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The Effects of Added Physical Activity on Performance during a Listening Comprehension Task for Students with and without Attention Problems

By: Kelsie Christina Romaine A review of: Kercood, S., & Banda, D. R. (2012). The effects of added physical activity on performance during a listening comprehension task for students with and without attention problems. International Journal of Applied Educational Studies, 13(1), 19-32. Challenges with attention pose a significant problem within classrooms, as students are expected to listen to verbally-presented educational materials and demonstrate their knowledge of the content. Many students find it challenging to continually do so without moving or fidgeting, and at the time of this publication, it was estimated that 5.9% of children worldwide and up to 1 in 20 children in the United States have a diagnoses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Kercood & Banda, 2012). Unfortunately, these children are more likely to engage in off-task behavior (Carroll et al., 2006, as cited in Kercood & Banda, 2012), score lower on academic achievement tests (DuPaul et al., 2006; Loe & Feldman, 2007, as cited in Fedewa & Erwin, 2011), engage in disruptive behavior, or repeat a grade level (Barkley, 2006, as cited in Fedewa & Erwin, 2011). Physical activity prior to or throughout academic tasks is thought to provide a viable solution for remediating these challenges and enhancing focus, resulting in improved accuracy and completion time. Therefore, allowing movement in productive and non-distracting ways through the use of therapy balls or fine motor tasks may prove to be effective and feasible interventions within classrooms. Kercood and Banda (2012) investigated the effects of physical activity on student performance within the classroom by examining the relationship between fine and gross motor tasks (i.e., doodling versus sitting on therapy balls) and a listening comprehension task. The study included children with and without attention problems, in which each student was exposed to both fine and gross motor tasks through an alternating treatment design (ABCA). They hypothesized that the addition of either physical activity would have positive effects on academic tasks for all students and were interested in confirming whether one task was more beneficial than the...

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A critical review of “Anger Management Style and Hostility Among Patients With Chronic Pain: Effects on Symptom-Specific Physiological Reactivity During Anger- and Sadness- Recall Interviews”

Introduction Two factors that have been studied in relation to chronic pain are hostility and anger, which have been shown to make chronic pain worse and hinder successful treatment. Burns, Bruehl, and Quartana (2006) wanted to examine how suppression or expression of hostility and anger impact chronic pain patients. Chronic pain patients with high anger and hostility might experience pain in one of two ways: muscle contractions related to tension near the site of pain and heighted sympathetic nervous system response. Participants were 94 chronic pain patients with lower back pain recruited through postings in pain clinics who received 40 dollars for their participation. They were assessed for muscular tension monitored with an EMG. Blood pressure was also taken. Hostility was measured using the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (Ho) derived from the MMPI-II. Anger management style was measured with the Anger Expression Inventory which examines both anger-in (suppression) and anger-out (expression) tendencies. Trait anger was measured using the Spielberger Trait Anger Scale (TAS) which was used to control for trait anger apart from anger expression style or hostility. The literature review is concise, yet detailed enough to follow the logically thought for why the current study is important. However, their hypotheses are not as clearly stated or as specific as they could be. First, (clearly stated), they predicted that muscle contractions related to anger and hostility can create greater pain levels in the lower paraspinal muscles, but not in trapezius muscles. Second, they predicted that the anger variables would produce LP muscle contraction in anger conditions, but not sad ones. The third hypothesis involves examining hostility and anger management as separate constructs such that the interactions of high and low levels of these constructs will have different outcomes. Methods and Procedure The participants came in, filled out required paperwork/briefing, were allowed to relax in a chair while hooked up to the equipment to achieve a baseline, and were asked to describe either an angry or sad event that happened to them for five minutes (participants...

