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Using list experiments on the 2008 and 2012 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, we investigated whether respondents are more likely to vote against presidential candidates from marginalized groups. We show that conservative and Republican respondents are disinclined to support Muslim and gay candidates. However, neither Right- nor Left-leaning respondents are significantly opposed to female candidates. Surprisingly, we uncovered asymmetric prejudices toward Mormons and African Americans. In both 2008 and 2012, Republicans were far more uncomfortable with gay or Muslim candidates than with African American candidates (per se). However, Democrats in 2012 were deeply uncomfortable with Mormon candidates. These findings illustrate that prejudice in presidential politics is not confined to right-wing pathologies alone but is present on both sides of the partisan–ideological divide.
Most measures of anxious avoidance are limited to disorder-specific mechanisms and ignore the measurement of courage/approach responding in confronting fearful situations.
The purpose of the present study was to construct and validate a self-report assessment of the tendency towards avoidant or approach responding in fearful situations, the Response to Fearful Situations Scale (RFSS).
Method and Results:
In Study 1 (n = 241), exploratory factor analysis resulted in two factors, avoidance and approach. Study 2 (n = 423) replicated the two-factor structure and established test–re-test reliability. In Study 3 (n = 44), the RFSS demonstrated predictive validity on a behavioural avoidance task. In Studies 4 (n = 253) and 5 (n = 256), the RFSS was associated with clinical symptoms above existing measures of avoidance.
These results validate the use of the RFSS as a transdiagnostic measure of avoidance and approach.
Fruticose lichens of the genus Usnea Dill. ex Adans. (Parmeliaceae), generally known as beard lichens, are among the most iconic epiphytic lichens in modern forest ecosystems. Many of the c. 350 currently recognized species are widely distributed and have been used as bioindicators in air pollution studies. Here we demonstrate that usneoid lichens were present in the Palaeogene amber forests of Europe. Based on general morphology and annular cortical fragmentation, one fossil from Baltic amber can be assigned to the extant genus Usnea. The unique type of cortical cracking indirectly demonstrates the presence of a central cord that keeps the branch intact even when its cortex is split into vertebrae-like segments. This evolutionary innovation has remained unchanged since the Palaeogene, contributing to the considerable ecological flexibility that allows Usnea species to flourish in a wide variety of ecosystems and climate regimes. The fossil sets the minimum age for Usnea to 34 million years (late Eocene). While the other similar fossils from Baltic and Bitterfeld ambers cannot be definitely assigned to the same genus, they underline the diversity of pendant lichens in Palaeogene amber forests.
Purpose of this study was to assess subjective well-being in schizophrenia inpatients and to find variables predictive for response and remission of subjective well-being.
The subjective well-being under neuroleptic treatment scale (SWN-K) was used in 232 schizophrenia patients within a naturalistic multicenter trial. Early response was defined as a SWN-K total score improvement of 20% and by at least 10 points within the first 2 treatment weeks, response as an improvement in SWN-K total score of at least 20% and by at least 10 points from admission to discharge and remission in subjective well-being as a total score of more or equal to 80 points at discharge. Logistic regression and CART analyses were used to determine valid predictors of subjective well-being outcome.
Twenty-nine percent of the patients were detected to be SWN-K early responders, 40% fulfilled criteria for response in subjective well-being and 66% fulfilled criteria for remission concerning subjective well-being. Among the investigated predictors, SWN-K early improvement and the educational status were significantly associated with SWN-K response. The SWN-K total score at baseline showed a significant negative predictive value for response. Baseline SWN-K total score, PANSS global subscore, and side effects as well as the educational status were found to be significantly predictive for remission.
Depressive symptoms should be radically treated and side effects closely monitored to improve the patient's subjective well-being. The important influence of subjective well-being on overall treatment outcome could be underlined.
Data about quality of life (QoL) are important to estimate the impact of diseases on functioning and well-being. The present study was designed to assess the association of different aspects of panic disorder (PD) with QoL and to examine the relationship between QoL and symptomatic outcome following brief cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBGT).
The sample consisted of 55 consecutively recruited outpatients suffering from PD who underwent CBGT. QoL was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) at baseline, post-treatment and six months follow-up. SF-36 baseline scores were compared with normative data obtained from a large German population sample.
