Walking on Eggshells, An Update on the Stigmatizing of Teen Mothers
Teen mothers are stigmatized for violating age norms for parenting and for being members of devalued racial or socioeconomic groups. Stereotypes of young mothers perpetuate stigma by teen pregnancy prevention campaigns, television shows, sex education programs, professionals, and the general public. How teen mothers became a stigmatized group; updates on research about their experience of stigma; and resources for reducing stigma are presented. Because stigma is pervasive and has damaging effects, nurses are urged to reduce stigma and discrimination by assuring that health settings are safe and welcoming, and that pregnant and parenting teens are treated with respect and dignity. Doing so is consistent with our professional commitment to promote social justice and mitigate the social inequities that contribute to health disparities for all parents, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, immigration status, or income.
Navigating a Minefield, Meta-Synthesis of Teen Mothers’ Breastfeeding Experience
Teen mothers have lower rates of breastfeeding duration and exclusivity than older mothers. A growing body of qualitative research on teen mothers’ experience helps to explain these disparities. Following a systematic search to identify relevant research, we synthesized the findings from 22 primary studies to conclude that teen mothers navigate a minefield that undermines their intention to breastfeed and their breastfeeding confidence and skill. This metaphorical minefield reflects competing norms for infant feeding and good mothering, as evident in mixed support from teens’ social networks; fragmented and stigmatizing healthcare; and spaces that are inhospitable to teen mothers and breastfeeding mothers in general. In recognition of this minefield, we urge clinicians to: respect teen mothers’ infant feeding decisions; develop collaborative relationships based on the principles of patient-centered and strength-based care; challenge stigmatizing healthcare practices; welcome teen mothers and their significant others to clinical settings; and press health systems to fully implement probreastfeeding policies. We also recommend further study to extend our knowledge about teen mothers’ breastfeeding experiences.
Investigating the Factors That Influence Self-Efficacy Among Home Care Workers Providing Dementia Care
The self-efficacy beliefs of home care personal support workers (PSWs) play a crucial role in their professional competence and subsequent provision of quality care. Understanding the factors that influence self-efficacy of PSWs is critical to ensuring their job satisfaction and retention, and ultimately improving the quality of care provided to home care clients. Currently, there is a lack of literature exploring the factors influencing self-efficacy among home care PSWs who care for clients with dementia. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the sources of self-efficacy for home care PSWs. Conventional content analysis of interviews with 15 home care PSWs yielded six categories of sources influencing self-efficacy: insufficient client information provided by employers, lack of supportive communication by employers, restriction of PSWs’ discretion and autonomy by employers, insufficient practical dementia-specific training, sufficient work experience with clients with dementia, and feedback from family caregivers. These findings call for a multi-pronged approach to enhance the self-efficacy of PSWs. In particular, these findings offer specific areas of improvement for employers on how to best support their PSWs. They also highlight the significant role of dementia-specific education and training for PSWs regardless of their experience in the field. Finally, the findings emphasize the importance of family caregivers in the home care context. Taken together, the study’s findings offer insights on how to best support PSWs and ensure stability in the dementia care workforce.
Working Conditions Supporting Person-Centered Care of Persons Living with Dementia in Long-Term Care Homes
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of person-centered dementia care and working conditions that support such care in long-term care (LTC) home settings. Personal support workers (PSWs), known also as certified nursing assistants, provide the most direct formal care for persons living with dementia. However, little is known about the working conditions that enable person-centered care. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to examine the working conditions and the impact of those conditions on PSWs in LTC homes. PSWs (N=39) employed at one of five LTC homes in southwestern Ontario, Canada participated in a series of one-hour focus groups before, during, and after Be-EPIC, a person-centred communication training program for formal caregivers of persons living with dementia. Using an interpretive description investigative framework, textual data from focus group conversation transcripts were open-coded into categories. Overarching themes were interpreted inductively. Study credibility was enhanced through investigator triangulation. Three themes emerged related to working conditions of PSWs: dementia care is complex, lack of trained staff to provide person-centered dementia care, and residents’ families are not situated in the residents’ care circle. Four themes emerged related to the impact of current working conditions of PSWs: occupational burnout, poor resident care, frustrated and disengaged families, and PSWs leave their role. The findings offer opportunities for employers to ameliorate working conditions to support person-centered care. We conclude with specific workplace recommendations that respond to the complexity of dementia care and the associated occupational stresses PSWs experience in the current LTC environment.
