers remains undiagnosed. This is the conclusion reached by a working group led by Hans-Ulrich Wittchen et al. They report their study in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; 109(35): 559), which is a special issue focusing on the prevalence of psychological stress in German army soldiers. In a second original article, results reported by Jens T Kowalski and colleagues show that more female soldiers contact the psychosocial support services provided by Germany’s armed forces than their male colleagues (Dtsch Arztbl Int 2012; 109 (35): 559).
Wittchen et al. draw attention to the fact that thus far no information has been available on how commonly soldiers have traumatic experiences during deployments to Afghanistan and develop PSTD. In their study, 85% of all soldiers deployed overseas reported at least one distressing event, but usually several such events. Overseas deployment is associated with twice or four times the risk of PTSD for soldiers. In international comparison, the prevalence of PTSD is notably lower in German soldiers, at 2.9%, than in soldiers from other countries who are deployed in the same regions. However, the estimated proportion of undiagnosed and untreated cases of PTSD is 45%.
Kowalski et al. explain that it is not only Afghanistan from where soldiers return in a traumatized state but also Kosovo. The number of Kosovo returnees with mental problems in their study increased significantly compared to the number of traumatized soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The study is based on hospital data of all German army psychiatric wards; these data evaluated the psychiatric morbidities between January 2010 through June 2011. The most common diagnoses were adjustment disorders, PSTD, and mild and moderate depressive episodes.
Accompanying Editorial: http://www.aerzteblatt.de/pdf.asp?id=128486
- For Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, War Is Not Necessarily The Cause (medicalnewstoday.com)
- DoD and VA to Fund $100 Million PTSD and TBI Study (thecommunicatorwv.wordpress.com)
- PTSD may play role in soldier’s defense at murder trial (gazette.com)
- War is not necessarily the cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (sciencedaily.com)
- Not enough military staff to fight PTSD among returning soldiers: ombudsman (theglobeandmail.com)
- ‘I have PTSD … So what?’ Army veteran’s essay resonates (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (iaoptsdblog.com)
After reading this article a few questions come to mind.
Has this kind of violence always occurred, and is only now being studied more closely in the past?
Are more people becoming increasingly desensitized to violence through depiction in the media? and being violent (including verbally) without realizing the consequences?
Should dating be discouraged in people under 16 ? Should they be encouraged to socialize with others in the younger teen years rather than date in order to learn how to communicate, respect one another, and develop as individuals?
Do people (especially girls, young women) have too high expectations of dating? Do they expect a boy or young man to fill needs best met by families/parents?
On a related note, about a year ago I was on our courthouse grounds for a few hours. I was participating in a local peace group’s display of the cost of the Iraq war. A couple walked by, and the young man (late teens/early 20′s) was pushing the young woman he was walking with and calling her names. Although both were smiling, it seemed like it was escalating. I stepped in, not boldly, and tried to get him to stop through words. Forgot what I said. He didn’t really stop, but at least it did not get any worse.
On reflection, the relationship seemed to be based more on ownership than mutual love. So sad.
Overall, nearly two-thirds of both men and women reported some type of abuse during their teenage years, which falls in line with other studies.
But it was surprising how many teen victims had two or more abusive partners, said Amy Bonomi, lead author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.
“For about one in three teens who were abused, it wasn’t just one bad boyfriend or girlfriend. It may have been at least the start of a trend,” Bonomi said.
The same patterns were not seen in similar population-based studies of adults, who tend to report abuse by a single partner, she said….
One argument that violence researchers often hear is that behaviors like name-calling and insults aren’t serious enough to be called abuse. But that’s not true, Bonomi said.
“Studies in adults have shown that psychological abuse alone can be damaging to health,” she said. She is currently studying whether the same is true for adolescents….
Some types of dating violence tended to occur at earlier ages than others, the study found. For females reporting dating violence, controlling behavior tended to occur early, with 44 percent reporting it between the ages of 13 and 15. For males, 13 to 15 was the most common age range for the first occurrence of put-downs and name-calling (60 percent).
Pressure to have sex was more likely to start at later ages, from 16 to 17 for women.
Bonomi said it was significant that college students were reporting this level of abuse as teens.
