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Elucidating the link between parent and adolescent psychopathology: a test of transmission specificity and genetic and environmental liabilities

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The tendency for psychopathology to aggregate within families is well-documented, though little is known regarding the level of specificity at which familial transmission of symptomology occurs. The current study first tested competing higher-order structures of psychopathology in adolescence, indexing general

The tendency for psychopathology to aggregate within families is well-documented, though little is known regarding the level of specificity at which familial transmission of symptomology occurs. The current study first tested competing higher-order structures of psychopathology in adolescence, indexing general and more specific latent factors. Second, parent-offspring transmission was tested for broadband domain specificity versus transmission of a general liability for psychopathology. Lastly, genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying the familial aggregation of psychopathology were examined using nuclear twin-family models. The sample was comprised of five hundred adolescent twin pairs (mean age 13.24 years) and their parents drawn from the Wisconsin Twin Project. Twins and parents completed independent diagnostic interviews. For aim 1, correlated factors, bifactor, and general-factor models were tested using adolescent symptom count data. For aim 2, structural equation modeling was used to determine whether broadband domain-specific transmission effects were necessary to capture parent-offspring resemblance in psychopathology above and beyond a general transmission effect indexed by the latent correlation between a parental internalizing factor and offspring P-factor. For aim 3, general factor models were fitted in both generations, and factor scores were subsequently extracted and used in nuclear twin-family model testing. Results indicated that the bifactor model exhibited the best fit to the adolescent data. Familial aggregation of psychopathology was sufficiently accounted for by the transmission of a general liability. Lastly, the best fitting reduced nuclear twin-family model indicated that additive genetic, sibling-specific shared environmental, and nonshared environmental influences contributed to general psychopathology. Parent-offspring transmission was accounted for by shared genetics only, whereas co-twin aggregation was additionally explained by sibling-specific shared environmental factors. Results provide novel insight into the specificity and etiology of the familial aggregation of psychopathology.

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Date Created
2019

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The Role of Social Media Use in Adolescent Alcohol Use Accounting for Peer Alcohol Use

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This study aimed to advance understanding of the relation between social media and adolescent alcohol use while accounting for offline peer alcohol use, exploring offline peer alcohol use separately as a covariate and as a moderator, with an additional exploratory

This study aimed to advance understanding of the relation between social media and adolescent alcohol use while accounting for offline peer alcohol use, exploring offline peer alcohol use separately as a covariate and as a moderator, with an additional exploratory analysis of the relation between social media and alcohol use without offline peer alcohol use in the model. A total of 868 students (55% female) in grade 7 (n = 468) and grade 8 (n = 400) at wave 1, self-reported on alcohol use, binge drinking, and social media use as well as nominated friends from their school and grade. Data from nominated peers who also completed the questionnaires were used for peer-report of alcohol use. Data were collected annually from students at grades 8, 9, 10, and 11 were used in analyses. Final structural models consisted of a cross-lagged panel design with saved factor scores for social media and peer alcohol use predicting a categorical alcohol use variable or a binary binge drinking variable. With offline peer alcohol use as a covariate in the model, social media did not prospectively relate to subsequent grade alcohol use or binge drinking. However, without offline peer alcohol use, the path from social media use to subsequent grade alcohol use was significant but not the path to binge drinking. Offline peer alcohol use did not significantly moderate the relation between social media and subsequent grade alcohol use or binge drinking.

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Date Created
2020

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Carnesi Thesis Paper

Description

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. This study approaches suicide from the lens of suicide note-leaving behavior, which can provide important information on predictors of suicide. Specifically, this study adds to the existing literature on note-leaving by examining history of suicidality, mental health problems, and their interaction in predicting suicide note-leaving, in addition to demographic predictors of note-leaving examined in previous research using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS, n = 98,515). We fit a logistic regression model predicting leaving a suicide note or not, the results of which indicated that those with mental health problems or a history of suicidality were more likely to leave a suicide note than those without such histories, and those with both mental health problems and a history of suicidality were most likely to leave a suicide note. These findings reinforce the need to tailor suicide prevention efforts toward identifying and targeting higher risk populations.

