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1.  Development and Validation of a New Multidimensional Measure of Inspiration: Associations with Risk for Bipolar Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91669.
Individuals at risk for, and diagnosed with, bipolar disorder (BD) appear to have heightened levels of creativity. Although inspiration is creativity, the ways in which individuals appraise and respond emotionally to inspiration in BD remain unexplored.
The present study reports on a new measure of inspiration (External and Internal Sources of Inspiration Scale - EISI). The reliability and validity of EISI were explored along with associations between EISI and BD risk.
Among a cross-national student sample (N = 708) 5 inspiration factors were derived from EISI (self, other, achievement, prosocial and external inspiration). Reliability, concurrent validity and convergent/divergent validity were good. Total EISI and all subscales were associated with increased positive rumination, and total EISI and the achievement EISI subscale were associated with impulsivity. Total EISI, self and prosocial EISI subscales were independently associated with BD risk and current mania symptoms.
This new measure of inspiration is multidimensional, reliable and valid. Findings suggest that self and prosocial focused inspiration are particularly associated with risk for BD after controlling for current manic symptoms. Future studies in clinical populations may illuminate the relationships between inspiration and creativity in BD.
PMCID: PMC3966762  PMID: 24670894
2.  Plasticity of Attentional Functions in Older Adults after Non-Action Video Game Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92269.
A major goal of recent research in aging has been to examine cognitive plasticity in older adults and its capacity to counteract cognitive decline. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether older adults could benefit from brain training with video games in a cross-modal oddball task designed to assess distraction and alertness. Twenty-seven healthy older adults participated in the study (15 in the experimental group, 12 in the control group. The experimental group received 20 1-hr video game training sessions using a commercially available brain-training package (Lumosity) involving problem solving, mental calculation, working memory and attention tasks. The control group did not practice this package and, instead, attended meetings with the other members of the study several times along the course of the study. Both groups were evaluated before and after the intervention using a cross-modal oddball task measuring alertness and distraction. The results showed a significant reduction of distraction and an increase of alertness in the experimental group and no variation in the control group. These results suggest neurocognitive plasticity in the old human brain as training enhanced cognitive performance on attentional functions.
Trial Registration NCT02007616
PMCID: PMC3960226  PMID: 24647551
3.  Splitting in Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91228.
Splitting describes fragmentation of conscious experience that may occur in various psychiatric disorders. A purpose of this study is to examine relationships between psychological process of splitting and disturbed cognitive and affective functions in schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
In the clinical study, we have assessed 30 patients with schizophrenia and 35 patients with BPD. The symptoms of splitting were measured using self-reported Splitting Index (SI). As a measure of semantic memory disorganization we have used verbal fluency test. Other psychopathological symptoms were assessed using Health of the Nation Outcome Scale (HoNOS).
Main results show that SI is significantly higher in BPD group than in schizophrenia, and on the other hand, verbal fluency is significantly lower in schizophrenia group. Psychopathological symptoms measured by HoNOS are significantly higher in the BPD group than in schizophrenia. Significant relationship was found between verbal fluency and the SI “factor of others” (Spearman r = −0.52, p<0.01) in schizophrenia patients.
Processes of splitting are different in schizophrenia and BPD. In BPD patients splitting results to mental instability, whereas in schizophrenia the mental fragmentation leads to splitting of associations observed as lower scores of verbal fluency, which in principle is in agreement with Bleuler’s historical concept of splitting in schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC3946324  PMID: 24603990
4.  Culturally Adapted Hypertension Education (CAHE) to Improve Blood Pressure Control and Treatment Adherence in Patients of African Origin with Uncontrolled Hypertension: Cluster-Randomized Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90103.
To evaluate the effect of a practice-based, culturally appropriate patient education intervention on blood pressure (BP) and treatment adherence among patients of African origin with uncontrolled hypertension.
Cluster randomised trial involving four Dutch primary care centres and 146 patients (intervention n = 75, control n = 71), who met the following inclusion criteria: self-identified Surinamese or Ghanaian; ≥20 years; treated for hypertension; SBP≥140 mmHg. All patients received usual hypertension care. The intervention-group was also offered three nurse-led, culturally appropriate hypertension education sessions. BP was assessed with Omron 705-IT and treatment adherence with lifestyle- and medication adherence scales.
