New Research From <em>Clinical Psychological Science</em>

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Personality Predicts Individual Variation in Fear Learning: A Multilevel Growth Modeling Approach

Femke J. Gazendam, Jan H. Kamphuis, Annemarie Eigenhuis, Hilde M. H. Huizenga, Marieke Soeter, Marieke G. N. Bos, Dieuwke Sevenster, and Merel Kindt

Studies examining fear learning have generally focused on average responses and have treated individual variation as noise. Gazendam and colleagues examined personality assessment and fear-conditioning data from 11 studies to find out how the lower-order personality variables of stress reaction (SR) and harm avoidance (HA) and their corresponding higher-order factors of negative emotionality (NEM) and constraint (CON) affect fear conditioning and extinction. The researchers found that SR and NEM predicted fear conditioning. SR was found to interact with HA, and NEM was found to interact with CON, to predict retention of fear conditioning and extinction learning. These findings demonstrate the importance of personality in explaining individual variations in fear learning.

Jessica E. Salvatore, Fazil Aliev, Kathleen Bucholz, Arpana Agrawal, Victor Hesselbrock, Michie Hesselbrock, Lance Bauer, Samuel Kuperman, Marc A. Schuckit, John R. Kramer, Howard J. Edenberg, Tatiana M. Foroud, and Danielle M. Dick

To study whether polygenic risk factors for externalizing disorders in adulthood predicted externalizing disorders in adolescence and young adulthood, the authors assessed participants for externalizing disorders, contentiousness, impulsiveness, sensation seeking, and parental externalizing-disorder history. Adolescents — but not young adults — also completed measures of parental monitoring and perceived peer substance use. Polygenic scores predicted externalizing disorders, subclinical externalizing behavior, and impulsivity traits in both the adolescents and young adults. Parental monitoring and perceived peer substance use was found to moderate the relationship between polygenic score and externalizing behaviors in adolescents. These results illustrate the value of polygenic studies in understanding the role of genes in the development of psychopathology.

Controlling Offensive Behavior Using Narrative Exposure Therapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Former Street Children

Anselm Crombach and Thomas Elbert

Crombach and Elbert examined whether forensic offender narrative exposure therapy (FORNET), an extension of narrative exposure therapy, would improve outcomes for street children and adolescents in postconflict settings. Male children living in a Burundi home for vulnerable children were assessed for appetitive aggression — feelings of power and pleasure associated with violence. Those with the highest scores were matched for level of appetitive aggression, PTSD symptom severity, number of recently committed offense types, age, and street experience. One member of a matched pair was then assigned to receive FORNET, and the other was assigned to receive treatment as usual. Although appetitive aggression tended to decrease in both groups, only those receiving FORNET reported improved health and a reduction in offenses after the intervention.

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