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There is a need for accurate and efficient assessment tools that cover a range of mental health and psychosocial problems. Existing, lengthy self-report assessments may reduce accuracy due to respondent fatigue. Using data from a sample of adults enrolled in a psychotherapy randomized trial in Thailand and a cross-sectional sample of adolescents in Zambia, we leveraged Item Response Theory (IRT) methods to create brief, psychometrically sound, mental health measures.
We used graded-response models to refine scales by identifying and removing poor performing items that were not well correlated with the underlying trait, and by identifying well-performing items at varying levels of a latent trait to assist in screening or monitoring purposes.
In Thailand, the original 17-item depression scale was shortened to seven items and the 30-item Posttraumatic Stress Scale (PTS) was shortened to 10. In Zambia, the Child Posttraumatic Stress Scale (CPSS) was shortened from 17 items to six. Shortened scales in both settings retained the strength of their psychometric properties. When examining longitudinal intervention effects in Thailand, effect sizes were comparable in magnitude for the shortened and standard versions.
Using Item Response Theory (IRT) we created shortened valid measures that can be used to help guide clinical decisions and function as longitudinal research tools. The results of this analysis demonstrate the reliability and validity of shortened scales in each of the two settings and an approach that can be generalized more broadly to help improve screening, monitoring, and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial programs globally.
The use of transdiagnostic mental health treatments in low resource settings has been proposed as a possible aid in scaling up mental health services. Modular, multi-problem transdiagnostic treatments can be used to treat a range of mental health problems and are designed to handle comorbidity. Two randomized controlled trials have been completed on one treatment – the Common Elements Treatment Approach, or CETA – delivered by lay counsellors in Iraq and Thailand. This paper utilizes data from two clinical trials to explore the delivery of CETA by lay providers, examining fidelity and flexibility of element use. Data were collected at every therapy session. Clients completed a short symptom assessment and providers described the clinical elements delivered during sessions. Analyses included descriptive statistics of delivery including selection and sequencing of treatment elements, and the variance in element dose, clustering at the counsellor level, using multi-level models. Results indicate that lay providers in low resource settings (with supervision) demonstrated fidelity to the recommended CETA elements, order and dose, and occasionally added in elements and flexed dosage based on client presentation (i.e. flexibility). This modular approach did not result in significantly longer treatment duration. Our analysis suggests that lay providers were able to learn decision-making processes of CETA based on client presentation and adjust treatment as needed with supervision. As modular multi-problem transdiagnostic treatments continue to be explored in low resource settings, research should continue to focus on ‘unpacking’ lay counsellor delivery of these interventions, decision-making processes, and the level of supervision required.
For more than 60 years, Colombia experienced an armed conflict involving government forces, guerrillas, and other illegal armed groups. Violence, including torture and massacres, has caused displacement of entire rural communities to urban areas. Lack of information on the problems displaced communities face and on their perceptions on potential solutions to these problems may prevent programs from delivering appropriate services to these communities. This study explores the problems of Afro-Colombian survivors from two major cities in Colombia; the activities they do to take care of themselves, their families, and their community; and possible solutions to these problems.
This was a qualitative, interview-based study conducted in Quibdó and Buenaventura (Colombia). Free-list interviews and focus groups explored the problems of survivors and the activities they do to take care of themselves, their families, and their community. Key-informant interviews explored details of the identified mental health problems and possible solutions.
In Buenaventura, 24 free-list interviews, one focus group, and 17 key-informant interviews were completed. In Quibdó, 29 free-list interviews, one focus group, and 15 key-informant interviews were completed. Mental health problems identified included: (1) problems related to exposure to torture/violent events; (2) problems with adaptation to the new social context; and (3) problems related to current poverty, lack of employment, and ongoing violence. These problems were similar to trauma symptoms and features of depression and anxiety, as described in other populations. Solutions included psychological help, talking to friends/family, relying on God’s help, and getting trained in different task or jobs.
Afro-Colombian survivors of torture and violence described mental health problems similar to those of other trauma-affected populations. These results suggest that existing interventions that address trauma-related symptoms and current ongoing stressors may be appropriate for improving the mental health of survivors in this population.
Santaella-TenorioJ, Bonilla-EscobarFJ, Nieto-GilL, Fandiño-LosadaA, Gutiérrez-MartínezMI, BassJ, BoltonP. Mental Health and Psychosocial Problems and Needs of Violence Survivors in the Colombian Pacific Coast: A Qualitative Study in Buenaventura and Quibdó. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(6):567–574.
