Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, mental illness, Research Methods.

Description: In my previous post (, I wrote about the distinct cultural perspectives that give diverse meanings to the terms Elder (aboriginal culture) and elderly (mainstream cultures). In this post I am shifting ages a bit and am asking you to consider how aboriginal and mainstream teenagers and youth in Northern British Columbia access and respond to online resources relating to mental illness, mental health and mental wellbeing. Before you read the article linked below, think a little about whether you think there will be any differences in the whether, and in the ways in which, aboriginal versus mainstream youth access web-based resources about mental illness and mental health. If you think there might be differences, what do you think they might look like? Are the resources likely to be different depending upon who they are aimed at (developed for)? What do you think aboriginal youth might have to say or want to say or do regarding these sorts of online resources, especially to make them more useful and accessible to other aboriginal youth? If you are not sure how to address these questions no problem, just keep them in mind as you read the linked article.

Source: Ward, V., & de Leeuw, S. (2018). Web of culture: Critically assessing online mental health resources for Indigenous youth in northern British Columbia using digital storytelling. UBC Medical Journal, 9(2). Download link below.

Date: March 1, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

There is a lot in the linked article that may be unfamiliar to you. Concepts and phrases like decolonization, social determinants of health, strength-based approaches, privileged voices, indigenous voices, action-based principles, and digital storytelling to point out a few.  I am not going to discuss these terms in detail here (we will return to many of them in future posts). For now I would like you to think about what it might mean to “have a voice” in relation to thinking and talking about mental health and wellness. The finding noted in the study that indigenous youth are much more likely to seek out resources, connections, and supports related to mental health and wellness on-line than are mainstream youth is particularly worth reflecting upon and it is essential to note that this difference should not be tritely dismissed as simply reflective of greater need. The key to understanding the difference lies in understanding the “have a voice” finding. Basically, people in mainstream culture typically see “having a voice” as involving speaking loudly enough to be heard. When the culture or social forces that surround you are yours (are of your culture) then “having a voice” can be translated as “speak and you shall be heard (and/or understood).” Being part of minority culture, or particularly a part of indigenous culture can mean that you can be viewed as not having standing to speak or not being treated respectfully or even heard at all if you do speak. As we will see in more detail as we get into this topic in future posts, the history of treatment of indigenous peoples by mainstream colonizing (there is THAT word again) culture and population reflects a consistent lack of standing based on an array of (racist) beliefs and aggressive actions against indigenous people and cultures within Canada and North America. Think about that when you reflect upon what might bring indigenous youth to say they do not “have a voice” and think about how that could impact their identity development, community engagement and developmental and psychological wellbeing. Finally, with that in mind think about how we might understand why or how it might be that indigenous youth find on-line opportunities connection and online communities with which to engage particularly helpful and empowering.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What issues are there that are particularly important when we consider the mental health and wellness of indigenous youth in North BC communities?
  2. What might it mean when indigenous youth say they do not feel they “have a voice” in matters of their own mental health and wellness?
  3. What role(s) does culture play in youth’s definitions of mental illness, health and wellness and how might online resources support the role of culture in these areas?

References (Read Further):

Smith, L. T. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books Ltd.

Westerman, T. (2004). Guest Editorial: Engagement of Indigenous clients in mental health services: What role do cultural differences play?. Australian e-journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, 3(3), 88-93.

Kirmayer, L., Simpson, C., & Cargo, M. (2003). Healing traditions: Culture, community and mental health promotion with Canadian Aboriginal peoples. Australasian Psychiatry, 11(sup1), S15-S23.,community%20and%20mental%20health%20promotion%20with%20Canadian%20Aboriginal%20Peoples.pdf

Rickwood, D. J., Deane, F. P., & Wilson, C. J. (2007). When and how do young people seek professional help for mental health problems?. Medical Journal of Australia, 187(7), S35.

Kirmayer, L. J., Brass, G. M., & Tait, C. L. (2000). The mental health of Aboriginal peoples: Transformations of identity and community. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 45(7), 607-616.


Posted by & filed under Health Psychology, Human Development, Indigenous Psychology, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: In my previous post ( I introduced a new thread I am going to be focusing on, among other things, over the spring and summer. In that post I introduced an article looking at the place of the concept of wisdom in western society and thought and introduced the idea of rethinking about what it might mean to “indigenize” (in quoted because I am not sure I like the term) Psychology. I suggested that in order to get started on this quest we need to begin by noticing some of the assumptions in which our Psychological theories and concepts about persons, individuals, abnormality and wellness (among other concepts) are grounded. I have found that discussions involving foundational criticisms of Psychology are a bit hard to follow (though perhaps it is just because I may not be a particularly wise person) and so I thought we could start by considering some research that is sniffing around some potentially foundational and yet diverse assumption. Following along with a consideration of the concept and cultural and community role of Elders in aboriginal communities consider these two questions. First, what roles might indigenous Elders (recognized by their communities as such) play in the development and implementation of health strategies in aboriginal communities? Second, think about potential roles that old people (the elderly) might play in the development and implementation of health strategies in the cities states or provinces of mainstream society in North America. After some reflection on these questions, read the article linked below which describes a qualitative study intended to address the first question above in several communities in the Gitxsan Territory in Northern British Columbia.

