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Despite the frequency that refugees suffer bereavement, there is a dearth of research into the prevalence and predictors of problematic grief reactions in refugees. To address this gap, this study reports a nationally representative population-based study of refugees to determine the prevalence of probable prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and its associated problems.
This study recruited participants from the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) prospective cohort study of refugees admitted to Australia between October 2013 and February 2014. The current data were collected in 2015–2016, and comprised 1767 adults, as well as 411 children of the adult respondents. Adult refugees were assessed for trauma history, post-migration difficulties, probable PGD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental illness. Children were administered the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
In this cohort, 38.1% of refugees reported bereavement, of whom 15.8% reported probable PGD; this represents 6.0% of the entire cohort. Probable PGD was associated with a greater likelihood of mental illness, probable PTSD, severe mental illness, currently unemployed and reported disability. Children of refugees with probable PGD reported more psychological difficulties than those whose parents did not have probable PGD. Probable PGD was also associated with the history of imprisonment, torture and separation from family. Only 56.3% of refugees with probable PGD had received psychological assistance.
Bereavement and probable PGD appear highly prevalent in refugees, and PGD seems to be associated with disability in the refugees and psychological problems in their children. The low rate of access to mental health assistance for these refugees highlights that there is a need to address this issue in refugee populations.
Recent infection testing algorithms (RITA) for HIV combine serological assays with epidemiological data to determine likely recent infections, indicators of ongoing transmission. In 2016, we integrated RITA into national HIV surveillance in Ireland to better inform HIV prevention interventions. We determined the avidity index (AI) of new HIV diagnoses and linked the results with data captured in the national infectious disease reporting system. RITA classified a diagnosis as recent based on an AI < 1.5, unless epidemiological criteria (CD4 count <200 cells/mm3; viral load <400 copies/ml; the presence of AIDS-defining illness; prior antiretroviral therapy use) indicated a potential false-recent result. Of 508 diagnoses in 2016, we linked 448 (88.1%) to an avidity test result. RITA classified 12.5% of diagnoses as recent, with the highest proportion (26.3%) amongst people who inject drugs. On multivariable logistic regression recent infection was more likely with a concurrent sexually transmitted infection (aOR 2.59; 95% CI 1.04–6.45). Data were incomplete for at least one RITA criterion in 48% of cases. The study demonstrated the feasibility of integrating RITA into routine surveillance and showed some ongoing HIV transmission. To improve the interpretation of RITA, further efforts are required to improve completeness of the required epidemiological data.
Prenatal adversity shapes child neurodevelopment and risk for later mental health problems. The quality of the early care environment can buffer some of the negative effects of prenatal adversity on child development. Retrospective studies, in adult samples, highlight epigenetic modifications as sentinel markers of the quality of the early care environment; however, comparable data from pediatric cohorts are lacking. Participants were drawn from the Maternal Adversity Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) study, a longitudinal cohort with measures of infant attachment, infant development, and child mental health. Children provided buccal epithelial samples (mean age = 6.99, SD = 1.33 years, n = 226), which were used for analyses of genome-wide DNA methylation and genetic variation. We used a series of linear models to describe the association between infant attachment and (a) measures of child outcome and (b) DNA methylation across the genome. Paired genetic data was used to determine the genetic contribution to DNA methylation at attachment-associated sites. Infant attachment style was associated with infant cognitive development (Mental Development Index) and behavior (Behavior Rating Scale) assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 36 months. Infant attachment style moderated the effects of prenatal adversity on Behavior Rating Scale scores at 36 months. Infant attachment was also significantly associated with a principal component that accounted for 11.9% of the variation in genome-wide DNA methylation. These effects were most apparent when comparing children with a secure versus a disorganized attachment style and most pronounced in females. The availability of paired genetic data revealed that DNA methylation at approximately half of all infant attachment-associated sites was best explained by considering both infant attachment and child genetic variation. This study provides further evidence that infant attachment can buffer some of the negative effects of early adversity on measures of infant behavior. We also highlight the interplay between infant attachment and child genotype in shaping variation in DNA methylation. Such findings provide preliminary evidence for a molecular signature of infant attachment and may help inform attachment-focused early intervention programs.
