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Maternal age has progressively increased in industrialized countries. Most studies focus on the consequences of delayed motherhood for women's physical and mental health, but little is known about potential effects on infants' neurodevelopment. This prospective study examines the association between maternal age and offspring neurodevelopment in terms of both psychomotor development (Ages & Stages Questionnaires-3) and emotional competences (Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire).
We evaluated a cohort of healthy pregnant women aged 20–41 years and their offspring, assessed at 38 weeks gestation (n = 131) and 24 months after birth (n = 101). Potential age-related variables were considered (paternal age, education level, parity, social support, maternal cortisol levels, and maternal anxiety and depressive symptoms). Bayesian ordinal regression models were performed for each neurodevelopmental outcome.
Maternal age was negatively associated with poor child development in terms of personal-social skills [odds ratio (OR) −0.13, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.77–0.99] and with difficult temperament in terms of worse emotional regulation (OR −0.13, 95% CI 0.78–0.96) and lower positive affect (OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.75–0.95). As for age-related variables, whereas maternal anxiety symptoms and cortisol levels were also correlated with poor child development and difficult temperament, maternal social support and parental educational level were associated with better psychomotor and emotional competences.
Increasing maternal age may be associated with child temperament difficulties and psychomotor delay in terms of social interaction skills. Early detection of neurodevelopment difficulties in these babies would allow preventive psychosocial interventions to avoid future neuropsychiatric disorders.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how old persons perceived their life to be, how they viewed the ageing process and their need of health care and societal support.
The purpose of WHO’s Healthy Ageing strategy and development of age-friendly environments is to support physiological and psychosocial changes in old persons by facilitating basic needs. Interventions to operationalize these needs in older people living at home are often developed from a professional perspective and to a small extent involves the perceptions, experience and expectations of the older persons.
This qualitative study has an explorative design using focus group discussions to collect data. In all, 34 persons between 69 and 93 years of age participated in seven group discussions. The interviews were analyzed using inductive manifest content analysis.
The main results suggest that most old persons enjoyed life and wished it to continue for as long as possible. Important was to sustain networks and to feel useful. Unexpected changes were described as threats and the need to use health care services was associated with illness and being dependent. The result is presented in three categories with sub-categories: ‘Embracing life’, ‘Dealing with challenges’ and ‘Considering the future’.
In urban China, the social welfare system and the family structure have changed dramatically, while gender norms are still deep-rooted, particularly among older adults. Under this social, demographic and cultural context, this study aims to take a gender-specific perspective to investigate whether and how gender moderates the roles of pensions, social support and self-care ability on older adults’ life satisfaction. Based on the survey data collected from 2,047 older adults aged 65 years and over in urban China in 2018, multiple linear regressions were applied to explore the moderation effects. The results show that the pension is important to older adults’ life satisfaction regardless of gender. For social support, the association between family support and life satisfaction is stronger for older men than for older women; interdependent social support, especially being a confidant, matters more to women than to men. The interaction between self-care ability and gender reveals some interesting patterns: self-care ability is found to have a positive association with women's life satisfaction but a negative association with men's. This study contributes to the existing literature by demonstrating how gender intertwines with the most important factors of older adult's life satisfaction in China – a society with strong gender norms and a patriarchal culture. These findings could be relevant to other Asian societies.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to measures that reduced social contact and support. We explored whether UK residents with more frequent or supportive social contact had fewer depressive symptoms during March−August 2020, and potential factors moderating the relationship.
A convenience sample of UK dwelling participants aged ⩾18 in the internet-based longitudinal COVID-19 Social Study completed up to 22 weekly questionnaires about face-to-face and phone/video social contact frequency, perceived social support, and depressive symptoms using the PHQ-9. Mixed linear models examined associations between social contact and support, and depressive symptoms. We examined for interaction by empathic concern, perspective taking and pre-COVID social contact frequency.
In 71 117 people with mean age 49 years (standard deviation 15), those with high perceived social support scored 1.836 (1.801–1.871) points lower on PHQ-9 than those with low support. Daily face-to-face or phone/video contact was associated with lower depressive symptoms (0.258 (95% confidence interval 0.225–0.290) and 0.117 (0.080–0.154), respectively) compared to no contact. The negative association between social relationships and depressive symptoms was stronger for those with high empathic concern, perspective taking and usual sociability.
We found during lockdown that those with higher quality or more face-to-face or phone/video contact had fewer depressive symptoms. Contact quality was more strongly associated than quantity. People who were usually more sociable or had higher empathy had more depressive symptoms during enforced reduced contact. The results have implications for COVID-19 and potential future pandemic management, and for understanding the relationship between social factors and mental health.
