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The Effects of Mental Health and Familial Support on Childhood Cancer Patients

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Children with cancer can experience decreased emotional health along with deteriorating
physical health compared to children without cancer. Many studies have been done to examine the effects of emotional distress and mental health on the cancer patient, as well as

Children with cancer can experience decreased emotional health along with deteriorating
physical health compared to children without cancer. Many studies have been done to examine the effects of emotional distress and mental health on the cancer patient, as well as the role of familial support. It was found that children with cancer may suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and socio-emotional problems as a result of the trauma of being diagnosed and treated for a pervasive, life-threatening disease. Late effects may also worsen co-morbid mental health disorders. Childhood cancer patients who experience co-morbid mental health problems of depression and anxiety end up having a longer duration of recovery, as well as a worsened outcome than others with a single disorder (Massie, 2004). It was also shown that family members are affected emotionally and mentally from dealing with childhood cancer. Not only is the cancer patient at risk for PTSD during or after treatment, but also family members (National Cancer Institute, 2015). Siblings of the child with cancer may experience feelings of loneliness, fear, and anxiety, as the parent’s attention is focused on the child suffering with cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute (2015), familial problems can affect the child’s ability to adjust to the diagnosis and treatment in a positive way. However, children with strong familial and social support adjust easier to living with cancer. A common theme found in literature is that regular mental health checkups during and after cancer treatment is important for quality of life. Therefore, it is important for all childhood cancer patients and their families to receive information about mental health awareness, as well as therapeutic interventions that are developed for families caring for a child with cancer.

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2019-05

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Mental Health in India

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In this creative thesis, I traveled to India and used my month long summer vacation back home to interview people about mental health in India. I talked to a therapist and four students about depression to find out what the

In this creative thesis, I traveled to India and used my month long summer vacation back home to interview people about mental health in India. I talked to a therapist and four students about depression to find out what the situation is in India, contributing factors, experiences and stigma unique to depression among students in India, what the government is doing, and possible solutions or steps that can be taken to help students struggling with mental health problems. I also went to mainstream and special schools to meet special educators who work with differently abled children, occupational therapists, parents of differently abled children, and a student with Asperger’s in Chennai, Tamil Nadu to find out about the stigma surrounding differently abled children and their education path.
My efforts have culminated in the creation of the website mentalhealthinindia.com that can be used as a resource both by people in India as well as those abroad who are curious to learn about the stigma surrounding depression and differently abled children in India.

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2019-05

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Impact of Family Support on Early Childhood Dysregulation in the Context of Maternal Depression

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The ability to regulate emotions, attention, and behavior develops early in life and impacts future academic success, social competency, behavioral problems, and psychopathology. An impairment in regulation is known as dysregulation. Past research shows that children of mothers with postpartum

The ability to regulate emotions, attention, and behavior develops early in life and impacts future academic success, social competency, behavioral problems, and psychopathology. An impairment in regulation is known as dysregulation. Past research shows that children of mothers with postpartum depression are more likely to show impairment in regulatory abilities. There is an established link in the literature between family support and maternal depression, which in turn can impact child behavior. However, further research is needed to explore the impact of family support on early childhood dysregulation in the context of maternal depression. Using a sample of 322 Mexican-American, mother-child dyads, two models were examined. Model one hypothesized family support would buffer the effects of maternal depression on child dysregulation at 24 months. Model 2 hypothesized that family support is related to child dysregulation through its effect on maternal depression. Results showed that increased family support was related to more child dysregulation when there were high levels of maternal depression. There was no evidence to support the hypothesis that maternal depression mediated the relationship between family support and child dysregulation.

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2017-12

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Benefits of high intelligence: Potential moderating effects of emotion regulation and friendship quality

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Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or actions are on the rise in adolescents (National Institute of Mental Health, 2015; Bridge, Asti, & Horowitz, 2015). Parents, school administrators, and therapists are searching for resiliency factors with in at-risk groups to aid

Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or actions are on the rise in adolescents (National Institute of Mental Health, 2015; Bridge, Asti, & Horowitz, 2015). Parents, school administrators, and therapists are searching for resiliency factors with in at-risk groups to aid students in need. In previous work, Luthar and Zigler (1992) reported that intelligent youth are more resilient than less intelligent youth under low stress conditions but they lose their advantage under high stress conditions. This study examined whether intelligence (reflected in grade point average; GPA) and maladaptive (internalizing and externalizing symptoms) behaviors are negatively related in adolescents, and tested whether level of stress, reflected in emotion regulation and friendship quality, moderated that association. It also probed whether the relationships differ by gender. Sixth-graders (N=506) were recruited with active parental consent from three middle schools. Adolescents completed self-report questionnaires Regarding demo graphics, maladaptive behaviors, emotion regulation, and friendship quality, and GPA data were collected from the school. Regression analyses found that GPA was negatively related to externalizing symptoms. Girls with poor friendship communication report significantly higher maladaptive behaviors. This relation was more pronounced for girls with high GPAs, as predicted. Results support the theory that intelligent female adolescents are more reactive under adverse circumstances. Future efforts should follow students through middle school into high school to evaluate whether friendships remain important to adjustment, hold for boys as well as girls, and have implications for relationship interventions.

