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An empirical investigation of the relationship between religious beliefs, irrational beliefs, and negative emotions

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The present studies have experimentally investigated the relationship between religious beliefs and negative emotions. We found that the mere association of a chain of negative events with the presence of a merciful and omnipotent spiritual being induced less worry and sadness and increased hope in the future than when the same events were presented alone. The former religious attitudes may intensify the impact of the actual religious beliefs in the generation of positive emotions. We also found that the meaning-making process induced by the religious beliefs is an implicit, tacit rather than an explicit inferential process. Also, subjects who (1) unconditionally accept themselves, (2) hold less self-downing beliefs (negative global self-evaluation) and (3) have more religious beliefs tend to experience lower levels of emotional distress under normal, non-traumatic circumstances. Also, participants who believe in the love and forgiveness from God tend to endorse less self-downing beliefs (one of the proximal causes of depression). Limits and implications for future research and practice are discussed.

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Working memory in first-episode schizophrenic patients and their healthy siblings

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Background: Working memory deficits are considered endophenotypes for schizophrenia. Therefore, they are present in ill subjects prior to the onset of the disorder, during the evolution of the disorder as well as in healthy relatives.
Aims: The purpose of this study was to examine the working memory of first episode schizophrenia patients (FEP) and their healthy siblings. In addition, we examined the relationship between the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), the global functioning, symptoms, and cognitive function in first episode patients.
Methods: 49 first episode inpatients, 25 healthy siblings and 41 healthy volunteers were recruited. Patients were diagnosed using the SCID for DSM-IV disorders, assessed with the PANSS and Global Assessment of Functioning scale (GAF). DUP was calculated by means of multiple-source interviews, with patients and relatives. The Rey Auditory Verbal Test (RAVT), the Paired Associates Learning Test (PAL), the Spatial Span Test (SSP) and the Spatial Working Memory Test (SWM) from the CANTAB were administrated to all subjects.
Results: Patients had an average duration of untreated psychosis of 303.10 days. The overall performance of first episode schizophrenia patients was significantly lower compared to healthy individuals on all cognitive tasks, with the exception of the errors on the SSP. Healthy siblings had intermediate scores; they performed similar to controls on some tasks (RAVLT – retroactive inference, delayed recall, recognition, PAL first trial score and on the number of completed stages), and lower on others (RAVLT – immediate memory, total learning, proactive inference, PAL total errors and the stages completed on the first trial).
Discussion and conclusions: A significant correlation between the DUP and the PANSS general symptoms scores and low general function could be established. However, there were no significant correlations between DUP and cognitive tasks.

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The implementation of a rational-emotive educational intervention for anxiety in a 3rd grade classroom: an analysis of relevant procedural and developmental constraints

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We tested the efficiency of a rational-emotive behavioral intervention to reduce the level of anxiety (emotional and behavioral) and remedy the irrational thinking in children (ages 9-10). The participants were 63 school-children (3 classes), boys and girls. They were initially evaluated with the Spence Anxiety Scale (for the general and specific anxiety level) and the CASI questionnaire (for the level of irrational beliefs). Their parents completed the Spence Anxiety Scale (parent version). There were 3 groups (classes): rational-emotive behavioral education (REBE), sham intervention (a Placebo type group), no intervention. The intervention lasted for 20 sessions and we assessed the level of irrational beliefs (CASI) and the general and specific anxiety (Spence Anxiety Scale) before and after the intervention. Results did not show a significant improvement of the REBE group compared to the others, neither in measures of anxiety, nor in those of irrationality. The level of REBE specific knowledge (tested with a knowledge questionnaire) after the intervention was significantly higher in the REBE group than in the other two groups. Parents’ evaluations differed from children’s own evaluations: they tended to overlook the existence or frequency of anxiety symptoms in their children. Possible implications and explanations are discussed. Implications envisage the efficiency of REBE in reducing the anxiety and irrational thinking of school-children and possible problems regarding its applications in the classroom.

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Impact of negative life events on positive health in a population of adolescents with special needs, and protective factors

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Aim. The aim of the present work is the analysis of factors associated to positive health and well being, in a population of adolescents with special needs (ASN) facing adverse environmental situations
Methodology.The sample included 494 adolescents with special needs (ASN), mean age 14 years old. Pupils attended 77 public schools from all over Portugal. Data collection was held within the HBSC (Health Behaviour in School aged Children) survey (Currie et al, 2004; Matos et al, 2006). For the purpose of this specific study, the questionnaire included questions about quality of life, internal and external resources and life events.
Results. Results showed that adolescents with special needs (ASN) had a set of internal resources (personal and social competences and self-concept) and a set of external resources (family, peers, school and local community). Those are protective factors regarding their well being, when they face stressful environmental situations. However when adolescents face several different negative life events, only Family and Self-concept have a significant protective effect.
Family and self-concept seem thus the most important factors for the positive development of adolescents with special needs (ASN), when they face multiple negative environmental events.
Thus, when designing and implementing school-based intervention programs, it is important to include both individual mental health support and family support, as a way to help adolescents with special needs (ASN) to face daily challenges and negative life events.

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The adaptation and the preliminary validation of the cognitive style questionnaire on Romanian population; a brief research report

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The article presents the Romanian norms for the Cognitive Style Questionnaire. The results are, in general consistent with those reported in earlier normative studies involving English-speaking samples. The sample of this study consisted of clinical and non-clinical subjects (N=736). The reliability of the new instrument is adequate, internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach’s Alpha) ranging from .68 to .84.

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