Source: Varcoe, C., Bottorff, J. L., Carey, J., Sullivan, D., & Williams, W. (2010). Wisdom and influence of elders: Possibilities for health promotion and decreasing tobacco exposure in First Nations communities. Canadian Journal of Public Health/Revue Canadienne de Sante’e Publique, 154-158.

Date: May 11, 2018

Photo Credit: CIHR,

Article Links:

After looking through the article linked above do you have a sense of the differences between Elders (among the Gitxsan) and “the elderly” within mainstream culture? If so it is worth reflecting upon what those differences might mean for developing a workable Psychology of health, addictive behavior, and individual and community change. The roles that Elders might play in both community and personal development and health points not only to Elders’ roles but also to something of the relationship between persons, their communities, and their culture – people are understand not just as “who” they are but simultaneously by where they are and what relationships they are defined though. I will come back to this observation in later posts, but it may well be one of the important foundational differences we will need to better understand if we are to properly think about what an Indigenous Psychology might look like.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Is there a difference between Elders and the elderly?
  2. If, within Gitxsan culture and society the elderly are not necessarily Elders what is the difference?
  3. What do you now understand about the potential role of Elders in the advocacy of healthy lifestyle strategies?

References (Read Further):

Smith, L. T. (2013). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. Zed Books Ltd.

Eady, M. J. (2016). The community strength model: A proposal to invest in existing Aboriginal intellectual capital. in education, 22(1), 22-41.

Ljubicic, G. J. (2017). ” The Caribou Taste Different Now”: Inuit Elders Observe Climate Change, edited by José Gérin-Lajoie, Alain Cuerrier, and Laura Siegwart Collier. Arctic, 70(1), 102-104.

Whitewater, S., Reinschmidt, K. M., Kahn, C., Attakai, A., & Teufel-Shone, N. I. (2016). Peer Reviewed: Flexible Roles for American Indian Elders in Community-Based Participatory Research. Preventing chronic disease, 13.

Sanderson, D., Picketts, I. M., Déry, S. J., Fell, B., Baker, S., Lee‐Johnson, E., & Auger, M. (2015). Climate change and water at Stellat’en First Nation, British Columbia, Canada: Insights from western science and traditional knowledge. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 59(2), 136-150.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Emerging Adulthood, Higher-Order Cognitive Functions in Aging, Human Development, Indigenous Psychology, Intelligence, Neuroscience, Successful Aging, The Self.

Description: As we enter into spring I am shifting gears a little bit on my posts. Specifically, I am going to focus a little bit on the edges of Psychology – on things that are not part of the mainstream parts of the discipline or on approaches to Psychology that are based on different assumptions or different cultural foundations than mainstream Western Psychology. I am not doing this to simply focus on aspects of the obscure. Rather, I am going to focus on a couple of areas that many people — many psychologists — believe need to be considered by Psychology. One such area involves the perspectives and experiences of aboriginal/indigenous/First Nations people, communities, and cultures. There is an increasing realization, not entirely tied to the works of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that indigenous perspectives on personhood, community, world views, and other aspects of culture are not well articulated within mainstream Psychology (and are, in fact, somewhat ignored or denigrated). Just as many post-secondary educational institutions are working on some form of what is referred to as “indigenization,” there is a drive to indigenize Psychology arising from a number of areas including Cultural Psychology and concerns over the impacts of colonization, racism, and stigma on Psychological accounts of psychological, health and wellness issues within First Nations, aboriginal and Metis communities.

The second area of reconfiguration, to be introduced more fully in an upcoming post, concerns developmental psychological accounts of the transition from adolescence to adulthood (and to citizenship or engagement in community) that has, over the past few decades appeared to become a much more complex and protracted process than it was even just a generation ago. A new developmental life stage of Emerging Adulthood has been proposed as a means of seeing and understanding the processes of experience acquisition, self-reflection, and life designing that occupies emerging adults in the decade spanning 18 to 29 years of age. More on this later.