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2017-12

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Retinal Vessel Diameter and Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Young Adults

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Previous studies suggest an association between depression and anxiety in childhood and adolescence and increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. The aim of the present study was to test whether depression and anxiety symptoms in young adulthood were

Previous studies suggest an association between depression and anxiety in childhood and adolescence and increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. The aim of the present study was to test whether depression and anxiety symptoms in young adulthood were associated with retinal vessel diameter, a subclinical marker of cardiovascular disease. We further tested whether associations for depression were similar to associations for anxiety. Participants completed questionnaires about their depression and anxiety symptoms and underwent retinal imaging. Retinal vessel diameter was assessed using computer software. Results showed no association between depression or anxiety symptoms and retinal vessel diameter, suggesting that retinal vessel diameter may not signal subclinical cardiovascular risk in young adults with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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2016-05

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Impacts of Age on Neuropsychological Task Performance

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The purpose of this study was to test the reproducibility of the current data set. It was hypothesized that older adults’ scores on the Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) would decrease from their initial visit to their

The purpose of this study was to test the reproducibility of the current data set. It was hypothesized that older adults’ scores on the Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) would decrease from their initial visit to their one year follow-up visit and that greater overall age is associated with worse performance. Overall, the older adults with a follow-up visit in this study experienced greater decline on the RBANS DMI than on the RBANS total scaled score. There seems to be a negative trend in which individuals with higher first-visit VCI scores experience greater improvement on the first trial of the motor task with the non-dominant hand. The same trend can be seen in DMI scores where higher initial DMI scores are associated with greater improvement on the first non-dominant hand trial of the motor task. This initial trend suggests that visuospatial scores have an association with long-term change in the motor task. The number of participants in this data set were limited, thus more data will be needed to increase confidence in conclusions about these relationships in the future.

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2021-05

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Differences in the Symptom Profile of Depression in South Asians

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The Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) are highly valid depressive testing tools used to measure the symptom profile of depression globally and in South Asia, respectively (Steer et al., 1998; Kroenke et al,

The Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) are highly valid depressive testing tools used to measure the symptom profile of depression globally and in South Asia, respectively (Steer et al., 1998; Kroenke et al, 2001). Even though the South Asian population comprises only 23% of the world’s population, it represents one-fifth of the world’s mental health disorders (Ogbo et al., 2018). Although this population is highly affected by mental disorders, there is a lack of culturally relevant research on specific subsections of the South Asian population.<br/><br/>As such, the goal of this study is to investigate the differences in the symptom profile of depression in native and immigrant South Asian populations. We investigated the role of collective self-esteem and perceived discrimination on mental health. <br/><br/>For the purpose of this study, participants were asked a series of questions about their depressive symptoms, self-esteem and perceived discrimination using various depressive screening measures, a self-esteem scale, and a perceived discrimination scale.<br/><br/>We found that immigrants demonstrated higher depressive symptoms than Native South Asians as immigration was viewed as a stressor. First-generation and second-generation South Asian immigrants identified equally with somatic and psychological symptoms. These symptoms were positively correlated with perceived discrimination, and collective self-esteem was shown to increase the likelihood of these symptoms.<br/><br/>This being said, the results from this study may be generalized only to South Asian immigrants who come from highly educated and high-income households. Since seeking professional help and being aware of one’s mental health is vital for wellbeing, the results from this study may spark the interest in an open communication about mental health within the South Asian immigrant community as well as aid in the restructuring of a highly reliable and valid measurement to be specific to a culture.

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2021-05

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Sophia's Stuffed Friends

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Sophia’s Stuffed Friends is a book written for children of divorce, aged five to eight years. The story deals with anxiety, depression, and misappropriated guilt in the form of character traits in Sophia’s stuffed animals. The story takes place in

