Resilience, Posttraumatic Growth and Cancer

Resilience, Posttraumatic Growth and Cancer

 By Jim Windell

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Where will we get childcare?

Emily Peck, a staff writer for the Huffington Post, just did a story examining what will happen to day care centers and childcare facilities as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Although childcare centers may be more essential than ever when we’re all allowed to go back to work, many are not getting any funds or finances during the current shutdown. Therefore, it seems evident that many will just not survive.

While interviewing the owners of daycare centers, Peck also looked at data from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Center for American Progress. Both organizations have collected information about childcare facilities and programs. These organizations predict that about half of all available slots in licensed child care centers and homes are at risk of disappearing because of the pandemic.

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The Path from PTSD to Heart Problems

People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) face a higher risk of heart disease at an earlier age than people without PTSD. That was been fairly well established. But why?

A research team’s abstract, recently published in The FASEB Journal, a journal that publishes in the biological sciences, helps explain why.

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Does neuroscience help us understand the criminal mind?

When someone is charged with a serious crime, say, for instance, a murder do we have any neurological tests that will help us answer such questions “Was this person stable when he committed the crime?” or “Should he be held accountable under the law for his criminal actions?”

These kinds of questions were posed in a recent article in the American Bar Association Journal. In the article, written by Kevin Davis, it was pointed out that millions of dollars have been spent on research to better understand the human brain. Yet, the article wondered if a host of legal questions could be answered today – any better than in past decades.

“What’s going on in a person’s brain is relevant to so many domains of law,” says Owen Jones, director of the research network and the Glenn M. Weaver, M.D., and Mary Ellen Weaver Chair in Law, Brain and Behavior at Vanderbilt Law School. “Historically, there’s been no way to make those assessments,” Jones adds. “When you’re trying to understand the multiple causes of a person’s behavior, you want to try to understand what’s giving rise to their mental states.”

There is no doubt, Davis points out, that criminal defense lawyers use or cite neuroscience to help mitigate or explain their clients’ behavior. For example, it has been found that between 2005 and 2015, there were more than 2,800 judicial opinions in which neuroscience played a role.

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Is owning a handgun a risk factor suicide?

If an individual owns a handgun, is he or she more at risk of suicide? If you are a therapist working with depressed clients or with those people who have other risk factors for violence, that question could have life or death consequences. Previous research on this question has either been conducted with small samples or over a limited period of time. The eight authors of this study, led by David M. Studdert, LL.B., Sc.D., planned and carried out a very ambitious study that looked at more than 26 million California residents over a 12-year period. The researchers, who were affiliated with Stanford University School of Law, Standard School of Medicine, the University of California at Davis, and other colleges, used survival analysis to estimate the relationship between handgun ownership and mortality, including death by suicide. The results were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in early June, 2020.

Of the individuals followed in this study, 676,000 acquired one or more handguns during the study period, and 1.4 million died over the length of the study. Of those who died, almost 18,000 died by suicide and nearly 6,700 were suicides by firearm. The researchers found that rates of suicide by any method were higher among handgun owners. It turns out that the risk of suicide by firearm among handgun owners peaked immediately after the first acquisition of a gun, however, more than half of suicides by firearm among handgun owners occurred more than one year after they acquired a handgun.

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Surviving the Pandemic – Together

Of the many ways the coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives, one of the most significant might be the way it has changed relationships.

In the U.S, and around the world, millions of couples who have led largely separate lives during the workday suddenly find themselves quarantined at home. They are stuck together all day, every day, with no end in sight.

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The Impact of Father-Child Play

Almost 15 years ago, Kevin O’Shea, a stay-at-home dad with three children, and I wrote the book “The Father-Style Advantage.” A main theme of the book was that dads have a much different parenting style than moms and this difference is very beneficial to children. One of the distinctions between mothers and fathers, we noted, was in the way that dads play with their children. We wrote that the rough and tumble style of play actually helps children, particularly boys, learn emotional control.

It turns out that an article in Developmental Review coming out in September, 2020, confirms what Kevin and I wrote all those years ago. The article, entitled “Father-Child play: A Systematic Review of its Frequency, Characteristics and Potential Impact on Children’s Development," is a meta-analysis of nearly 80 articles that look at what the research says about the frequency and characteristics of father-child play and the influence of play with dads on children’s development.

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Domestic Violence and Covid-19

In a story that first was reported in the New York Times in April, social distancing and stay-at-home orders have apparently fueled incidents of domestic violence in the state of New York, even if not in New York City. This despite the fact that the police are reporting a general drop in crime during the pandemic.

Statistics suggest domestic violence is down in New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., since the shutdown, even as it has risen statewide and around the world. However, fewer victims of domestic abuse have been calling the police or the New York City’s hotline in recent weeks.

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Is There an Association between Emotional Abilities and Right-Wing Attitudes?

Okay, maybe you see this as: “Really, you needed a study to prove THIS?”

Alright. I get it. But it is always good to have our beliefs and attitudes backed up by evidence.

That is exactly what some scholars in Belgium set out to do. In a recent study published in the journal Emotion, these researchers took a look at whether there are psychological attributes that go along with political ideology.