There is no simple description of what an indigenized Psychology might look like as whatever that process involves goes beyond simply considering previously ignored or understudied content from a Psychological or Cultural Psychological perspective. Rather, we need to start by understanding the assumptions about the basic nature of personhood, individuality, and community connectedness that are at the heart of Western Psychological perspectives. Much like how emerging adults need to get to where they can see the diversity of perspectives ways of being that exist in the world only after we have a corner of a realization the implication of that same diversity for doing Psychology can we begin to develop a respectful understanding of indigenous perspectives, world views and psychologies.

So where to begin? Let’s start fairly simply by looking at a concept that will not seem particularly exotic – let’s think about wisdom. What would someone need to be like, act like, think like, for you to think of them as wise? They would likely have to be old as we are to inclined to view young people as wise, but what else? Well, before getting too far into your reflections think about something the author of the article linked below opens their discussion of the concept of wisdom with – we, western civilization people, don’t actually use the concept much at all these days. Consider why this might be as you read trough the article linked below. In addition, as you read, keep inn mind that most aboriginal cultures and communities deeply respect and value the actively roles played by their Elders in their communities. It is not much of a leap to note that Elders are considered to be wise, and to be the keepers (and deployers) of traditional cultural knowledge and practices. So, a small step towards awareness of the foundational assumptions of Western Psychology can be taken by reflecting upon our societal disuse of the concept of wisdom. Start that step by reading through the article linked below.

Source: A word to the wise: Why wisdom might be ripe for rediscovery, Jonathan Rauch, Opinion, Globe and Mail.

Date: May 11, 2018

Photo Credit: Bryan Gee. Source Image: Bettmann / Getty Images

Article Links:

So, what did you think of the discussion of the concept of wisdom? It is rather fascinating, I think, to note that we (as in people in mainstream modern day western society) do not think or speak much of wisdom, do not ascribe it people who we respect, and we do not typically desire our potential political leaders to aspire to it. Despite this, wisdom is clearly a core concept for us historically. As well, some areas within Psychology (including neuroscience) are noting places for wisdom in their view of the Psychological world. This does not mean that we need to try and convince people to look more seriously at wisdom (though that view as articulated by the author of the article linked above IS rather compelling), but rather, it is valuable to simply see the gap between Psychological theory and research and the day-to-day thinking, acting, and assumptions of members of mainstream North American communities. I will take this question up in relation to consideration of the place of Elders in indigenous (Aboriginal and Metis) communities and cultures in North America (and perhaps beyond) in subsequent posts.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

  1. What is Wisdom?
  2. How, if at all, is consideration of wisdom involved in our thinking about and acting in relation to our industrial, political, and spiritual leaders?
  3. What roles might we see wisdom playing in the ongoing functioning of community, culture and individual wellbeing?

References (Read Further):

Depp, C. A., & Jeste, D. V. (2006). Definitions and predictors of successful aging: a comprehensive review of larger quantitative studies. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14(1), 6-20.

Jeste, D. V., & Oswald, A. J. (2014). Individual and societal wisdom: explaining the paradox of human aging and high well-being. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 77(4), 317-330.

Weststrate, N. M., Ferrari, M., & Ardelt, M. (2016). The many faces of wisdom: An investigation of cultural-historical wisdom exemplars reveals practical, philosophical, and benevolent prototypes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(5), 662-676.

Landes, S. D., Ardelt, M., Vaillant, G. E., & Waldinger, R. J. (2014). Childhood adversity, midlife generativity, and later life well-being. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69(6), 942-952.

Ardelt, M., & Oh, H. (2016). Correlates of wisdom. The encyclopedia of adulthood and aging.

Dennis, M. K., Kepple, N. J., & Brewer, I. I. (2017). Grandparents of the community: Lakota elders’ view of intergenerational care. GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy, 4(1), 9.

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, Cultural Variation, Early Social and Emotional development, Human Development, Indigenous Psychology, Research Methods, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Let’s start by thinking about the role that culture can play in individual behavior. First, do you believe your culture can influence your behavior? Well, cross-cultural developmental psychologists make the clear argument that, generally speaking, Japanese mothers work to socialize their young children to be more dependent upon or to see themselves as less important than their larger family or other social groups whereas American mothers are more likely o focus upon ways to increase the individuality and independence of their young pre-school children. The difference or the “reason”? Yup, its culture (or the influence of culture on child rearing practices). Now how about this hypothesis: Whether one’s ancient ancestors (think many generations back) grew wheat or rice will have an impact upon how one will navigate through a crowded Starbucks coffee shop in search of a place to sit. Those with wheat farmer ancestors will be more likely to move chairs that are in their way while those with rice growing ancestors will be more likely to leave the chairs alone and creatively contort their body and walking path in order to get around in the coffee shop. The difference, which is seen in actual in Starbucks behavior, is ascribed to cultural differences arising from the fact that rice is harder to grow and requires social collaboration and adaptation to environmental conditions whereas wheat growing is less complex and thus allows individuals to make changes to their environments in order to expand their wheat growing advantages and crop yields. So, what do you think of that hypothesis? Is it a solid example of how culture can influence behavior? Think about it and think about what else you might want to know or find out before agreeing that this is an example of culturally influenced behavior tied to the crops grown by one’s ancestors and then read the article linked below to see if that clears up any doubts or uncertainties you might have about this “cultural” hypothesis.

