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1.  Adult physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and postpartum depression, a population based, prospective study of 53,065 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study 
Postpartum depression (PPD) has detrimental consequences to the women, their infants and families. The aim of the present study was to assess the association between adult abuse and PPD.
This study was based on data from 53,065 pregnant women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Women were recruited through a postal invitation in relation to a routine ultra-sound invitation at week 18 of gestation. Exposure to adult emotional, sexual, physical abuse was based on self-report at week 30, also differentiating if the perpetrator was known or a stranger, and whether the abuse was recent or not (<12 month since abuse). PPD was measured with a four items version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EDS) at six months postpartum. The associations between different types of adult abuse and PPD were performed with logistic regression, adjusting for age, parity, civil status, education, child abuse, social support, and depression prior to pregnancy.
Altogether, 11% had PPD, and 19% had been exposed to adult abuse. Women reporting adult abuse had an 80% increased fully adjusted odds of PPD (OR 1.8 95% CI 1.7-1.9) compared to non-abused women. There was a tendency towards higher odds of PPD for women reporting combinations of adult abuse (emotional, sexual and physical), as compared with those reporting sexual, emotional or physical abuse only. Exposure from known perpetrator was more strongly associated with PPD than exposure from an unknown perpetrator. Compared with women without adult abuse, the fully adjusted odds of PPD was 2.6 (95% CI 2.4-2.9) higher for women with any recent adult abuse and 1.5 (95% CI 1.5-1.7) higher for women with any adult abuse, but not recent.
The results from this large prospective population-based cohort study support initiatives aiming to assess and adequately address abuse when counseling and treating women of PPD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-316) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177252  PMID: 25199411
Adult Physical; Emotional; Sexual abuse, and recent abuse; Postpartum Depression (PPD); Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EDS); The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa)
2.  Prevalence of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in the Norwegian mother and child cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:186.
Abuse of women occurs in every society of the world. Increased information about the prevalence in industrialized countries, like Norway, is required to make strategies to prevent abuse. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of self-reported sexual, physical and emotional abuse in a large obstetric population in Norway, and the associations between exposure to adult abuse, socio-demographics and other characteristics.
Our study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child (MoBa) Cohort study, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The current study included 65,393 women who responded to two extensive postal questionnaires during pregnancy. Any adult abuse is defined as being exposed to one or more types of adult abuse, any child abuse is defined as being exposed to one or more types of child abuse, and any lifetime abuse is defined as being exposed to abuse either as a child and/or as an adult. Perpetrators were categorized as known or stranger.
Overall, 32% of the women reported any lifetime abuse, 20% reported any adult abuse, 19% reported any child abuse and 6% reported abuse both as adults and as children. Emotional abuse was the most frequently reported type of abuse both as adults (16%) and children (14%). Adult sexual abuse was reported by 5% and child sexual abuse by 7%. Physical abuse was reported by 6% as adults and by 6% as children. Approximately 30% of those reporting adult or child abuse reported exposure to two or three types of abuse. Five percent of the women reported exposure to any abuse during the last 12 months. For all types of abuse, a known perpetrator was more commonly reported. Logistic regression showed that being exposed to child abuse, smoking and drinking alcohol in the first trimester of pregnancy, living alone, and belonging to the eldest age group were significantly associated with being exposed to any adult abuse.
The reported prevalence of any lifetime abuse was substantial in our low-risk pregnant population. Antenatal care is an opportunity for clinicians to ask about experiences of abuse and identify those at risk.
PMCID: PMC3599849  PMID: 23452504
Emotional abuse; Sexual abuse; Physical abuse; Prevalence; The Norwegian mother and child cohort study
3.  A few more minutes make a difference? The relationship between content and length of GP consultations 
Objectives. To investigate the relationship between the length of a medical consultation in a general practice setting and the biopsychosocial information obtained by the physician, and to explore the characteristics of young physicians obtaining comprehensive, especially psychosocial information. Design. A prospective, longitudinal follow-up study. Setting. Videotaped consultations with standardized patients on two occasions were scored for the amount of biopsychosocial information obtained. Consultation length was recorded in minutes. Subjects. Final-year (T-1) medical school students (n = 111) participated in the project. On completion of their internship one and a half years later (T-2), 62 attended a second time, as young physicians. Main outcome measures. Content lists. Results. Pearson's r correlations between content and length at T-1 and T-2 were 0.27 and 0.66, respectively (non-overlapping confidence intervals). Psychosocial content increased significantly when consultations exceeded 13 minutes (15 minutes scheduled). Physicians using more than 13 minutes had previously, as hospital interns, perceived more stress in the emergency room and had worked in local hospitals. Conclusions. A strong association was found between consultation length and information, especially psychosocial information, obtained by the physicians at internship completion. This finding should be considered by faculty members and organizers of the internship period. Further research is needed to detect when, during the educational process, increased emphasis on communication skills training would be most beneficial for students/residents, and how the medical curriculum and internship period should be designed to optimize young physicians’ use of time in consultations.