Agoraphobia, disability, and worries about health were significantly associated with decreased QoL, whereas frequency, severity and duration of panic attacks were not. Treatment responders showed significantly better QoL than non-responders. PD symptom reduction following CBGT was associated with considerable improvement in emotional and physical aspects of QoL. However, the vitality subscale of the SF-36 remained largely unchanged over time.
Our results are encouraging for cognitive-behavior therapists who treat patients suffering from PD in groups, since decrease of PD symptoms appears to be associated with considerable improvements in QoL. Nevertheless, additional interventions designed to target specific aspects of QoL, in particular vitality, may be useful to enhance patients’ well-being.
Some studies have shown that alexithymic patients respond poorly to pharmacotherapy and that alexithymia may have a negative impact on the naturalistic course of psychiatric illnesses. The view that alexithymic patients are also less responsive to psychotherapy is often described in the literature, but few empirical studies have examined this issue, with inconsistent results.
We conducted two prospective studies (pre/post/follow-up) with patients with panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, to evaluate alexithymia as a potential predictor of the outcome of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) including exposure response management. A further aim was to examine the absolute and relative stability of alexithymia.
Regression analyses revealed that alexithymia, as measured with the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale, was related neither to the post-treatment nor to the follow-up outcome. The repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant decrease of alexithymia over time, even after controlling for depression. The high test-retest correlations of alexithymia total and factor scores indicated relative stability of this construct, suggesting that it is a stable personality trait rather than a state-dependent phenomenon in these patients.
The results are encouraging for cognitive-behavior therapists working with alexithymic patients with panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, since the CBT outcome of these patients does not appear to be negatively affected by alexithymia. Furthermore, some alexithymic characteristics may decrease during CBT, even when the therapy program is not specifically directed to alexithymia. Future controlled studies should examine whether these improvements of alexithymia are due to psychotherapeutic interventions, in particular exposure therapy.
Social perception is a key aspect of social cognition which has so far not been investigated in eating disorders (ED). This study aimed to investigate social perception in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN).
Outpatients with AN (restricting subtype [AN-R]: n = 51; binge-purge subtype [AN-BP]: n = 26) or BN (n = 57) and 50 healthy control (HC) participants completed the Interpersonal Perception Task (IPT-15). This is an ecologically valid task, which consists of 15 video clips, depicting complex social situations relating to intimacy, status, kinship, competition and deception. The participants have to assess relationships between protagonists’ based on non-verbal cues.
Overall, there was no difference between groups on the IPT total score and subscale scores. Group differences on the Intimacy subscale approached significance so post hoc comparisons were carried out. HCs performed significantly better than AN-R participants in determining the degree of intimacy between others.
Social perception is largely preserved in ED patients. Individuals with AN-R show impairments in identifying intimacy in social situations, this may be due to the lack of relationship experience. Further research into different aspects of social cognition is required to establish the link between interpersonal difficulties and ED psychopathology.
Aim was to examine depressive symptoms in acutely ill schizophrenia patients on a single symptom basis and to evaluate their relationship with positive, negative and general psychopathological symptoms.
Two hundred and seventy-eight patients suffering from a schizophrenia spectrum disorder were analysed within a naturalistic study by the German Research Network on Schizophrenia. Using the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) depressive symptoms were examined and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was applied to assess positive, negative and general symptoms. Correlation and factor analyses were calculated to detect the underlying structure and relationship of the patient’s symptoms.
The most prevalent depressive symptoms identified were depressed mood (80%), observed depression (62%) and hopelessness (54%). Thirty-nine percent of the patients suffered from depressive symptoms when applying the recommended cut-off of a CDSS total score of > 6 points at admission. Negligible correlations were found between depressive and positive symptoms as well as most PANSS negative and global symptoms despite items on depression, guilt and social withdrawal. The factor analysis revealed that the factor loading with the PANSS negative items accounted for most of the data variance followed by a factor with positive symptoms and three depression-associated factors.
The naturalistic study design does not allow a sufficient control of study results for the effect of different pharmacological treatments possibly influencing the appearance of depressive symptoms.
Results suggest that depressive symptoms measured with the CDSS are a discrete symptom domain with only partial overlap with positive or negative symptoms.