“There’s a common belief in our society that dating violence only affects low-income and disadvantaged teens. But these results show that even relatively privileged kids, who are on their way to college, can be victims.”
The results also call for better education in our elementary schools.
“Many of these kids are getting in relationships early, by the age of 13,” Bonomi said. “We need to help them learn about healthy relationships and how to set sexual boundaries. It shouldn’t just be one class session — it needs to be a routine discussion in school.”
- Teen Dating Violence (politicalsocialworker.wordpress.com)
- What’s Behind All The Violence In America Today? (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
“The reality untaught in American schools and textbooks is that war — whether on a large or small scale — and domestic violence have been pervasive in American life and culture from this country’s earliest days almost 400 years ago. Violence, in varying forms,according to the leading historian of the subject, Richard Maxwell Brown, “has accompanied virtually every stage and aspect of our national experience,” and is “part of our unacknowledged (underground) value structure.” Indeed, “repeated episodes of violence going far back into our colonial past, have imprinted upon our citizens a propensity to violence.”Thus, America demonstrated a national predilection for war and domestic violence long before the 9/11 attacks, but its leaders and intellectuals through most of the last century cultivated the national self-image, a myth, of America as a moral, “peace-loving” nation which the American population seems unquestioningly to have embraced. But the Reality tells different story.”
Take dating violence, for example. Emily Rothman, associate professor at Boston University School of Public Health recently, published a study on dating violence among teenagers in December of 2010 in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She surveyed around 1,500 students from the Boston area. Rothman found that:
… Nearly 19% of students reported physically abusing a romantic partner in the past month, including pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, kicking or choking. Nearly 43% reported verbally abusing their partner, cursing at them or calling them fat, ugly, stupid or some other insult.”
- Domestic Violence — Break the Cycle (womensphilanthropy.typepad.com)
- Campaign against teen dating violence is launched (mysanantonio.com)
- Teen dating violence: no school protocol for reporting/counseling (californiaschildren.typepad.com)
- U.S. High Schools Lax in Preventing Dating Abuse (nlm.nih.gov)
- Wear Your R-E-S-P-E-C-T (fabsugar.com)
- Most U.S. Schools Do Not Train Staff in Preventing Dating Violence Among Teens (healthychildren.org)
- Boston advises teens on how to break up _ safely (sacbee.com)
- Teenage victims of domestic violence targeted as definition is extended (guardian.co.uk)
So many acts in our daily lives – refusing that second slice of cake, walking past the store with the latest gadgets, working on your tax forms when you’d rather watch TV – seem to boil down to one essential ingredient: self-control. Self-control is what enables us to maintain healthy habits, save for a rainy day, and get important things done.
But what is self-control, really? And how does it work?
In a new article in the September 2012 issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers Michael Inzlicht of the University of Toronto and Brandon Schmeichel of Texas A&M University argue that the prevailing model of self-control may not be as precise as researchers once thought. Rather than being a limited resource, self-control may actually be more like a motivation- and attention-driven process.
Research on self-control has surged in the last decade and much of it has centered on the resource model of self-control. According to this model, originally proposed by Roy Baumeister and colleagues, self-control is a limited resource – if we exercise a lot of self-control by refusing a second slice of cake, we may not have enough self-control later in the day to resist the urge to shop or watch TV.
Over 100 papers have produced findings that support this model. Research has found, for example, that people who are required to manage their emotions show impaired performance on later tasks, such as solving a difficult puzzle, squeezing a handgrip exerciser, and keeping items in working memory.
But Inzlicht and Schmeichel point out that a newer crop of studies are yielding results that don’t fit with this idea of self-control as a depletable resource. Recent studies have shown that incentives, individual perceptions of task difficulty, personal beliefs about willpower, feedback on task performance, and changes in mood all seem to influence our ability to exercise self-control. These results suggest that self-control may not rely on a limited resource after all.
To accommodate these new findings and get at the mechanisms that underlie self-control, Inzlicht and Schmeichel propose an alternative model that describes self-control as a process involving motivation and attention.
“Engaging in self-control by definition, is hard work; it involves deliberation, attention, and vigilance,” the authors write. If we resist that second slice of cake, we may experience a shift in motivation so that we feel justified in indulging ourselves later on. It’s not necessarily the case that we can’t control ourselves because we’re “out” of self-control but rather that we choose not to control ourselves any longer.
