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Given the range and reach of psychosocial support (PSS) interventions in humanitarian settings, within the continuum of mental health and psychosocial support services, evaluation of their impact is critical. Understanding stakeholders' perspectives on which PSS interventions of unknown effectiveness warrant rigorous evaluation is essential to identify research priorities. This project aimed to facilitate a process with stakeholders to reach consensus on PSS interventions that are of high priority for further research based on existing evidence and stakeholders' opinions.
Interviews with 109 stakeholders working on PSS programming in humanitarian settings served as the foundation for two in-person regional meetings and four webinars. Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was used to develop a priority PSS program list. The top five priorities from each meeting were combined for a final online survey distributed globally.
Seventy participants across six meetings contributed to the prioritization process. Eighty-seven individuals completed the final online survey. ‘Community based PSS’ was the top-ranked research priority, followed by PSS integrated into basic services, providing PSS to caregivers to improve child wellbeing, PSS-focused gender-based violence programming, and classroom-based PSS interventions.
NGT and online surveys were effective methods to engage stakeholders in a priority setting exercise to development a research agenda. Information from this stage of the project will be combined with findings from a concurrent systematic review to form the base of a second phase of work, which will include the development and implementation of a research strategy to strengthen the evidence base for those prioritized interventions.
This paper reports on: (1) an evaluation of a common elements treatment approach (CETA) developed for comorbid presentations of depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, and/or externalizing symptoms among children in three Somali refugee camps on the Ethiopian/Somali border, and (2) an evaluation of implementation factors from the perspective of staff, lay providers, and families who engaged in the intervention.
This project was conducted in three refugee camps and utilized locally validated mental health instruments for internalizing, externalizing, and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. Participants were recruited from either a validity study or from referrals from social workers within International Rescue Committee Programs. Lay providers delivered CETA to youth (CETA-Youth) and families, and symptoms were re-assessed post-treatment. Providers and families responded to a semi-structured interview to assess implementation factors.
Children who participated in the CETA-Youth open trial reported significant decreases in symptoms of internalizing (d = 1.37), externalizing (d = 0.85), and posttraumatic stress (d = 1.71), and improvements in well-being (d = 0.75). Caregivers also reported significant decreases in child symptoms. Qualitative results were positive toward the acceptability and appropriateness of treatment, and its feasibility.
This project is the first to examine a common elements approach (CETA: defined as flexible delivery of elements, order, and dosing) with children and caregivers in a low-resource setting with delivery by lay providers. CETA-Youth may offer an effective treatment that is easier to implement and scale-up versus multiple focal interventions. A fullscale randomized clinical trial is warranted.
Recent political changes in Myanmar provide opportunities to expand mental health (MH) services. Given Myanmar's unique situation, we felt a need to assemble and interpret available local information on MH in Myanmar to inform service design, rather than simply drawing lessons from other countries. We reviewed academic and gray literature on the experience of MH problems in Myanmar and the suitability, availability, and effectiveness of MH and psychosocial programming.
We searched: (1) Google Scholar; (2) PubMed; (3) PsychInfo; (4) English-language Myanmar journals and databases; (5) the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Network resources website; (6) websites and (7) local contacts of organizations identified during 2010 and 2013 mapping exercise of MHPSS providers; (8) the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) website; (9) University libraries in Yangon and Mandalay; and (10) identified local MH professionals.
Qualitative data suggest that MH conditions resulting from stress are similar to those experienced elsewhere. Fourteen intervention evaluations were identified: three on community-level interventions, three on adult religion-based practice (meditation), four adult psychotherapeutic interventions, and four child-focused interventions. Support for the acceptability and effectiveness of interventions is mostly anecdotal. With the exception of two rigorous, randomized control trials, most evaluations had serious methodologic limitations.
Few evaluations of psychotherapeutic or psychosocial programs for people from Myanmar have been published in the black or gray literature. Incorporating rigorous evaluations into existing and future programs is imperative for expanding the evidence base for psychotherapeutic and psychosocial programs in this context.
After the diagnosis of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID) such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the incidence of psychiatric comorbidity is increased relative to the general population. We aimed to determine whether the incidence of psychiatric disorders is increased in the 5 years before the diagnosis of IMID as compared with the general population.
Using population-based administrative health data from the Canadian province of Manitoba, we identified all persons with incident IBD, MS and RA between 1989 and 2012, and cohorts from the general population matched 5 : 1 on year of birth, sex and region to each disease cohort. We identified members of these groups with at least 5 years of residency before and after the IMID diagnosis date. We applied validated algorithms for depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and any psychiatric disorder to determine the annual incidence of these conditions in the 5-year periods before and after the diagnosis year.
