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The ENhancing Assessment of Common Therapeutic factors (ENACT) tool measures a set of therapeutic competencies required for the effective psychological intervention, including delivery by non-specialists. This paper describes the systematic adaptation of the ENACT for the South African (SA) context and presents the tool's initial psychometric properties.
We employed a four-step process: (1) Item generation: 204 therapeutic factors were generated by SA psychologists and drawn from the original ENACT as potential items; (2) Item relevance: SA therapists identified 96 items that were thematically coded according to their relationship to one another and were assigned to six domains; (3) Item utility: The ENACT-SA scale was piloted by rating recordings of psychological therapy sessions and stakeholder input; and (4) Psychometric properties: Internal consistency and inter-rater reliability of the final 12-item ENACT-SA were explored using Cronbach's alpha and intraclass correlation co-efficient (ICC) for both clinical psychologists and registered counsellors.
Although the original ENACT provided a framework for developing a tool for use in SA, several modifications were made to improve the applicability of the tool for the SA context, and optimise its adaptability other contexts. The adapted 12-item tool's internal consistency was good, while the inter-rater reliability was acceptable for both clinical psychologists and registered counsellors.
The ENACT-SA is a reliable tool to assess common factors in psychological treatments. It is recommended that the tool be used in conjunction with assessment protocols and treatment-specific competency measures to fully assess implementation fidelity and potential mechanisms of therapeutic change.
Behaviors typical of body-focused repetitive behavior disorders such as trichotillomania (TTM) and skin-picking disorder (SPD) are often associated with pleasure or relief, and with little or no physical pain, suggesting aberrant pain perception. Conclusive evidence about pain perception and correlates in these conditions is, however, lacking.
A multisite international study examined pain perception and its physiological correlates in adults with TTM (n = 31), SPD (n = 24), and healthy controls (HCs; n = 26). The cold pressor test was administered, and measurements of pain perception and cardiovascular parameters were taken every 15 seconds. Pain perception, latency to pain tolerance, cardiovascular parameters and associations with illness severity, and comorbid depression, as well as interaction effects (group × time interval), were investigated across groups.
There were no group differences in pain ratings over time (P = .8) or latency to pain tolerance (P = .8). Illness severity was not associated with pain ratings (all P > .05). In terms of diastolic blood pressure (DBP), the main effect of group was statistically significant (P = .01), with post hoc analyses indicating higher mean DBP in TTM (95% confidence intervals [CI], 84.0-93.5) compared to SPD (95% CI, 73.5-84.2; P = .01), and HCs (95% CI, 75.6-86.0; P = .03). Pain perception did not differ between those with and those without depression (TTM: P = .2, SPD: P = .4).
The study findings were mostly negative suggesting that general pain perception aberration is not involved in TTM and SPD. Other underlying drivers of hair-pulling and skin-picking behavior (eg, abnormal reward processing) should be investigated.
Mental health problems often begin in early childhood. However, the associations of various individual and contextual risk factors with mental health in the preschool period are incompletely understood, particularly in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) where multiple risk factors co-exist. To address this gap, we prospectively followed 981 children in a South African birth cohort, the Drakenstein Child Health Study, assessing pre-and postnatal exposures and risk factors. The predictive value of these factors for child mental health (assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist) was modeled using structural equation modeling. We identified two key pathways to greater externalizing behavior: (1) prenatal exposure to substances (alcohol and smoking) directly predicted increased externalizing behavior (β = 0.24, p < 0.001); this relationship was partially mediated by an aspect of infant temperament (negative emotionality; β = 0.05, p = 0.016); (2) lower socioeconomic status and associated maternal prenatal depression predicted more coercive parenting, which in turn predicted increased externalizing behavior (β = 0.18, p = 0.001). Findings in this high-risk LMIC cohort cohere with research from higher income contexts, and indicate the need to introduce integrated screening and intervention strategies for maternal prenatal substance use and depression, and promoting positive parenting across the preschool period.
This study investigates associations of several dimensions of childhood adversities (CAs) with lifetime mental disorders, 12-month disorder persistence, and impairment among incoming college students.
Data come from the World Mental Health International College Student Initiative (WMH-ICS). Web-based surveys conducted in nine countries (n = 20 427) assessed lifetime and 12-month mental disorders, 12-month role impairment, and seven types of CAs occurring before the age of 18: parental psychopathology, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, neglect, bullying victimization, and dating violence. Poisson regressions estimated associations using three dimensions of CA exposure: type, number, and frequency.
