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In the nineteenth century, the concept of decadence was not solely of aesthetic interest but had a number of scientific applications. Decadence itself is an organic metaphor, extending the natural processes of decline and decay to societies and the arts. Rather than rejecting nature outright, decadent authors readily embraced new scientific theories that changed the way people thought about the natural world. The pessimism of nineteenth-century science stemmed from the brutal world of industrial capitalism in which it was developed. Decadent writers then incorporated both scientific ideas and language into a literary style obsessed with decay and decline. Finally, science returned to decadent literature to pathologize certain modes of artistic expression as yet another sign that certain types of individuals were ‘degenerate’. Three key scientific theories of the nineteenth century underpin the decadent fixation on decline, decay, and degeneration: uniformitarianism, evolution, and the conservation of energy. All three theories identify impermanence in natural structures previously believed to be permanent and stable.
Donald Trump’s first year in office received unprecedented media coverage, with many wondering whether congressional Republicans were “adversaries” or “allies” of the president’s legislative positions. We explore this issue from two vantage points. First, we place Trump’s presidency in historical context by forecasting his Republican support with data from 1969 to 2016. We find that Republicans supported Trump’s legislative positions in 2017 at levels consistent with expectations, contrary to the views of some. Second, we explore the factors that explain why Republican lawmakers supported or opposed their party’s president. We find that conservative and establishment Republicans were more likely to support Trump, contrary to some claims, while female Republicans and those representing affluent, non-white districts were more likely to oppose Trump. We conclude by discussing the broader implications of these results, including the role of identity in contemporary American politics and the possible realignment of the GOP.
What are the effects of wearable police cameras on perceptions of the police? In this study, we report causal estimates from a crossover randomized controlled trial in Uruguay on the effects of use of body-worn cameras by traffic police on the perceptions of legitimacy and satisfaction by drivers ticketed for traffic violations. We pay particular attention to the effects on procedural justice—that is, perceptions of the fairness of the interactions between officers and drivers—without neglecting other features of legitimacy (i.e., effectiveness, distributive justice, and lawfulness). With the exception of lawfulness, wearable surveillance apparatuses showed improvements across all dimensions of legitimacy compared to control conditions, with medium to large effect sizes. The overall satisfaction from the police-public interaction was significantly higher when officers used body-worn cameras. These findings suggest that wearable surveillance technology can lead to enhanced perceptions of legitimacy across multiple dimensions, not just increased efficiency, as well as the perceived overall quality of police-public interaction.
Current coverage of mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries is very limited, not only in terms of access to services but also in terms of financial protection of individuals in need of care and treatment.
To identify the challenges, opportunities and strategies for more equitable and sustainable mental health financing in six sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
In the context of a mental health systems research project (Emerald), a multi-methods approach was implemented consisting of three steps: a quantitative and narrative assessment of each country's disease burden profile, health system and macro-fiscal situation; in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders; and a policy analysis of sustainable financing options.
Key challenges identified for sustainable mental health financing include the low level of funding accorded to mental health services, widespread inequalities in access and poverty, although opportunities exist in the form of new political interest in mental health and ongoing reforms to national insurance schemes. Inclusion of mental health within planned or nascent national health insurance schemes was identified as a key strategy for moving towards more equitable and sustainable mental health financing in all six countries.
Including mental health in ongoing national health insurance reforms represent the most important strategic opportunity in the six participating countries to secure enhanced service provision and financial protection for individuals and households affected by mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities.
Declaration of interest
D.C. is a staff member of the World Health Organization.
Strengthening of mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) requires the involvement of appropriately skilled and committed individuals from a range of stakeholder groups. Currently, few evidence-based capacity-building activities and materials are available to enable and sustain comprehensive improvements.
Within the Emerald project, the goal of this study was to evaluate capacity-building activities for three target groups: (a) service users with mental health conditions and their caregivers; (b) policymakers and planners; and (c) mental health researchers.
We developed and tailored three short courses (between 1 and 5 days long). We then implemented and evaluated these short courses on 24 different occasions. We assessed satisfaction among 527 course participants as well as pre–post changes in knowledge in six LMICs (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda). Changes in research capacity of partner Emerald institutions was also assessed through monitoring of academic outputs of participating researchers and students and via anonymous surveys.