To determine the patterns and predictors of treatment response trajectories for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Conditional latent growth mixture modelling was used to identify classes and predictors of class membership. In total, 2686 veterans treated for PTSD between 2002 and 2015 across 14 hospitals in Australia completed the PTSD Checklist at intake, discharge, and 3 and 9 months follow-up. Predictor variables included co-morbid mental health problems, relationship functioning, employment and compensation status.
Five distinct classes were found: those with the most severe PTSD at intake separated into a relatively large class (32.5%) with small change, and a small class (3%) with a large change. Those with slightly less severe PTSD separated into one class comprising 49.9% of the total sample with large change effects, and a second class comprising 7.9% with extremely large treatment effects. The final class (6.7%) with least severe PTSD at intake also showed a large treatment effect. Of the multiple predictor variables, depression and guilt were the only two found to predict differences in response trajectories.
These findings highlight the importance of assessing guilt and depression prior to treatment for PTSD, and for severe cases with co-morbid guilt and depression, considering an approach to trauma-focused therapy that specifically targets guilt and depression-related cognitions.
Objectives: Studies suggest that impairments in some of the same domains of cognition occur in different neuropsychiatric conditions, including those known to share genetic liability. Yet, direct, multi-disorder cognitive comparisons are limited, and it remains unclear whether overlapping deficits are due to comorbidity. We aimed to extend the literature by examining cognition across different neuropsychiatric conditions and addressing comorbidity. Methods: Subjects were 486 youth consecutively referred for neuropsychiatric evaluation and enrolled in the Longitudinal Study of Genetic Influences on Cognition. First, we assessed general ability, reaction time variability (RTV), and aspects of executive functions (EFs) in youth with non-comorbid forms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood disorders and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as in youth with psychosis. Second, we determined the impact of comorbid ADHD on cognition in youth with ASD and mood disorders. Results: For EFs (working memory, inhibition, and shifting/ flexibility), we observed weaknesses in all diagnostic groups when participants’ own ability was the referent. Decrements were subtle in relation to published normative data. For RTV, weaknesses emerged in youth with ADHD and mood disorders, but trend-level results could not rule out decrements in other conditions. Comorbidity with ADHD did not impact the pattern of weaknesses for youth with ASD or mood disorders but increased the magnitude of the decrement in those with mood disorders. Conclusions: Youth with ADHD, mood disorders, ASD, and psychosis show EF weaknesses that are not due to comorbidity. Whether such cognitive difficulties reflect genetic liability shared among these conditions requires further study. (JINS, 2018, 24, 91–103)
Prolonged separation from parental support is a risk factor for psychopathology. This study assessed the impact of brief separation from parents during childhood trauma on adult attachment tendencies and post-traumatic stress.
Children (n = 806) exposed to a major Australian bushfire disaster in 1983 and matched controls (n = 725) were assessed in the aftermath of the fires (mean age 7–8 years) via parent reports of trauma exposure and separation from parents during the fires. Participants (n = 500) were subsequently assessed 28 years after initial assessment on the Experiences in Close Relationships scale to assess attachment security, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was assessed using the PTSD checklist.
Being separated from parents was significantly related to having an avoidant attachment style as an adult (B = −3.69, s.e. = 1.48, β = −0.23, p = 0.013). Avoidant attachment was associated with re-experiencing (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.31, p = 0.045), avoidance (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.30, p = 0.001) and numbing (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.30, p < 0.001) symptoms. Anxious attachment was associated with re-experiencing (B = 0.03, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.18, p = 0.001), numbing (B = 0.03, β = 0.30, s.e. = 0.01, p < 0.001) and arousal (B = 0.04, s.e. = 0.01, β = 0.43, p < 0.001) symptoms.
These findings demonstrate that brief separation from attachments during childhood trauma can have long-lasting effects on one's attachment security, and that this can be associated with adult post-traumatic psychopathology.
Although perceived social support is thought to be a strong predictor of psychological outcomes following trauma exposure, the temporal relationship between perceived positive and negative social support and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has not been empirically established. This study investigated the temporal sequencing of perceived positive social support, perceived negative social support, and PTSD symptoms in the 6 years following trauma exposure among survivors of traumatic injury.