Overall, 75.8% of students reported exposure to at least one CA. In multivariate regression models, lifetime onset and 12-month mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders were all associated with either the type, number, or frequency of CAs. In contrast, none of these associations was significant when predicting disorder persistence. Of the three CA dimensions examined, only frequency was associated with severe role impairment among students with 12-month disorders. Population-attributable risk simulations suggest that 18.7–57.5% of 12-month disorders and 16.3% of severe role impairment among those with disorders were associated with these CAs.
CAs are associated with an elevated risk of onset and impairment among 12-month cases of diverse mental disorders but are not involved in disorder persistence. Future research on the associations of CAs with psychopathology should include fine-grained assessments of CA exposure and attempt to trace out modifiable intervention targets linked to mechanisms of associations with lifetime psychopathology and burden of 12-month mental disorders.
Trichotillomania (TTM) and skin picking disorder (SPD) are common and often debilitating mental health conditions, grouped under the umbrella term of body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs). Recent clinical subtyping found that there were three distinct subtypes of TTM and two of SPD. Whether these clinical subtypes map on to any unique neurobiological underpinnings, however, remains unknown.
Two hundred and fifty one adults [193 with a BFRB (85.5% [n = 165] female) and 58 healthy controls (77.6% [n = 45] female)] were recruited from the community for a multicenter between-group comparison using structural neuroimaging. Differences in whole brain structure were compared across the subtypes of BFRBs, controlling for age, sex, scanning site, and intracranial volume.
When the subtypes of TTM were compared, low awareness hair pullers demonstrated increased cortical volume in the lateral occipital lobe relative to controls and sensory sensitive pullers. In addition, impulsive/perfectionist hair pullers showed relative decreased volume near the lingual gyrus of the inferior occipital–parietal lobe compared with controls.
These data indicate that the anatomical substrates of particular forms of BFRBs are dissociable, which may have implications for understanding clinical presentations and treatment response.
The most common treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) is antidepressant medication (ADM). Results are reported on frequency of ADM use, reasons for use, and perceived effectiveness of use in general population surveys across 20 countries.
Face-to-face interviews with community samples totaling n = 49 919 respondents in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) Surveys asked about ADM use anytime in the prior 12 months in conjunction with validated fully structured diagnostic interviews. Treatment questions were administered independently of diagnoses and asked of all respondents.
3.1% of respondents reported ADM use within the past 12 months. In high-income countries (HICs), depression (49.2%) and anxiety (36.4%) were the most common reasons for use. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), depression (38.4%) and sleep problems (31.9%) were the most common reasons for use. Prevalence of use was 2–4 times as high in HICs as LMICs across all examined diagnoses. Newer ADMs were proportionally used more often in HICs than LMICs. Across all conditions, ADMs were reported as very effective by 58.8% of users and somewhat effective by an additional 28.3% of users, with both proportions higher in LMICs than HICs. Neither ADM class nor reason for use was a significant predictor of perceived effectiveness.
ADMs are in widespread use and for a variety of conditions including but going beyond depression and anxiety. In a general population sample from multiple LMICs and HICs, ADMs were widely perceived to be either very or somewhat effective by the people who use them.
A number of recent investigations have focused on the neurobiology of obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). However, there have been few reviews of this literature with no detailed model proposed. We therefore undertook a systematic review of these investigations, aiming to map the available evidence and investigate whether it is possible to formulate a detailed model of the neurobiology of OCPD.
OCPD can be considered from both categorical and dimensional perspectives. An electronic search was therefore conducted using terms that would address not only OCPD as a category, but also related constructs, such as perfectionism, that would capture research on neuropsychology, neuroimaging, neurochemistry, and neurogenetics.
A total of 1059 articles were retrieved, with 87 ultimately selected for abstract screening, resulting in a final selection of 49 articles focusing on neurobiological investigations relevant to OCPD. Impaired executive function and cognitive inflexibility are common neuropsychological traits in this condition, and suggest that obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and OCPD may lie on a continuum. However, neuroimaging studies in OCPD indicate the involvement of specific neurocircuitry, including the precuneus and amygdala, and so suggest that OCD and OCPD may have important differences. Although OCPD has a heritable component, we found no well-powered genetic studies of OCPD.
