International Science Index

International Journal of Psychological and Behavioral Sciences

An Exploratory Study on Experiences of Menarche and Menstruation among Adolescent Girls
Menarche and menstruation is a nearly universal experience in adolescent girls’ lives, yet based on several observations it has been found that it is rarely explicitly talked about, and remains poorly understood. By menarche, girls are likely to have been influenced not only by cultural stereotypes about menstruation, but also by information acquired through significant others. Their own expectations about menstruation are likely to influence their reports of menarcheal experience. The aim of this study is to examine how girls construct meaning around menarche and menstruation in social interactions and specific contexts along with conceptualized experiences which is ‘owned’ by individual girls. Twenty adolescent girls from New Delhi (India), between the ages of 12 to 19 years (mean age = 15.1) participated in the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to capture the nuances of menarche and menstrual experiences of these twenty adolescent girls. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. From the detailed analysis of transcribed data main themes that emerged were- Menarche: A Trammeled Sky to Fly, Menarche as Flashbulb Memory, Hidden Secret: Shame and Fear, Hallmark of Womanhood, Menarche as Illness. Therefore, the finding unfolds that menarche and menstruation were largely constructed as embarrassing, shameful and something to be hidden, specifically within the school context and in general when they are outside of their home. Menstruation was also constructed as illness that programmed ‘feeling of weaknesses’ into them. The production and perpetuation of gender-related difference narratives was also evident. Implications for individuals, as well as for the subjugation of girls and women, are discussed, and it is argued that current negative representations of, and practices in relation to, menarche and menstruation need to be challenged.
The Effects of Normal Aging on Reasoning Ability: A Dual-Process Approach
The objective of the current research was to use a dual-process theory framework to explain these age-related differences in reasoning. Seventy-two older (M = 80.0 years) and 72 younger (M = 24.6 years) adults were given a variety of reasoning tests (i.e., a syllogistic task, base rate task, the Cognitive Reflection Test, and a perspective manipulation), as well as independent tests of capacity (working memory, processing speed, and inhibition), thinking styles, and metacognitive ability, to account for these age-related differences. It was revealed that age-related differences were limited to problems that required Type 2 processing and were related to differences in cognitive capacity, individual difference factors, and strategy choice. Furthermore, older adults’ performance can be improved by reasoning from another’s’ perspective and cannot, at this time, be explained by metacognitive differences between young and older adults. All of these findings fit well within a dual-process theory of reasoning, which provides an integrative framework accounting for previous findings and the findings presented in the current manuscript.
Everyday Solitude, Affective Experiences, and Well-Being in Old Age: The Role of Culture versus Immigration
Being alone is often equated with loneliness. Yet, recent findings suggest that the objective state of being alone (i.e., solitude) can have both positive and negative connotations. The present research aimed to examine (1) affective experience in daily solitude; and (2) the association between everyday affect in solitude and well-being. We examined the distinct roles of culture and immigration in moderating these associations. Using up to 35 daily life assessments of momentary affect, solitude, and emotional well-being in two samples (Vancouver, Canada, and China), the study compared older adults who aged in place (local Caucasians in Vancouver Canada and local Hong Kong Chinese in Hong Kong, China) and older adults of different cultural heritages who immigrated to Canada (immigrated Caucasians and immigrated East Asians). We found that older adults of East Asian heritage experienced more positive and less negative affect when alone than did Caucasians. Reporting positive affect in solitude was more positively associated with well-being in older adults who had immigrated to Canada as compared to those who had aged in place. These findings speak to the unique effects of culture and immigration on the affective correlates of solitude and their associations with well-being in old age.
Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role Family Planning Programs
Among the neo-Malthusian adherents, it is believed that rapid population growth strain countries’ capacity and performance. Fertility have however decelerated in most of the countries in the recent past. Scholars have concentrated on wide range of factors associated with fertility majorly at the national scale with some opining that analysis of trends and differentials in the various fertility parameters have been discussed extensively. However, others believe that considerably less attention has been paid to the fertility preference- a pathway through which various variables act on fertility. The Sub-Saharan African countries’ disparities amid almost similarities in policies is a cause of concern to demographers. One would point at the meager synergies that have been focused on the fertility preference as well, especially at the macro scale. Using Bongaarts reformulation of Easterlin and Crimmins (1985) conceptual scheme, the understanding of the current transition based on the fertility preference in general would help to provide explanations to the observed latest dynamics. This study therefore is an attempt to explain the current fertility transition through women’s fertility preference. Results reveal that indeed fertility transition is on course in most of the sub-Saharan countries with huge disparities in fertility preferences and its implementation indices.
Enhancing Coping Strategies of Student: A Case Study of 'Choice Theory' Group Counseling
The purpose of this research was to study the effects of choice theory in group counseling on coping strategies of students. The sample consisted of 16 students at a boarding school, who had the lowest score on the coping strategies. The sample was divided into two groups by random assignment and then were assigned into the experimental group and the control group, with eight members each. The instruments were the Adolescent Coping Scale and choice theory group counseling program. The data collection procedure was divided into three phases: The pre-test, the post-test, and the follow-up. The data were analyzed by repeated measure analysis of variance: One between-subjects and one within-subjects. The results revealed that the interaction between the methods and the duration of the experiment was found statistically significant at 0.05 level. The students in the experimental group demonstrated significantly higher at 0.05 level on coping strategies score in both the post-test and the follow-up than in the pre-test and the control group. No significant difference was found on coping strategies during the post-test phase and the follow-up phase of the experimental group.
