This month in our quarterly column, Publications of Interest, we are bringing you a selection of recently published articles that are all Open Access. We hope you enjoy catching up on some professional reading!
Dorahy, M.J., Kumar Yogeeswaran, K. & Middleton, W. (2023). Dissociation-Induced Shame in Those with a Dissociative Disorder: Assessing the Impact of Relationship context using Vignettes. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. DOI:10.1080/15299732.2023.2195402
Some evidence in non-clinical groups suggests that the relationship context in which dissociation is experienced might moderate its association with shame. The current study used vignettes detailing either dissociative symptoms or the expression of sadness occurring in three different relationship contexts: with a friend, an acquaintance, or when alone. Ratings of emotional (e.g. shame, anxiety) and behavioral (e.g. leave, talk) reactions were made on single-item measures, and shame feelings were further assessed with the State Shame Scale. Participants were in treatment for either dissociative identity disorder (n = 31) or other specified dissociative disorder (n = 3; N = 34). Feelings of shame were elevated in the acquaintance condition compared to when with a close friend or alone regardless of whether dissociation or sadness was experienced. In the acquaintance context, participants exposed to dissociation or sadness reported feeling annoyed at themselves, having a greater desire to leave, and a lesser desire to talk compared to when these experiences happened with a close friend or alone. Results suggest those with a dissociative disorder appraise themselves as more vulnerable to shame if experiencing dissociation or sadness when with an acquaintance, potentially because the risk of not being understood and rejected is heightened.
Li, A., Wang, S., Paetzold, R.L., Rholes, W.S. & Liu, X. (2023). Childhood Trauma and Its Link to Adult Dissociation: The Role of Mentalizing and Disorganized Attachment in a Chinese Adult Sample, Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2023.2195395
Based on previous findings in a U.S. sample, the present study validated the relationship between childhood trauma and dissociation, as well as the mediating role of disorganized attachment and the moderating role of mentalizing (i.e. self-concept clarity and reflective functioning) in a group of 569 Chinese adults (i.e. a community sample). Results demonstrated a mediating role for disorganized attachment relationships in linking childhood maltreatment and dissociative symptoms. Moreover, self-concept clarity moderated this mediating relationship. An interesting finding that differs from the U.S. sample is that reflective functioning did not play a moderating role between insecure attachment and dissociation in Chinese adults. Chinese culture places greater emphasis on collectivism, altruism, and other-oriented, and thus the protective effect of the reflective function may not be as effective as in an individualistic culture. This study provides evidence for a better understanding of the relationship between childhood trauma, attachment, dissociation, and the moderating role of mentalizing in an Eastern culture, and it opens the door to further research examining whether more Western (such as the U.S.) and Eastern (particularly Chinese) relationships are similar in both social and clinical psychology.
Selwyn, C.N., Lathan, E.C., Platt, T. & Minchew, L. (2023). How Healthcare Providers Reconcile Bad Things Happening to Good Patients: The Role of Just World Beliefs in Attitudes toward Trauma-Informed Care, Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2023.2195404
Despite prevalent trauma exposure among patients seeking health care, as well as widespread frameworks for enacting trauma-informed care, the uptake of trauma-informed practices such as trauma screening and referral among health-care providers remains relatively low. The current study sought to assess the roles of health-care providers’ personal histories of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and personal beliefs in the just-world hypothesis in understanding their attitudes toward trauma-informed care. Advanced practice graduate nursing students (N = 180; M age = 34.6 years) completed a self-reported survey assessing their personal history of ACEs, global belief in a just world, and attitudes related to trauma-informed care. Results indicated the relation between providers’ ACEs and attitudes toward trauma-informed care was fully mediated by their beliefs in a just world, such that providers reporting higher ACEs scores also report greater endorsement of attitudes consistent with trauma-informed care due to less belief in a just world. Implications for both health-care providers’ themselves and cultural shifts necessary for provision of trauma-informed health care are discussed.
Basedow, L.A., Wiedmann, F.M., Kuitunen-Paul, S., Roessner, V. & Golub, Y. (2023). Attenuated psychotic symptoms, substance use and self-reported PTSD in adolescence, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 14:2, DOI: 10.1080/20008066.2023.2193327
Background: The occurrence of attenuated psychotic symptoms (APS) is a major concern in populations with substance use disorders (SUDs). However, APS also frequently develop in the course of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This study explores how the prevalence of APS differs between adolescent patients with only SUD, SUD with a history of traumatic experiences (TEs), and with SUD and self-reported PTSD.
