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The COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures are likely to have a marked effect on mental health. It is important to use longitudinal data to improve inferences.
To quantify the prevalence of depression, anxiety and mental well-being before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, to identify groups at risk of depression and/or anxiety during the pandemic.
Data were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) index generation (n = 2850, mean age 28 years) and parent generation (n = 3720, mean age 59 years), and Generation Scotland (n = 4233, mean age 59 years). Depression was measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire in ALSPAC and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 in Generation Scotland. Anxiety and mental well-being were measured with the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 and the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
Depression during the pandemic was similar to pre-pandemic levels in the ALSPAC index generation, but those experiencing anxiety had almost doubled, at 24% (95% CI 23–26%) compared with a pre-pandemic level of 13% (95% CI 12–14%). In both studies, anxiety and depression during the pandemic was greater in younger members, women, those with pre-existing mental/physical health conditions and individuals in socioeconomic adversity, even when controlling for pre-pandemic anxiety and depression.
These results provide evidence for increased anxiety in young people that is coincident with the pandemic. Specific groups are at elevated risk of depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is important for planning current mental health provisions and for long-term impact beyond this pandemic.
Maternal smoking has known adverse effects on fetal development. However, research on the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring intellectual disability (ID) is limited, and whether any associations are due to a causal effect or residual confounding is unknown.
Cohort study of all Danish births between 1995 and 2012 (1 066 989 persons from 658 335 families after exclusions), with prospectively recorded data for cohort members, parents and siblings. We assessed the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy (18.6% exposed, collected during prenatal visits) and offspring ID (8051 cases, measured using ICD-10 diagnosis codes F70–F79) using logistic generalised estimating equation regression models. Models were adjusted for confounders including measures of socio-economic status and parental psychiatric diagnoses and were adjusted for family averaged exposure between full siblings. Adjustment for a family averaged exposure allows calculation of the within-family effect of smoking on child outcomes which is robust against confounders that are shared between siblings.
We found increased odds of ID among those exposed to maternal smoking in pregnancy after confounder adjustment (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.28–1.42) which attenuated to a null effect following adjustment for family averaged exposure (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.78–1.06).
Our findings are inconsistent with a causal effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on offspring ID risk. By estimating a within-family effect, our results suggest that prior associations were the result of unmeasured genetic or environmental characteristics of families in which the mother smokes during pregnancy.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common developmental disorder, often persisting into adulthood. Whilst medication is first-line treatment for ADHD, there is a need for evidence-based non-pharmacological treatment options for adults with ADHD who are either still experiencing significant symptoms or for those who have made the informed choice not to start medication.
We systematically searched PsycINFO, MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE, CINAHL and CENTRAL for randomised controlled trials of non-pharmacological treatments for ADHD in adults. After screening of titles and abstracts, full text articles were reviewed, data extracted and bias assessed using a study proforma.
There were 32 eligible studies with the largest number of studies assessing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT consisted of either group, internet or individual therapy.
The majority found an improvement in ADHD symptoms with CBT treatment. Additionally, mindfulness and cognitive remediation have evidence as effective interventions for the core symptoms of ADHD and there is evidence for the use of group dialectical behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy. However, evidence for these is weaker due to small numbers of participants and limitations due to the lack of suitable control conditions, and a high risk of bias.
Epidemiological evidence suggests risk for psychosis varies with ethnicity in Western countries. However, there is little evidence to date on the cross-cultural validity of screening instruments used for such comparisons.
Combining two existing UK population-based cohorts, we examined risk for reporting psychotic symptoms across White British (n = 3467), White Irish (n = 851), Caribbean (n = 1899), Indian (n = 2590), Pakistani (n = 1956) and Bangladeshi groups (n = 1248). We assessed the psychometric properties of the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire (PSQ) with a multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis, assessing the equivalence of factor loadings, response thresholds and residual variances in an analysis of measurement non-invariance.
Compared with prevalence among British Whites (5.4%), the prevalence of self-reported psychotic symptoms was greater in the Caribbean group (12.7%, adjusted OR = 2.38 [95% CI 1.84–3.07]). Prevalence was also increased among Pakistani individuals (8.3%, adjusted OR = 1.36 [1.01–1.84]) although this difference was driven by a greater likelihood of reporting paranoid symptoms. PSQ items for thought interference, strange experience and hallucination were measured in equivalent ways across ethnic groups. However, our measurement models suggested that paranoid symptoms were measured less reliably among ethnic minorities than among British Whites and appeared to exaggerate latent differences between Pakistani and White British groups when measurement non-invariance was not accounted for.
