Psychological Research and Reviews

  • When gambling with derivative products can become problematic: a case report of excessive trading

    For some individuals, trading can become a problematic activity and be considered a gambling disorder due to its adverse consequences. Because few studies have been conducted to date investigating this issue, the aim of this study is to improve knowledge on this topic by presenting a case study of a participant playing the stock market. A research interview was conducted, transcribed, and analyzed using Alceste®. This case study revealed three classes of meaning: the role of family in trading behavior; trading history, motives, and beliefs; and the tilt. Results shed light on the link between gambling and trading activities, and tend to support the existence of a trading behavior resembling addiction, which may be more significant when trading with high-risk derivative products due to their unique characteristics.

  • The predictive power of approach and autonomous goal motivation for work engagement among public sector employees

    This paper compares the relative predictive power of approach goal motivation and autonomous goal motivation for work engagement among public sector employees. To do so, it employs the goal-striving reasons framework within which people’s approach goal motivation is measured as well as the self-concordance theory which measures people’s autonomous goal motivation. Findings are based on cross-sectional and longitudinal data of 132 public service employees at time 1 and 78 employees at time 2. Overall, the results show, using multiple regression analysis, that approach goal motivation significantly predicts work engagement whereas autonomous goal motivation is not a significant predictor of work engagement. On an individual goal-reason level, a similar picture emerges. Pleasure and altruism, the two approaching goal-striving reasons, are descriptively more strongly correlated with work engagement than their comparable self-concordance reason of intrinsic and identified goal motivation. When testing the predictive power of pleasure and altruism with intrinsic and identified goal motivation simultaneously, using multiple regression analysis, pleasure remains the only significant predictor of work engagement at time one and time two. The findings suggest that approach motivation is a stronger predictor of work engagement than autonomous goal motivation for public sector employees. Additionally, the findings also indicate that pleasure is more important for the work engagement of public sector employees than their altruistic goal motivation on an individual goal-reason level.

  • Social Media, Physical and Mental Health During a COVID-19 Lockdown

    Social media including texting, internet use, and Facebook time have differential effects but those have not been studied during the social isolation of lockdowns when they might be more prevalent. In this Survey Monkey study, as many as 98% of 260 respondents reported texting, 100% using the internet, and 91% being on Facebook. The percentiles for those using the different media “a lot” were 45%, 77% and 42% respectively. Correlation analyses suggested that texting and internet use were positively related to Connecting Scale scores. However, internet use was also positively related to scores on Stress, Anxiety and Depression Scales and Facebook use was positively related to not only scores on Stress, Anxiety and Depression Scales but also to scores on Fatigue, Sleep Disturbance and PTSD scales. ANOVAS based on comparisons between groups reporting no to moderate use versus “a lot” of use were confirmatory of the correlation analyses. These results are limited by their being self-reported data from a non-representative, cross-sectional sample. Nonetheless, they highlight the positive and negative effects of different social media during a COVID-19 lockdown.

  • 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.