Methods of visual assessment in children with cortical visual impairment

University of Southern California

Purpose of review: Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is the leading cause of pediatric visual impairment in developed countries. Currently, there is no standardized method of visual assessment in these children, who usually cannot participate in tests designed for typically developing children. A reproducible method of visual assessment that accurately reflects the multitude of visual deficits in CVI is critical to evaluate proposed therapies for this disorder. This review analyzes current research on methods of visual assessment in children with CVI. Recent findings: Earlier studies focused on measuring visual acuity in children with CVI. More recent studies have emphasized other aspects of visual function, such as contrast sensitivity, motion detection, and visual search. Current research topics include questionnaires, functional vision assessment (CVI Range), neuropsychological tests of visual perception, and eye tracking. Eye tracking shows promise for visual assessment in both clinical and research settings because it is objective and quantitative, with the ability to assess diverse visual parameters. Summary: Current research on visual assessment in children with CVI focuses on measuring deficits of visual function beyond visual acuity. This research represents an important step toward designing clinical trials to identify effective therapeutics for this increasingly prevalent disorder with heterogeneous manifestations.

Publication
Current Opinion in Neurology
Publication Year
2021

The impact of a diversity intervention on White college students’ colour-blind racial attitudes

St. Louis University

This research explored the impact a 3-day pre-college diversity intervention had on incoming White college students’ (N = 63) colour-blind racial attitudes (COBRAS), or their unawareness of racial privilege, blatant racial issues, and institutional discrimination. Repeated measures analysis of variance tests indicated that students reported a greater awareness of racial privilege and blatant racial issues immediately after the programme. Students’ awareness of institutional discrimination – a potentially more abstract and complex understanding of racism – did not change after the program. To isolate the effects of the intervention, independent sample t-tests between White college students who did not undergo the intervention and intervention participants were conducted. Results indicated that both samples did not have significantly different COBRAS before the intervention, providing evidence that the intervention likely contributed to changes in intervention participants’ COBRAS. These results suggest that the pre-college diversity intervention impacted forms of COBRAS differently. Implications for diversity interventions on predominantly White college campuses are discussed.

Publication
Whiteness and Education
Publication Year
2021

Teaching Social Work Practice in the Shared Trauma of a Global Pandemic

Rutgers University

Unique clinical dynamics occur when both clinician and client are exposed to the same community traumatic event or reality. This reflection explores the applicability of the concept of shared trauma for social work educators in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The author describes her experiences shifting suddenly to teaching social work direct practice courses online, against the backdrop of a rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic. Several parallels to the clinical concept of shared trauma are described, including a stronger emphasis on the mutuality of the teaching relationship, heightened emotional identification with students, and blurred professional boundaries in the student-teacher relationship. The author also describes significant differences between her own experiences and those of her students, recognizing that shared trauma is not always shared proportionately in environments of persistent racial and economic inequality. The chapter concludes with implications for educators working in shared trauma contexts, including the importance of self-care and administrative support. Teaching in a shared traumatic reality requires social work educators to stay cognizant of our connections to our students, as well as the disproportionate tolls of this pandemic.

Publication
In, Shared Trauma, Shared Resilience During a Pandemic, C. Tosone (Ed.)
Publication Year
2021

“Don’t Know where to Go for Help”: Safety and Economic Needs among Violence Survivors during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington University in St. Louis

The COVID—19 pandemic and related quarantine has created additional problems for survivors of interpersonal violence. The purpose of this study is to gain a preliminary understanding of the health, safety, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people that are experiencing or have previously experienced violence, stalking, threats, and/or abuse. An online survey, open from April to June 2020, was taken by people with safety concerns from interpersonal violence. Participants were recruited from IPV and sexual assault-focused agencies, state coalitions, and social media. Quantitative data were summarized using descriptive methods in SPSS and coding methods from thematic and content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data from open-ended questions. A total of 53 participants were recruited for the survey. Individuals with safety concerns have experienced increased challenges with health and work concerns, stress from economic instability, difficulties staying safe, and access resources and support. Over 40% of participants reported safety had decreased. Use of social media and avoidance strategies were the most common safety approaches used. Participants reported mixed experiences with virtual services. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing structural concerns for survivors of violence like IPV and sexual assault. Increased support and economic resource access, coupled with modified safety planning and improved virtual approaches, would better help meet survivor needs.

