Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Research Publications

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    Improving access to cancer information and supportive care services: A systematic review of mechanisms applied to link people with cancer to psychosocial supportive care services
    White, VM ; Pejoski, N ; Vella, E ; Skaczkowski, G ; Ugalde, A ; Yuen, EYN ; Livingston, P ; Wilson, C (WILEY, 2021-06-16)
    OBJECTIVE: Previous research has described the low uptake of psychosocial support services in people living with cancer. While characteristics of individuals using services have been examined, mechanisms applied to link individuals to support services are less frequently considered. This review aims to identify the mechanisms used to link people with cancer to support services and assess their impact. METHODS: Systematic searches of Pubmed, CINAHL, EMBASE and PsycINFO were conducted up to May 2020. Studies reporting service use associated with mechanisms to link adults with cancer to support services targeting emotional, informational, practical or social support needs were eligible. Eligible study designs included controlled trials, pre-post designs and observational studies. Study quality was assessed and a narrative synthesis of findings undertaken. RESULTS: A total of 10 papers (from 8,037 unique titles) were eligible. Testing the feasibility of the linkage mechanism was the primary aim in five (50%) studies. Three linkage mechanisms were identified: (a) outreach from the support service; (b) clinician recommendation/referral; (c) mailed invitation. Outreach was the most successful in connecting people with cancer to services (52%-90% use); clinician recommendation/referral was least successful (3%-28%). The impact of different linkage mechanisms for different demographic groups was not assessed. CONCLUSIONS: Outreach from services shows the most potential for increasing access to support services. However, the limited number of studies and limitations in the types of support services people with cancer were linked to, demonstrated the need for further work in this area. Identifying mechanisms that are effective for underserved, high-needs patient groups is also needed.
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    Supporting Self-management and Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder With the PolarUs App (Alpha): Protocol for a Mixed Methods Study.
    Michalak, EE ; Barnes, SJ ; Morton, E ; O'Brien, HL ; Murray, G ; Hole, R ; Meyer, D (JMIR Publications Inc., 2022-08-04)
    BACKGROUND: Quality of life (QoL) is increasingly being recognized as a key outcome of interventions for bipolar disorder (BD). Mobile phone apps can increase access to evidence-based self-management strategies and provide real-time support. However, although individuals with lived experiences desire support with monitoring and improving broader health domains, existing BD apps largely target mood symptoms only. Further, evidence from the broader mobile health (mHealth) literature has shown that the desires and goals of end users are not adequately considered during app development, and as a result, engagement with mental health apps is suboptimal. To capitalize on the potential of apps to optimize wellness in BD, there is a need for interventions developed in consultation with real-world users designed to support QoL self-monitoring and self-management. OBJECTIVE: This mixed methods pilot study was designed to evaluate the alpha version of the newly developed PolarUs app, developed to support QoL self-monitoring and self-management in people with BD. Co-designed using a community-based participatory research framework, the PolarUs app builds on the web-based adaptation of a BD-specific QoL self-assessment measure and integrates material from a web-based portal providing information on evidence-informed self-management strategies in BD. The primary objectives of this project were to evaluate PolarUs app feasibility (via behavioral use metrics), the impact of PolarUs (via the Brief Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder scale, our primary outcome measure), and explore engagement with the PolarUs app (via quantitative and qualitative methods). METHODS: Participants will be residents of North America (N=150), aged >18 years, with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision diagnosis of BD type 1, BD type 2, or BD not otherwise specified as assessed by structured diagnostic interview. An embedded mixed methods research design will be adopted; qualitative interviews with a purposefully selected subsample (approximately, n=30) of participants will be conducted to explore in more depth feasibility, impact, and engagement with the PolarUs app over the 12-week study period. RESULTS: At the time of publication of this protocol, the development of the alpha version of the PolarUs app was complete. Participant enrollment has begun in June 2022. Data collection is expected to be completed by December 2022. CONCLUSIONS: Beyond contributing knowledge on the feasibility and impact of a novel app to support QoL and self-management in BD, this study will also provide new insights related to engagement with mHealth apps. Furthermore, it will function as a case study of successful co-design between people with BD, health care providers, and BD researchers, providing a template for the future use of community-based participatory research frameworks in mHealth intervention development. The results will be used to further refine the PolarUs app and inform the design of a larger clinical trial. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): PRR1-10.2196/36213.
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    Methodological implications of sample size and extinction gradient on the robustness of fear conditioning across different analytic strategies.