At the same time, our attention shifts so that we’re less likely to notice cues that signal the need for self-control (cake = empty calories) and we pay more attention to cues that signal some kind of reward (cake = delicious treat).
In laying out the basic components of this process model, Inzlicht and Schmeichel want to motivate researchers to ask critical questions about how self-control really works. “The idea that self-control is a resource is one possibility, but there are alternative possibilities that can accommodate more of the accumulated data,” Inzlicht says.
Identifying the mechanisms that underlie self-control can help us to understand behaviors related to a wide range of important problems, including obesity, impulsive spending, gambling, and drug abuse. Inzlicht and Schmeichel hope that researchers will ultimately be able to use this knowledge to design effective m..
- Self-Control May Not Be a Limited Resource After All (psychologicalscience.org)
- Self-control may not be a limited resource after all (sott.net)
- Self-control may not be a limited resource after all (medicalxpress.com)
- Favorite TV reruns may have restorative powers, says UB researcher (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Eat Dessert First? It Might Help You Control Your Diet, University of Minnesota Study (biospace.com)
- Science shows that self-discipline taxes the soul (iijiij.com)
IMAGE: Derrick’s findings may dispel some notions that watching TV is bad for us.Click here for more information.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — We hear all the time that we need to get off the couch, stop watching TV and get moving.
But what if watching TV under specific conditions could actually provide the mental boost you need to tackle a difficult task?
A new paper that describes two studies by Jaye Derrick, PhD, research scientist at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, found that watching a rerun of a favorite TV show may help restore the drive to get things done in people who have used up their reserves of willpower or self-control.
“People have a limited pool of these valuable mental resources,” explains Derrick. “When they use them on a task, they use up some of this limited resource. Therefore, they have less willpower and self-control for the next task.
“With enough time, these mental resources will return. However, there may be ways to more quickly restore them.”
One of these ways is to re-watch your favorite TV show, Derrick’s research found. Doing so, she says, taps into the surrogate relationship people form with the characters in their favorite shows. We find it comforting, mainly because we already know what the characters are going to say and do. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy it.
“When you watch a favorite re-run, you typically don’t have to use any effort to control what you are thinking, saying or doing. You are not exerting the mental energy required for self-control or willpower,” Derrick explains. “At the same time, you are enjoying your ‘interaction,’ with the TV show’s characters, and this
- Favorite TV Reruns May Have Restorative Powers, says UB Researcher (engineeringevil.com)
- TV reruns can boost your willpower (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Need willpower? Watch your favorite TV rerun (futurity.org)
- Favorite TV Reruns May Have Restorative Powers (scienceblog.com)
- Favorite TV reruns may have restorative powers (chimac.net)
- Watching reruns can actually help restore willpower (io9.com)
- Rewind, repeat: Why watching re-runs of old TV shows can be good for your health (dailymail.co.uk)
- Watching TV Reruns May Actually Be Good For You (neatorama.com)
- Favorite TV reruns may have restorative powers, says UB researcher (eurekalert.org)
- Watching Your Favorite TV Show Can Boost Your Willpower (psychologytoday.com)
From KevinMD.com article by SUSAN BIALI, MD on September 9th, 2012
A few weeks ago I was brought in to speak to the staff of a local university. I gave a two hour workshop, which is even more fun for me than giving a keynote as I get to interact personally with the audience and draw their stories out. One of the sections of the workshop was about listening to your body. Every person’s body “speaks” to them in a different way; it’s important to pay attention to and learn to understand and interpret your body’s language.
When your life is off track, your body will let you know. It starts small, whispering to you through minor ailments such as suddenly developing a rash like eczema, or getting mild tension headaches. If you don’t pay attention and make adjustments it will get louder. You might start catching every cold that’s around, or end up with pneumonia.
This isn’t to say that you necessarily caused any and every medical condition you might end up with; there will always be some health situations that we have no explanation for. Yet there’s no question that when you’re out of balance in your life it’s perceived by your body as a stressor, and that can lead to all kinds of secondary consequences (and physical alarm bells). It’s essential to pay attention to this.