Notwithstanding evidence for measurement non-invariance, the greater risk for reporting psychotic symptoms among Caribbean individuals is unlikely to be an artefact of measurement. Greater residual variance in the recording of paranoid symptoms among ethnic minority respondents warrants caution in using this item to investigate ethnic variation in psychosis risk.
Maternal vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but direct evidence is lacking.
To clarify the relationship between maternal vitamin D deficiency and offspring risk of ASD with and without intellectual disability.
Using a register-based total population study (N=509 639), we calculated adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIS) of ASD with and without intellectual disability in relation to lifetime diagnoses of maternal vitamin D deficiency. Although rare, such deficiency was associated with offspring risk of ASD with, but not without, intellectual disability (aORs 2.51, 95% CI 1.22–5.16 and 1.28, 0.68–2.42). Relationships were stronger in non-immigrant children.
If reflecting associations for prenatal hypovitaminosis, these findings imply gestational vitamin D substitution as a means of ASD prevention.
There is very little research into the challenges of training in intellectual disability psychiatry or into interventions which may address these challenges. Using focus groups, we explored the experiences of intellectual disability psychiatry trainees, and evaluated a leaderless trainee support group developed in Bristol.
Five distinct themes were identified via framework analysis: that trainees felt unprepared for the difference from previous posts; the need for support; the value of the group; that trainees were concerned about judgement in supervision; that the group structure was valued.
Our findings highlight the support needs specific to intellectual disability psychiatry trainees. Leaderless peer support groups may be a valued resource to address such issues, and may be a useful model to be considered by other training schemes.
The prevalence and correlates of depression vary across countries. Contextual factors such as country-level income or income inequalities have been hypothesised to contribute to these differences.
To investigate associations of depression with socioeconomic factors at the country level (income inequality, gross national income) and individual (education, employment, assets and spending) level, and to investigate their relative contribution in explaining the cross-national variation in the prevalence of depression.
Multilevel study using interview data of 187 496 individuals from 53 countries participating in the World Health Organization World Health Surveys.
Depression prevalence varied between 0.4 and 15.7% across countries. Individual-level factors were responsible for 86.5% of this variance but there was also reasonable variation at the country level (13.5%), which appeared to increase with decreasing economic development of countries. Gross national income or country-level income inequality had no association with depression. At the individual level, fewer material assets, lower education, female gender, economic inactivity and being divorced or widowed were associated with increased odds of depression. Greater household spending, unlike material assets, was associated with increasing odds of depression (adjusted analysis).
The variance of depression prevalence attributable to country-level factors seemed to increase with decreasing economic development of countries. However, country-level income inequality or gross national income explained little of this variation, and individual-level factors appeared more important than contextual factors as determinants of depression. The divergent relationship of assets and spending with depression emphasise that different socioeconomic measures are not interchangeable in their associations with depression.
Migration has been implicated as a risk factor for autism, but evidence
is limited and inconsistent.
To investigate the relationship between parental migration status and
risk of autism spectrum disorder, taking into consideration the
importance of region of origin, timing of migration and possible
discrepancies in associations between autism subtypes.
Record-linkage study within the total child population of Stockholm
County between 2001 and 2007. Individuals with high- and low-functioning
autism were defined as having autism spectrum disorder with and without
comorbid intellectual disability, and ascertained via health and
habilitation service registers.
In total, 4952 individuals with autism spectrum disorder were identified,
comprising 2855 children with high-functioning autism and 2097 children
with low-functioning autism. Children of migrant parents were at
increased risk of low-functioning autism (odds ratio (OR) = 1.5, 95% CI
1.3–1.7); this risk was highest when parents migrated from regions with a
low human development index, and peaked when migration occurred around
pregnancy (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.7–3.0). A decreased risk of
high-functioning autism was observed in children of migrant parents,
regardless of area of origin or timing of migration. Parental age, income
or obstetric complications did not fully explain any of these
Environmental factors associated with migration may contribute to the
development of autism presenting with comorbid intellectual disability,
especially when acting in utero. High- and
low-functioning autism may have partly different aetiologies, and should
be studied separately.
In a representative sample of the UK population we found that common mental disorders (as a group and in ICD–10 diagnostic categories) and subthreshold psychiatric symptoms at baseline were both independently associated with new-onset functional disability and significant days lost from work at 18-month follow-up. Subthreshold symptoms contributed to almost half the aggregate burden of functional disability and over 32 million days lost from work in the year preceding the study. Leaving these symptoms unaccounted for in surveys may lead to gross underestimation of disability related to psychiatric morbidity.
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