Psychological and Environmental Correlates of HPA Axis Functioning in Parentally Bereaved Children: Preliminary Findings.

Psychological and Environmental Correlates of HPA Axis Functioning in Parentally Bereaved Children: Preliminary Findings.

J Trauma Stress. 2013 Mar 22;
Kaplow JB, Shapiro DN, Wardecker BM, Howell KH, Abelson JL, Worthman CM, Prossin AR

This study examined bereaved children’s HPA-axis functioning (cortisol awakening response; CAR) in relation to psychological distress, coping, and surviving parents’ grief reactions. Participants included 38 children (20 girls) with recent parental loss (previous 6 months) and 28 of their surviving caregivers (23 women) who were assessed using self-report instruments and in-person, semistructured interviews. Interviews involved discussions about the child’s thoughts and feelings related to the loss. Participants provided 3 saliva samples at home (awakening, 30 minutes later, and evening) over 3 successive days, beginning on the day following the interview. Results show a significant relation between dampening of the child’s Day 1 CAR and more symptoms of anxiety (r = -.45), depression (r = -.40), posttraumatic stress (r = -.45), and maladaptive grief (r = -.43), as well as higher levels of avoidant coping (r = -.53). Higher levels of parental maladaptive grief were also associated (r = -.47) with a dampening of the child’s Day 1 CAR. Our results raise the possibility that blunted CAR may be a result of accumulating allostatic load and/or a result of emotionally challenging events (discussions regarding the deceased) and their subsequent processing (or lack thereof) within the family, which may be particularly stressful for those bereaved children experiencing high levels of psychological distress, avoidant coping, and parental maladaptive grief. HubMed – depression


The Protective Role of Self-compassion in Relation to Psychopathology Symptoms and Quality of Life in Chronic and in Cancer Patients.

Clin Psychol Psychother. 2013 Mar 25;
Pinto-Gouveia J, Duarte C, Matos M, Fráguas S

The importance of self-compassion in the context of medical problems has been highlighted in previous research. Its role in the psychological adjustment of cancer patients, however, has remained unexplored. The current study aimed at examining whether self-compassion and self-critical judgement would distinctively predict general psychopathological symptoms and quality of life in three distinct groups: a mixed sample of cancer patients (n?=?63), patients with chronic illnesses (n?=?68) and healthy subjects (n?=?71). Correlation analyses revealed significant associations between lower self-compassion and increased depressive and stress symptoms, and lower scores in quality of life dimensions in the patients’ samples. The opposite correlational pattern was found regarding self-critical judgement. In the case of healthy subjects, these correlations were weaker or nonsignificant. Regression analyses revealed that in patients with chronic illnesses, self-critical judgement emerged as the best predictor of depressive and stress symptoms, and quality of life dimensions. In patients with cancer, however, it was the affiliate dimension of self-compassion that was found to significantly predict lower levels of depressive and stress symptoms, and increased quality of life. These findings have important clinical implications by suggesting the relevance of nurturing a caring and kind relation with oneself in the face of challenging medical conditions, particularly in patients with cancer. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. KEY PRACTITIONER MESSAGE: The link between self-compassion and psychopathology and quality of life was examined in a mixed sample of cancer patients, in chronic patients, and in healthy subjects. Self-compassion is associated with decreased psychopathological symptoms of stress and depression, and better quality of life in patients with chronic illnesses, and especially in patients with cancer. Psychological supportive interventions targeting the development of self-compassionate attributes and skills may have beneficial effects in the psychological adjustment of medically ill patients, namely patients with cancer. HubMed – depression


The epidemiology of vertigo, dizziness, and unsteadiness and its links to co-morbidities.

Front Neurol. 2013; 4: 29
Bisdorff A, Bosser G, Gueguen R, Perrin P

Vertigo, dizziness, and unsteadiness (VDU) are common symptoms traditionally considered to result from different kinds of vestibular and non-vestibular dysfunctions. The epidemiology of each symptom and how they relate to each other and to migraine, agoraphobia, motion sickness susceptibility (MSS), vaso-vagal episodes (VVE), and anxiety-depression was the object of this population-based study in north-eastern France. A self-administered questionnaire was returned by 2987 adults (age span 18-86?years, 1471 women). The 1-year prevalence for vertigo was 48.3%, for unsteadiness 39.1%, and for dizziness 35.6%. The three symptoms were correlated with each other, occurred mostly (69.4%) in various combinations rather than in isolation, less than once per month, and 90% of episodes lasted ?2?min. The three symptoms were similar in terms of female predominance, temporary profile of the episodes, and their link to falls and nausea. Symptom episodes of >1?h increase the risk of falls. VDU are much more common than the known prevalence of vestibular disorders. The number of drugs taken increase VDU even when controlling for age. Each VDU symptom was correlated with each co-morbidity in Chi-squared tests. The data suggest that the three symptoms are more likely to represent a spectrum resulting from a range of similar – rather than from different, unrelated – mechanisms or disorders. Logistic regressions controlling for each vestibular symptom showed that vertigo correlated with each co-morbidity but dizziness and unsteadiness did not, suggesting that vertigo is certainly not a more specific symptom than the other two. A logistic regression using a composite score of VDU, controlling for each co-morbidity showed a correlation of VDU to migraine and VVE but not to MSS and not to agoraphobia in men, only in women. HubMed – depression