Publication
Journal of Family Violence
Publication Year
2021

“We’re just two people in a relationship”: A qualitative exploration of emotional bond and fairness experiences between transgender women and their cisgender partners

Syracuse University

Trans‐including couples experience systemic marginalization impacting their relationships, yet studies on these relationships or narratives of strength are few. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore emotional bonding and perceptions of fairness between transgender women and their cisgender partners. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was utilized to answer the research question: What are the experiences of emotional bond and fairness between transgender women and their cisgender partners? This research was situated within frameworks of minority stress, romantic attachment, and contextual therapy. Seven couples of transgender women and cisgender partners were interviewed. Three themes emerged: Minority Stress Contexts and Relational Strengths; The Experience of Emotional Bond; and Negotiating Balance. Processes of boundary creation, attunement, affirmations, and balance of care were noted. Findings reframe partner relationships as opportunities to construct transphobia‐resistant and resilient narratives. Recommendations for clinicians include prioritizing the couple subsystem as an avenue for building resilience against minority stress.

Publication
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Publication Year
2021

What Gets Measured in Reentry Research? A Scoping Review on Community Reentry From Jail and Prison for Persons With Mental Illnesses

University of Missouri, Columbia

Research on reentry for individuals with mental illnesses leaving jails and prisons lacks outcome specificity and standardization needed to advance knowledge about the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions. This scoping review aims to provide clarity about reentry outcomes by: (a) ascertaining what outcomes are a focus in reentry research, (b) explicating how outcomes are defined, and (c) identifying commonalities or gaps in outcomes reported. A search of multiple databases yielded 415 articles for potential inclusion. After independent document review by two of the authors, 61 articles were included in the review. Recidivism was the most used construct, accounting for 58% of total outcomes and 95% of criminal legal outcomes. Behavioral health indicators were reported the second most frequently and other outcomes were rarely reported. Increasing the specificity of commonly used concepts while also expanding the breadth of outcomes considered is needed to build an evidence base this area of research.

Publication
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Publication Year
2021

Parents’ Cannabis-Related Attitudes and Emerging Adult Offspring Cannabis Use: Testing the Mediating Effect of Perceived Parental Approval

University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Background: Contrary to parental alcohol use and expectancies work, little is known about how parent’s cannabis use (CU) and expectancies influence offspring CU. This is a notable gap in the literature given increasing acceptability and use of cannabis, especially among emerging adults (EA). Moreover, limited work has tested mechanisms of transmission of risk from these parent factors. This study addresses these gaps by testing prospective associations of parental CU and expectancies with offspring CU and CU problems, and perceived parental approval of offspring CU as a potential mediator. Method: A community sample of 314 EA and caregiver dyads completed three annual assessments (mean age = 19.13). The sample was 54% female and majority White/non-Hispanic (76%). Caregivers reported on their cannabis expectancies and use, and EA reported on their CU, CU-related problems, and perceived parental approval of CU. Results: Longitudinal structural equation modeling supported a mediated pathway such that high parental positive cannabis expectancies were associated with perceived parental approval of CU, which in turn, predicted increases in EA CU and CU problems. Parental negative expectancies had a significant indirect effect but in the opposite direction. Indirect effects were found above and beyond parental CU, which was not associated with offspring CU. Conclusions: This is the first study to test prospective indirect effects of parental cannabis expectancies on offspring CU. Findings suggest parents’ attitudes, even in the absence of parental use, confer risk for offspring use by shaping perceived acceptance of CU, suggesting parental expectancies as targets for parent-based CU interventions.

