New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship Between Sleep Problems and Loneliness
Melanie A. Hom, Carol Chu, Megan L. Rogers, and Thomas E. Joiner

Hom and colleagues analyzed 84 articles and found small-to-medium and medium associations between perceptions of loneliness and specific sleep complaints, such as insomnia, nightmares, and poor sleep efficiency and quality. Further analyses of longitudinal studies suggest that the relationship between sleep problems and loneliness is bidirectional. The authors propose that future research is needed to identify the mechanisms that underlie the relationship between sleep problems and loneliness and how they influence one another over time.

Low Emotional Awareness as a Transdiagnostic Mechanism Underlying Psychopathology in Adolescence
David G. Weissman, Erik C. Nook, Aridenne A. Dews, et al.

A poor ability to identify and label one’s emotions (i.e., low emotional awareness) may explain an increase in psychopathology during the transition to adolescence and among children who experienced childhood trauma. Children and adolescents (7–19 years) who reported lower emotional awareness were more likely to show psychopathology than those who reported higher emotional awareness; this tendency increased with age among female participants. The relationship between low emotional awareness and psychopathology became stronger as a function of violence exposure.

Do Suicidal Behaviors Increase the Capability for Suicide? A Longitudinal Pretest–Posttest Study of More Than 1,000 High-Risk Individuals
Jessica D. Ribeiro, Lauren M. Harris, Kathryn P. Linthicum, and Chloe P. Bryen

Participants recruited from suicide, self-injury, or mental health online web forums completed measures of their capability for suicide (i.e., reduced fear of death and pain insensitivity), their implicit affect toward suicide stimuli, and their explicit affective ratings of images depicting suicide methods. They also completed lifetime, past-year, past-month, and past-week histories of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. Twenty-eight days later, participants completed the same measures. The findings were contrary to the habituation hypothesis that repeated engagement in self-injurious behaviors, particularly suicide attempts (nonfatal, aborted, interrupted), or in nonsuicidal self-injury increases capability for suicide. In fact, participants’ capability for suicide did not appear to change with different levels of self-injurious thoughts or behaviors.

Clarifying the Link Between Amygdala Functioning During Emotion Processing and Antisocial Behaviors Versus Callous-Unemotional Traits Within a Population-Based Community Sample
Hailey L. Dotterer, Rebecca Waller, Tyler C. Hein, et al.

Deficits in amygdala functioning related to antisocial behavior (AB) may extend across all emotions, this research suggests. Dotterer and colleagues examined amygdala reactivity and connectivity while participants viewed emotional faces (e.g., angry, happy). They found that participants who scored higher on AB showed increased amygdala activation in response to all emotions; however, callous-unemotional (CU) traits moderated the relationship between AB and amygdala activity such that participants with lower levels of CU traits and higher AB showed greater amygdala activity. AB and CU traits were also associated with distinct patterns of amygdala connectivity (with other parts of the brain), suggesting the need for further research on amygdala connectivity during emotion processing in relation to AB and CU traits.

The Disruptive Effects of Estrogen Removal Before Puberty on Risk for Binge Eating in Female Rats
Kelly L. Klump, Elaine B. Sinclair, Britny A. Hildebrandt, et al.

Estrogen might protect against binge eating in adult females, and pubertal estrogen appears especially critical for this protective effect. Klump and colleagues used a sample of female rats and tested whether estrogen removal before puberty (via the removal of the ovaries) increased rates of binge eating in adulthood. Results indicated that rats without pubertal estrogen were more prone to binge eating in adulthood than those with intact estrogen production. Estrogen removal appears to disrupt adolescent brain development, contributing to later risk for binge eating.

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