The new issue of *Psychological Science* includes an article: “Known Risk Factors for Violence Predict 12-Month-Old Infants’ Aggressiveness With Peers.” The authors are Dale F. Hay, Lisa Mundy, Siwan Roberts, Raffaella Carta, Cerith S. Waters, Oliver Perra, Roland Jones, Ian Jones, Ian Goodyear, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar, and Stephanie van Goozen.

Here are some interesting extracts

“Observational studies of early peer interaction have similarly shown that the use of physical aggression is fairly rare in young children, but that meaningful individual differences are already present by age 3. Infants’ early interactions with peers predict later behavioral problems
Prospective longitudinal studies have identified a number of maternal risk factors associated with high levels of aggression. These risk factors include social class, level of education, and early entry into parenthood; smoking during pregnancy; and stress, anxiety, or depression during pregnancy.

“The infants’ observed aggressiveness was significantly correlated with mothers’ mood disorder during pregnancy and with mothers’ history of conduct problems.

“Our study demonstrated that systematic individual differences in aggressiveness are present by infants’ first birthday. Key risk factors for adolescent violence found in an earlier longitudinal study predicted infants’ observed use of force against peers as well as parents’ reports of infants’ anger and aggression. The precise mechanisms underlying these effects have yet to be identified; parents convey risk through processes of genetic as well as social transmission, and the mother’s mental state in pregnancy”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued the following news release:

Bright light therapy improves sleep disturbances in soldiers with combat PTSD

Study suggests that bright light therapy may be an effective treatment
for combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder

Bright light therapy has significant effects on sleep disturbances
associated with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, according
to a research abstract that will be presented Monday, June 7, 2010, in
San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the
Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.

Results indicate that bright light therapy produced a significantly
greater improvement than placebo in sleep disturbances specific to PTSD.

Bright light therapy also produced a moderate improvement in PTSD
symptoms and depression.

“Results of this ongoing study show significant effects of bright light
on disruptive nocturnal behaviors associated with combat PTSD, as well
as positive effects of bright light therapy on PTSD symptom severity,”
said study coordinator Shannon Cornelius, PhD, graduate research
assistant for Dr. Shawn D. Youngstedt in the department of exercise
science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.

“Because bright light therapy is a relatively simple, self-administered,
inexpensive treatment with few side effects, these results are an
important step to further establish the efficacy of bright light therapy
as an alternative or adjunct treatment for combat-related PTSD.”

The study involved 16 soldiers who returned to the U.S. with combat-
related PTSD after serving in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation
Iraqi Freedom. Following a one-week baseline, participants were
randomized to one of two four-week treatments.

Eight soldiers received 10,000 lux of bright light therapy for 30
minutes each day. The other eight participants were assigned to the
placebo group and received sham treatment with an inactivated negative
ion generator.

The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-2) was completed at
baseline and immediately following completion of the study.

At weekly intervals, depression was assessed with the Beck Depression
Inventory (BDI-II), and sleep quality was assessed with the Pittsburgh
Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) with addendum for PTSD (PSQI-PTSD).

Cornelius noted that sleep disturbance is a commonly reported problem
that can play both a precipitating and perpetuating role in PTSD, making
it an important target for therapy.

“Disturbed sleep is known to interact with depression and anxiety in a
vicious cycle,” said Cornelius.

“By reducing the severity and occurrence of sleep disturbances, it may
be possible to reduce the severity of symptoms such as anxiety and
depression in combat-related PTSD.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that 70 to 90 percent of
people with PTSD describe subjective sleep disturbance. Recurrent
nightmares of the traumatic event represent one of the most problematic
and enduring symptoms of PTSD.

These nightmares may take the form of a realistic reliving of the
traumatic event or depict only some of its elements.

Bright light therapy exposes your eyes to intense but safe amounts of
light for a specific and regular length of time.

Typically it involves exposure to up to 10,000 lux of light for
scheduled periods of 20 minutes or more using a small light box.

In a 2007 study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, Youngstedt
reported that bright light exposure may have an anxiolytic effect.

Three hours of exposure to 3,000 lux of bright light for three
consecutive days reduced anxiety in a group of low-anxiety adults.