139 patients (95%) completed the study (intervention n = 71, control n = 68). Baseline characteristics were largely similar for both groups. At six months, we observed a SBP reduction of ≥10 mmHg -primary outcome- in 48% of the intervention group and 43% of the control group. When adjusted for pre-specified covariates age, sex, hypertension duration, education, baseline measurement and clustering effect, the between-group difference was not significant (OR; 0.42; 95% CI: 0.11 to 1.54; P = 0.19). At six months, the mean SBP/DBD had dropped by 10/5.7 (SD 14.3/9.2)mmHg in the intervention group and by 6.3/1.7 (SD 13.4/8.6)mmHg in the control group. After adjustment, between-group differences in SBP and DBP reduction were −1.69 mmHg (95% CI: −6.01 to 2.62, P = 0.44) and −3.01 mmHg (−5.73 to −0.30, P = 0.03) in favour of the intervention group. Mean scores for adherence to lifestyle recommendations increased in the intervention group, but decreased in the control group. Mean medication adherence scores improved slightly in both groups. After adjustment, the between-group difference for adherence to lifestyle recommendations was 0.34 (0.12 to 0.55; P = 0.003). For medication adherence it was −0.09 (−0.65 to 0.46; P = 0.74).
This intervention led to significant improvements in DBP and adherence to lifestyle recommendations, supporting the need for culturally appropriate hypertension care.
Trial Registration ISRCTN35675524
PMCID: PMC3943841  PMID: 24598584
5.  Addictive Internet Use among Korean Adolescents: A National Survey 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87819.
A psychological disorder called ‘Internet addiction’ has newly emerged along with a dramatic increase of worldwide Internet use. However, few studies have used population-level samples nor taken into account contextual factors on Internet addiction.
Methods and Findings
We identified 57,857 middle and high school students (13–18 year olds) from a Korean nationally representative survey, which was surveyed in 2009. To identify associated factors with addictive Internet use, two-level multilevel regression models were fitted with individual-level responses (1st level) nested within schools (2nd level) to estimate associations of individual and school characteristics simultaneously. Gender differences of addictive Internet use were estimated with the regression model stratified by gender. Significant associations were found between addictive Internet use and school grade, parental education, alcohol use, tobacco use, and substance use. Female students in girls' schools were more likely to use Internet addictively than those in coeducational schools. Our results also revealed significant gender differences of addictive Internet use in its associated individual- and school-level factors.
Our results suggest that multilevel risk factors along with gender differences should be considered to protect adolescents from addictive Internet use.
PMCID: PMC3914839  PMID: 24505318
6.  Reassessment of the Psychometric Characteristics and Factor Structure of the ‘Perceived Stress Questionnaire’ (PSQ): Analysis in a Sample of Dental Students 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87071.
The training to become a dentist can create psychological distress. The present study evaluates the structure of the ‘Perceived Stress Questionnaire’ (PSQ), its internal consistency model and interrelatedness with burnout, anxiety, depression and resilience among dental students.
The study employed a cross-sectional design. A sample of Spanish dental students (n = 314) completed the PSQ, the ‘Goldberg Anxiety and Depression Scale’ (GADS), ‘Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale’ (10-item CD-RISC) and ‘Maslach Burnout Inventory-Student Survey’ (MBI-SS). The structure was estimated using Parallel Analysis from polychoric correlations. Unweighted Least Squares was the method for factor extraction, using the Item Response Theory to evaluate the discriminative power of items. Internal consistency was assessed by squaring the correlation between the latent true variable and the observed variable. The relationships between the PSQ and the other constructs were analysed using Spearman’s coefficient.
The results showed a PSQ structure through two sub-factors (‘frustration’ and ‘tenseness’) with regard to one general factor (‘perceived stress’). Items that did not satisfy discriminative capacity were rejected. The model fit were acceptable (GFI = 0.98; RSMR = 0.06; AGFI = 0.98; NFI = 0.98; RFI = 0.98). All the factors showed adequate internal consistency as measured by the congeneric model (≥0.91). High and significant associations were observed between perceived stress and burnout, anxiety, depression and resilience.
The PSQ showed a hierarchical bi-factor structure among Spanish dental students. Using the questionnaire as a uni-dimensional scale may be useful in perceived stress level discrimination, while the sub-factors could help us to refine perceived stress analysis and improve therapeutic processes.
PMCID: PMC3900726  PMID: 24466330
7.  Recovery after Work: The Role of Work Beliefs in the Unwinding Process 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81381.
According to the Effort-Recovery model, mental or physical detachment from work is an important mechanism of work related recovery, as delayed recovery has been associated with range of negative health symptoms. In this paper, we examine whether recovery from work (in the form of mentally disengagement from work) is affected by the concept of ‘work ethic’, which refers to beliefs workers hold about their work and leisure and the effects of experiencing interruptions at work. Two indices of post-work recovery were utilized: problem solving pondering and psychological detachment. The study was conducted with 310 participants employed from diverse occupational sectors. Main effects of positive and negative appraisal of work interruption and beliefs were analysed using mediated and moderated regression analysis on problem-solving pondering and detachment. Weakened belief in wasted time as a partial mediator, reduced problem-solving pondering post work when interruptions were appraised as positive, and a high evaluation of leisure partially mediated problem-solving pondering when interruptions were appraised as positive. The results also showed that a high evaluation of centrality of work and leisure moderated the effect of negative appraisal of work interruption on elevated problem-solving pondering. Positive appraisal of work interruption was related to problem-solving pondering, and the strength of this association was further moderated by a strong belief in delay of gratification. In addition, employees' positive appraisal of work interruption was related to work detachment, and the strength of this association was further moderated by strong beliefs in hard work and self-reliance. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical implications for employees who are strongly influenced by such work beliefs.
