Psychological Research and Reviews

  • Social Interaction and Social Media At Airport Departure Gates

    An observational study was conducted at airline departure gates in several U.S. and European countries. Thirty-second observations were randomly made of 1360 different individuals ranging in age from infants to the elderly, although 79% of the travelers were adults. Most of the individuals were traveling with someone, except for adults who were more often traveling alone (58% vs. 42% time). Of the different types of social interaction and social media observed, cell phone texting/scrolling was significantly more frequently observed (at 53% time) than cell phone talking (13 % time), face-to-face interaction (13% time), on computer (7%) and touching (4%) which was the least frequently observed behavior. Significantly more cell phone texting/scrolling time occurred when adults were traveling alone (58% time). These data suggest that airline travelers are spending significantly more airport departure gate time on social media (specifically cell phone texting/scrolling) than face-to-face interaction or touching. Unfortunately, the observations that were made by professors and students were from too great a distance (10 feet away) in order to be unobtrusive but unable to code the precise type of cell phone texting/scrolling that was occurring.

  • Office Clutter: Comparing Lower and Upper-Level Employees on Work-related Criteria

    Office clutter might significantly impact productivity, yet no study examined workers differences across upper and lower employee status. The present study surveyed 202 U.S. on-site workers on work-related variables, including office clutter. Job classifications were aggregated, creating two groups: upper- and lower-level employees. A significant difference in office clutter impacted worker-levels: upper-level workers compared to lower-level workers had higher office clutter scores. Exploratory factor analysis created a two-factor solution (explaining 62.6% of the common variance): satisfaction/pleasure from one’s work and risk for work-related burnout/tension. There was a significant difference in office clutter perception: upper-level workers were significantly more likely to report clutter and being at risk for burnout/tension than lower-level workers. Office clutter significantly negatively predicted satisfaction with one’s job and positively related with risk for work-related burnout. Frequently reported office clutter items (in order of frequency) were paper, trash (e.g., used coffee cups), and office supplies.

  • Massage Therapy Research Review

    This narrative review on massage therapy effects involved a literature search for research that was published in the years 2016-2020. The review includes studies on massage therapy effects on preterm pain and growth, newborn hyperbilirubinemia and infant colic. The pediatric literature includes studies on behavior problems including ADHD and aggression and physical conditions including diarrhea, asthma, immune function and pain. The adult studies include massage therapy effects on psychological problems including stress and anxiety and physical conditions including fatigue, sleep disturbances, post-burn scarring, gastrointestinal problems and dementia. The musculoskeletal studies are focused on range of motion, balance, muscle activity, grip strength and performance recovery. The massage for pain literature is the most extensive including pain associated with labor, cesarean delivery, shoulder, neck, low back and upper back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, cancer, neuropathy, post-surgery, hospice and aging. The physiological/biochemical measures that have been used include systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, vagal activity, facial blood flow, EEG, cortisol and oxytocin. This section is followed by a discussion on potential underlying mechanisms and methodological limitations. The research continues to have methodological limitations including that the studies cannot be double blinded, they are typically not multivariate studies and they are often biased by their reliance on self-report. Nonetheless, the randomized controlled trials included here as well as systematic reviews and meta-analyses have concluded that massage therapy is typically effective when it is compared to treatment as usual control groups, More research is needed on massage therapy versus active control groups (e.g. exercise and physical therapy) in randomized, controlled trials.

  • Predictive Value of Heart Rate Measures on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Critical Review of Select Recent Studies

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by maladaptive psychophysiological changes, such as a reduced vagal tone and hyperarousal, indicating autonomic nervous system dysfunction. In particular, physiological measures of heart rate, and heart rate variability (HRV) have been linked with PTSD expression, indicating that these measures may have diagnostic value. It remains unclear, however, whether altered heart rate and HRV contribute to the risk of PTSD development. This paper provides an overview of the present understanding of psychophysiological factors that may causally contribute to the manifestation of PTSD. The predictive value of heart rate and HRV measures are evaluated. The following sources of evidence are critically reviewed: relationships between momentary HRV components and PTSD symptom severity, predictions of PTSD development from post-trauma heart rate, and predictions of PTSD development from pre-trauma HRV. Available data challenge preliminary findings that abnormalities in heart rate and HRV currently offer reliable insight into PTSD development, but suggest that with additional research, there is a promising role for physiological biomarkers of autonomic dysregulation in risk prediction of future psychopathology.

  • Play therapy as a diagnostic tool in rural families in Mexico

    The role of play therapy as a research tool is examined after its use in a project directed to study family with at least one migrant member in deprived rural contexts in Mexico. Eighteen families were approached throughout home visits as part of social support services. Videos of the interaction with family members by using play therapy techniques were analyzed with the purpose to establish its advantages and limitations to collect information about the family dynamics. It was found that play therapy is an effective research tool in family studies, since this is a non-intrusive way to elicit feelings, spontaneous behaviors, and change in the family dynamics. Some of the advantages and limitations of this technique are further discussed eliciting practical guidelines for its use.

