New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

The Role of Personality in the Mental and Physical Health of World Trade Center Responders: Self-Reports Versus Informant-Reports
Joshua R. Oltmanns et al.  

Responders to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, along with their spouses, family members, and friends (informants) completed five-factor model personality measures and assessments of stressful events, functioning, mental disorders, 9/11-related treatment costs, body mass index (BMI), and daily activity across 3 years. Self-reports were uniquely related to stressful events and functioning. A combination of self-reports and informant-reports was more valid than either type of report alone for mental disorder diagnoses and treatment costs. For daily activity and BMI, informant-reports were more valid than self-reports. The findings suggest that informant-reports of personality may be more valid indicators of objective health outcomes.   

Are Progressives in Denial About Progress? Yes, but So Is Almost Everyone Else
Gregory Mitchell and Philip E. Tetlock  

Mitchell and Tetlock used a large-scale survey to examine claims that positive illusions about societal change sustain inequalities by inducing apathy and opposition to reform. Their findings indicated a pervasive tendency, across ideological and demographic categories, to see things as getting worse than they really are. Casting doubt on claims that people mobilize beliefs about societal trends to support political positions, these results suggest a simpler explanation: Most laypeople do not organize information in ways that provide reliable monitoring of social change over time, making their views on progress susceptible to memory distortions. 

Prediction of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis Using Brief, Low-Cost Clinical Measures: A Competitive Model Evaluation
Michael A. Mooney et al.

Parent and teacher surveys might provide high-confidence diagnoses in the vast majority of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) cases, but an important minority of cases require additional evaluation to be accurately diagnosed, this article suggests. Mooney and colleagues also tested the performance of multiple classification methods used to predict a clinician-consensus ADHD diagnosis. They found that a multistage Bayesian classifier provided an intuitive approach consistent with clinical workflows and predicted expert consensus ADHD diagnosis with high accuracy (> 86%)—though not significantly better than other simple and complex methods (e.g., logistic regression and random forest, respectively). 

System-Centered Care: How Bureaucracy and Racialization Decenter Attempts at Person-Centered Mental Health Care
Miraj U. Desai, Nadika Paranamana, John F. Dovidio, Larry Davidson, and Victoria Stanhope  

Desai and colleagues explored structural biases in mental health organizations in the context of person-centered care—an emerging framework for health systems globally. Findings obtained via qualitative interviews indicated how institutional structures may create a risk that clients will be seen as racialized or bureaucratic objects instead of individuals. Specifically, the researchers explain how racial profiles could become determinants of care within institutions and how another, covert form of institutional objectification could emerge in which clients are reduced to bureaucratic objects. The findings suggest a basic psychosocial process—a type of “bureaucra-think”—through which staff could become unwitting carriers of system-centered care. 

Adolescent Social Communication Through Smartphones: Linguistic Features of Internalizing Symptoms and Daily Mood
Elizabeth A. McNeilly et al.

The words adolescents use in digital social media appear to be related to differences in their daily mood and mental health, this study suggests. McNeilly and colleagues analyzed 22,152 messages from the social media, email, and texting of adolescents (ages 11–15 years) across 1 month. Lower daily mood was associated with linguistic features reflecting self-focus and reduced temporal distance (i.e., a focus on the present). Adolescents with lower daily mood on average tended to send fewer positive emotion words and more total words on low-mood days. Adolescents with lower daily mood and higher depression symptoms specifically tended to use more future-focus words.   

Global Is Local: Leveraging Global Mental-Health Methods to Promote Equity and Address Disparities in the United States
Ali Giusto et al.

Global mental health (GMH) takes an interdisciplinary approach to improve mental-health-care access and relevance. An emerging use of these strategies involves partnerships between low- and middle-income regions and high-income regions aimed at addressing disparities in this access and relevance. Giusto and colleagues analyzed GMH strategies used in current partnerships between Kenya and North Carolina (U.S.), South Africa and the U.S. state of Maryland (U.S.), and Mozambique and New York (U.S.). Shared strategies included qualitative formative work and partnership building; selecting and adapting evidence-based interventions; prioritizing accessible, feasible delivery; task sharing; tailoring training and supervision; and mixed-method, hybrid designs. Integrating GMH strategies into clinical science might improve efforts to expand care in ways that consider culture and context.   

