Vol X, No. 1, 2010 9
SLEEP BELIEFS, SUBJECTIVE SLEEP QUALITY AND DIURNAL PREFERENCE – FINDINGS FROM DEPRESSED PATIENTS
This study evaluated the relationship between dysfunctional sleep beliefs, circadian typology and self-reported sleep quality and insomnia. We assessed these parameters both in healthy controls and patients with depression. One hundred eighty six subjects were assessed and completed measures of sleep beliefs, sleep disturbance, sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, depressive symptoms and circadian typology. We found that sleep beliefs are slightly linked with the subjective sleep quality, but with neither the diurnal preference, nor the self-reported insomnia.
OPTIMISM, PESSIMISM AND NEGATIVE MOOD REGULATION EXPECTANCIES IN CANCER PATIENTS
The purpose of this study was to investigate the interrelations among optimism, pessimism and negative mood regulation expectancies in predicting distress levels in a sample of women (N=64) diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer. The study offers empirical data that could clarify the relation between these variables impacting emotional distress. Our results indicate that negative mood regulation expectancies completely mediated the effects of pessimism on symptoms of depression and anxiety. The direct relation between negative mood regulation expectancies and emotional distress can be explained by conceptualizing these expectancies as specific beliefs within a response expectancy model.
BRAIN VOLUMES IN AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DELAY – A MRI STUDY
The objective of this paper was to study brain volumes in children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) as compared to children with a developmental delay (DD). Fifteen children with autism and ten children with developmental delay, ages between 2 and 8 years old, were included in this MRI study. Total brain (TBV), grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes were measured using SPM5. Parents completed The Child Behaviour Checklist 1.5-5 (CBCL) for all the children included in the study. Our results do not indicate statistically significant differences between the two groups, but we observed a higher average of the measured brain volumes in the ASD group. A significant correlation was found between age and GM and WM volumes (for GM volumes Spearman`s rho=.42, DF=23, p<.05 and for WM volumes Spearman`s rho=.57, DF=23, p<.01). We performed a univariate descriptive statistic for CBCL subscale scores and a non-parametric correlation analysis between the three brain volumetric measures (TBV, WM and GM) and participants’ scores on CBCL subscales. In both groups, correlations were found between the measured brain volumes and the scores of the CBCL Attention deficit/Hyperactivity Problems and Opposition Defiant Problems subscales. Unlike the correlations found in the ASD group, the DD group shows only positive correlations. This result suggests a possible moderator role of the disorder, in the relation between CBCL subscales and volumetric measures of the brain. Our data on the measured brain volumes of the two groups largely overlap those described in the literature. Structural measures interpreted in relation to standardized clinical scales can provide useful information for the field of pedopsychiatry.
DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS, NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS AND INCIDENCE OF LIFETIME TREATMENT OF CANCER IN THE HUNGARIAN POPULATION
Cancer incidence and mortality rates in Hungary are the highest in the Central-Eastern European region. Our investigative study examined associations of cancer-prone behavioral risk factors, psychosocial variables and demographic characteristics with cancer treatment on a population level. Data were obtained from the Hungarostudy 2002, a cross-sectional, representative survey of the adult Hungarian population (n=12643). Controlling for all other study variables in a binary logistic regression model, results revealed that the odds of having been treated for cancer were almost twice as high among persons with depression and respondents who experienced negative life events than for those who were not depressed and reported no negative life events. These results send a warning signal to the Hungarian health care system regarding the widespread need for education, prevention, psycho-social screening programs and treatment of depression.
SELF ENHANCING BELIEFS RELATIONSHIP TO PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS EXAMINED BY ANXIETY RELATED ATTENTIONAL BIASES
Despite robust data and influential arguments supporting the positive illusion theory, the potential benefits of self-enhancement have been a controversial research topic in social and health psychology. Some critics proposed that self-enhancement reflects little more than defensive denial and serves to camouflage psychological distress. We propose that anxiety related attentional biases, as valid implicit measures of distress, may help us see more clearly into this debate. Participants were 102 undergraduate students. Although results revealed that overall, high and medium self-enhancers had better performance on a color naming task and were less affected by emotionally arousing content compared to low self enhancers; high self enhancers were more affected by socially rejecting content. Discussion centers on the possible buffering effects of self-enhancing beliefs at unconscious levels.
