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The Exploration of Depression as a Mediating Mechanism between Trauma and Alcohol Problems

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Introduction: Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in the United States, and is characterized by feeling sad or empty most of the day, nearly every day (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The experience of childhood trauma is one

Introduction: Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in the United States, and is characterized by feeling sad or empty most of the day, nearly every day (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The experience of childhood trauma is one of many factors that may lead to depression, while trauma can also yield other adverse life outcomes, such as alcohol-related consequences (Felitti et al., 2001; Neumann, 2017). One of the specific aims of this investigation was to examine the direct influences of childhood trauma on depression. We also examined selected direct and indirect influences of childhood trauma on drinking outcomes through the potential mediating mechanism of depression. We examined three distinct drinking outcomes, 1) impaired control over drinking (i.e. the inability to stop drinking when intended), 2) heavy episodic drinking (four or more drinks on one occasion for men, four or more for women), and 3) alcohol-related problems. Methods: A survey was administered to 940 (466 women, 474 men) university students. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the data. Potential two- and three-path mediated effects were examined with the bias corrected bootstrap technique in Mplus (MacKinnon, 2008). Results: Emotional abuse was found to be positively associated with depression. In contrast, having an emotionally supportive family was found to be negatively associated with depression. Congruent with the Self-Medication Hypothesis, depression was found to be positively associated with impaired control over drinking. Physical neglect was found to be positively associated with impaired control. Lastly, emotional abuse was found to be indirectly linked to increased heavy episodic drinking and alcohol-related problems through depression and impaired control.

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2018-12

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Feelin' Good...And Then Some: A Functional Evolutionary Approach to Positive Emotions in Sport

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Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct

Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct positive emotions with diverse implications for behavior. The present study applied this evolutionarily informed approach in the context of sport to examine which positive emotions are associated with play. It was hypothesized that pride, amusement, and enthusiasm, but not contentment or awe, would increase in Ultimate Frisbee players during a practice scrimmage. Further, it was hypothesized that increases in pride and amusement during practice would be differentially associated with sport outcomes, including performance (scores, assists, and defenses), subjective social connectedness, attributions of success, and attitudes toward the importance of practice. It was found that all positive emotions decreased during practice. It was also found that increases in pride were associated with more scores and greater social connectedness, whereas increases in amusement were associated with more assists. The present study was one of the first to examine change in positive emotions during play and to relate them to specific performance outcomes. Future studies should expand to determine which came first: emotion or performance.

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2014-05

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Relations among Religiosity, Age of Self-Identification as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual, and Alcohol Use among College Students

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Recent research on alcohol use among LGB young adults indicates that sexual minority youth are at increased risk relative to their heterosexual peers. One possible contributing factor is that religiosity fails to provide the significant protection for LGB youth that

Recent research on alcohol use among LGB young adults indicates that sexual minority youth are at increased risk relative to their heterosexual peers. One possible contributing factor is that religiosity fails to provide the significant protection for LGB youth that it has been demonstrated to provide in general population samples. Although recent studies provide some support for this hypothesis, there is little research seeking to understand the reasons that religiosity may fail to protect against heavy drinking among LGB youth. The current study attempted to address this gap by examining relations among religiosity, age of self-identification, and alcohol use in a sample of 103 young adults self identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Using multiple regression, we found that religiosity had an indirect effect on alcohol use operating through age of identification as LGB. Higher religiosity was associated with a later age of self-identification, which in turn, predicted greater increases in alcohol use among LGB youth during the transition from high school through college. Exploratory analyses found that gender significantly moderated the influence of age of self-identification on alcohol use such that a later age of self-identification was a risk factor for increased drinking for women, but not for men. The findings have important implications for understanding complex relations between religiosity and alcohol use among LGB youth. In addition, the findings may inform the development of religious support groups for LGB youth that will allow them to experience the benefits of religious involvement that heterosexual youth experience.

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2013-12

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The Combined Effects of Methamphetamine and Alcohol on Brain Reward Function as Assessed Using Intracranial Self-Stimulation

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Polysubstance abuse is far more common than single substance abuse. One of the most widely abused, yet greatly understudied combination of drugs is the simultaneous use of methamphetamine (meth) and alcohol. Because little research has been conducted on the co-abuse

Polysubstance abuse is far more common than single substance abuse. One of the most widely abused, yet greatly understudied combination of drugs is the simultaneous use of methamphetamine (meth) and alcohol. Because little research has been conducted on the co-abuse of meth and alcohol, it is important to study the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying the use of both to combat addiction and come closer to finding an effective treatment of this form of drug abuse. This study uses a rodent model to attempt to identify the mechanisms underlying this co-abuse through the stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) and thus the activation of the mesocorticolimbic pathway, the brain's pleasure circuit. First, self-stimulation thresholds (the lowest electrical current the rats are willing to respond for) were determined using a process called Discrete Trials Training. This threshold was later used as a baseline measure to reference when the rats were administered the drugs of abuse: meth and alcohol, both alone and in combination. Our overall results did not show any significant effects of combining alcohol and meth relative to the effects of either drug alone, although subject attrition may have resulted in sample sizes that were statistically underpowered. The results of this and future studies will help provide a clearer understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying the polyabuse of meth and alcohol and can potentially lead to more successfully combating and treating this addiction.

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2016-12