Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Learning, Nutrition Weight Management, Stress Coping - Health, Student Success.

Description: OK so, I hate to be the one to bring it up but hiding just on the other side of exams and the holiday break is a new year, yes a new year, complete with the opportunity to yet again make a few New Year’s resolutions. Ah New Year’s resolutions! How do they work out for you? They don’t work so well for me and, it turns out, science shows that I am not alone (and in fact that I am simply a part of a huge majority. So, what to do? Well, have a read through the article linked below for some more data on this question and some suggestions about how to increase your odds of making AND holding to a resolution or two this year.

Source: You Should Start Practicing New Year’s Resolutions Now, Harry Guinness, The New York Times

Date: December 9, 2019.

Photo Credit: Paola Saliby/The New York Times

Article Link:

The article provides some informative data about resolutions and about why we seem to not stick to them far far more often than we stick with them.  The article also provides so research-based tips to increase our odds of success with resolutions. Do not make too many, build in early rewards, start early (like NOW) so you can fail a bit and keep trying. Avoid hard start dates like, gee, January first, and give yourself time to figure out what you are getting yourself into and what you need to do to stick with it and succeed. So, why wait? Get started right now!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do people make New Years Resolutions?
  2. Why do people fail to keep their resolutions?
  3. What sorts of things does research suggest can be helpful in increasing your odds of resolution success?

References (Read Further):

Woolley, K., & Fishbach, A. (2017). Immediate rewards predict adherence to long-term goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(2), 151-162.

Van Cappellen, P., Rice, E. L., Catalino, L. I., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2018). Positive affective processes underlie positive health behaviour change.

Fishbach, A., & Touré-Tillery, M. (2018). Motives and goals. Noba Textbook Series: Psychology. Motiv Goals Internet Champaign, IL: DEF publishers.

Carden, L., & Wood, W. (2018). Habit formation and change. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 20, 117-122.

Jager, W. (2003). Breaking bad habits: a dynamical perspective on habit formation and change. Human Decision-Making and Environmental Perception–Understanding and Assisting Human Decision-Making in Real Life Settings. Libor Amicorum for Charles Vlek, Groningen: University of Groningen.’bad_habits’_a_dynamical_perspective_on_habit_formation_and_change/links/0deec53b4f882d03b0000000/Breaking-bad-habits-a-dynamical-perspective-on-habit-formation-and-change.pdf

Wood, W., & Neal, D. T. (2016). Healthy through habit: Interventions for initiating & maintaining health behavior change. Behavioral Science & Policy, 2(1), 71-83.


Posted by & filed under Child Development, Early Social and Emotional development, Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: Mr. Rogers spoke to children from “his neighborhood” on television from 1968 through to 2001 (with a 2.5 hiatus in the later 70’s) and if you missed seeing him you can get the experience through a documentary (Won’t You Be my Neighbor) and through the recently released film with Tom Hanks as the man in the red cardigan (It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood). One thing he did a LOT of on his show is talk with his viewers about emotions, about their emotions, and not just about happy emotions but all of them, the sad ones the dark ones, all of them. Think about whether you think this was a good thing and if so why and then read through the article linked below to see one thoughtful inquiry into this question (I have one to offer as well but that is below and for AFTER you have read the article linked below).

Source: It’s a Terrible Day in the Neighborhood, and That’s OK Mariana Alessandri, The New York Times.

Date: November 28, 2019

Photo Credit: Eleanor Davis

Article Link:

I think it is fascinating that there seems to be a huge recent bump in interest in Fred Rogers and in how he talked with and presented aspects of the world and local neighbourhoods of ours to his young viewers but especially how he talked about emotions. The author of the article linked above indicated that Fred’s approach was at odds with the common strong sentiment that children should ignore their strong emotions and especially their dark emotions. Consider the juxtaposition of these two broad and recent social trends. On the one hand we have the rise in very recent years of an apparent epidemic of anxiety among high school and university students and on the other hand we have seen a recent, steady and consistent jump in in calls for higher levels of emotional intelligence (EQ) for everyone but especially for new hires, potential and current leaders and high school and post-secondary students. Now, consider that along with this but perhaps not as well seen outside of developmental and early childhood education domains there has been a jump in interest in (not just research in) the area of emotional regulation and in how infants, preschoolers, school aged children adolescents and emerging adults figure out how to regulate and then understand and manage their emotions (and those of others around them). Hmmm, in these days of superhero-rich entertainment domains perhaps the one superhero we need most of all is a soft-spoken, cardigan wearing, Kingdom of Make Believe managing man named Fred. Think about it, perhaps the road to emotional intelligence, anxiety management, positive social engagement and general wellbeing needs to be detoured through Mr. Rogers Neighborhood!? It could be a beautiful day!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do you recall, or have you gleaned from media about what Fred Rogers did on his show for young children?
  2. How might the difference in pace of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood compared to shows like Sesame Street influence what children take away from their time with those shows?
  3. How might emotional regulation and Emotional Intelligence be related and why might acknowledging such a connection matter?

References (Read Further):

What is “Freddish”?

Lopes, P. N., Salovey, P., Côté, S., Beers, M., & Petty, R. E. (2005). Emotion regulation abilities and the quality of social interaction. Emotion, 5(1), 113.

Peter, P. C. (2010). Emotional intelligence. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing.

Kerr, R., Garvin, J., Heaton, N., & Boyle, E. (2006). Emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 27(4), 265-279.

Shanker, S. (2015). Self-regulation.

Shanker, S., Director, M., & Harris, E. (2011). The development of self-regulation. Presentation at Collaborative.


Posted by & filed under Development of the Self, Health Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Social Influence, Social Perception, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: You have most certainly heard more than a few concerns offered or even alarms raised regarding the potentially negative effects arising from social media use particularly among teams. Many have arisen from population level observations of correlations between rates of social media use and anxiety or depression or other negative outcomes, but such studies typically do not directly assess social media use and outcome variables such as self-esteem at the individual level. What would be interesting would be if some researchers could gather together and pool the results of many studies that looked and social media use and self-esteem, that is, conduct a meta-analysis of such a pooled data set and tell us what the cumulative results suggest. Well, guess what, you can read the article linked below and find out about what just such a meta-analytic study has to say about this question.

Source: New Analysis: Social Media Use Is Harmful to Self-Esteem, Mark Travers, Social Instincts, Psychology Today.

Date: November 30, 2019

Photo Credit: Pixnio

Article Link:

So, the main finding of the meta-analytic study that social media use has a slight negative effect on self-esteem overall IS interesting.  It is also important to pay close attention to the other things the researchers say in their article. These include that effect was small, that only lower self-esteem but not higher self esteem and social media use was examined, and that while the observed effect could be due to social media use interfering with face-to-fact interaction, though levels or rates of face-to-fact interaction were not assessed and finally there is the question of whether social media use lowers self-esteem or that low self esteem leads to more social media use. Oh, and did all the studies examined measure self-esteem the same way? Yup, more research is needed.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are social media use and self-esteem related?
  2. Does it make sense to assume that the relationship between social media use and self-esteem is unidirectional, (only makes for lower self-esteem)?
  3. What other things, beside self-esteem, would be good to look at in relation to social media use?

References (Read Further):

Saiphoo, A. N., Halevi, L. D., & Vahedi, Z. (2020). Social networking site use and self-esteem: A meta-analytic review. Personality and Individual Differences, 153, 109639.

Blomfield Neira, C. J., & Barber, B. L. (2014). Social networking site use: Linked to adolescents’ social self‐concept, self‐esteem, and depressed mood. Australian Journal of Psychology, 66(1), 56-64.

Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B., & Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 434-445.

Andreassen, C. S., Pallesen, S., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). The relationship between addictive use of social media, narcissism, and self-esteem: Findings from a large national survey. Addictive behaviors, 64, 287-293.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Aging-Psychological Disorders, Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Language-Thought, Neuroscience.

Description: Here is a somewhat backhanded test of your current understanding of factors relating to rates of dementia in elder individuals. What would you predict about the comparable rates of depression among otherwise similar groups of literate and illiterate elderly individuals? If you think there will be a rate difference between these two groups what would you hypothesize as a reason for that difference and what other aspects of the experiences or abilities of individuals in those two groups would you predict would also differ. Once you have your thoughts in order read the article linked below to see, among other things, why you should be very please that you CAN read the article linked below.

