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Current Opinion in Psychology

Christina M Sheerin, Mackenzie J Lind, Kaitlin Bountress, Nicole R Nugent, Ananda B Amstadter
This paper provides a brief summary and commentary on the growing literature and current developments related to the genetic underpinnings of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We first briefly provide an overview of the behavioral genetic literature on PTSD, followed by a short synopsis of the substantial candidate gene literature with a focus on genes that have been meta-analyzed. We then discuss the genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that have been conducted, followed by an introduction to other molecular platforms used in PTSD genomic studies, such as epigenetic and expression approaches...
April 2017: Current Opinion in Psychology
Katie A McLaughlin, Hilary K Lambert
Exposure to trauma in childhood is associated with elevated risk for multiple forms of psychopathology. Here we present a biopsychosocial model outlining the mechanisms that link child trauma with psychopathology and protective factors that can mitigate these risk pathways. We focus on four mechanisms of enhanced threat processing: information processing biases that facilitate rapid identification of environmental threats, disruptions in learning mechanisms underlying the acquisition of fear, heightened emotional responses to potential threats, and difficulty disengaging from negative emotional content...
April 2017: Current Opinion in Psychology
Nickola C Overall, James K McNulty
What constitutes effective communication during conflict? Answering this question requires (a) clarifying whether communication expresses opposition versus cooperation and is direct versus indirect, (b) assessing the mechanisms through which communication effects relationships, and (c) identifying the contextual factors that determine the impact of communication. Recent research incorporating these components illustrates that direct opposition is beneficial when serious problems need to be addressed and partners are able to change, but can be harmful when partners are not confident or secure enough to be responsive...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Psychology
Andrew Christensen, Brian D Doss
Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT) is based in part on traditional behavioral couple therapy but expands both the conceptualization of couple distress and of intervention. The efficacy of IBCT has been supported in three clinical trials, including one with five year follow-up. Additionally, the effectiveness of IBCT in the real world has been supported through a system-wide dissemination effort in the United States Department of Veteran's Affairs. The reach of IBCT has also been extended through an online program, www...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Psychology
Lisa A Neff, Benjamin R Karney
Compared to affluent marriages, lower income marriages develop within a context filled with negative stressors that may prove quite toxic for marital stability. The current paper argues that stressful contexts may undermine marital well-being through two routes. First, external stressors create additional problems within the marriage by diverting time and attention away from activities that promote intimacy between partners. Second, external stress may render spouses ill-equipped to cope with this increase in problems by draining spouses of the energy and resources necessary for responding to marital challenges in a constructive manner...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Psychology
Jeffry A Simpson, W Steven Rholes
In this article, we discuss theory and research on how individuals who have insecure adult romantic attachment orientations typically think, feel, and behave when they or their romantic partners encounter certain types of chronic or acute stress. We first review basic principles of attachment theory and then discuss how two forms of attachment insecurity-anxiety and avoidance-are associated with unique patterns of emotion regulation in response to certain types of threatening/distressing situations. We then discuss a diathesis-stress process model that has guided our research, highlighting studies that provide support for certain pathways of the model...
February 2017: Current Opinion in Psychology
Evan Weingarten, Qijia Chen, Maxwell McAdams, Jessica Yi, Justin Hepler, Dolores Albarracin
This paper presents a summary of the conclusions drawn from a meta-analysis of the behavioral impact of presenting words connected to an action or a goal representation (Weingarten et al., 2016). The average and distribution of 352 effect sizes from 133 studies (84 reports) revealed a small behavioral priming effect (dFE = 0.332, dRE = 0.352), which was robust across methodological procedures and only minimally biased by the publication of positive (vs. negative) results. More valued behavior or goal concepts (e...
December 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Susan T Fiske, Cydney H Dupree, Gandalf Nicolas, Jillian K Swencionis
Hierarchies in the correlated forms of power (resources) and status (prestige) are constants that organize human societies. This article reviews relevant social psychological literature and identifies several converging results concerning power and status. Whether rank is chronically possessed or temporarily embodied, higher ranks create psychological distance from others, allow agency by the higher ranked, and exact deference from the lower ranked. Beliefs that status entails competence are essentially universal...
October 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Mike Conway, Daniel O'Connor
Mental health (including substance abuse) is the fifth greatest contributor to the global burden of disease, with an economic cost estimated to be US $2.5 trillion in 2010, and expected to double by 2030. Developing information systems to support and strengthen population-level mental health monitoring forms a core part of the World Health Organization's Comprehensive Action Plan 2013-2020. In this paper, we review recent work that utilizes social media "big data" in conjunction with associated technologies like natural language processing and machine learning to address pressing problems in population-level mental health surveillance and research, focusing both on technological advances and core ethical challenges...
June 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Renee Garett, Justin Smith, Sean D Young
HIV remains one of the main health global threats of the 21(st) century. There is a great need to reach HIV at-risk and HIV+ populations across the HIV care continuum to improve HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. New technologies, such as Social Media (SM) and Social Networking Sites (SNS) have shown early promise in HIV research studies. To assess the state of research on the use of SM/SNSs across the HIV continuum, we conducted a systematic literature review on HIV-related research using SM during the last 10 years...
