Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Who benefits from adolescent sleep interventions? Moderators of treatment efficacy in a randomized controlled trial of a cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based group sleep intervention for at-risk adolescents
    Blake, MJ ; Blake, LM ; Schwartz, O ; Raniti, M ; Waloszek, JM ; Murray, G ; Simmons, JG ; Landau, E ; Dahl, RE ; McMakin, DL ; Dudgeon, P ; Trinder, J ; Allen, NB (WILEY, 2018-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to test moderators of therapeutic improvement in an adolescent cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based group sleep intervention. Specifically, we examined whether the effects of the program on postintervention sleep outcomes were dependent on participant gender and/or measures of sleep duration, anxiety, depression, and self-efficacy prior to the interventions. METHOD: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial conducted with 123 adolescent participants (female = 59.34%; mean age = 14.48 years, range 12.04-16.31 years) who had elevated levels of sleep problems and anxiety symptoms. Participants were randomized into either a group sleep improvement intervention (n = 63) or group active control 'study skills' intervention (n = 60). The sleep intervention ('Sleep SENSE') was cognitive behavioral in approach, incorporating sleep education, sleep hygiene, stimulus control, and cognitive restructuring, but also had added anxiety-reducing, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing elements. Components of the active control intervention ('Study SENSE') included personal organization, persuasive writing, critical reading, referencing, memorization, and note taking. Participants completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS), Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) and wore an actigraph and completed a sleep diary for five school nights prior to the interventions. Sleep assessments were repeated at postintervention. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12612001177842; http://www.anzctr.org.au/TrialSearch.aspx?searchTxt=ACTRN12612001177842&isBasic=True). RESULTS: The results showed that compared with the active control intervention, the effect of the sleep intervention on self-reported sleep quality (PSQI global score) at postintervention was statistically significant among adolescents with relatively moderate to high SCAS, CES-D, and GSE prior to the intervention, but not among adolescents with relatively low SCAS, CES-D, and GSE prior to the intervention. The results were consistent across genders. However, the effects of the sleep intervention on actigraphy-measured sleep onset latency and sleep diary-measured sleep efficiency at postintervention were not dependent on actigraphy-measured total sleep time, SCAS, CES-D, or GSE prior to the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that some sleep benefits of adolescent cognitive-behavioral sleep interventions are greatest among those with higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms, suggesting that this may be an especially propitious group to whom intervention efforts could be targeted. Furthermore, adolescents with lower levels of self-efficacy may need further targeted support (e.g. additional motivational interviewing) to help them reach treatment goals.
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    Low Carbon Readiness Index: A short measure to predict private low carbon behaviour
    O'Brien, LV ; Meis, J ; Anderson, RC ; Rizio, SM ; Ambrose, M ; Bruce, G ; Critchley, CR ; Dudgeon, P ; Newton, P ; Robins, G ; Kashima, Y (Elsevier, 2018-06-01)
    This paper presents a theoretical argument that low carbon strivings – personal goals to reduce carbon footprint in the household – can predict a wide range of diverse behaviours to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reports four studies to validate Low Carbon Readiness Index (LCRI), a short, three-item measure of low carbon strivings. It is a simple and easy-to-use indicator of the general public's readiness to transition to a fully low carbon lifestyle. LCRI is associated with validated measures predicting environmentally significant reported behaviour (Study 1), multiple low carbon behavioural clusters (Study 2 & 3), and predicts reduction in actual energy use, arguably an aggregate measure of actual low carbon behaviours (Study 4). LCRI can be used to develop low carbon policies and monitor their implementation.
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    The Neurocognitive Components of Pitch Processing: Insights from Absolute Pitch
    Wilson, SJ ; Lusher, D ; Wan, CY ; Dudgeon, P ; Reutens, DC (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2009-03-01)
    The natural variability of pitch naming ability in the population (known as absolute pitch or AP) provides an ideal method for investigating individual differences in pitch processing and auditory knowledge formation and representation. We have demonstrated the involvement of different cognitive processes in AP ability that reflects varying skill expertise in the presence of similar early age of onset of music tuition. These processes were related to different regions of brain activity, including those involved in pitch working memory (right prefrontal cortex) and the long-term representation of pitch (superior temporal gyrus). They reflected expertise through the use of context dependent pitch cues and the level of automaticity of pitch naming. They impart functional significance to structural asymmetry differences in the planum temporale of musicians and establish a neurobiological basis for an AP template. More generally, they indicate variability of knowledge representation in the presence of environmental fostering of early cognitive development that translates to differences in cognitive ability.