While speaking at that university, I asked the audience members if they had any examples of a time their body let them know that something in their life had to change. A small, pleasant-faced woman raised her hand.
“I got diabetes,” she told us. “There’s absolutely no history of it in our family. It was purely due to stress.”
Chronic excess stress could trigger diabetes in a variety of ways: reaching for sugary snacks or other poor food choices to temporarily calm and comfort; lack of time to exercise and maintain a healthy weight; being chronically sleep-deprived (even brief sleep deprivation triggers a pre-diabetic state); or having constantly elevated stress hormones that raise blood sugar.
I asked her what the circumstances were that had made her life so stressful.
“I’m a victim of the sandwich generation,” she said. “I was taking care of my kids, my parents, and everybody else. When I got diagnosed with diabetes, I knew something had to change. I was the person who everyone else came to for Thanksgiving, Christmas, everything. The year I got my diagnosis I told them that if they wanted to eat turkey they could make it themselves, I wasn’t lifting a finger. They didn’t like it at first, but I had no choice. Everything’s so much better now. I made lots of positive changes that were way overdue, and my blood sugar has gone back to normal.”
- Is Getting Sick the Way You Say “No”? (psychologytoday.com)
- 4 Things That Help Stress (& 5 That Make It Worse) (refreshingnews99.blogspot.com)
“Give sorrow words.” – Malcolm in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”
Can simply describing your feelings at stressful times make you less afraid and less anxious?
A new UCLA psychology study suggests that labeling your emotions at the precise moment you are confronting what you fear can indeed have that effect.
The psychologists asked 88 people with a fear of spiders to approach a large, live tarantula in an open container outdoors. The participants were told to walk closer and closer to the spider and eventually touch it if they could.
The subjects were then divided into four groups and sat in front of another tarantula in a container in an indoor setting. In the first group, the subjects were asked to describe the emotions they were experiencing and to label their reactions to the tarantula – saying, for example, “I’m anxious and frightened by the ugly, terrifying spider.”
“This is unique because it differs from typical procedures in which the goal is to have people think differently about the experience – to change their emotional experience or change the way they think about it so that it doesn’t make them anxious,” said Michelle Craske, a professor of psychology at UCLA and the senior author of the study. “Here, there was no attempt to change their experience, just to state what they were experiencing.” …
- That giant tarantula is terrifying, but I’ll touch it: Expressing your emotions can reduce fear (sciencedaily.com)
- That Giant Tarantula Is Terrifying, but I’ll Touch It (zen-haven.dk)
- Expressing Your Emotions Can Reduce Fear (sott.net)
- ‘That Giant Tarantula Is Terrifying, but I’ll Touch It’ – Expressing Your Emotions Can Reduce Fear (psychologicalscience.org)
- That giant tarantula is terrifying, but I’ll touch it (universityofcalifornia.edu)
- That giant tarantula is terrifying, but I’ll touch it (eurekalert.org)
- Speaking Out Your Fears Helps You Face Them (techie-buzz.com)
- How To Live Fearlessly (psychologicalscience.org)
- Fear, Spiders and the Perception of Threat (psmag.com)
Increased levels of depression as a result of discrimination could contribute to low birth weight babies.
Given the well-documented relationship between low birth weight and the increased risk of health problems throughout one’s lifespan, it is vital to reduce any potential contributors to low birth weight. A new study by Valerie Earnshaw and her colleagues from Yale University sheds light on one possible causal factor. Their findings, published online in Springer’s journal, theAnnals of Behavioral Medicine, suggest that chronic, everyday instances of discrimination against pregnant, urban women of color may play a significant role in contributing to low birth weight babies.
Twice as many black women give birth to low birth weight babies than white or Latina women in the U.S. Reasons for this disparity are, as yet, unclear. But initial evidence suggests a link may exist between discrimination experienced while pregnant and the incidence of low birth weight. In addition, experiences of discrimination have also been linked to depression, which causes physiological changes that can have a negative effect on a pregnancy…
Levels of everyday discrimination reported were generally low. However, the impact of discrimination was the same in all the participants regardless of age, ethnicity or type of discrimination reported. Women reporting greater levels of discrimination were more prone to depressive symptoms, and ultimately went on to have babies with lower birth weights than those reporting lower levels of discrimination. This has implications for healthcare providers who work with pregnant teens and young women during the pre-natal period, while they have the opportunity to try and reduce the potential impacts discrimination on the pregnancy.