Supportive forensic interviews conducted in accordance with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Revised Protocol (RP) help many alleged victims describe abusive experiences. When children remain reluctant to make allegations, the RP guides interviewers to (a) focus on rapport building and nonsuggestive support in a first interview, and (b) plan a second interview to allow continued rapport building before exploring for possible abuse. We explored the dynamics of such two-session RP interviews. Of 204 children who remained reluctant in an initial interview, we focused on 104 who made allegations when re-interviewed a few days later. A structural equation model revealed that interviewer support during the first session predicted children's cooperation during the rapport-building phase of the second session, which, in turn, predicted more spontaneous allegations, which were associated with the interviewers’ enhanced use of open-ended questions. Together, these factors mediated the effects of support on children's free recall of forensically important information. This highlighted the importance of emphasizing rapport with reluctant children, confirming that some children may need more time to build rapport even with supportive interviewers.
Preparing adolescents for transitioning from school to work has become a priority across all developed countries due to the increasingly difficult labour market conditions and changes related to technological advances. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional uncertainties in the world of work. This article reviews the concept of career-related teacher support (CRTS) and illustrates the different roles that school teachers can have in influencing students’ career planning and decision making. The information should be beneficial to teachers, counsellors, researchers and policy-makers seeking to optimise school-based career guidance and counselling practices. Brief suggestions are also provided for future research and practice.
There is a growing recognition that social support can potentially exert consistent or opposing effects in influencing health behaviours. The present paper presents a cross-sectional study, including 2,064 adults from Italy, Spain and Greece, who were participants in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial (C4H study), aiming to examine whether social support is correlated with adherence to a healthy Mediterranean diet and physical activity. Social support data were available for 1,572 participants. The majority of the sample reported emotional support availability (84·5 %), financial support availability (72·6 %) and having one or more close friends (78·2 %). Mediterranean diet adherence was significantly associated with emotional support (P = 0·009) and social network support (P = 0·021). No statistically significant associations were found between participant physical activity and the social support aspects studied. In conclusion, emotional and social network support may be associated with increased adherence to the Mediterranean diet. However, further research is needed to evaluate the role of social support in adherence to healthy Mediterranean diet.
Numerous research studies have demonstrated an association between higher symptom severity and cognitive impairment with poorer social functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP). By contrast, the influence of subjective experiences, such as social relatedness and self-beliefs, has received less attention. Consequently, a cohesive understanding of how these variables interact to influence social functioning is lacking.
We used structural equation modeling to examine the direct and indirect relationships among neurocognition (processing speed) and social cognition, symptoms, and social relatedness (perceived social support and loneliness) and self-beliefs (self-efficacy and self-esteem) in 170 individuals with FEP.
The final model yielded an acceptable model fit (χ2 = 45.48, comparative fit index = 0.96; goodness of fit index = 0.94; Tucker–Lewis index = 0.94; root mean square error of approximation = 0.06) and explained 45% of social functioning. Negative symptoms, social relatedness, and self-beliefs exerted a direct effect on social functioning. Social relatedness partially mediated the impact of social cognition and negative symptoms on social functioning. Self-beliefs also mediated the relationship between social relatedness and social functioning.
The observed associations highlight the potential value of targeting social relatedness and self-beliefs to improve functional outcomes in FEP. Explanatory models of social functioning in FEP not accounting for social relatedness and self-beliefs might be overestimating the effect of the illness-related factors.
We examined the measurement and mediating role of social support in dietary intake among participants in Texercise Select, an intervention for improving lifestyle behaviours.
Quasi-experimental study. Participants reported their dietary intake, level of social support measured by the new Social Support for Healthy Eating scale, sociodemographics and disease profile. We conducted exploratory factor analysis for scale evaluation and structural equation modelling for mediation analysis to test if changes in dietary-specific social support mediate the relationship between the intervention and changes in dietary intake.
Community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults completed a self-reported survey at baseline and 3-month follow-up (intervention group n 211, comparison group n 175).
The majority of the sample was aged ≥70 years (mean 74·30, sd 8·54), female (82·1 %) and had at least two chronic conditions (63·5 %). The acceptable levels of reliability and validity of the dietary-specific social support scale were confirmed. Compared with the comparison group, the intervention group reported improved intake of fruit/vegetables and water, and improved dietary-specific social support. Improved dietary-specific social support mediated the association between intervention and change in fruit/vegetable intake, controlling for sociodemographics, number of chronic conditions and geographic residence. About 12 % of intervention effect was mediated by social support.
The current study confirms positive intervention effects on healthy eating, and highlights social support relating to dietary behaviours that may be helpful for healthy eating. Future research should investigate additional social support for developing healthy eating behavioural skills.
