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1.  Mediators between bereavement and somatic symptoms 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:59.
In our research we examined the frequency of somatic symptoms among bereaved (N = 185) and non-bereaved men and women in a national representative sample (N = 4041) and investigated the possible mediating factors between bereavement status and somatic symptoms.
Somatic symptoms were measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-15), anxiety with a four-point anxiety rating scale, and depression with a nine-item shortened version of the Beck Depression Inventory.
Among the bereaved, somatic symptoms proved to be significantly more frequent in both genders when compared to the non-bereaved, as did anxiety and depression. On the multivariate level, the results show that both anxiety and depression proved to be a mediator between somatic symptoms and bereavement. The effect sizes indicated that for both genders, anxiety was a stronger predictor of somatic symptoms than depression.
The results of our research indicate that somatic symptoms accompanying bereavement are not direct consequences of this state but they can be traced back to the associated anxiety and depression. These results draw attention to the need to recognize anxiety and depression looming in the background of somatic complaints in bereavement and to the importance of the dissemination of related information.
PMCID: PMC3426491  PMID: 22709333
Anxiety; Bereavement; Depression; Gender differences; Somatic symptoms
2.  Alcohol use in the first three years of bereavement: a national representative survey 
Earlier results concerning alcohol consumption of bereaved persons are contradictory. The aim of the present study was to analyze the relationship between bereavement and alcohol consumption accounting for time and gender differences on a nationally representative sample from Hungary ("Hungarostudy Epidemiological Panel Survey", N = 4457)
Drinking characteristics of mourning persons (alcohol consumption, dependence symptoms, and harmful consequences of alcohol use) in the first three years of grief were examined among persons between 18-75 years using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT).
Men bereaved for one year scored higher on two dimensions of AUDIT (dependence symptoms and harmful alcohol use), while men bereaved for two years scored higher on all three dimensions of AUDIT compared to the non-bereaved. The rate of men clinically at-risk concerning alcohol consumption among the non-bereaved is 12.9%, and among men bereaved for one year is 18.4% (a non-significant difference), while 29.8% (p < 0.001, OR = 2,781) among men bereaved for two years. However, men bereaved for three years did not differ from the non-bereaved in their drinking habits. In case of bereaved women, again no difference was found with respect to alcohol use compared to the non-bereaved.
Among bereaved men, the risk of alcohol related problems tends to be higher, which can be shown both among men bereaved for one year as well as men bereaved for two years. Considering the higher morbidity and mortality rates of bereaved men, alcohol consumption might play a mediator role. These facts draw attention to the importance of prevention, early recognition, and effective therapy of hazardous drinking in bereaved men.
PMCID: PMC3286419  PMID: 22248360
bereavement; alcohol consumption; national representative survey; gender differences
3.  Natural course of behavioral addictions: a 5-year longitudinal study 
BMC Psychiatry  2015;15:4.
Resolving the theoretical controversy on the labeling of an increasing number of excessive behaviors as behavioral addictions may also be facilitated by more empirical data on these behavioral problems. For instance, an essential issue to the classification of psychiatric disorders is information on their natural course. However, longitudinal research on the chronic vs. episodic nature of behavioral addictions is scarce. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to provide data on prevalence, substance use comorbidity, and five-year trajectories of six excessive behaviors—namely exercising, sexual behavior, shopping, online chatting, video gaming, and eating.
Analyses were based on the data of the Quinte Longitudinal Study, where a cohort of 4,121 adults from Ontario, Canada was followed for 5 years (2006 to 2011). The response rate was 21.3%, while retention rate was 93.9%. To assess the occurrence of each problem behavior, a single self-diagnostic question asked people whether their over-involvement in the behavior had caused significant problems for them in the past 12 months. To assess the severity of each problem behavior reported, the Behavioral Addiction Measure was administered. A mixed design ANOVA was used to investigate symptom trajectories over time for each problem behavior and whether these symptom trajectories varied as a function of sex.
The large majority of people reported having problematic over-involvement for just one of these behaviors and just in a single time period. A main effect of time was found for each problem behavior, indicating a moderately strong decrease in symptom severity across time. The time x sex interaction was insignificant in each model indicating that the decreasing trend is similar for males and females. The data also showed that help seeking was very low in the case of excessive sexual behavior, shopping, online chatting, and video gaming but substantially more prevalent in the case of excessive eating and exercising.
The present results indicate that self-identified excessive exercising, sexual behavior, shopping, online chatting, video gaming, and/or eating tend to be fairly transient for most people. This aspect of the results is inconsistent with conceptualizations of addictions as progressive in nature, unless treated.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0383-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320621  PMID: 25608605
Behavioral addiction; Natural course; Spontaneous recovery; Prevalence; Prospective design; Sex differences; Help-seeking; Substance abuse comorbidity
4.  Psychometric Properties of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale Form C in a Non-Western Culture 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107108.
