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1.  Test-retest reliability of the Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire in Old Order Amish 
Research on test-retest reliability of the Season Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ) is sparse, and to date, has not been done with subgroups such as the Old Order Amish.
We examined the test-retest reliability of the SPAQ in a sample of Old Order Amish. A total of 68 Old Order Amish participants completed the SPAQ twice, with 4 months between administrations. Quantitative data analyses were carried out to determine respective strengths of test-restest reliability for two variables [i.e., Global Seasonality Score (GSS), and Problem Rating Score (PRS)].
Results and conclusions
Results revealed the test-retest reliability of the SPAQ in this population to be strong within the respective variables (GSS, α= 0.87; and PRS, α= 0.79) using Cronbach’s alpha.
PMCID: PMC3615025  PMID: 23565353
seasonality; seasonal affective disorder (SAD); Amish; Season Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ); test-retest; depression
2.  Seasonality patterns of mood and behavior in the Old Order Amish 
Although humans have become partially isolated from physical seasonal environmental changes through artificial lighting and temperature control, seasonal changes in mood and behavior have been described across hemispheres, continents, ethnicities and occupations. The Old Order Amish are more exposed than the general population to environmental seasonal changes both occupationally as well as through their limited use of electric light in the winter and air conditioning in the summer; yet, their seasonal changes in mood and behavior have not been previously studied.
The aim of this study was to analyze seasonal patterns in mood and behavior in the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who returned completed Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaires (SPAQ). Monthly seasonal patterns were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVAs, followed by a post hoc t-test if significant. The χ2 was used for presence or absence of seasonal patterns for each item.
More than 75% of the participants reported at least one seasonal change. More than 75 % endorsed seasonality in “feeling best” but only <25% did so for “feeling worst”. Mood-wise, the best month was May, and the worst months were January and February.
There were significant seasonal patterns for all mood and behavior items reported by the majority of participants. The results were consistent with an overall winter pattern of seasonality previously consistently reported in predominantly Caucasian populations.
PMCID: PMC3648994  PMID: 23667796
Old Order Amish; seasonality; Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaires (SPAQ)
3.  Associations between parent and child pain and functioning in a pediatric chronic pain sample: A mixed methods approach 
This study employed a mixed-method design to test sex-specific parent-child pain associations. Subjects were 179 chronic pain patients aged 11–19 years (mean = 14.34; 72% female) presenting for treatment at a multidisciplinary, tertiary clinic. Mothers and children completed questionnaires prior to their clinic visit, including measures of children’s pain, functioning and psychological characteristics. Mothers also reported on their own pain and psychological functioning. Interviews were conducted with a sub-sample of 34 mothers and children prior to the clinic visit and analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The quantitative data suggest stronger mother-daughter than mother-son pain relationships. The qualitative data suggest that girls’ pain and pain-related disability is related to an overly enmeshed mother-daughter relationship and the presence of maternal models of pain, while boys’ pain and disability is linked to male pain models and criticism and to maternal worry and solicitousness. Boys and girls appear to have developmentally incongruous levels of autonomy and conformity to maternal expectations. The mixed-method data suggest distinct trajectories through which mother and father involvement may be linked to chronic pain in adolescent boys and girls.
PMCID: PMC3105525  PMID: 21643522
Sex differences; parent-child relationships; chronic pain
4.  Short exposure to light treatment improves depression scores in patients with seasonal affective disorder: A brief report 
Light therapy is an effective treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), when administered daily for at least several weeks. We have previously reported a small improvement in mood in SAD patients following exposure to the first hour of treatment. We now reevaluate retrospectively mood changes during shorter exposures comparing depression ratings at baseline, 20, 40, and 60 minutes of light. Participants were 15 depressed patients with SAD, untreated, who were tested during the winter season. The treatment consisted of 10,000 lux of white cool fluorescent light. Depression was measured using the 24-item NIMH scale (24-NIMH). The data were analyzed using ANOVA on ranks and Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Light resulted in significant improvement in mood at every interval when compared with baseline (p< .001). The 40 minute exposure resulted in a greater improvement than the 20 minute exposure (p < .001) but was not different from the 60 minute exposure (p < = .068). We conclude that immediate improvement in mood can be detected after the first session of light with exposures as short as 20 minutes, and that 40 minutes of exposure is not less effective than 60 minutes
PMCID: PMC2913518  PMID: 20686638
Seasonal affective disorder; light therapy; mood; psychiatry; depression
5.  Alcohol use and older adults: A little goes a long way 
We examined the relationships between alcohol use, cognitive and affective variables, and the potential differential benefits of training for older adults drinkers and non-drinkers who participated in a randomized trial implemented between 2001–2006. Participants, who were living independently in the community, were randomly assigned to either twelve hours of memory training or health promotion classes. Outcomes included depression, health, cognition, verbal, visual, memory, and performance-based IADLs. The sample was 79% female, 17% Hispanic and 12% African-American. The typical participant had an average age of 75 years with 13 years of education. In the memory intervention group, there were 135 individuals (63 drinkers, 72 non-drinkers). In the health promotion condition, there were 129 individuals (58 drinkers and 71 non-drinkers). At baseline, drinkers scored higher on cognition, verbal memory, and lower on depression than non-drinkers. Alcohol use was positively related to physical health at baseline as measured by the Physical Component Summary Score of the Medical Outcomes Health Scale (SF-36). We found significant effects for the time*drinking*treatment group interaction in the repeated measures ANCOVA for the Mini Mental Status Examination, the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, and the SF-36 Mental Health sub-scale. The time*drinking*group interactions were not statistically significant for any of the other outcomes; This study demonstrated that older adults benefited from targeted psychosocial interventions on affective, cognitive and functional outcomes. In addition, the SeniorWISE study provides empirical support to the research evidence emphasizing the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption in older adults.
PMCID: PMC2809392  PMID: 20098631
Elderly; alcohol use; psychosocial intervention; memory training; cognitive function; instrumental activities of daily living
6.  The impact of work environment on mood disorders and suicide: Evidence and implications 
The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence estimating an impact of occupational factors on mood disorders and suicide, and the efficacy of interventions. This review is based on literature searches using Medline and Psych INFO from 1966 to 2007 (keywords: work stress, job insecurity, job strain, shift work, violence, occupational health, mood disorders, depression, and suicide). To establish the relationship between occupational variables and mood disorders, we focused on clinically significant disorders rather than depressive symptoms. During the last decade, prospective epidemiological studies have suggested a predictive association between the work environment and mood disorders. Recently, increasing numbers of clinical trials have shown favorable effect size of intervention and suggested preferable return-on-investment results. However, low awareness and social stigma still decrease workers access to treatment. Mental health professionals in conjunction with employers have to devise a creative system to make the quality care being offered more accessible to employees. In addition, further outcome data is needed to evaluate the benefit of managing mood disorders in the workplace, and to foster awareness of positive implications for employees, employers, their families, and the society at large. In addition, the work environment, with its chemical (e.g. chemosensory factors, pollutants), physical (e.g. lighting, noise, temperature, outdoor views and activities), biological (e.g., chronobiological factors, allergens, infectious agents), psychological (e.g. demand-control, effort-reward balance), social (e.g. cohesiveness, support), and organizational (e.g. leadership styles) component should meet minimal standards, and may improve with striving towards the optimum.
PMCID: PMC2559945  PMID: 18836547
depression; work stress; occupational health; suicide

Results 1-6 (6)