Stress and Mood Associations With Smartphone Use in University Students: A 12-Week Longitudinal Study
Abigail H. M. Bradley and Andrea L. Howard

Time spent on smartphones might not impact young people’s well-being, this research suggests. In fall 2020, undergraduate students uploaded weekly screenshots from their iPhone “Screen Time” display and completed surveys measuring stress, mood, and COVID-19 experiences. Results indicated no week-to-week change in average smartphone hours of use or device pickups throughout the semester. Higher stress levels were not associated with heavier smartphone use overall or by type of app. Heavier smartphone use in one week did not predict end-of-week mood, but students who tended to spend more time on their phones in general reported slightly worse moods overall.   

Experimental Investigation of the Influence of Positive Emotion Dysregulation on Risky Behavior Following Idiographic Emotion Inductions
Nicole H. Weiss et al.  

Emotion dysregulation following the experience of positive emotion appears to predict a propensity for behavioral risk-taking, including urges to abuse harmful substances. Women who were both in abusive relationships and users of harmful substances listened to positive, negative, and neutral emotion-induction scripts. Weiss and colleagues collected subjective (state self-report) and objective (e.g., high-frequency heart rate variability [hfHRV]) markers of emotion dysregulation and assessed subjective (urge for substances) and objective (Balloon Analogue Risk Task) measures of risky behavior. Results indicated that (a) greater self-reported emotion dysregulation and lower hfHRV predicted more urges for substances in the positive (vs. negative and neutral) emotion-induction condition, and (b) lower hfHRV predicted more objective risk-taking propensity in the positive (vs. neutral) emotion-induction condition.    

Clinician Perception of the Clinical Utility of the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP) System
Caroline E. Balling, Susan C. South, Donald R. Lynam, and Douglas B. Samuel  

Clinicians attribute more clinical utility to the Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology (HiTOP), a diagnostic system that has been offered as an alternative to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), than to the DSM, this research indicates. Practicing clinicians rated clinical vignettes using both diagnostic systems and then rated the two systems on indices of clinical utility. They favored HiTOP for overall clinical utility, ease of application, and utility for formulating effective interventions, communicating clinical information to the client, comprehensively describing psychopathology, and describing global functioning. But they had no preference for HiTOP or the DSM for communicating with other mental health providers.    

Sociopolitical Values as the Deep Culture in Culturally Competent Psychotherapy
Richard E. Redding and Cory Cobb  

Although the consideration of client and therapist values is considered a core component of culturally competent psychotherapy, sociopolitical attitudes and values (SPAVs) specifically have been almost entirely neglected in the literature, Redding and Cobb suggest. They argue that research in behavior genetics, neuroscience, and personality and social psychology suggests that SPAVs often play a substantial role in people’s self-concept, behaviors, relationships, and life choices. Thus, cultural competence requires that therapists consider the ways in which both the client’s and therapist’s SPAVs, and the interaction between them, can affect therapeutic processes and outcomes.    

Development and Feasibility Pilot Study of Indigenous Recovery Planning: A Community-Engaged Approach to Addressing Substance Use in a Native Community
Monica C. Skewes et al.  

As part of a community-based participatory research project involving 5 years of relationship building and three preliminary studies, Skewes and colleagues developed an intervention to help tribal members of a rural American Indian reservation recover from substance use disorders. The Indigenous recovery planning (IRP) intervention consisted of six weekly sessions designed to provide inroads to existing community resources, affirm and enhance Native identity, address culturally relevant risk factors, and build on strengths. Results from a pilot study suggest that IRP is feasible to implement and acceptable to the community. Although there was insufficient statistical power to conduct hypothesis testing, IRP had positive results for recovery within the community from substance use disorders. 

Lack of Sample Diversity in Research on Adolescent Depression and Social Media Use: A Scoping Review and Meta-Analysis
Sakshi Ghai, Luisa Fassi, Faisal Awadh, and Amy Orben

Ghai and colleagues reviewed 34 articles on adolescent depression and social media use published between 2018 and 2020 and found a lack of sample diversity, perhaps because more than 70% of studies examined Global North populations. Also, the results appeared to vary between populations: For example, social media was associated with depression in the Global North but not in the Global South. There was also little evidence of diversity within regions in sampling choices and participants’ demographics. Given that sample diversity is crucial for the generalizability of research findings, action is needed to address these oversights, Ghai and colleagues conclude. 

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