December 1st, 2014

Epidemics: psychologists urge vigilance

By Phyllis Hanlon

Government officials attired in hazmat suits; dead bodies under blankets; hospital personnel wearing facemasks, gowns and head coverings – images like these have flashed across the front pages of newspapers and television screens across the country since word of the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa broke. Once the illness arrived in the United States, news stories became personal for some individuals. But psychologists urge watchfulness, rather than panic, when it comes to the possibility of an extensive outbreak. An Oct. 14 poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 73 percent of Americans believe that Ebola will be [More]

December 1st, 2014

Behavioral health system examined at hearing

By Janine Weisman

A  55-year-old patient with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and chronic depression potentially may have three entities overseeing his health care – his employer-sponsored health plan, a behavioral health manager and a pharmacy benefits manager. If only the entities communicated with each other. An example of how this scenario might play out is if the patient’s depression worsens and he ignores a message from his pharmacy benefits manager to replenish his supply of ACE-inhibitors and beta blockers prescribed by his primary care physician. The patient then becomes suicidal and ends up in the emergency room where his Managed Behavioral Healthcare [More]

December 1st, 2014

Study shows access to psychiatric care is difficult

By Rivkela Brodsky

Just getting that first appointment with a private psychiatrist is a difficult process and having insurance doesn’t make it easier, according to a new study by Harvard Medical School researchers. “Having insurance does not mean having access to care,” says J. Wesley Boyd, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study, an attending psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. The study, published online in October by Psychiatric Services, found that access to outpatient psychiatric services in Boston, Houston and Chicago was scarce even if the patient had private insurance or was [More]

December 1st, 2014

Lawsuit against APA re-visited

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In September, a class action lawsuit filed against the American Psychological Association saw new life when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled to reverse a decision by a lower court that had dismissed the case in 2012. The class action lawsuit was originally brought in 2010 by Ellen G. Levine, Ph.D., Ruth Fallenbaum, Ph.D., both of California, and Eric S. Engum, Ph.D, of Tennessee, on behalf of themselves and all others “similarly situated,” as the suit explains. (Levine et al. v. American Psychological Association and American Psychological Association Practice Organization). The plaintiffs contended that, since 2002, [More]

December 1st, 2014

Central Falls to launch restorative justice project

By Janine Weisman

Rhode Island’s Central Falls School District has been awarded a $3.68 million federal grant for a pilot project to steer middle and high school students with budding disciplinary problems back on track before they end up kicked out of school or possibly even arrested. Studies show kids suspended or expelled from school are more likely to drop out and that dropouts are more likely to end up with criminal records. Students of color are more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students, even when the infractions are the same. “We really want to stop the typical school-to-prison pipeline. [More]

December 1st, 2014

Tufts examines canine therapy

By Phyllis Hanlon

Three years ago, the American Humane Association launched “Canines and Childhood Cancer: Examining the Effects of Therapy Dogs with Childhood Cancer Patients and their Families,” a multi-year, randomized controlled trial. This year, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University became the last of five sites to participate in the trial. In May, Zoetis Inc., a leader in the advancement of animal health and wellness, joined the AHA in sponsoring and coordinating the study. The study involves a comprehensive needs assessment, six-month pilot study, which ended in April 2013, and a full clinical trial. Findings are scheduled for distribution [More]

December 1st, 2014

Bystander program promotes caring

By Phyllis Hanlon

In August, Providence College in R.I. launched Step UP!, a bystander program developed at the University of Arizona that aims to raise awareness regarding helping behavior, increase motivation to intervene and develop skills and confidence to safely respond to problem situations. James Campbell, Ph.D., director, Personal Counseling Center at Providence College, leads the program together with two other staff members and several student leaders. He explains that the school had explored several programs before selecting Step UP! “We wanted something with more breadth. This one applies the concept of respect, compassion and courage,” he says. “We are developing a four-year [More]

December 1st, 2014

Psychological maltreatment harmful

By Pamela Berard

Psychological maltreatment in childhood can not only increase – but also independently contribute to – risk for negative outcomes comparable to those imparted by exposure to physical or sexual abuse, according to a new study accepted for publication by the American Psychological Association. Researchers for “Unseen Wounds: The Contribution of Psychological Maltreatment to Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Risk Outcomes” used the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Data Set to analyze data from 5,616 youths with histories of one or more of three types of abuse: psychological maltreatment (emotional abuse or emotional neglect), physical abuse and sexual abuse. [More]

December 1st, 2014

Survey provides data on child behavior

By Howard Newman

Preliminary results from The Learning Habit Survey (LHS), an online national research project that polled 21,145 parents are providing data about children’s behavior. The survey was designed to study the interaction of three global variables – family time, exposure to electronic media and parenting style – with children’s social interaction, academic performance, homework, attentiveness, sleep patterns and emotional regulation. Findings from the study, undertaken by the Brown University School of Medicine, the Children’s National Medical Center and the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology, were published in the Sept. 2 edition of “The American Journal of Family Therapy.” While the [More]

December 1st, 2014

Psychologist continues to explore human interaction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Long revered for his work with family and group systems, David Kantor, Ph.D., continues to press forward even in his 80s with groundbreaking theories and models. The founder of three research and training institutes, including the Kantor Institute of Cambridge, Kantor has taught at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and Northeastern University, has written several books, including “Inside the Family,” and has received grants from the National Institute of Mental Health for his research on family systems. From the creation of a unique group home in Cambridge, Mass. in 1959, to his work with families and then corporations, [More]

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