Source: Your Behavior in Starbucks, and the Link to Your Ancestors, Nathaniel Scharping, D-brief, Discover Magazine.

Date: April 25, 2018

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images

Article Links:

So, what do you think after reading the article? Are you convinced that farming behavior is the (or an) active causal cultural variable in predicting behavior in a Starbucks café? Did you notice the comment added down at the end of the article which pointed out that Northern Chinese are, at least partly, descended from the Mongolian people that included Genghis Khan who would, I suspect, be more the chair mover rather than the chair dodger type were he looking for a place to sit with his Starbucks coffee. An interesting historical cultural question might be, does the wheat growing make the Mongol or does the Mongol pick or prefer wheat farming? Which is the cultural causal force? Or are they both correlationally, and thus not directly causally, linked? I DO appreciate that the researchers indicate that they worked diligently to control for other possible causal variables (though I will need to go and find and read their original article before deciding how I feel about that). I DO strongly believe that there are may ways in which our current and our historic cultures and cultural practices reflect and perhaps, in some cases, influence our current behavior. I ALSO think we need to be VERY cautious about trying to draw any simple causal lines across generations in the cultural space as there are a great many ways in which the past can influence the present. Take, for example, what we have relatively recently come to more fully understand about the transgenerational traumas among Canadian aboriginal people that can be linked back to Residential Schools, the 60’s child welfare scoop and the related consequences of damaged parents, stigma, and related developmental impacts upon generations of aboriginal children, youth and adults. Such “cultural” impacts are every bit as present today in the lives of aboriginal children and youth as were the effects of residential schooling on their ancestors. I believe that cultural psychology has the potential to tell us a LOT that is useful about why we are the ways we are and about what we need to look at more closely and work on in order to change things that are problematic or stressful or developmentally counterproductive but to do so there must be more examined than ancestral agricultural practices, I think.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What do the researchers whose work is discussed the article linked about think is the relationship between ancestral farming practices and Starbucks café navigation?
  2. Can you think of any alternative possible cultural links that could contribute to explaining people’s Starbucks navigating behaviors?
  3. Describe, in general terms, how things that happened to ones’ ancestors or things that one’s ancestors did could have developmental or behavioral impacts upon people growing and living today.

References (Read Further):

Talhelm, T., Zhang, X., & Oishi, S. (2018). Moving chairs in Starbucks: Observational studies find rice-wheat cultural differences in daily life in China. Science advances, 4(4), eaap8469.

Sasaki, J. Y., & Kim, H. S. (2017). Nature, nurture, and their interplay: A review of cultural neuroscience. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(1), 4-22.

Kline, M. A., Shamsudheen, R., & Broesch, T. (2018). Variation is the universal: making cultural evolution work in developmental psychology. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 373(1743), 20170059.

Chopik, W. J., O’Brien, E., & Konrath, S. H. (2017). Differences in empathic concern and perspective taking across 63 countries. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(1), 23-38.

McQuaid, R. J., Bombay, A., McInnis, O. A., Humeny, C., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2017). Suicide Ideation and Attempts among First Nations Peoples Living On-Reserve in Canada: The Intergenerational and Cumulative Effects of Indian Residential Schools. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 62(6), 422-430.

Wilk, P., Maltby, A., & Cooke, M. (2017). Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review. Public Health Reviews, 38(1), 8.

Kuhl, J. L. (2017). Putting an End to the Silence: Educating Society about the Canadian Residential School System. Bridges: An Undergraduate Journal of Contemporary Connections, 2(1), 1.

Jaramillo, J. M., Rendón, M. I., Muñoz, L., Weis, M., & Trommsdorff, G. (2017). Children’s Self-Regulation in Cultural Contexts: The Role of Parental Socialization Theories, Goals, and Practices. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 923.

