New Insights From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research and boundary-crossing insights published in Clinical Psychological Science.

Suppression-Induced Reduction in the Specificity of Autobiographical Memories

Elizabeth Stephens, Amy Braid, and Paula T. Hertel

Although research has shown that repeated suppression of memories can lead people to forget them — something that may be adaptive — the effect of suppression on autobiographical memories is not well understood. Dysphoric and nondysphoric participants were asked to recall autobiographical memories in response to negative, positive, and neutral cue words and to create a title for each memory. They were then shown the cue words and asked to think about the memory or to avoid thinking about the memory. Participants’ ability to recall each memory and its title was then assessed. The results showed that recall was worse for suppressed memories and that dysphoric participants displayed reduced recall for all memories related to negative cue words, regardless of whether they suppressed the memory or not. These findings suggest that the specificity and emotional potency of autobiographical experiences can be reduced.

Novel Models for Delivering Mental Health Services and Reducing the Burdens of Mental Illness

Alan E. Kazdin and Sarah M. Rabbitt

The need for mental health care is enormous, with 50% of the U.S. population meeting criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder over the course of their lifetimes. Although the traditional model of mental health care — individual therapy with a mental health professional — can be effective, it is not capable of meeting the needs of the large numbers of individuals who need treatment. Kazdin and Rabbitt describe seven models outside of the mental health profession in fields such as public health, business, and medicine that can help expand access to care. The definition and background, the applications to mental health care, and the key considerations and features of each model (such as reach, scalability, and affordability) are discussed. Kazdin and Rabbitt conclude by identifying challenges in applying these models and by proposing the next steps needed for expanding access to mental health care.

Using Mechanical Turk to Study Clinical Populations

Danielle Shapiro, Jesse Chandler, and Pam Mueller

Although participant-recruitment platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) are increasing in popularity (due to their ability to reach a wide range of audiences), their utility is not well known. Shapiro, Chandler, and Mueller examined MTurk to further determine the data collection properties of such programs. Participants recruited from MTurk completed several mental health and demographic surveys at two time points. In general, the researchers found that reported levels of psychopathology matched or exceeded what is found in the general population. However, a surprisingly large portion of participants reported experiencing exceedingly rare symptoms, and a number of people who reported living in the U.S. filled out the surveys from foreign IP addresses. The authors suggest that participant recruitment platforms such as MTurk may be a useful resource, but only when researchers take proper precautions to protect the quality of their data.

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