Although knowledge in this area has advanced, there are insufficient data on which to base a comprehensive model of the neurobiology of OCPD. Given the clinical importance of OCPD, further work to understand the mechanisms that underpin this condition is warranted.
Although non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is an issue of major concern to colleges worldwide, we lack detailed information about the epidemiology of NSSI among college students. The objectives of this study were to present the first cross-national data on the prevalence of NSSI and NSSI disorder among first-year college students and its association with mental disorders.
Data come from a survey of the entering class in 24 colleges across nine countries participating in the World Mental Health International College Student (WMH-ICS) initiative assessed in web-based self-report surveys (20 842 first-year students). Using retrospective age-of-onset reports, we investigated time-ordered associations between NSSI and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-IV) mood (major depressive and bipolar disorder), anxiety (generalized anxiety and panic disorder), and substance use disorders (alcohol and drug use disorder).
NSSI lifetime and 12-month prevalence were 17.7% and 8.4%. A positive screen of 12-month DSM-5 NSSI disorder was 2.3%. Of those with lifetime NSSI, 59.6% met the criteria for at least one mental disorder. Temporally primary lifetime mental disorders predicted subsequent onset of NSSI [median odds ratio (OR) 2.4], but these primary lifetime disorders did not consistently predict 12-month NSSI among respondents with lifetime NSSI. Conversely, even after controlling for pre-existing mental disorders, NSSI consistently predicted later onset of mental disorders (median OR 1.8) as well as 12-month persistence of mental disorders among students with a generalized anxiety disorder (OR 1.6) and bipolar disorder (OR 4.6).
NSSI is common among first-year college students and is a behavioral marker of various common mental disorders.
The question of ‘what is a mental disorder?’ is central to the philosophy of psychiatry, and has crucial practical implications for psychiatric nosology. Rather than approaching the problem in terms of abstractions, we review a series of exemplars – real-world examples of problematic cases that emerged during work on and immediately after DSM-5, with the aim of developing practical guidelines for addressing future proposals. We consider cases where (1) there is harm but no clear dysfunction, (2) there is dysfunction but no clear harm, and (3) there is possible dysfunction and/or harm, but this is controversial for various reasons. We found no specific criteria to determine whether future proposals for new entities should be accepted or rejected; any such proposal will need to be assessed on its particular merits, using practical judgment. Nevertheless, several suggestions for the field emerged. First, while harm is useful for defining mental disorder, some proposed entities may require careful consideration of individual v. societal harm, as well as of societal accommodation. Second, while dysfunction is useful for defining mental disorder, the field would benefit from more sharply defined indicators of dysfunction. Third, it would be useful to incorporate evidence of diagnostic validity and clinical utility into the definition of mental disorder, and to further clarify the type and extent of data needed to support such judgments.
Fear and anxiety are common and often transient human responses to stressors, danger, or traumatic events. However, when fear and anxiety persist over time, and result in functional impairment, an anxiety disorder may be present. In both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) (APA, 2013) and the ICD-11 (World Health Organization, 2018) the category of ‘anxiety disorders’ includes a range of conditions that share characteristics of excessive fear or anxiety with consequent distress and impairment. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder (social phobia), among others. This chapter focuses on these conditions with particular reference to how they affect adult men. In addition, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), an anxiety-related disorder placed in a separate DSM-5 and ICD-11 category called ‘Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders’, is also included here due to its historical positioning as an anxiety disorder in earlier editions of the DSM and ICD. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has also been reclassified in DSM-5 and ICD-11 from an anxiety disorder to a new diagnostic category known as ‘Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders’, and is discussed in Chapter 10.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterised by a recurrent course and high comorbidity rates. A lifespan perspective may therefore provide important information regarding health outcomes. The aim of the present study is to examine mental disorders that preceded 12-month MDD diagnosis and the impact of these disorders on depression outcomes.
Data came from 29 cross-sectional community epidemiological surveys of adults in 27 countries (n = 80 190). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to assess 12-month MDD and lifetime DSM-IV disorders with onset prior to the respondent's age at interview. Disorders were grouped into depressive distress disorders, non-depressive
distress disorders, fear disorders and externalising disorders. Depression outcomes included 12-month suicidality, days out of role and impairment in role functioning.