Family reunion in exile may be a complex and challenging experience. Refugee families are often reunited in the host countries after having lived through long periods of separation, insecurity and violence. Assisting families in the process of reunification is discussed as an issue of priority, both from a psychological and a human rights point of view. Based on clinical experiences, the authors suggest that accompanying families in this process of transition is meaningful and useful. The chapter argues that work with refugees should be seen through a family lens, and that mental health professionals have the knowledge and background regarding families and systems that enable them to offer good assistance to families in reunification processes. A model for assisting families and dealing with the many challenges involved in the process of reunification is explored and discussed. The need for a more systematized approach is underlined, and research on the effect of conversations to families reunited in exile is called for.
Groups are increasingly used to deliver behavior change interventions, but such interventions are seldom based on theory and research on social group processes. A consequence of this is that existing group interventions are often heterogenous and difficult to evaluate. The social identity approach addresses important questions relevant to the design and delivery of group interventions for supporting behavior change. Drawing on this approach, the social identity model of behavior change explains how group processes can be harnessed in behavior change interventions. The model prioritizes the establishment of shared social identity among intervention group members and outlines how, through six core group resources, social identification can shape delivery of intervention content to achieve behavior change. Evidence for the key resources specified in the model is presented, and a step-by-step guide provided, to support the operationalization of the model’s principles in practice.
Most theories on which behavior change interventions are based focus on individual self-regulation and neglect the influence of the social environment. This chapter highlights theoretical approaches and empirical research on effects of the social environment on behavior change with a focus on dyadic behavior change interventions. Dyadic behavior change comprises “parallel” techniques that can be any individual technique directed at both partners in the dyad; “cross-over” techniques that involve interaction between partners but not necessarily administered with both partners present; and “joint” techniques in which both partners are actively involved. A continuum of individual to dyadic behavior change techniques that address different degrees of involvement of dyad members is provided. Based on the continuum, the chapter reviews dyadic behavior change intervention research and the theories involved. The chapter highlights the need for systematic research in dyadic behavior change and more comprehensive reporting of intervention content and delivery. A step-by-step guide provides guidance on effective implementation of dyadic behavior change interventions based on existing theory and current evidence. Owing to the heterogeneity in content, theoretical background, and empirical results, however, the guide also defines the research gaps and required research on dyadic behavior change to address them.
Affect reactivity to stress may play a role in the development of internalizing symptoms during the college transition, a critical developmental juncture for Latinx adolescents, the largest ethnic minority group on college campuses. This study examined whether affect reactivity during high school is associated with internalizing symptoms in college and explored two potential protective factors, perceived family and peer support. Participants were 209 Latinx adolescents (Mage = 18.10; 64.4% female) who completed standard surveys and four diary assessments per day over 7 days (N > 4,500 momentary observations). First, to measure affect reactivity, we assessed whether perceived stress was associated with negative affect at the momentary level during high school (senior year). Second, we tested whether affect reactivity predicted internalizing symptoms during the first year of college. Third, we tested whether perceived family or peer support buffered the negative consequences of affect reactivity. Results indicated statistically significant within- and between-person associations between stress and negative affect. Moreover, affect reactivity significantly predicted depressive, but not anxiety, symptoms. Buffering was found for family, but not peer, support. Findings extend previous research by detecting associations between momentary affect reactivity and internalizing symptoms during a sociocultural shift in Latinx adolescents’ lives and have implications for culturally appropriate programs to prevent depressive symptoms.
Close relationships are, at the same time, a source of risk and a resource that can mitigate risk, fear, and insecurity. Specifically, close relationships provide the potential for rejection and hurt, but a) close others can behave in ways that diminish these perceived relational risks to encourage deepening connection, and b) involvement in close relationships can mitigate risks external to relationships (i.e., risks in the physical and social environment) to facilitate personal thriving. This chapter will describe the relational risks individuals face when they form interdependent relationships as well as partner behaviors that demonstrate commitment and promote trust (e.g., sacrifice, affectionate touch) to reduce the perceived cost of interdependence. Although all people are subjected to risks when they form interdependent relationships, individuals differ in the extent to which they perceive risks and in the ways in which their partners might mitigate these risks. People with insecure attachment orientations (i.e., high levels of attachment anxiety and/or attachment avoidance) are especially concerned with relational risks, and they benefit when partners enact behaviors that are sensitive to their specific insecurities. In addition to relational risks, this chapter will also describe how partners regulate external risks that people face when they experience threats (e.g., stressors, health problems) or opportunities (e.g., goals, positive challenges). Research suggests that supportive and affectionate partner behaviors provide a sense of security to mitigate external risks and encourage exploration, which may be especially critical for individuals with insecure attachment orientations. Finally, this chapter will conclude with suggestions for future research.