Source: People who cannot read may be three times as likely to develop dementia, Science News, ScienceDaily,

Date: November 14, 2019

Photo Credit:  PIC MODELLED and

Article Link:

As the article suggests it is most likely (it makes sense) that it is the broad array of brain stimulating things that being literate makes possible that could be linked to lower rates (3 times lower) of dementia among elderly people. If this finding bears up with replication it certainly highlights another of the significant social benefits of all efforts directed towards decreasing rates of illiteracy. Think of the broad array of social costs that are likely linked to rates of illiteracy. Literacy rates in Canada and the United States are 99% and while that look virtually absolute it means that 3.2 million Americans and 376,000 Canadians are illiterate and as such at risk for the 3 times higher rate of dementia noted in the linked article. Clearly life-long benefits of any costs associated with reducing rates of illiteracy further (not to mention the fact that the global literacy rate is much lower at 86%).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are rates of dementia related to levels of literacy and if so how?
  2. Why might literacy lead to a significantly reduce risk of dementia?
  3. How might the findings of the research discussed in the linked article be useful in efforts to reduce the impact of dementia in our aging population?

References (Read Further):

Rentería, M. A., Vonk, J. M., Felix, G., Avila, J. F., Zahodne, L. B., Dalchand, E., … & Manly, J. J. (2019). Illiteracy, dementia risk, and cognitive trajectories among older adults with low education. Neurology.,.4.aspx

Kaup, A. R., Simonsick, E. M., Harris, T. B., Satterfield, S., Metti, A. L., Ayonayon, H. N., … & Yaffe, K. (2013). Older adults with limited literacy are at increased risk for likely dementia. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69(7), 900-906.

Scazufca, M., Almeida, O. P., & Menezes, P. R. (2010). The role of literacy, occupation and income in dementia prevention: the São Paulo Ageing & Health Study (SPAH). International psychogeriatrics, 22(8), 1209-1215.

Millard, F. B., Kennedy, R. L., & Baune, B. T. (2011). Dementia: opportunities for risk reduction and early detection in general practice. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 17(1), 89-94.

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships.

Description: Do you know a bit about attachment? The important work of Bowlby and Ainsworth suggests that, a consequence of the nature of their relationship with their primary caregiver(s) over the first two years of their lives, human infants develop a model of their attachment relationship that includes basic assumptions/beliefs about their care-worthiness, about the social usefulness (or lack thereof) of the people around them and about the value (or the lack thereof) of relationships in general. As a result, their attachment can be described as secure, avoidant, or anxious. The question of how those assumptions and style outcomes play out in future relationships and throughout life going forward from toddlerhood have been the focus of quite a bit of research but little work has been done looking at the large question of how stable these attachment patterns are throughout life (unlike questions of the stability of personality which have been the focus of quite a lot of research – see my recent post on that topic). So, what do you think? Will or how might experience in relationships through adolescence, emerging adulthood, middle adulthood and later life impact our attachment assumptions and styles? When you have your hypotheses sorted out have a read though the article linked below (or the research article it discusses which is noted and linked in the Reference section below).

Source: First Study To Investigate How Attachment Style Changes Through Multiple Decades of Life, Christian Jarrett, The British Psychological Society.

Date: November 20, 2019

Photo Credit: The British Psychological Society

Article Link:

So, did you notice the thoughtful steps taken by the researchers to find a way to look at their questions longitudinally rather than cross-sectionally? Cohort or socio-historical effects are important and often not front of mind when we are focused on matters of individual development. The possible relationships between relationship experiences and attachment issues are well discussed and this posting does a VERY good job of indicating and discussing a number of limitations (interpretive cautions) of the study  and that makes it easier to see what sorts of studies need to be done to further clarify the question of how attachment unfolds over the entire life-course.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What way might someone’s early attachment experiences (before 2 years of age) influence their later relationships (with friends in school, close relationships in adulthood and parenthood)?
  2. What are some ways in which accounts and theories of child development differ from accounts and theories of adult development?
  3. What sort of research needs to be done to verify and extend the findings of the study discussed in the article liked above?