The authors conclude that “Given the associations between birth weight and health across the life span, it is critical to reduce discrimination directed at urban youth of color so that all children are able to begin life with greater promise for health. In doing so, we have the possibility to eliminate disparities not only in birth weight, but in health outcomes across the lifespan.”
- Study finds racism may harm pregnant women of color and cause low birth weight in newborns (thegrio.com)
- The effects of discrimination could last a lifetime (eurekalert.org)
- The effects of discrimination could last a lifetime (whitenewsnow.com)
- Increased risk of prematurity and low birth weight in babies born after 3 or more abortions (eurekalert.org)
- Health News: Maternity leave delay as dangerous to unborn baby as smoking (dailyrecord.co.uk)
Reliance on supernatural explanations for major life events, such as death and illness, often increases rather than declines with age, according to a new psychology study from The University of Texas at Austin.
The study, published in the June issue of Child Development, offers new insight into developmental learning.
“As children assimilate cultural concepts into their intuitive belief systems — from God to atoms to evolution — they engage in coexistence thinking,” said Cristine Legare, assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study. “When they merge supernatural and scientific explanations, they integrate them in a variety of predictable and universal ways.”..
According to the findings, participants of all age groups agreed with biological explanations for at least one event. Yet supernatural explanations such as witchcraft were also frequently supported among children (ages 5 and up) and universally among adults.
Among the adult participants, only 26 percent believed the illness could be caused by either biology or witchcraft. And 38 percent split biological and scientific explanations into one theory. For example: “Witchcraft, which is mixed with evil spirits, and unprotected sex caused AIDS.” However, 57 percent combined both witchcraft and biological explanations. For example: “A witch can put an HIV-infected person in your path.”
Legare said the findings contradict the common assumption that supernatural beliefs dissipate with age and knowledge.
“The findings show supernatural explanations for topics of core concern to humans are pervasive across cultures,” Legare said. “If anything, in both industrialized and developing countries, supernatural explanations are frequently endorsed more often among adults than younger children.”
The results provide evidence that reasoning about supernatural phenomena is a fundamental and enduring aspect of human thinking, Legare said.
“The standard assumption that scientific and religious explanations compete should be re-evaluated in light of substantial psychological evidence,” Legare said. “The data, which spans diverse cultural contexts across the lifespan, shows supernatural reasoning is not necessarily replaced with scientific explanations following gains in knowledge, education or technology.”
- People Merge Supernatural and Scientific Beliefs When Reasoning With the Unknown, Study Shows (yubanet.com)
- Supernatural Beliefs Increase with Age, Study Finds (sciencedaily.com)
- To make magic ritual work: Add steps. Repeat. (futurity.org)
- People are more likely to believe in magic spells that are repetitious and time-consuming [Psychology] (io9.com)
- Legare and Souza’s “Evaluating Ritual Efficacy” (danharms.wordpress.com)
- Study Shows Repetitious, Time-Intensive Magical Rituals Considered More Effective (medicalnewstoday.com)
Gratefulness could be the best way to happiness and to avoid child’s mental health problems in case of a pathogenic infancy. In France our psychologists developed the concept of resilience. Anglo-Saxon world put the accent on gratefulness as a tool for resilience, paving the way for the happening of a state of mind conducive to happiness. Listen to how Nancy Floy, an acupuncturist from Chicago, got through a very difficult childhood thank to her grand mother’s teaching of gratefulness for yet being still alive after a night of alcoholic chaos perpetrated by her own genitors.
Gratefulness is a very good way of conducting once life, don’t you think? Anyway my three dogs already behave according to this precept: they manifest energetically their joy, eyes full of gratefulness whatever the littlest good I do for them (like for example just giving them a little cup of water when they are thirsty, or appearing in the evening after a full day of absence, nothing more than that makes them very happy
Thanks to the media HUMANKIND for broadcasting such interesting programs.
- The Top 10 Habits of Grateful People…Even In Tough Times (lifehack.org)
- Being Grateful (wordznerd.wordpress.com)
Apply folk wisdom to your family practice patients (How to turn unsolicited advice into positive communication!)12
Great article on communication/relationship skills.
