To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Need for Cognition (NFC) and Openness to Ideas are intellectual investment traits that are characterized by a tendency to seek out, engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activity. Little, however, is known about the extent to which they are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. With the present contribution, we aim at furthering our knowledge on the mechanisms underlying intellectual investment traits by following-up on a recent investigation of the role of dopaminergic gene variation in intellectual investment. Employing a standard approach that relied on null-hypothesis significance testing, we found that, first, two dopaminergic genetic variants interacted in modulating individual differences in NFC, but not in Openness to Ideas; that, second, negative life events played a role in the modulation of Openness to Ideas, but not of NFC; and that, third, negative life events as assessed using another measure were only marginally related to Openness to Ideas while positive life events were associated with both Openness to Ideas and NFC, with the latter effect being also dependent on DRD4 exon III genotype. However, employing a Bayesian approach, the assumption of a genetic effect on investment traits was overall not supported, while the assumption of a role of positive life events in the modulation of investment traits could be confirmed, with a tentative increment in the prediction of NFC by adding an interaction of positive life events and DRD4 variation to the main effect of positive life events. Our findings underscore the importance to use different approaches in the field of personality neuroscience. To gain deeper insight into the basis of personality traits does not only require to consider genetic as well as environmental influences and their interplay, but also requires more differentiated statistical analyses that can at least in part tackle the often inconsistent findings in this field.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) behaviors are self-injurious behaviors inflicted without intending death. Literature has shown the relationship between stressful life events (SLE) and NSSI behaviors. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Dysregulation Profile (SDQ-DP) is defined as an index of self-regulatory problems, related to higher risk for suicidal ideation and attempts in adolescents. In this study the relationship between SDQ-DP and NSSI behaviors, mediated by SLE in a clinical sample of children and adolescents is analyzed. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 239 subjects (aged from 11 to 17) to test the mediation model. SDQ-DP significantly correlates with NSSI behaviors (Wald = 6.5477, p = .0105); SDQ-DP significantly correlates with SLE (T = 5.7229, p < .001); SLE significantly correlates NSSI behaviors, and the relation remains significant whilst controlling for SDQ-DP (Wald = 4.1715, p = .041); the relation between SDQ-DP and NSSI behaviors stops being significant whilst controlling for the potential mediator (SLE) (Wald = 2.9951, p = .0835). Study of indirect effect supports the mediation model (.0585 CI [.0016, .1266]). Findings are compatible with the complete mediation scenario. These results point out the importance of self-regulatory problems in coping strategies with regards to SLE and the development of NSSI behaviors.
Mental health is fundamental to an individual’s health and well-being. Mental health disorders affect a substantial portion of the Australian population, with the most vulnerable time in adolescence and young adulthood. Indigenous Australians fare worse than other Australians on almost every measure of physical and mental health. Cross-sectional data from young adults (21–27 years) participating in the Life Course Program, Northern Territory, Australia, is presented. Rates of psychological distress were high in remote and urban residing Indigenous and urban non-Indigenous young adults. This rate was more pronounced in young women, particularly in Indigenous remote and urban residing women. Young adults with high psychological distress also had lower levels of positive well-being, higher perceived stress levels, experienced a higher number of major life events and were at an increased risk of suicidal ideation and/or self-harm. This study supports the need for a continued focus on early screening and treatment at this vulnerable age. The significant association seen between psychological distress and other markers of emotional well-being, particularly risk of suicidal ideation and/or self-harm, highlights the need for a holistic approach to mental health assessment and treatment. A concerted focus on improving the environs of young adults by lowering levels of stress, improving access to adequate housing, educational and employment opportunity, will assist in improving the emotional health of young adults.
Psychological models of conversion disorder (CD) traditionally assume that psychosocial stressors are identifiable around symptom onset. In the face of limited supportive evidence such models are being challenged.
Forty-three motor CD patients, 28 depression patients and 28 healthy controls were assessed using the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule in the year before symptom onset. A novel ‘escape’ rating for events was developed to test the Freudian theory that physical symptoms of CD could provide escape from stressors, a form of ‘secondary gain’.
CD patients had significantly more severe life events and ‘escape’ events than controls. In the month before symptom onset at least one severe event was identified in 56% of CD patients – significantly more than 21% of depression patients [odds ratio (OR) 4.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.56–13.70] and healthy controls (OR 5.81, 95% CI 1.86–18.2). In the same time period 53% of CD patients had at least one ‘high escape’ event – again significantly higher than 14% in depression patients (OR 6.90, 95% CI 2.05–23.6) and 0% in healthy controls. Previous sexual abuse was more commonly reported in CD than controls, and in one third of female patients was contextually relevant to life events at symptom onset. The majority (88%) of life events of potential aetiological relevance were not identified by routine clinical assessments. Nine per cent of CD patients had no identifiable severe life events.