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Article Review: Symptoms of post-traumatic stress following elective lumbar spinal arthrodesis

By: Brendan Remus Psychological constructs have been used to assess medical outcomes for some time. The relationship between psychological distress, in the form of depression and anxiety, has been studied and found to reduce the patients’ perceived efficacy of treatments and to reduce adherence. Psychological distress which originates from medical procedures has rarely been examined. One article that did examine psychological distress due to a medical intervention was Deisseroth and Hart (2012). They noted that nearly 20% of patients receiving spinal athrodesis (spinal fusions) experienced PTSD in the following year. Deisseroth and Hart (2012) begin their article with a review of DSM-IV PTSD and known risk factors for developing PTSD in medical settings. Their definition of PTSD will be familiar to most readers: re-experiencing a traumatic event, symptoms of physiological arousal, and avoidance of stimuli related to the trauma. This is a disorder which is well studied in the context of combat veterans, sexual assault victims, and survivors of natural disasters. The researchers noted previously identified risk factors for developing PTSD such as lack of social support, previous psychiatric illness, and being female. The stated purpose for this study was to assess the prevalence and time course for PTSD in spinal fusion patients. In examining the prevalence of PTSD following spinal fusions, the researchers also sought to evaluate the impact of variables related to surgery as risk factors for developing the disorder. This study utilized a repeated measures cohort design which also included demographic and perioperative data. Basic demographic information was obtained from patients’ medical records; additionally, perioperative records were examined for data related to their actual surgery such as blood loss, need for intubation, and complications. The PTSD checklist civilian version (PCL-C) was used as the sole indicator of PTSD symptoms in patients following surgery. The PCL-C was given at 6 weeks and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months with verbal instructions for patients to relate their answers to their surgery. Completion rates of the PCL-C at each time point ranged from 82.2%...

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A Case Study of Depression and Suicidality Following LVAD Implant: A Review

Millions of people in the United States are affected by heart failure each year. The use of the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) has been on the rise for the treatment of heart failure (Tigges-Limmer et al., 2010). The device has been shown to be the most effective when patients adhere well to the mechanical regimen, appointment follow-ups, and adjust to their new life with the device. Tigges-Limmer et al. (2010) noted that outlook is worse for patients receiving the device as destination therapy rather than for temporary treatment. The authors also mentioned that several psychological factors have an impact on how each individual adjusts to life after the device. Although several factors are mentioned, effective coping skills, resilience, and careful attentiveness and social support were said to be the most pertinent (Tigges-Limmer et al., 2010). Since LVAD therapy is a relatively new treatment method for heart failure, there is limited research in regards to psychological aspects of the procedure. Therefore, Tigges-Limmer et al. (2010) sought to examine depression and suicidality within a case study. The authors observed a patient who was a 69-year-old male with comorbid medical conditions (e.g., ischemic cardiomyopathy, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and insulin-dependent diabetes). At the time of the initial assessment, the patient was bedridden, in the intensive care unit, cooperative, and not intubated. Following assessment and intensive education, he decided that LVAD therapy would be the best course for himself. He was later implanted in June 2006 with no complications post-implant. One year later he suffered from recurrent ventricular tachycardia, so he was implanted with a cardio-defibrillator. Three years post-implant, the patient was doing well regarding circulatory support, but he began to decline in his general condition and needed more medical support. Depression ensued as a result of his decline. In February 2009, the patient refused to eat, drink, talk, or move. Psychiatric and psychological help was offered by the authors. The patient reported that he was a major in the army, so the authors attributed his resistance to pride...

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The role of anxiety sensitivity in eating pathology

By: Christian Nickole Klepper A review of: Anestis, M. D., Holm-Denoma, J. M., Gordon, K. H., Schmidt, N. B., & Joiner, T. E. (2008). The role of anxiety sensitivity in eating pathology. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32(3), 370-385. Anxiety sensitivity (AS) is an individual difference variable that represents one’s fear of anxiety. It encompasses responsiveness to somatic, cognitive and social consequences of anxiety. High AS can predispose people to anxiety (specifically panic attacks), depressive disorders, substance use disorders and borderline personality disorder (Bilgiç, Türkoğlu, Ozcan, Tufan, Yılmaz & Yüksel, 2013; Fulton, Lavender, Tull, Klein, Muehlenkamp & Gratz, 2012). The relationship between AS and eating disorders is less clear. Eating disorders often co-occur with anxiety, depression and alcohol and substance use and abuse (NEDA, 2012). Among those with a diagnosed eating disorder, up to 75% will have an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives (Becker, DeViva & Zayfert, 2004). Anestis, Holm-Denoma, Gordon, Schmidt & Joiner (2008) examined the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and disordered eating, specifically symptoms of bulimia nervosa (BN). They believed a relationship between fear of somatic symptoms would lead to eating as a method of reducing this tension and subsequent purging. They hypothesized that interoceptive awareness (IA), or the ability to discern and accept emotional and visceral experiences, would mediate the predicted relationship between AS and eating pathology. They conducted two studies: one with 88 undergraduates and the other with 96 clients at an outpatient mental health clinic. They used the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI) to assess anxiety sensitivity, their predictor variable, and three subscales from the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI; Drive for Thinness, Bulimia and Body Dissatisfaction) to assess eating pathology, their dependent variables. They controlled for anxiety, depression and impulsivity, which were measured with the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and Beck Depression Inventory – Second Edition (BDI) in both studies and Urgency subscale of the Urgency, (lack of) Premeditation, (lack of) Perseverance, Sensation Seeking Impulsive Behavior Scale (UPPS) in the undergraduate sample and the Impulsive Behavior Scale (IBS)...