Schizotypy is regarded as a subthreshold expression or precursor of schizophrenia spectrum psychosis.
Schizotypal personality disorder is a risk factor of the ‘genetic risk and functional decline’ criterion of the ultra-high risk (UHR) criteria for psychosis; and its positive features are part of attenuated psychotic symptoms (APS) of the UHR criteria. Furthermore, schizotypy as assessed with the Wisconsin Scales of Schizophrenia Proneness (WSSP) 'Perceptual Aberration”, 'Magical Ideation”, and 'Social Anhedonia” but not 'Physical Anhedonia” was predictive of psychosis in the community.
Thus, we examined the psychosis-predictive value of the for WSSP in 128 patients seeking help at an early detection service (23+/-7 yrs; 56% male; 81% at-risk for UHR and/or basic symptom criteria) with a median follow-up of 24 (1-101) months by Cox regression.
Within 48 months; 36 patients converted to psychosis. Unexpectedly, none of the four WSSP was a significant predictor of conversion. This negative finding was replicated when the positive (Perceptual Aberration and Magical Ideation) and negative (both Anhedonia scales) dimension were examined. Thus, although schizotypy scales might be able to identify a more extreme range of the psychotic continuum in the community, they lack the ability to further separate ‘true’ from ‘false’ risk cases in a clinical sample already representing this more extreme range of the psychotic continuum.
This indicates that WSSP might be useful rather as an initial screening for persons potentially at-risk for current criteria in the community than as additional predictors in already identified risk patients.
Attachment and companionship are fundamental basic needs of human beings and contribute the feeling of security and social affiliation. It is assumed that dysfunctional attachment behaviour in people with Borderline Personality Disorder leads to difficulties in the interpersonal contact. Unsecure and especially disorganized manners of attachment seem to be frequently represented by mentally ill people. In this study the release of oxytocin according to attachment relevant situations was investigated and attachment representations of people with BPD have been analysed.
In order to determine attachment representations of healthy people and of people with BPD we used the validated ‘Adult Attachment Projective’/ ‘AAP’ by George, West and Pettem (1999). The projective contains eight contour drawings of attachment relevant situations. The participant should make up a story of each picture, which was evaluated by its coherence, its content and the used defence mechanisms. Attachment representations of 30 patients with BPD were surveyed. Furthermore we measured the release of oxytocin evoked by an activation of the attachment system via the ‘AAP’ in 10 healthy people. Therefor blood drawings were performed at four different points of time.
Here, we present pilot data on oxytocin measures induced via the ‘AAP’. We could detect a decrease of oxytocin in healthy people caused by an activation of the attachment system. Moreover attachment representations of patients with BPD will be presented and discussed. These preliminary data could lead to further studies on a possible dysregulation of the attachment- and the oxytocin system of people with BPD.
Psychiatric comorbidity is an important aspect of neurological disorders. It affects about 30-50% of neurologic patients but is frequently underrecognized.
Our objective was to determine the prevalence and severity of the symptoms of mental disorders in neurologic in-patients.
Between May and September 2014, all neurologic in-patients of a university neurologic center were asked to complete two self report questionnaires for assessing symptoms of mental disorders, namely the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), which allow to assess a range of nine different psychiatric domains. We performed a multivariate covariance analysis in order to relate the type and frequency of symptoms of mental disorders with the neurological discharge diagnosis, while age, gender, and duration of in-patient treatment served as putative covariates.
Of all responders (n = 157), 51% stated to have suffered from psychological distress within the past seven days, and 43% indicated depressive symptoms (21% mild, 17% moderate, 5% severe). The mean global severity index GSI (M = 0.64, SD = 0.52) exceeded the 1 SD range of healthy persons but was lower than that of psychiatric in-patients known from the literature. Furthermore, our subanalysis revealed different patterns of symptoms of mental disorders between neurologic patients with degenerative, vascular, demyelinating or epileptic disoders.
Psychometric measurement is useful to characterize the burden of the symptoms of mental disorders and will be used to further develop the psychiatric liaison services.
