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March 2011



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Archive for March 8th, 2011


By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

I recently joined “The Psychology Network” on LinkedIn and have been enjoying the discussion among mental health professionals (since I’m not really one, but pretend to be all the time).

Especially intriguing was the discussion thread called “What are some of your favorite quotes that have motivated and inspired you?” They are quotes that they share with patients or with each other, or that they just think are cool and sound good. Here are just 15 from the 70 or so responses:

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” –Hilary Cooper

“If you can keep your wits about you while others are losing theirs and blaming you, the world will be yours.” –Rudyard Kipling

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” –Attributed to Confucius

More quotes follow…

If there is one lesson that I have learned during my life as an analyst, it is the lesson that what my patients tell me is likely to be true – that many times when I believed that I was right and my patients were wrong, it turned out, though often only after a prolonged search, that my rightness was superficial, whereas their rightness was profound. –Heinz Kohut

“Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a 100 times.” 
–Mark Twain

“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” –Albert Einstein

“People that judge don’t matter. People that matter don’t judge.” –Author Unknown

“The only time a man should be looking down at another man is if the other man is on the ground and the man looking down at him and extending his hand to him so that he can help him up.” –Author Unknown

“Creativity exists in the spaces between ideas”. –David Wescott

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” –Carrie Fisher

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW — What a ride!” – Anonymous

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Academic Journal

Article Date: 05 Mar 2011 – 17:00 PST

Regular use of antipsychotic and antidepressant medication has increased among residents of Sydney nursing homes since 2003, an expert says.

In a letter published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia, Clinical Professor John Snowdon and co-authors also reported that regular use of anxiolytic and hypnotic medication has decreased since the 1990s. They compared their 2009 study into psychotropic medication use in Sydney nursing homes with similar studies conducted in 1993, 1998 and 2003.

Prof Snowdon said that the use of antipsychotic agents fell between 1993 and 1998 but by 2009 there had been a progressive change from conventional antipsychotics to a three-to-one preference for atypical antipsychotic medication. By 2009, the rate of regular use of antipsychotic medication had risen above the level it had been in 1993.

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Incredible Hulk


By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 7, 2011

Body language is more likely to be perceived as masculine when it appears angry, and feminine when it conveys sadness, according to a UCLA-University of Glasgow study of baseball throws.

For the study, researchers recorded male and female actors throwing baseballs in a way that conveyed a specific emotion. Then, volunteers watched the videos (technology was used to disguise the thrower’s gender) and were asked to guess both the throwers’ gender and emotion.

“Even when observers received minimal information, they were able to discern the thrower’s emotion,” said Dr. Kerri Johnson, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of communication studies and psychology at UCLA.

“The findings fit with a growing body of work that shows some ‘snap’ judgments are highly accurate. But when it comes to deciding whether the actors were male or female, judgments tended to be less accurate, and that may be because perceptions are colored by longstanding stereotypes about masculine and feminine behavior.”

The study appears in the current issue of Cognition.

For the research, Frank Pollick, a cognitive scientist at the University of Glasgow, and Lawrie McKay, then a graduate student at the university, recorded 30 male and female actors wearing markers with 3-D motion-capture systems similar to those used in the making of computer-animated films such as “Avatar.” The technology consists of strategically attaching little white dots to the actors’ arms and hands, allowing observers to see only the body’s movements against a black background.

The actors were then asked to throw balls in ways that expressed specific emotions, including anger and sadness. The researchers chose baseball throwing because it is easily recognizable and gender neutral but lends itself to a wide range of variations.

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Stigma, Prejudice


Article Date: 07 Mar 2011 – 0:00 PST

People in marginalized groups, such as the disabled or racial minorities, feel stigmatized – condemned, feared, or excluded – when other people stigmatize them. That’s obvious. But they can also feel stigma when nobody blatantly discriminates against them or says a negative word.

These folks aren’t paranoid, suggests a new study of HIV-positive people and their communities to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association of Psychological Science. Rather, they’re picking up subtle clues from their communities.

“Society is changing when it comes to prejudice,” says psychological scientist Carol Miller, who conducted the study with University of Vermont colleagues Kristin Grover, Janice Bunn, and Sondra Solomon. “Most people don’t want to be prejudiced” – yet the culture teaches us bias, and despite ourselves, “sometimes we express it. “

In the effort to suppress prejudice, motives vary. “Internally motivated” people value tolerance and abhor stereotyping. The “externally motivated” respond to social pressure. In either group, bias can “leak out,” says Miller. But those who harbor more prejudice are more likely to experience anti-discriminatory norms as coercive, or “politically correct” – and want to disregard them.

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“Family friendly” casual games are not merely a mindless way to waste time, but are also an effective treatment against depression, according to a year-long study.

“The results of this randomized clinical study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on depression and anxiety symptoms,” reads a report (PowerPoint) snappily entitled “The Efficacy of Prescribed Casual Video Games in Reducing Clinical Depression and Anxiety”, produced by East Carolina University’s Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic.

“In my opinion,” says the Clinic’s director, Dr. Carmen Russoniello, “the findings support the possibility of using prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or perhaps even a replacement for, standard therapies including medication.”