Advances in the evaluation and management of cortical/cerebral visual impairment in children
Cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is the most frequent cause of pediatric visual impairment in developed countries and is increasing in prevalence in developing nations. The most common underlying etiology is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, particularly in premature children. Other causes include seizures, hydrocephalus, trauma, and infections. Because of neurologic comorbidities, children with CVI often present challenges in diagnosis and characterization of visual deficits. Caregiver questionnaires may aid in assessment of visual functioning, while newer types of neuroimaging, including functional neuroimaging and diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging, may provide further insights on structure-function relationships. Genetic testing may assist in identification of underlying genetic or metabolic syndromes. Although no standard therapy for pediatric CVI exists, advances in care of preterm children and those with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy may in future reduce the incidence of this disorder. In addition, various methods of visual stimulation and stem cells have been advocated as treatment for pediatric CVI. Future controlled trials using standardized methods of visual assessment are necessary to establish whether these interventions are superior to observation. Practitioners should work with families and teachers of children with CVI to optimize their environment for visual functioning. Comorbid ocular and systemic disorders, which are common, should be managed appropriately.
Assessment of Pediatric Optic Neuritis Visual Acuity Outcomes at 6 Months
Importance: Optic neuritis (ON) in children is uncommon. There are limited prospective data for visual acuity (VA) outcomes, associated diseases, and neuroimaging findings. Prospective data from a large sample would be useful for counseling families on treatment decisions and prognosis. Objective: To prospectively study children with a first episode of ON, describe VA after 6 months, and ascertain the network’s (Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group and Neuro-Ophthalmology Research Disease Investigator Consortium) ability to enroll pediatric patients with ON prospectively. Design, setting, and participants: This nonrandomized cohort study was conducted from September 20, 2016, to July 20, 2018, at 23 sites in the United States and Canada in pediatric ophthalmology or neuro-ophthalmology clinics. A total of 44 children (aged 3-15 years) presented with a first episode of ON (visual loss, pain on eye movements, or both) within 2 weeks of symptom onset and at least 1 of the following in the affected eye: a distance high-contrast VA (HCVA) deficit of at least 0.2 logMAR below age-based norms, diminished color vision, abnormal visual field, or optic disc swelling. Exclusion criteria included preexisting ocular abnormalities or a previous episode of ON. Main outcomes and measures: Primary outcomes were monocular HCVA and low-contrast VA at 6 months. Secondary outcomes were neuroimaging, associated diagnoses, and antibodies for neuromyelitis optica and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein. Results: A total of 44 children (mean age [SD], 10.2 [3.5] years; 26 boys [59%]; 23 White individuals [52%]; 54 eyes) were enrolled in the study. Sixteen patients (36%) had bilateral ON. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed white matter lesions in 23 children (52%). Of these children, 8 had myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-associated demyelination (18%), 7 had acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (16%), 5 had multiple sclerosis (11%), and 3 had neuromyelitis optica (7%). The baseline mean HCVA was 0.95 logMAR (20/200), which improved by a mean 0.76 logMAR (95% CI, 0.54-0.99; range, -0.70 to 1.80) to 0.12 logMAR (20/25) at 6 months. The baseline mean distance low-contrast VA was 1.49 logMAR (20/640) and improved by a mean 0.72 logMAR (95% CI, 0.54-0.89; range, -0.20 to 1.50) to 0.73 logMAR (20/100) at 6 months. Baseline HCVA was worse in younger participants (aged <10 years) with associated neurologic autoimmune diagnoses, white matter lesions, and in those of non-White race and non-Hispanic ethnicity. The data did not suggest a statistically significant association between baseline factors and improvement in HCVA. Conclusions and relevance: The study network did not reach its targeted enrollment of 100 pediatric patients with ON over 2 years. This indicates that future treatment trials may need to use different inclusion criteria or plan a longer enrollment period to account for the rarity of the disease. Despite poor VA at presentation, most children had marked improvement by 6 months. Associated neurologic autoimmune diagnoses were common. These findings can be used to counsel families about the disease.