Publication
Substance Use & Misuse
Publication Year
2021

Diverse Spirituality Revisited: Lessons Learned

Florida State University

Chapters included in this volume highlight the vibrancy of research into diverse spiritualities. As shown by many of the book’s chapters, culturally specific measures enhance our ability to explain and understand the complexities of spiritual phenomena and help us appreciate religious traditions other than our own and humanize “the other.” The book includes chapters describing measures of Eastern forms of meditation, spiritual Jihad, afterlife beliefs associated with the three main religious worldviews, spirituality among Latin American youth, and Muslim religiousness. The case for particularism is not in conflict with that for universalism as some of the measures have been used cross-culturally. The challenge is to productively fuse these two research traditions. A second set of chapters explores the complex spiritual terrain of the Western world in the post-1960s era. These chapters illuminate a common theme of spirituality decoupled from traditional religiousness—all measures reflect a belief in interconnectedness between the person and the world at large—and articulate differences dependent on socio-cultural and historic contexts (e.g., the U.S. versus Western Europe) and field of inquiry (e.g., the psychology of religion versus transpersonal psychology). Other chapters demonstrate the empirical utility of assessing spirituality related concepts including spiritual support, modeling, struggle, well-being, as well as, prayer coping, faith, and meaning making. The new tools described in this book expand the understanding of the role played by spirituality in our rapidly changing and interconnected world while, at the same time, highlighting the aspects of spirituality common among all peoples and cultures.

Publication
In, Assessing Spirituality in a Diverse World, A.L. Ai, P. Wink, R.F. Paloutzian, & K.A. Harris
Publication Year
2021

The Interpersonal and Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 on Risk for Late-Life Suicide

Florida State University

Older adults experience increased risk for suicide compared to the general population, and the circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) may potentiate this risk. We discuss how current COVID-19 pandemic-related policies are likely to harm older adults disproportionately. COVID-19 pandemic social distancing policies and ethical guidelines for COVID-19 treatment may exacerbate experiences of social isolation, perceived expendability, and exposure to suffering, which are related to the 3 main components of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (i.e., thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness to society, and capability for suicide). The COVID-19 pandemic poses a drain on services and has drawn ethical debates about policies around treating younger adults first. These experiences may lead older adults to have reduced access to needed medical and psychiatric services and may convey damaging messages of expendability. Furthermore, the potential prolonged stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may affect neurological, immunological, and health functioning—exacerbating suicide risk. Potential venues to increase treatment options and decrease social isolation are discussed. We acknowledge optimistic effects as well, such as “pulling together” as a society and the many valuable ways older adults may contribute during this crisis.

Publication
The Gerontologist
Publication Year
2021

The Perceived Spiritual Support Scale (PSSS): Measuring Support from the Deep Connection with Diverse Sacred Entities

Florida State University

The concept of perceived spiritual support (PSS) centers on an internalized resource derived from perception of an intimate relationship with a higher power, be it God, Jesus, a cosmic force, ancestral spirits, or a psychologically functional equivalent. The literature has indicated the increasing importance of spiritual support in crises and medical care, but previous assessments tended to focus on mainstream religions with inadequate validation. To meet the gap and based on related scientific theories, three crises-based studies were conducted to develop and validate a 12-item scale of perceived spiritual support (the PSSS) for assessing the spiritual resource of individuals with diverse belief systems. This endeavor was also a response to a long-standing call for measuring consciousness-related faith experience and to an assessment problem—the use of simple frequency measures in large-scale epidemiological or sociological surveys. Participants in the three studies reflect varied makeups of age, gender, generation, race, belief systems, and cultural backgrounds. The findings provide the adequate psychometric information for the PSSS and its predictive value for various outcomes. Multivariate analyses demonstrated the indirect mediating or pathway effect of the PSSS, simultaneously evaluated the effects of other established factors, and tested an explanatory mechanism underlying its predictive value. The results suggest that the PSSS, as a short and easy to use tool, can be used to predict important outcomes in crises and across different populations. More cross-cultural studies are warranted for further validation.