References (Read Further):

Chopik, W. J., Edelstein, R. S., & Grimm, K. J. (2019). Longitudinal changes in attachment orientation over a 59-year period. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(4), 598.

Girme, Y. U., Agnew, C. R., VanderDrift, L. E., Harvey, S. M., Rholes, W. S., & Simpson, J. A. (2018). The ebbs and flows of attachment: Within-person variation in attachment undermine secure individuals’ relationship wellbeing across time. Journal of personality and social psychology, 114(3), 397.

Bachem, R., Levin, Y., & Solomon, Z. (2019). Trajectories of attachment in older age: interpersonal trauma and its consequences. Attachment & human development, 21(4), 352-371.

Van IJzendoorn, M. H. (1995). Adult attachment representations, parental responsiveness, and infant attachment: a meta-analysis on the predictive validity of the Adult Attachment Interview. Psychological bulletin, 117(3), 387.

Allen, J. P., & Miga, E. M. (2010). Attachment in adolescence: A move to the level of emotion regulation. Journal of social and personal relationships, 27(2), 181-190.

Scharf, M., & Mayseless, O. (2007). Putting eggs in more than one basket: A new look at developmental processes of attachment in adolescence. New directions for child and adolescent development, 2007(117), 1-22.


Posted by & filed under Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Personality, Personality in Aging, Social Cognition, The Self.

Description: Are you the same person today as you were yesterday? Lest week? Last year? 10 years ago? What do you think you will be like in 20 years? 40 years? In a less subjective framing, how stable do you think personality is over time and over life? Do some people change while other do not? If there IS change what causes it? Personal reflection? Social change? And how might we address these questions, particularly if we are interested in genuinely life-span answers to these questions? How should personality be measured, for example?  The title of the article link below gives away what it sees as the most dramatic finding of the research study it references but, think about the questions noted above and then give it a read and, as you do, keep track of any additional questions that occur to you.

Source: You’re a completely different person at 14 and at 77, the longest running personality study ever has found. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz.

Date: retrieved November 19, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

Ok, what other questions occurred to you? Were you comfortable with how personality was assessed in the described study? Did you wish you could see the original article to see how the researchers characterized their data and their process? (if so, the link is in the Reference section below). In anything to do with personality, it is important to keep in mind that, at best, personality scale scores correlate with actual behaviors at around the .5 to .6 level (i.e., 25 to 36% accuracy) so perhaps we need to carefully calibrate what we might expect to find in the way of stabilities. And what about cohort (socio-historical) variation? The contexts through which individuals do their lifespan developing vary from generation to generation. All are important things to consider before we decide if it is an interesting or important thing to notice that personality may NOT be stable over one’s entire life.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might we expect personality to be stable over time?
  2. Why might personality NOT be very stable over time?
  3. What are some of our assumptions about the nature of personality that might draw us more toward question1 or question 2 and should we change, challenge or abandon those assumptions?

References (Read Further):

Harris, M. A., Brett, C. E., Johnson, W., & Deary, I. J. (2016). Personality stability from age 14 to age 77 years. Psychology and aging, 31(8), 862.

Hampson, S. E., & Goldberg, L. R. (2006). A first large cohort study of personality trait stability over the 40 years between elementary school and midlife. Journal of personality and social psychology, 91(4), 763.

Terracciano, A., McCrae, R. R., & Costa Jr, P. T. (2010). Intra-individual change in personality stability and age. Journal of research in personality, 44(1), 31-37.

Ardelt, M. (2000). Still stable after all these years? Personality stability theory revisited. Social Psychology Quarterly, 392-405.

Terracciano, A., Costa Jr, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (2006). Personality plasticity after age 30. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(8), 999-1009.

Finn, S. E. (1986). Stability of personality self-ratings over 30 years: Evidence for an age/cohort interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(4), 813.


Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Health Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Psychological Health, Social Psychology, Successful Aging, The Self.