At the end of the journey Lyle Lewis Lloyd (August 10 1934–February 12 2020)
Lyle was a pioneer of the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). He was one of the initiators of ISAAC and the journal Augmentative and Alternative Communication in the 1980s. His own engagement in nonspeech communication emerged in the 1970s. Lyle published articles, several together with Macalyn Fristoe, and organized courses about what later became known as AAC before ISAAC and the AAC journal were established. He remained strong within this field until the end of his career, and his work is frequently cited. He has guided, and supported several generations of researchers and practitioners working in the field of AAC.
Utilizing Crisis Intervention Teams in Prison to Improve Officer Knowledge, Stigmatizing Attitudes, and Perception of Response Options
People with mental illness (MI) are overrepresented in prisons, in part, because people with MI stay in prison longer. Correctional officers (COs) use discretion in force, violations, and segregation. Crisis intervention teams (CITs) are being used in corrections to reduce disparities in sanctioning and improve safety. This quasi-experimental, mixed-methods study includes 235 CIT COs who were surveyed before and after training on knowledge of MI, stigmatizing attitudes, and perception of response options. Non-CIT (n = 599) officers completed the same survey. Randomly selected CIT COs completed interviews 6 to 9 months following training (n = 17). CIT COs had significantly lower stigmatizing attitudes, more mental health knowledge, and better perceptions of options following CIT training compared with non-CIT COs. This preliminary work on CIT use in prison is promising; additional work is needed to determine whether these changes result in behavior change among COs and improvements in outcomes for people with MI.
Characteristics of Dispensary Patients that Limit Alcohol after Initiating Cannabis
Many patients have reported that they decrease their use of opioids after starting medical cannabis (MC) but less is known for alcohol. The objective of this exploratory study was to identify any factors which differentiate alcohol abaters from those that do not modify their alcohol use after starting MC (non-abaters). Comparisons were made to identify any demographic, dosing, or health history characteristics which differentiated alcohol abaters (N = 47) from non-abaters (N = 65). Respondents selected from among a list of 37 diseases/health conditions (e.g. diabetes, sleep disorders). Abaters and non-abaters were indistinguishable in terms of sex, age, or prior drug history. A greater percentage of abaters (59.6%) than non-abaters (40.6%, p < .05) reported using MC two or more times per day. Abaters were more likely to be employed (68.1%) than non-abaters (51.1%, p < .05). Abaters also reported having significantly more health conditions and diseases (3.3 ± 2.0) than non-abaters (2.4 ± 1.4, p < .05). This small study offers some insights into the profile of patients whose self-reported alcohol intake decreased following initiation of MC. Additional prospective or controlled research into the alcohol abatement phenomenon following MC may be warranted.
Prescription Opioid Distribution after the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Colorado
There have been dynamic changes in prescription opioid use in the US but the state level policy factors contributing to these are incompletely understood. We examined the association between the legalization of recreational marijuana and prescription opioid distribution in Colorado. Utah and Maryland, two states that had not legalized recreational marijuana, were selected for comparison. Prescription data reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration for nine opioids used for pain (e.g., fentanyl, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone) and two primarily for opioid use disorder (OUD, methadone and buprenorphine) from 2007 to 2017 were evaluated. Analysis of the interval pre (2007–2012) versus post (2013–2017) marijuana legalization revealed statistically significant decreases for Colorado (P < 0.05) and Maryland (P < 0.01), but not Utah, for pain medications. There was a larger reduction from 2012 to 2017 in Colorado (–31.5%) than the other states (–14.2% to –23.5%). Colorado had a significantly greater decrease in codeine and oxymorphone than the comparison states. The most prevalent opioids by morphine equivalents were oxycodone and methadone. Due to rapid and pronounced changes in prescription opioid distribution over the past decade, additional study with more states is needed to determine whether cannabis policy was associated with reductions in opioids used for chronic pain.
