This study assessed the intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning of a three-couple expedition group that included a 2 1/2-year-old child which was ice-locked on a boat in the High Arctic during a major portion of the expedition. Personality assessment indicated that team members were generally well adjusted, scoring relatively higher on well-being and achievement and relatively lower on stress reactivity. Weekly mood ratings showed that the group exhibited significantly higher positive than negative affect. Reported negative events were relatively most frequent at the beginning of the Arctic stay and toward the end of the darkness period and were lowest during the initial darkness interval. The period of darkness had both a salutary and negative impact. A highly important means of coping with stress was seeking emotional support from one's partner. Selection of couples with strong bonds with their partner appears to be one viable approach for crew selection for long-duration missions.
Advances in medical technology now permit children who need ventilator assistance to live at home rather than in hospitals or institutions. What does this ventilator-dependent life mean to children and their families? The impetus for this essay comes from a study of the moral experience of 12 Canadian families--parents, ventilator-dependent child, and well siblings. These families express great love for their children, take on enormous responsibilities for care, live with uncertainty, and attempt to create "normal" home environments. Nevertheless, they experience social isolation, sometimes even from their extended families and health care providers. Their lives are constrained in many ways. The challenges faced by parents of technology-dependent children raise questions of justice within society and within families.
Accessible support programs can improve health outcomes for family caregivers of older relatives with a chronic condition. Over the course of 6 months, 27 experienced family caregivers provided weekly support via the telephone to 66 individuals, either new family caregivers of seniors recently diagnosed with stroke or newly vulnerable family caregivers (i.e., facing increasing demands from the deterioration of their senior relative's condition) of seniors with Alzheimer's disease. Qualitative data documented the perceived impact of the intervention, including increased satisfaction with support, coping skills, caregiving competence and confidence, and decreased caregiver burden and loneliness. Caregivers identified varied support processes that overcame support deficits in their social networks. These processes can facilitate replication in future research and inform practice, programs, and policies.
To predict acute psychological distress in pregnant women following detection of a fetal structural anomaly by ultrasonography, and to relate these findings to a comparison group.
A prospective, observational study.
Tertiary referral centre for fetal medicine.
One hundred and eighty pregnant women with a fetal structural anomaly detected by ultrasound (study group) and 111 with normal ultrasound findings (comparison group) were included within a week following sonographic examination after gestational age 12 weeks (inclusion period: May 2006 to February 2009).
Social dysfunction and health perception were assessed by the corresponding subscales of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). Psychological distress was assessed using the Impact of Events Scale (IES-22), Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the anxiety and depression subscales of the GHQ-28. Fetal anomalies were classified according to severity and diagnostic or prognostic ambiguity at the time of assessment.
Social dysfunction, health perception and psychological distress (intrusion, avoidance, arousal, anxiety, depression).
The least severe anomalies with no diagnostic or prognostic ambiguity induced the lowest levels of IES intrusive distress (P = 0.025). Women included after 22 weeks of gestation (24%) reported significantly higher GHQ distress than women included earlier in pregnancy (P = 0.003). The study group had significantly higher levels of psychosocial distress than the comparison group on all psychometric endpoints.
Psychological distress was predicted by gestational age at the time of assessment, severity of the fetal anomaly, and ambiguity concerning diagnosis or prognosis.
Psychological resistance may be of considerable importance in the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) population, considering that researchers in the field of traumatic stress are frequently unsuccessful in achieving high response rates, that many subjects suffering from PTSD never seek help, and that dropouts from therapy are frequent. This article presents data on the main complaints reported in the acute aftermath of an industrial disaster by 246 employees who had been exposed to the disaster. The dominant concerns were symptomatic complaints related to posttraumatic stress reactions rather than external problems. Sleep disturbance, anxiety/fear responses, and physical symptoms were reported by individuals with complaints in the acute phase as most problematic, while irritability and depressive symptoms appeared very infrequently among the reported main complaints. A high specificity and sensitivity were achieved in predicting later PTSD (as defined by DSM-III criteria) by applying early response variables: thus, there were few false-positives and false-negatives. There was a considerable overlap between the PTSD predictors and the main symptom complaints. From a prevention point of view, this should be advantageous, since it would bring the right people to seek help. However, in a significant proportion of the acutely distressed, the reluctance to seek help was motivated by the very symptoms that predicted PTSD. Even a relatively high rate of subjects agreeing to be screened (82.8%) would have lost 42% of those who qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD, and more than half of the subjects with severe outcomes would not have been included. For primary and secondary prevention, the findings suggest that early screening and outreach should be very active.
Several studies suggest a rapid decrease of alcohol use among adolescents after the turn of the century. With decreasing prevalence rates of smokers, a so-called hardening may have taken place, implying that remaining smokers are characterized by more psychosocial problems. Are similar processes witnessed among remaining adolescent alcohol users as well?
In 1992, 2002 and 2010 we used identical procedures to collect data from three population-based samples of 16- and 17-year-old Norwegians (n = 9207). We collected data on alcohol consumption, binge drinking, parental factors, use of other substances, conduct problems, depressive symptoms, social integration, sexual behaviour and loneliness.
There was a steep increase in all measures of alcohol consumption from 1992 to 2002, followed by a similar decline until 2010. Most correlates remained stable over the time span.
Alcohol use was consistently related to psychosocial problems; on the other hand, alcohol users reported higher levels of social acceptance and social integration than did non-users. There were no signs of 'hardening' as seen for tobacco use.
Increasing rates of HIV infection have been found in migrant farmworkers in the USA over the past decade. By virtue of lifestyle, language and culture, these workers are not exposed to the typical media HIV prevention messages. To determine their level of knowledge about this disease for use in prevention messages targeted specifically to this population, five gender specific focus groups were conducted among Haitian, Jamaican and African-American migrant farmworkers in upstate New York. The focus groups revealed that the health belief system of these Afro-American migrant workers primarily reflects that of their indigenous culture. This impacts their interpretation and utilization of risk aversive behaviours. The data also suggest that the culture of migrancy itself affects the extent of risky behaviours practised, but further studies are needed to examine this phenomenon.