Psychiatry - Research Publications

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    An examination of children's eating behaviours as mediators of the relationship between parents' feeding practices and early childhood body mass index z-scores
    Boswell, N ; Byrne, R ; Davies, PSW (WILEY, 2019-04-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Parent's use of restrictive feeding practices is associated with child weight. Similarly, the literature shows that children's eating behaviours are also associated with child weight. Given this interrelationship between children's eating behaviours, restrictive feeding practices and child weight, examination of possible mediator relationships is warranted. This study aimed to examine the relationships between overt restriction and covert restriction with child body mass index z-scores (BMIz) and determine if children's eating behaviours (satiety responsiveness and food responsiveness) act as mediators. METHOD: Parents of Australian children (n = 977) 2.0-5.0 years of age (49.4% male) provided data in an online survey on child eating behaviours, parent's restrictive feeding practices and child anthropometrics (modified z-scores were created to screen for biologically implausible values). Correlation analysis was used to determine variables to include in mediation models. Hayes' PROCESS macros in spss was used to examine mediation, controlling for covariates of child BMIz. RESULTS: Overt restriction was the only parent feeding practice related to child BMIz (B = 0.132, P = 0.04). Mediation analysis showed that the indirect effect of overt restriction on child BMIz (controlling for child age, gender, parent BMI and income) became non-significant when controlling for food responsiveness, thus suggesting full mediation, explaining 5.75% of the relation. CONCLUSION: Overt restriction and covert restriction have distinctly different relationships with children's eating behaviours. Food responsiveness appears an important intermediary in the relationship between overt restriction and child BMIz.
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    Family food environment factors associated with obesity outcomes in early childhood.
    Boswell, N ; Byrne, R ; Davies, PSW (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019)
    BACKGROUND: In attempting to gain understanding of the family food environment (FFE), as a central context for the development of obesity and obesogenic eating behaviours during early childhood, attention has largely focused on the relationships of individual variables. This fails to capture the complex combinations of variables children are exposed to. To more authentically reflect the impact of the FFE on the development of obesity and obesogenic eating behaviours during early childhood, this study aims to derive composites of FFE variables using factor analysis. METHODS: FFE and eating behaviour data were available from 757 Australian children (2.0-5.0 years) via a parent-completed online survey. Children were categorised as normal weight, overweight or obese, based on parent-reported anthropometry (underweight children were excluded). RESULTS: Eight FFE factors were derived. Scores for factors 'Negative Feeding Strategies' and 'Negative Nutrition Related Beliefs' increased with child BMI category, while 'Use of TV and devices' and 'Parent's Nutrition Knowledge' decreased. The FFE factor 'Negative Feeding Strategies' was positively associated with food fussiness, food responsiveness and slowness in eating, and negatively associated with parent body mass index (BMI) score. The FFE factor 'Negative Nutrition Related Beliefs' was positively associated with food responsiveness, as well as positively with parent BMI, male children, breastfeeding less than 6 months, and low-income status. The FFE factor 'Television (TV) and devices' was only positively associated with residing in a capital city. The FFE factor 'Parent's Nutrition Knowledge' was negatively associated with slowness in eating, breastfeeding less than 6 months and low-income status, and positively with parent stress and residing in a capital city. CONCLUSION: Consideration of the composite effect of FFE on child's eating behaviours and obesity outcomes is important in guiding future research and obesity prevention initiatives by providing a more authentic picture of the FFE children are exposed to. Examining factors of FFE variables in conjunction with psycho-social variables, further articulates the reciprocal influence of these variables on environmental constructs thus assisting in understanding of inequitable distribution of obesity risk. *KEYWORDS: childhood obesity, eating behaviours, early childhood, Family Food Environment, Factor Analysis.
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    A latent profile analysis of moral injury appraisals in refugees
    Hoffman, J ; Liddell, B ; Bryant, RA ; Nickerson, A (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-01-01)
    Background: Refugees often exhibit reactions to traumatic events that may be conceptualized as moral injury (i.e. the impact of events that violate important moral values). There have been two types of moral injury appraisals found in refugees: transgressions by others and transgressions by oneself. Objective: To examine whether these types of moral injury appraisals co-occur or whether one form is usually predominant. Additionally, to investigate what types of events (trauma, living difficulties) and outcomes (PTSD, depression, anger, suicidality) were associated with each moral injury appraisal profile. Method: Participants included 221 refugees and asylum seekers residing in Australia. Data was collected online, and via pen and paper. A latent profile analysis was used to identify profiles of moral injury appraisals. Results: Results indicated a three-profile solution: Moral Injury-Other (MI-O; 37.8%), Moral Injury Other + Self (MI-OS; 35.2%), and no moral injury (No-MI; 26.9%). MI-O and MI-OS were predicted by both trauma experience and living difficulties. MI-O and MI-OS were also associated with greater psychopathology across all outcome variables compared to No-MI. MI-OS was also associated with greater anger and depression, compared to the MI-O profile. Conclusions: The association between the moral injury appraisal profiles and traumatic events, living difficulties and psychopathology, will have important clinical implications.
