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

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Iris M. Engelhard, Miriam J. J. Lommen, and Marit Sijbrandij

Are perceptions of growth after a trauma adaptive or maladaptive for trauma survivors? Infantry soldiers in the Royal Netherlands Army completed personality assessments before a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Five months and 15 months after their return, the soldiers completed measures of trauma, posttraumatic growth, and PTSD symptoms. Greater perceived growth 5 months postdeployment was associated with greater levels of posttraumatic stress 15 months postdeployment, even after controlling for levels of posttraumatic stress at the 5-month time point. This finding indicates that perceptions of positive growth after a traumatic event may have negative long-term implications for survivors’ mental health outcomes

Negative Social-Evaluative Fears Produce Social Anxiety, Food Intake, and Body Dissatisfaction: Evidence of Similar Mechanisms Through Different Pathways

Cheri A. Levinson and Thomas L. Rodebaugh

The level of comorbidity between eating disorders and social-anxiety disorders is quite high, leading researchers to posit that these two psychopathologies have a shared underlying vulnerability. The researchers examined whether two negative social-evaluation fears — fear of negative evaluation (FNE) and social-appearance anxiety (SAA) — could be the source of this shared vulnerability. Participants completed a speech task that induced fears of either FNE or SAA. They found that inducing FNE led to increased levels of social anxiety and food intake, whereas inducing SSA led to increased levels of social anxiety and body dissatisfaction. These findings suggest that although negative social-evaluation fears may be a shared vulnerability for both disorders, the way this vulnerability arises leads to the development of disorder-specific behaviors.

Neighborhood Poverty, College Attendance, and Diverging Profiles of Substance Use and Allostatic Load in Rural African American Youth

Edith Chen, Gregory E. Miller, Gene H. Brody, and ManKit Lei

Children who grow up in impoverished neighborhoods are at risk for a variety of poor mental and physical outcomes. Despite these risks, a subset of these children seem to show resilience and achieve positive life outcomes. The researchers examined assessments of neighborhood poverty, college attendance, substance use, and allostatic load — a measure of physical stress on the body — taken from a longitudinal study of African American families. They found that neighborhood poverty was linked to allostatic load only for those youths who attended college. Although these adolescents seem to be succeeding in life behaviorally, they are still at risk physiologically because of their high allostatic load, indicating that their resilience may be only “skin deep.”

Edith Chen will be giving an invited address at the 27th APS Annual Convention in New York, NY, USA.

The Promise of Neurotechnology in Clinical Translational Science

Susan W. White, J. Anthony Richey, Denis Gracanin, Martha Ann Bell, Stephen LaConte, Marika Coffman, Andrea Trubanova, and Inyoung Kim

The use of neurotechnology — devices and applications that can be used to assess and change neural function — has the potential to augment and improve the way we diagnose and treat a variety of different clinical disorders. White and colleagues provide a seven-principle framework that can be used to guide the development, evaluation, and application of these new technologies. Although neurotechnology has the potential to provide care with few side effects to a wide audience who might not have access to traditional in-person care, there are still some hurdles to be overcome. An integrative approach will be needed to combine measurements and insights gleaned from use of this technology to identify and target the underlying mechanisms of specific disorders.

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