Short courses were associated with high levels of satisfaction and led to improvements in knowledge across target groups. In relation to institutional capacity building, all partner institutions reported improvements in research capacity for most aspects of mental health system strengthening and global mental health, and many of these positive changes were attributed to the Emerald programme. In terms of outputs, eight PhD students submitted a total of 10 papers relating to their PhD work (range 0–4) and were involved in 14 grant applications, of which 43% (n = 6) were successful.
The Emerald project has shown that building capacity of key stakeholders in mental health system strengthening is possible. However, the starting point and appropriate strategies for this may vary across different countries, depending on the local context, needs and resources.
Successful scale-up of integrated primary mental healthcare requires routine monitoring of key programme performance indicators. A consensus set of mental health indicators has been proposed but evidence on their use in routine settings is lacking.
To assess the acceptability, feasibility, perceived costs and sustainability of implementing indicators relating to integrated mental health service coverage in six South Asian (India, Nepal) and sub-Saharan African countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda).
A qualitative study using semi-structured key informant interviews (n = 128) was conducted. The ‘Performance of Routine Information Systems’ framework served as the basis for a coding framework covering three main categories related to the performance of new tools introduced to collect data on mental health indicators: (1) technical; (2) organisation; and (3) behavioural determinants.
Most mental health indicators were deemed relevant and potentially useful for improving care, and therefore acceptable to end users. Exceptions were indicators on functionality, cost and severity. The simplicity of the data-capturing formats contributed to the feasibility of using forms to generate data on mental health indicators. Health workers reported increasing confidence in their capacity to record the mental health data and minimal additional cost to initiate mental health reporting. However, overstretched primary care staff and the time-consuming reporting process affected perceived sustainability.
Use of the newly developed, contextually appropriate mental health indicators in health facilities providing primary care services was seen largely to be feasible in the six Emerald countries, mainly because of the simplicity of the forms and continued support in the design and implementation stage. However, approaches to implementation of new forms generating data on mental health indicators need to be customised to the specific health system context of different countries. Further work is needed to identify ways to utilise mental health data to monitor and improve the quality of mental health services.
There is a global drive to improve access to mental healthcare by scaling up integrated mental health into primary healthcare (PHC) systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
To investigate systems-level implications of efforts to scale-up integrated mental healthcare into PHC in districts in six LMICs.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 121 managers and service providers. Transcribed interviews were analysed using framework analysis guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and World Health Organization basic building blocks.
Ensuring that interventions are synergistic with existing health system features and strengthening of the healthcare system building blocks to support integrated chronic care and task-sharing were identified as aiding integration efforts. The latter includes (a) strengthening governance to include technical support for integration efforts as well as multisectoral collaborations; (b) ring-fencing mental health budgets at district level; (c) a critical mass of mental health specialists to support task-sharing; (d) including key mental health indicators in the health information system; (e) psychotropic medication included on free essential drug lists and (f) enabling collaborative and community- oriented PHC-service delivery platforms and continuous quality improvement to aid service delivery challenges in implementation.
Scaling up integrated mental healthcare in PHC in LMICs is more complex than training general healthcare providers. Leveraging existing health system processes that are synergistic with chronic care services and strengthening healthcare system building blocks to provide a more enabling context for integration are important.
There is a large treatment gap for mental, neurological or substance use (MNS) disorders. The ‘Emerging mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)’ (Emerald) research programme attempted to identify strategies to work towards reducing this gap through the strengthening of mental health systems.
To provide a set of proposed recommendations for mental health system strengthening in LMICs.
The Emerald programme was implemented in six LMICs in Africa and Asia (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda) over a 5-year period (2012–2017), and aimed to improve mental health outcomes in the six countries by building capacity and generating evidence to enhance health system strengthening.
The proposed recommendations align closely with the World Health Organization's key health system strengthening ‘building blocks’ of governance, financing, human resource development, service provision and information systems; knowledge transfer is included as an additional cross-cutting component. Specific recommendations are made in the paper for each of these building blocks based on the body of data that were collected and analysed during Emerald.
