New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Inflexible Interpretations of Ambiguous Social Situations: A Novel Predictor of Suicidal Ideation and the Beliefs That Inspire It
Jonas Everaert, Michael V. Bronstein, Tyrone D. Cannon, E. David Klonsky, and Jutta Joormann

Negative inflexible interpretations of social situations appear to be associated with increased perceptions of burdensomeness, or the degree to which individuals feel they are a burden to others. These perceptions, in turn, can inspire suicidal ideation, this research suggests. At three sessions 1 week apart, participants completed measures of suicidal desire, risk factors for suicidal ideation (including burdensomeness), and measures of negative interpretation bias and inflexibility. Results indicated that participants with higher negative bias and inflexibility had higher suicidal ideation. Inflexibility might be a mechanism through which burdensomeness might arise and/or persist.

A Year in the Social Life of a Teenager: Within-Persons Fluctuations in Stress, Phone Communication, and Anxiety and Depression
Alexandra M. Rodman et al.

Teenagers’ social communication changes might confer risk for stress-related internalizing psychopathology, such as anxiety and depression. Throughout 1 year, Rodman and colleagues analyzed the presence of stressful life events (SLEs) and frequency of calls and texts in female teenagers. When SLEs increased, teenagers received and made more calls than usual, which was associated with worsening symptoms. This worsening did not appear to occur immediately after the increase in calls but at month-level assessments, suggesting that changes in communication might have a delayed effect on internalizing symptoms. Also, an increase in received calls appeared to mediate the relationship between SLEs and anxiety.

Involuntary Memories of War-Related Scenes in Veterans With PTSD
Søren Risløv Staugaard, Annette Kjær Fuglsang, and Dorthe Berntsen

Staugaard and colleagues tested veterans with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to examine whether affect intensity in PTSD extended from traumatic memories to novel memories. Participants saw negative (war-related) or neutral (e.g., a street) scenes paired with sounds. Immediately or 1 week after, participants heard the sounds and thus involuntarily retrieved some scenes, which they described and rated for the accompanying emotional response. Compared with veterans without PTSD, veterans with PTSD had stronger emotional responses to their memories regardless of valence. This intensity did not diminish after 1 week.

Atypical Visual Motion-Prediction Abilities in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Woon Ju Park, Kimberly B. Schauder, Oh-Sang Kwon, Loisa Bennetto, and Duje Tadin

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appear to show atypical visual prediction of motion trajectories. Children and adolescents with and without ASD performed a computerized task in which they saw a bird whose movement had been occluded and predicted when it arrived at a target location. Participants without ASD developed a central-tendency bias throughout the experiment—an adaptive behavior indicating accumulation of knowledge about the stimulus statistics—whereas participants with ASD did not show this bias. Also, smooth-pursuit eye movements for the moving bird were associated with better performance in participants without ASD and with a bias for responding early among participants with ASD.

Affective Response to Binge Eating as a Predictor of Treatment Outcomes for Binge-Eating Disorder
Tyler B. Mason et al.

Affective response to binge eating may predict how well individuals with binge-eating disorder (BED) respond to treatments. Mason and colleagues measured the baseline affective response (including emotions and mood) to binge eating in adults with BED and their responses to 17 weeks of either integrative cognitive-affective therapy (ICAT-BED) or cognitive behavioral therapy-guided self-help (CBT-gsh). Six months after treatment ended, individuals with greater increases in positive affect after binge eating responded better to ICAT-BED than to CBT-gsh. Immediately after treatment, individuals with slower postbinge reduction of negative affect did better in ICAT-BED, whereas those with lower negative-affect improvements benefitted more from CBT-gsh.

When Goal Pursuit Gets Hairy: A Longitudinal Goal Study Examining the Role of Controlled Motivation and Action Crises in Predicting Changes in Hair Cortisol, Perceived Stress, Health, and Depression Symptoms
Anne Catherine Holding et al.

In this 8-month study, Holding and colleagues examined the association between goal pursuit and stress. They tracked college students’ goals and examined whether controlled goal motivation (i.e., pursuing a goal out of obligation and pressure) and experiencing an action crisis (i.e., conflict between persevering with the goal or starting to disengage from it) were associated with higher stress markers. Students experiencing an action crisis showed increases in hair cortisol, depression, and ill-being, in part because they pursued the goals out of obligation and pressure.

Barriers to Building More Effective Treatments: Negative Interactions Among Smoking-Intervention Components
Timothy B. Baker, Daniel M. Bolt, and Stevens S. Smith

Baker and colleagues review three smoking-cessation studies that explored different intervention components to form an effective multicomponent treatment. These studies suggested that combining intervention components might decrease rather than increase their effectiveness. The authors evaluate the factors that may explain the negative interactions among components, including increased attentional or effort burden, shared mechanisms among components preventing the maximization of their benefits, and a phenomenon in which people far from the tipping point of change benefit little from even strong interventions. These factors may constrain the development of more effective treatments.

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