Evidence was found supporting the psychological model of CD, the Freudian notion of escape and the potential aetiological relevance of childhood traumas in some patients. Uncovering stressors of potential aetiological relevance requires thorough psychosocial evaluation.
Telomere attrition might be one of the mechanisms through which psychosocial stress leads to somatic disease. To date it is unknown if exposure to adverse life events in adulthood is associated with telomere shortening prospectively. In the current study we investigated whether life events are associated with shortening of telomere length (TL).
Participants were 1094 adults (mean age 53.1, range 33–79 years) from the PREVEND cohort. Data were collected at baseline (T1) and at two follow-up visits after 4 years (T2) and 6 years (T3). Life events were assessed with an adjusted version of the List of Threatening Events (LTE). TL was measured by monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR at T1, T2, and T3. A linear mixed model was used to assess the effect of recent life events on TL prospectively. Multivariable regression analyses were performed to assess whether the lifetime life events score or the score of life events experienced before the age of 12 predicted TL cross-sectionally. All final models were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, presence of chronic diseases, frequency of sports, smoking status, and level of education.
Recent life events significantly predicted telomere attrition prospectively (B = −0.031, p = 0.007). We were not able to demonstrate a significant cross-sectional relationship between the lifetime LTE score and TL. Nor did we find exposure to adverse life events before the age of 12 to be associated with TL in adulthood.
Exposure to recent adverse life events in adulthood is associated with telomere attrition prospectively.
Life events are an established risk factor for the onset and recurrence of unipolar and bipolar mood episodes, especially in the presence of genetic vulnerability. The dynamic interplay between life events and psychological context, however, is less studied. In this study, we investigated the impact of life events on the onset and recurrence of mood episodes in bipolar offspring, as well as the effects of temperament, coping and parenting style on this association.
Bipolar offspring (n = 108) were followed longitudinally from adolescence to adulthood. Mood disorders were assessed with: the Kiddie Schedule of Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia – Present and Lifetime Version or the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I disorders; life events with the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule; and psychological measures using the Utrecht Coping List, Temperament and Character Inventory and short-EMBU (memories of upbringing instrument). Anderson–Gill models (an extension of the Cox proportional hazard model) were utilized.
Life events were associated with an increased risk for first and, although less pronounced, subsequent mood episodes. There was a large confounding effect for the number of previous mood episodes; findings suggest a possible kindling effect. Passive coping style increased the risk of mood episode onset and recurrent episodes, but also altered the effect of life events on mood disorders. Harm avoidance temperament was associated with mood episode recurrence.
Life events are especially a risk factor in the onset of mood disorders, though less so in recurrent episodes. Psychological features (passive coping and harm-avoidant temperament) contribute to the risk of an episode occurring, and also have a moderating effect on the association between life events and mood episodes. These findings create potential early intervention strategies for bipolar offspring.
We compared the dietary behaviour of three different household types and explored developmental trends in food choices following a life event.
The study is based on data from three Swiss Food Panel survey periods. A cross-sectional comparison between household types was conducted by using a one-way independent ANOVA. Repeated measures were analysed with a mixed ANCOVA to examine changes in dietary behaviour following a life event.
Participants in the survey filled in a questionnaire in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The final sample consisted of 3559 persons with a mean age of 56 years (range 22–94 years; 46 % men). Seventy-two people moved in with their partner and sixty-five people reported the birth of their first child.
Cross-sectional evidence confirmed that women living in households with a partner reported higher consumption frequencies for meat and processed meats compared with those living alone. Men living in cohabitation had a higher vegetable intake. The transitional effect of moving in with a partner, however, resulted in a higher intake of processed meats for both genders and a higher intake of pork and savoury items for men. Transition to motherhood was linked to an increase in vegetable consumption, while the transition to fatherhood did not change consumption patterns significantly.
Individuals in life-stage transitions are more likely to change their nutritional strategies and life events can be a window of opportunity for changes towards better food choices.
The impact of stressful life events as a risk factor of dementia diseases is inconclusive. We sought to determine whether stressful negative life events are associated with incidental dementia in a population-based study with long-term follow-up. We also tested the hypothesis that the occurrence of positive life events could mitigate or overcome the possible adverse effects of negative life events on dementia conversion.