Description: There are thousands and thousands of little postings out there on online that offer you small tidbits of information and that claim that those tidbits of information are potentially life altering. I am sure you realize that the main purpose of those tidbit postings is to capture and hold your attention just long enough to be able to run a few adds past your eyeballs. However, those tidbits of information can be quite tantalizing. Like this one: If you smile more you will live longer. Reading that could cause you to simply dismiss the information and get on with whatever it was you were supposed to be doing online or offline or it could cause you to resolve to try and smile more because who doesn’t want to live linger OR, especially given that the posting might suggest that there is research proving that the tidbit is true, perhaps the post tweaks your Psychological research process and standard radar and causes you to ask “What does their research design and their data look like and how did it lead them to that conclusion?” If the third option is the one that grabs you it will frustrate you to note that the while the author of the posted tidbit below about smiling and longevity indicates that there is research on the question of smiling and longevity they do not include references to the research articles themselves. As well they do not indicate whether the researchers considered that successful, well-off, healthy people might smile more than people who are none of those things and thus that smiling is an outcome or a corollary rather than a cause of longevity. No worries, if you extract some of the keywords used in the post to describe the research and search them on Google Scholar you can find the actual research articles and, luckily, both come with pdf links to full text. I have included the links below in the references section to both articles that looked at smiling and long-term wellbeing and longevity. So, give the tidbit post a quick read (it is brief) and then pick one of the research articles and go and read it and look into how the researchers designed their studies and see if their design work and statistical analyses convince you that there may be a causal relationship between smiling  and long-term wellbeing and longevity.

Source: Neuroscience Says Doing This 1 Thing Makes You Just as Happy as Eating 2,000 Chocolate Bars. Melanie Curtin, Pocket Worthy.

Date: November 18, 2019

Photo Credit: Pocket Worthy / Getty Images

Article Link:

So, what did you make of the article you chose to look at? Are you going to try and smile more or are there other things you are going to do or believe need to be done (like more research)? It is also interesting to think about the sorts of research questions than can be addressed with the sorts of datasets that are maintained by organizations like professional baseball. How about this: do right-handed people live longer than left-handed people? To see some of the research debate on this topic search Do right-handers live longer in Google Scholar and look first at an article by Halpern and Coren (1993) and then at some of the research reaction articles that followed. Interesting stuff (and you cannot turn into a right hander the same way you could just smile more).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might smiling be related to longevity?
  2. If smiling is only correlated with longevity rather than being causally related what might be actually acting causally around that question?
  3. Are there some things that you think might be good for tidbit posters to be strongly urged to include in their posts about things like smiling and living longer that would be a good idea?

References (Read Further):

Abel, E. L., & Kruger, M. L. (2010). Smile intensity in photographs predicts longevity. Psychological Science, 21(4), 542-544.

Harker, L., & Keltner, D. (2001). Expressions of positive emotion in women’s college yearbook pictures and their relationship to personality and life outcomes across adulthood. Journal of personality and social psychology, 80(1), 112.

Deeg, D. J., & van Zonneveld, R. J. (1989). Does happiness lengthen life? The prediction of longevity in the elderly. How harmful is happiness, 29-43.

Lawrence, E. M., Rogers, R. G., & Wadsworth, T. (2015). Happiness and longevity in the United States. Social Science & Medicine, 145, 115-119.

Koopmans, T. A., Geleijnse, J. M., Zitman, F. G., & Giltay, E. J. (2010). Effects of happiness on all-cause mortality during 15 years of follow-up: The Arnhem Elderly Study. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11(1), 113-124.

Diener, E., & Chan, M. Y. (2011). Happy people live longer: Subjective well‐being contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, 3(1), 1-43.


Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, Sensation-Perception, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: In most jurisdictions we recently “fell back” as we turned out clocks back an hour and returned to Standard Time after spring, summer and fall on Daylight Saving Time. What was somewhat different about this most recent “fall back” is that many states and provinces and countries are contemplating perhaps never doing that again and moving to and staying on Daylight Saving time. A choice opportunity exists in that we could decide to stay on Standard Time or move to and then stay on Daylight Saving time. The difference subjectively? Well, with Daylight Saving time we get daylight later in the morning and keep it longer into the afternoon or evening compared to Standard Time. Which would you prefer? You should, consider, in your reflection, how far north (or south) of the equator you live as the seasonal variation in Daylight “On” and “Off” times is greater the further you are from the equator. So, for example, on the equator the sun rises at 6 am and sets at 6 pm every day. By comparison, in San Diego on December 22 the sun rises at 6:47 and sets at 4:47 while in Calgary, where I live, on that same day the sun rises at 8:37 and sets at 4:32. So, if you focus on when we might think of daylight being personally usable (after work or after school) it would appear both Calgarians and San Diegans would benefit roughly equally from permanent Daylight Savings time. So, we should go for that right? Well, maybe think again. Think about what the difference might be between Social Time (Schedule) and Circadian Time (Schedule) and if you are not sure what that distinction might add to this question give the article linked below a read. Circadian science won a Nobel Prize a couple of years back so maybe there is some stuff there we really should factor into this question BEFORE we make a permanent time decision.