Posted by & filed under Group Processes, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Personality, Personality Disorders, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: Ok so, I am going to talk about Narcissists but as many of us are not entirely familiar with the myth of Narcissus and, regardless, Narcissus did not live in the modern world, so we need another example to hold in mind as we consider the role that the generation of social chaos plays in the day-to-day lives of narcissists. After reading the article linked below you may well be able to bring to mind, as examples, several people with whom you have regular contact. In the meantime, it might help the call up your recent memories involving a rather high ranking politcal figure in North America who shall not be named but whose behaviors often work quite well as examples for the purposes of psychological consideration and discussion. The research discussed in the article linked below looked a tendency for those high on the personality dimension of Narcissism to engender social chaos in the situations in which they find themselves (e.g., workplace settings, friend or family gatherings). Think about what you know about the trait of narcissism and see if you can predict why it might be that people high on this dimension might actively sow seeds of social chaos even if they find it somewhat distressing. Once you have an hypothesis or two in mind have a look at the article linked below to see what the researchers found.

Source: Why Narcissists Thrive on Chaos, Susan Krause Whitbourne, Fulfillment at Any Age, Psychology Today

Date: May 5, 2018

Photo Credit: J.W. Waterhouse, 1903. Public domain. And

Article Links:

So do the behavior and social attribution patterns found to be associated with narcissism in the research article make sense? Do the patterns of contingent self-esteem, entitlement rage, hiding the self, and devaluating others fit the social chaotic behaviors of people you know who may have narcissistic tendencies? How about he who shall not be named? Seeing the patterns over time can be quite fascinating. The article also suggests research based strategies for engaging with or even confronting the chaotic person in your life (other than through the ballot box).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does Narcissism involve?
  2. How and perhaps why do narcissists create and take advantage of social chaos?
  3. What are some of the strategies you might consider using when you find yourself in social situations with a narcissist?

References (Read Further):

Dawood, S., & Pincus, A. L. (2018). Pathological narcissism and the severity, variability, and instability of depressive symptoms. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 9(2), 144.

Wetzel, E., Brown, A., Hill, P. L., Chung, J. M., Robins, R. W., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). The narcissism epidemic is dead; long live the narcissism epidemic. Psychological science, 28(12), 1833-1847.

O’Reilly III, C. A., Doerr, B., & Chatman, J. A. (2017). “See You in Court”: How CEO narcissism increases firms’ vulnerability to lawsuits. The Leadership Quarterly.

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 Attitude Formation Change, Child Development, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Human Development, Psychological Health, Social Psychology, Student Success, The Self.

Description: I have written about growth mindsets and other mindsets previously but have tended to focus upon the research that has been done on the differences between growth and fixed mindsets and academic performance. Soooo you may be thinking, well, I don’t need to look further at this blog post as I already know about that stuff. Buy wait a moment and consider how well you actually understand what a mindset is and more importantly what a growth mindset is. More importantly   think about the extent to which (the REAL extent to which) you consistently deploy a growth mindset in your day to day life and especially in terms of your goal, career and life planning. Carol Dweck herself points out that people and organizations typically assume too quickly they they, or their organizations are doing everything they can and should to deploy or support growth mindsets when, in fact it simply is not true. The article linked below does a very good job of laying out the particulars of growth versus fixed mindsets and talking about ways to ensure you are tending in the direction of utilizing a growth mindset more often. One you have read the article and thought a bit more about how consistency you use a growth mindset in your day to day activities spend a few more minutes exploring the website where the article is located. You may find it quite interesting!

Source: Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Your Success Hinges On It, Anna Kucirkova, Careers in Psychology

Date: May 5, 2018

Photo Credit: Careers in Psychology

Article Links:

It is important to see that a mindset is perhaps best thought of a thought “tendency” or as a typical way of thinking, interpreting your experiences and relating to the world. In other words, a mindset need not be something that we are typically very aware of. This means that, like many of our more behavioral habits, we often have to work hard to even see them and, more importantly, we have to work even harder to change them as they are typically rather deeply ingrained. So, if you are convinced of the value in moving towards more consistently using a growth mindset then you should set aside some time weekly to review how you have been approaching tasks and especially task outcomes and see how consistently you are using a growth mindset. Sticking with it will produce more of the benefits discussed in the article inked above.  Lastly as to the Careers in Psychology website I have discussed elsewhere how Psychology is a “Hub” science. This means that many areas of study and work are grounded either in whole or in part in Psychological theory and research. The Careers in psychology site talks about some of the core careers in Psychology but as you look through the site it is worth thinking of the many other career pathways that draw on Psychology.  Everyone needs a little (or a lot) of psychology.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is a growth mindset?
  2. What are some on the things you can do to ensure you are more typically using growth mindset?
  3. What are some of the things you could do, or better yet, what are some of the things you are GOING to do to ensure you are using more of a growth mindset?

References (Read Further):

Dweck, C. (2015). Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), 20-24.

Caniëls, M. C., Semeijn, J. H., & Renders, I. H. (2018). Mind the mindset! The interaction of proactive personality, transformational leadership and growth mindset for engagement at work. Career Development International, 23(1), 48-66.