Life-span theory has long emphasized that cognitive functioning and well-being are key constituents of successful development and aging. There is mounting empirical evidence that these central domains of life are closely intertwined, with better performance on a number of cognitive ability tests going hand in hand with higher levels of well-being and satisfaction. Less well understood, however, are the multiple different sets of pathways that underlie how and why well-being either represents a consequence of cognitive functioning and development or operates as an antecedent condition thereof. The major objective of the current chapter is to provide a select overview of (1) an exemplary set of mechanisms that help explain the often dynamic and reciprocal links between the two major areas of life and (2) the role that several layers of individual and contextual factors play as resources and constraints. To do so, we proceed in four steps. First, we review conceptual considerations and empirical evidence on stability and change in well-being from mid adulthood to very old age, the vast individual differences in levels and rates of change, and how these differences are shaped by cognitive functioning and change. Second, we consider how well-being may serve as an antecedent of functioning and development of cognitive performance and abilities. Third, we present stress reactivity, health behaviors, social participation, and neurological pathways as some of the presumed underlying processes. Finally, we discuss the role that resources and constraints at individual and contextual levels may play for linking cognition and well-being.
Gender is an important social determinant of health, but gender has played only a marginal role in the geriatric and gerontology research and practice. The aim of this study was to examine the relevance of gender to the psychological well-being of older adults.
A cross-sectional study was conducted.
The study was carried out in Spain.
A total of 1,201 people aged between 65 and 94.
The participants completed sociodemographic data and four questionnaires: The Bem sex role inventory, the Ryff’s psychological well-being scale, the York self-esteem inventory, and the Social support scale.
Men scored higher than women in self-acceptance, autonomy, purpose in life, and environmental mastery. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that, although the most important predictors of psychological well-being in both women and men were self-esteem and social support, both masculine/instrumental and feminine/expressive traits were associated with higher psychological well-being, although the effect size was higher for the masculine/instrumental trait. Furthermore, education was associated with psychological well-being in the case of females.
Gender plays an important role in the psychological well-being of older adults. The results of this research are relevant for healthcare providers and policy-makers interested in promoting successful aging and increasing the well-being of older people.
Supported playgroups are a common form of intervention offered in Australian early childhood education. This study used interviews and quantitative measures to examine whether attending supported playgroups benefits culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) parents’ or carers’ social support, connectedness, and parental self-efficacy (PSE). Thirty-five playgroup attendees completed three validated measures assessing social support, isolation, and PSE. Seven mothers, two carers, and two playgroup staff participated in semistructured interviews. The quantitative and qualitative data indicated that CALD parents and carers show high levels of isolation and low social support. The qualitative data indicated that most parents or carers felt more supported and connected as a result of attending the playgroup, and just over half stated that the playgroup had improved their confidence. This study highlights the need to consider the social resources of CALD families when planning and delivering services, and calls for future longitudinal studies of the benefits of playgroups.
This study examined mental health status among Hurricane Sandy survivors in the most severely damaged areas of New York and New Jersey in 2014, approximately 2 years after this disaster. We used the 2014 Associated Press NORC survey of 1009 Sandy survivors to measure the prevalence of probable mental illness and to analyze its association with selected socioeconomic characteristics of survivors, direct impact by Sandy, as well as social support and social trust. The study found major disparities in mental illness by race/ethnicity, age groups, and employment status. Higher Sandy impact levels were strongly associated with higher rates of mental illness and accounted for much of the disparity between blacks and Hispanics compared with whites in our study group. Social support was more strongly associated with lower rates of mental illness than was social trust. In addition, social support served as a significant mitigating factor in the mental health disparities between blacks and whites. The severity of mental illness among Sandy survivors differed significantly among racial and ethnic groups but was moderated by both the direct impact of this disaster on their lives and the degree of social support they received, as well as how trusting they were.
Considering the effects of the level of social support and self-esteem as risk factors in the onset and continuation of depression, the purpose of the current study (in addition to studying the demographic items of depression) was to investigate the correlation between depression and level of social support and self-esteem in Iranian university students studying non medical majors.
The study was a cross-sectional descriptive-analytic research carried out on the students of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad in 2006. Self administered questionnaires on socio-demographic information (age, gender, marital status, and educational level), Eysenk self-esteem scale, Beck Depression Inventory and Cassidy social support scale were randomly given out to students who were selected by multi stage randomized sampling. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 14 using the χ2-test.
1200 students responded to the anonymous questionnaires. A total of 57.2% of the participants had depression (36.3% mild, 14.4% moderate and 6.5% severe). Depression was significantly higher in males, singles and in 25-29-year-old students. Results showed that 9.4%, 18.3% and 72.3% of the participants reported low, moderate and high levels of social support respectively. 1.8% and 6.3% of the participants reported low and moderate levels of self-esteem respectively; while 91.9% reported high levels of self-esteem.
Depression has a higher rate in non-medical university students of Iran than general population. Levels of social support and self-esteem were negatively associated with frequency of depression.