Source: Time to Show Leadership on the Daylight Saving Time Debate, Nathaniel F. Watson, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Vol 15, No. 6, 2019.

Date: November 17, 2019

Photo Credit: The Spokesman Review

Article Link:

So now what do you think? Did it surprise you to see that the significant findings of circadian science relating to the time shift question have clearly NOT been considered by legislators? Is retail spending more important tan mental and physical health? That is NOT a facetious question. Maybe we need to think about the time shift issue a bit more AND have a look at some more data! We clearly need morning light rather badly.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do most legislators and many people seem to prefer the idea of staying permanently on Daylight Saving rather than Standard Time?
  2. What is the difference between Social Time (schedules) and Circadian Time (schedules) and why does the difference matter?
  3. What is your decision about the best was to proceed with regards to time shifting?

References (Read Further):

Watson, Nathaniel F. “Time to show leadership on the daylight saving time debate.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 15.06 (2019): 815-817.

Facer-Childs, E. R., Campos, B. M., Middleton, B., Skene, D. J., & Bagshaw, A. P. (2019). Circadian phenotype impacts the brain’s resting-state functional connectivity, attentional performance, and sleepiness. Sleep, 42(5), zsz033.

Kotchen, M. J., & Grant, L. E. (2011). Does daylight saving time save energy? Evidence from a natural experiment in Indiana. Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(4), 1172-1185.

Kantermann, T., Juda, M., Merrow, M., & Roenneberg, T. (2007). The human circadian clock’s seasonal adjustment is disrupted by daylight saving time. Current Biology, 17(22), 1996-2000.

Carey, R. N., & Sarma, K. M. (2017). Impact of daylight saving time on road traffic collision risk: a systematic review. BMJ open, 7(6), e014319.,5&scillfp=142018851570072385&oi=lle

Lahti, T. A., Leppämäki, S., Lönnqvist, J., & Partonen, T. (2008). Transitions into and out of daylight saving time compromise sleep and the rest-activity cycles. BMC physiology, 8(1), 3.

Lewis, P., Foster, R. G., & Erren, T. C. (2018). Ticking time bomb? High time for chronobiological research. EMBO reports, 19(5).,5&scillfp=994473244608805565&oi=lle

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: What do you know about self-harm? I do not mean, do you engage in self-harm but, rather, what have you heard of it? Over a relatively short number of years (20 tops) there has been a marked increase in the rates of self-harm (cutting etc.) among young people and particularly among teenaged and young adult females. While considered a risk factor associated with suicide there is much opinion (and data) suggesting that self-harm is not the same as suicide. In fact, Self-harm has typically been considered more of a symptom or other disorders rather than a diagnosis in and of itself. What it is, where it comes from, and how to treat it are all questions that have really only recently begun to be addressed. Have a read through the article linked below to get an overview of the ways in which these related questions are beginning to be addressed. Oh and for a fascinating mix of self-harming person perspectives and general and professional views, read though the comments linked at the bottom of the article itself.

Source: Getting a Handle of Self-Harm, Benedict Carey, New York Times.

Date: November 11, 2019

Photo Credit: Keith Nagley, New York Times

Article Link:

Self-harm is on the increase and it is not isolated to teenaged and emerging adult females.  It is an important example of a phenomenon that needs research done looking BOTH in towards possible neurological factors (e.g., pain response etc.) AND outward beyond the individual to the social and recent historical factors that may be at play, particularly among teens and emceeing adults. The often dismissive phrase “kids these days” urgently needs some serious unpacking and research focus.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is self-harm?
  2. How is (or just Is) self-harm related to suicide and suicidal ideation?
  3. What treatment options are currently emerging in relation to self-harm and how do they relate to the question of whether self-harm is a symptom of other things or something to be addressed directly on its own??