Schroder, H. S., Yalch, M. M., Dawood, S., Callahan, C. P., Donnellan, M. B., & Moser, J. S. (2017). Growth mindset of anxiety buffers the link between stressful life events and psychological distress and coping strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 110, 23-26.

Haimovitz, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2017). The origins of children’s growth and fixed mindsets: New research and a new proposal. Child development, 88(6), 1849-1859.



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Psychology, Depression, General Psychology, Student Success.

Description: To carry the epidemiology theme a bit further think about the answer to this question: Are children and teens more anxious today than in the past (in previous generations)? Think about what you have heard or read in the media about this question and then think about whether you have seen any research data bearing on the question. Good research data is important as it should help us to decide whether things like the rates of Anxiety and Depression among north American children and youth are changing or have changed in ways that we should be thinking about. The article linked below discusses some data that bears on the incidence part of this question. Give it a read and then think about what it might suggest about how concerned and ready for intervention related action we should be in this area.

Source: More than 1 in 20 US children and teen have anxiety or depression, ScienceDaily.

Date: April 24, 2018

Photo Credit: Time Magazine

Article Links:

The research discussed in the article linked above points us in some important directions. It suggests that the rates of anxiety and depression among children and teens have been going up and that the burden this places on developing teens and their family’s needs to be understood and addressed.  When such changes occur over a relatively short time line it is important to consider the possible social, family and community changes that may be contributing to the change as these changes may be very informative of possible opportunities for intervention, support and management of anxiety among children and teens. Very worth thinking about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What seems to be happening to the rate of anxiety among children and teens?
  2. What sorts of things might be contributing to the increase in anxiety among children and teens (in the US)?
  3. What sorts of support or intervention strategies should we be considering in relation to this apparent increase in anxiety levels among children and teens?

References (Read Further):

Bitsko, R. H., Holbrook, J. R., Ghandour, R. M., Blumberg, S. J., Visser, S. N., Perou, R., & Walkup, J. T. (2018). Epidemiology and Impact of Health Care Provider–Diagnosed Anxiety and Depression Among US Children. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.

January, J., Madhombiro, M., Chipamaunga, S., Ray, S., Chingono, A., & Abas, M. (2018). Prevalence of depression and anxiety among undergraduate university students in low-and middle-income countries: a systematic review protocol. Systematic reviews, 7(1), 57.

Mortier, P., Cuijpers, P., Kiekens, G., Auerbach, R. P., Demyttenaere, K., Green, J. G., … & Bruffaerts, R. (2018). The prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviours among college students: a meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 48(4), 554-565.

Bruffaerts, R., Mortier, P., Kiekens, G., Auerbach, R. P., Cuijpers, P., Demyttenaere, K., … & Kessler, R. C. (2018). Mental health problems in college freshmen: Prevalence and academic functioning. Journal of affective disorders, 225, 97-103.


Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Disorders of Childhood, Health Psychology, mental illness, Psychological Disorders, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Ok there are two levels of engagement possible with this linked article. The first is epidemiological. Epidemiology is the study of the rates of things (illnesses, disorders, conditions) within populations. From an epidemiological perspective, when the incidence or rate of a disorder in a population changes (increases or decreases) there are number of key questions that must be carefully considered and addressed with data. They include: Is the change real or just an artifact of how the disorder is measured or defined? If it seems to be real, what is contributing to the change? The second level of reflection and analysis follows this first one. IF the change does appear to be real and not due to something like a removal or reduction (or addition or increase) of social stigma which could be increasing then what does it suggest? If it is a real increase what conditions are driving the increase (or decrease) and what would be worth considering or doing in the way of public awareness or treatment, support and intervention? As you read through the article liked below to keep these two levels of analysis in mind and see if you develop an option as to which one the author of the article is leaning towards.

Source: Autism Prevalence Increases: 1 in 59 US Children, Susan Scutti, CNN.

Date: April 26, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

My reading of the linked article suggests to me a bit of uncertainty on the part of the author of the article about which level of analysis they are pushing but they seem to be leaning towards a “changes in definitions of the disorder” explanation except that the material on large changes moving prevalence within diverse racial groups closer to parity might suggest another focus. A VERY typical speculation which often arises in such discussions is that the incidence of the disorder IS on the rise and we need to figure out what water, dietary or social practices additive is driving the change before it is too late to stop it.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Did the prevalence rate of Autism increase as the article suggests?
  2. What sorts of things might have contributed to the change in the observed rate of Autism?
  3. What steps should be followed as we decide what, if anything, should be done in response to this apparent increase in Autism incidence?

References (Read Further):

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2010 Principal Investigators. (2014). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years—autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 sites, United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 63(2), 1-21.