It shows how to show you value advice on your own terms.
This reminds me of a scene in Gone With the Wind. Rhett takes baby Bonnie for a walk in her baby carriage. He passes two older women and asks for their advice on breaking the child’s habit of thumb sucking. Although the advice does not seem good, Rhett smiles and thanks them profusely. After Rhett departs, the women talk amongst themselves what a wonderful father Rhett is.
Late in my family practice residency – and very early in my parenting career – I had mentioned the persistent and sometimes uncomfortably intrusive suggestions offered by my mother and mother-in-law. One of our faculty, a seasoned pediatrician and parent, made the suggestion that I call both sets of grandparents regularly and ask for advice. He pointed out that their motivation (to be helpful and involved) was beyond reproach and that they probably had valuable insights to offer, if I could just reframe it to protect my own need to be autonomous and masterful. It worked like magic. The unsolicited advice nearly disappeared – and I learned a great deal from our conversations. The grandparents felt needed. I benefitted. And so did my kids.
Over the years, I have found it a valuable life strategy, and it comes up fairly frequently in practice:
- I tell all new parents at my first opportunity that they should each call their in-laws regularly to discuss parenting concerns and ask for suggestions, pointing out that the investment in making them feel like a valued contributor will pay huge dividends over time, and making sure that they realize that asking for advice will make it easier to ignore it.
- I suggest to parents that they play various versions of the “what if” game with their kids, getting the kids to help decide how best to set rules, reward success, and punish transgressions.
- I tell young adults starting a marriage (or other long term relationship – times have changed) that they should make a point of asking their partner’s opinion and advice often and sincerely, to build a comfortable platform of sharing.
- I suggest proactive questions and requests for feedback when I see people with job stresses.
- When patients are diagnosed with a serious illness for which others will be directing their care (cancer, degenerative neurologic disease), I tell them we are going to be proactive rather than reactive, and schedule regular appointments to discuss their progress and concerns. This makes sure that they understand I want to remain involved, and I avoid having to deal with crises and questions in a vacuum. (Since we often have a long term relationship, I also find that they need to have me tell them the same things the specialist has said to understand it and believe it.)
- When patients reach an age and health status where they are declining and vulnerable, I suggest that we schedule regular visits to talk about how things have gone and what problems we might expect, rather than waiting to things to go wrong.
Psychotherapy is effective, helps reduce the overall need for health services and produces long-term health improvements, according to a review of research studies conducted by the American Psychological Association.
Yet, the use of psychotherapy to treat people with mental and behavioral health issues decreased over the last decade while the use of medications to address such problems has increased, according to government and insurance industry data.
“Every day, consumers are bombarded with ads that tout drugs as the answer to their problems. Our goal is to help consumers weigh those messages with research-based information about how psychotherapy can provide them with safe, effective and long-lasting improvements in their mental and physical health,” said Melba J. T. Vazquez, PhD, past president of the American Psychological Association who led the psychotherapy effectiveness review project…
The resolution also states Key findings of the resolution:
• Research demonstrates that psychotherapy is effective for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues and across a spectrum of population groups. The average effects of psychotherapy are larger than the effects produced by many medical treatments.
• Large multi-site and meta-analytic studies have demonstrated that psychotherapy reduces disability, morbidity and mortality; improve work functioning; and decrease psychiatric hospitalization.
• Psychotherapy teaches patients life skills that last beyond the course of treatment. The results of psychotherapy tend to last longer than psychopharmacological treatments and rarely produce harmful side effects
• While medication is appropriate in some instances, research shows that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often most effective in treating depression and anxiety. It should also be noted that the effects produced by psychotherapy, including those for different age groups and across a spectrum of mental and physical health disorders, are often comparable to or better than the effects produced by drug treatments for the same disorders without the potential for harmful side effects that drugs often carry.
“As Americans grapple with the ever-increasing cost of health care, it is important that consumers and those who make decisions about health care access understand the potential value in both improved outcomes and cost-saving of psychotherapies,” Vasquez said. “APA applauds and continues to support collaboration of psychologists with other health care providers as part of integrated health care teams. Psychotherapies are highly effective, but only when consumers have access to them.”
