New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Anxiety Modulates Preference for Immediate Rewards Among Trait-Impulsive Individuals: A Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis
Nathaniel Haines et al.

Haines and colleagues tested three groups of participants with different levels of substance use (indicating different levels of impulsivity) on a task that measured impulsive decision-making. The authors also analyzed participants’ trait impulsivity (strong preference for immediate over delayed rewards and difficulty inhibiting their behaviors) and state anxiety (i.e., momentary anxiety, contrasting with constant anxiety as a stable trait). Individuals with high trait impulsivity and experiencing high state anxiety appeared to make more optimal, future-oriented, and nonimpulsive decisions than when they were experiencing lower anxiety. Thus, among impulsive individuals, anxiety can diminish a preference for immediate rewards.

Derationalizing Delusions
Vaughan Bell, Nichola Raihani, and Sam Wilkinson

Bell and colleagues argue that models of delusions should not solely focus on impairments to domain-general reasoning but should also account for processes involved in affiliation, group perception, and relationship management. The researchers suggest that models of delusions that include alterations to these social processes can account for the fact that delusions are socially themed, show reduced sensitivity to social context, and can be induced through adaptive social cognitive processes that also contribute to social integration. Bell and colleagues further suggest that the role of dopamine in both delusions and social organization supports these models.

Evidence of Inflated Prediction Performance: A Commentary on Machine Learning and Suicide Research
Ross Jacobucci, Andrew K. Littlefield, Alexander J. Millner, Evan M. Kleiman, and Douglas Steinley

Jacobucci and colleagues use a simulation and an empirical example in suicide research to demonstrate how nonlinear machine-learning approaches and optimism-corrected bootstrap techniques might inflate the prediction estimates of clinical outcome models. Their analyses indicate that alternative methods for validating models, such as k-fold cross-validation or bootstrap sampling, might be more appropriate. They also suggest that the superior performance of machine learning over traditional approaches might be an artifact of the validation methods used and may not necessarily indicate that suicide is a complex phenomenon that requires complex theories.

Thought Conditioning: Inducing and Reducing Thoughts About the Aversive Outcome in a Fear-Conditioning Procedure
Ann-Kathrin Zenses, Frank Baeyens, Tom Beckers, and Yannick Boddez

A fear-conditioning procedure can both induce and reduce intrusive thoughts about aversive stimuli that are conducive to fear and anxiety, this research suggests. In fear conditioning, neutral stimuli (e.g., images of colored circles) are contingently presented with aversive ones (e.g., images of mutilated bodies), and fear responses to the neutral stimuli are measured. Zenses and colleagues showed that fear conditioning can change the mere thought of aversive outcomes. They also showed that presenting positive outcomes can reduce the frequency of thoughts about negative outcomes previously associated with a neutral stimulus.

Is Knowledge Contagious? Diffusion of Violence-Risk-Reporting Practices Across Clinicians’ Professional Networks
Yanick Charette, Ilvy Goossens, Michael C. Seto, Tonia L. Nicholls, and Anne G. Crocker

Charette and colleagues examined 6,664 reports written by 708 clinicians to evaluate how a professional network can spread the use of certain practices. They found that in forensic psychiatric settings, clinicians’ use of violence-risk-assessment instruments spread across the network, influencing subsequent reports by other clinicians with whom they share patients. On the basis of the network and its patterns of diffusion of information, the researchers simulated the effects of a continuing education program and found that targeting more influential clinicians in the network could be 3 times more efficient at disseminating best practices than using random training.

Components of Emotion Regulation Flexibility: Linking Latent Profiles to Depressive and Anxious Symptoms
Shuquan Chen and George A. Bonanno

People need to flexibly regulate their emotions to manage diverse situations. Chen and Bonanno investigated the patterns in the components of emotion regulation flexibility (i.e., context sensitivity, repertoire or range of strategies, and feedback responsiveness). They found that individuals tend to present one of these latent profiles: high-flexibility regulators (HFR), medium-flexibility regulators (MFR), and inflexible regulators—that is, context-insensitive regulators (CIR), feedback-irresponsive regulators (FIR), and low-repertoire regulators (LRR). Inflexible regulators were more likely to show symptoms of depression and anxiety than medium- and high-flexibility regulators. Among inflexible regulators, CIR showed more anxiety symptoms than FIR and LRR.

Racial Discrimination Predicts Mental Health Outcomes Beyond the Role of Personality Traits in a Community Sample of African Americans
Yara Mekawi et al.

Experiencing racial discrimination appears to be associated with negative mental health outcomes beyond individuals’ personality traits. Mekawi and colleagues tested a community sample of African Americans and found that racial discrimination accounted for variance in depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress symptoms independent of personality traits, such as negative temperament, mistrust, and dependency traits. These results suggest that personality traits do not fully account for the negative effects of racial discrimination on the mental health of African Americans, and that clinical practitioners may deliver more competent care by not conceptualizing race-related distress as a product of their clients’ personality.

Impaired Autobiographical Memory Flexibility in Iranian Trauma Survivors With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Maryam Piltan et al.

Piltan and colleagues evaluated memory specificity (i.e., the ability to remember specific autobiographical memories) and memory flexibility (i.e., the ability to move between remembering specific and general memories) in Iranian participants who had survived a serious traffic accident. They found that participants with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced reductions in both memory specificity and memory flexibility relative to participants without PTSD or who had not been exposed to trauma. These findings suggest that memory flexibility, which has also been found in individuals with depression, may be a marker of emotional disturbance.

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