PMCID: PMC3587298  PMID: 23282010
Consultation content; consultation length; general practice; medical students; Norway; physicians; psychosocial
4.  The short-term effect on alliance and satisfaction of using patient feedback scales in mental health out-patient treatment. A randomised controlled trial 
The main aim was to investigate the effect of using two brief feedback scales in mental health out-patient treatment six weeks after starting treatment, compared to treatment as usual. Hypotheses were that use of feedback scales would improve treatment alliance and patient satisfaction.
An open parallel-group randomised controlled trial was conducted in an out-patient unit in a mental health hospital in Central Norway. Eight therapists trained in using the feedback scales in the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) treated the intervention group. Seventeen therapists treated the controls, providing treatment without using feedback scales. The main outcome measures were treatment alliance and patient satisfaction.
Seventy-five patients participated. There were no differences between the groups in the intention to treat (ITT) analyses on alliance (mean difference = 0.08, 95% CI −0.44, 0.59, p = 0.760) or satisfaction (mean difference = 0.24, 95% CI −1.85, 2.32, p = 0.819), and no statistically significant differences between the groups in the per protocol (PP, n = 58) analyses on alliance (mean difference = 0.32, 95% CI −0.84, 3.16, p = 0.137) or satisfaction (mean difference = 1.16, 95% CI −0.84, 3.16, p = 0.248) six weeks after the treatment started. The effect size in favour of the PCOMS group increased from 0.07 for alliance and 0.06 for satisfaction in the intention to treat analysis to 0.40 on alliance and 0.31 for satisfaction in the per protocol analysis. Among the other outcomes, the PCOMS group had better motivation for treatment (estimated mean difference ITT: 0.29, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.57, p = 0.05, PP: 0.28, 95% CI 0.04, 0.52, p = 0.024).
Six weeks after starting treatment, there were no effects on alliance and satisfaction from using two brief feedback scales. Since the per protocol analyses showed higher effect sizes, future investigations in a larger study with longer follow-up are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3502393  PMID: 23034077
Patient participation; Mental health care; Outcome assessment (Health Care); Professional-patient relations
5.  Effect of an institutional development plan for user participation on professionals' knowledge, practice, and attitudes. A controlled study 
Governments in several countries attempt to strengthen user participation through instructing health care organisations to plan and implement activities such as user representation in administrational boards, improved information to users, and more individual user participation in clinical work. The professionals are central in implementing initiatives to enhance user participation in organisations, but no controlled studies have been conducted on the effect on professionals from implementing institutional development plans. The objective was to investigate whether implementing a development plan intending to enhance user participation in a mental health hospital had any effect on the professionals' knowledge, practice, or attitudes towards user participation.
This was a non-randomized controlled study including professionals from three mental health hospitals in Central Norway. A development plan intended to enhance user participation was implemented in one of the hospitals as a part of a larger re-organizational process. The plan included i.e. establishing a patient education centre and a user office, purchasing of user expertise, appointing contact professionals for next of kin, and improving of the centre's information and the professional culture. The professionals at the intervention hospital thus constituted the intervention group, while the professionals at two other hospitals participated as control group. All professionals were invited to answer the Consumer Participation Questionnaire (CPQ) and additional questions, focusing on knowledge, practice, and attitudes towards user participation, two times with a 16 months interval.
A total of 438 professionals participated (55% response rate). Comparing the changes in the intervention group with the changes in the control group revealed no statistically significant differences at a 0.05 level. The implementation of the development plan thus had no measurable effect on the professionals' knowledge, practice, or attitudes at the intervention hospital, compared to the control hospitals.