PMCID: PMC3862850  PMID: 24349060
8.  Psychometrics of the Short Form 36 Health Survey Version 2 (SF-36v2) and the Quality of Life Scale for Drug Addicts (QOL-DAv2.0) in Chinese Mainland Patients with Methadone Maintenance Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79828.
To test psychometrics of the Short Form 36 Health Survey version 2 (SF-36v2) and the Quality of Life Scale for Drug Addicts (QOL-DAv2.0) in Chinese mainland patients with methadone maintenance treatment (MMT).
A total of 1,212 patients were recruited from two MMT clinics in Xi’an, China. Reliability was estimated with Cronbach’s α and intra-class correlation (ICC). Convergent and discriminant validity was assessed using multitrait-multimethod correlation matrix. Sensitivity was measured with ANOVA and relative efficiency. Responsiveness was evaluated by pre-post paired-samples t-test and standardized response mean based on the patients’ health status changes following 6-month period.
Cronbach’s α of the SF-36v2 physical and mental summary components were 0.80 and 0.86 (eight scales range 0.73–0.92) and the QOL-DAv2.0 was 0.96 (four scales range: 0.80–0.93). ICC of the SF-36v2 two components were 0.86 and 0.85 (eight scales range: 0.72–0.87) and the QOL-DAv2.0 was 0.94 (four scales range: 0.88–0.92). Convergent validity was lower between the two instruments (γ <0.70) while discriminant validity was acceptable within each instrument. Sensitivity was satisfied in self-evaluated health status (both instruments) and average daily methadone dose (SF-36v2 physical functioning and vitality scales; QOL-DAv2.0 except psychology scale). Responsiveness was acceptable in the improved health status change (SF-36v2 except vitality scale; QOL-DAv2.0 except psychology and symptoms scales) and deteriorated health status change (SF-36v2 except vitality, social functioning and mental health scales; QOL-DAv2.0 except society scale).
The SF-36v2 and the QOL-DAv2.0 are valid tools and can be used independently or complementary according to different emphases of health-related quality of life evaluation in patients with MMT.
PMCID: PMC3835928  PMID: 24278188
9.  Neural Correlates of Four Broad Temperament Dimensions: Testing Predictions for a Novel Construct of Personality 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78734.
Four suites of behavioral traits have been associated with four broad neural systems: the 1) dopamine and related norepinephrine system; 2) serotonin; 3) testosterone; 4) and estrogen and oxytocin system. A 56-item questionnaire, the Fisher Temperament Inventory (FTI), was developed to define four temperament dimensions associated with these behavioral traits and neural systems. The questionnaire has been used to suggest romantic partner compatibility. The dimensions were named: Curious/Energetic; Cautious/Social Norm Compliant; Analytical/Tough-minded; and Prosocial/Empathetic. For the present study, the FTI was administered to participants in two functional magnetic resonance imaging studies that elicited feelings of love and attachment, near-universal human experiences. Scores for the Curious/Energetic dimension co-varied with activation in a region of the substantia nigra, consistent with the prediction that this dimension reflects activity in the dopamine system. Scores for the Cautious/Social Norm Compliant dimension correlated with activation in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in regions associated with social norm compliance, a trait linked with the serotonin system. Scores on the Analytical/Tough-minded scale co-varied with activity in regions of the occipital and parietal cortices associated with visual acuity and mathematical thinking, traits linked with testosterone. Also, testosterone contributes to brain architecture in these areas. Scores on the Prosocial/Empathetic scale correlated with activity in regions of the inferior frontal gyrus, anterior insula and fusiform gyrus. These are regions associated with mirror neurons or empathy, a trait linked with the estrogen/oxytocin system, and where estrogen contributes to brain architecture. These findings, replicated across two studies, suggest that the FTI measures influences of four broad neural systems, and that these temperament dimensions and neural systems could constitute foundational mechanisms in personality structure and play a role in romantic partnerships.
PMCID: PMC3827248  PMID: 24236043
10.  Using Ecological Momentary Assessment in Testing the Effectiveness of an Alcohol Intervention: A Two-Arm Parallel Group Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78436.