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    Predictors of treatment response for cognitive behaviour therapy for prolonged grief disorder.
    Bryant, RA ; Kenny, L ; Joscelyne, A ; Rawson, N ; Maccallum, F ; Cahill, C ; Hopwood, S (Informa UK Limited, 2017)
    Background: Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) causes significant impairment in approximately 7% of bereaved people. Although cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) has been shown to effectively treat PGD, there is a need to identify predictors of treatment non-response. Methods: PGD patients (N = 80) were randomly allocated to receive 10 weekly two-hour group CBT sessions and (a) four individual sessions of exposure therapy or (b) CBT without exposure. PGD was assessed by self-report measures at baseline, post-treatment (N = 61), and six-months (N = 56) after treatment. Results: Post-treatment assessments indicated that greater reduction in grief severity relative to pretreatment levels was associated with being in the CBT/Exposure condition, and lower baseline levels of self-blame and avoidance. At follow-up, greater grief symptom reduction was associated with being in the CBT/Exposure condition and lower levels of avoidance. Conclusions: These patterns suggest that strategies that target excessive self-blame and avoidance during treatment may enhance response to grief-focused cognitive behaviour therapy.
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    Strengthening mental health care systems for Syrian refugees in Europe and the Middle East: integrating scalable psychological interventions in eight countries
    Sijbrandij, M ; Acarturk, C ; Bird, M ; Bryant, RA ; Burchert, S ; Carswell, K ; de Jong, J ; Dinesen, C ; Dawson, KS ; El Chammay, R ; van Ittersum, L ; Jordans, M ; Knaevelsrud, C ; McDaid, D ; Miller, K ; Morina, N ; Park, A-L ; Roberts, B ; van Son, Y ; Sondorp, E ; Pfaltz, MC ; Ruttenberg, L ; Schick, M ; Schnyder, U ; van Ommeren, M ; Ventevogel, P ; Weissbecker, I ; Weitz, E ; Wiedemann, N ; Whitney, C ; Cuijpers, P (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2017-01-01)
    The crisis in Syria has resulted in vast numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Syria's neighbouring countries as well as in Europe. Refugees are at considerable risk of developing common mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most refugees do not have access to mental health services for these problems because of multiple barriers in national and refugee specific health systems, including limited availability of mental health professionals. To counter some of challenges arising from limited mental health system capacity the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a range of scalable psychological interventions aimed at reducing psychological distress and improving functioning in people living in communities affected by adversity. These interventions, including Problem Management Plus (PM+) and its variants, are intended to be delivered through individual or group face-to-face or smartphone formats by lay, non-professional people who have not received specialized mental health training, We provide an evidence-based rationale for the use of the scalable PM+ oriented programmes being adapted for Syrian refugees and provide information on the newly launched STRENGTHS programme for adapting, testing and scaling up of PM+ in various modalities in both neighbouring and European countries hosting Syrian refugees.
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    Thinking of attachment figures blocks differential fear conditioning
    Toumbelekis, M ; Liddell, BJ ; Bryant, RA (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2018-09-01)
    Thinking of attachment figures can potentially impact acquisition and extinction of fear memories. In this study, 50 participants underwent a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. Half the participants thought about a supportive attachment figure and half thought about a non-attachment positive experience prior to the fear conditioning. All participants then underwent a differential fear conditioning and fear extinction paradigm, and returned 2 days later for an extinction recall task. Fear-potentiated startle and subjective expectancy of shock ratings were measured as the primary indicators of fear learning across trials. The attachment prime significantly reduced the acquisition of fear-potentiated startle, and this lower level of fear was maintained at the extinction recall task. These results demonstrate that attachment primes can modulate the acquisition of conditioned fear. These findings provide preliminary evidence for the protective nature of attachment relationships at times that are characterized by fear learning.
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    Acute exercise-induced enhancement of fear inhibition is moderated by BDNF Val66Met polymorphism
    Keyan, D ; Bryant, RA (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-04-09)
    Rodent research indicates that acute physical exercise facilitates fear learning and inhibition. Expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) may moderate the memory enhancing effects of acute exercise. We assessed the role of acute exercise in modulating extinction retention in humans, and investigated the extent to which the BDNF polymorphism influenced extinction retention. Seventy non-clinical participants engaged in a differential fear potentiated startle paradigm involving conditioning and extinction followed by random assignment to either intense exercise (n = 35) or no exercise (n = 35). Extinction retention was assessed 24 h later. Saliva samples were collected to index BDNF genotype. Exercised participants displayed significantly lower fear 24 h later relative to non-exercised participants. Moderation analyses indicated that after controlling for gender, the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism moderated the relationship between exercise and fear recovery 24 h later, such that exercise was associated with greater fear recovery in individuals with the Met allele. These findings provide initial evidence that acute exercise can impact fear extinction in humans and this effect is reduced in Met-allele carriers. This finding accords with the role of BDNF in extinction learning, and has implications for augmenting exposure-based therapies for anxiety disorders.