Soke, G. N., Maenner, M. J., Christensen, D., Kurzius-Spencer, M., & Schieve, L. A. (2017). Brief Report: Estimated Prevalence of a Community Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder by Age 4 Years in Children from Selected Areas in the United States in 2010: Evaluation of Birth Cohort Effects. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 47(6), 1917-1922.

Durkin, M. S., Maenner, M. J., Baio, J., Christensen, D., Daniels, J., Fitzgerald, R., … & Wingate, M. S. (2017). Autism spectrum disorder among US children (2002–2010): socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic disparities. American journal of public health, 107(11), 1818-1826.

Jacobi, F., Wittchen, H. U., Hölting, C., Höfler, M., Pfister, H., Müller, N., & Lieb, R. (2004). Prevalence, co-morbidity and correlates of mental disorders in the general population: results from the German Health Interview and Examination Survey (GHS). Psychological medicine, 34(4), 597-611.


Posted by & filed under Aggression, Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Child Development, Consciousness, Early Social and Emotional development, Emerging Adulthood, Families and Peers, Human Development, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: What is shame? When do people feel shame or feel ashamed? How is shame different than guilt? At its simplest level, shame involves a loss of social connection or a loss of social respect. Think about what feelings, thoughts, and social scenarios would come to mind if someone opened a conversation with you by saying “Shame on you”! What sort of thing(s) might you have done to warrant that conversation opener? The developmental roots of shame are deep indeed. Shame (and even shunning) is something that communities visit upon their members (sometimes) or what parents visit upon their children. It is a form a social censure or social disapproval and often involves a withdrawal, short or long term depending upon the group or the incident that instigated it, of social connection. Developmentally infants are very attuned to the social consequences of shame. Think about a situation where a parent is interacting with their infant in a socially and facially animated way and then suddenly “shuts down” their facial expressions and simply starts at the infant with no facial expression (so neither happy or sad or angry but just blank). How do you think an infant would react to this and if they eventually start to cry why would they do that? Think about all of these questions and then read the article linked below to see a description of the, at least four, ways that shame can play out in our social interactions.

Source: A Psychotherapist says there are four types of shame – Here’s what they are and how they affect us. Lindsay Dodgson, Business Insider, Independent, UK.

Date: April 4, 2018

Photo Credit:

Article Links:

So, did the descriptions of the four types of shame make sense to you? My first reaction to the simple statement that the first type was unrequited love was to say “Huh? How so?”  but if you unpack what is going on when attraction or love are not reciprocated it makes sense. Like the “infant still face” procedure I described earlier, and which is mentioned in the article unrequited love involves situations where social narratives or story lines are cut off or simply do not evolve. One sided relationships are NOT relationships and trying to move a one-sided half ignored relationship along can be heart breaking and what it produces in the unrequited “lover” is one form of shame or social casting out. Th second type of shame involves being called out socially (publicly) for an error or a mistake. These situations are more readily accessible as we all have been in situations where we or someone else was shamed or humiliated publicly.  The third example, failure, is a bit more complicated as failures are not always public and can be sources of internal motivation as well as situations that involve feelings of shame or perhaps even guilt. The fourth type of shame involves exclusion or being left out and can be viewed as an active component of all types of shame as it is social connection, standing or benevolence we are seeking, and shame is one of the things we feel when it is lost or dialed back. It is worth thinking about the impact of shame on development. A LOT is said about the potential impact of our early (pre-2 years-of-age) attachment relationships on our subsequent development (well supported by longitudinal data) but a LOT can also be said about the next developmental moment or task. This next developmental task or moment starting at around 2 years of age involves autonomy, sometimes referred to colloquially as the “terrible twos”. It involves the drive on the child’s part to start to do things for themselves (not always stated diplomatically as they are only two and have limited language skills). As Erickson suggested, the developmental downside of the Autonomy developmental moment is “Shame and Doubt”. If parents, older siblings, or the extended family or community reacts to a child’s early autonomy plays with criticism, derision or indifference the result can be shame and a shutting down of individual social initiative. You are likely well aware of the developmental downstream impact insecure attachment can have on the subsequent development of play connections, friendships, intimate relationships and eventually on parenthood. Think a bit about the potential downstream developmental impact of being shamed for your early efforts at establishing a sense of autonomy. That is an area that needs some more research work.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is shame and how is it manifest in social interactions?
  2. What are the short-term impacts and implications of being shamed or ashamed?
  3. What are some of the longer term developmental or psychological adjustment issues that could arise from shame either for children or for adults?

References (Read Further):

van Dijk, W. W., van Dillen, L. F., Rotteveel, M., & Seip, E. C. (2017). Looking into the crystal ball of our emotional lives: emotion regulation and the overestimation of future guilt and shame. Cognition and Emotion, 31(3), 616-624.

