New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Mindfulness-Based Trauma Recovery for Refugees (MBTR-R): Randomized Waitlist-Control Evidence of Efficacy and Safety
Anna Aizik-Reebs, Kim Yuval, Yuval Hadash, Solomon Gebreyohans Gebremariam, and Amit Bernstein

Aizik-Reebs and colleagues developed a mindfulness-based group intervention for refugees and asylum seekers that appears to diminish the trauma- and stress-related mental health problems often experienced by these groups. The researchers tested a sample of 158 Eritrean asylum seekers with severe trauma history and chronic postmigration stress. One group of participants was put on a “waiting list” for an intervention. Another group went through 9 weeks of the intervention mindfulness-based trauma recovery for refugees (MBTR-R). The second group showed reduced rates and less symptom severity of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety immediately after the intervention and at a 5-week follow-up.

Dynamic Attention Regulation for Prospective Goals in Schizophrenia
Tao Chen et al.

Chen and colleagues tested individuals with and without schizophrenia using a prospective memory task, in which participants had to press the space bar on a keyboard every 2 min while performing an ongoing task—deciding whether each word in a series represented a living or a nonliving thing. Patients with schizophrenia showed higher intraindividual response time variability (i.e., less consistency in when they pressed the space bar) and checked the time less frequently during the last 30 s than individuals without schizophrenia. These differences were related to poorer time-based prospective memory in patients with schizophrenia.

Neurocognitive Heterogeneity in Social Anxiety Disorder: The Role of Self-Referential Processing and Childhood Maltreatment
Anat Talmon, Matthew Luke Dixon, Philippe R. Goldin, Richard G. Heimberg, and James J. Gross

Participants with and without social anxiety disorder (SAD) completed measures of childhood maltreatment, subjective well-being, and emotion regulation and judged whether positive and negative adjectives described them. The researchers also used functional MRI to measure participants’ brain activation in the default mode network (DMN) while participants judged the adjectives. Compared with another subgroup of participants with SAD, one subgroup showed higher levels of negative trait self-endorsement, lower levels of positive trait self-endorsement, higher levels of childhood maltreatment, lower subjective well-being, and altered use of emotion-regulation strategies, along with higher DMN activation. Although all participants with SAD differed from those without SAD, these results indicate that those with SAD are neurocognitively heterogeneous.

Polygenic Score for Smoking Is Associated With Externalizing Psychopathology and Disinhibited Personality Traits but Not Internalizing Psychopathology in Adolescence
Brian M. Hicks et al.

Polygenic scores for smoking estimate one’s genetic propensities to smoke, calculated according to their genotype profile and genome-wide associations in a sample of interest. These scores appear to be associated with externalizing psychopathology, disinhibited personality traits, and lower agreeableness and conscientiousness. Hicks and colleagues examined the association between smoking polygenic scores and psychopathology and personality traits throughout adolescence (ages 11, 14, and 17 years) in a sample of 1,881 twin pairs. Results indicate that smoking polygenic scores measure risk for behavioral disinhibition and contribute to consistent individual differences in psychological processes that can lead to externalizing problems (e.g., conduct disorder, aggression).

Substance Use and Sexual-Minority Status: Examining the Mediating Roles of Stress and Emotion Dysregulation in Young Adult Women
Connor J. McCabe et al.

McCabe and colleagues examined how stress and emotion dysregulation affect substance use among sexual-minority women. For 5 years, from ages 17 to 22, heterosexual and sexual-minority women provided annual data on their drug use. They also provided data on social stressors (victimization, discriminatory experiences, and harsh parenting) at age 17 and on emotion dysregulation from ages 19 to 21. Compared with heterosexual women, sexual-minority women reported higher levels of social stress, which predicted greater emotion dysregulation associated with greater marijuana use. Thus, emotion dysregulation caused by stressors can be a risk factor for substance use among sexual-minority women.

Extending Expectancy Theory to Food Intake: Effect of a Simulated Fast-Food Restaurant on Highly and Minimally Processed Food Expectancies
Jenna R. Cummings et al.

Reducing the positive emotions that individuals might expect to get from eating highly processed foods may improve dietary choices, this research suggests. Participants entered a simulated fast-food restaurant or a neutral office space; completed questionnaires about anticipated emotional effects of food; and performed a bogus taste test of chips, cookies, carrots, and grapes. Afterward, they were left alone to help themselves to any remaining food. Compared with participants in the neutral space, those in the fast-food restaurant had more positive expectancies for highly processed food, which led them to eat more chips and cookies than minimally processed foods such as carrots and grapes.

Is a High Association Between Repetitive Negative Thinking and Negative Affect Predictive of Depressive Symptoms? A Clustering Approach for Experience-Sampling Data
Mina Stefanovic, Tabea Rosenkranz, Thomas Ehring, Edward R. Watkins, and Keisuke Takano

Stefanovic and colleagues examined experience-sampling data assessing participants’ momentary levels of worry, negative affect, and repetitive negative thinking several times per day, over the course of several days. Using clustering analyses, the researchers identified two groups of individuals who differed in terms of how much their levels of negative affect impacted the degree to which they engaged in repetitive negative thinking. For participants with higher associations between negative affect and repetitive negative thinking, negative affect was also associated with a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms during a 3-month follow-up period. Thus, targeting dysfunctional associations between negative thinking and affect might help to prevent depressive symptoms.

Characterizing Typologies of Polytraumatization: A Replication and Extension Study Examining Internalizing and Externalizing Psychopathology in an Urban Population
Yara Mekawi et al.

Mekawi and colleagues examined four symptom-based outcomes (posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, aggression, and substance use) and two behavior-based outcomes (self-harm, jail counts) in a sample of adults with low socioeconomic status. The researchers used latent profile analysis to identify distinct typologies of polytraumatization. Results indicated five classes of trauma: minimal trauma, physical abuse, violence exposure, sexual abuse, and polytrauma. Classes characterized by specific types of trauma were highly associated with only one type of psychopathology, whereas classes characterized by varied trauma were highly associated with both internalizing (e.g., depression) and externalizing (e.g., aggression) psychopathology. Also, physical and sexual violence were the most consequential traumas for psychopathology.

Suicide Ideation and Thwarted Interpersonal Needs Among Psychiatric Inpatients: A Network Approach
Sarah L. Brown et al.

Brown and colleagues used a network approach to analyze data from psychiatric inpatients and assess how suicide ideation is affected by specific facets of thwarted belongingness (perceived disconnection from others and lack of reciprocal caring relationships) and perceived burdensomeness (self-hatred and belief that one’s death is worth more to others than one’s life). Results indicated that items reflecting two facets—feeling that one does not belong and feelings of being a burden on society—were the only unique predictors of suicide ideation. These facets are congruent with the ones postulated by the interpersonal psychological theory of suicide.

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