    Ney, LJ ; Laing, PAF ; Steward, T ; Zuj, DV ; Dymond, S ; Harrison, B ; Graham, B ; Felmingham, KL ; Andreatta, M (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2022)
    Fear conditioning paradigms are critical to understanding anxiety-related disorders, but studies use an inconsistent array of methods to quantify the same underlying learning process. We previously demonstrated that selection of trials from different stages of experimental phases and inconsistent use of average compared to trial-by-trial analysis can deliver significantly divergent outcomes, regardless of whether the data is analysed with extinction as a single effect, as a learning process over the course of the experiment, or in relation to acquisition learning. Since small sample sizes are attributed as sources of poor replicability in psychological science, in this study we aimed to investigate if changes in sample size influences the divergences that occur when different kinds of fear conditioning analyses are used. We analysed a large data set of fear acquisition and extinction learning (N = 379), measured via skin conductance responses (SCRs), which was resampled with replacement to create a wide range of bootstrapped databases (N = 30, N = 60, N = 120, N = 180, N = 240, N = 360, N = 480, N = 600, N = 720, N = 840, N = 960, N = 1080, N = 1200, N = 1500, N = 1750, N = 2000) and tested whether use of different analyses continued to produce deviating outcomes. We found that sample size did not significantly influence the effects of inconsistent analytic strategy when no group-level effect was included but found strategy-dependent effects when group-level effects were simulated. These findings suggest that confounds incurred by inconsistent analyses remain stable in the face of sample size variation, but only under specific circumstances with overall robustness strongly hinging on the relationship between experimental design and choice of analyses. This supports the view that such variations reflect a more fundamental confound in psychological science-the measurement of a single process by multiple methods.
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    Who in the world is trying to change their personality traits? Volitional personality change among college students in six continents.
    Baranski, E ; Gardiner, G ; Lee, D ; Funder, DC ; Members of the International Situations Project, (American Psychological Association (APA), 2021-11)
    Recent research conducted largely in the United States suggests that most people would like to change one or more of their personality traits. Yet almost no research has investigated the degree to which and in what ways volitional personality change (VPC), or individuals' active efforts toward personality change, might be common around the world. Through a custom-built website, 13,278 college student participants from 55 countries and one of a larger country (Hong Kong, S.A.R.) using 42 different languages reported whether they were currently trying to change their personality and, if so, what they were trying to change. Around the world, 60.40% of participants reported that they are currently trying to change their personalities, with the highest percentage in Thailand (81.91%) and the lowest in Kenya (21.41%). Among those who provide open-ended responses to the aspect of personality they are trying to change, the most common goals were to increase emotional stability (29.73%), conscientiousness (19.71%), extraversion (15.94%), and agreeableness (13.53%). In line with previous research, students who are trying to change any personality trait tend to have relatively low levels of emotional stability and happiness. Moreover, those with relatively low levels of socially desirable traits reported attempting to increase what they lacked. These principal findings were generalizable around the world. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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    The pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide system as a sex-specific modulator of hippocampal response to threat stimuli.
    Porta-Casteràs, D ; Cano, M ; Steward, T ; Andero, R ; Cardoner, N (Elsevier BV, 2022-05)
    Background: Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) receptor gene polymorphism has been postulated as a potential sex-specific diagnostic biomarker of trauma-related disorders. However, no research to date has evaluated whether the PACAPergic system may act as a vulnerability/resilience neuromechanism to trauma-induced psychopathology in healthy participants without heightened risk to experience traumatic events. Methods: Here, we compared the amygdala and hippocampus response to fearful faces in participants with at-risk genotype versus non-risk participants from the Human Connectome Project (n = 991; 53.4% female). Results: Increased hippocampal response to fearful faces in the female risk group emerged in sex by genetic risk interaction. Conclusions: Our findings revealed the first sex-specific neurogenetic vulnerability factor to trauma-related disorders, and emphasize the importance of prevention-based strategies to ameliorate neuropsychiatric pathophysiology.
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    Impact of the global pandemic upon young people's use of technology for emotion regulation
    Tag, B ; van Berkel, N ; Vargo, AW ; Sarsenbayeva, Z ; Colasante, T ; Wadley, G ; Webber, S ; Smith, W ; Koval, P ; Hollenstein, T ; Goncalves, J ; Kostakos, V (Elsevier BV, 2022-05-01)
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    Menopause Status Moderates Sex Differences in Tau Burden: A Framingham PET Study.