Form C of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales (MHLC-C) was designed to investigate health-related control beliefs of persons with an existing medical condition. The aim of the present study was to examine the psychometric properties of this instrument in a culture characterized by external control beliefs and learned helplessness—contrary to the societal context of original test development. Altogether, 374 Hungarian patients with cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders were enrolled in the study. Besides the MHLC-C, instruments measuring general control beliefs, anxiety, depression, self-efficacy, and health behaviors were also administered to evaluate the validity of the scale. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic techniques were used to investigate the factor structure of the scale. Our results showed that the Hungarian adaptation of the instrument had a slightly different structure than the one originally hypothesized: in the present sample, a three-factor structure emerged where the items of the Doctors and the Others subscales loaded onto a single common component. Internal reliability of all three subscales was adequate (alphas between .71 and .79). Data concerning the instrument's validity were comparable with previous results from Western countries. These findings may suggest that health locus of control can be construed very similarly to Western countries even in a post-communist society—regardless of the potential differences in general control beliefs.
PMCID: PMC4159290  PMID: 25202967
5.  How to Decrease Suicide Rates in Both Genders? An Effectiveness Study of a Community-Based Intervention (EAAD) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75081.
The suicide rate in Hungary is high in international comparison. The two-year community-based four-level intervention programme of the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) is designed to improve the care of depression and to prevent suicidal behaviour. Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of a regional community-based four-level suicide prevention programme on suicide rates.
The EAAD programme was implemented in Szolnok (population 76,311), a town in a region of Hungary with an exceptionally high suicide rate. Effectiveness was assessed by comparing changes in suicide rates in the intervention region after the intervention started with changes in national suicide rates and those in a control region (Szeged) in the corresponding period.
For the duration of the programme and the follow-up year, suicide rates in Szolnok were significantly lower than the average of the previous three years (p = .0076). The suicide rate thus went down from 30.1 per 100,000 in 2004 to 13.2 in 2005 (−56.1 %), 14.6 in 2006 (−51.4 %) and 12.0 in 2007 (−60.1 %). This decrease of annual suicide rates in Szolnok after the onset of the intervention was significantly stronger than that observed in the whole country (p = .017) and in the control region (p = .0015). Men had the same decrease in suicide rates as women. As secondary outcome, an increase of emergency calls to the hotline service (200%) and outpatient visits at the local psychiatry clinic (76%) was found.
These results seem to provide further support for the effectiveness of the EAAD concept. Whilst the majority of suicide prevention programs mainly affect female suicidal behaviour, this programme seems to be beneficial for both sexes. The sustainability and the role of the mediating factors (social service and health care utilization, community attitudes about suicide) should be key points in future research.
PMCID: PMC3781024  PMID: 24086443
6.  Four-year prospective evaluation of the relationship between meaning in life and smoking status 
To date, all investigations on the relationship between smoking and perceived level of meaning in life have used cross-sectional designs. Therefore, the purpose of the present prospective study, conducted with a four-year time lag, was to test the predictive power of the life meaning construct concerning changes in smoking status.
The data of 4,294 respondents (40.3% male, Mage = 54.7 ± 16.5 yrs) from the Hungarian Epidemiological Panel Survey were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann–Whitney U-test and structural equation modeling (SEM) with a nominal outcome variable. Gender, age, and educational level were included in the study as covariates.
On the bivariate level, results showed that both baseline and follow-up meaning in life scores were higher in stable non-smokers when compared to stable smokers. However, quitters and starters differed from stable non-smokers in their baseline but not in follow-up life meaning scores. The other relationships (stable smokers vs. quitters; stable smokers vs. starters, starters vs. quitters) were non-significant in both time points. According to the SEM-analysis, a higher sense of meaning in life measured at baseline and follow-up is associated with a lower likelihood (OR = 0.54, z = 2.80, p = 0.005; OR = 0.64, z = 2.88, p = 0.004, respectively) of being a stable smoker compared to being a stable non-smoker, confirming the expected relationship between smoking and decreased level of meaning in life. However, neither baseline nor follow-up life meaning scores predicted significantly quitting and uptake of smoking.
If future research from other cultures verifies the protective role of a higher level of meaning in life against smoking, then smoking prevention and cessation programs will also have to include such components that help individuals experience more meaning in their lives.
PMCID: PMC3598484  PMID: 23433067
Change in smoking status; Meaning in life; Prospective design; Structural equation modeling

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