New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Decoupling Personality and Acute Psychiatric Symptoms in a Depressed Sample and a Community Sample
Jay C. Fournier, Aidan G. C. Wright, Jennifer L. Tackett, Amanda A. Uliaszek, Paul A. Pilkonis, Stephen B. Manuck, and R. Michael Bagby

To further examine the complex relationship between neuroticism and depression, Fournier and colleagues decomposed neuroticism into its subcomponents and checked whether those subcomponents influenced psychological functioning over and above acute depression symptoms. They collected data from adults with depression and adults without depression, assessing depression symptom severity, anxiety, and neuroticism. After testing different statistical models, Fournier and colleagues found that neuroticism, in both samples, could be decomposed into a general Negative Affectivity factor and six specific factors. General Negative Affectivity was associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety, capturing the association between neuroticism and acute depression. Two specific factors that were not particularly associated with acute depression symptoms — Angry Hostility and Self-Consciousness — explained individual differences in interpersonal functioning problems (e.g., need for others’ approval) in individuals without depression and a subgroup of individuals with depression. The authors suggest that, after this identification of neuroticism’s subcomponents in relation to depression, future research may examine which components of neuroticism are most predictive of treatment success or failure, contributing to the targeting of treatments to individuals.

A Nudge in a New Direction: Integrating Behavioral Economic Strategies Into Suicide Prevention Work
Brian W. Bauer, Raymond P. Tucker, and Daniel W. Capron

Behavioral economics research has identified successful strategies to guide behaviors in a specific direction, which can be used to help prevent suicide. During a university’s suicide-prevention peek, Bauer et al. sent e-mails asking undergraduates to participate in a free online mental-health intervention. When the e-mails contained a social-norm nudge (e.g., stating that many people believe that individuals with anxiety should receive help and that many people who suffer from anxiety experience improvement in their condition if they seek treatment), students were more likely to click on the link to the intervention than when the e-mails did not contain a nudge. In an online study with Amazon MTurk participants, participants were more likely to click a link to find out how to help navigate suicidal thoughts when the question was framed as being about helping friends and family navigate thoughts of suicide rather than helping themselves navigate such thoughts. These results indicate that social-norm nudges and specific framing of questions are simple, inexpensive strategies that may increase engagement in suicide prevention programs and even reduce barriers of stigma associated with suicide and anxiety.

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