- Psychotherapy is effective, but not used enough in many health situations (examiner.com)
- 8 Reasons to Cheer for Psychotherapy and to Broaden Its Availability (psychologytoday.com)
- Should Psychotherapy Notes Be a Part of Your Electronic… (psychcentral.com)
- Managed Behavioral Health Care Just May Shorten Your Life (forbes.com)
- DSM-IV: Depression Defined (everydayhealth.com)
- Psychiatrists Who Do Psychotherapy: Vanishing Breed? (jajsamos.wordpress.com)
- The Impact of Loss on the Therapeutic Relationship in Therapist-Initiated Termination (udini.proquest.com)
- Phone-Based Psychotherapy Helps Depression, at Least in the Short Term (healthland.time.com)
- Hothouse Psychotherapy (psychologytoday.com)
Parents get physical with their misbehaving children in public much more than they show in laboratory experiments and acknowledge in surveys, according to one of the first real-world studies of caregiver discipline.
The study, led by Michigan State University’s Kathy Stansbury, found that 23 percent of youngsters received some type of “negative touch” when they failed to comply with a parental request in public places such as restaurants and parks. Negative touch included arm pulling, pinching, slapping and spanking…
..Stansbury said another surprising finding was that male caregivers touched the children more during discipline settings than female caregivers – and the majority of the time it was in a positive manner. Positive touch included hugging, tickling and patting.
She said this positive approach contradicts the age-old stereotype of the father as the parent who lays down the law.
“When we think of Dad, we think of him being the disciplinarian, and Mom as nurturer, but that’s just not what we saw,” Stansbury said. “I do think that we are shifting as a society and fathers are becoming more involved in the daily mechanics of raising kids, and that’s a good thing for the kids and also a good thing for the dads.”
Ultimately, positive touch caused the children to comply more often, more quickly and with less fussing than negative touch, or physical punishment, Stansbury said. When negative touch was used, even when children complied, they often pouted or sulked afterward, she said.
“If your child is upset and not minding you and you want to discipline them, I would use a positive, gentle touch,” Stansbury said. “Our data found that negative touch didn’t work.”
- Getting Physical With Unruly Kids (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Spanking, Hitting Kids in Public Surprisingly Common, Study Finds (livescience.com)
- Nearly 1 in 4 kids gets physical rebuke in public (futurity.org)
- Parents get physical with unruly kids, study finds (sciencedaily.com)
- Spanking, Hitting Kids in Public Surprisingly Common, Study Finds (sott.net)
- Researchers surprised to see parents hit kids in public (cbsnews.com)
- Nearly 1 in 4 kids gets physical rebuke in public (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Publicly Spanking Kids Might Still Be Way Too Common [Parenting] (jezebel.com)
- Can spanking cause mental illness? (cnn.com)
- Study explores parents ‘negative touch’ – New York Daily News (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
First-time mothers who pay attention to their emotional and physical changes during their pregnancy may feel better and have healthier newborns than new mothers who don’t, according to research to be presented at American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention.
“These findings continue more than 40 years of research that has made clear that whether you are mindless or mindful makes a big difference in every aspect of your health and well-being — from competence to longevity,” Ellen Langer, professor of psychology at Harvard University and a pioneer in researching mindfulness, said in an interview. Langer is a past recipient of APA’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest.
For Langer’s recent study, researchers trained women pregnant with their first child in mindfulness with instructions to notice subtle changes in their feelings and physical sensations each day, she said. When compared with two other groups of first-time pregnant mothers who did not have the mindfulness training, these women reported more well-being and positive feelings and less emotional distress. “They had higher self-esteem and life satisfaction during this period of their pregnancy and up to at least a month after birth,” Langer said. “And this also had a positive impact on their deliveries and overall health of the newborns.”
“Noticing even subtle fluctuations in how you feel can counter mindlessness, or the illusion of stability. We tend to hold things still in our minds, despite the fact that all the while they are changing. If we open up our minds, a world of possibility presents itself,” she said.
Author of the popular books “Mindfulness,” “The Power of Mindful Learning,” “On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity,” and most recently, “Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,” Langer is known for her work on the illusion of control, aging, decision-making and mindfulness theory.