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Are Nature-assisted Interventions Cost-effective?

Are Nature-assisted Interventions Cost-effective? By: William C. Young A review of: Währborg, P., Petersson, I. F., & Grahn, P. (2014). Nature-assisted rehabilitation for reactions to severe stress and/or depression in a rehabilitation garden: Long-term follow-up including comparisons with a matched population-based reference cohort. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 46(3), 271-276. Severe stress and depression have become more common and more costly in all populations across the world. Until recently, many of these disorders were going undiagnosed. As the accuracy of diagnosis rises, the accuracy with which we can determine the financial and health-related costs of these disorders also increases. These disorders not only influence the individuals with the disorders but also the businesses or workplaces where they are employed (Gustavsson et al, 2010). Because there is only a marginal effect of most interventions on severe stress and interventions and a high effect of nature assisted interventions, Wahrborg and colleagues (2014) set out to examine if nature-assisted interventions were both therapeutic and cost-effective. Moreover, since there was a small number of studies that had examined the effects of a rehabilitation program versus controls, the study could examine the effect of the intervention in a way that had not been conclusively addressed by prior research. Wahrborg and colleagues (2014) performed a study in an attempt to determine the effect of nature-assisted interventions on those who are dealing with severe stress and depression. Sick leave status and healthcare consumption were used as dependent variables in an attempt to operationalize a monetary effect of the nature-assisted intervention as well as the overall therapeutic effect. A retrospective, between-subjects design with a matched reference group was used which consisted of an experimental group (nature-assisted rehabilitation program group) and a control group from Skane Health Register. A nature-assisted intervention was chosen due to high effect sizes shown in similar studies despite lower sample sizes. The intervention (experimental group: N=103) involved both horticulture therapy and medication. The intervention condition was conducted in a green setting which had been proven to be restorative (Annerstedt...

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Staying Mindful of the Research: The Positive Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health

Staying Mindful of the Research: The Positive Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health A review of Keng, S., Smoski, M., & Robins, C. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1041-1056. By D. Brian Haver      Mindfulness has been a major subject of interest in almost every realm of psychological research for the last several decades.  Literature reviews aggregate information from the wide variety of studies into more accessible chunks, providing an essential ‘state of the field’ and guiding future directions in research.  Regular reviews of empirical mindfulness research, such as the one by Keng, Smoski, & Robins (2011), help bridge the gap between research and current clinical practice.      Keng, Smoski, & Robins (2011) begin their empirically focused review by addressing the fundamental questions regarding differences in the conceptualization and construct of mindfulness.  Summarizing a variety of other approaches and attempts, mindfulness is defined in this review by two essential elements: awareness of one’s moment-to-moment experience and nonjudgemental acceptance.  Further, in order to address the concerns of several researchers that the differences between Buddhist and Western conceptualizations of mindfulness are not appropriately defined, they are discussed in terms of context, process, and content.  Buddhist mindfulness is practiced within the context of a system of ethics and philosophy, focused on the teachings of the Buddha and introspective awareness.  Western mindfulness is practiced separately from ethico-philosophical systems and is focused on all forms of internal and external experience.      After a brief review of the history of mindfulness meditation as a psychological intervention to establish the range of therapies considered ’empirical’, Keng, Smoski, & Robins (2011) begin their review of correlational and cross-sectional research on trait mindfulness and psychological health.  They report a wide variety of populations and questionnaires used in the study of trait mindfulness.  A laundry list of factors related to psychological health have also been found to be related to both trait and trained mindfulness, including life satisfaction, agreeableness, conscientiousness, vitality, self esteem, empathy,...

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