The study involved 2,462 dementia-free participants aged 55 years and older. Information on life events was ascertained at baseline from a comprehensive Life Event Inventory, which included 56 questions about specific life events. For each life event, the emotional impact (both positive and negative) and emotional adjustment were asked for.
During follow-up, 423 participants developed dementia; of these, 240 developed Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cox regression analysis showed no association between the total number of negative life events and the incidence of dementia when adjusted solely for age and gender (hazard ratio = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.92–1.02), or with multiple adjustments for a range of covariates (hazard ratio = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.91–1.01). Similarly, neither emotional impact nor emotional adjustment to these life events was associated with incident dementia. A separate analysis of AD did not alter the results.
The result of this population-based study finds no association between negative or positive life events and dementia. Accordingly, our results reject the hypothesis that stressful life events trigger the onset of dementia diseases.
Background: It is important to investigate the role of cognitive, developmental and environmental factors in the development and maintenance of Obsessive Compulsive Symptomatology (OCS). Aims: The main objective of this study was to examine the vulnerability factors of OCS in a non-clinical sample. On the basis of Salkovskis’ cognitive model of OCD, the study aimed to investigate the role of perceived parental rearing behaviours, responsibility attitudes, and life events in predicting OCS. Furthermore, the mediator role of responsibility attitudes in the relationship between perceived parental rearing behaviours and OCS was examined. Finally, the specificity of these variables to OCS was evaluated by examining the relationship of the same variables with depression and trait anxiety. Method: A total of 300 university students (M = 19.55±1.79) were administered the Padua Inventory-Washington State University Revision, Responsibility Attitudes Scale, s-EMBU (My memories of upbringing), Life Events Inventory for University Students, Beck Depression Inventory, and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Trait Form. Results: Regression analysis revealed that perceived mother overprotection, responsibility attitudes and life events significantly predicted OCS. Furthermore, responsibility attitudes mediated the relationship between perceived mother overprotection and OCS. The predictive role of perceived mother overprotection and the mediator role responsibility attitudes were OCS specific. Conclusions: The findings of the present study supported that perceived mother over-protection as a developmental vulnerability factor significantly contributed to the explanation of a cognitive vulnerability factor (namely responsibility attitudes), and perceived maternal overprotection had its predictive role for OCS through responsibility attitudes.
The Bielefeld Longitudinal Study of Adult Twins (BiLSAT) is a German longitudinal study of monozygotic and dizygotic twins reared together, including more than 1,100 twin pairs aged between 14 and 80 who participated in the first wave. Data were collected at five waves of assessment between 1993 and 2009. Initially, the study focused on genetic and environmental influences on the structure and the development in adult temperament and personality. Today, the study includes a broad range of individual variables, such as personality disorders, major life goals, interests, attitudes, values, life and work satisfaction, and major life events. A special feature of this genetically informative study lies in the multiple-rater approach (i.e., self-reports and peer reports). Longitudinal multiple-rater analyses allow researchers to go beyond the basic nature–nurture decomposition of variance in self-reports examining genetic and environmental influences on stability and change in more accurately measured individual attributes. In the current article, we briefly describe the design and contents of BiLSAT as well as some recent major findings and future plans.
Stress is thought to exert both positive and negative effects on cognition, but the precise cognitive effects of social stress and individuals' response to stress remain unclear. We aimed to investigate the association between different measures of social stress and cognitive function in a middle- to older-aged population using data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)-Norfolk study.
Participants completed a comprehensive assessment of lifetime social adversity between 1993 and 1997 and the short form of the Mini Mental State Examination (SF-MMSE), an assessment of global cognitive function, during the third health check between 2004 and 2011 (a median of 10.5 years later). A low MMSE score was defined as a score in the bottom quartile (20–26).
Completed MMSE scores and stress measures were available for 5129 participants aged 48–90 years. Participants who reported that their lives had been more stressful over the previous 10 years were significantly more likely to have low MMSE scores [odds ratio (OR) 1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04–1.24 per unit increase in perceived stress], independently of sociodemographic factors, physical and emotional health. The effects were restricted to the highest level of stress and the association was stronger among participants with a lower educational level. Adaptation following life event experiences also seemed to be associated with MMSE scores after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, but the association was attenuated with further adjustment.
In this generally high-functioning population, individuals' interpretations and responses to stressful events, rather than the events themselves, were associated with cognitive function.
Increased sensitivity and exposure to stress are associated with psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and its risk states, but little is known about the co-evolution of stress sensitivity and exposure with positive and other symptoms in a clinical high-risk (CHR) cohort.