References (Read Further):

Swannell, S. V., Martin, G. E., Page, A., Hasking, P., & St John, N. J. (2014). Prevalence of nonsuicidal self‐injury in nonclinical samples: Systematic review, meta‐analysis and meta‐regression. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior, 44(3), 273-303.

Chan, M. K., Bhatti, H., Meader, N., Stockton, S., Evans, J., O’Connor, R. C., … & Kendall, T. (2016). Predicting suicide following self-harm: systematic review of risk factors and risk scales. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209(4), 277-283.

Crawford, M. J., Thomas, O., Khan, N., & Kulinskaya, E. (2007). Psychosocial interventions following self-harm: systematic review of their efficacy in preventing suicide. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(1), 11-17.

James, A. C., Taylor, A., Winmill, L., & Alfoadari, K. (2008). A preliminary community study of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) with adolescent females demonstrating persistent, deliberate self‐harm (DSH). Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 13(3), 148-152.

Mehlum, L., Tørmoen, A. J., Ramberg, M., Haga, E., Diep, L. M., Laberg, S., … & Grøholt, B. (2014). Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents with repeated suicidal and self-harming behavior: a randomized trial. Journal of the American Academy of child & adolescent psychiatry, 53(10), 1082-1091.

Iyengar, U., Snowden, N., Asarnow, J., Moran, P., Tranah, T., & Ougrin, D. (2018). A Further Look At Therapeutic Interventions For Suicide Attempts And Self-Harm In Adolescents: An Updated Systematic Review Of Randomised Controlled Trials. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 583.



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, General Psychology, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Health, Schizophrenia, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: You have likely heard about the data that is piling up regarding the relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences and beyond childhood incidences of mental and physical illness (if not there are a couple of links in the Reference section below that will provide you with an overview of that work). An obvious question to ask is why is that the case? Physical illness can be partly explained by the longer-term impacts of stress on the functioning of the immune system but what about the increases in mental illness rates, especially of schizophrenia and depression? What else might be involved? Think about that for a minute and then read the article linked below to see what a recent PET scan study suggests as a possible contributing factor.

Source: Long-term Exposure to Adversity May Dampen Dopamine Production, Christopher Bergland, The Athlete’s Way, Psychology Today.

Date: November 13, 2019

Photo Credit: Psychology Today, igorstevanovic/Shutterstock

Article Link:

The possibility that long-term exposure to adversity may affect the fiction of the dopamine system is interesting, particularly and it might relate to issues of mental illness. Such research is usefully broadening our understanding of the long-term effects and impacts of the stress/adversity response system. The researchers do a good job of pointing out the limitations of their study and indicating what they think is needed in the way of additional research into this question. Oh, and did you have any thoughts (ethical thoughts) about their suggestions that longitudinal research is needed in this area? It worth some thought.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are stress and adversity related to long-term mental and physical health?
  2. What physiological systems, alterations and effects may contribute to the findings you may have considered in responding to the previous question?
  3. If the findings of this line of research hold up under replication and extension what might be some of the things we could/should do to address their implications in the population of those who are experiencing or experienced adversity?

References (Read Further):

Bloomfield, M. A., McCutcheon, R. A., Kempton, M., Freeman, T. P., & Howes, O. (2019). The effects of psychosocial stress on dopaminergic function and the acute stress response. eLife, 8, e46797.

Freeman, D. (2007). Suspicious minds: the psychology of persecutory delusions. Clinical psychology review, 27(4), 425-457.

Anda, R. F., Felitti, V. J., Bremner, J. D., Walker, J. D., Whitfield, C. H., Perry, B. D., … & Giles, W. H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, 256(3), 174-186.

Chapman, D. P., Whitfield, C. L., Felitti, V. J., Dube, S. R., Edwards, V. J., & Anda, R. F. (2004). Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of depressive disorders in adulthood. Journal of affective disorders, 82(2), 217-225.

Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., … & Marks, J. S. (2019). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American journal of preventive medicine, 56(6), 774-786.