Duarte, C., Matos, M., Stubbs, R. J., Gale, C., Morris, L., Gouveia, J. P., & Gilbert, P. (2017). The impact of shame, self-criticism and social rank on eating behaviours in overweight and obese women participating in a weight management programme. PloS one, 12(1), e0167571.

Perret, V. (2017). Shame, the scourge of supervision. International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research & Practice, 8(2).

Mahtani, S., Melvin, G. A., & Hasking, P. (2017). Shame Proneness, Shame Coping, and Functions of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) Among Emerging Adults: A Developmental Analysis. Emerging Adulthood, 2167696817711350.


Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Consciousness, Emerging Adulthood, The Self.

Description: Have you travelled? If so, did you pick up any souvenirs on your trip? What did you get? Think back to when you picked out (and bought) or picked up (and pocketed) your souvenirs. What were you thinking about at the time? Why did you pick the thing or things that you picked? Where are they now? If you know where they are or can go and see or hold them again now what thoughts do they bring to mind? There is a LOT of buzz about “trashy souvenirs” … things like miniature Statues of Liberty or Eiffel Towers, fridge magnets, shells, peddles or rocks, postcards, handicrafts, but the collecting of souvenirs or mementoes vastly predates the “made in China” souvenir shop merchandise tidal wave. The word “souvenir” comes from the French word meaning “to remember.” So, think a bit about the psychological roles that souvenirs (buying them, seeking them, putting them in visible places back home) might play in our lives and then read the article linked below that summarizes what a recently published book (based on academic research) has to say about these questions.

Source: Souvenirs 101, Stephanie Rosenbloom, The Getaway, The New York Time Travel Section.

Date: April 6, 2018

Photo Credit: Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Article Links:

There are number of interesting and, I think, important psychological points in the articled linked above about Souvenirs. The categorization suggestions are interesting but tend to focus on concepts that are more descriptive of the souvenir articles themselves than of their psychological roes or significance (e.g., markers, pictorial images, symbolic shorthand, etc.). The historical references are quite interesting. Jefferson and Adams carving off bits of Shakespeare’s writing chair could simply be seen as acts of violence or vandalism (after all there was that little business of the war of independence). However, such a view would sell the American fathers of independence and many modern souvenir hunters short. What about the crusaders and especially those who went off in search of the Holy Grail. Yes, they could have simply been following through on a charge to seek a holy relic but souvenir searching and acquiring can also get us thinking about the purposes or personal impacts of our travels. Souvenirs stand for things. On the surface they stand for the things they depict or represent (go back to little Statues of Liberty or Eiffel Towers) but, perhaps it is much more productive to think of the roles such things play in our processing of our own travel experiences. What did being in New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty or being in Paris and seeing the Eifel Tower (it was very cool) mean to you? Was it just an opportunity to put a check on your bucket list or was it something more? In my own work on identity development and particularly on the identity development of emerging adults (18 to 19-year-olds) I have gathered data and read a lot of other studies indicating that travel does not just open our eyes to the broader world but can also open our eyes to ourselves, to our identities (a BIG part of the developmental work of emerging adulthood and beyond). As the author of the Souvenir book puts it, we acquire souvenirs “not to evaluate the world, but to narrate the self” or as I have said, travelling the world is not so much about site-seeing as it is about self-seeing. So get out there, see the world and bring those experiences back with you in terms of tangible souvenirs but more importantly in terms of memories, reflections and personal insights into yourself (your identity) and the world.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the categories researchers have used to sort out the types of souvenirs people acquire while travelling?
  2. How are the souvenirs we acquire related to the paces we have visited (psychologically speaking)?
  3. What sorts of roles can travel play in the development of our sense of personal identity? Who (what sorts of people) would you recommend travel to and why?

References (Read Further):

Potts, Rolf, (2018) Souvenir (Object Lessons). Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK.

Inkson, K., & Myers, B. A. (2003). “The big OE”: self-directed travel and career development. Career development international, 8(4), 170-181.

Eagles, P. F. (1992). The travel motivations of Canadian ecotourists. Journal of Travel Research, 31(2), 3-7.

Chen, G., Bao, J., & Huang, S. (2014). Developing a scale to measure backpackers’ personal development. Journal of Travel Research, 53(4), 522-536.

Sthapit, E., & Coudounaris, D. N. (2018). Memorable tourism experiences: Antecedents and outcomes. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 18(1), 72-94.

Stone, M. J., & Petrick, J. F. (2013). The educational benefits of travel experiences: A literature review. Journal of Travel Research, 52(6), 731-744.

Swanson, K. K., & Horridge, P. E. (2006). Travel motivations as souvenir purchase indicators. Tourism management, 27(4), 671-683.