Methods of visual assessment in children with cortical visual impairment
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.
The impact of a diversity intervention on White college students’ colour-blind racial attitudes
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.
Teaching Social Work Practice in the Shared Trauma of a Global Pandemic
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.
“Don’t Know where to Go for Help”: Safety and Economic Needs among Violence Survivors during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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.
“We’re just two people in a relationship”: A qualitative exploration of emotional bond and fairness experiences between transgender women and their cisgender partners
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.
What Gets Measured in Reentry Research? A Scoping Review on Community Reentry From Jail and Prison for Persons With Mental Illnesses
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.
Parents’ Cannabis-Related Attitudes and Emerging Adult Offspring Cannabis Use: Testing the Mediating Effect of Perceived Parental Approval
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.
Diverse Spirituality Revisited: Lessons Learned
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.
The Interpersonal and Psychological Impacts of COVID-19 on Risk for Late-Life Suicide
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.
“It really presents a struggle for females, especially my little girl”: Exploring father’s experiences discussing body image with their young daughters
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.
The Perceived Spiritual Support Scale (PSSS): Measuring Support from the Deep Connection with Diverse Sacred Entities
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.
Exposure to community-based violence on social media among black male emerging adults involved with the criminal justice system
The prevalence of community-based violence (CBV) exposure among black American male emerging adults ages 18 to 25 with a history of involvement with the criminal justice system is a major public health concern. Although exposure (whether as victim or witness) to CBV is linked with negative outcomes, empirical research examining black men’s negative emotional responses to seeing videos of real-life incidents of CBV on social media is scant. To address these identified concerns and make recommendations for future research, the present study examines the relationship between seeing videos of CBV on social media and three types of negative emotional responses (that is, feeling sad, angry, and fearful) prior to incarceration among a sample of 101 black men detained in a midwestern jail. Social media use and seeing videos of CBV on social media were moderately high for study participants. Seeing a video involving police violence was significantly associated with an increase in the odds of feeling sad, angry, and fearful. Social media research is an emerging area that has the potential to advance our understanding of the impact of seeing social media videos of police violence on the well-being of black men and factors that mediate or moderate this relationship.
Disrupted Neural Synchrony Mediates the Relationship between White Matter Integrity and Cognitive Performance in Older Adults
Our main goal was to determine the influence of white matter integrity on the dynamic coupling between brain regions and the individual variability of cognitive performance in older adults. Electroencephalography was recorded while participants performed a task specifically designed to engage working memory and inhibitory processes, and the associations among functional activity, structural integrity, and cognitive performance were assessed. We found that the association between white matter microstructural integrity and cognitive functioning with aging is mediated by time-varying alpha and gamma phase-locking value. Specifically, better preservation of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus in older individuals drives faster task-related modulations of alpha and gamma long-range phase-locking value between the inferior frontal gyrus and occipital lobe and lower local phase-amplitude coupling in occipital lobes, which in turn drives better cognitive control performance. Our results help delineate the role of individual variability of white matter microstructure in dynamic synchrony and cognitive performance during normal aging.
Predictors of Latinx Youth Health and Emotional Well-being: Social Determinants of Health Perspective
Latinx youth disproportionately experience numerous negative social determinants of health (SDOH) that can have deleterious impacts on health outcomes. Yet, limited research is available on the role of SDOH on the well-being of Latinx adolescents. Utilizing data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, this study examined the association between variables representing five discrete domains of SDOH and health and emotional well-being outcomes among youth of Latinx mothers (N = 745). The study included 15-year-old youth of Latina mothers who were retained in the most recent wave of data collection (wave 6). Using Mplus8, we performed structural equation modeling to determine whether exogenous indicators of five domains of SDOH (economic stability, education, neighborhood and built environment, social and community context, and health care access) predicted adolescent health status and emotional well-being. SDOH specific to social, educational, and neighborhood factors emerged as significant predictors of health and well-being. Yet, variation existed in regard to which SDOH were most important for each outcome variable. Findings suggest that several SDOH, including economic stability, education, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context, are particularly important for Latinx adolescent well-being. Implications for social work practice and policy are presented. Future studies should examine the longitudinal impact of SDOH and should examine Latinx youth by nativity.
Understanding Alignment in Children’s Early Learning Experiences: Policies and Practices from Across the United States
Despite a large and growing body of evidence pointing to the short-term benefits of early learning programs across the United States, there is considerable variation in children’s PreK experiences with respect to classroom structure, the interactions in which children and families engage, and the quality of instruction delivered. This introduction to a special issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly reports on a range of studies from across the United States that were designed to explore factors influencing high-quality learning experiences during PreK and across the transition into early elementary school. The introductory article sheds light on practices being used to improve early educational quality and enhance alignment in learning which can guide future research, practice, and policy.
Sexual function in hook-up culture: The role of body image
Hook-up mobile apps are increasing in popularity and research suggests sexual function may be lower among those who hook-up compared to those who have sex in a longer-term relationship. Sexual function is an important predictor of well-being; however, we know little about the psychosocial antecedents of sexual function, such as body image, among those who use hook-up apps. The current study aims to examine two measures of positive body image and one measure of body image self-consciousness during intimate activity among a sample of adult women and men who have hooked up in the previous month using a hook-up mobile app (N = 243). Our results suggest that higher body image self-consciousness during intimate activity was related to lower sexual function composite score and several specific domains (i.e., pain, arousal, orgasm, and lubrication) among women. Higher body appreciation was related to higher sexual satisfaction among women. Higher body image self-consciousness during intimate activity was related to higher erection difficulty, but not ejaculation difficulty, among men. These findings highlight the nuanced nature of body image and sexual function and provide further evidence that interventions for women and men aiming to improve some body image constructs may improve sexual function as well.