Alcohol consumption of college students has a fluctuating nature, which might impact the measurement of intervention effects. By using 25 follow-up time-points, this study tested whether intervention effects are robust or might vary over time.
Data were used from a two-arm parallel group randomized controlled trial applying ecological momentary assessment (EMA) with 30 data time-points in total. Students between 18 and 24 years old who reported heavy drinking in the past six months and who were ready to change their alcohol consumption were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 456: web-based brief alcohol intervention) and control condition (n = 451: no intervention). Outcome measures were weekly alcohol consumption, frequency of binge drinking, and heavy drinking status.
According to the intention-to-treat principle, regression analyses revealed that intervention effects on alcohol consumption varied when exploring multiple follow-up time-points. Intervention effects were found for a) weekly alcohol consumption at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 weeks follow-up, b) frequency of binge drinking at 1, 2, 7, and 12 weeks follow-up, and c) heavy drinking status at 1, 2, 7, and 16 weeks follow-up.
This research showed that the commonly used one and six month follow-up time-points are relatively arbitrary and not using EMA might bring forth erroneous conclusions on the effectiveness of interventions. Therefore, future trials in alcohol prevention research and beyond are encouraged to apply EMA when assessing outcome measures and intervention effectiveness.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register NTR2665
PMCID: PMC3818333  PMID: 24223806
11.  Assessment of Diagnostic Skills in Specialist Examinations Should Include Lessons Learnt From Misdiagnosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77813.
Poor authenticity in high stake clinical exams adversely effects validity. We propose including known misleading diagnostic factors and contextual biases in the assessment of diagnostic skills amongst advanced specialty trainees. We hypothesise that this strategy offers a more realistic and critical assessment of diagnostic skill than strategies in which candidates are presented with directive, bias free information, allowing for assumptions which cannot be made in real life.
Eleven patient based practice clinical exam stations were presented to nine advanced ophthalmology trainees. Four patients had a history of misdiagnosis or near misdiagnosis of key ophthalmic findings, presumed to result from identifiable biases and misleading information. In those four stations, candidates were presented with authentic, file based information and were asked authentic questions, similar to those with which the patients presented. If the candidates were unsuccessful in identifying key findings, the questions were converted into directive questions about the same key findings (i.e. “examine the patient’s eyelids, what is your diagnosis?”), and the candidates re-assessed the patient and re-answered.
Ninety-eight doctor-patient encounters took place. Of those, 35 encounters were analysed for the purpose of this study. In 63% of those encounters, key findings were missed when the question included authentic biases or misleading background information, but rephrasing the question to a directive exam format led to their correct identification (Fail converted to pass). Key findings were detected despite contextual biases or misleading background information in only 23% of encounters. In 14% the findings were missed with either question phrasing.
Presentation authentic questions provide a more realistic and less forgiving measure of diagnostic skills than directive exam questions. Given the prevalence of diagnostic errors and their importance to patient outcomes, known mechanisms contributing to diagnostic errors should be used as one of the assessment tools of advanced speciality trainees.
PMCID: PMC3797684  PMID: 24147082
12.  Few Effects of Far Transfer of Working Memory Training in ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75660.
Studies have shown that children with ADHD profit from working memory training, although few studies have investigated transfer effects comprehensively. The current Randomized Controlled Trial analyzes transfer to other neuropsychological (NP) domains, academic performance and everyday functioning at home and school.
Sixty-seven children with ADHD were randomized into a control group or a training group. The training group underwent Cogmed’s RoboMemo program. All participants were assessed pre-training, immediately after and eight months later with a battery of NP tests, measures of mathematical and reading skills, as well as rating scales filled out by parents and teachers.
There was a significant training effect in psychomotor speed, but not to any other NP measures. Reading and mathematics were improved. There were no training induced changes in symptom rating scales either at home or at school. The increased reading scores remained significant eight months later.
The study is the most comprehensive study of transfer effects to date, and with mixed results compared to previous research. More research is needed regarding how to improve the training program and the conditions and thresholds for successful training.
Trial Registration ISRCTN19133620
PMCID: PMC3790857  PMID: 24124503
13.  Workaholism as a Risk Factor for Depressive Mood, Disabling Back Pain, and Sickness Absence 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75140.
Although it is understood that work-related factors, including job demands, job control, and workplace support, are associated with workers' health and well-being, the role played by personal characteristics, especially workaholism, has not been fully investigated. This study examined workaholism's associations with psychological ill health, low back pain with disability, and sickness absence among Japanese workers.