The clinical study involved 59 subjects, “all meeting the criteria of clinical depression.” Each subject was seated in front of a computer “in a room with minimal distractions (blank walls, no outside view, minimal noise),” where the control group surfed a National Institute of Mental Health web site for 30 minutes, and the test subjects played a casual game for the same period of time.

Not to nitpick the study’s methodology, but The Reg suggests that browsing a website devoted to matters of mental health might not have been the most neutral of activities to assign to the control group.

Each participant – control subject or game player – was given a battery of “psychophysiology, biochemical and psychological” tests before, during, and after the test period. According to Russoniello and his team, the game players “experienced an average reduction in depression symptoms of 57 percent.”

Russoniello also said that the game players’ depression was alleviated not only in the short term – after 30 minutes of game play – but also up to a month after playing.

“Given that only 25 percent of people who suffer from depression are receiving treatment,” Russoniello said, “it seems prudent to make these low cost, readily accessible casual games video games available to those who need them. They should be made available at health clinics, community centers, online ‘medical sites’ and given out by therapists as a means of intervention.”

Not to impugn the objectivity of fine folks at East Carolina University, but it should be noted that the research upon which the report was based was underwritten by PopCap Games, the developer of the three games used in the study: Bejeweled 2, Peggle, and Bookworm Adventures.

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Article Date: 07 Mar 2011 – 0:00 PST

Blood group incompatibility between Henry VIII and his wives could have driven the Tudor king’s reproductive woes, and a genetic condition related to his suspected blood group could also explain Henry’s dramatic mid-life transformation into a physically and mentally-impaired tyrant who executed two of his wives.

Research conducted by bioarchaeologist Catrina Banks Whitley while she was a graduate student at SMU (Southern Methodist University) and anthropologist Kyra Kramer shows that the numerous miscarriages suffered by Henry’s wives could be explained if the king’s blood carried the Kell antigen. A Kell negative woman who has multiple pregnancies with a Kell positive man can produce a healthy, Kell positive child in a first pregnancy; But the antibodies she produces during that first pregnancy will cross the placenta and attack a Kell positive fetus in subsequent pregnancies.

Read in Full: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/218230.php


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 7, 2011

A new longitudinal study by UK researchers discovers that being unemployed isn’t just a strain in the harsh light of day — it negatively affects how well one sleeps.

For the employed, job satisfaction also affects the quality of sleep, with 33 percent of the most dissatisfied employees reporting poor sleep quality compared to only 18 percent of the most satisfied.

Researchers discovered those who are unemployed are more than 40 percent more likely to report difficulty staying asleep than those in a job (having controlled for age and gender differences).

Analysis of the early data from the Understanding Society survey found that overall, the best sleep was reported by people with higher levels of education and by married people. The type of work a person does also impacts on sleep, with those in routine occupations reporting worse sleep than those in professional occupations.

According to Sara Arber, Ph.D., of the University of Surrey, who analyzed the findings: “Given the links between sleep, social and economic circumstances and poor health found in this and other surveys, health promotion campaigns should be open to the possibility that the increased incidence of sleep problems among the disadvantaged in society may be one factor leading to their poorer health.”

Understanding Society is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and managed by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. It follows 40,000 UK households over many years, and sleep data will be collected annually.

Initial analysis of the sleep data collected in the first survey also found that women are more likely to report problems getting to sleep within 30 minutes, 24 percent on three or more nights a week, compared to 18 per cent of men.

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By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 8, 2011

New research suggests that women who base their self-worth on appearance often place their picture online and maintain large networks on online social networking sites.

University at Buffalo researcher Michael A. Stefanone, Ph.D., said the results suggest that females identify more strongly with their image and appearance, and use Facebook as a platform to compete for attention.

“The results suggest persistent differences in the behavior of men and women that result from a cultural focus on female image and appearance,” he says.

The study was co-authored by Derek Lackaff, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, and Devan Rosen, Ph.D., University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Its purpose was to investigate variables that explain specific online behavior on social network sites. Among other things, the team looked at the amount of time subjects spent managing profiles, the number of photos they shared, the size of their online networks and how promiscuous they were in terms of “friending” behavior.

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Eating Disorders, Suicide Linked


Article Date: 08 Mar 2011 – 9:00 PST

A new study representing a cross national stratum, and the largest study of its kind studying eating disorders in the United States, found that teens 13 to 18 years of age suffering from anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders are more likely to suffer from suicidal thoughts, anxiety disorders and substance abuse depending on the type of eating disorder they have.

Teens were asked if they had ever had an eating disorder and if they had had one within the past 12 months. Included were anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. In total, about 0.3% of the teens surveyed reported suffering from anorexia nervosa, and 0.9% from bulimia nervosa. A full 1.6% suffered from binge eating disorder. Ethnic minorities were more likely to report binge eating disorder, and white teens tended more toward anorexia.

One third of those with bulimia actually attempted suicide. About 15% of those with binge eating had and about 8% of those with anorexia had attempted the same.

Most with an eating disorder also had some other mental health problem, with 55% to 88% of those with an eating disorder also reporting such problems as anxiety, depression, or a behavioral disorder.

Read in Full: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/218548.php