A combined cross-sectional and longitudinal design was used to examine the associations over time of stress sensitivity and exposure (i.e. life events) with ‘prodromal’ symptoms in a cohort of 65 CHR patients assessed quarterly for up to 4 years, and at baseline in 24 healthy controls similar in age and gender.
Impaired stress tolerance was greater in patients, in whom it was associated over time with positive and negative symptoms, in addition to depression, anxiety and poor function. By contrast, life events were comparable in patients and controls, and bore no association with symptoms. In this treated cohort, there was a trajectory of improvement in stress tolerance, symptoms and function over time.
Impaired stress tolerance was associated with a wide range of ‘prodromal’ symptoms, consistent with it being a core feature of the psychosis risk state. Self-reported life events were not relevant as a correlate of clinical status. As in other treated CHR cohorts, most patients improved over time across symptom domains.
to evaluate the association of antenatal depressive symptomatology (AD) with life events and coping styles, the hypothesis was that certain coping strategies are associated to depressive symptomatology.
we performed a cross sectional study of 312 women attending a private clinic in the city of Osasco, São Paulo from 27/05/1998 to 13/05/2002. The following instruments were used: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Holmes and Rahe Schedule of Recent Events (SSRS), Folkman and Lazarus Ways of Coping Questionnaire and questionnaire with social-demographic and obstetric data. Inclusion criteria: women with no past history of depression, psychiatric treatment, alcohol or drug abuse and no clinical-obstetrical complications. Odds ratios and 95% CI were used to examine the association between AD (according to BDI) and exposures variables. Hypothesis testing was done with X2 tests and a p value < .05.
AD occurred in 21.1% of pregnant women. By the univariate analyses, education, number of pregnancies, previous abortion, husband income, situation of marriage and score of SSRS were associated with AD. All coping styles were associated with AD, except seeking support and positive reappraisal. By the multivariate analyses, four coping styles were kept in the final model: confront (p = .039), accepting responsibility (p < .001), escape-avoidance (p = .002), problem-solving (p = .005).
AD was highly prevalent and was associated with maladaptive coping styles.
This chapter draws on three strands of inspiration, concerned with meaning making, narrative and the dialogical self, braiding these together into a flexible and durable strand of coherence that runs through the author's therapy, and supports a great variety of novel interventions. It briefly sketches the landscape of loss as viewed through the contemporary scientific literature, in order to frame the field to which a dialogical, meaning-oriented model makes a distinctive contribution. From a constructivist standpoint, grieving for the death of a loved one entails reaffirming or reconstructing a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss. The chapter introduces the idea to Daniel of considering his life as a book, and asked if he would be willing to spend some time between sessions writing the table of contents of that life to capture its plot developments, including the accident and his subsequent adaptation.
Evidence for an effect of work stressors on common mental disorders (CMD) has increased over the past decade. However, studies have not considered whether the effects of work stressors on CMD remain after taking co-occurring non-work stressors into account.
Data were from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, a national population survey of participants ⩾16 years living in private households in England. This paper analyses data from employed working age participants (N=3383: 1804 males; 1579 females). ICD-10 diagnoses for depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, panic or mixed anxiety and depression in the past week were derived using a structured diagnostic interview. Questionnaires assessed self-reported work stressors and non-work stressors.
The effects of work stressors on CMD were not explained by co-existing non-work stressors. We found independent effects of work and non-work stressors on CMD. Job stress, whether conceptualized as job strain or effort–reward imbalance, together with lower levels of social support at work, recent stressful life events, domestic violence, caring responsibilities, lower levels of non-work social support, debt and poor housing quality were all independently associated with CMD. Social support at home and debt did not influence the effect of work stressors on CMD.
Non-work stressors do not appear to make people more susceptible to work stressors; both contribute to CMD. Tackling workplace stress is likely to benefit employee psychological health even if the employee's home life is stressful but interventions incorporating non-work stressors may also be effective.