We identified 12 141 incident cases of IMID (3766 IBD, 2190 MS, 6350 RA) and 65 424 matched individuals. As early as 5 years before diagnosis, the incidence of depression [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.54; 95% CI 1.30–1.84) and anxiety disorders (IRR 1.30; 95% CI 1.12–1.51) were elevated in the IMID cohort as compared with the matched cohort. Similar results were obtained for each of the IBD, MS and RA cohorts. The incidence of bipolar disorder was elevated beginning 3 years before IMID diagnosis (IRR 1.63; 95% CI 1.10–2.40).
The incidence of psychiatric comorbidity is elevated in the IMID population as compared with a matched population as early as 5 years before diagnosis. Future studies should elucidate whether this reflects shared risk factors for psychiatric disorders and IMID, a shared final common inflammatory pathway or other aetiology.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is an urgent global health problem. Root causes for VAWG include the individual- and family-level factors of alcohol abuse, mental health problems, violence exposure, and related adverse experiences. Few studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) have assessed the effectiveness of psychological interventions for reducing VAWG. This randomized controlled trial, part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls consortium, examines the effectiveness of a common elements treatment approach (CETA) for reducing VAWG and comorbid alcohol abuse among families in Zambia.
Study participants are families consisting of three persons: an adult woman, her male husband or partner, and one of her children aged 8–17 (if available). Eligibility criteria include experience of moderate-to-severe intimate partner violence by the woman and hazardous alcohol use by her male partner. Family units are randomized to receive CETA or treatment as usual. The primary outcome is VAWG as measured by the Severity of Violence Against Women Scale, assessed along with secondary outcomes at 24 months post-baseline. Interim assessments are also conducted at 4–5 months (following CETA completion) and 12 months post-baseline.
This ongoing trial is one of the first in sub-Saharan Africa to evaluate the use of an evidence-based common elements approach for reducing VAWG by targeting a range of individual- and family-level factors, including alcohol abuse. Results of this trial will inform policy on what interventions work to prevent VAWG in LMIC with local perspectives on scale up and wider implementation.
Self-report measurement instruments are commonly used to screen for mental health disorders in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC). The Western origins of most depression instruments may constitute a bias when used globally. Western measures based on the DSM, do not fully capture the expression of depression globally. We developed a self-report scale design to address this limitation, the International Depression Symptom Scale-General version (IDSS-G), based on empirical evidence of the signs and symptoms of depression reported across cultures. This paper describes the rationale and process of its development and the results of an initial test among a non-Western population.
We evaluated internal consistency reliability, test–retest reliability and inter-rater reliability of the IDSS-G in a sample N = 147 male and female attendees of primary health clinics in Yangon, Myanmar. For criterion validity, IDSS-G scores were compared with diagnosis by local psychiatrists using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM (SCID). Construct validity was evaluated by investigating associations between the IDSS-G and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), impaired function, and suicidal ideation.
The IDSS-G showed high internal consistency reliability (α = 0.92), test–retest reliability (r = 0.87), and inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.90). Strong correlations between the IDSS-G and PHQ-9, functioning, and suicidal ideation supported construct validity. Criterion validity was supported for use of the IDSS-G to identify people with a SCID diagnosed depressive disorder (major depression/dysthymia). The IDSS-G also demonstrated incremental validity by predicting functional impairment beyond that predicted by the PHQ-9. Results suggest that the IDSS-G accurately assesses depression in this population. Future testing in other populations will follow.
As a discipline, design science has traditionally focused on designing products and associated technical processes to improve usability and performance. Although significant progress has been made in these areas, little research has yet examined the role of human behaviour in the design of socio-technical systems (e.g., organizations). Here, we argue that applying organizational psychology as a design science can address this omission and enhance the capability of both disciplines. Specifically, we propose a method to predict malfunctions in socio-technical systems (PreMiSTS), thereby enabling them to be designed out or mitigated. We introduce this method, describe its nine stages, and illustrate its application with reference to two high-profile case studies of such malfunctions: (1) the severe breakdowns in patient care at the UK’s Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust hospital in the period 2005–2009, and (2) the fatal Grayrigg rail accident in Cumbria, UK, in 2007. Having first identified the socio-technical and behavioural antecedents of these malfunctions, we then consider how the PreMiSTS method could be used to predict and prevent future malfunctions of this nature. Finally, we evaluate the method, consider its advantages and disadvantages, and suggest where it can be most usefully applied.