Participants were 1132 trauma survivors initially assessed upon admission to one of four Level 1 trauma hospitals in Australia after experiencing a traumatic injury. Participants were followed up at 3 months, 12 months, 24 months, and 6 years after the traumatic event.
Latent difference score analyses revealed that greater severity of PTSD symptoms predicted subsequent increases in perceived negative social support at each time-point. Greater severity of PTSD symptoms predicted subsequent decreases in perceived positive social support between 3 and 12 months. High levels of perceived positive or negative social support did not predict subsequent changes in PTSD symptoms at any time-point.
Results highlight the impact of PTSD symptoms on subsequent perceived social support, regardless of the type of support provided. The finding that perceived social support does not influence subsequent PTSD symptoms is novel, and indicates that the relationship between PTSD and perceived social support may be unidirectional.
Over the past decades, Indigenous communities around the world have become more vocal and mobilized to address the health inequities they experience. Many Indigenous communities we work with in Canada, Australia, Latin America, the USA, New Zealand and to a lesser extent Scandinavia have developed their own culturally-informed services, focusing on the needs of their own community members. This paper discusses Indigenous healthcare innovations from an international perspective, and showcases Indigenous health system innovations that emerged in Canada (the First Nation Health Authority) and Colombia (Anas Wayúu). These case studies serve as examples of Indigenous-led innovations that might serve as models to other communities. The analysis we present suggests that when opportunities arise, Indigenous communities can and will mobilize to develop Indigenous-led primary healthcare services that are well managed and effective at addressing health inequities. Sustainable funding and supportive policy frameworks that are harmonized across international, national and local levels are required for these organizations to achieve their full potential. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates the value of supporting Indigenous health system innovations.
Anxiety and depression are common following traumatic brain injury (TBI), often co-occurring. This study evaluated the efficacy of a 9-week cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program in reducing anxiety and depression and whether a three-session motivational interviewing (MI) preparatory intervention increased treatment response.
A randomized parallel three-group design was employed. Following diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, 75 participants with mild-severe TBI (mean age 42.2 years, mean post-traumatic amnesia 22 days) were randomly assigned to an Adapted CBT group: (1) MI + CBT (n = 26), or (2) non-directive counseling (NDC) + CBT (n = 26); or a (3) waitlist control (WC, n = 23) group. Groups did not differ in baseline demographics, injury severity, anxiety or depression. MI and CBT interventions were guided by manuals adapted for individuals with TBI. Three CBT booster sessions were provided at week 21 to intervention groups.
Using intention-to-treat analyses, random-effects regressions controlling for baseline scores revealed that Adapted CBT groups (MI + CBT and NDC + CBT) showed significantly greater reduction in anxiety on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [95% confidence interval (CI) −2.07 to −0.06] and depression on the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (95% CI −5.61 to −0.12) (primary outcomes), and greater gains in psychosocial functioning on Sydney Psychosocial Reintegration Scale (95% CI 0.04–3.69) (secondary outcome) over 30 weeks post-baseline relative to WC. The group receiving MI + CBT did not show greater gains than the group receiving NDC + CBT.
Findings suggest that modified CBT with booster sessions over extended periods may alleviate anxiety and depression following TBI.
This study described prescribing trends before and after implementing a provincial strategy aimed at improving osteoporosis and fracture prevention in Ontario long-term care (LTC) homes. Data were obtained from a pharmacy provider for 10 LTC homes in 2007 and 166 homes in 2012. We used weighted, multiple linear regression analyses to examine facility-level changes in vitamin D, calcium, and osteoporosis medication prescribing rates between 2007 and 2012. After five years, the estimated increase in vitamin D, calcium, and osteoporosis medication prescribing rates, respectively, was 38.2 per cent (95% confidence interval [CI]: 29.0, 47.3; p < .001), 4.0 per cent (95% CI: –3.9, 12.0; p = .318), and 0.2 per cent (95% CI: –3.3, 3.7; p = .91). Although the study could not assess causality, findings suggest that wide-scale knowledge translation activities successfully improved vitamin D prescribing rates, although ongoing efforts are needed to target homes with low uptake.
