Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Reducing work-family conflicts in the workplace helps people to sleep better | EurekAlert! Science News

Reducing work-family conflicts in the workplace helps people to sleep better | EurekAlert! Science News.

From the 26 January 2015 press release

New York, NY, January 26, 2015 — A multi-institution team of sleep researchers recently found that workers who participated in an intervention aimed at reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities slept an hour more each week and reported greater sleep sufficiency than those who did not participate in the intervention. Their study is published inSleep Health, Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

“Increasing family-supportive supervision and employee control over work time benefited the sleep of hundreds of employees, and even greater effects may be possible if sleep is overtly addressed in workplace interventions,” explained lead author Ryan Olson, PhD, of Oregon Health & Science University. “The Work, Family, and Health Network Study intervention was designed to reduce work-family conflict. It did not directly address sleep, yet sleep benefits were observed.”

The invention focused on the U.S. employees of an information technology firm. Groups of randomly selected managers and employees participated in a three-month, social and organizational change process that included interactive sessions with facilitated discussions, role-playing, and games. Managers were also trained in family supportive supervision and self-monitored how they applied the training on the job. Data were collected through qualitative interviews 12 months after the intervention was introduced and by actigraphy, the measurement of individuals’ sleeping and waking patterns using a monitor attached to participants’ wrists. Actigraphy measures of sleep quality and quantity were taken at the beginning of the intervention, to establish baseline measures for participants, and 12 months after the intervention. Each of the 474 participants’ activity recordings were evaluated by two scorers, who identified periods of sleep relative to each participant’s waking activities.

“I applaud the methodological rigor of Olson and colleagues’ approach to assessing the Work, Family, and Health Network Study’s effect on the sleep duration and quality of a real world population,” commented Dr. Lauren Hale, Editor-in-Chief of Sleep Health. “This study demonstrates that interventions unrelated to sleep can improve sleep in the population. Furthermore, these findings serve as a reminder that there are opportunities to deploy innovative interventions to improve sleep.”

The authors had hypothesized that both sleep duration and insomnia would be improved in the study’s twelfth month; secondarily, they hypothesized that any improvement in sleep quality and duration would be mediated by employees’ enhanced control over their work time and reduced work-family conflict assessed at the sixth month after baseline. Researchers created a statistical mediation model that accounted for the multiple temporal aspects of actigraphic sleep data and participant characteristics.

“Here we showed that an intervention focused on changing the workplace culture could increase the measured amount of sleep employees obtain, as well as their perception that their sleep was more sufficient,” noted lead investigator Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD, Pennsylvania State University (with secondary appointments at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital). “Work can be a calling and inspirational, as well as a paycheck, but work should not be detrimental to health. It is possible to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of work by reducing work-family conflict, and improving sleep.”

Digicorp workplace

Digicorp workplace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Health News Items, Medical and Health Research News, Psychiatry, Psychology, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

They Are Not All Monsters –Dr. Nancy Irwin’s Weblog

“In psychology, there is a basic belief that “What is beautiful is good.” Therefore, if someone who is beautiful (or does beautiful things) does something bad, it creates cognitive dissonance, a confused state of being that can block comprehension and appropriate action.”

They Are Not All Monsters (article at  Dr. Nancy Irwin’s Weblog)

hile many are still reeling from the recent painful Penn State scandal, I fervently hope that this will be a tremendous learning lesson for our society.  As a treatment professional of sex offenders as well as victims, I would like to address some dynamics of perpetrators and witnesses that the public in general is perhaps unaware of.

What do child molesters look like?  Your grandfather, your brother, your aunt, your employee, and yes, brilliant college football coaches.  No one is all good or all bad; and sex offenders are no exception. They may be extremely talented, intelligent, successful, good-looking, blessed with beautiful families and “normal” sexual outlets. They cover all walks of life: early 20’s through 70’s, all ethnicities, races, religions, IQ levels, education, sexual orientations, and all socioeconomic strata. They don’t all look like “perverts.” There is no typical profile.

In psychology, there is a basic belief that “What is beautiful is good.”  Therefore, if someone who is beautiful (or does beautiful things) does something bad, it creates cognitive dissonance, a confused state of being that can block comprehension and appropriate action.  It is fairly easy for us to believe that an unattractive, low-achiever could commit sex crimes against children, and we then vilify the “pervert,” even after he/she admits it works to control it.

Many child molesters and pedophiles actually hate themselves for what they consider uncontrollable urges and would get help if they knew where to turn.  Sadly, the global belief is that they cannot be helped, and most reoffend.  Fortunately, this is completely false.  With treatment, the recidivism rate is between 5%-13%, much lower than for non-sex crimes (US Dept of Justice; Bureau of Statistics). While there is no cure for an attraction to children, it can be managed much like substance addictions.  Again, therapy and support are crucial to success.

Adults fail to intervene and report abuse for a variety of reasons, one of the most salient being denial or minimization of the offense.  This is enabling, and enablers are more culpable than offenders, who can be “crippled” by their  disorder. Enablers do not want the offense to be a reality, and keenly hope that it will just “go away,” particularly if it involves a celebrity or someone we really admire. The American culture all but deifies sports figures.  We want heroes, and athletes and coaches bespeak health, fitness, confidence, winning, and an all- American wholesomeness that blinds some of us to their blemishes or weaknesses. While not excusing their response to the recent accusations at Penn State, Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary, Spanier, et al, I believe, were caught in this immobilizing, enabling position. While it appears that they put football before the wellbeing of children, potentially what was occurring was their inability to comprehend the severity of the crime and respond appropriately. Their actions may have been completely different and appropriate if the perpetrator were a stranger and not part of the success machine of Penn State Football.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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