The effectiveness of humanitarian programs normally is evaluated according to a limited number of pre-defined objectives. These objectives typically represent only selected positive expected impacts of program interventions and as such, are inadequate benchmarks for understanding the overall effectiveness of aid.This is because programs also have unexpected impacts (both positive and negative) as well as expected negative impacts and expected positive impacts beyond the program objectives.The authors contend that these other categories of program impacts also should be assessed, and suggest a methodology for doing so that draws on input from the perspectives of beneficiaries. This paper includes examples of the use of this methodology in the field. Finally, the authors suggest future directions for improving this type of expanded assessment and advocate for its widespread use, both within and without the field of disaster response.
Intellectual disability (ID) is highly prevalent in tuberous sclerosis (TS). Putative neurobiological risk factors include indices of cortical tuber (CT) load and epilepsy. We have used univariate and multivariate analyses, including both CT and epilepsy measures as predictors, in an attempt to clarify the pattern of cross-sectional associations between these variables and ID in TS.
Forty-eight children, adolescents and young adults with TS were identified through regional specialist clinics. All subjects underwent thorough history taking and examination, and had brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The number and regional distribution of CTs was recorded. Subjects were assigned to one of nine ordered intellectual quotient (IQ) categories (range <25 to >130) using age-appropriate tests of intelligence.
On univariate analyses, ID was significantly associated with both a history of infantile spasm (IS) (Z=−2·49, p=0·01) and total CT count (Spearman's ρ=−0·30, p=0·04). When controlling for total CT count, the presence of CTs in frontal (regression coefficient=−2·43, p=0·02) and temporal (regression coefficient=−1·60, p=0·02) lobes was significantly associated with ID. In multivariate analyses the association between IS and ID was rendered insignificant by the inclusion of the presence of CTs in temporal and frontal lobes, both of which remained associated (p=0·05 and p=0·06 respectively) with ID.
The presence of CTs in specific brain regions as opposed to a history of IS was associated with ID in TS. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to previous work in TS, and the neural basis of intelligence.
A randomised controlled trial comparing group interpersonal psychotherapy with treatment as usual among rural Ugandans meeting symptom and functional impairment criteria for DSM–IV major depressive disorder or sub-threshold disorder showed evidence of effectiveness immediately following the intervention.
To assess the long-term effectiveness of this therapy over a subsequent 6-month period.
A follow-up study of trial participants was conducted in which the primary outcomes were depression diagnosis, depressive symptoms and functional impairment.
At 6 months, participants receiving the group interpersonal psychotherapy had mean depression symptom and functional impairment scores respectively 14.0 points (95% CI 12.2–15.8; P < 0.0001) and 5.0 points (95% CI 3.6–6.4; P < 0.0001) lower than the control group. Similarly, the rate of major depression among those in the treatment arm (11.7%) was significantly lower than that in the control arm (54.9%) (P < 0.0001).
Participation in a 16-week group interpersonal psychotherapy intervention continued to confer a substantial mental health benefit 6 months after conclusion of the formal intervention.
The global population of the Critically Endangered Raso Lark Alauda razae was estimated in January 2003 at 93–103 birds and in November 2003 at 76–87 birds. Of these, only 25–35% were females. Counts were based on observations of individually colour-ringed and measured birds. Birds were not breeding during the January visit, and were concentrated in two small areas at opposite ends of the island of Raso. This distribution differed substantially from that recorded previously during the breeding season. Three different feeding strategies were apparent: flocking, aggregating around key resources and feeding singly or in pairs. Birds moving to new feeding areas immediately adopted the feeding strategy of other birds present. Birds were seen drinking seawater on several occasions. In November 2003, birds were breeding but nest survival was extremely low due to high rates of egg predation. No evidence was detected of introduced predators on Raso. However, a population of feral cats was found on nearby Santa Luzia, prohibiting natural colonization or deliberate introduction of Raso Lark to the island, despite much apparently suitable habitat there. Faecal analyses showed that these cats feed largely on skinks. Increased tourism development on neighbouring islands is identified as a potential threat to the species.
(1) To determine the extent to which an individual's childhood social circumstances and region of residence influence their dietary pattern at age 43 years and (2) to establish the extent to which an individual adopts the dietary pattern of their social and regional circumstances at age 43 years.
Longitudinal study of a social class stratified, random sample of all legitimate, singleton births in the week of 3–9 March 1946.
England, Scotland and Wales.
The 3187 survey members who provided sociodemographic information at age 4 years in 1950 and sociodemographic and dietary data (48-hour dietary recall) at 43 years in 1989.
People who remained in the non-manual social class consumed significantly higher amounts of food items correlated with the factor health aware (items include high-fibre breakfast cereals, wholemeal breads, apples and bananas) than those who remained in the manual social class. Those who made the transition from manual social class in childhood to non-manual social class at age 43 years partly adopted the distinctive dietary patterns of the non-manual social classes. Consumption of items in the factors refined (items include whole-fat milk, white bread, sugar and butter) and sandwich (items include tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bacon and ham) did not differ by social class or regional mobility.