Sophia’s Stuffed Friends is a book written for children of divorce, aged five to eight years. The story deals with anxiety, depression, and misappropriated guilt in the form of character traits in Sophia’s stuffed animals. The story takes place in a dream world after the stuffed animals are thrown into the washer of the new family house. The washer acts as a portal to the dream world. The lessons of the story are learned through flashbacks to Sophia’s life when she personally experienced anxiety, depression, and guilt. Each character learns coping mechanisms and strategies to overcome those feelings.
Squeakie is a positive influence on the way the other characters perceive themselves. The shadow turns each character’s self-doubt and negative feelings into fuel, which he stores in a paintbrush. When he takes the fuel from the character, it fades their body color. Phan has anxiety and uses the 4-7-8 breathing technique to overcome her panic attacks. Her range of color is blue to light blue. Ovid feels guilty and exercises to take his mind off his guilty thoughts. Ovid is either red or light pink. Amelia is depressed and reframes her way of thinking to overcome her inability to fly. Visually she is green or light green. The shadow is later revealed as a misguided character who was just looking to escape the dream world and find friends.
The story is resolved by the stuffed animals joining forces with the perceived antagonist, the shadow, to operate a plane. They each use their strength of color to fuel the plane, which takes them back to the real world. When Sophia’s mom pulls the stuffed animals out of the washer, the shadow comes with them. The shadow, now a cat with rainbow patches, is instantly loved by Sophia. The story ends with the stuffed animals drying on the porch bench while Sophia plays with the shadow in the new backyard.

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Date Created
2019-12

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Differences in the Symptom Profile of Depression in South Asians

Description

The Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) are highly valid depressive testing tools used to measure the symptom profile of depression globally and in South Asia, respectively (Steer et al., 1998; Kroenke et al,

The Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) are highly valid depressive testing tools used to measure the symptom profile of depression globally and in South Asia, respectively (Steer et al., 1998; Kroenke et al, 2001). Even though the South Asian population comprises only 23% of the world’s population, it represents one-fifth of the world’s mental health disorders (Ogbo et al., 2018). Although this population is highly affected by mental disorders, there is a lack of culturally relevant research on specific subsections of the South Asian population.

As such, the goal of this study is to investigate the differences in the symptom profile of depression in native and immigrant South Asian populations. We investigated the role of collective self-esteem and perceived discrimination on mental health.
For the purpose of this study, participants were asked a series of questions about their depressive symptoms, self-esteem and perceived discrimination using various depressive screening measures, a self-esteem scale, and a perceived discrimination scale.

We found that immigrants demonstrated higher depressive symptoms than Native South Asians as immigration was viewed as a stressor. First-generation and second-generation South Asian immigrants identified equally with somatic and psychological symptoms. These symptoms were positively correlated with perceived discrimination, and collective self-esteem was shown to increase the likelihood of these symptoms.

This being said, the results from this study may be generalized only to South Asian immigrants who come from highly educated and high-income households. Since seeking professional help and being aware of one’s mental health is vital for wellbeing, the results from this study may spark the interest in an open communication about mental health within the South Asian immigrant community as well as aid in the restructuring of a highly reliable and valid measurement to be specific to a culture.

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Date Created
2021-05

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Unpredictable, intermittent, chronic stress may increase dendritic complexity of short shaft hippocampal neurons

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Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects over 300 million people worldwide, with the hippocampus showing decreased volume and activity in patients with MDD. The current study investigated whether a novel preclinical model of depression, unpredictable intermittent restraint (UIR), would decrease hippocampal

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) affects over 300 million people worldwide, with the hippocampus showing decreased volume and activity in patients with MDD. The current study investigated whether a novel preclinical model of depression, unpredictable intermittent restraint (UIR), would decrease hippocampal neuronal dendritic complexity. Adult Sprague Dawley rats (24 male, 24 female) were equally divided into 4 groups: control males (CON-M), UIR males (UIR-M), control females (CON-F) and UIR females (UIR-F). UIR groups received restraint and shaking on an orbital shaker on a randomized schedule for 30 or 60 minutes/day for two to six days in a row for 26 days (21 total UIR days) before behavioral testing commenced. UIR continued and was interspersed between behavioral test days. At the end of behavioral testing, brains were processed. The behavior is published and not part of my honor’s thesis; my contribution involved quantifying and analyzing neurons in the hippocampus. Several neuronal types are found in the CA3 subregion of the hippocampus and I focused on short shaft (SS) neurons, which show different sensitivities to stress than the more common long shaft (LS) variety. Brains sections were mounted to slides and Golgi stained. SS neurons were drawn using a microscope with camera lucida attachment and quantified using the number of bifurcations and dendritic intersections as metrics for dendritic complexity in the apical and basal areas separately. The hypothesis that SS neurons in the CA3 region of the hippocampus would exhibit apical dendritic simplification in both sexes after UIR was not supported by our findings. In contrast, following UIR, SS apical dendrites were more complex in both sexes compared to controls. Although unexpected, we believe that the UIR paradigm was an effective stressor, robust enough to illicit neuronal adaptations. It appears that the time from the end of UIR to when the brain tissue was collected, or the post-stress recovery period, and/or repeated behavioral testing may have played a role in the observed increased neuronal complexity. Future studies are needed to parse out these potential effects.

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2020-12