COVID-19, attentional bias, and trait anxiety

Click here for the article published by Frontiers in Psychiatry. Anxious individuals selectively attend to threatening information, but it remains unclear whether attentional bias can be generalized to traumatic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous studies suggested that specific threats related to personal experiences can elicit more substantial attentional bias than general threats. The …

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Defense mechanisms as predictors of anxiety and self-esteem—A multiple regression analysis.

Click here for the article published by Psychoanalytic Psychology (APA) anxiety. Psychoanalytic Psychology, Vol 40(4), Oct 2023, 348-353; doi:10.1037/pap0000459 Defense mechanisms are supposed to help us deal with stress by decreasing anxiety and preserving our self-esteem. The aim of the present study was to determine which defense styles and specific defense mechanisms have the strongest …

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Transdiagnostic treatment of depression and anxiety: a meta-analysis

BackgroundIn the past 10 years an increasing number of randomised trials have examined the effects of transdiagnostic treatments of patients with depression or anxiety. We conducted the first comprehensive meta-analysis of the outcomes of this emerging field.MethodsWe used the searches in PubMed, PsychINFO, Embase and the Cochrane library of an existing database of randomised trials of psychological interventions for depression to identify studies comparing a transdiagnostic treatment of patients with depression or anxiety with a control group (deadline 1 January 2022). We conducted random-effects meta-analyses and examined the effects on depression and anxiety at the short and longer term.ResultsWe included 45 randomised controlled trials with 51 comparisons between a psychotherapy and a control group and 5530 participants. Thirty-five (78%) studies were conducted in the last 10 years. The overall effect size was g = 0.54 (95% CI 0.40–0.69; NNT = 5.87), with high heterogeneity (I2 = 78; 95% CI 71–83), and a broad PI (−0.31–1.39). The effects remained significant in a series of sensitivity analyses, including exclusion of outliers, adjustment for publication bias, for studies with low risk of bias, and in multilevel analyses. The results were comparable for depression and anxiety separately. At 6 months after randomisation the main effects were still significant, but not at 12 months, although the number of studies was small.ConclusionsTransdiagnostic treatments of patients with depression or anxiety are increasingly examined and are probably effective at the short term.

Incongruent gestures slow the processing of facial expressions in university students with social anxiety

In recent years, an increasing number of studies have examined the mechanisms underlying nonverbal emotional information processing in people with high social anxiety (HSA). However, most of these studies have focused on the processing of facial expressions, and there has been scarce research on gesture or even face-gesture combined processing in HSA individuals. The present study explored the processing characteristics and mechanism of the interaction between gestures and facial expressions in people with HSA and low social anxiety (LSA). The present study recruited university students as participants and used the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale scores to distinguish the HSA and LSA groups. We used a 2 (group: HSA and LSA) × 2 (emotion valence: positive, negative) × 2 (task: face, gesture) multifactor mixed design, and videos of a single face or gesture and combined face-gesture cues were used as stimuli. We found that (1) there is a distinction in the processing of faces and gestures, with individuals recognizing gestures faster than faces; (2) there is an attentional enhancement in the processing of gestures, particularly for negative gestures; and (3) when the emotional valence of faces and gestures align, it facilitates the recognition of both. However, incongruent gestures have a stronger impact on the processing of facial expressions compared to facial expressions themselves, suggesting that the processing of facial emotions is more influenced by environmental cues provided by gestures. These findings indicated that gestures played an important role in emotional processing, and facial emotional processing was more dependent on the environmental cues derived from gestures, which helps to clarify the reasons for biases in the interpretation of emotional information in people with HSA.

social media loneliness anxiety depression Dr Jonathan Haverkampf psychotherapy psychiatry

Cutting back on social media reduces anxiety, depression, loneliness

Researchers found college students who tried to cut their social media use to 30 minutes per day scored significantly lower for anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear of missing out at the end of the two-week experiment and when compared to the control group.

psychotherapy communicaation relationship persuasiveness persuasion Dr Jonatthan Haverkampf psychotherapy psychiatry

Psychotherapist’s persuasiveness in anxiety: Scale development and relation to the working alliance.

Click here for the article published by Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. Effective communication can have a positive impact on a client’s struggle. Psychotherapy has been found to be an effective remedy for many mental health conditions, but it’s important for therapists to be aware of ways how to communicate the salience of their approach to …

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Meta-Analysis Shows Effective Psychological Treatment for Perinatal Depression

Depression during pregnancy and after the birth of a child is highly prevalent and an important public health problem. Psychological interventions are the first-line treatment and, although a considerable number of randomized trials have been conducted, no recent comprehensive meta-analysis has evaluated treatment effects.

We used an existing database of randomized controlled trials of psychotherapies for adult depression and included studies aimed at perinatal depression. Random effects models were used in all analyses. We examined the effects of the interventions in the short and long term, and also examined secondary outcomes.

Forty-three studies with 49 comparisons and 6270 participants between an intervention and control group were included. The overall effect size was g = 0.67 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45~0.89; numbers needed-to-be-treated = 4.39] with high heterogeneity (I2 = 80%; 95% CI 75~85). This effect size remained largely unchanged and significant in a series of sensitivity analyses, although some publication bias was found. The effects remained significant at 6–12 months follow-up. Significant effects were also found for social support, anxiety, functional limitations, parental stress and marital stress, although the number of studies for each outcome was low. All results should be considered with caution because of the high levels of heterogeneity in most analyses.

Psychological interventions are probably effective in the treatment of perinatal depression, with effects that last at least up to 6–12 months and probably also have effects on social support, anxiety, functional impairment, parental stress, and marital stress.

Sex and gender role differences on stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms in response to the COVID-19 pandemic over time

IntroductionStress, depression, and anxiety symptoms have been reported during the pandemic, with important inter-individual differences. Past cross-sectional studies have found that sex and gender roles may contribute to the modulation of one’s vulnerability to develop such symptoms. This longitudinal study aimed to examine the interaction of sex and psychological gender roles on stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms in adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.MethodsFollowing the confinement measures in March 2020 in Montreal, stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms were assessed every 3 months (from June 2020 to March 2021) with the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale among 103 females and 50 males. Femininity and masculinity scores were assessed with the Bem Sex Role Inventory before the pandemic and were added as predictors along with time, sex, and the interactions between these variables using linear mixed models.ResultsWe observed similar levels of depressive symptoms between males and females, but higher levels of stress and anxious symptoms in females. No effects of sex and gender roles on depressive symptoms were found. For stress and anxiety, an interaction between time, femininity, and sex was found. At the beginning of the pandemic, females with high femininity had more stress symptoms than males with high femininity, whereas females with low femininity had more anxiety symptoms 1 year after the confinement measures compared to males with low femininity.DiscussionThese findings suggest that sex differences and psychological gender roles contribute to heterogeneous patterns of stress and anxiety symptoms over time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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