Consensus Parameter: Research Methodologies to Evaluate Neurodevelopmental Effects of Pubertal Suppression in Transgender Youth
Purpose: Pubertal suppression is standard of care for early pubertal transgender youth to prevent the development of undesired and distressing secondary sex characteristics incongruent with gender identity. Preliminary evidence suggests pubertal suppression improves mental health functioning. Given the widespread changes in brain and cognition that occur during puberty, a critical question is whether this treatment impacts neurodevelopment. Methods: A Delphi consensus procedure engaged 24 international experts in neurodevelopment, gender development, puberty/adolescence, neuroendocrinology, and statistics/psychometrics to identify priority research methodologies to address the empirical question: is pubertal suppression treatment associated with real-world neurocognitive sequelae? Recommended study approaches reaching 80% consensus were included in the consensus parameter. Results: The Delphi procedure identified 160 initial expert recommendations, 44 of which ultimately achieved consensus. Consensus study design elements include the following: a minimum of three measurement time points, pubertal staging at baseline, statistical modeling of sex in analyses, use of analytic approaches that account for heterogeneity, and use of multiple comparison groups to minimize the limitations of any one group. Consensus study comparison groups include untreated transgender youth matched on pubertal stage, cisgender (i.e., gender congruent) youth matched on pubertal stage, and an independent sample from a large-scale youth development database. The consensus domains for assessment includes: mental health, executive function/cognitive control, and social awareness/functioning. Conclusion: An international interdisciplinary team of experts achieved consensus around primary methods and domains for assessing neurodevelopmental effects (i.e., benefits and/or difficulties) of pubertal suppression treatment in transgender youth.
Parent-child concordance on the Pubertal Development Scale in typically developing and autistic youth
Background: Characterizing puberty in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is critical given the direct impacts of pubertal progression on neural, cognitive, and physical maturation. Limited information is available about the utility and parent-child concordance of the self-report and parent-report Pubertal Development Scale (PDS) in ASD, an economical and easily administered measure. Method: The primary aim of this study was to examine the concordance between self-report and parent-report PDS ratings in autistic males and females ages 8–17y compared to typically developing (TD) youth, including using the PDS to derive informant-based estimates of adrenal and gonadal development. We hypothesized that there would be greater parent-youth discrepancies in pubertal ratings among autistic males. Our second aim was exploratory; we examined whether individual characteristics impact PDS concordance and hypothesized that lower intellectual and adaptive skills, higher autistic traits, and reduced self-awareness/monitoring would correlate with lower concordance. Results: There were no significant diagnostic group differences in parent-youth concordance for overall PDS scores among males and females. Autistic males had significantly lower inter-item agreement with their parents than TD males and had lower agreement for both adrenal and gonadal aspects of pubertal maturation (adrenal κ = .48; gonadal κ = .55). Conclusions: The PDS is a feasible measure in ASD. Greater parent-youth discrepancies in autistic males may be due to reduced parental awareness or reduced insight into pubertal maturation among autistic males. Future research is needed to further elucidate individual and/or environmental characteristics that influence youth- and parent-reported PDS scores, including differences in self-perception and insight.