Suicide Conceptualization in Adolescents through Semantic Networks
Suicide is a global, multidimensional and dynamic problem of mental health, which requires a constant study for its understanding and prevention. When research of this phenomenon is done, it is necessary to consider the different characteristics it may have because of the individual and sociocultural variables, the importance of this consideration is related to the generation of effective treatments and interventions. Adolescents are a vulnerable population due to the characteristics of the development stage. The investigation was carried out with the objective of identifying and describing the conceptualization of adolescents of suicide, and in this process, find possible differences between men and women. The study was carried in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. The sample was composed of 418 volunteer students between 11 and 18 years. The ethical aspects of the research were reviewed and considered in all the process of the investigation, with the participants, their parents and the schools to which they belonged, psychological attention was offered to the participants and preventive workshops were carried in the educational institutions. Natural semantic networks were the instrument used, since this hybrid method allows to find and analyze the social concept of a phenomenon, in this case the word suicide was used as an evocative stimulus and participants were asked to evoke at least five words and maximum ten that they thought were related to suicide, and then hierarchize them according to the closeness whit the construct. The subsequent analysis was carried with Excel, yielding the semantic weights, affective loads and the distances between each of the semantic fields established according to the words reported by the subjects. The results showed similarities in the conceptualization of suicide in adolescents, men and women. Seven semantic fields were generated, the words were related in the discourse analysis: 1) death, 2) possible triggering factors, 3) associated moods, 4) methods used to carry it out, 5) psychological symptomatology that could affect, 6) words associated with a rejection of suicide and finally 7) specific objects to carry it out. One of the necessary aspects to consider in the investigations of complex issues such as suicide is to have a diversity of instruments and techniques that adjust to the characteristics of the population and that allow to understand the phenomena from the social constructs and not only theoretical. The constant study of suicide is a pressing need, the loss of a life from emotional difficulties that can be solved through psychiatry and psychological methods requires governments and professionals to pay attention and work with the risk population.
A Hard Day's Night: Persistent Within-Individual Effects of Job Demands and the Role of Recovery Processes
This study aims to examine recovery from work as an important daily activity with implications for workplace behavior. Building on affective events theory and the stressor-detachment model as frameworks, this paper proposes and tests a comprehensive within-individual model that uncovers the role of recovery processes at home in linking workplace demands (e.g., workload) and stressors (e.g., workplace incivility) to next-day organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs). Our sample consisted of 126 full-time employees in a large Midwestern University. For a period of 16 working days, these employees were asked to fill out 3 electronic surveys while at work. The first survey (sent out in the morning) measured self-reported sleep quality, recovery experiences the previous day at home, and momentary effect. The second survey (sent out close to the end of the workday) measured job demands and stressors as well as OCBs, while the third survey in the evening assessed job strain. Data were analyzed using Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM). Results indicated that job demands and stressors at work made it difficult to unwind properly at home and have a good night’s sleep, which had repercussions for next day’s morning effect, which, in turn, influenced OCBs. It can be concluded that processes of recovery are vital to an individual’s daily effective functioning and behavior at work, but recovery may become impaired after a hard day’s work. Thus, our study sheds light on the potentially persistent nature of strain experienced as a result of work and points to the importance of recovery processes to enable individuals to avoid such cross-day spillover. Our paper will discuss this implication0 for theory and practice as well as potential directions for future research.
Trajectories of Depression Anxiety and Stress among Breast Cancer Patients: Assessment at First Year of Diagnosis
Little information is available about the development of psychological well being over time among women who have been undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The aim of this study was to identify the trajectories of depression anxiety and stress among women with early-stage breast cancer. Of the 48 Indian women with newly diagnosed early-stage breast cancer recruited from surgical oncology unit, 39 completed an interview and were assessed for depression anxiety and stress (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-DASS 21) before their first course of chemotherapy (baseline) and follow up interviews at 3, 6 and 9 months thereafter. Growth mixture modeling was used to identify distinct trajectories of Depression Anxiety and Stress symptoms. Logistic Regression analysis was used to evaluate the characteristics of women in distinct groups. Most women showed mild to moderate level of depression and anxiety (68%) while normal to mild level of stress (71%). But one in 11 women was chronically anxious (9%) and depressed (9%). Young age, having a partner, shorter education and receiving chemotherapy but not radiotherapy might characterize women whose psychological symptoms remain strong nine months after diagnosis. By looking beyond the mean, it was found that several socio-demographic and treatment factors characterized the women whose depression, anxiety and stress level remained severe even nine months after diagnosis. The results suggest that support provided to cancer patients should have a special focus on a relatively small group of patient most in need.
Disrupting Microaggressions in the Academic Workplace: The Role of Bystanders
Microaggressions are small, everyday verbal and behavioral slights that communicate derogatory messages to individuals on the basis of their group membership. They are often unintentional and not intended to do harm, and yet research has shown that their cumulative effect can be quite detrimental. The current pilot study focuses on the role of bystanders disrupting gender microaggressions and potential barriers of challenging them in the academic workplace at University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML). The participants in this study included 9 male and 20 female from faculty of different disciplines at UML. A Barriers to Intervening Questionnaire asks respondents 1) to rate barriers to intervening in situations described in three short vignettes and 2) to identify more general factors that make it more or less likely that UML faculty will intervene in microaggressions as bystanders through response to an open-ended question. Responses to the questionnaire scales that ask about respondents’ own reactions to the vignettes indicated that faculty may hesitate to interrupt gender microaggressions to avoid being perceived as offensive, losing their relationship with their coworkers, and engaging possible arguments. Responses to the open-ended question, which asked more generally about perceived barriers, revealed a few additional barriers; lack of interpersonal and institutional support, repercussion to self, personal orientation/personality, and privilege. Interestingly, participants tended to describe the obstacles presented in the questionnaire as unlikely to prevent them from intervening, yet the same barriers were suggested to be issues for others on the open-ended questions. Limitations and future directions are discussed. The barriers identified in this research can inform efforts to create bystander trainings to interrupt microaggressions in the academic workplaces.