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    The impact of an outdoor adventure program on positive adolescent development: a controlled crossover trial
    Williams, IR ; Rose, LM ; Raniti, MB ; Waloszek, J ; Dudgeon, P ; Olsson, CA ; Patton, GC ; Allen, NB (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-07-01)
    This paper describes a quasi-experimental crossover trial of an outdoor adventure program for Year 9 school students in Australia. Previous studies have reported a range of positive outcomes of outdoor camps and adventure programs, but cautious interpretation of some claims may be warranted due to limitations in research methods. This study examines a purpose-designed, seven-day outdoor adventure program intended to promote positive adjustment in young people. A total of 335 participants (aged 14–16 years) were recruited from across two Victorian secondary schools. In year 1 (2015), students from school A were recruited to the outdoor program while students from school B were recruited to a control group. In the second year (2016) the roles of each school were switched (crossed over). Outcome measures assessed on five occasions included a range of self-reported social and emotional health indicators. While quantitative analyses did not find support for positive, universal effects of our program, qualitative information gathered across the course of the study suggested that the outdoor program may have been both impactful and positive for some students. This complex picture suggests that effects of the outdoor adventure experience were quite variable amongst participants. Reasons for this pattern of findings are discussed, including the possibility that our quantitative measures may have been insensitive to some benefits. Future work should examine salient moderators of the beneficial effects of outdoor adventure experiences.
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    Associations between early adrenarche, affective brain function and mental health in children
    Whittle, S ; Simmons, JG ; Byrne, ML ; Strikwerda-Brown, C ; Kerestes, R ; Seal, ML ; Olsson, CA ; Dudgeon, P ; Mundy, LK ; Patton, GC ; Allen, NB (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2015-09-01)
    Early timing of adrenarche, associated with relatively high levels of Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in children, has been associated with mental health and behavioral problems. However, little is known about effects of adreneracheal timing on brain function. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of early adrenarche (defined by high DHEA levels independent of age) on affective brain function and symptoms of psychopathology in late childhood (N = 83, 43 females, M age 9.53 years, s.d. 0.34 years). Results showed that higher DHEA levels were associated with decreased affect-related brain activity (i) in the mid-cingulate cortex in the whole sample, and (ii) in a number of cortical and subcortical regions in female but not male children. Higher DHEA levels were also associated with increased externalizing symptoms in females, an association that was partly mediated by posterior insula activation to happy facial expressions. These results suggest that timing of adrenarche is an important moderator of affect-related brain function, and that this may be one mechanism linking early adrenarche to psychopathology.
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    The SENSE Study (Sleep and Education: learning New Skills Early): a community cognitive-behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based sleep intervention to prevent depression and improve cardiac health in adolescence.
    Waloszek, JM ; Schwartz, O ; Simmons, JG ; Blake, M ; Blake, L ; Murray, G ; Raniti, M ; Dahl, RE ; O'Brien-Simpson, N ; Dudgeon, P ; Trinder, J ; Allen, NB (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2015-11-04)
    BACKGROUND: Sleep problems are a major risk factor for the emergence of depression in adolescence. The aim of this study was to test whether an intervention for improving sleep habits could prevent the emergence of depression, and improve well-being and cardiovascular indices amongst at-risk adolescents. METHODS/DESIGN: A longitudinal randomised controlled trial (RCT) is being conducted across Victorian Secondary Schools in Melbourne, Australia. Adolescents (aged 12-17 years) were defined as at-risk for depression if they reported high levels of anxiety and sleep problems on in-school screening questionnaires and had no prior history of depression (assessed by clinical diagnostic interview). Eligible participants were randomised into either a sleep improvement intervention (based on cognitive behavioral and mindfulness principles) or an active control condition teaching study skills. Both programs consisted of seven 90 minute-long sessions over seven weeks. All participants were required to complete a battery of mood and sleep questionnaires, seven-days of actigraphy, and sleep diary entry at pre- and post-intervention. Participants also completed a cardiovascular assessment and two days of saliva collection at pre-intervention. Participants will repeat all assessments at two-year follow up (ongoing). DISCUSSION: This will be the first efficacy trial of a selective group-based sleep intervention for the prevention of depression in an adolescent community sample. If effective, the program could be disseminated in schools and greatly improve health outcomes for anxious adolescents. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612001177842. Date of Registration: 06-Nov-2012.