This work suggests that although adult dietary patterns are developed as a result of childhood influences, these patterns can be modified as a result of social and regional transitions. Such changes in dietary patterns may influence susceptibility to disease.
This paper describes a short, ethnographic study approach for understanding how people from non-Western cultures think about mental health and mental health problems, and the rationale for using such an approach in designing and implementing mental health interventions during and after disasters. It describes how the resulting data can contribute to interventions that are more acceptable to local people, and therefore, more effective and sustainable through improved community support.
To evaluate whether there was food and nutrient equality across occupational social classes and geographical region for members of the 1946 British birth cohort at age 4 years.
Cross-sectional analysis of selected food groups, energy and nutrients from one-day recall diet records.
England, Scotland and Wales in 1950.
Nationally representative sample of 4419 children aged 4 years in 1950 from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) (1946 Birth Cohort).
Significant food and nutrient inequalities occurred by region and occupational social class of the father. Disparity in fruit and vegetable consumption primarily led to the nutrient differences, especially with respect to lower vitamin C and carotene intakes in children from Scotland and from a manual social class background. Lower energy intake in Scottish children was attributable to inequality in the consumption of foods providing fat, and also to the retention of the traditional Scottish diet that included porridge and soups. Consumption of some rationed foods – bacon, orange juice and tea – was inequitably distributed by father's social class, but others, in particular meat and spreading fats, were consumed more uniformly. In contrast to fruits and vegetables, which showed marked sociodemographic disparities, other non-rationed foods such as bread and potatoes were consumed universally.
Local cultural norms may have played as strong a part in sociodemographic differences in the diet of children in the early 1950s as did the strict, post-war food rationing that prevailed. In consequence, nutritional equality was not achieved, and the relatively low intake of antioxidant vitamins during early childhood in certain population groups may have compromised health in the long term.
Plasma phylloquinone (vitamin K1) concentration was examined according to season, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors and phylloquinone intake in a nationally representative sample of British people aged 65 years and over from the 1994–5 National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Values for both plasma phylloquinone concentration and phylloquinone intake were available from 1076 participants (561 men, 515 women). Eight hundred and thirty-four were living in private households, 242 in residential or nursing homes. Weighted geometric mean plasma phylloquinone concentrations were 0·36 (95 % CI 0·06, 2·01) and 0·24 (95 % CI 0·06, 0·96) nmol/l in free-living and institution samples respectively. Plasma phylloquinone concentrations did not generally differ between men and women, although values in free-living people were significantly lower during autumn and winter (October to March). Plasma phylloquinone concentration was not significantly associated with age. Plasma phylloquinone concentrations were positively correlated with phylloquinone intake in free-living men and women (r 0·18 and 0·30 respectively, both P<0·001). Stepwise multiple regression analysis found that 11 % of the variation in plasma phylloquinone concentration was explained by phylloquinone intake, season and plasma triacylglycerol concentration. After adjustment for age and corresponding nutrient intakes, plasma phylloquinone concentration was significantly associated (each P<0·01) with plasma concentrations of triacylglycerol, cholesterol, retinol and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in free-living women but not men, and with plasma concentrations of carotenes, α- and γ-tocopherols and lutein in free-living men and women. The possibility of concurrent low fat-soluble vitamin status in elderly populations may be a cause for concern.
Intake and sources of phylloquinone (vitamin K1) were examined according to socio-demographic and lifestyle factors in free-living British people aged 65 years and over, from the 1994–5 National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Complete 4-d weighed dietary records were obtained from 1152 participants living in private households. Using newly-available, mainly UK-specific food content data, the weighted geometric mean intake of phylloquinone was estimated at 65 (95 % CI 62, 67) μg/d for all participants, with higher intakes in men than in women (70 v. 61 μg/d respectively, P<0·01). The mean nutrient densities of phylloquinone intake were 9·3 and 10·5 μg/MJ for men and women respectively (P<0·01), after adjusting for age group, region and smoking status. Of all the participants, 59 % had phylloquinone intakes below the current guideline for adequacy of 1 μg/kg body weight per d. Participants aged 85 years and over, formerly in manual occupations, or living in Scotland or in northern England reported lower phylloquinone intakes than their comparative groups. Overall, vegetables contributed 60 % of total phylloquinone intake, with cooked green vegetables providing around 28 % of the total. Dietary supplements contributed less than 0·5 % of phylloquinone intake. Participants living in northern England or in Scotland, in particular, derived less phylloquinone from vegetables than those living in southern England.
Translation is a vital activity in Complex Emergencies (CEs) in which the responders and the affected populations do not share the same language or culture. This particularly applies to CEs in developing countries in which a lack of local resources usually results in the importation of foreign aid workers. This paper describes many of the common issues surrounding translation that can affect CE response effectiveness, issues that frequently are not appreciated by aid workers, including clinicians. The authors describe how these issues can arise, their effects, and outline approaches to addressing them.
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