A Survey Proposal towards Holistic Management of Schizophrenia
Holistic management of schizophrenia involves main stream pharmacological intervention, complimentary medicine intervention, therapeutic intervention and other psychosocial factors such as accommodation, education, job training, employment, relationship, friendship, exercise, overall well-being, smoking, substance abuse, suicide prevention, stigmatisation, recreation, entertainment, violent behaviour, arrangement of public trusteeship and guardianship, day-day-living skill, integration with community, management of overweight due to medications and other health complications related to medications amongst others. Our review shows that there is no integrated survey by combining all these factors. We are conducting an international web based survey to evaluate the significance of all these factors and present them in a unified manner. We believe this investigation will contribute positively towards holistic management of schizophrenia. There will be two surveys. In the pharmacological intervention survey five popular drugs for schizophrenia will be chosen and their efficacy as well as harmful side effects will be evaluated in a scale of 0 -10. This survey will be done by psychiatrists. In the second survey, each element of therapeutic intervention and psychosocial factors will be evaluated according to their significance in a scale of 0 - 10. This survey will be done by care givers, psychologists, case managers and case workers. For the first survey, we will contact the professional bodies of the psychiatrists in English speaking countries and request them to ask their members to participate in the survey. For the second survey, we will contact the professional bodies of clinical psychologist and care givers in English speaking countries and request them to ask their members to participate in the survey. Additionally for both the surveys, we will contact the relevant professionals through personal contact networks. For both the surveys, mean, mode, median, standard deviation and net promoter score will be calculated for each factor and presented then in a statistically significant manner. Subsequently each factor will be ranked according to their statistical significance. Additionally, country specific variation will be highlighted to identify the variation pattern. The results of these surveys will identify the relative significance of each type of pharmacological intervention, each type of therapeutic intervention and each type of psychosocial factor. The determination of this relative importance will definitely contribute to the improvement in quality of life for individuals with schizophrenia.
The Causes and Effects of Delinquent Behaviour among Students in Juvenile Home: A Case Study of Osun State
Juvenile delinquency is fast becoming one of the largest problems facing many societies due to many different factors ranging from parental factors to bullying at schools all which had led to different theoretical notions by different scholars. Delinquency is an illegal or immoral behaviour, especially by the young person who behaves in a way that is illegal or that society does not approve of. The purpose of the study was to investigate causes and effects of delinquent behaviours among adolescent in juvenile home in Osun State. A descriptive survey research type was employed. The random sampling technique was used to select 100 adolescents in Juvenile home in Osun State. Questionnaires were developed and given to them. The data collected from this study were analyzed using frequency counts and percentage for the demographic data in section A, while the two research hypotheses postulated for this study were tested using t-test statistics at the significance level of 0.05. Findings revealed that the greatest school effects of delinquent behaviours among adolescent in juvenile home in Osun by respondents were their aggressive behaviours. Findings revealed that there was a significant difference in the causes and effects of delinquent behaviours among adolescent in juvenile home in Osun State. It was also revealed that there was no significant difference in the causes and effects of delinquent behaviours among secondary school students in Osun based on gender. These recommendations were made in order to address the findings of this study: More number of teachers should be appointed in the observation home so that it will be possible to provide teaching to the different age group of delinquents. Developing the infrastructure facilities of short stay homes and observation home is a top priority. Proper counseling session’s interval is highly essential for these juveniles.
Narrative Review Evaluating Systematic Reviews Assessing the Effect of Probiotic Interventions on Depressive Symptoms
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses and is often associated with various other medical disorders. In this review, we aim to evaluate existing systematic reviews that investigate the use of probiotics as a treatment for depressive symptoms. Five online databases were searched for relevant studies up to December 2017. Systematic reviews that included randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of depressive symptoms were included. Seven systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria. Three of these reviews conducted meta-analyses, out of which, two found probiotics to significantly improve depressive symptoms in the sample population. Two meta-analyses conducted subgroup analysis based on health status, and both found probiotics to significantly decrease depressive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder, but only one review found it to significantly decrease in healthy patients. Another subgroup analysis was conducted based on age, and found probiotics to produce significant effects on subjects under the age of 60, but close to no effect on patients over the age of 65. Out of the four reviews that conducted qualitative analysis, three reviews concluded that probiotics have the potential to be used as a treatment. Due to the differences in clinical trials, a definitive effect of probiotics on depressive symptoms cannot be concluded. Nonetheless, probiotics seem to produce a significant therapeutic effect for subjects with pre-existing depressive symptoms. Further studies are warranted for definitive conclusions.
Cognitive Control Moderates the Concurrent Effect of Autistic and Schizotypal Traits on Divergent Thinking
Divergent thinking—a cognitive component of creativity—and particularly the ability to generate unique and novel ideas, has been linked to both autistic and schizotypal traits. However, to our knowledge, the concurrent effect of these trait dimensions on divergent thinking has not been investigated. Moreover, it has been suggested that creativity is associated with different types of attention and cognitive control, and consequently how information is processed in a given context. Intriguingly, consistent with the diametric model, autistic and schizotypal traits have been associated with contrasting attentional and cognitive control styles. Positive schizotypal traits have been associated with reactive cognitive control and attentional flexibility, while autistic traits have been associated with proactive cognitive control and the increased focus of attention. The current study investigated the relationship between divergent thinking, autistic and schizotypal traits and cognitive control in a non-clinical sample of 83 individuals (Males = 42%; Mean age = 22.37, SD = 2.93), sufficient to detect a medium effect size. Divergent thinking was evaluated in an adapted version of-of the Figural Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Crucially, since we were interested in testing divergent thinking productivity across contexts, participants were asked to generate items from basic shapes in four different contexts. The variance of the proportion of unique to total responses across contexts represented a measure of context adaptability, with lower variance indicating increased context adaptability. Cognitive control was estimated with the Behavioral Proactive Index of the AX-CPT task, with higher scores representing the ability to actively maintain goal-relevant information in a sustained/anticipatory manner. Autistic and schizotypal traits were assessed with the Autism Quotient (AQ) and the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-42). Generalized linear models revealed a 3-way interaction of autistic and positive schizotypal traits, and proactive cognitive control, associated with increased context adaptability. Specifically, the concurrent effect of autistic and positive schizotypal traits on increased context adaptability was moderated by the level of proactive control and was only significant when proactive cognitive control was high. Our study reveals that autistic and positive schizotypal traits interactively facilitate the capacity to generate unique ideas across various contexts. However, this effect depends on cognitive control mechanisms indicative of the ability to proactively maintain attention when needed. The current results point to a unique profile of divergent thinkers who have the ability to respectively tap both systematic and flexible processing modes within and across contexts. This is particularly intriguing as such combination of phenotypes has been proposed to explain the genius of Beethoven, Nash, and Newton.