A cross-sectional Internet survey was conducted using self-administered questionnaires. Data from 3,899 Japanese workers were analyzed. Workaholism was measured using the Dutch Workaholism Scale (DUWAS). Scores were divided into tertiles, where respondents were classified into three groups (high, middle, and low). Depressive mood as a measure of psychological ill health was assessed using the SF-36 mental health subscale, and low back pain using a standardized question. Sickness absence, except that due to physical injuries, was categorized either as absence due to mental health problems or to physical/somatic problems including the common cold. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the association between workaholism and depressive mood, low back pain with disability, and sickness absence, adjusting for demographic characteristics, job demand, job control, and workplace support.
Compared to the low workaholism group, the middle and high workaholism groups had significantly higher odds for depressive mood (Odds ratio (OR) = 1.93 and 3.62 for the middle and high groups, respectively), disabling back pain (ORs = 1.36 and 1.77 for the middle and high groups, respectively). Workaholism was more strongly associated with sickness absence due to mental health problems than that for other reasons (ORs = 1.76 vs. 1.21 for the middle group and 3.52 vs. 1.37 for the high groups).
Workaholism is significantly associated with poor psychological health, disabling back pain, and sickness absence, particularly from mental health problems. Therefore, workaholism must be considered when addressing well-being of workers.
PMCID: PMC3783450  PMID: 24086457
14.  Attachment Styles and Personal Growth following Romantic Breakups: The Mediating Roles of Distress, Rumination, and Tendency to Rebound 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75161.
The purpose of this research was to examine the associations of attachment anxiety and avoidance with personal growth following relationship dissolution, and to test breakup distress, rumination, and tendency to rebound with new partners as mediators of these associations. Study 1 (N = 411) and Study 2 (N = 465) measured attachment style, breakup distress, and personal growth; Study 2 additionally measured ruminative reflection, brooding, and proclivity to rebound with new partners. Structural equation modelling revealed in both studies that anxiety was indirectly associated with greater personal growth through heightened breakup distress, whereas avoidance was indirectly associated with lower personal growth through inhibited breakup distress. Study 2 further showed that the positive association of breakup distress with personal growth was accounted for by enhanced reflection and brooding, and that anxious individuals’ greater personal growth was also explained by their proclivity to rebound. These findings suggest that anxious individuals’ hyperactivated breakup distress may act as a catalyst for personal growth by promoting the cognitive processing of breakup-related thoughts and emotions, whereas avoidant individuals’ deactivated distress may inhibit personal growth by suppressing this cognitive work.
PMCID: PMC3774645  PMID: 24066169
15.  Co-Variation of Depressive Mood and Locomotor Dynamics Evaluated by Ecological Momentary Assessment in Healthy Humans 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74979.
Computerized ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is widely accepted as a “gold standard” method for capturing momentary symptoms repeatedly experienced in daily life. Although many studies have addressed the within-individual temporal variations in momentary symptoms compared with simultaneously measured external criteria, their concurrent associations, specifically with continuous physiological measures, have not been rigorously examined. Therefore, in the present study, we first examined the variations in momentary symptoms by validating the associations among self-reported symptoms measured simultaneously (depressive mood, anxious mood, and fatigue) and then investigated covariant properties between the symptoms (especially, depressive mood) and local statistics of locomotor activity as the external objective criteria obtained continuously. Healthy subjects (N = 85) from three different populations (adolescents, undergraduates, and office workers) wore a watch-type computer device equipped with EMA software for recording the momentary symptoms experienced by the subjects. Locomotor activity data were also continuously obtained by using an actigraph built into the device. Multilevel modeling analysis confirmed convergent associations by showing positive correlations among momentary symptoms. The increased intermittency of locomotor activity, characterized by a combination of reduced activity with occasional bursts, appeared concurrently with the worsening of depressive mood. Further, this association remained statistically unchanged across groups regardless of group differences in age, lifestyle, and occupation. These results indicate that the temporal variations in the momentary symptoms are not random but reflect the underlying changes in psychophysiological variables in daily life. In addition, our findings on the concurrent changes in depressive mood and locomotor activity may contribute to the continuous estimation of changes in depressive mood and early detection of depressive disorders.
PMCID: PMC3773004  PMID: 24058642
16.  Health-Related Quality of Life and Sense of Coherence among the Unemployed with Autotelic, Average, and Non-Autotelic Personalities: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Hiroshima, Japan 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73915.
Unemployment is known to have a negative effect on the quality of life (QOL) of individuals. However, the influence of an autotelic personality on QOL and SOC of unemployed individuals remains unclear. Our study compared health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and sense of coherence (SOC) among 3 groups: (i) an autotelic personality group (AP), which tends to “go with the flow,” (ii) an average group (AV), and (iii) a non-autotelic personality group (NAP).
In October 2010, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among 140 job trainees not receiving unemployment benefits in Hiroshima, Japan. We collected 134 completed questionnaires. Autotelic personality was investigated using the Flow Experience Checklist, health-related quality of life was assessed using the Short Form (SF-8) Health Survey, and SOC was measured using the University of Tokyo Health Sociology version of the SOC3 scale (SOC3–UTHS).