Publication
In, Assessing Spirituality in a Diverse World, A.L. Ai, P. Wink, R.F. Paloutzian, & K.A. Harris
Publication Year
2021

“It really presents a struggle for females, especially my little girl”: Exploring father’s experiences discussing body image with their young daughters

The University of Kansas

Body dissatisfaction in children, particularly young girls, is a growing concern around the world. The home environment can have a strong influence on children’s well-being, and parents may contribute to their children’s positive or negative body image development. Nearly all research on parent influence on body image has focused on mothers, leaving fathers’ attitudes and experiences poorly-understood. To address this gap in the literature, we interviewed 30 fathers (Mage = 40.30; SD = 7.48) of girls between the ages of 5 and 10 about the conversations they have with their daughters regarding body image. Through thematic analysis, we identified three primary themes: barriers to effective communication, combatting negative influences, and strategies for discussing body image. Fathers recognized the importance of talking about body image with their daughters, yet many did not feel confident or competent to do so effectively. They engaged in a variety of strategies to combat adverse cultural influences and encourage self-expression, character development, and mental and physical health in their daughters. However, messages about health were sometimes conflated with messages about thinness or food restriction. Implications for families and future research are discussed.

Publication
Body Image
Publication Year
2021

Depression After Open Heart Surgery: Influences of Optimism, Sex, and Event-Related Medical Factors

Florida State University

Postoperative depression is a multifaceted condition that can limit quality of life and potentially decrease the survival benefits of open heart surgery (OHS). We postulated that sex, pre-event character strengths, medical, and certain surgery indicators would predict post-event/myocardial infarction depression. To identify predictors, we collected three-wave survey data from 481 OHS patients at a large academic referral institution (age, 62+; female, 42%) and included key medical and surgical information. The final model (F[7, N = 293] = 28.15, p < 0.001, R = 0.408) accounted for over two fifths of the variance in post-OHS depression. Pre-event/OHS optimism mitigated post-OHS depression. Being female, older, living alone, longer surgical perfusion time, absence of left main disease greater than 50%, and pre-OHS depression were associated with the increased likelihood of post-OHS depression. Our findings suggest that teaching optimism to OHS patients might be beneficial in reducing the risk of postoperative depression and that female patients should be monitored more closely for the development of depression through an interdisciplinary approach.

Publication
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Publication Year
2020

Body Image and Sexual Behavior Among Adult Men Who “Hook Up”

The University of Kansas

Understanding the psychosocial variables associated with sexual behavior is critical, particularly among high-risk individuals such as those who hook-up. It is possible body image is one of these variables. The current study aimed to examine the relationship between body appreciation and body image self-consciousness and three sexual health-related behaviors: 1) condom usage, 2) HIV screening, and 3) STI screening among a sample of adult men who have hooked up at least once in the past month (n = 243). We found that higher levels of body appreciation were related to being less likely to use condoms and higher levels of body image self-consciousness were related to being less likely to be screened for HIV and STIs. The conflicting results suggest additional research is warranted.

Publication
The Journal of Sex Research
Publication Year
2020

A House but Not a Home: How Surveillance in Subsidized Housing Exacerbates Poverty and Reinforces Marginalization

The University of Chicago

A robust literature has shown that surveillance disproportionately targets poor people of color through the criminal justice and welfare systems. However, little empirical research traces the mechanisms through which surveillance reproduces inequality in other domains, such as subsidized housing, where private actors including property owners and landlords do the work of surveilling tenants. In this article, I apply the theoretical lens of surveillance to the case of subsidized housing to explore the symbolic and material consequences of being monitored at home. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 67 low-income Black mothers in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Houston, Texas, I argue that the scrutiny mothers face in and around their homes reproduces inequality through two key mechanisms. First, surveillance creates a home environment devoid of privacy, that mothers liken to being in prison. Mothers interpret this scrutiny as an effort to control and contain them because of their race, reinforcing racialized notions of presumptive Black criminality. Second, surveillance heightens the material risk for mothers of being caught breaking rules, which paves the way for eventual eviction and exacerbates poverty. Although mothers develop strategies to counter and at times resist disciplinary monitoring, these efforts come with drawbacks that can make surviving poverty harder. Taken together, these findings suggest that being surveilled at home not only diminishes low-income Black mothers’ status in society, but also pushes them into deeper economic precarity. This research extends our understanding of the reach of surveillance into the lives of the poor even in spaces considered to be private.

