New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Examining the Decoupling Model of Equanimity in Mindfulness Training: An Intensive Experience Sampling Study
Adi Shoham, Yuval Hadash, and Amit Bernstein

Some researchers posit equanimity, or the attitude of embracing either pleasure or pain without reaction, as a mechanism through which mindfulness contributes to well-being. The “decoupling model” suggests that separating desire (wanting and not wanting) from the hedonic nature (pleasant or unpleasant) of an experience may promote equanimity; that is, values and long-term goals may take the place of pleasure in determining desire. Shoham and colleagues examined this model in the context of a 3-week mindfulness training, using experience sampling to collect data on participants’ real-world behaviors and experiences in real time. Results indicated that mindfulness practice was associated with higher equanimity (i.e., elevated willingness to experience any thought or emotion and decreased hedonic-based avoidance). Equanimity persisted even in stressful situations and during negative thoughts about oneself. These results suggest that mindfulness training might help in the decoupling of desire from the hedonic nature of an experience.

Culturally Motivated Remembering: The Moderating Role of Culture for the Relation of Episodic Memory to Well-Being
Qi Wang, Yubo Hou, Jessie Bee Kim Koh, Qingfang Song, and Yang Yang

The nature of remembered personal experiences varies across cultures: Europeans and European Americans tend to recall more specific details of events than do Asians and Asian Americans. Wang and colleagues investigated how the match between one’s individual memories and the type of memories common in one’s culture correlates with well-being. In several studies, adults and children from European American and East Asian cultural backgrounds recalled personal events and completed measures assessing their coping mechanisms, depressive symptoms, adaptive skills, and affect. Results indicated that maladaptive avoidant coping decreased with increasing memory specificity for European Americans but not for East Asians. Depressive symptoms increased and adaptive skills decreased with increasing memory specificity for children with East Asian backgrounds but not for European American children. Recall of relatively more negative than positive details led to increased negative affect for individuals with East Asian cultural backgrounds but had no effect among European Americans. These results support the idea that the function of episodic memory depends on one’s culture.

The Personality Trait of Environmental Sensitivity Predicts Children’s Positive Response to School-Based Antibullying Intervention
Annalaura Nocentini, Ersilia Menesini, and Michael Pluess

Bullying is a serious issue in education, but meta-analyses indicate that antibullying interventions tend to have small effects. Nocentini and colleagues investigated whether environmental sensitivity (i.e., the ability to perceive and process environmental stimuli) plays a role in intervention outcomes. They randomly assigned children in Grades 4 and 6 from 13 schools to a no-intervention condition or to a condition in which their school received an antibullying intervention program. Before and after the intervention, children completed measures of bullying and victimization, environmental sensitivity, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Results indicated that the intervention reduced bullying, victimization, and externalizing and internalizing symptoms, but its effects depended on participants’ environmental sensitivity and gender. Highly sensitive boys seemed to benefit more than other students, especially with respect to victimization and internalizing symptoms. These findings support the idea that some individuals respond better to a treatment because they are more sensitive to environmental changes, the researchers conclude.

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