June 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Lai Sze Tso, Weiming Tang, Haochu Li, H Yanna Yan, Joseph D Tucker
Persistent new HIV infections and risky behaviors underscore the need for enhanced HIV prevention. Social media interventions may promote safe sexual behaviors, increase HIV testing uptake, and promote safe injection behaviors. This review discusses how social media interventions tap into the wisdom of crowds through crowdsourcing, build peer-mentored communities, and deliver interventions through social networks. Social media HIV prevention interventions are constrained by ethical issues, low social media usage among some key populations, and implementation issues...
June 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Eric R Pedersen, Jeremy Kurz
Facebook has become an important tool for recruiting research participants and for program delivery. Given the wide use of Facebook, there is much potential for the site to help with recruitment efforts in both physical and behavioral health care arenas; reaching groups typically difficult to recruit and providing outreach to individuals that may not have received services elsewhere. Health studies using Facebook have generally reported success, including cost-effectiveness, recruitment of samples in brief periods of time, and ability to locate participants for follow-up research...
May 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Sharon Shavitt, Hyewon Cho
We examine the influence of culture on consumer behavior with a particular focus on horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism. Cultures vary in their propensity to emphasize hierarchy, a distinction captured by examining horizontal/vertical cultural orientations or contexts. These cultural factors pattern personal values and goals, power concepts, and normative expectations applied to the exercise of power. We review implications for how consumers respond to brands in the marketplace, service providers, and each others' needs...
April 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Brian Suffoletto
Text messaging is an efficient and personal electronic form of communication, making it an ideal modality for remote delivery of behavioral interventions. The ubiquity of cell phones and short message service (SMS) worldwide allow the possibility of SMS behavioral inteventions to impact global health. Studies to date suggest that SMS interventions can effectively support health behaviors and may offer advantages compared to other forms of computerized interventions. Program features optimizing user engagament and persuasiveness are suggested to mediate SMS intervention effect...
February 1, 2016: Current Opinion in Psychology
Rebecca Ferrer, William M Klein
Risk perceptions - or an individual's perceived susceptibility to a threat - are a key component of many health behavior change theories. Risk perceptions are often targeted in health behavior change interventions, and recent meta-analytic evidence suggests that interventions that successfully engage and change risk perceptions produce subsequent increases in health behaviors. Here, we review recent literature on risk perceptions and health behavior, including research on the formation of risk perceptions, types of risk perceptions (including deliberative, affective, and experiential), accuracy of risk perceptions, and associations and interactions among types of risk perceptions...
October 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Psychology
Susan E Short, Stefanie Mollborn
Health behaviors shape health and well-being in individuals and populations. Drawing on recent research, we review applications of the widely applied "social determinants" approach to health behaviors. This approach shifts the lens from individual attribution and responsibility to societal organization and the myriad institutions, structures, inequalities, and ideologies undergirding health behaviors. Recent scholarship integrates a social determinants perspective with biosocial approaches to health behavior dynamics...
October 2015: Current Opinion in Psychology
William T Riley, Katrina J Serrano, Wendy Nilsen, Audie A Atienza
Recent advances in mobile and wireless technologies have made real-time assessments of health behaviors and their influences possible with minimal respondent burden. These tech-enabled real-time assessments provide the basis for intensively adaptive interventions (IAIs). Evidence of such studies that adjust interventions based on real-time inputs is beginning to emerge. Although IAIs are promising, the development of intensively adaptive algorithms generate new research questions, and the intensive longitudinal data produced by IAIs require new methodologies and analytic approaches...
October 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Psychology
Tilda Farhat
Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to risk behaviors as, in this life stage, they are experiencing intense physical, psychological and social changes. Adolescents who are overweight/obese, but particularly those who perceive themselves as such, are more likely to engage in risk behaviors than those who are or perceive themselves of normal-weight. Weight stigma and discrimination may contribute to this association as they reinforce poor body image and create intense stress. Stress is associated with poor emotion regulation, more impulsive, contextually-determined, and less rational decision-making, leading to greater engagement in risk behaviors...
October 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Psychology
Bryan W Heckman, Amanda R Mathew, Matthew J Carpenter
Effective management of chronic diseases involves sustained changes in health behavior, which often requires substantial effort and patient burden. As treatment burden is associated with reduced adherence across several chronic conditions, its assessment and treatment are important clinical priorities. The balance between patient demands and capacity (e.g., coping resources) may be indexed by patients' subjective experience of treatment fatigue. We present a modified workload-capacity model that incorporates evidence that treatment fatigue may 1) be caused by increased workload due to treatment burden (e...
October 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Psychology
Jennifer N Morey, Ian A Boggero, April B Scott, Suzanne C Segerstrom
Psychological stress has been linked empirically with dysregulation of facets of the human immune system, yet these effects are not the same in every situation or population. Recent research has made strides towards understanding risk factors for immune dysregulation as well as why these risks occur. This review discusses mechanisms and mediators underlying the stress-immune relation, the role of context in determining whether an immunologic responses to stress is adaptive versus maladaptive, and the stress-immune relation in populations including children exposed to early adversity, older adults, and individuals with clinical diagnoses...
October 1, 2015: Current Opinion in Psychology
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