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The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, with its impact on our way of life, is affecting our experiences and mental health. Notably, individuals with mental disorders have been reported to have a higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Personality traits could represent an important determinant of preventative health behaviour and, therefore, the risk of contracting the virus.
We examined overlapping genetic underpinnings between major psychiatric disorders, personality traits and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression was used to explore the genetic correlations of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) susceptibility with psychiatric disorders and personality traits based on data from the largest available respective genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In two cohorts (the PsyCourse (n = 1346) and the HeiDE (n = 3266) study), polygenic risk scores were used to analyse if a genetic association between, psychiatric disorders, personality traits and COVID-19 susceptibility exists in individual-level data.
We observed no significant genetic correlations of COVID-19 susceptibility with psychiatric disorders. For personality traits, there was a significant genetic correlation for COVID-19 susceptibility with extraversion (P = 1.47 × 10−5; genetic correlation 0.284). Yet, this was not reflected in individual-level data from the PsyCourse and HeiDE studies.
We identified no significant correlation between genetic risk factors for severe psychiatric disorders and genetic risk for COVID-19 susceptibility. Among the personality traits, extraversion showed evidence for a positive genetic association with COVID-19 susceptibility, in one but not in another setting. Overall, these findings highlight a complex contribution of genetic and non-genetic components in the interaction between COVID-19 susceptibility and personality traits or mental disorders.
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
Impaired cognitive functioning constitutes an important symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD), potentially associated with elevated cortisol levels. Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) enhance the risk for MDD and can contribute to disturbances in the stress systems, including cortisol and cognitive functions. In healthy participants, cortisol administration as well as acute stress can affect cognitive performance. In the current study, we tested cognitive performance in MDD patients with (N = 32) and without (N = 52) ACE and healthy participants with (N = 22) and without (N = 37) ACE after psychosocial stress induction (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST) and a control condition (Placebo-TSST). MDD predicted lower performance in verbal learning and both selective and sustained attention, while ACE predicted lower performance in psychomotoric speed and working memory. There were no interaction effects of MDD and ACE. After stress, MDD patients were more likely to show lower performance in working memory as well as in selective and sustained attention compared with participants without MDD. Individuals with ACE were more likely to show lower performance in verbal memory after stress compared with individuals without ACE. Our results indicate negative effects of MDD and ACE on distinct cognitive domains. Furthermore, MDD and/or ACE seem to enhance susceptibility for stress-related cognitive impairments.
Background: The social attitudes and interpersonal relationships of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are subject to a longstanding controversy. Whereas cognitive-behavioural researchers emphasize exaggerated pro-social attitudes in OCD like inflated responsibility and worry for other people (especially significant others), dynamic theories traditionally focus on anti-social attitudes such as latent aggression and hostility. In two recent studies, we gathered support not only for a co-existence of these seemingly opposing attitudes in OCD, but also for a functional connection: inflated responsibility in part appears to serve as a coping strategy (or “defense”) against negative interpersonal feelings. Aims: In the present study, we tested a shortened version of the Responsibility and Interpersonal Behaviours and Attitudes Questionnaire (RIBAQ-R). Method: The scale was administered to 34 participants with OCD and 34 healthy controls. The questionnaire concurrently measures pro-social and anti-social interpersonal attitudes across three subscales. Results: In line with our prior studies, patients displayed higher scores on both exaggerated pro-social attitudes (e.g. “I suffer from a strict conscience concerning my relatives”) as well as latent aggression (e.g. “Sometimes I would like to harm strangers on the street“) and suspiciousness/distrust (e.g. “I cannot even trust my own family”). A total of 59% of the patients but only 12% of the healthy controls showed marked interpersonal ambivalence (defined as scores higher than one standard deviation from the mean of the nonclinical controls on both the pro-social and at least one of the two anti-social subscales). Conclusions: The study asserts high interpersonal ambivalence in OCD. Further research is required to pinpoint both the dynamic and causal links between opposing interpersonal styles. Normalization and social competence training may prove beneficial to resolve the apparent problems of patients with OCD regarding anger expression and social conflict management.
Background: The aim of the study was to determine the amount of trauma impact and significant post-traumatic stress symptoms, which can indicate a possible post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in a sample of former German child soldiers of World War II.
Methods: 103 participants were recruited through the press, then administered a modified Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS).
Results: Subjects reported a high degree of trauma exposure, with 4.9% reporting significant post-traumatic stress symptoms after WW II, and 1.9% reporting that these symptoms persist to the present.
Conclusion: In line with other studies on child soldiers in actual conflict settings, our data document a high degree of trauma exposure during war. Surprisingly, the prevalence of significant post-traumatic stress symptoms indicating a possible PTSD was low compared to other groups of aging, long-term survivors of war trauma. Despite some limitations our data highlight the need for further studies to identify resilience and coping factors in traumatized child soldiers.
Background: The aim of the study was to determine the amount of trauma impact, post-traumatic stress symptoms and current psychopathological distress in a sample of former German children of World War II.
Methods: 93 participants were recruited through the local press, and assessed using the modified Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS) and the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R).
Results: Subjects reported a high qualitative and quantitative degree of trauma exposure. 13.8% reported PTSD-related symptoms after the war, and 10.8% reported current symptoms. PTSD symptoms after World War II were significantly correlated with current psychopathological distress.
Conclusions: In line with other studies, our data document a high degree of trauma exposure during warchildhood. In comparison with other studies on PTSD in warchildren, there is a persisting high prevalence of war-associated PTSD symptoms in this sample. Despite some methodological limitations, our data underline the urgent need for further studies on the ageing group of former children of World War II.
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