We describe the performance of the Boolardy Engineering Test Array, the prototype for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. Boolardy Engineering Test Array is the first aperture synthesis radio telescope to use phased array feed technology, giving it the ability to electronically form up to nine dual-polarisation beams. We report the methods developed for forming and measuring the beams, and the adaptations that have been made to the traditional calibration and imaging procedures in order to allow BETA to function as a multi-beam aperture synthesis telescope. We describe the commissioning of the instrument and present details of Boolardy Engineering Test Array’s performance: sensitivity, beam characteristics, polarimetric properties, and image quality. We summarise the astronomical science that it has produced and draw lessons from operating Boolardy Engineering Test Array that will be relevant to the commissioning and operation of the final Australian Square Kilometre Array Path telescope.
Recent studies point to overlap between neuropsychiatric disorders in symptomatology and genetic aetiology.
To systematically investigate genomics overlap between childhood and adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and major depressive disorder (MDD).
Analysis of whole-genome blood gene expression and genetic risk scores of 318 individuals. Participants included individuals affected with adult ADHD (n = 93), childhood ADHD (n = 17), MDD (n = 63), ASD (n = 51), childhood dual diagnosis of ADHD–ASD (n = 16) and healthy controls (n = 78).
Weighted gene co-expression analysis results reveal disorder-specific signatures for childhood ADHD and MDD, and also highlight two immune-related gene co-expression modules correlating inversely with MDD and adult ADHD disease status. We find no significant relationship between polygenic risk scores and gene expression signatures.
Our results reveal disorder overlap and specificity at the genetic and gene expression level. They suggest new pathways contributing to distinct pathophysiology in psychiatric disorders and shed light on potential shared genomic risk factors.
Studies from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) indicate that the use of audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) is associated with more accurate reporting of sensitive behaviors (e.g. substance use and sexual risk behaviors) compared with interviewer-administered questionnaires. There is a lack of published information on the process of designing, developing, and implementing ACASI in LMIC. In this paper we describe our experience implementing an ACASI system for use with a population of orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia.
A questionnaire of mental health, substance use, and HIV risk behaviors was converted into an ACASI system, tested in pilot and validity studies, and implemented for use in a randomized controlled trial. Successes, barriers, and challenges associated with each stage in the development and implementation of ACASI are described.
We were able to convert a lengthy and complex survey into an ACASI system that was feasible for use in Zambia. Lessons learned include the importance of: (1) piloting the written and electronic versions; (2) proper and extensive training for study assessors to use ACASI and for those doing voice recordings; and (3) attention to logistics such as appropriate space, internet, and power.
We found that ACASI was feasible and acceptable in Zambia with proper planning, training, and supervision. Given mounting evidence indicating that ACASI provides more accurate self-report data and immediate data download compared with interview-administered measures, it may be an effective and economical alternative for behavioral health research studies in LMIC.
This study investigated local perceptions of changes stemming from a long-standing Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-G) program for the treatment of depression in rural Uganda. The study was conducted in a low-income, severely HIV/AIDS-affected area where in 2001 the prevalence of depression was estimated at 21% among adults.
Data were collected using free-listing and key informant qualitative interviews. A convenience sample of 60 free-list respondents was selected from among IPT-G participants, their families, and other community members from 10 Ugandan villages. Twenty-two key informants and six IPT-G facilitators were also interviewed.
Content analysis yielded five primary categories of change in the community related to the IPT-G program: (1) improved school attendance for children; (2) improved productivity; (3) improved sanitation in communities; (4) greater cohesion among community members; and (5) reduced conflict in families. Community members and IPT-G facilitators suggested that as depression remitted, IPT-G participants became more hopeful, motivated and productive.
Results suggest that providing treatment for depression in communities with high depression prevalence rates may lead to positive changes in a range of non-mental health outcomes.
Many adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain undiagnosed. Specialist assessment clinics enable the detection of these cases, but such services are often overstretched. It has been proposed that unnecessary referrals to these services could be reduced by prioritizing individuals who score highly on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a self-report questionnaire measure of autistic traits. However, the ability of the AQ to predict who will go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD in adults is unclear.
We studied 476 adults, seen consecutively at a national ASD diagnostic referral service for suspected ASD. We tested AQ scores as predictors of ASD diagnosis made by expert clinicians according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 criteria, informed by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) assessments.
Of the participants, 73% received a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Self-report AQ scores did not significantly predict receipt of a diagnosis. While AQ scores provided high sensitivity of 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72–0.82] and positive predictive value of 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.80), the specificity of 0.29 (95% CI 0.20–0.38) and negative predictive value of 0.36 (95% CI 0.22–0.40) were low. Thus, 64% of those who scored below the AQ cut-off were ‘false negatives’ who did in fact have ASD. Co-morbidity data revealed that generalized anxiety disorder may ‘mimic’ ASD and inflate AQ scores, leading to false positives.
The AQ's utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD, e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered.