Methods: We recruited n = 120 treatment-seeking adolescents at a German outpatient clinic for adolescents with SUD. All participants filled out questionnaires assessing APS (PQ-16, YSR schizoid scale), trauma history, PTSD symptoms (both UCLA PTSD Index), and SUD severity (DUDIT) next to an extensive substance use interview. We performed a multivariate analysis of co-variance with the four PQ-16 scales and the YSR scale as outcomes and PTSD status as predictor. Additionally, we performed five linear regressions predicting each PQ-16 score and YSR score based on tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamine, and methamphetamine use.
Results: Participants with co-occurring SUD and self-reported PTSD showed significantly higher APS prevalence rates (PQ-16 score, p = .00002), more disturbed thought content (p = .000004), more perceptual disturbances (p = .002), more negative symptoms (p = .004) and more thought problems (p = .001) compared to adolescents with SUD and a history of trauma and adolescents with only SUD. Past-year substance use was not predictive for APS prevalence (F(75) = 0.42; p = .86; R2 = .04).
Conclusion: Our data suggests that the occurrence of APS in adolescents with SUD is better explained by co-occurring self-reported PTSD than by substance use frequency or substance class. This finding might indicate that APS might be reduced through treating PTSD or focusing on TEs in SUD therapy.
Easterbrook, B., Plouffe, R.A., Houle, S.A. Liu, A., McKinnon, M.C, Ashbaugh, A.R., Mota, N., Afifi, T.O., Enns, M.W., Richardson, J.D. & Nazarov, A. (2023) Moral injury associated with increased odds of past-year mental health disorders: a Canadian Armed Forces examination, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 14:1, DOI: 10.1080/20008066.2023.2192622
Background: Potentially morally injurious experiences (PMIEs) are common during military service. However, it is unclear to what extent PMIEs are related to well-established adverse mental health outcomes.
Objective: The objective of this study was to use a population-based survey to determine the associations between moral injury endorsement and the presence of past-year mental health disorders in Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and Veterans.
Methods: Data were obtained from the 2018 Canadian Armed Forces Members and Veterans Mental Health Follow-up Survey (CAFVMHS). With a sample of 2,941 respondents, the weighted survey sample represented 18,120 active duty and 34,380 released CAF personnel. Multiple logistic regressions were used to assess the associations between sociodemographic characteristics (e.g. sex), military factors (e.g. rank), moral injury (using the Moral Injury Events Scale [MIES]) and the presence of specific mental health disorders (major depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, PTSD, and suicidality).
Results: While adjusting for selected sociodemographic and military factors, the odds of experiencing any past-year mental health disorder were 1.97 times greater (95% CI = 1.94–2.01) for each one-unit increase in total MIES score. Specifically, PTSD had 1.91 times greater odds (95% CI = 1.87–1.96) of being endorsed for every unit increase in MIES total score, while odds of past-year panic disorder or social anxiety were each 1.86 times greater (95% CI = 1.82–1.90) for every unit increase in total MIES score. All findings reported were statistically significant (p < .001).
Conclusion: These findings emphasize that PMIEs are robustly associated with the presence of adverse mental health outcomes among Canadian military personnel. The results of this project further underscore the necessity of addressing moral injury alongside other mental health concerns within the CAF.
Kleanthous, E., Evangelou, E., Georgiadou, A., Galanis, P., Andreadaki, E., Tzavara, C., Kaitelidou, D. & Kallergis, G. (2023). Stress and coping strategies in the general population of Greece and Cyprus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study, European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 7 (1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejtd.2022.100306.Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown policy had a profound psychological impact on the general population worldwide. The aim of this study was to assess the level of stress and coping strategies used during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak and their association. Secondary aims were to a) identify the most important coping strategies and b) investigate predictors of stress. A cross-sectional study was conducted by using an anonymous online questionnaire. The study was carried out from April 23 to May 4 2020. A snowball sampling method was conducted to recruit potential participants from the general population of Greece and Cyprus. Participants over 18 years old who were familiar with the Greek language were included. The psychological impact was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Coping strategies were assessed using 15 statements detected from a review of the literature. Participants were asked to rate each one of the coping strategies according to how important it was to them, on a four-point likert scale. The sample consisted of 3941 participants (74.2% women, N=2926), with a mean age of 36.9 years old. The most important coping strategies adopted were 1) “Dealing the situation with a positive attitude” (96.5%), 2) “Follow strict personal protective measures” (95,9%), 3) “Acquiring knowledge about coronavirus” (94.6%), 4) “Engaging in health-promoting behaviors” (89.6%), 5) “Limiting the time spent on media” (75.5%). The highest and positive coefficients were recorded for the association of IES-R scales with 1) “Talking with family and friends to reduce stress”, 2) “Seeking help from a mental health professional”, 3) “Limiting the time spent on media”, 4) “Relieving and managing emotions”, 5) “Practicing relaxation techniques”. 26.5% showed severe psychological impact. Conclusion: Addressing stress levels with the use of functional coping strategies can be beneficial to protect the