The average age of participants was 36.14±11.54 year. Participants were classified into 3 groups based on daily activity values: 4+ for AP (n = 22), 1–3 for AV (n = 82), and 0 for NAP (n = 30). Significant differences were observed in mental component summary (MCS) score and SOC3–UTHS total scores in the ranking order of AP (highest), AV, and NAP.
Our findings indicate a need to develop programs for facilitating AP among unemployed people to enhance mental QOL and SOC.
PMCID: PMC3771906  PMID: 24069249
17.  The Associations between Self-Consciousness, Depressive State and Craving to Drink among Alcohol Dependent Patients Undergoing Protracted Withdrawal 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71560.
In order to understand how certain personality traits influence the relation between depression symptoms and craving for alcohol, trait self-consciousness (trait SC) was examined during a withdrawal and detoxification program.
Craving (Obsessive and Compulsive Drinking Scale), depressive state (Beck Depression Inventory) and trait SC (Revised Self-Consciousness Scale) were assessed in alcohol-dependent inpatients (DSM-IV, N = 30) both at the beginning (T1: day 1 or 2) and at the end (T2: day 14 to18) of protracted withdrawal during rehabilitation.
A significant decrease in craving and depressive symptoms was observed from T1 to T2, while SC scores remained stable. At both times, strong positive correlations were observed between craving and depression. Moreover, regression analyses indicated that trait SC significantly moderated the impact of depression on cravings for alcohol.
This study was performed on a relatively small sample size. Administration of medications during detoxification treatment can also be a confounding factor. Finally, craving could have been evaluated through other types of measurements.
During protracted withdrawal, alcohol craving decreased with the same magnitude as depressive mood. Depressive symptoms were related to alcohol craving but only among patients with high trait SC scores. Our results suggest that metacognitive approaches targeting SC could decrease craving and, in turn, prevent future relapses.
PMCID: PMC3754944  PMID: 24013131
18.  A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating a Manualized TeleCoaching Protocol for Improving Adherence to a Web-Based Intervention for the Treatment of Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70086.
Web-based interventions for depression that are supported by coaching have generally produced larger effect-sizes, relative to standalone web-based interventions. This is likely due to the effect of coaching on adherence. We evaluated the efficacy of a manualized telephone coaching intervention (TeleCoach) aimed at improving adherence to a web-based intervention (moodManager), as well as the relationship between adherence and depressive symptom outcomes.
101 patients with MDD, recruited from primary care, were randomized to 12 weeks moodManager+TeleCoach, 12 weeks of self-directed moodManager, or 6 weeks of a waitlist control (WLC). Depressive symptom severity was measured using the PHQ-9.
TeleCoach+moodManager, compared to self-directed moodManager, resulted in significantly greater numbers of login days (p = 0.01), greater time until last use (p = 0.007), greater use of lessons (p = 0.03), greater variety of interactive tools used (p = 0.02), but total instances of tool use did not reach statistical significance. (p = 0.07). TeleCoach+moodManager produced significantly lower PHQ-9 scores relative to WLC at week 6 (p = 0.04), but there were no other significant differences in PHQ-9 scores at weeks 6 or 12 (ps>0.20) across treatment arms. Baseline PHQ-9 scores were no significantly related to adherence to moodManager.
TeleCoach produced significantly greater adherence to moodManager, relative to self-directed moodManager. TeleCoached moodManager produced greater reductions in depressive symptoms relative to WLC, however, there were no statistically significant differences relative to self-directed moodManager. While greater use was associated with better outcomes, most users in both TeleCoach and self-directed moodManager had dropped out of treatment by week 12. Even with telephone coaching, adherence to web-based interventions for depression remains a challenge. Methods of improving coaching models are discussed.
Trial Registration NCT00719979
PMCID: PMC3749146  PMID: 23990896
19.  Economic Evaluation of a Problem Solving Intervention to Prevent Recurrent Sickness Absence in Workers with Common Mental Disorders 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71937.
Workers with common mental disorders (CMDs) frequently experience recurrent sickness absence but scientifically evaluated interventions to prevent recurrences are lacking. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of a problem solving intervention aimed at preventing recurrent sickness absence in workers with CMDs compared to care as usual.
An economic evaluation was conducted alongside a cluster-randomised controlled trial with 12 months follow-up. Treatment providers were randomised to either a 2-day training in the SHARP-at work intervention, i.e. a problem solving intervention, or care as usual. Effect outcomes were the incidence of recurrent sickness absence and time to recurrent sickness absence. Self-reported health care utilisation was measured by questionnaires. A cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) from the societal perspective and a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) from the employer’s perspective were conducted.