The Concurrent Effect of Autistic and Schizotypal Traits on Convergent and Divergent Thinking
Convergent and divergent thinking are two main components of creativity that have been viewed as complementary. While divergent thinking refers to the fluency and flexibility of generating new ideas, convergent thinking refers to the ability to systematically apply rules and knowledge to arrive at the optimal solution or idea. These creativity components have been shown to be susceptible to variation in subclinical expressions of autistic and schizotypal traits within the general population. Research, albeit inconclusively, mainly linked positive schizotypal traits with divergent thinking and autistic traits with convergent thinking. However, cumulative evidence suggests that these trait dimensions can co-occur in the same individual more than would be expected by chance and that their concurrent effect can be diametric and even interactive. The current study aimed at investigating the concurrent effect of these trait dimensions on tasks assessing convergent and divergent thinking abilities. We predicted that individuals with high positive schizotypal traits alone would perform particularly well on the divergent thinking task, whilst those with high autistic traits alone would perform particularly well on the convergent thinking task. Crucially, we also predicted that individuals who are high on both autistic and positive schizotypal traits would perform particularly well on both the divergent and convergent thinking tasks. This was investigated in a non-clinical sample of 142 individuals (Males = 45%; Mean age = 21.45, SD = 2.30), sufficient to minimally observe an effect size f² ≥ .10. Divergent thinking was evaluated using the Alternative Uses Task, and convergent thinking with the Anagrams Task. Autistic and schizotypal traits were respectively assessed with the Autism Quotient Questionnaire (AQ) and the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE). Regression analyses revealed that the positive association of autistic traits with convergent thinking scores was qualified with an interaction with positive schizotypal traits. Specifically, positive schizotypal traits were negatively associated with convergent thinking scores when AQ scores were relatively low, but this trend was reversed when AQ scores were high. Conversely, the positive effect of AQ scores on convergent thinking progressively increased with increasing positive schizotypal traits. The results of divergent thinking task are currently being analyzed and will be reported at the conference. The association of elevated autistic and positive schizotypal traits with convergent thinking may represent a unique profile of creative thinkers who are able to simultaneously draw on trait-specific advantages conferred by autistic and positively schizotypal traits such as local and global processing. This suggests that main-effect models can tell an incomplete story regarding the effect of autistic and positive schizotypal traits on creativity-related processes. Future creativity research should consider their interaction and the benefits conferred by their co-presence.
The Influence of Directionality on the Giovannelli Illusion
The Giovannelli illusion consists in perceiving a sequence of collinear dots as misaligned when each dot lies within a circle and the circles are not collinear. In this illusion, the role of the frame of reference, given by the circles, is considered as a crucial factor. In the present research, three experiments were conducted in order to investigate the influence of directionality of the circles on the misalignment. The adjustment method was adopted. Participants varied the vertical position of each dot, from the left to the right of the sequence, until a collinear sequence of dots was obtained. The first experiment verified the illusory effect of misalignment. In the second experiment, the influence of two different directionalities of the circles (- 0.58° and + 0.58°) on the misalignment was tested. The results show that directionality induces an over-normalization on the sequences of dots. The third experiment tested the misalignment of the dots without any inclination of the sequence of circles (0°). Only a local illusory effect was found. These results demonstrate that directionality of the circles, as a global factor, increases the misalignment. The findings also indicate that directionality and frame of reference are independent factors in explaining the Giovanelli illusion.
The Effect of Working Memory Span on Resolving Emotional Conflicts
Conflicts in life usually bear emotional content. These emotional conflicts are the ones that complicate executive functions needed to provide the ultimate conditions for our survival. Measuring working memory (WM) performance is a great way to examine people’s capacity to have better attentional control. Therefore, people who can hold more information in their WM can better resist distracting stimuli. Although having a higher WM capacity would facilitate resolving cognitive conflicts, whether it would also help resolving emotional conflicts or not is unknown. Therefore, in this study we aim to examine the effect of WM span on processing emotionally distracting stimuli. For this purpose, we used Operational Working Memory Span Task (OSPAN), and the Turkish Word-Face Stroop (WFS), where participants evaluated the emotional state of the given word on a valence scale (positive, neutral, negative); while the words are displayed on emotionally affective faces. 40 healthy students (age M = 22.35, SD = 2.02) participated in our experiment, who completed Positive Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) before the experiments. Participants were randomly assigned to take either OSPAN or the WFS first. At the end of the session they all completed Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). A 2x2 repeated measure mixed design ANOVA with 2 within subject factors, i.e. congruency (congruent-incongruent) and valence (positive-negative) revealed a marginally significant main effect of congruency (F(1,38) = 3.44, p = .071) and a significant main effect of valence (F(1,38)) = 18.27, p < .01, η2 = 0.32). Healthy people are faster towards congruent and positive stimuli, as expected. Correlations between WFS scores (calculated by subtracting the reaction time towards congruent cases from incongruent cases) and OSPAN revealed no correlation, meaning that WM span does not have any effect on processing emotionally distracting stimuli. We also could not find any correlation between WM span and Positive Affect Score, BDI score, and BAI score. However, we found a negative correlation between WM span and Negative Affect Score (r = -.27, p < .05.). On the other hand, this result might not mean that low WM span causes negative mood, rather it might indicate that negative mood is temporarily disrupting executive functions. To sum up, our study showed that there is not as clear a link between WM span and processing of emotionally distracting stimuli, contrary to the often-reported correlation between WM span and classical Stroop performance. Therefore, though having a higher WM span might facilitate resolving cognitive conflicts, in the face of an emotional conflict, WM span seems not to provide an advantage to resolve the affection-based conflict. In the future, these two tasks should be conducted with individuals with major depression disorder, to understand whether the underlying disrupted mechanism is purely emotional or cognitive, or a mixture of both.