The health status of the Irish Traveller ethnic minority is low compared to the general population in Ireland in terms of infant mortality rates and life expectancies. Respiratory disease is an area of health disparity manifested as excess mortalities in Traveller males and females. In this study, we examined the available data with regard to tuberculosis (TB) notifications in Ireland from 2002 to 2013. We found an increase in TB notifications in Irish Travellers from 2010 onwards. This resulted in a crude incidence rate for TB in Irish Travellers that was approximately threefold higher than that of the white Irish-born population in 2011 and 2012. An outbreak of TB in Irish Travellers in 2013 increased this differential further, but when outbreak-linked cases were excluded, a higher incidence rate was still observed in Irish Travellers relative to the general population and to white Irish-born. The mean age of a TB patient was 26 years in Irish Travellers compared to 43 years in the general population, and 49 years in white Irish-born. Based on available data, Irish Travellers exhibit a higher incidence rate and younger age distribution of TB compared to white Irish-born and the general population. These observations emphasize the importance of routine use of ethnicity identifiers in the management of TB and other notifiable communicable illnesses in Ireland. They also have implications for the orientation of preventive services to address health disparities in Irish Travellers and other ethnic minority groups.
Multiple behavioral and health outcomes, including internalizing symptoms, may be predicted from prenatal maternal anxiety, depression, or stress. However, not all children are affected, and those that are can be affected in different ways. Here we test the hypothesis that the effects of prenatal anxiety are moderated by genetic variation in the child's brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene, using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children population cohort. Internalizing symptoms were assessed from 4 to 13 years of age using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (n = 8,584); a clinical interview with the adolescents was conducted at age 15 years (n = 4,704). Obstetric and psychosocial risk and postnatal maternal symptoms were included as covariates. Results show that prenatal maternal anxiety predicted internalizing symptoms, including with the diagnostic assessment at 15 years. There was a main effect of two BDNF polymorphisms (rs6265 [val66met] and rs11030104) on internalizing symptoms up to age 13. There was also genetic moderation of the prenatal anxiety effect by different BDNF polymorphisms (rs11030121 and rs7124442), although significant effects were limited to preadolescence. The findings suggest a role for BDNF gene–environment interactions in individual vulnerability to the effects of prenatal anxiety on child internalizing symptoms.
Developmental or fetal programming has emerged as a major model for understanding the early and persisting effects of prenatal exposures on the health and development of the child and adult. We leverage the power of a 14-year prospective study to examine the persisting effects of prenatal anxiety, a key candidate in the developmental programming model, on symptoms of behavioral and emotional problems across five occasions of measurement from age 4 to 13 years. The study is based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort, a prospective, longitudinal study of a large community sample in the west of England (n = 7,944). Potential confounders included psychosocial and obstetric risk, postnatal maternal mood, paternal pre- and postnatal mood, and parenting. Results indicated that maternal prenatal anxiety predicted persistently higher behavioral and emotional symptoms across childhood with no diminishment of effect into adolescence. Elevated prenatal anxiety (top 15%) was associated with a twofold increase in risk of a probable child mental disorder, 12.31% compared with 6.83%, after allowing for confounders. Results were similar with prenatal depression. These analyses provide some of the strongest evidence to date that prenatal maternal mood has a direct and persisting effect on her child's psychiatric symptoms and support an in utero programming hypothesis.
Influenza causes significant morbidity and mortality in children. This study's objectives were to describe influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 during the pandemic, to compare it with circulating influenza in 2010/2011, and to identify risk factors for severe influenza defined as requiring admission to a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Children hospitalized with influenza during the pandemic were older, and more likely to have received antiviral therapy than children hospitalized during the 2010/2011 season. In 2010/2011, only one child admitted to a PICU with underlying medical conditions had been vaccinated. The risk of severe illness in the pandemic was higher in females and those with underlying conditions. In 2010/2011, infection with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 compared to other influenza viruses was a significant risk factor for severe disease. An incremental relationship was found between the number of underlying conditions and PICU admission. These findings highlight the importance of improving low vaccination uptake and increasing the use of antivirals in vulnerable children.