Conflict-affected communities face poverty and mental health problems, with sexual violence survivors at high risk for both given their trauma history and potential for exclusion from economic opportunity. To address these problems, we conducted a randomized controlled trial of a group-based economic intervention, Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA), for female sexual violence survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In March 2011, 66 VSLA groups, with 301 study participants, were randomized to the VSLA program or a wait-control condition. Data were collected prior to randomization, at 2-months post-program in June 2012, and 8-months later for VSLA participants only. Outcome data included measures of economic and social functioning and mental health severity. VSLA program effect was derived by comparing intervention and control participants' mean changes from baseline to 2-month follow-up.
At follow-up, VSLA study women reported significantly greater per capita food consumption and significantly greater reductions in stigma experiences compared with controls. No other study outcomes were statistically different. At 8-month follow-up, VSLA participants reported a continued increase in per capita food consumption, an increase in economic hours worked in the prior 7 days, and an increase in access to social resources.
While female sexual violence survivors with elevated mental symptoms were successfully integrated into a community-based economic program, the immediate program impact was only seen for food consumption and experience of stigma. Impacts on mental health severity were not realized, suggesting that targeted mental health interventions may be needed to improve psychological well-being.
The light and spectrum of the magnetic, chemically peculiar Be star σ Orionis E (=HD 37479) vary with the rotational period of 1.19081 d because of the effects of inhomogeneities in the photosphere and circumstellar matter (Walborn and Hesser 1976, Landstreet and Borra 1978, Hunger 1974). In this paper, we describe a model for the distribution of the Hα emitting material in the magnetosphere based on analysis of 24 high quality spectra covering the entire rotation period and published data from other sources.
HD 93521 is an O9.5 V star with several well-documented peculiarities, including: an extremely large projected rotational velocity (400 km/s according to Conti & Ebbets 1977); absorption line profile variations (Fullerton 1990); weak emission at Hα (Irvine 1989); evidence for a rotationally-modified stellar wind in its UV resonance lines (Massa 1992; Howarth & Reid 1993); and stellar wind variability in the form of discrete absorption components (Prinja & Howarth 1986). Thus, HD 93521 provides an ideal laboratory for studying the interaction between rapid rotation and variability in both photospheric layers and the circumstellar environment.
Some investigators have attributed the photometric and spectral line profile variations (lpv) that are common among the B stars to nonradial pulsation while others have attempted to explain them by rotation of photospheric or circumstellar structures with respect to our line of sight. One of the problems in resolving this debate has been our lack of knowledge of how these variations depend on fundamental stellar characteristics. Surveys of lpv have covered the Be and a few Bn stars (D. Penrod, unpublished), the O stars (Fullerton 1990), and B8-B9.5 main sequence stars (Baade 1989), but noone has carried out a systematic search for lpv among the near main sequence, non-emission line early- and mid-B stars. This paper describes preliminary results from such a survey.
The present account refers mainly to research work published in the period 1973–1975. Due to the limited space available, and the rapidly increasing number of contributions in the field of Commission. 28, it has not been possible to write an all-inclusive report. As in the previous IAU volumes, the report is not intended as a repetition of the summaries given in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Abstracts. In stressing the importance of certain areas of research, the personal views of the writer(s) cannot be entirely avoided.
We studied the circumstellar gas in Algol (β Persei) by analysing Hαdifference profiles (observed profiles minus composite theoretical (LTE) photospheric absorption line profiles of the stars), at 98 phases in the binary’s orbit (cf. Richards 1986, Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto). The data were obtained from Sept. 1976 to Dec. 1977; with an average phase interval of 0.02 over the entire orbit.
There was a smooth change in the profiles from strong, redshifted emission just outside primary eclipse, to an almost flat profile at mid-secondary eclipse, to strong, blueshifted emission just before primary eclipse began. Absorption was detected throughout primary eclipse, and there were smooth transitions between pure absorption and pure emission. The emission and absorption had FWHM’s of ~200 km s−1 and ~200 to 450 km s−1, respectively; with line strengths up to 10% and 19% of the continuum, respectively.
Variations in the magnetic pressure and flux blocking by starspots during the magnetic cycle of the cool semidetached component of an Algol binary may cause cyclic changes in the quadrupole moment and moment of inertia of the star which can cause alternate period changes. Since several different processes and timescales are involved, the orbital period changes may not correlate strongly with the indicators of magnetic activity. The structural changes in the semidetached component can also modulate the mass transfer rate. Sub-Keplerian velocities, supersonic turbulence, and high temperature regions in circumstellar material around the accreting star may all be a consequence of magnetic fields embedded in the flow. Models for the evolution of Algols which include the effects of angular momentum loss (AML) through a magnetized wind may have underestimated the AML rate by basing it on results from main sequence stars. Evolved stars appear to have higher AML rates, and there may be additional AML in a wind from the accretion disk.