Women's Menstrual Experience in India: A Psycho-Social Approach
Today women experience more menstrual cycles than their ancestors did a hundred years ago, owing to early puberty, fewer pregnancies and dietary changes. Much of the research in menstruation is located in the medical domain with a focus on physical symptoms. The research in psychology is largely concerned with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), whereas the focus in sociology is on social and cultural practices relating to menstruation. Research that simultaneously studies the physical, psychological, social and cultural aspects is lacking. Therefore, in this study, an attempt has been made to identify socio-cultural, psychological and physical factors that interact to influence a woman’s experience of menstruation in the urban setting. The study included seven unmarried women in the age group of 24-30 and data was obtained through a focus group discussion. The transcript of the focus group discussion was thematically analysed. Two major themes relating to the self and social experience of menstruation emerged. Themes relating to the self included menarcheal experiences, self-perception, mood and management of menstrual hygiene and symptoms while themes relating to social experience included the construction of menstruation by family and peers, and cultural factors. Attitudes towards the menstrual cycle appeared to be primarily influenced by severity of symptoms and the resulting disruption to daily life. Outcomes of this study have indicated that future research needs to study menstruation and its impact on women’s wellbeing by adopting a socio-ecological approach and by collecting data using the whole cycle approach across a woman’s reproductive years.
Sexual Health Experiences of Older Men: From the Perspective of Health Care Professionals
Sexual health is an important aspect of our overall wellbeing; biologically, psychologically, socially, and culturally. Despite the growing body of literature surrounding men’s health, their sexual health is under-researched. The sexual health of older adults is largely ignored in Australian policies and many health professionals lack sexual health training. This study aimed to explore the sexual health experiences of men aged 50 years and over from the perspective of healthcare professionals who specialize in sexual health care and consult older men. A total of ten interviews were conducted for data saturation to be reached. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Eleven themes were identified: biologically focused, psychological concerns, the medicalization of sexual functioning, masculine identity, relationships, grief and loss, social stigma, help-seeking behavior, dismissed by health care professionals, and lack of resources. The biopsychosocial framework was adopted to conceptualize the integrative nature of older men’s sexual health experiences in order to inform future research, professional training, public health campaigns, and policies.
Rumination in Borderline Personality Disorder: A Meta-Analytic Review
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by deficits in emotion regulation and effective liability. Of this domain, ruminative behaviors have been considered a core feature of emotion dysregulation difficulties. Taking this into consideration, a meta-analysis was performed to assess how BPD symptoms correlate with rumination, while also considering clinical moderator variables such as comorbidity, GAF score, and type of BPD symptom and demographic moderator variables such as age, gender, and education level. Analysis of correlation across rumination domains for the entire sample revealed a medium overall correlation. When assessing types of rumination, the largest correlation was among pain rumination followed by anger, depressive, and anxious rumination. Furthermore, affective instability had the strongest correlation with increased rumination, followed by unstable relationships, identity disturbance, and self-harm/ impulsivity, respectively. Demographic variables showed no significance. Clinical implications are considered and further therapeutic interventions are discussed in the context of rumination.
Culture and Mental Health in Nigeria: A Qualitative Study of Berom, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo Cultural Beliefs
Cultural understandings of mental health problems are frequently overshadowed by the western conceptualizations. Research on culture and mental health in the Nigerian context seems to be lacking. This study examined the linguistic understandings and cultural beliefs that have implications for mental health among the Berom, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo people of Nigeria. A purposive sample of 53 participants underwent semi-structured interviews that lasted approximately 55 minutes each. Of the N=53 participants, n=26 were psychology-aligned practitioners and n=27 ‘laypersons’. Participants were recruited from four states in Nigeria, Plateau, Kaduna, Ekiti, and Enugu. All participants were self-identified as members of their ethnic groups who speak and understand their native-languages, cultural beliefs, and also are domiciled within their ethnic communities. Thematic analysis using socio-constructionism from a critical-realist position was employed to explore the participants’ beliefs about mental health, and the clash between western trained practitioners’ views and the cultural beliefs of the ‘laypersons’. Data analysis found three main themes that re-emerged across the four ethnic samples: (i) beliefs about mental health problems as a spiritual curse (ii) traditional and religious healing are used more often than western mental health care (iii) low levels of mental health awareness. In addition, the Nigerian traditional and religious healing are also revealed to be helpful as the practice gives prominence to the native-languages, religious and cultural values. However, participants described the role of ‘false’ traditional or religious healers in communities as being potentially harmful. Finally, due to the current lack of knowledge about mental health problems, awareness creation and re-orientation may be beneficial for both rural and urban Nigerian communities.