The journal *Child Development* issued the following news release:

Depression In Pregnancy Tied To Antisocial Behavior In Offspring During Teens

Children from urban areas whose mothers suffer from depression during
pregnancy are more likely than others to show antisocial behavior,
including violent behavior, later in life.

Furthermore, women who are aggressive and disruptive in their own teen
years are more likely to become depressed in pregnancy, so that the
moms’ history predicts their own children’s antisocial behavior. (more…)

The new issue of *Behaviour Research and Therapy* (vol. 48, #2, pp.
152-157) includes a study: “When self-help is no help: Traditional
cognitive skills training does not prevent depressive symptoms in people
who ruminate.”

The author is Gerald J. Haeffela.

Here’s the abstract:

[begin excerpt]

A randomized trial was conducted to test the efficacy of three self-
directed prevention intervention workbooks for depression.

Cognitively at-risk college freshmen were randomly assigned to one of
three conditions: traditional cognitive, non-traditional cognitive, and
academic skills.

Consistent with hypotheses, participants who were high in rumination and
experienced stress exhibited significantly greater levels of depressive
symptoms after completing the traditional cognitive skills workbook than
after completing the other two workbooks.

This pattern of results held post-intervention and 4 months later.

These findings indicate that rumination may hinder ones ability to
identify and dispute negative thoughts (at least without the help of a
trained professional).

The results underscore the importance of identifying individual
difference variables that moderate intervention efficacy.

They also raise concerns about the potential benefits of self-help
books, an industry that generates billions of dollars each year.

[end abstract]

Here’s the contact info from the author note: Gerald J. Haeffela,
Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Haggar Hall, Notre
Dame, IN 46556, < g h a e f f e l @ n d . e d u >.

Courtesy of Ken Pope

Next month’s issue of *Clinical Psychology Review* (February 2010,; vol.
30, #1) includes an article: “The efficacy of short-term psychodynamic
psychotherapy for depression: A meta-analysis.”

The authors are Driessen, Ellen; Cuijpers, Pim; de Maat, Saskia C. M.;
Abbass, Allan A.; de Jonghe, Frans; & Dekker, Jack J. M.

Here’s the abstract:

[begin abstract]

Objectives:

It remains largely unclear, firstly whether short-term psychodynamic
psychotherapy (STPP) is an effective treatment for depression, and
secondly, which study, participant, or intervention characteristics may
moderate treatment effects. The purpose of this study is to assess the
efficacy of STPP for depression and to identify treatment moderators.

Results:
(more…)

King’s College London issued the following news release:

Depression as deadly as smoking, but anxiety may be good for you

A study by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway, and the
Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London has found that
depression is as much of a risk factor for mortality as smoking.

Utilising a unique link between a survey of over 60,000 people and a
comprehensive mortality database, the researchers found that over the
four years following the survey, the mortality risk was increased to a
similar extent in people who were depressed as in people who were smokers.

(more…)

Next month’s issue of *Clinical Psychology Review (Feb, 2010; vol. 30,
#1) includes an article: “Psychotherapy for chronic major depression and
dysthymia: A meta-analysis.”

The authors are Cuijpers, Pim; van Straten, Annemieke; Schuurmans,
Josien; van Oppen, Patricia; Hollon, Steven D.; & Andersson, Gerhard.

Here’s the abstract:

[begin abstract]

Although several studies have examined the effects of psychotherapy on
chronic depression and dysthymia, no meta-analysis has been conducted to
integrate results of these studies.

We conducted a meta-analysis of 16 randomized trials examining the
effects of psychotherapy on chronic depression and dysthymia.

We found that psychotherapy had a small but significant effect (d =0.23)
on depression when compared to control groups. Psychotherapy was
significantly less effective than pharmacotherapy in direct comparisons
(d =-0.31), especially SSRIs, but that this finding was wholly
attributable to dysthymic patients (the studies examining dysthymia
patients were the same studies that examined SSRIs).

Combined treatment was more effective than pharmacotherapy alone (d
=0.23) but even more so with respect to psychotherapy alone (d =0.45),
although again this difference may have reflected the greater proportion
of dysthymic samples in the latter.

No significant differences were found in drop-out rates between
psychotherapy and the other conditions.

We found indications that at least 18 treatment sessions are needed to
realize optimal effects of psychotherapy.

