New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Impaired Retrieval Inhibition of Threat Material in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Katharina Kircanski, Douglas C. Johnson, Maria Mateen, Robert A. Bjork, and Ian H. Gotlib

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often experience intrusive thoughts and have a bias for threat-related information. One reason proposed for this is that people with GAD may have impaired retrieval inhibition for threat material. Participants with and without GAD were assessed for anxiety and completed a retrieval-induced forgetting paradigm. The researchers found that participants with GAD showed less retrieval-induced forgetting for threat targets than for neutral targets. This pattern was not seen in people without GAD, suggesting that deficits in inhibitory control over threat-relevant information may contribute to the pathology of GAD.

Questioning Kindling: An Analysis of Cycle Acceleration in Unipolar Depression

Samantha F. Anderson, Scott M. Monroe, Paul Rohde, and Peter M. Lewinsohn

The kindling model, as it relates to depression, suggests that as the number of reoccurrences of depression increases, the time between episodes (i.e., the intermorbid interval) decreases. Although this model has generally been supported, the data from these studies reveal a potential flaw known as Slater’s fallacy. This statistical artifact arises because people with highly recurrent depression have consistently shorter intervals between episodes and make up a larger portion of the sample population with each reoccurrence. The authors utilized data from a longitudinal study that followed adolescents between the ages of 14 and 19 through age 30, examining major depressive disorder reoccurrence and intermorbid-interval length. They found a pattern of decreasing intermorbid intervals; however, this pattern disappeared once they corrected for Slater’s fallacy.

The Life History Model of Psychopathology Explains the Structure of Psychiatric Disorders and the Emergence of the p Factor: A Simulation Study

Marco Del Giudice

Recent research — by Caspi and colleagues (2014) and others — mapping the hierarchical structure of psychological disorders has indicated the presence of a general p factor that reflects generalized sensitivity to psychopathology. In recent publications, Del Giudice and colleagues have proposed a structure for psychopathology based on the life history model and have argued that it can provide a sufficient explanation of the structure of psychiatric disorders and for the emergence of the p factor. To test this, Del Giudice analyzed the distribution of psychiatric symptoms in a virtual sample based on the analysis done by Caspi and colleagues and using assumptions based on the life history model. Del Giudice found that analysis with the life history model replicated the findings of Caspi and colleagues, providing initial validity for the model.

Do Military Personnel “Acquire” the Capability for Suicide From Combat? A Test of the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide

Craig J. Bryan, Sungchoon Sinclair, and Elizabeth A. Heron

Do people acquire the ability to commit suicide? According to the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide, people must have both the desire and the capability to commit suicide — a capability that can be acquired over time through exposure to painful or provocative events. To test this, active-duty U.S. Air Force ground convoy operators’ acquired suicide capability was assessed during predeployment training, deployment in Iraq, and postdeployment. Their combat exposure while in Iraq was also measured. The researchers found that suicide capability scores were stable during the assessment period, even among those who experienced high levels of combat exposure. This finding indicates that suicide capability may be better conceived as a stable construct than as something that is acquired over time.

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