Rewriting, Reframing, and Restructuring the Story: A Narrative and Solution Focused Therapy Approach to Family Therapy
Solution Focused Therapy sheds a positive light on a client’s problem(s) by instilling hope, focusing on the connection with the client, and describing the problem in a way to display change being possible. Solution focused therapists highlight clients’ positive strengths, reframe what clients say, do, or believe in a positive statement, action, or belief. Narrative Therapy focuses on the stories individuals tell about their past in which shape their current and future lives. Changing the language used aids clients in reevaluating their values and views of themselves, this then constructs a more positive way of thinking about their story. Both therapies are based on treating each client as an individual with a problem rather than that the individual is a problem and being able to give power back to the client. The purpose of these ideologies is to open a client to alternative understandings. This paper displays how clinicians can empower and identify their clients’ positive strengths and resiliency factors. Narrative and Solution-Focused Techniques will be integrated to instill positivity and empowerment in clients. Techniques such as deconstruction, collaboration, complimenting, miracle/exception/scaling questioning will be analyzed and modeled. Furthermore, bridging Solution Focused Therapy and Narrative Therapy gives a voice to unheard client(s).
Use of Structural Family Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy with High-Conflict Couples
The following case study involving a high-conflict, Children’s Services Bureau (CSB) referred couple is analyzed and reviewed through an integrated lens of structural family therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. In structural family therapy, normal family development is not characterized by a lack of problems, but instead by families’ having developed a functional structure for dealing with their problems. Whereas, in dialectical behavioral therapy normal family development can be characterized by having a supportive and validating environment, where all family members feel a sense of acceptance and validation for who they are and where they are in life. The clinical case conceptualization highlights the importance of conceptualizing how change occurs within a therapeutic setting. In the current case study, the couple did not only experience high-conflict, but there were also issues of substance use, health issues, and other complicating factors. Clinicians should view their clients holistically and tailor their treatment to fit their unique needs. In this framework, change occurs within the family unit, by accepting each member as they are, while at the same time working together to change maladaptive familial structures.
Development of a Framework for Family Therapy for Adolescent Substance Abuse: A Perspective from India
Family based therapy for adolescent substance abuse has been studied to be effective in the West. Whereas, based on literature review, family therapy and interventions for adolescent substance abuse is still in its nascent stages in India. A multidimensional perspective to treatment has been indicated consistently in the Indian literature, but standardized therapy which addresses early substance abuse, from a social-ecological perspective has not been developed and studied for Indian population. While numerous researches have been conducted in India on the need of engaging the family in therapy for the purpose of symptom reduction, long-term maintenance of gains, and reducing family burnout, distress and dysfunction; a family based model in the Indian context has not been developed and tried, to the best of our knowledge. Hence, from the aim of building a model to treat adolescent substance abuse within the family context, experts in the area of mental health and deaddiction were interviewed to inform upon the clinical difficulties, challenges, uniqueness that Indian families present with. The integration of indigenous techniques that would be helpful in engaging families of young individuals with difficulties were also explored. Eight experts' who were interviewed, have 10-30 years of experience in working with families and substance users. An open-ended interview was conducted with the experts individually and audio-recorded. The interviews were then transcribed and subjected to qualitative analysis for building a framework and treatment guideline. Additionally, interviews with patients and their parents were conducted to elicit ‘felt needs’. The results of the analysis revealed culture-specific issues widely experienced within Indian families by adolescents and young adults, centering around the theme of Individuation versus collective identity and living. Substance abuse, in this framework, was found to be perceived as one of the maladaptive ways of the youth to disengage from the family and attempt at individuation and the responsibilities that are considered entitlements in the culture. On the other hand, interviews with family members revealed them to be engaging in inconsistent patterns of care and parenting. This was experienced and observed in terms of fostering interdependence within the family, sometimes within adverse socio-economic and societal conditions, where enacted and perceived stigma kept the individual and family members in a vicious loop of maladaptive coping patterns, dysfunctional family arrangements, and often leading to burnout with poor help seeking. The paper inform upon a framework that lays down the foundation for assessments, planning, case management and therapist competencies, required to address alcohol and drug issues in an Indian family context with such etiological factors at its heart. This paper will cover qualitative results of the interviews and present a model that may guide mental health professionals for treatment of adolescent substance use and family therapy.
The Subjective Experiences of First-Time Chinese Parents' Transition to Parenthood and the Impact on Their Marital Satisfaction
The arrival of a new baby to first-time parents is an exciting and joyous occasion, yet, the daunting task of raising the baby and the uncertainty of how it will affect the lives of the couple present a great challenge to them. This study examines the causes of conflicts and needs of the new parents through a qualitative research of five pairs of new parents in Hong Kong. Semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted to explore the changes babies brought to their marriages, sources of support they received and found important and assistance they felt would help with their transition to parenthood. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the commonalities and differences between the five couples’ subjective experiences. Narrative analysis was used to compare the experiences of two parents who are the under-functioning parent of the couple, to study the different strategies they employed in response to the over-functioning parent and to analyze how the marital relationships were affected. Four main themes emerged from the study: 1) Change and adjustment in marital relationship, 2) parents’ level of involvement, 3) support in childcaring, and 4) challenges faced by the parents. Results from the study indicated that father involvement in childcaring is an important element in mother’s marital satisfaction Father’s marital satisfaction is dependent upon the mother – her satisfaction with father involvement, which affects the mother’s marital satisfaction. Marital convergence and co-parenting alliance acted as moderators for marital satisfaction. Implications from the study include: i) offering programmes that improve couple relationship and enhance parenting efficacy in tandem to improve overall marital satisfaction, and ii) offering prenatal counselling services or provide education to new parents from prenatal to postnatal period that can help couples reduce discrepancies between expectations and realities of their marital relationship and parenting responsibilities after their baby is born.