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    Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in a clinical sample of refugees: a network analysis
    Spiller, TR ; Schick, M ; Schnyder, U ; Bryant, RA ; Nickerson, A ; Morina, N (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2017-01-01)
    Background: Network analysis is an emerging methodology for investigating psychopathological symptoms. Given the unprecedented number of refugees and the increased prevalence of mental disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in this population, new methodologies that help us better to understand psychopathology in refugees are crucial. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the network structure and centrality indices of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms in a cross-sectional clinical sample of 151 severely traumatized refugees with and without a formal PTSD diagnosis. Method: The R-packages qgraph and bootnet were used to estimate the structure of a PTSD symptom network and its centrality indices. In addition, robustness and significance analyses for the edges weights and the order of centrality were performed. Results: Three pairs of symptoms showed significantly stronger connections than at least half of the other connections: hypervigilance and exaggerated startle response, intrusion and difficulties falling asleep, and irritability or outbursts of anger and self-destructive or reckless behaviour. Emotional cue reactivity had the highest centrality and trauma-related amnesia the lowest. Conclusion: Although only 51.0% of participants fulfilled criteria for a probable PTSD diagnosis, emotional cue reactivity showed the highest centrality, emphasizing the importance of emotional trauma reminders in severely traumatized refugees attending an outpatient clinic. However, due to the small sample size, the results should be interpreted with care.
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    Correction to: Early Adolescent Skills for Emotions (EASE) intervention for the treatment of psychological distress in adolescents: study protocol for randomised controlled trials in Lebanon and Jordan.
    Brown, FL ; Steen, F ; Taha, K ; Aoun, M ; Bryant, RA ; Jordans, MJD ; Malik, A ; van Ommeren, M ; Abualhaija, A ; Aqel, IS ; Ghatasheh, M ; Habashneh, R ; Sijbrandij, M ; El Chammay, R ; Watts, S ; Akhtar, A ; STRENGTHS-consortium, (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-10-29)
    Following publication of the original article [1], we have been notified that Figure 1 was published with the track changes. In this Correction the incorrect and correct Fig. 1 are shown.
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    Early Adolescent Skills for Emotions (EASE) intervention for the treatment of psychological distress in adolescents: study protocol for randomised controlled trials in Lebanon and Jordan
    Browne, FL ; Steen, F ; Taha, K ; Aoun, M ; Bryant, RA ; Jordans, MJD ; Malik, A ; van Ommeren, M ; Abualhaija, A ; Aqel, IS ; Ghatasheh, M ; Habashneh, R ; Sijbrandij, M ; El Chammay, R ; Watts, S ; Akhtar, A (BMC, 2019-09-02)
    BACKGROUND: There are significant barriers to providing accessible, quality mental health care for young adolescents affected by adversity. In an attempt to overcome this, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the Early Adolescent Skills for Emotions (EASE) psychological intervention for young adolescents with internalising problems. EASE is group-based (seven sessions for adolescents, three sessions for their caregivers) and can be delivered by non-specialist providers. This paper outlines the study protocols for two trials of EASE in the Middle East - one in Lebanon and one in Jordan. METHODS: We will conduct two, single-blind, two-arm, individually randomised group treatment trials in Lebanon and Jordan, with at least 445 young adolescents per trial. Adolescents will be screened eligible for the trial if they demonstrate levels of psychological distress indicative of internalizing problems requiring treatment. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive the EASE intervention, or enhanced usual care (one home-visit psychoeducation session). The primary outcome is reduction in overall child-reported psychological distress over time, with 3 months post-treatment as the primary end point. Secondary child-reported outcomes include post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression symptoms, daily functioning, and wellbeing. Secondary caregiver-reported outcomes include parenting style, overall child distress, and caregiver psychological distress. Coping strategy use will be explored as a mediator of treatment effects in Lebanon, and relevant moderators of treatment effects will be explored. DISCUSSION: These trials will provide the first assessments of the effectiveness of the EASE intervention for use in the Middle East, with important implications for the use of low-intensity, non-specialist interventions for this age range. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Lebanon: ISRCTN75375136 . Registered on 11 March 2019. Jordan: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12619000341123. Registered on 5 March 2019 ( https://www.anzctr.org.au/ ).