We conclude that psychotherapy is effective in the treatment of chronic
depression and dysthymia but probably not as effective as
pharmacotherapy (particularly the SSRIs).

[end abstract]

The author note provides the following contact info: <p.cuijpers@psy.vu.nl>.

Courtesy of Ken Pope

This morning’s *USA Today* includes an article: “Why the holiday suicide
myth persists” by Kim Painter.
Here are some excerpts:
[begin excerpts]
For the past decade, Dan Romer, a researcher at the Annenberg Public
Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, has been tracking
mentions of suicide and the holiday season in stories published in U.S.
newspapers from mid-November to mid-January.
His first study, covering the 1999 holiday season, found that just 23%
of stories debunked the myth and the rest reinforced it.
By 2006, 91% of stories debunked the myth, and Romer took some credit:
Publicizing the facts had nearly killed the myth, he thought.
He was wrong.
In the 2007 season, the myth was back in half of stories, he says.
And Romer just completed his analysis of 2008 holiday coverage.
He found that 38% of stories supported the myth and 62% debunked it – an
improvement he attributes partly to a myth-busting report published last
December in the British Medical Journal.
<snip>
But the myth may harm people instead.
“It might unnecessarily put people on their guard or increase their
anxiety,” says Ronald Pies, a psychiatrist at Tufts University School of
Medicine, via e-mail.
Worse, he says, some people “on the brink” of self-harm might feel
encouraged to follow through when they read or hear that holiday
suicides are common.
The myth might become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Romer agrees: “You don’t want to convey the message that this is
acceptable or that there’s a good reason to do it.”
<snip>
But, experts say, suicide is almost always the act of someone who has
endured deep depression or another mental illness for months or years –
not someone with a passing case of the blues.
<snip>
Meanwhile, researchers continue to look for the real patterns in
suicidal behavior, says Alexander Crosby, a CDC researcher. “That can
help us in terms of finding protective factors,” he says.
And one protective factor, he says, is “connectiveness” – that is, how
connected people are to friends, families and communities.
[end excerpts]
The article is online at:
clipping courtesy of Ken Pope

 

The new issue of *Archives of General Psychiatry* (Vol. 66 No. 10)
includes an article: “Association of the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern
With the Incidence of Depression.”
The authors are Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, BPharm, PhD; Miguel Delgado-
Rodríguez, MD, PhD, MPH; Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD; Javier Schlatter, MD,
PhD; Francisca Lahortiga, BA, PhD; Lluis Serra Majem, MD, PhD; & Miguel
Angel Martínez-González, MD, PhD, MPH.
Here’s the abstract:
Context
Adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP) is thought to
reduce inflammatory, vascular, and metabolic processes that may be
involved in the risk of clinical depression.

The Mayo Clinic just issued the following news release:

Mayo Clinic Researchers Examine the Psychological Impact of Child Abuse

SAN FRANCISCO, May 21 — According to a new Mayo Clinic study, a history
of child abuse significantly impacts the wide range of challenges facing
depressed inpatients.

Included are an increase in suicide attempts, prevalence of substance
use disorder, and a higher incidence rate of personality disorder.

Additionally, these victims also had an earlier onset of mental illness
and an increase in psychiatric hospitalizations for psychiatric issues.

The study was presented at the American Psychiatric Association 2009
Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The impact of child abuse already is known to increase the risk of
suicide; however, the literature about other characteristics of
depressed victims of child abuse is scarce.

Although the findings of the Mayo study do not confirm causality, the
information stresses the importance of more aggressive approaches from
the public health perspective to prevent child abuse.

“A history of child abuse makes most psychiatric illnesses worse,”
according to Magdalena Romanowicz, M.D., lead author of the study.

“We found that it significantly impacts the wide range of
characteristics of depressed inpatients, including increased risk of
suicide attempt, substance abuse, as well as earlier onset of mental
illness and more psychiatric hospitalizations.

This new information serves as a reminder of the importance of child
abuse prevention from a public health perspective.”

Dr. Romanowicz says plans are under way to further examine the
association between child abuse and metal illness in a larger study of
patients.

Other authors of this Mayo Clinic study include: Gen Shinozaki, M.D.;
Victoria Passov, M.D.; Simon Kung, M.D.; Renato Alarcon, M.D.; and David
Mrazek, M.D.

Courtesy of Ken Pope