The CEA showed that the SHARP-at work intervention was more effective but also more expensive than care as usual. The CBA revealed that employer’s occupational health care costs were significantly higher in the intervention group compared to care as usual. Overall, the SHARP-at work intervention showed no economic benefit compared to care as usual.
As implementation of the SHARP-at work intervention might require additional investments, health care policy makers need to decide if these investments are worthwhile considering the results that can be accomplished in reducing recurrent sickness absence.
PMCID: PMC3741213  PMID: 23951270
20.  Problems in Cross-Cultural Use of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale: “No Butterflies in the Desert” 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70975.
The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) is widely used to screen for anxiety and depression. A large literature is citable in support of its validity, but difficulties are increasingly being identified, such as inexplicably discrepant optimal cutpoints and inconsistent factor-structures. This article examines whether these problems could be due to the construction of the HADS that poses difficulties for translation and cross-cultural use.
Authors’ awareness of difficulties translating the HADS were identified by examining 20% of studies using the HADS, obtained by a systematic literature search in Pubmed and PsycINFO in May 2012. Reports of use of translations and validation studies were recorded for papers from non-English speaking countries. Narrative and systematic reviews were examined for how authors dealt with different translations.
Of 417 papers from non-English speaking countries, only 45% indicated whether a translation was used. Studies validating translations were cited in 54%. Seventeen reviews, incorporating data from diverse translated versions, were examined. Only seven mentioned issues of language and culture, and none indicated insurmountable problems in integrating results from different translations.
Initial decisions concerning item content and response options likely leave the HADS difficult to translate, but we failed to find an acknowledgment of problems in articles involving its translation and cross-cultural use. Investigators’ lack of awareness of these issues can lead to anomalous results and difficulties in interpretation and integration of these results. Reviews tend to overlook these issues and most reviews indiscriminately integrate results from studies performed in different countries. Cross-culturally valid, but literally translated versions of the HADS may not be attainable, and specific cutpoints may not be valid across cultures and language. Claims about rates of anxiety and depression based on integrating cross-cultural data or using the same cutpoint across languages and culture should be subject to critical scrutiny.
PMCID: PMC3743400  PMID: 23976969
21.  The Contribution of Emotional Partners to Sexual Risk Taking and Violence among Female Sex Workers in Mombasa, Kenya: A Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e68855.
To assess sexual risk-taking of female sex workers (FSWs) with emotional partners (boyfriends and husbands), compared to regular and casual clients. Experiences of violence and the degree of relationship control that FSWs have with emotional partners are also described.
Cohort study with quarterly follow-up visit over 12-months.
Four hundred HIV-uninfected FSWs older than 16 years were recruited from their homes and guesthouses in Mombasa, Kenya. A structured questionnaire assessed participant characteristics and study outcomes at each visit, and women received risk-reduction counselling, male and female condoms, and HIV testing.
Four or more unprotected sex acts in the past week were reported by 21.3% of women during sex with emotional partners, compared to 5.8% with regular and 4.8% with casual clients (P<0.001). Total number of unprotected sex acts per week was 5–6-fold higher with emotional partners (603 acts with 259 partners) than with regular or casual clients (125 acts with 456, and 98 acts with 632 clients, respectively; P<0.001). Mostly, perceptions of “trust” underscored unprotected sex with emotional partners. Low control over these relationships, common to many women (36.9%), was linked with higher partner numbers, inconsistent condom use, and being physically forced to have sex by their emotional partners. Half experienced sexual or physical violence in the past year, similarly associated with partner numbers and inconsistent condom use.
High-risk sexual behaviour, low control and frequent violence in relationships with emotional partners heighten FSWs' vulnerability and high HIV risk, requiring targeted interventions that also encompass emotional partners.
PMCID: PMC3737234  PMID: 23950879
22.  Affiliative Behaviour and Conflictual Communication during Brief Family Therapy of Patients with Anorexia Nervosa 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70389.
Although patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) present positive responses to family therapy, the key features of therapeutic changes still require identification. This study explores the role of conflictual communication and affiliative nonverbal behaviour in therapeutic change in brief strategic family therapy (BSFT) for AN patients.
Ten female AN patients and their parents were included in the sample and took part in a 6-month follow-up of BSFT. The durations of conflictual communication and of affiliative nonverbal behaviour estimated by eye contact were compared between the first and the last sessions of family-based treatment using nonparametric statistical tests.
An increase of the Body Mass Index associated with an increase in the conflictual communication expressed during BSFT sessions were observed. Moreover, affiliative nonverbal behaviour expressed by the father and the patient decrease, after a BSFT follow-up, in conflictual situations only. By contrast, no significant difference was observed in affiliative nonverbal behaviour expressed by the mother.