Among respondents with 12-month MDD, 94.9% (s.e. = 0.4) had at least one prior disorder (including previous MDD), and 64.6% (s.e. = 0.9) had at least one prior, non-MDD disorder. Previous non-depressive distress, fear and externalising disorders, but not depressive distress disorders, predicted higher impairment (OR = 1.4–1.6) and suicidality (OR = 1.5–2.5), after adjustment for sociodemographic variables. Further adjustment for MDD characteristics weakened, but did not eliminate, these associations. Associations were largely driven by current comorbidities, but both remitted and current externalising disorders predicted suicidality among respondents with 12-month MDD.
These results illustrate the importance of careful psychiatric history taking regarding current anxiety disorders and lifetime externalising disorders in individuals with MDD.
The aim of this paper was to provide a systematic review and update on the pharmacotherapy of social anxiety disorder (SAD), including the efficacy and tolerability of these agents, the ranking of interventions, and the grading of results by quality of evidence.
The Common Mental Disorder Controlled Trial Register and two trial registries were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing any pharmacological intervention or placebo in the treatment of SAD. We performed a standard pairwise meta-analysis using a random effects model and carried out a network meta-analysis (NMA) using the statistical package, R. Quality of evidence was also assessed.
We included 67 RCTs in the review and 21 to 45 interventions in the NMA. Paroxetine was most effective in the reduction of symptom severity as compared to placebo. Superior response to treatment was also observed for paroxetine, brofaromine, bromazepam, clonazepam, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, phenelzine, and sertraline. Higher dropout rates were found for fluvoxamine. Brofaromine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, pregabalin, sertraline, and venlafaxine performed worse in comparison to placebo for the outcome of dropouts due to adverse events. Olanzapine yielded a relatively high rank for treatment efficacy and buspirone the worse rank for dropouts due to any cause.
The differences between drugs and placebo were small, apart from a significant reduction in symptom severity and response for paroxetine. We suggest paroxetine as a first-line treatment of SAD, with the consideration of future research on the drug olanzapine as well as brofaromine, bromazepam, clonazepam, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, phenelzine, and sertraline because we observed a response to treatment.
To investigate the association of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and early neurodevelopment in the first 2 years of life, adjusting for maternal socio-demographic and psychosocial factors, in the Drakenstein Child Health Study (DCHS), a South African birth cohort study.
The DCHS comprises a population-based birth cohort of 1143 children, of which a subsample completed the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III (BSID-III) at 6 (n = 260) and 24 months of age (n = 734). A subset of alcohol-exposed and -unexposed children was included in this analysis at age 6 (n = 52 exposed; n = 104 unexposed) and 24 months (n = 92 exposed; n = 184 unexposed). Multiple hierarchical regression was used to explore the associations of PAE with motor and language development.
PAE was significantly associated with decreased gross motor [odds ratio (OR) = 0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06–0.44, p = 0.001] or fine motor (OR = 0.16, 95% CI = 0.06–0.46, p = 0.001) functioning after adjusting for maternal socio-demographic and psychosocial factors at 6 months of age only. No significant effects were found in either receptive or expressive communication and cognitive outcomes at either time points.
PAE has potentially important consequences for motor development in the first 2 years of life, a period during which the most rapid growth and maturation occur. These findings highlight the importance of identifying high-risk families in order to provide preventive interventions, particularly in antenatal clinics and early intervention services.
Findings from animal studies indicate that the early gut bacteriome is a potential mechanism linking maternal prenatal stress with health trajectories in offspring. However, clinical studies are scarce and the associations of maternal psychological profiles with the early infant faecal bacteriome are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the associations of prenatal stressors and distress with early infant faecal bacterial profiles in a South African birth cohort study.
Associations between prenatal symptoms of depression, distress, intimate partner violence (IPV) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and faecal bacterial profiles were evaluated in meconium and subsequent stool specimens from 84 mothers and 101 infants at birth, and longitudinally from a subset of 69 and 36 infants at 4–12 and 20–28 weeks of age, respectively, in a South African birth cohort study.