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Date Created
2022-05

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Final Thesis Defense Presentation

Description

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. This study approaches suicide from the lens of suicide note-leaving behavior, which can provide important information on predictors of suicide. Specifically, this study adds to the existing literature on note-leaving by examining history of suicidality, mental health problems, and their interaction in predicting suicide note-leaving, in addition to demographic predictors of note-leaving examined in previous research using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS, n = 98,515). We fit a logistic regression model predicting leaving a suicide note or not, the results of which indicated that those with mental health problems or a history of suicidality were more likely to leave a suicide note than those without such histories, and those with both mental health problems and a history of suicidality were most likely to leave a suicide note. These findings reinforce the need to tailor suicide prevention efforts toward identifying and targeting higher risk populations.

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Date Created
2022-05

Mental Health Status and History of Suicidality as Predictors of Suicide Note Leaving Behavior

Description

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform

Suicide is a significant public health problem, with incidence rates and lethality continuing to increase yearly. Given the large human and financial cost of suicide worldwide alongside the lack of progress in suicide prediction, more research is needed to inform suicide prevention and intervention efforts. This study approaches suicide from the lens of suicide note-leaving behavior, which can provide important information on predictors of suicide. Specifically, this study adds to the existing literature on note-leaving by examining history of suicidality, mental health problems, and their interaction in predicting suicide note-leaving, in addition to demographic predictors of note-leaving examined in previous research using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS, n = 98,515). We fit a logistic regression model predicting leaving a suicide note or not, the results of which indicated that those with mental health problems or a history of suicidality were more likely to leave a suicide note than those without such histories, and those with both mental health problems and a history of suicidality were most likely to leave a suicide note. These findings reinforce the need to tailor suicide prevention efforts toward identifying and targeting higher risk populations.

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Created

Date Created
2022-05

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Equine Assisted Learning: An Evidence-Based Intervention for Families

Description

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy

Background: It is estimated that 50% of all mental illness arises prior to age 14, an incident attributed in part to disruptions and imbalances within the family system. Equine assisted learning is a complementary and alternative approach to family therapy which is being used increasingly to promote mental health in both adults and children. This study sought to build and deliver an evidence-based, family-centered equine assisted learning program aimed at promoting family function, family satisfaction and child social-emotional competence, and to measure its acceptability and preliminary effect.

Method: Twenty families with children 10 years and older were recruited to participate in a 3-week equine assisted learning program at a therapeutic riding center in Phoenix, Arizona. Sessions included groundwork activities with horses used to promote life skills using experiential learning theory. The study design included a mixed-method quasi-experimental one-group pretest posttest design using the following mental health instruments: Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment, Brief Family Assessment Measure (3 dimensions), and Family Satisfaction Scale to measure child social-emotional competence, family function, and family satisfaction, respectively. Acceptability was determined using a Likert-type questionnaire with open-ended questions to gain a qualitative thematic perspective of the experience.

Results: Preliminary pretest and posttest comparisons were statistically significant for improvements in family satisfaction (p = 0.001, M = -5.84, SD = 5.63), all three domains of family function (General Scale: p = 0.005, M = 6.84, SD = 9.20; Self-Rating Scale: p = 0.050, M = 6.53, SD = 12.89; and Dyadic Relationship Scale: p = 0.028, M = 3.47, SD = 7.18), and child social-emotional competence (p = 0.015, M = -4.05, SD 5.95). Effect sizes were moderate to large (d > 0.5) for all but one instrument (Self-Rating Scale), suggesting a considerable magnitude of change over the three-week period. The intervention was highly accepted among both children and adults. Themes of proximity, self-discovery, and regard for others emerged during evaluation of qualitative findings. Longitudinal comparisons of baseline and 3-month follow-up remain in-progress, a topic available for future discussion.

Discussion: Results help to validate equine assisted learning as a valuable tool in the promotion of child social-emotional intelligence strengthened in part by the promotion of family function and family satisfaction. For mental health professionals, these results serve as a reminder of the alternatives that are available, as well as the importance of partnerships within the community. For therapeutic riding centers, these results help equine professionals validate their programs and gain a foothold within the scientific community. Additionally, they invite future riding centers to follow course in incorporating evidence into their programs and examining new directions for growth within the mental health community.

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Date Created
2019-05-02