The Effect of Parental Incarceration on Early Adolescent’s Eating and Sleeping Habits
In the United States, over 2.5 million children have incarcerated parents. Recent studies have shown 13% of young adults and one-fourth of African Americans will experience parental incarceration. The increasing numbers of incarcerated citizens have left these children as collateral damage and are often forgotten, their special needs inadequately meet or understood. Parental arrest and incarceration creates a uniquely traumatic experience in childhood and has long-term consequences for these children. Until recently, the eating and sleeping habits following parental incarceration had been nonexistent in the literature. However, even this groundbreaking study on eating habits and sleeping disorders following parental incarceration did not touch on the root causes of unhealthy eating which may be influenced by food and housing insecurity and environmental factors that may impact a child’s healthy eating and sleeping behaviors. This study will examine those factors as it could greatly aid in the policies and programs that affect children’s health and development. This proposed study will examine the impact of traumatic stress reactions to parental incarceration by studying sleep and eating habits as the hypothesis is that parental incarceration will lead to disordered eating and sleep disturbances in early adolescents.
The Effect of a Mindfulness Movement Therapy Programme on the Motor Performance of the Upper Limbs in Healthy Older Adults: A Randomized Single-Blind Controlled Trial
Mindfulness meditation has been integrated into standardized programmes for improving physical and mental health with a range of conditions including stroke. However, these programmes are not specifically concerned with motor performance. Therefore, a new Mindfulness Movement Therapy Programme (MMTP) was proposed to examine its feasibility and effects on motor performance of the upper extremities in healthy older individuals. Sixteen healthy people aged 55-65 were randomly allocated by generating blocks of random numbers into an experimental group (n=8) or an active control group (n=8). The experimental group received the MMTP consisting of 1) body scan (by focusing on the non-dominant arm), 2) sitting meditation, and 3) mindful-movement of the non-dominant upper limb integrated with physical therapy exercise. The active control group received a programme of i) listening to music, ii) relaxation technique and iii) swinging arms exercises. Both groups were guided by CD for 30 minutes, 3 times a week on non-consecutive days and their engagement was logged over an 8-week period. The primary objective was to investigate the effects of the MMTP on the motor performance of the upper limbs. Secondary objectives were to investigate the effects of MMTP on brain plasticity, mindfulness, anxiety, depression, stress, and quality of life. The assessor was blinded to group assignment. The primary outcome measure was the Jebsen Hand Function Test (JHFT). Secondary measures were motor threshold (MT), motor-evoked potential (MEP), and central motor conduction time (CMCT) measuring by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the Philadelphia Mindfulness Scale (PHLMS), the Thai Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (Thai HADS), the Perceived Stress Scale-10 (T-PSS-10), and the Thai abbreviated version of World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF-THAI). Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare variables within the group and Mann–Whitney U tests used to compare variables between the groups with significance set at p ≤ 0.05 in all the tests. An interim analysis was performed. Two participants dropped out from the study. Therefore, 14 participants were included in the analysis of the outcomes: experimental group (n=8) and active control group (n=6). The results showed that no significant differences were found between the groups. However, there was a significant difference within the groups in the JHFT; MMTP group in non-dominant hand (p=0.012) and dominant hand (p=0.017) and in the active control group in non- and dominant hand (p=0.028). CMCT increased statistically significantly only in the right hemisphere in the MMTP group (p=0.012). No significant differences were noted in the other outcome measures. There were no adverse events for those undertaking the programme or TMS testing. Both programmes improved the motor performance of the upper limbs in healthy older individuals. However, in the MMTP group, only the nerve conduction from right hemisphere to the left of first dorsal interosseous muscle showed increased velocity. Findings encourage further investigations of the MMTP as a new intervention to improve motor performance. Therefore, we will investigate the effects of the MMTP on arm and hand function in stroke patients.
Psychological Distress and Quality of Life in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: The Role of Dispositional Mindfulness
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a serious chronic health condition, characterised by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Individuals with active IBD experience severe abdominal symptoms, which can adversely impact their physical and mental health, as well as their quality of life (QoL). Given that stress may exacerbate IBD symptoms and is frequently highlighted as a contributing factor for the development of psychological difficulties and poorer QoL, it is vital to investigate stress-management strategies aimed at improving the lives of those with IBD. The present study extends on the limited research in IBD cohorts by exploring the role of dispositional mindfulness and its impact on psychological well-being and QoL. The study examined how disease activity and dispositional mindfulness were related to psychological distress and QoL in a cohort of IBD patients. The potential role of dispositional mindfulness as a moderator between stress and anxiety, depression and QoL in these individuals was also examined. Participants included 47 patients with a clinical diagnosis of IBD. Each patient completed a series of psychological questionnaires and was assessed by a gastroenterologist to determine their disease activity levels. Correlation analyses indicated that disease activity was not significantly related to psychological distress or QoL in the sample of IBD patients. However, dispositional mindfulness was inversely related to psychological distress and positively related to QoL. Furthermore, moderation analyses demonstrated a significant interaction between stress and dispositional mindfulness on anxiety. These findings demonstrate that increased levels of dispositional mindfulness may be beneficial for individuals with IBD. Specifically, the results indicate positive links between dispositional mindfulness, general psychological well-being and QoL, and suggest that dispositional mindfulness may attenuate the negative impacts of stress on levels of anxiety in IBD patients. While further research is required to validate and expand on these findings, the current study highlights the importance of addressing psychological factors in IBD and indicates support for the use of mindfulness-based interventions for patients with the disease.