The Wisconsin Twin Project encompasses nearly 30 years of longitudinal research that spans infancy to early adulthood. The twin sample was recruited from statewide birth records for birth cohorts 1989–2004. We summarize early recruitment, assessment, retention and recently completed twin neuroimaging studies. In addition to the focal twins, longitudinal data were also collected from two parents and nontwin siblings. Our adolescent and young adult neuroimaging sample (N = 600) completed several previous behavioral and environmental assessments, beginning shortly after birth. The extensive phenotyping is meant to support a range of empirical investigations with potentially differing theoretical perspectives.
The Wisconsin Twin Project comprises multiple longitudinal studies that span infancy to early adulthood. We summarize recent papers that show how twin designs with deep phenotyping, including biological measures, can inform questions about phenotypic structure, etiology, comorbidity, heterogeneity, and gene–environment interplay of temperamental constructs and mental and physical health conditions of children and adolescents. The general framework for investigations begins with rich characterization of early temperament and follows with study of experiences and exposures across childhood and adolescence. Many studies incorporate neuroimaging and hormone assays.
Laser-based compact MeV X-ray sources are useful for a variety of applications such as radiography and active interrogation of nuclear materials. MeV X rays are typically generated by impinging the intense laser onto ~mm-thick high-Z foil. Here, we have characterized such a MeV X-ray source from 120 TW (80 J, 650 fs) laser interaction with a 1 mm-thick tantalum foil. Our measurements show X-ray temperature of 2.5 MeV, flux of 3 × 1012 photons/sr/shot, beam divergence of ~0.1 sr, conversion efficiency of ~1%, that is, ~1 J of MeV X rays out of 80 J incident laser, and source size of 80 m. Our measurement also shows that MeV X-ray yield and temperature is largely insensitive to nanosecond laser contrasts up to 10−5. Also, preliminary measurements of similar MeV X-ray source using a double-foil scheme, where the laser-driven hot electrons from a thin foil undergoing relativistic transparency impinging onto a second high-Z converter foil separated by 50–400 m, show MeV X-ray yield more than an order of magnitude lower compared with the single-foil results.
HIFI instrument onboard the Herschel satellite provided an unprecedented number of detections of rotational transitions of ammonia in circumstellar envelopes of evolved stars including massive red supergiants, Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB), and post-AGB stars. The chemistry of ammonia formation in the circumstellar envelopes of evolved stars is poorly understood. The mechanisms proposed for its formation are processes behind the shock front, photochemistry in the inner part of the clumpy envelope, and formation on dust grains. We present results of the non-local thermodynamical equilibrium (non-LTE) radiative transfer modeling of ammonia transitions, mainly of the ground-state rotational one NH3 JK = 10 – 00 at 572.5 GHz, in selected AGB stars, aiming at the quantitative estimation of the NH3 abundance. The model of ammonia includes IR radiative pumping via v2 = 1 vibrational band at 10 μm.
Dignity therapy (DT) is designed to address psychological and existential challenges that terminally ill individuals face. DT guides patients in developing a written legacy project in which they record and share important memories and messages with those they will leave behind. DT has been demonstrated to ease existential concerns for adults with advanced-stage cancer; however, lack of institutional resources limits wide implementation of DT in clinical practice. This study explores qualitative outcomes of an abbreviated, less resource-intensive version of DT among participants with advanced-stage cancer and their legacy project recipients.
Qualitative methods were used to analyze postintervention interviews with 11 participants and their legacy recipients as well as the created legacy projects. Direct content analysis was used to assess feedback from the interviews about benefits, barriers, and recommendations regarding abbreviated DT. The legacy projects were coded for expression of core values.
Findings suggest that abbreviated DT effectively promotes (1) self-expression, (2) connection with loved ones, (3) sense of purpose, and (4) continuity of self. Participants observed that leading the development of their legacy projects promoted independent reflection, autonomy, and opportunities for family interaction when reviewing and discussing the projects. Consistent with traditional DT, participants expressed “family” as the most common core value in their legacy projects. Expression of “autonomy” was also a notable finding.
Significance of results
Abbreviated DT reduces resource barriers to conducting traditional DT while promoting similar benefits for participants and recipients, making it a promising adaptation warranting further research. The importance that patients place on family and autonomy should be honored as much as possible by those caring for adults with advanced-stage cancer.