Infants born to mothers that were exposed to high levels of IPV had significantly higher proportions of Citrobacter and three unclassified genera, all of which belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae detected at birth. Proportions of these Enterobacteriaceae remained significantly increased over time (birth to 20–28 weeks of life) in infants born to mothers with high levels of IPV exposure compared to infants from mothers with no/low IPV exposure. Infants born to mothers exposed to IPV also had higher proportions of the genus Weissella at 4–12 weeks compared to infants from mothers with no/low IPV exposure. Faecal specimens from mothers exposed to IPV had higher proportions of the family Lactobacillaceae and lower proportions of Peptostreptococcaceae at birth. Maternal psychological distress was associated with decreased proportions of the family Veillonellaceae in infants at 20–28 weeks and a slower decline in Gammaproteobacteria over time. No changes in beta diversity were apparent for maternal or infant faecal bacterial profiles in relation to any of the prenatal measures for psychological adversities.
Maternal lifetime IPV and antenatal psychological distress are associated with altered bacterial profiles in infant and maternal faecal bacteria. These findings may provide insights in the involvement of the gut bacteria linking maternal psychological adversity and the maturing infant brain.
Evidence from high-income countries suggests that childhood trauma is associated with schizophrenia. Studies of childhood trauma and schizophrenia in low and middle income (LMIC) countries are limited. This study examined the prevalence of childhood traumatic experiences among cases and controls and the relationship between specific and cumulative childhood traumatic experiences and schizophrenia in a sample in South Africa.
Data were from the Genomics of Schizophrenia in the South African Xhosa people study. Cases with schizophrenia and matched controls were recruited from provincial hospitals and clinics in the Western and Eastern Cape regions in South Africa. Childhood traumatic experiences were measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Adjusted logistic regression models estimated associations between individual and cumulative childhood traumatic experiences and schizophrenia.
Traumatic experiences were more prevalent among cases than controls. The odds of schizophrenia were 2.44 times higher among those who experienced any trauma than those who reported no traumatic experiences (95% CI 1.77–3.37). The odds of schizophrenia were elevated among those who experienced physical/emotional abuse (OR 1.59, CI 1.28–1.97), neglect (OR 1.39, CI 1.16–1.68), and sexual abuse (OR 1.22, CI 1.03–1.45) compared to those who did not. Cumulative physical/emotional abuse and neglect experiences increased the odds of schizophrenia as a dose–response relationship.
Childhood trauma is common in this population. Among many other benefits, interventions to prevent childhood trauma may contribute to a decreasing occurrence of schizophrenia.
To examine the association of psychological distress with serum C-reactive protein (CRP) in a South African cohort.
Data were analysed on individuals aged ≥15 years from the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) of 2012. Psychological distress was evaluated using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. Linear regression models assessed the association of psychological distress with serum CRP, adjusting for possible confounding factors.
The analytic sample comprised n = 3944 individuals (mean age = 40 and sex = 36% males). Psychological distress was significantly associated with increased serum CRP levels (B = 0.31 and p = 0.001). This association was no longer significant after adjusting for demographic variables, lifestyle factors, cardiac disease, diabetes, hypertension, trauma and anti-inflammatory medication use (B = 0.15 and p = 0.062).
Psychological distress was associated with elevated levels of CRP among South African adults. However, the association was confounded by a range of factors, with demographic variables (age, sex and population group) having the largest confounding effect. These findings indicate that CRP is not a useful biomarker of psychological distress, and that additional work is needed on the underlying psychobiology of psychological distress.
Bipolar disorder (BD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are prevalent, comorbid, and disabling conditions, often characterized by early onset and chronic course. When comorbid, OCD and BD can determine a more pernicious course of illness, posing therapeutic challenges for clinicians. Available reports on prevalence and clinical characteristics of comorbidity between BD and OCD showed mixed results, likely depending on the primary diagnosis of analyzed samples.
We assessed prevalence and clinical characteristics of BD comorbidity in a large international sample of patients with primary OCD (n = 401), through the International College of Obsessive–Compulsive Spectrum Disorders (ICOCS) snapshot database, by comparing OCD subjects with vs without BD comorbidity.
Among primary OCD patients, 6.2% showed comorbidity with BD. OCD patients with vs without BD comorbidity more frequently had a previous hospitalization (p < 0.001) and current augmentation therapies (p < 0.001). They also showed greater severity of OCD (p < 0.001), as measured by the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS).
These findings from a large international sample indicate that approximately 1 out of 16 patients with primary OCD may additionally have BD comorbidity along with other specific clinical characteristics, including more frequent previous hospitalizations, more complex therapeutic regimens, and a greater severity of OCD. Prospective international studies are needed to confirm our findings.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.