New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Potential Causal Influence of Neighborhood Disadvantage on Disordered Gambling: Evidence From a Multilevel Discordant Twin Design
Wendy S. Slutske, Thomas M. Piasecki, Arielle R. Deutsch, Dixie J. Statham, and Nicholas G. Martin

This research examined whether the quality of one’s neighborhood is linked to a gambling addiction (i.e., disordered gambling, or DG). To investigate whether neighborhood quality might play a role in DG and, if so, whether this effect is purely environmental or has a genetic component, the researchers analyzed data from more than 3,000 Australian adult twins. The twins completed a structured psychiatric interview and a personality questionnaire, and neighborhood characteristics were obtained from official records. The results indicated that twins residing in more disadvantaged neighborhoods exhibited more symptoms of DG than their cotwins residing in less disadvantaged neighborhoods, which suggests that neighborhood quality might have a causal effect on DG. In addition, some genetic factors (e.g., the personality traits of distrustfulness, impulsivity, and disagreeableness) were associated both with living in disadvantaged neighborhoods and DG. These results indicate a complex relationship between DG and neighborhood quality and suggest the need to (a) take into account the multiple factors, including personality traits, that may contribute to the development of problematic gambling behavior and (b) develop interventions to limit the impact of these factors.

Suicidal Behavior and Stress Generation in Adolescents
Richard T. Liu and Anthony Spirito

Dependent stressors are those that are influenced by one’s own behaviors, such as a romantic breakup; independent stressors are those that are not influenced by one’s behaviors, such as the death of a relative. Stress generation is the tendency to experience higher rates of dependent stress than of independent stress. To evaluate the association between stress generation and recurrent suicidal behavior in adolescents, the researchers followed a sample of psychiatric inpatients with high suicidality for 6 months. Participants completed measures of current depressive symptoms, lifetime major depression, suicidal ideation and attempt, and negative life events associated with stress. A greater lifetime history of suicidal behavior was associated with higher rates of dependent stress but not independent stress. This association between stress generation and suicidal behavior may point to different roles of dependent and independent life stressors in risk for recurrence of suicidal behavior in adolescents. Because dependent stressors — unlike independent stressors — can be modified, interventions focusing on behavior-modification strategies that target stress-generation mechanisms may effectively reduce recurrence of suicidal behavior.

Attention Bias Modification in Remitted Depression Is Associated With Increased Interest and Leads to Reduced Adverse Impact of Anxiety Symptoms and Negative Cognition
Brage Kraft, Rune Jonassen, Alexandre Heeren, Catherine Harmer, Tore Stiles, and Nils Inge Landrø

Attention bias modification (ABM) tasks aim to reduce increased attention toward negative stimuli, a residual depression symptom, by automatically directing attention to more positive stimuli. To characterize changes in depression symptoms following ABM training, Kraft et al. used a network analysis to reanalyze data from a randomized controlled trial in which ABM training had been compared with a placebo. The network approach posits that each depressive symptom does not reflect a depressive disorder but is associated with other symptoms. These associations between symptoms cause depressive episodes. Thus, differences in the configuration of the network before and after training may indicate how effective ABM might be. Before ABM, participants showed high associations among depressed mood, guilt, anxiety, and (decreased) overall interest. After ABM, interest increased, and this improvement was related to an improvement in other symptoms. The researchers suggest that ABM may improve depression by reducing the associations of anxiety, guilt, and depressed mood with other symptoms. Thus, ABM may be more effective for patients who experience anxiety, guilt, and depressed mood more prominently than other symptoms (e.g., psychomotor retardation, gastrointestinal symptoms, sexual disinterest).

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