Psychology

Psychologists probably won't like the implication that e-cigarettes cause mental illness, or vice versa, but in the topsy-turvy world of the American culture wars, where vaccines are bad and inhaling marijuana smoke is good, all fields are going to take their lumps.

E-cigarettes should be healthier for people - there is no smoke and smoking is what causes 10 percent of lung cancer - but there is definitely a concerted effort to undermine them. A new pape in Tobacco Control, for example, warns us that the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a cessation aid. It doesn't mean they are harmful or homeopathy but that is how the issue is framed. And in science and health, framing is always bad.


Many young people know not to drive while drunk but in the wave of health claims and legislative endorsements of marijuana, the message is being lost that you will still be impaired if you are high.

Male college students who report using marijuana in the month before they were surveyed had a high prevalence of driving under its influence and of riding with a marijuana-using driver - more than double that of driving or riding after alcohol use, say researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and University of Washington pediatrics department.


A few minutes spent filling out a mental health assessment called a CES-DC in a health care provider's waiting room could make a big difference for some teenagers suffering from depression, according to new paper.

Nationally, it's estimated that five to 20 percent of adolescents suffer from depression, but many don't receive the treatment they need. Both the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Pediatrics have promoted screening for mental health problems in primary care.


All those happy couples you see walking around in the throes of new love? It won't last...but the effects of love and romance do, say psychologists in a Journal of Personality (DOI: 10.1111/jopy.12102)
 article.

The authors focused on neuroticism – one of the five characteristics some psychologists use as basic dimensions of human personality which can be used to characterize every human being.

"Neurotic people are rather anxious, insecure, and easily annoyed. They have a tendency towards depression, often show low self-esteem and tend to be generally dissatisfied with their lives," Dr. Christine Finn explains. "However, we were able to show that they become more stable in a love relationship, and that their personality stabilizes." 


If someone fails to meet an obligation, you probably feel a little betrayed, but do you not appreciate it if they exceed expectations?

Humanities scholars think that is the case and they use the timely example of Mother's Day flowers. If they don't arrive on time, you will likely feel betrayed by the sender for 'breaking their promise'. but if they arrive earlier, you are not going to be happier.

Obviously that is a timed event. Brides don't want the band to show up the day before their wedding either. But they believe that we place such a high premium on keeping a promise that exceeding it confers little or no additional benefit. So don't try too hard, do just enough.


Richard Somerville and Susan Hassol have some recommendations for how to improve science communication.

If you examine all of the high-profile crimes that have happened any time recently, they share one thing; psychiatric medication. It was once common to ask someone who was acting bizarrely if they were 'off their meds' but it became more common to worry they are on them.

A new paper in The Lancet took a retrospective look at population data and think the fears about medication may be misplaced. The psychiatrists, led by Dr. Seena Fazel of Oxford University, used Swedish national health registries to study the psychiatric diagnoses, and any subsequent criminal convictions, in over 80,000 patients (40,937 men and 41,710 women) who were prescribed anti-psychotic or mood stabilizing medication from 2006 to 2009.


There once was a time when pilots had to do everything with a plane - they had to be able to repair it and fly it and that meant knowing everything about it.

Today, much of flying is automated, freeing pilots' attention from mundane flight tasks and allowing them to focus on the big picture. Many regard humans as something of a safety net for machines, there in case something goes wrong - but a paper in Human Factors says it doesn't really work that way. 


U.S. mothers who have unintended pregnancies return to work sooner than mothers who had planned pregnancies, and that is a reason to mandate contraception at every institution, says Dr. Rada K. Dagher, assistant professor of health services administration in the University of Maryland School of Public Health. 

"We know that it's better for women to take time off after childbirth to take care of their physical and mental health," says Dagher, who has also written that taking six months of maternity leave is optimal for reducing a woman's risk of postpartum depression. "Returning to work soon after childbirth may not be good for these women or for their children." 


A new study from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center has says that family-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is beneficial to young children between the ages of five and eight with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered by psychologists to be an effective form of OCD treatment in older children and adolescents. 

The paper in JAMA Psychiatry found developmentally sensitive family-based CBT that included exposure/response prevention (EX/RP) was more effective in reducing OCD symptoms and functional impairment in this age group than a similarly structured relaxation program.