New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance: A Comprehensive Model

Omer Van den Bergh, Richard J. Brown, Sibylle Petersen, and Michael Witthöft

Idiopathic environmental intolerance is the name given to a group of health conditions that are characterized by somatic responses to environmental triggers for which there is no physiological cause. These conditions, such as multiple chemical sensitivity, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and infrasound hypersensitivity, elicit real feelings of psychological and physiological illness and are often debilitating for those who suffer from them. In this article, the authors create a new unifying model for these conditions in which symptoms are the product of a nocebo effect driven by expectations and beliefs about environmental stimuli. This model suggests avenues for clinical intervention and new directions for research.

Impact of Cognitive Reappraisal on Negative Affect, Heart Rate, and Intrusive Memories in Traumatized Refugees

Angela Nickerson, Benjamin Garber, Belinda J. Liddell, Brett T. Litz, Stefan G. Hofmann, Anu Asnaani, Ola Ahmed, Jessica Cheung, Ly Huynh, Rosanna Pajak, and Richard A. Bryant

Refugees are often exposed to prolonged repeated trauma and persecution. It is not surprising that this group reports higher levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than are found in civilian populations. Although cognitive reappraisal is a promising method for managing trauma-related reminders, few studies have examined its use in refugee populations. Refugees were assessed for trauma exposure, PTSD symptoms, trait suppression, and trait reappraisal. The refugees’ heart rates were then monitored while they completed a task in which they used reappraisal or suppression to manage the emotions elicited by trauma-related images. Refugees completed measures of negative affect before, immediately after, and 2 days after viewing the images. Participants in the reappraisal condition with high levels of PTSD symptoms had fewer memory-related intrusions in the 2 days following the task than participants in the suppression condition. The association between cognitive reappraisal and negative affect was found to be moderated by trait suppression. This finding suggests that cognitive reappraisal may help reduce intrusive memories in refugees with PTSD, but such training may be compromised in those with high levels of trait suppression.

Understanding Suicide Risk Within the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Framework: Insights, Challenges, and Future Research Considerations

Catherine R. Glenn, Christine B. Cha, Evan M. Kleiman, and Matthew K. Nock

Over the past 50 years, there has been an increasing interest in identifying reliable predictors of suicidal behavior. Unfortunately, this research has not led to an improved ability to predict or prevent suicide. This lack of progress may be due in part to the fact that commonly studied risk factors for suicide are often not specific to suicidal behavior, are distal from suicidal behavior, and are time invariant. Suicide research needs to be approached from a new direction, and the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) may provide an ideal framework for doing so. RDoC’s focus on transdiagnostic dimensions and processes as well as its integration of multiple units of analysis make it particularly useful for understanding suicide risk. A review of research relating to each RDoC domain brings to light the benefits, challenges, and potential future directions of research using the RDoc framework.

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