Sick Minds and Social Media: Treacherous Trends in Online Stalking, Aggression, and Murder
This preliminary study has examined ways in which social media may help cause stalker murder by individuals with personality disorders and a strong sense of sexual propriety. A public display on social media by the intended victim was felt to be a trigger that instigated interpersonal violence. To identify behavioural paradigms, case studies of intimate partner murders were explored using news media sources and documentaries. In all of the case studies, social media interaction and social media postings occurred shortly before the murder. The evidence suggested a preponderance of correlations between the social media postings, stalking behaviours, personality disorders, and the murder of an intimate partner. In addition to this, a profile for of Facebook/social media murder was gleaned from the paradigms of behavior found in the case studies. The evidence showed a complex relationship between severe violence, stalking, borderline personality, and intimate partner violence was identified through the study. The struggle clients have in dealing with the: public, ambiguous and unrelenting nature of social media postings was also observed. The murderers anguish and rage appeared to be further intensified by attitudes of sexual propriety and entitlement. These attitudes were evident in all the case studies. The study concluded with further research on how the public can protect themselves from entering situations where social media postings might trigger a violent response. Further to this, psychological approaches were identified that might support client’s with personality disorders to cope with perceived provocative and distressing data on the internet. Thus, the findings of this study will be of interest to: therapists, psychologists, nurses, criminologists and social workers.
Development and Psychometric Properties of the Dutch Contextual Assessment of Social Skills: A Blinded Observational Outcome Measure of Social Skills for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Background: Social skills interventions are considered to be efficacious if social skills are improved as a result of an intervention. Nevertheless, the objective assessment of social skills is hindered by a lack of sensitive and validated measures. To measure the change in social skills after an intervention, questionnaires reported by parents, clinicians and/or teachers are commonly used. Observations are the most ecologically valid method of assessing improvements in social skills after an intervention. For this purpose, The Program for the Educational and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) was developed for adolescents, in order to teach them the age-appropriate skills needed to participate in society. It is an evidence-based intervention for adolescents with ASD that taught ecologically valid social skills techniques. Objectives: The current study aims to describe the development and psychometric evaluation of the Dutch Contextual Assessment of Social Skills (CASS), an observational outcome measure of social skills for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Methods: 64 adolescents (M = 14.68, SD = 1.41, 71% boys) with ASD performed the CASS before and after a social skills intervention (i.e. PEERS or the active control condition). Each adolescent completed a 3-minute conversation with a confederate. The conversation was prompt as a natural introduction between two-unfamiliar, similar ages, opposite-sex peers who meet for the first time. The adolescent and the confederate completed a brief questionnaire about the conversation (Conversation Rating Scale). Results: Results indicated sufficient psychometric properties. The Dutch CASS has a high level of internal consistency (Cronbach's α coefficients = 0.84). Data supported the convergent validity (i.e., significant correlated with the Social Skills Improvement System (SSiS). The Dutch CASS did not significantly correlate with the autistic mannerism subscale from Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), thus proved the divergent validity. Based on scorings made by raters who were kept blind to the time points, reliable change index was computed to assess the change in social skills. With regard to the content validity, only the learning objectives of the first two meetings of PEERS about conversational skills relatively matched with rating domains of the CASS. Due to this underrepresentation, we found an existing observational measure (TOPICC) that covers some of the other learning objectives of PEERS. TOPICC covers 22% of the learning objectives of PEERS about conversational skills, meanwhile, CASS is 45%. Unfortunately, 33% of the learning objectives of PEERS was not covered by CASS or TOPICC. Conclusion: Recommendations are made to improve the psychometric properties and content validity of the Dutch CASS.
Development and Preliminary Testing of the Dutch Version of the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills
Background: The PEERS (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) intervention can be considered a well-established, evidence-based intervention in the USA. However, testing the efficacy of cultural adaptations of PEERS is still ongoing. More and more, the involvement of all stakeholders in the development and evaluation of interventions is acknowledged as crucial for the longer term implementation of interventions across settings. Therefore, in the current project, teens with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), their neurotypical peers, parents, teachers, as well as clinicians were involved in the development and evaluation of the Dutch version of PEERS. Objectives: The current presentation covers (1) the formative phase and (2) the preliminary adaptation test phase of the cultural adaptation of evidence-based interventions. In the formative phase, we aim to describe the process of adaptation of the PEERS program to the Dutch culture and care system. In the preliminary adaptation phase, we will present results from the preliminary adaptation test among 32 adolescents with ASD. Methods: In phase 1, a group discussion on common vocabulary was conducted among 70 teenagers (and their teachers) from special and regular education aged 12-18 years old. This inventory concerned 14 key constructs from PEERS, e.g., areas of interests, locations for making friends, common peer groups and crowds inside and outside of school, activities with friends, commonly used ways for electronic communication, ways for handling disagreements, and common teasing comebacks. Also, 15 clinicians were involved in the translation and cultural adaptation process. The translation and cultural adaptation process were guided by the research team, and who included input and feedback from all stakeholders through an iterative feedback incorporation procedure. In phase 2, The parent-reported Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), the Test of Adolescent Social Skills Knowledge (TASSK), and the Quality of Socialization Questionnaire (QSQ) were assessed pre- and post-intervention to evaluate potential treatment outcome. Results: The most striking cultural adaptation - reflecting the standpoints of all stakeholders - concerned the strategies for handling rumors and gossip, which were suggested to be taught using a similar approach as the teasing comebacks, more in line with ‘down-to-earth’ Dutch standards. The preliminary testing of this adapted version indicated that the adolescents with ASD significantly improved their social knowledge (TASSK; t₃₁ = -10.9, p < .01), social experience (QSQ-Parent; t₃₁ = -4.2, p < .01 and QSQ-Adolescent; t₃₂ = -3.8, p < .01), and in parent-reported social responsiveness (SRS; t₃₃ = 3.9, p < .01). In addition, subjective evaluations of teens with ASD, their parents and clinicians were positive. Conclusions: In order to further scrutinize the effectiveness of the Dutch version of the PEERS intervention, we recommended performing a larger scale randomized control trial (RCT) design, for which we provide several methodological considerations.