Publication
Social Forces
Publication Year
2020

Voluntary, Survivor-Centered Advocacy in Domestic Violence Agencies

Washington University in St. Louis

Voluntary, survivor-centered advocacy is a model of practice used in domestic violence organizations; however, more information is needed from the perspective of survivors on how to best facilitate survivor-centered approaches in a voluntary service format. This qualitative study used a thematic analysis to uncover core advocacy approaches from 25 female-identified survivors dwelling in domestic violence emergency shelter and transitional housing programs in two states. Themes revealed that three core approaches aid a voluntary, survivor-centered advocacy model: 1) Establishing a safe base for support, 2) Facilitating access and connection, and 3) Collaboration. Advocacy approaches that emphasize safety, mutuality, and availability of support best engage survivors in voluntary services to address needs and meet goals. Use of a strengths-based approach, psychoeducation, and resource-building contributes to the social and emotional well-being of survivors. Findings indicate community DV advocates should use adaptable advocacy models aimed at service access, connection, and collaborative resource acquisition. Voluntary, survivor-centered models use principals of trauma-informed care, though more widespread use of trauma-informed care (TIC) in voluntary services are needed. Advocates need organizational support to meet survivor needs. Implications for research include the need for fidelity studies and longitudinal research.

Publication
Advances in Social Work
Publication Year
2020

Identity in the context of early psychosis: a review of recent research

New York University

Purpose: The emergence of psychosis most frequently occurs during adolescence and young adulthood, a period of development in which identity is developed and consolidated. The present narrative review surveyed and synthesized recent empirical contributions to the issue of identity in the context of early psychosis, to inform clinical and future research considerations. Materials and Methods: A systematic search obtained 983 reports pertaining to identity and psychosis among youth and young adults. After screening the abstracts, 81 studies were reviewed in full, yielding 17 that met inclusion criteria. Studies were reviewed with regard to major themes by authors. Results: Three major themes emerged, the majority of which employed qualitative methods. The first theme indicated a disruption to personal identity posed by psychosis symptoms and the diagnosis of mental illness. The second theme suggested that identity difficulties may confer additional emotional and behavioural risk among this population. Third, young people with psychosis indicated the importance of restoring their personal identity, as distinct from their experiences of psychosis, during the recovery process. Conclusions: Identity-related concerns are important aspects of young people’s experience in the early stages of psychosis. Research is needed to determine the potential for interventions to support and enhance identity within early psychosis care.

Publication
Psychosis
Publication Year
2020

A Path Analysis Investigating the Relationships between Family Violence, Addictive Behaviors, and Trauma among Adolescents in China

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Family violence is a public health concern in China. Exposure to family violence, including witnessing intimate partner violence (IPV) between parents and/or experiencing child abuse, has numerous deleterious effects on adolescent’s mental and behavioral health. This study examined specific mental and behavioral health outcomes of family violence exposure including trauma symptoms and addictive behaviors using a nationally representative sample of adolescents in China. Cross-sectional, self-report data were collected from 16,254 adolescents (M = 15.89 years of age, 47.69% female) using a self-administered survey. More than two-thirds of the sample reported having been exposed to child abuse or IPV at home. Adolescents who were exposed to child abuse and/or IPV were significantly more likely to misuse substances, engage in gambling activities and exhibited more trauma symptoms than their non-exposed peers. A multivariate path analysis revealed that child abuse had an indirect effect on severity of trauma symptoms through problem drinking, cigarette smoking, and gambling behavior. Witnessing IPV between parents had an indirect effect on trauma symptoms through problem drinking and cigarette smoking. An alternative pathway model suggested that child abuse and witnessing IPV between parents had indirect effects on a variety of substance misuse and gambling behavior through PTSD. Findings offer a unique insight into the effects of family violence exposure on adolescents in Greater China. Family violence awareness and intervention could be a meaningful intervention strategy to address substance use and behavioral health problems among adolescents in China.