The finding of a significant gene by environment interaction effect on depression of the serotonin transporter length polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) and the Number of experienced Life Events (NLE) was not replicated in two large meta-analyses (Munafo et al., 2009; Risch et al., 2009). These meta-analyses have been criticized on the grounds that large studies that get most weight in meta-analyses have the poorest measurement quality of life events and, as a consequence, do not find an effect. Another issue is the time frame across which the NLE are measured. Proximal life events appear to be better predictors of depression than more distal events. We present the results of analyses of the 5-HTTLPR × NLE effect on anxious depression and neuroticism scores in a sample of 1,155 twins and their parents and siblings from 438 families. The interaction effect was tested separately for NLE experienced across the life span and NLE experienced in the past year. There was a significant main effect of NLE on anxious depression and neuroticism, especially when these were experienced in the past year. No interaction with 5-HTTLPR was found for NLE either experienced across the life span or across the past year. Our results support the two recent meta-analyses. Given recent insights from genome wide association studies, it seems more useful to focus on the joint effect of several genes, that are, for example, part of the same biological pathway, in interaction with the environment, than on one candidate gene.
Traumatic life events are generally more common in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) than in non-patients or patients with other personality disorders. This study investigates whether exposure to life events moderates the genetic architecture of BPD features. As the presence of genotype–environment correlation (rGE) can lead to spurious findings of genotype–environment interaction (G×E), we also test whether BPD features increase the likelihood of exposure to life events.
The extent to which an individual is at risk to develop BPD was assessed with the Personality Assessment Inventory – Borderline features scale (PAI-BOR). Life events under study were a divorce/break-up, traffic accident, violent assault, sexual assault, robbery and job loss. Data were available for 5083 twins and 1285 non-twin siblings. Gene–environment interaction and correlation were assessed by using structural equation modelling (SEM) and the co-twin control design.
There was evidence for both gene–environment interaction and correlation. Additive genetic influences on BPD features interacted with the exposure to sexual assault, with genetic variance being lower in exposed individuals. In individuals who had experienced a divorce/break-up, violent assault, sexual assault or job loss, environmental variance for BPD features was higher, leading to a lower heritability of BPD features in exposed individuals. Gene–environment correlation was present for some life events. The genes that influence BPD features thus also increased the likelihood of being exposed to certain life events.
To our knowledge, this study is the first to test the joint effect of genetic and environmental influences and the exposure to life events on BPD features in the general population. Our results indicate the importance of both genetic vulnerability and life events.
To examine the role of psychological distress, negative life events, social support and lack of fitness (using breathlessness on exertion as a proxy) in the development of new onset fatigue in a primary care population.
Adults between the ages of 18 and 45 years who were registered with five general practices in South East England were asked to complete a fatigue questionnaire and the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. Between 1 and 12 months later, subjects who visited the general practitioner (GP) with a suspected viral infection were recruited to the study and asked to complete measures of fatigue, psychological distress, life events, social support and allergies (stage 2). The next person to present to the GP with a complaint other than a viral illness was recruited as a control. Factors assessed at stage 2 that were associated with the development of fatigue were examined with stepwise logistic regression.
Acute fatigue was not associated with a viral illness. Negative life events and breathlessness on exertion (interpreted as lack of fitness) were associated with incident cases of fatigue. However, when controlling for concurrent psychological distress, the independent association of negative life events disappeared.
Psychological distress was strongly associated with new onset fatigue and hence emphasizes the significance of psychological distress as a concomitant complaint in fatigue. Further, the salient association between breathlessness and fatigue may indicate the need to recommend exercise as a therapeutic strategy to improve physical fitness in the primary care setting.
It has been hypothesized that stressful life events are associated with changes in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis regulation, which increases susceptibility to psychiatric disorders. We investigated the association of early and late life events with HPA axis regulation in older persons.
Within the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) 1055 participants (47% male), aged 63–93 years, collected saliva within 30 min after waking and late in the evening. Early and late life events were assessed during a home interview. The associations between life events and cortisol levels were examined using linear regression and analysis of covariance with adjustments for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors and depressive symptoms.
Within our sample, the median morning and evening cortisol levels were 15.0 nmol/l [interdecile range (10–90%): 7.4–27.0 nmol/l] and 2.8 nmol/l (10–90%: 1.5–6.3 nmol/l), respectively. Persons who reported early life events showed lower levels of natural log-transformed morning cortisol [B=−0.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.17 to −0.04] and flattened diurnal variability of cortisol (B=−1.06, 95% CI −2.05 to −0.08). Those reporting two or more late life events showed higher levels of natural log-transformed morning cortisol (B=0.10, 95% CI 0.02–0.18) and higher diurnal variability (B=1.19, 95% CI 0.05–2.33). No associations were found with evening cortisol.
The results of this large population-based study of older persons suggest a differential association of early and late life events with HPA axis regulation; early life events were associated with a relative hypo-secretion of morning cortisol and flattened diurnal variability, while late life events were associated with elevated secretion of morning cortisol and high diurnal variability of cortisol.