  • Touching and Touch Deprivation During a COVID-19 Lockdown

    Touching your kids and your partner, self-touching, and touch deprivation have had different effects on individuals during a COVID-19 lockdown. In this Survey Monkey study conducted during a COVID-19 lockdown (N= 260 respondents), 26% said they were touch deprived a lot, 21% said they were touching their kids a lot, 33 % touching their partner a lot, and 32% self-touching a lot (e.g. yoga and stretching). Correlation analyses suggested that touch deprivation was related to scores on the Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue, Sleep Disturbances and PTSD scales. The three types of touching were positively related to scores on the Health Scale, at home projects, and outdoor exercising with others. Touching partner was also related to lower scores on the Stress, Depression, and PTSD Scales and Self-touching was related to lower scores on the Fatigue and Sleep Disturbance Subscales. The results of these data analyses are limited by the self-reported data from a non-representative, cross-sectional sample. Nonetheless, they highlight the negative effects of touch deprivation and the positive effects of touching your kids and partners and self-touch during a COVID-19 lockdown.

  • Transtorno Obsessivo Compulsivo

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disease that affects many psychopathological segments with the predominance of obsessive ideas or uncontrollable behaviors. Obsessions are presented as intrusive thoughts that cause increased anxiety; while compulsions present themselves as repetitive behaviors or mental acts aimed at minimizing anxiety. OCD was considered a very rare and poor prognosis, but with advances in scientific research, this concept is in the process of changing.

  • Proposal for Group Intervention With Family of Users in a Mental Health Day-hospital Through Psycho-education

    Objective: present a proposal for psychological intervention, through a therapeutic group, with the family members of users of a Reference Mental Health Service aiming at strengthening the institution / family bond. Methodology: The Arco de Maguerez was used, an instrument developed in the 70s and the basis for the application of the Problem-solving Methodology. In this methodology, the study takes place from a certain aspect of social reality and consists of five stages: the observation of reality, the key points, the theorization, the hypotheses of solution and application to reality. Results and discussion: It is proposed that the group be divided into three modules. Module I, Crisis in Mental Health, is designed to address issues related to the crisis (concepts and definitions, alerts and signs, creative possibilities of the crisis, among others). Module II, Family member as caregiver, aims to explore the role and responsibilities assumed by family members of reference in the context of the service user’s illness. Finally, module III, Caregiver Self-Care, aims to stimulate reflections and provide a moment of self-care. Final considerations: During the meetings, it is expected to create a space where family members can share experiences, aiming at strengthening the group to deal with the difficulties and complexities of daily life, as well as enabling a discussion on mental health and the search for strategies that ease the burden of care and the family’s suffering.

  • The Influence of Psychosocial-Affective Factors on Language Delay

    According to Nóbrega and Minervino (2011) , language is a corticocerebral func-tion that develops based on the environment and stimuli to which individuals are ex-posed, as well as being a vehicle of communication, since language allows to establish in-terpersonal relationships. Since childhood, people use some form of human communication, which is not composed solely by the use of words and phrases. Language development begins through the contact of babies with other people, through crying, looking, gestures, interaction be-tween mother and child, among other forms of communication and interaction. Thus, adults play a crucial role during this period by establishing a channel of affection and communication with the child, since adults are responsible for intermediating the baby’s relations with the world, through how they communicates with the child (AMORIM et al., 2012) . Based on this principle, Carvalho (2015) reports that the early years are an essen-tial period for the development of language skills, as many factors influence the language acquisition and development, such as: innate biological conditions; affection; cognitive, memory, organic-functional skills and the contexts in which the child is inserted. All children follow similar steps in the language development process, although it is susceptible to variations caused by some factors, such as: biological; psychological and social/environmental factors. In addition, an imbalance of these factors may slow this process, thus causing a language delay. Giacheti and Lindau (2016) explain that language delay is not associated with organic disorders or any other developmental problem, whether intellectual disability or genetic syndromes, since this is a transient condition in which in most cases is due to lack of family stimulation.

  • Between the Body and the Word: the Effects of Language on a Suffering Body

    Objective: This work has the purpose of analyzing some theoretical reasons which led Dr. Sigmund Freud to distance himself from the Neurology field, consequently creating his own new investigation method called Psychoanalysis, which opened an entirely new field of comprehension and intervention of the treatment of the discontent in its psychic cause. By distance from the Neurological field we can understand the creation of Psychoanalysis, and a conceptual shift where the body is no longer a cause, but an object: in this case, a discursive object. Results: The main consequence of this turnout was the vouching of the effects of language in the sick individual’s body, specifically in reference of the many forms of pain and discontent. Conclusion: The Psychoanalysis, thus founded in the word and in the language, has become fundamental to the health sciences for the understanding of all forms of illness, which can be better understood through the patient’s words and their due listening.