Publication
Journal of Family Violence
Publication Year
2020

Healthcare Providers’ Experiences with Gaps, Barriers, and Facilitators Faced by Family Caregivers of Children with Respiratory Diseases

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify healthcare providers’ experiences of the gaps in the healthcare system, barriers to obtaining care, and facilitators that promoted safe, quality care for family caregivers of children with respiratory diseases. Design and methods: A qualitative, descriptive design was used with 13 pediatric healthcare providers. Findings: Gaps included themes of 1) fragmented healthcare system and 2) lack of asthma management knowledge. Barriers included themes of 1) poor access to healthcare and medications, 2) non-adherence, and 3) linguistic diversity and poor health literacy. Facilitators of optimal respiratory management included themes of 1) education, 2) improved communication, and 3) peer support. Conclusions: Through better understanding the gaps, barriers, and facilitators, pediatric nurses will be able to more effectively anticipate and address the needs of the caregivers. Practice implications: The nurse is in a pivotal role to empower caregivers with the skills and resources to address challenges and connect them with providers for optimal respiratory management.

Publication
Journal of Pediatric Nursing
Publication Year
2020

Probation Officers’ and Supervisors’ Perspectives on Critical Resources for Implementing Specialty Mental Health Probation

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper presents the results of a qualitative study designed to explore and identify the resources that probation officers need to implement specialized mental health probation caseloads, a promising practice that enhances mental health treatment engagement and reduces recidivism among people with mental illnesses. Our research team conducted a directed content analysis guided by the Practical, Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model (PRISM) to analyze qualitative interviews with 16 specialty mental health probation officers and their supervising chiefs. Results indicated five components and resources related to multiple PRISM constructs: (1) meaningfully reduced caseload sizes (intervention design), (2) officers’ ability to build rapport and individualize probation (organizational staff characteristics), (3) specialized training that is offered regularly (implementation and sustainability infrastructure), (4) regular case staffing and consultation (implementation and sustainability infrastructure), and (5) communication and collaboration with community-based providers (external environment). Agencies implementing specialized mental health probation approaches should pay particular attention to selecting officers and chiefs and establishing the infrastructure to implement and sustain specialty mental health probation.

Publication
Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research
Publication Year
2020

Does gender-bending help or hinder friending? The roles of gender and gender similarity in friendship dissolution

Department of Psychological Sciences

We explored how gender and gender similarity affects friendship dissolution following the transition to middle school. We predicted that both gender and gender similarity (measured by perceived similarity to own-gender and other-gender peers) explain dissolution trends and that less own-gender similarity or more other-gender similarity predicts more friendship dissolution. We considered gender and gender similarity at both the individual and dyad level (reflecting the discrepancy between friends). Participants were 198 students in Grade 6 (42% Latinx, 21% Caucasian, 10% Native American, 8% African American, 2% Asian American, and 17% mixed backgrounds; 77% qualified for free/reduced meals) in reciprocated same- or mixed-gender friendships followed from fall to spring of the academic year. Multilevel multimember logistic regression models, nesting friendships within each participating individual, demonstrated that girl–girl friendships were less likely to dissolve than boy–boy friendships, and mixed-gender friendships did not dissolve more than same-gender friendships. Feeling similar to one’s own gender predicted less dissolution, but feeling similar to the other gender did not increase friendship dissolution. There was no support for the hypothesis that feeling similar to both genders (i.e., androgyny) protected against friendship dissolution, nor was there any support for the hypothesis that dyad-level differences in gender similarity would predict dissolution. The discussion focuses on the importance of conducting individual and dyad-level analyses as well as including gender similarity constructs when studying gender differences in friendships and their trajectories over time.

Publication
Developmental Psychology
Publication Year
2020