Exploring Advocacy Practices for Interpersonal Violence Survivors on College Campuses: Approaches and Key Factors
Objective: The current study explores campus-based advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, to increase understanding of how these supportive services are used on college campuses. Method: Semi-structured interviews with campus-based advocates and student survivors who used advocacy programs on 3 college campuses were conducted. The participating programs were diverse in setting and student population. Thematic analysis was used to identify program approaches and distinguishing features for advocacy in higher education. Results: Data from 48 participants were used to identify approaches guiding campus-based advocacy models. Campus-based advocacy models are trauma focused and student/survivor-centered similar to community programs with higher education-based applications. Campus-based advocacy is distinguished by attention to (a) developmental phase, (b) the university community experience, and (c) the role of the institution and institutional policy in services. Campus-based advocacy programs vary in service model and setting based on institutional structure and needs. Confidential advocacy services are critical to meeting student survivor needs. Conclusion: This study illustrates that similar to community approaches, campus-based advocacy models for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence focus on empowerment, resource provision, and expanding social support during the college experience through a trauma informed lens. Campus-based advocacy programs provide potential benefit to student-survivors expressed needs, including prevention of further violence, enhanced well-being, increased academic outcomes, and support. Further research is needed to assess the outcome of campus-based advocacy and to guide program implementation as advocacy services in higher education grow.
The role of the internet in the grooming, exploitation, and exit of United States domestic minor sex trafficking victims
The Internet (e.g., social networking, online marketing, and encryption technologies) has been identified as a means to facilitate domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST; a.k.a., commercial sexual exploitation of children). At the same time, the Internet is increasingly being identified as a method of primary prevention and intervention for DMST among youth. However, to-date there are limited examinations of the role of the Internet in the lives of youth who experience DMST victimization. The current study aims to consider the role of the Internet in DMST grooming, exploitation, and exit. In-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 service providers in North Carolina and Texas. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded line-by-line using a grounded theory approach. Results feature two overarching themes in service provider interviews: 1) Initial exploitation and 2) Exit from exploitation. Within each of these larger themes were subthemes including technology facilitated risk and prevention needs. Overall, these qualitative findings reveal the role of the Internet in: (1) Facilitating DMST, (2) Preventing Internet-facilitated DMST, and (3) Victim exit and survivorship. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Evidence-Based Practice Implementation in Stroke Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review of Barriers and Facilitators
Importance: Despite advancements in stroke rehabilitation research, occupational therapy practitioners still face challenges with implementing research into routine practice. Although the development of evidence-based practices (EBPs) is one critical step along the knowledge translation continuum for the population of people with stroke, research is also needed to identify the most effective strategies for implementing EBPs with stroke survivors who are receiving occupational therapy services. Objective: To synthesize research related to occupational therapy practitioners’ implementation of EBPs in adult stroke rehabilitation. Data sources: We searched four electronic databases-CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed, and Academic Search Complete-and the peer-reviewed journal Implementation Science to identify relevant research studies. Study selection and data collection: Studies that met the following inclusion criteria were included in the scoping review: published between January 2003 and January 2018, addressed the adult stroke population, and examined the implementation of occupational therapy interventions. Data were abstracted on the basis of recommendations from the seminal review framework established by Arksey and O’Malley (2005). Thematic analysis identified themes that emerged from the included studies. Findings: Twenty-five articles satisfied our inclusion parameters. Our analyses yielded three overarching themes: barriers to implementation, facilitators of implementation, and implementation strategies. Implementation strategies often consisted of multimodal knowledge translation training programs. Conclusion and relevance: Although the stroke rehabilitation literature appears to have established the barriers to and facilitators of EBP implementation, greater attention to the identification of effective implementation strategies that promote the uptake of EBPs by occupational therapy practitioners is needed. What this article adds: This article summarizes the contextual factors and effective strategies that may influence practitioners’ implementation of stroke research findings in real-world practice.
Preoperative Optimism Related to Low Anxiety in Patients 1 Month After Open Heart Surgery
Anxiety can contribute to poor prognosis in cardiac patients. Few studies have examined the role of optimism in anxiety after open heart surgery (OHS). This study investigated the influence of preoperative optimism on post-OHS anxiety, adjusting cardiac indices used by cardiac surgeons. Data were collected before and 1 month after OHS in 481 patients (58% men; age, 62.4 ± 11.94 years). Optimism was measured using the Life Orientation Test. Anxiety was measured using the Trait Anxiety Inventory. Medical and cardiac indices were retrieved from the Society of Thoracic Surgeon’s national database. Multiple regression analyses showed that greater pre-OHS optimism was associated with lower levels of post-OHS anxiety (F[6, N = 306] = 50.18, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.502). No other factors showed similar protection. Pre-OHS anxiety, younger age, and minority status were associated with anxiety in the critical recovery month. The findings demonstrate the potential benefit of optimism against post-OHS anxiety, which may have clinical implications for improving disease management.