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    Nurse-led group consultation intervention reduces depressive symptoms in men with localised prostate cancer: a cluster randomised controlled trial
    Schofield, P ; Gough, K ; Lotfi-Jam, K ; Bergin, R ; Ugalde, A ; Dudgeon, P ; Crellin, W ; Schubach, K ; Foroudi, F ; Tai, KH ; Duchesne, G ; Sanson-Fisher, R ; Aranda, S (BMC, 2016-08-16)
    BACKGROUND: Radiotherapy for localised prostate cancer has many known and distressing side effects. The efficacy of group interventions for reducing psychological morbidity is lacking. This study investigated the relative benefits of a group nurse-led intervention on psychological morbidity, unmet needs, treatment-related concerns and prostate cancer-specific quality of life in men receiving curative intent radiotherapy for prostate cancer. METHODS: This phase III, two-arm cluster randomised controlled trial included 331 men (consent rate: 72 %; attrition: 5 %) randomised to the intervention (n = 166) or usual care (n = 165). The intervention comprised four group and one individual consultation all delivered by specialist uro-oncology nurses. Primary outcomes were anxious and depressive symptoms as assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Unmet needs were assessed with the Supportive Care Needs Survey-SF34 Revised, treatment-related concerns with the Cancer Treatment Scale and quality of life with the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index -26. Assessments occurred before, at the end of and 6 months post-radiotherapy. Primary outcome analysis was by intention-to-treat and performed by fitting a linear mixed model to each outcome separately using all observed data. RESULTS: Mixed models analysis indicated that group consultations had a significant beneficial effect on one of two primary endpoints, depressive symptoms (p = 0.009), and one of twelve secondary endpoints, procedural concerns related to cancer treatment (p = 0.049). Group consultations did not have a significant beneficial effect on generalised anxiety, unmet needs and prostate cancer-specific quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with individual consultations offered as part of usual care, the intervention provides a means of delivering patient education and is associated with modest reductions in depressive symptoms and procedural concerns. Future work should seek to confirm the clinical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of group interventions. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ANZCTRN012606000184572 . 1 March 2006.
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    Study protocol: Imaging brain development in the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study (iCATS)
    Simmons, JG ; Whittle, SL ; Patton, GC ; Dudgeon, P ; Olsson, C ; Byrne, ML ; Mundy, LK ; Seal, ML ; Allen, NB (BMC, 2014-04-30)
    BACKGROUND: Puberty is a critical developmental phase in physical, reproductive and socio-emotional maturation that is associated with the period of peak onset for psychopathology. Puberty also drives significant changes in brain development and function. Research to date has focused on gonadarche, driven by the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, and yet increasing evidence suggests that the earlier pubertal stage of adrenarche, driven by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, may play a critical role in both brain development and increased risk for disorder. We have established a unique cohort of children who differ in their exposure to adrenarcheal hormones. This presents a unique opportunity to examine the influence of adrenarcheal timing on brain structural and functional development, and subsequent health outcomes. The primary objective of the study is to explore the hypothesis that patterns of structural and functional brain development will mediate the relationship between adrenarcheal timing and indices of affect, self-regulation, and mental health symptoms collected across time (and therefore years of development). METHODS/DESIGN: Children were recruited based upon earlier or later timing of adrenarche, from a larger cohort, with 128 children (68 female; M age 9.51 years) and one of their parents taking part. Children completed brain MRI structural and functional sequences, provided saliva samples for adrenarcheal hormones and immune biomarkers, hair for long-term cortisol levels, and completed questionnaires, anthropometric measures and an IQ test. Parents completed questionnaires reporting on child behaviour, development, health, traumatic events, and parental report of family environment and parenting style. DISCUSSION: This study, by examining the neurobiological and behavioural consequences of relatively early and late exposure to adrenarche, has the potential to significantly impact our understanding of pubertal risk processes.
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    Perceived acceptance and work standards as predictors of work attitudes and behavior and employee psychological distress following an internal business merger
    Joslin, F ; Waters, L ; Dudgeon, P (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LIMITED, 2010-01-01)
    Purpose This study aims to test the relationship between two measures of sociocultural adjustment (perceived acceptance and work standard) with work attitudes and behavior and with psychological distress following an internal merger of two previously distinct working groups within the one business. Design/methodology/approach A field study, using a cross‐sectional design, was used to assess the reactions of 250 employees (host employees=170; relocated employees=80) who had undergone an internal merger within a communications company. Findings Perceived acceptance and work standards following the merger were significantly related to work attitudes and behavior for both the host and the relocated employees. There was no direct relationship between perceived acceptance and work standards with psychological distress. However, work attitudes and behavior were found to mediate the indirect effect of perceived acceptance and work standards on psychological distress. Research limitations/implications The findings must be considered within the limitations of the study which include the use of a cross‐sectional design and testing within one business setting. Practical implications The research suggests that ensuring that employees from both pre‐merger groups are assisted in feeling accepted in the new culture and that both groups are giving support and resources to maintain work standards are important factors in managing post‐merger integration. Originality/value The study is the first to empirically test Berry's concepts of sociocultural adjustment, neutrality and asymmetry within an internal business merger.