Articles

January 12th, 2021

Study: Personality plays a role in who complies with pandemic restrictions

By New England Psychologist Staff

A new study finds that personality traits affect who is most likely to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking at the five big personality traits, the researchers found that people who scored low on two of them – openness to experience and neuroticism – were less likely to shelter at home in the absence of stringent government policies. However, that tendency went away when more restrictive government policies were implemented, according to Friedrich Götz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the study. “We also found that more agreeable (i.e., cooperative, compliant, sympathetic), [More]

October 7th, 2020

COVID-19 funds provide financial relief to several residential schools

By Phyllis Hanlon

Some special education residential schools in Massachusetts received a much-needed fiscal shot in the arm when Governor Charlie Baker announced that $16.1 million would be awarded to certain facilities. Thirty-two special education residential schools were given the funds to help alleviate pandemic-related expenses. Awards ranged from $18,220 to nearly $2 million. Several residential schools received more than $1 million, including the Hillcrest Educational Center ($1,275,323); the Evergreen Center ($1,087,973); the May Institute, Inc. ($1,006,071); the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. ($1,763,017); New England Center for Children (NECC) ($1,902,742); and Saint Ann’s Home, Inc. ($1,081,950). Vincent Strully, CEO and founder of [More]

October 7th, 2020

You’re Not Alone: Pandemic Fatigue is Real

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Pandemic fatigue is creeping into more and more of our lives. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world, it’s getting harder and harder to continue on in our normal lives. With colder weather coming, the summer respite and spending good amounts of time outdoors is coming to an end. This is going to be a very challenging season for mental health. Too many people are still ignoring the fundamental science-based protections – such as simply wearing a mask when away from home – that will help reduce overall rates of the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. [More]

October 6th, 2020

Child abuse reports down; concern is up

By Eileen Weber

Authorities and medical professionals in Maine are seeing a 30 percent decrease in child abuse reports. The sharp decline began when schools closed in mid-March because of COVID-19. These days, the safety nets that are typically built around children—teachers, friends, neighbors, other family members, doctors and social workers—weren’t there. Calls to the abuse hotline at the Maine Child and Family Services have also been down. Only seven percent of the calls were from school personnel when that number would ordinarily be more than 20 percent. According to the National Children’s Alliance, a nation-wide network of children’s advocacy centers, approximately 700,000 [More]

September 9th, 2020

Uncertainty of pandemic leads to further mental health problems

By Eileen Weber

It should be no surprise that after months of shelter-in-place mandates, wearing masks in public, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and a resurgence in COVID outbreaks in some states, our collective psyche is at the breaking point. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse have been on the rise in this country, but those issues have become even more apparent during this pandemic. For many people, it has been a mental and emotional roller coaster. Steven Marans, MSW, Ph.D, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Childhood Violent Trauma Center at Yale’s Child Study Center, says the loss of normal [More]

August 18th, 2020

National survey measures pandemic’s emotional impact

By Phyllis Hanlon

After several months of quarantine, psychologists are eager to assess the emotional repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three psychologists teamed up to create a scale that evaluated mental health during this crisis and found both expected and some surprising results. Sarah Gray, Psy.D, director of outpatient rehabilitation psychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation in Boston, said, “As a health psychologist, the psychological effects of the pandemic in society and how that affects our patients is of particular interest to me.” Gray is also the founder/director, Integrative Psychology, PC in Arlington, Massachusetts. Gray explained that this national survey was developed “completely in reaction [More]

July 17th, 2020

A world turned upside down is also a time for new opportunities

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Online counseling services have gotten a big boost in the past few months, as the coronavirus pandemic closed down much of the face-to-face world. In fact, the only way for most to do psychotherapy during this time was either via some sort of teleconferencing or online therapy service, or going old-school and using just the phone. (You shouldn’t be using email to do therapy, because it is insecure). Unbeknownst to many, online counseling is now in its third decade. It got its start in the mid-1990s as a way of offering therapy services to people who would otherwise not get [More]

July 15th, 2020

Research on implicit bias is core of John Dovidio’s work

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Most Americans would reject being labelled racist. Yet, study after study, and incident after incident, show how deeply racism is ingrained in our society, from far higher rates of COVID-19 deaths and fatal police shootings to lower overall college graduation rates for Blacks as compared to whites in this country. At the Yale University Intergroup Relations Lab, a team of researchers led by director John Dovidio, Ph.D, the Hovland professor of psychology and public health at Yale, has been looking at the idea of implicit bias over the past several decades. Starting from the premise that everyone does have some [More]

July 14th, 2020

States look at mental health beyond the pandemic

By Phyllis Hanlon

To date, the COVID-19 virus has exacted a tremendous toll on the nation’s economy, uncovered serious flaws in the health care systems, brought long-standing systemic racism to the forefront, and disrupted everyday life. Of paramount importance are the potential long-term effects on psychological well-being. The New England states are taking measures to help ameliorate any adverse effects once the pandemic begins to wane. According to Jessica Pollard, Ph.D, director of Maine’s Office of Behavioral Health, her state has operated a number of crisis phone lines for several years. In response to COVID-19 , Maine set up a “Warmline,” a resource [More]

July 14th, 2020

COVID-19 means different approach to Stress in America survey

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been gauging the nation’s attitudes and perception of stress with its annual Stress in America survey. “Every year, we take a look at what is causing stress among U.S. adults, how they are managing or failing to manage their stress and how that stress impacts their lives, relationships, work and health,” said Sophie Bethune, APA’s director of Strategic Communications Initiatives. She added that the results of the survey highlight the serious physical and emotional implications of stress. “By drawing attention to stress, we are able to start a conversation about emotional and behavioral [More]

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