The present study demonstrates that the impact of the BSFT differs between members of a family: the AN patient and the father have established a new form of emotional functioning with a decrease in emotional involvement. The study of the combination between verbal and nonverbal communication can represent an important step in the understanding of the mechanisms of therapeutic change.
PMCID: PMC3731281  PMID: 23936421
23.  Psychosocial Characteristics and Social Networks of Suicidal Prisoners: Towards a Model of Suicidal Behaviour in Detention 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68944.
Prisoners are at increased risk of suicide. Investigation of both individual and environmental risk factors may assist in developing suicide prevention policies for prisoners and other high-risk populations. We conducted a matched case-control interview study with 60 male prisoners who had made near-lethal suicide attempts in prison (cases) and 60 male prisoners who had not (controls). We compared levels of depression, hopelessness, self-esteem, impulsivity, aggression, hostility, childhood abuse, life events (including events occurring in prison), social support, and social networks in univariate and multivariate models. A range of psychosocial factors was associated with near-lethal self-harm in prisoners. Compared with controls, cases reported higher levels of depression, hopelessness, impulsivity, and aggression, and lower levels of self-esteem and social support (all p values <0.001). Adverse life events and criminal history factors were also associated with near-lethal self-harm, especially having a prior prison spell and having been bullied in prison, both of which remained significant in multivariate analyses. The findings support a model of suicidal behaviour in prisoners that incorporates imported vulnerability factors, clinical factors, and prison experiences, and underscores their interaction. Strategies to reduce self-harm and suicide in prisoners should include attention to such factors.
PMCID: PMC3726684  PMID: 23922671
24.  Brain Signature Characterizing the Body-Brain-Mind Axis of Transsexuals 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70808.
Individuals with gender identity disorder (GID), who are commonly referred to as transsexuals (TXs), are afflicted by negative psychosocial stressors. Central to the psychological complex of TXs is the conviction of belonging to the opposite sex. Neuroanatomical and functional brain imaging studies have demonstrated that the GID is associated with brain alterations. In this study, we found that TXs identify, when viewing male-female couples in erotic or non-erotic (“neutral”) interactions, with the couple member of the desired gender in both situations. By means of functional magnetic resonance imaging, we found that the TXs, as opposed to controls (CONs), displayed an increased functional connectivity between the ventral tegmental area, which is associated with dimorphic genital representation, and anterior cingulate cortex subregions, which play a key role in social exclusion, conflict monitoring and punishment adjustment. The neural connectivity pattern suggests a brain signature of the psychosocial distress for the gender-sex incongruity of TXs.
PMCID: PMC3724787  PMID: 23923023
25.  Prevalence Rates of Mental Disorders in Chilean Prisons 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69109.
High rates of mental disorders have been reported for prison populations worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The present study aimed to establish prevalence rates of mental disorders in Chilean prisoners.
A nationwide random sample of 1008 prisoners was assessed in 7 penal institutions throughout Chile. Twelve-month prevalence rates were established using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and compared to the prevalence rates previously published for the general population.
Prevalence rates were 12.2% (95% CI, 10.2-14.1) for any substance use disorder, 8.3% (6.6-10.0) for anxiety disorders, 8.1% (6.5-9.8) for affective disorders, 5.7% (4.4-7.1) for intermittent explosive disorders, 2.2% (1.4-3.2) for ADHD of the adult, and 0.8% (0.3-1.3) for non-affective psychoses. Significantly higher prevalence rates among prisoners as compared to the general population in Chile were seen for major depression (6.1% vs. 3.7% males, Z=2.58, p<0.05) and illicit drug use (3.3% vs. 0.6% males with drug abuse, Z=2.04, p<0.05; 2.6% vs. 0.1% females with drug abuse, Z=5.36, p<0.001; 3.4% vs. 1.1% males with drug dependence, Z=3.70; p<0.001). Dysthymia (6.5% vs. 15.6%, Z=-2.39, p<0.05), simple (3.3% vs. 11.5%, Z=-3.13, p<0.001) and social phobias (3.9% vs. 9.7%, Z=2.38, p<0.05) were significantly less frequent in the female prison population than in the general population. One-year prevalence rates of alcohol abuse (2.3% vs. 3.9%; Z=-2.04; p<0.05) and dependence (2.7% vs. 8.2%; Z=-5.24; p<0.001) were less prevalent in the male prison population than in the general population.
Service provision for prison populations in Chile should acknowledge high rates of depression and illicit drug use. Overall prevalence rates are lower than reported in other LMICs. Previous research in prison populations in LMICs might have overestimated prevalence rates of mental disorders.
PMCID: PMC3718830  PMID: 23894415

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