That is, these researchers wanted to know if the psychological characteristics are different for those who espouse left-wing versus right-wing political viewpoints.

In two studies, the researchers assessed the emotional abilities and political ideology of 983 Belgian undergraduate students. The second study also examined the participants’ cognitive ability. Emotional ability was measured with three tests: The Situational Test of Emotional Understanding, the Situational Test of Emotion Management, and the Geneva Emotion Recognition Test.

The researchers found that individuals with weaker emotional abilities — particularly emotional understanding and management — tended to score higher on a measure of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation. Right-wing authoritarianism is a personality trait that describes the tendency to submit to political authority and be hostile towards other groups. Social dominance orientation is a measure of a person’s preference for inequality among social groups.

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Black Children Misperceived

We know from previous research that white police officers (and other white adults) tend to view Black adolescents and adults as more dangerous and threatening than white teens and adults. Now, there is new research that suggests that prospective teachers may also misperceive Black children.

The findings of a new study was published online in Emotion, an American Psychological Association journal.

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How to Ease Conflicts with Your Teen

It’s inevitable, isn’t it? You will have conflict with your adolescent at some time or another.

After all, they are becoming autonomous and independent; they won’t always agree with you or want to do things your way.

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How Often does Stalking and Harassment Occur in Teen Relationships?

We’ve been aware for more than 30 years that stalking and harassment takes place frequently in adult romantic relationships. And while we’ve known that the same behaviors can take place teenage relationships, we never really knew how frequent those behaviors were.

Now, we have a better idea.

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Children Being Raised by Grandparents Often at Risk

There are nearly three million children – that’s two percent of all children – in this country being raised by their grandparents.

The number of children being raised by their grandparents has grown considerably in recent years, from 2.5 million in 2005 to 2.9 million in 2015.1  Although grandparents can provide support and stability in families, the increase in custodial grandparenting in the United States has primarily been driven by the inability of some parents to care for their children,2 and up to 72% of children raised by grandparents have been exposed to at least one adverse, traumatic event.3 In light of rising incarceration rates,4,5 the current opioid crisis,6 and the recent economic recession,7 children who enter nonparental kinship care face a unique living environment and complex relationships that can impact their long-term development.

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LGBTQ+ Youth & Mental Health Issues

Researchers from the nonprofit Trevor Project found in their 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, the largest ever conducted on the mental health of LGBTQ, provides some critical insights into the lives of LGBTQ youth and their risk factors for suicide.

For instance, the survey results show that as many as 40% of LGBTQ youth and more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth thought about taking their life in the past year.

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Some People don’t Wear Masks. Why Not?

Many people are wearing masks these days. Some refuse to go out without a mask. Some insist that anyone who comes to their house cover the lower part of their face with a cloth mask.

Then there are the others. Those who resist the whole concept of wearing a mask. Some of these people see it as a personal affront of they are required to wear a mask to enter a store or a business. They are not persuaded by laws and mandates compelling the wearing of masks.

This is true in the United States, but it is also observed in other countries.

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What will be the effect of Stress from the Pandemic on Children?

There’s no doubt about it. The pandemic, stretching into five months as I write this, is having an effect on adults. In his novel, “The Plague,” Albert Camus wrote about people in a fictional town shuffling numbly through life as the epidemic reached a year. We haven’t quite reached that point in America, but as the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating, tensions and anxieties for many people are increasing.

That is certainly true of parents – what with moms and dads trying to juggle children and child care, work and schooling. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) survey found that nearly of parents with children under the age of 18 say their stress levels are high. As times moves on, a greater proportion of Americans say that the economy and work is a significant source of stress for them.  

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For Your Long-term Well-being Force Yourself to Think Positive, Right?

We all know about the power of positive thinking. If you think positive thoughts, you will be healthier and happier. We all agree about that, right? Don’t we?

Maybe not.

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Racism and Police Excessive Use of Force: The Facts

As has been said by many people recently, we live in a time of a racial pandemic. Race and policing are a critical aspect of the racial issues that in some respects are both dividing and uniting our society.

More specifically, it is the use of excessive – sometimes – lethal force by the police that has caused weeks of protests and a sudden unifying of diverse groups in our country. Everyone, in one way or another, is dealing with the fallout from years of police use of force and young people (for the most part) who are fed up and crying out for justice for Black people who, it seems based on media reports, to be on the victim side of excessive use of force. Not only is
everyone thinking about these issues, which are by no means new or suddenly recognized, but they are being discussed. If you are going to be thinking and talking about racism and excessive use of force, then you need to have as many facts as possible at your disposable.

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The Pandemic will Make You – and Everyone Else -- More Lonely, Right?

Living through a pandemic, with many people quarantined in their homes, will lead to a new epidemic: Loneliness. That is a fear expressed by some. The reasons for this thinking make sense: Having to keep our distance from others; not being able to see our friends; isolated from family members; and not interacting with other people at our place of work. All of this social distancing will surely lead to severe consequences for most of us.

That might be the conventional thinking. But what is the evidence?

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