In her lecture, Langer will describe her research to test possibilities rather than find out what is typical. “Psychologists have traditionally studied the ‘norm’ rather than exceptions that could show that we are capable of far more than we currently realize,” she said. Among other research, she will describe her work showing how a change in mindset has resulted in weight loss and improved vision and hearing, and how subtle differences in choice of words can improve health.
Langer first demonstrated the psychology of possibilities in her landmark 1981 “counterclockwise” experiment in which a group of elderly men spent time immersed in a retreat created to reflect daily life in the 1950s and where they were told to speak of the past in the present tense. Men in a comparison group reminisced for the week and were given no instructions regarding verb tense. The experimental group showed greater improvement in vision, strength, joint flexibility, finger length (their arthritis diminished and they could straighten their fingers more) and manual dexterity. On intelligence tests, 63 percent of the experimental group improved their scores, compared to 44 percent of the control group, Langer said.
BBC television recently replicated the study with British celebrities in a program that has been viewed in Great Britain, Australia, India and Hong Kong. It’s currently being replicated with local celebrities in Germany and the Netherlands, Langer said.
“It is important for people to realize there can be enhanced possibilities for people of all ages and all walks of life,” Langer emphasized. “My research has shown how using a different word, offering a small choice or making a subtle change in the physical environment can improve our health and well-being. Small changes can make large differences, so we should open ourselves to the impossible and embrace a psychology of possibility.”
- Mindfulness: Psychology Of Possibilities Can Enhance Health, Happiness (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Mindfulness Training Boosts Health of Pregnant Women and Their Babies (sciencedaily.com)
- Mindsight: the new science of personal transformation? (psychologytoday.com)
- Psychology of possibilities can enhance health, happiness, research says (eurekalert.org)
- Put Positive Psychology to Work for You (psychologytoday.com)
Many people, whether they know it or not, are philosophical dualists. That is, they believe that the brain and the mind are two separate entities. Despite the fact dualist beliefs are found in virtually all human cultures, surprisingly little is known about the impact of these beliefs on how we think and behave in everyday life. ..
…Across five related studies, researchers Matthias Forstmann, Pascal Burgmer, and Thomas Mussweiler of the University of Cologne, Germany, found that people primed with dualist beliefs had more reckless attitudes toward health and exercise, and also preferred (and ate) a less healthy diet than those who were primed with physicalist beliefs.
Furthermore, they found that the relationship also worked in the other direction. People who were primed with unhealthy behaviors – such as pictures of unhealthy food – reported a stronger dualistic belief than participants who were primed with healthy behaviors.
Overall, the findings from the five studies provide converging evidence demonstrating that mind-body dualism has a noticeable impact on people’s health-related attitudes and behaviors. Specifically, these findings suggest that dualistic beliefs decrease the likelihood of engaging in healthy behavior.
These findings support the researchers’ original hypothesis that the more people perceive their minds and bodies to be distinct entities, the less likely they will be to engage in behaviors that protect their bodies. Bodies are ultimately viewed as a disposable vessel that helps the mind interact with the physical world.
Evidence of a bidirectional relationship further suggests that metaphysical beliefs, such as beliefs in mind-body dualism, may serve as cognitive tools for coping with threatening or harmful situations.
The fact that the simple priming procedures used in the studies had an immediate impact on health-related attitudes and behavior suggests that these procedures may eventually have profound implications for real-life problems. Interventions that reduce dualistic beliefs through priming could be one way to help promote healthier – or less self-damaging – behaviors in at-risk populations.
- Mind vs. Body? Dualist Beliefs Linked with Less Concern for Healthy Behaviors (prn.fm)
- Mind vs. body? Dualist beliefs linked with less concern for healthy behaviors (sciencedaily.com)
- Mind vs. Body? Dualist Beliefs Linked with Less Concern for Healthy Behaviors (psychologicalscience.org)
- Mind vs. Body? Dualist Beliefs Linked with Less Concern for Healthy Behaviors (sott.net)
- Mind vs. body? Dualist beliefs linked with less concern for healthy behaviors (medicalxpress.com)
- Mind vs. body? Dualist beliefs linked with less concern for healthy behaviors (eurekalert.org)