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The trajectories of psychological distress differ between individuals, but these differences can be difficult to understand because the measures contain both consistent and situational features; however, in longitudinal studies these sources of information can be disentangled. In addition to occasion-specific features, interindividual differences can be decomposed into two sources of information: trait and carry-over effects between neighboring occasions that are not related to the trait (i.e. accumulated situational effects).
To disentangle these three sources of variance throughout adulthood, the consistency (trait and accumulated situational effects) and occasion specificity of nine indicators of psychological distress from the Malaise Inventory were examined in two birth cohorts, the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS58), and the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70).
The scale was administered at ages 23, 33, 42, and 50 in NCDS58 (n = 7147), and at ages 26, 30, 34, and 42 in BCS70 (n = 6859). For each psychological symptom, more variance was consistent than occasion-specific. The majority of the consistency was due to trait variance as opposed to accumulated situational effects, indicating that an individual predisposed to be distressed at the beginning of the study remained more likely to be distressed over the whole period. Symptoms of rage were notably more consistent among males than females in both cohorts (78.1% and 81.3% variance explained by trait in NCDS58 and BCS70, respectively), and among females in the NCDS58 (69%).
Symptoms of psychological distress exhibited high stability throughout adulthood, especially among men, due mostly to interindividual trait differences.
Research on the impact of stigma associated with mental illness in children is scarce. Considering the known negative effects of stigma associated with mental illness in adults, it is crucial to explore the stigma experienced by children who access mental health treatment. However, no scale measuring self-stigmatization in younger children is available to date. This study aimed to develop and validate such a scale, the Paediatric Self-Stigmatization Scale (PaedS).
A total of 156 children (119 receiving outpatient and 37 receiving inpatient treatment), aged 8–12 years, completed the PaedS, the Self-Perception Profile for Children and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL – Child Report, ages 8–12). In addition, parents completed the PedsQL (Parent Report for Children, ages 8–12), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and a modified subscale of the PaedS measuring the children's rejection by others due to their mental health difficulties.
A confirmatory factor analysis showed that a four-factor structure, comprising Societal Devaluation, Personal Rejection, Self-Stigma and Secrecy scales, had excellent fit to the data (CFI = 0.95; TLI = 0.95; RMSEA = 0.05). Child-reported PaedS scores were positively correlated with parental-reported PaedS scores and negatively with PedsQL, the SDQ, and 5 out of 6 subscales of the Self-Perception Profile for Children, suggesting adequate convergent validity (all P-values < 0.05).
The PaedS is a valid instrument, which is hoped to advance the understanding of self-stigmatization in children with mental health difficulties and contribute to its prevention.
To examine to what extent the association between neuroticism and psychological distress is related to individuals’ inherent vulnerability or their tendency to self-select high-risk environments or situations.
Data was drawn from both waves (1984/1985 and 1991) of the Health and Lifestyle Survey. Psychological distress was evaluated using the 30-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) and neuroticism was assessed with the Eysenck Personality Inventory. A checklist of life events was completed in the second wave only. A Latent State Trait model was estimated to decompose psychological distress into its environmental-contextual and individual-specific components.
Neuroticism accounted for 31 and 10% respectively of the variance of the environmental-contextual and individual-specific psychological distress components.
Our results favour the notion that individuals with high-levels of neuroticism tend to self-select situations likely to lead to adversity and distress.
Impulsivity, a core feature of bipolar disorder (BD), is a multifaceted concept encompassing failure of response inhibition and poor decision-making. Abnormalities in these two cognitive domains have been reported in BD patients but their relationship with impulsivity has not been explored.
Twenty-five remitted patients with BD completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) and performed the Hayling Sentence Completion Task (HSCT) and a computerized version of the Iowa Gambling task. The HSCT total errors scaled score was used as a measure of response inhibition while the gabling task score, which reflects participants' ability to make advantageous choices, was used a measure of decision making.
Higher scores on the BIS attentional and non-planning subscales were respectively associated with more errors in the HSCT and less advantageous choices in the gambling task.
All patients were medicated. Healthy participants were not included.
Viewed in the context of recent relevant studies our findings suggest that impulsivity, response inhibition and decision-making in BD may represent behavioural manifestations of the same underlying biological mechanism possibly linked to ventral prefrontal cortical function.
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