Neural Correlates of Smartphone Dependence in Adolescents
Increases in depressive and suicide-related symptoms among United States adolescents have been recently linked to increased use of smartphones. Understanding of the brain mechanisms that underlie the potential smartphone dependence may help develop interventions to address this important problem. In this exploratory study, we investigated the neural mechanisms underlying potential smartphone dependence in a sample of 19 adolescent volunteers who completed self-assessments of their smartphone dependence, depressive symptoms, and sleep problems. All 19 adolescents underwent diffusion MRI that allowed for assessment of white matter structural connectivity within the framework of connectomics. Based on previous literature on the neurobiology of addiction, we hypothesized a disruption of network centrality of three nodes in the mesolimbic network: Nucleus Accumbens, anterior cingulate cortex, and amygdala. Our results showed positive correlations between the node centrality of the right amygdala and self-reported smartphone dependence, between smartphone dependence and sleep problems, and between sleep problems and depressive symptoms. A higher phone dependence was observed in females compared to males. Supported by these results, we propose a model of how smartphone dependence can be linked to aberrations in brain networks, sex, sleep disturbances, and depression in adolescents.
MRI Insights Into Adolescent Neurocircuitry—A Vision for the Future
Adolescence is the time of onset of many psychiatric disorders. Half of pediatric patients present with comorbid psychiatric disorders that complicate both their medical and psychiatric care. Currently, diagnosis and treatment decisions are based on symptoms. The field urgently needs brain-based diagnosis and personalized care. Neuroimaging can shed light on how aberrations in brain circuits might underlie psychiatric disorders and their development in adolescents. In this perspective article, we summarize recent MRI literature that provides insights into development of psychiatric disorders in adolescents. We specifically focus on studies of brain structural and functional connectivity. Ninety-six included studies demonstrate the potential of MRI to assess psychiatrically relevant constructs, diagnose psychiatric disorders, predict their development or predict response to treatment. Limitations of the included studies are discussed, and recommendations for future research are offered. We also present a vision for the role that neuroimaging may play in pediatrics and primary care in the future: a routine neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric imaging (NPPI) protocol for adolescent patients, which would include a 30-min brain scan, a quality control and safety read of the scan, followed by computer-based calculation of the structural and functional brain network metrics that can be compared to the normative data by the pediatrician. We also perform a cost-benefit analysis to support this vision and provide a roadmap of the steps required for this vision to be implemented.
Improving parent-child relationships: Effects of the Your Family, Your Neighborhood intervention
Your Family, Your Neighborhood (YFYN) was developed to strengthen parent-child relationships among families living in low-income and subsidized housing communities, using a dual-generation approach. Few, if any, family-based interventions with a primary focus of enhancing parent-child relationships target parents and their children between the ages of seven to 12 years living in subsidized housing communities. This study aimed to fill this gap and examine the effects of the YFYN intervention on parent-child relationships. This mixed-methods study was conducted in three low-income neighborhoods, in a city in the western United States. Intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis was conducted on the entire quasi-experimental sample (N = 101) and a repeated measures ANOVA was conducted on the per protocol sample (N = 70). ITT analysis indicated no significant group by time differences. However, results of the two-way ANOVA on the per protocol sample revealed a significant group by time effect, with treatment families demonstrating improvements in the parent-child relationship from pre-assessment to post-assessment compared to the control group. Focus groups were conducted with parent participants in the treatment group, in which they indicated their parent-child relationships improved after participating in YFYN, including feeling closer to their children, improving communication, spending more time together, and eating dinner together as a family more often. This study offers preliminary findings regarding the effects of the YFYN intervention on the parent-child relationship for families living in low-income and subsidized housing communities. Future directions for family-based and neighborhood interventions are discussed.
Parental buffering in the context of poverty: positive parenting behaviors differentiate young children’s stress reactivity profiles
Experiencing poverty increases vulnerability for dysregulated hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis functioning and compromises long-term health. Positive parenting buffers children from HPA axis reactivity, yet this has primarily been documented among families not experiencing poverty. We tested the theorized power of positive parenting in 124 parent–child dyads recruited from Early Head Start ( M age = 25.21 months) by examining child cortisol trajectories using five samples collected across a standardized stress paradigm. Piecewise latent growth models revealed that positive parenting buffered children’s stress responses when controlling for time of day, last stress task completed, and demographics. Positive parenting also interacted with income such that positive parenting was especially protective for cortisol reactivity in families experiencing greater poverty. Findings suggest that positive parenting behaviors are important for protecting children in families experiencing low income from heightened or prolonged physiologic stress reactivity to an acute stressor.