AN EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDY OF EATING DISORDERS AMONG HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ROMANIA
The present paper is an epidemiological study of eating disorders in Romania that analyses the prevalence of eating disorders in the Transylvanian high school population. We surveyed 2396 high school adolescents (1140 male, 1256 female), of which 1312 were Hungarian and 1084, Romanian. The prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) was 0.6% in the Romanian female sample; no clinical cases of AN were found in the Hungarian female sample. The prevalence of subclinical AN was 0.4% in the Hungarian female sample and 1.9% in the Romanian sample. The prevalence of bulimia nervosa (BN) was 1% in the Hungarian and 1.3% in the Romanian female samples. The prevalence of subclinical BN was 0.8% in the Hungarian female sample and 0.7% in the Romanian female sample. We have not found clinical or subclinical AN in the male sample but the prevalence of BN was 0.2% in the Hungarian male sample. The prevalence of subclinical BN was 0.3% in the Hungarian male sample and 0.5% in the Romanian male sample. Our results draw attention to the presence of eating disorders in Romanian adolescents, possibly due to the internalization of Western values and beauty ideals.
A GROUNDED COGNITION PERSPECTIVE ON IRRATIONAL BELIEFS IN RATIONAL EMOTIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY
Knowledge has been the subject of different controversial theories in psychology; recently the idea that knowledge is grounded in the modal systems of the brain has gained considerable evidence. This paper discusses applications of the grounded cognition theory to irrational beliefs, a main concept of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), proposed as core cognitive vulnerabilities for emotional disorders. Irrational beliefs, as grounded maladaptive emotional knowledge structures are considered the result of interactions between linguistic representations and simulations in motivational and emotional brain processing circuits. It is proposed that irrational beliefs (e.g., demandingness) are represented by distorted simulations in motivational and emotional brain processing circuits that bias the online processing of activating events. This biased emotional processing generates emotional disturbance. A three-level model of irrational beliefs is presented. The impact of irrational beliefs on emotions can be analyzed at the verbal or linguistic symbols level, at the simulations and modal symbols level and at the level of relations between verbal symbols and modal symbols. Maladaptive mechanisms and proposed corrective cognitive interventions are analyzed at each level. We conclude that a grounded perspective on irrational beliefs increases the explanatory power of the REBT theory of emotions.
THE RELEVANCE OF RESULTS IN CLINICAL RESEARCH: STATISTICAL, PRACTICAL, AND CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE
The article addresses the problem of three types of significance of research results: statistical, practical and clinical significance. These issues are treated as chronological sequences in the evolution of how results of clinical research have been reported. For a long time, statistical significance was the only way of reporting research results. This method was subject to severe criticism showing that estimating the probability of results to be obtained by chance is not satisfactory from a clinically point of view. Statistical significance was followed by practical significance reporting, translated into size effect. Even though this change is a step forward, effect size says nothing about whether the intervention makes a real difference in the everyday life of the clients, or others whom the client interacts with. Thus, in recent years, the concept of clinical significance has been increasingly emphasized and operationalized most frequently by the quality of life, improvement in symptom level (improvement criteria), transition of patients from the dysfunctional to the functional distribution (recovery criteria) or a combination of them. Although this concept has also been subject to criticism, it has survived the debate and satisfies the set of criteria by which clinical research results are judged.
CUTTING EDGE DEVELOPMENTS IN PSYCHOLOGY: VIRTUAL REALITY APPLICATIONS. INTERVIEW WITH TWO LEADING EXPERTS
Virtual reality (VR) has captured the attention of professionals in the filed of psychology as a highly promising method/tool in the assessment and management of various psychological problems (e.g., anxiety, pain, ADHD). The International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health at the Babes-Bolyai University has recently developed a complex Virtual Reality Platform with multiple applications in the field of applied psychology (e.g., psychological assessment, psychotherapy, education, motor rehabilitation) (www.clinicalpsychology.ro). To explore the cutting-edge developments in the field, I spoke to two leading experts in VR applications in psychology about the potential and benefits of this technology: Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo and Ken Graap. The current state, future developments and challenges are discussed.
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