This is the first controlled study on the effect on professionals from implementing a development plan to enhance user participation in a mental health hospital. The plan had no effect on professionals' knowledge, practice, or attitudes. This can be due to the quality of the development plan, the implementation process, and/or the suitability of the outcome measures.
PMCID: PMC3239385  PMID: 22047466
6.  Observed communication skills: how do they relate to the consultation content? A nation-wide study of graduate medical students seeing a standardized patient for a first-time consultation in a general practice setting 
In this study, we wanted to investigate the relationship between background variables, communication skills, and the bio-psychosocial content of a medical consultation in a general practice setting with a standardized patient.
Final-year medical school students (N = 111) carried out a consultation with an actor playing the role of a patient with a specific somatic complaint, psychosocial stressors, and concerns about cancer. Based on videotapes, communication skills and consultation content were scored separately.
The mean level of overall communication skills had a significant impact upon the counts of psychosocial issues, the patient's concerns about cancer, and the information and planning parts of the consultation content being addressed. Gender and age had no influence upon the relationship between communication skills and consultation content.
Communication skills seem to be important for final-year students' competence in addressing sensitive psychosocial issues and patients' concerns as well as informing and planning with patients being representative for a fairly complex case in general practice. This result should be considered in the design and incorporation of communication skills training as part of the curriculum of medical schools.
PMCID: PMC2213643  PMID: 17996053
7.  Curriculum factors influencing knowledge of communication skills among medical students 
Communication training builds on the assumption that understanding of the concepts related to professional communication facilitates the training. We know little about whether students' knowledge of clinical communication skills is affected by their attendance of communication training courses, or to what degree other elements of the clinical training or curriculum design also play a role. The aim of this study was to determine which elements of the curriculum influence acquisition of knowledge regarding clinical communication skills by medical students.
The study design was a cross-sectional survey performed in the four Norwegian medical schools with different curricula, spring 2003. A self-administered questionnaire regarding knowledge of communication skills (an abridged version of van Dalen's paper-and-pencil test) was sent to all students attending the four medical schools. A total of 1801 (59%) students responded with complete questionnaires.
At the end of the 1st year of study, the score on the knowledge test was higher in students at the two schools running communication courses and providing early patient contact (mean 81%) than in the other two medical schools (mean 69–75%, P ≤ 0.001), with students studying a traditional curriculum scoring the lowest. Their scores increased sharply towards the end of the 3rd year, during which they had been subjected to extensive patient contact and had participated in an intensive communication course (77% vs. 72% the previous year, P ≤ 0.01). All students scored generally lower in academic years in which there was no communication training. However, at the end of the final year the difference between the schools was only 5% (81% vs. 86%, P ≤ 0.001).
The acquisition of knowledge regarding communication skills by medical students may be optimised when the training is given together with extensive supervised patient contact, especially if this teaching takes place in the initial years of the curriculum.
PMCID: PMC2089059  PMID: 17925041
8.  Assessing medical students' attitudes towards learning communication skills – which components of attitudes do we measure? 
The Communication Skills Attitudes Scale (CSAS) created by Rees, Sheard and Davies and published in 2002 has been a widely used instrument for measuring medical students' attitudes towards learning communication skills. Earlier studies have shown that the CSAS mainly tests two dimensions of attitudes towards communication; positive attitudes (PAS) and negative attitudes (NAS). The objectives of our study are to explore the attitudes of Norwegian medical students towards learning communication skills, and to compare our findings with reports from other countries.
The CSAS questionnaire was mailed simultaneously to all students (n = 3055) of the four medical schools in Norway in the spring of 2003. Response from 1833 students (60.0%) were analysed by use of SPSS ver.12.
A Principal component analysis yielded findings that differ in many respects from those of earlier papers. We found the CSAS to measure three factors. The first factor describes students' feelings about the way communication skills are taught, whereas the second factor describes more fundamental attitudes and values connected to the importance of having communication skills for doctors. The third factor explores whether students feel that good communication skills may help them respecting patients and colleagues.
Our findings indicate that in this sample the CSAS measures broader aspects of attitudes towards learning communication skills than the formerly described two-factor model with PAS and NAS. This may turn out to be helpful for monitoring the effect of different teaching strategies on students' attitudes during medical school.
PMCID: PMC1851955  PMID: 17394673

Results 1-8 (8)