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.
Knowledge of objects’ physical properties implicitly guides attention during visual search
Our interactions with the world are guided by our understanding of objects’ physical properties. When packing groceries, we place fragile items on top of more durable ones and position sharp corners so they will not puncture the bags. However, physical properties are not always readily observable, and we often must rely on our knowledge of attributes such as weight, hardness, and slipperiness to guide our actions on familiar objects. Here, we asked whether our knowledge of physical properties not only shapes our actions but also guides our attention to the visual world. In a series of four visual search experiments, participants viewed arrays of everyday objects and were tasked with locating a specified object. The target was sometimes differentiated from the distractors based on its hardness, while a host of other visual and semantic attributes were controlled. We found that observers implicitly used the hardness distinction to locate the target more quickly, even though none reported being aware that hardness was relevant. This benefit arose from fixating fewer distractors overall and spending less time interrogating each distractor when the target was distinguished by hardness. Progressively more stringent stimulus controls showed that surface properties and curvature cues to hardness were not necessary for the benefit. Our findings show that observers implicitly recruit their knowledge of objects’ physical properties to guide how they attend to and engage with visual scenes.
Occupational therapists need to be involved in developing and evaluating technological solutions to support remote working
COVID-19 has led to increased remote working for occupational therapists and other health and social care professionals. Despite the rapid move to video consultations during COVID, the impact and implications of remote working still need consideration. Prior to COVID, digitisation was already recognised as essential, given the demands on health and social care (NHS, 2019). The National Health Service (NHS) long-term plan pledged to make digitally enabled care mainstream within the next decade (NHS, 2019). Technological innovation has the potential to improve care quality and cost savings across health and social care (Maguire et al., 2018). Allied health professionals (AHPs) have been urged to lead digital health innovations and use new technologies for patient benefit (NHS England, 2019). Video consultations had already emerged as a service model, with potential for improved efficiency and patient experiences (Greenhalgh et al., 2018a).
Drinking Motives as Moderators of In‐the‐Moment Drinking Risks in Response to Trauma‐Related Distress
Background: Trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology are linked to increased risk for problematic drinking, yet the factors that increase such risk remain largely unknown. Theoretical models suggest that affectively oriented drinking motives may be central to trauma‐related drinking. Specifically, individual‐level motivations to drink to regulate affect may be important for moderating drinking urges that occur acutely in response to trauma cues. Further, elevated distress associated with PTSD symptomatology may increase any affectively motivated, momentary drinking risks. However, research has yet to examine these dynamic affective processes. In a large experimental sample, the current study tested whether affective (i.e., coping and enhancement) drinking motives and PTSD symptomatology moderated individuals’ drinking urge in response to a trauma cue in a laboratory cue reactivity paradigm. Methods: College drinkers (n = 611, 53% female) were recruited and selected across levels of trauma exposure and PTSD symptomatology by a structured clinical interview. Participants were randomized to a personalized trauma or neutral cue, reporting on their urge to drink alcohol before and after cue exposure. Drinking motives were assessed at the end of the experimental session. Results: Trauma cue associations with drinking urge were moderated by coping, but not enhancement, motives. Specifically, stronger coping motives were associated with increases in urge to drink alcohol following exposure to a trauma but not neutral cue. PTSD classification did not significantly moderate these associations. Conclusions: Coping motives may increase drinking urge immediately following exposure to trauma cues and may differentiate individuals most at risk for problematic drinking during trauma‐associated distress. Findings support momentary negative affect processes driving dynamic, immediate trauma‐related drinking risks.