    Buckley, RF ; O'Donnell, A ; McGrath, ER ; Jacobs, HIL ; Lois, C ; Satizabal, CL ; Ghosh, S ; Rubinstein, ZB ; Murabito, JM ; Sperling, RA ; Johnson, KA ; Seshadri, S ; Beiser, AS (Wiley, 2022-07)
    OBJECTIVE: Women have a higher lifetime risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) than men. Among cognitively normal (CN) older adults, women exhibit elevated tau positron emission tomography (PET) signal compared with men. We explored whether menopause exacerbates sex differences in tau deposition in middle-aged adults. METHODS: 328 CN participants from the Framingham Study (mean age = 57 years (±10 years), 161 women, of whom, 104 were post-menopausal) underwent tau and β-amyloid (Aβ)-PET neuroimaging. We examined global Aβ-PET, and tau-PET signal in 5 regions identified a priori as demonstrating significant sex differences in older adults (in temporal, inferior parietal, middle frontal, and lateral occipital regions). We examined sex and menopause status-related differences in each region-of-interest, using linear regressions, as well as interactions with Aβ and APOEε4 genotype. RESULTS: Women exhibited higher tau-PET signal (p < 0.002), and global Aβ-PET (p = 0.010), than men in inferior parietal, rostral middle frontal, and lateral occipital regions. Compared with age-matched men, post-menopausal women showed significantly higher tau-PET signal in parieto-occipital regions (p < 0.0001). By contrast, no differences in tau-PET signal existed between pre-menopausal women and men. Aβ-PET was not associated with menopausal status or age. Neither Aβ-PET nor APOEε4 status moderated sex or menopause associations with tau-PET. INTERPRETATION: Clear divergence in tauopathy between the sexes are apparent approximately 20 years earlier than previously reported. Menopause status moderated sex differences in Aβ and tau-PET burden, with tau first appearing post-menopause. Sex and menopause differences consistently appeared in middle frontal and parieto-occipital regions but were not moderated by Aβ burden or APOEε4, suggesting that menopause-related tau vulnerability may be independent of AD-related pathways. ANN NEUROL 2022;92:11-22.
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    Pilot Testing in the Wild: Feasibility, Acceptability, Usage Patterns, and Efficacy of an Integrated Web and Smartphone Platform for Bipolar II Disorder.
    Fletcher, K ; Lindblom, K ; Seabrook, E ; Foley, F ; Murray, G (JMIR Publications Inc., 2022-05-31)
    BACKGROUND: Bipolar II disorder (BD-II) is associated with significant burden, disability, and mortality; however, there continues to be a dearth of evidence-based psychological interventions for this condition. Technology-mediated interventions incorporating self-management have untapped potential to help meet this need as an adjunct to usual clinical care. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this pilot study is to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and clinical utility of a novel intervention for BD-II (Tailored Recovery-oriented Intervention for Bipolar II Experiences; TRIBE), in which mindfulness-based psychological content is delivered via an integrated web and smartphone platform. The focus of the study is evaluation of the dynamic use patterns emerging from ecological momentary assessment and intervention to assist the real-world application of mindfulness skills learned from web-delivered modules. METHODS: An open trial design using pretest and posttest assessments with nested qualitative evaluation was used. Individuals (aged 18-65 years) with a diagnosis of BD-II were recruited worldwide and invited to use a prototype of the TRIBE intervention over a 3-week period. Data were collected via web-based questionnaires and phone interviews at baseline and 3-week follow-up. RESULTS: A total of 25 participants completed baseline and follow-up assessments. Adherence rates (daily app use) were 65.6% across the 3-week study, with up to 88% (22/25) of participants using the app synergistically alongside the web-based program. Despite technical challenges with the prototype intervention (from user, hardware, and software standpoints), acceptability was adequate, and most participants rated the intervention positively in terms of concept (companion app with website: 19/25, 76%), content (19/25, 76%), and credibility and utility in supporting their management of bipolar disorder (17/25, 68%). Evaluation using behavioral archetypes identified important use pathways and a provisional model to inform platform refinement. As hypothesized, depression scores significantly decreased after the intervention (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale baseline mean 8.60, SD 6.86, vs follow-up mean 6.16, SD 5.11; t24=2.63; P=.01; Cohen d=0.53, 95% CI 0.52-4.36). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that TRIBE is feasible and represents an appropriate and acceptable self-management program for patients with BD-II. Preliminary efficacy results are promising and support full development of TRIBE informed by the present behavioral archetype analysis. Modifications suggested by the pilot study include increasing the duration of the intervention and increasing technical support.
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    Data From the MySWOW Proof-of-Concept Study: Linking Individual Semantic Networks and Cognitive Performance
    Wulff, DU ; Aeschbach, S ; De Deyne, S ; Mata, R (Ubiquity Press, Ltd., 2022-03-29)