These recommendations are relevant not only to the six countries in which their evidential basis was generated, but to other LMICs as well; they may also be generalisable to other non-communicable diseases beyond MNS disorders.
The Emerald project's focus is on how to strengthen mental health systems in six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda). This was done by generating evidence and capacity to enhance health system performance in delivering mental healthcare.
A common problem in scaling-up interventions and strengthening mental health programmes in LMICs is how to transfer research evidence, such as the data collected in the Emerald project, into practice.
To describe how core elements of Emerald were implemented and aligned with the ultimate goal of strengthening mental health systems, as well as their short-term impact on practices, policies and programmes in the six partner countries.
We focused on the involvement of policy planners, managers, patients and carers.
Over 5 years of collaboration, the Emerald consortium has provided evidence and tools for the improvement of mental healthcare in the six LMICs involved in the project. We found that the knowledge transfer efforts had an impact on mental health service delivery and policy planning at the sites and countries involved in the project.
This approach may be valid beyond the mental health context, and may be effective for any initiative that aims at implementing evidence-based health policies for health system strengthening.
In most low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), routine mental health information is unavailable or unreliable, making monitoring of mental healthcare coverage difficult. This study aims to evaluate a new set of mental health indicators introduced in primary healthcare settings in five LMIC.
A survey was conducted among primary healthcare workers (n = 272) to assess the acceptability and feasibility of eight new indicators monitoring mental healthcare needs, utilisation, quality and payments. Also, primary health facility case records (n = 583) were reviewed by trained research assistants to assess the level of completion (yes/no) for each of the indicators and subsequently the level of correctness of completion (correct/incorrect – with incorrect defined as illogical, missing or illegible information) of the indicators used by health workers. Assessments were conducted within 1 month of the introduction of the indicators, as well as 6–9 months afterwards.
Across both time points and across all indicators, 78% of the measurements of indicators were complete. Among the best performing indicators (diagnosis, severity and treatment), this was significantly higher. With regards to correctness, 87% of all completed indicators were correctly completed. There was a trend towards improvement over time. Health workers' perceptions on feasibility and utility, across sites and over time, indicated a positive attitude in 81% of all measurements.
This study demonstrates high levels of performance and perceived utility for a set of indicators that could ultimately be used to monitor coverage of mental healthcare in primary healthcare settings in LMIC. We recommend that these indicators are incorporated into existing health information systems and adopted within the World Health Organization Mental Health Gap Action Programme implementation strategy.
To understand how exposure to victimization during adolescence and the presence of comorbid psychological conditions influence substance use treatment entry and substance use disorder diagnosis from 14 to 25 years old among serious juvenile offenders, this study included 1,354 serious juvenile offenders who were prospectively followed over 7 years. Growth mixture modeling was used to assess profiles of early victimization during adolescence (14–17 years). Discrete time survival mixture analysis was used to assess time to treatment entry and substance use disorder diagnosis. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) were used as predictors of survival time. Mixture models revealed three profiles of victimization: sustained poly-victimization, moderate/decreasing victimization, and low victimization. Youth in the sustained poly-victimization class were more likely to enter treatment earlier and have a substance use diagnosis earlier than other classes. PTSD was a significant predictor of treatment entry for youth in the sustained poly-victimization class, and MDD was a significant predictor of substance use disorder diagnosis for youth in the moderate/decreasing victimization class. Therefore, substance use prevention programming targeted at youth experiencing poly-victimization in early adolescence—especially those who have PTSD or MDD—is needed.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Physical activity is widely considered to be a significant contributing factor to how “successfully” one ages. There are, however, certain groups whose voices have not been widely heard in discussions around physical activity and aging, particularly those from diverse cultural backgrounds. In this research, we explored how Alaska Native Elders perceive the role of physical activity as they age and its contribution to successful aging. Based on semi-structured interviews with 41 Elders, the results show that engaging in physical activity was not just seen as a personal responsibility to maintain health and age successfully, but also as a way to resist Western society’s dominant view of older adults as deteriorating and declining by being physically active regardless of age; to improve or maintain their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health; and/or to enable them to continue participating in subsistence activities that are rooted in their culture and traditional roles as Elders.