Fear circuitry disorders purportedly include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia and specific phobia. It is proposed that these disorders represent a cluster of anxiety disorders triggered by stressful events and lead to fear conditioning. Elevated heart rate (HR) at the time of an aversive event may reflect strength of the unconditioned response, which may contribute to fear circuitry disorders.
This prospective cohort study assessed HR within 48 h of hospital admission in 602 traumatically injured patients, who were assessed during hospital admission and within 1 month of trauma exposure for lifetime psychiatric diagnosis. At 3 months after the initial assessment, 526 patients (87%) were reassessed for PTSD, major depressive disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
At the 3-month assessment there were 77 (15%) new cases of fear circuitry disorder and 87 new cases of non-fear circuitry disorder (17%). After controlling for gender, age, type of injury and injury severity, patients with elevated HR (defined as ⩾96 beats per min) at the time of injury were more likely to develop PTSD [odds ratio (OR) 5.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.32–14.43], panic disorder (OR 3.46, 95% CI 1.16–10.34), agoraphobia (OR 3.90, 95% CI 1.76–8.61) and social phobia (OR 3.98, 95% CI 1.42–11.14). Elevated HR also predicted new fear circuitry disorders that were not co-morbid with a non-fear circuitry disorder (OR 7.28, 95% CI 2.14–24.79).
These data provide tentative evidence of a common mechanism underpinning the onset of fear circuitry disorders.
We report the magnetic field splittings of emission lines assigned to the 5D0–7F2 transitions of Eu3+ centres in GaN. The application of a magnetic field in the c-axis direction (B‖c) leads to a splitting of the major lines at 621 nm, 622 nm and 622.8 nm into two components. The Zeeman splitting is linear with magnetic field up to 5 Tesla for each line. In contrast, a magnetic field applied in the growth plane (B┴c) does not influence the photoluminescence spectra. The estimated g-factors vary slightly from sample to sample with mean values of g‖ ~2.8, ~1.5 and ~2.0 for the emission lines at 621 nm, 622 nm and 622.8 nm respectively.
We investigated the incidence of cases of nosocomial pathogens and risk factors in an intensive treatment unit ward to determine if the number of cases is dependent on location of patients and the colonization/infection history of the ward. A clustering approach method was developed to investigate the patterns of spread of cases through time for five microorganisms [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Acinetobacter spp., Klebsiella spp., Candida spp., and Pseudomonas aeruginosa] using hospital microbiological monitoring data and ward records of patient-bed use. Cases of colonization/infection by MRSA, Candida and Pseudomonas were clustered in beds and through time while cases of Klebsiella and Acinetobacter were not. We used structural equation modelling to analyse interacting risk factors and the potential pathways of transmission in the ward. Prior nurse contact with colonized/infected patients, mediated by the number of patient-bed movements, were important predictors for all cases, except for those of Pseudomonas. General health and invasive surgery were significant predictors of cases of Candida and Klebsiella. We suggest that isolation and bed movement as a strategy to manage MRSA infections is likely to impact upon the incidence of cases of other opportunist pathogens.
Pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are frequently co-morbid in the aftermath of a traumatic event. Although several models attempt to explain the relationship between these two disorders, the mechanisms underlying the relationship remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between each PTSD symptom cluster and pain over the course of post-traumatic adjustment.
In a longitudinal study, injury patients (n=824) were assessed within 1 week post-injury, and then at 3 and 12 months. Pain was measured using a 100-mm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). PTSD symptoms were assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to identify causal relationships between pain and PTSD.
In a saturated model we found that the relationship between acute pain and 12-month pain was mediated by arousal symptoms at 3 months. We also found that the relationship between baseline arousal and re-experiencing symptoms, and later 12-month arousal and re-experiencing symptoms, was mediated by 3-month pain levels. The final model showed a good fit [χ2=16.97, df=12, p>0.05, Comparative Fit Index (CFI)=0.999, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)=0.022].
These findings provide evidence of mutual maintenance between pain and PTSD.