Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services

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Addiction to Mobile Technology Linked to Anxiety and Depression

A new study in Computers in Human Behavior found that addiction to, and not simply use of, mobile technology is linked to anxiety and depression in college-age students.

Researchers surveyed >300 university students with questionnaires that addressed their mental health, amount of cell phone and Internet use, and motivations for turning to their electronic devices. They found no relationship between cell phone or Internet use and negative mental health outcomes among participants who used these technologies to escape boredom.

In a follow-up study, researchers tested the role of having, but not using, a cell phone during a stressful situation. Individuals who were allowed to keep their cell phones during an experimental, stressful situation were less likely to be negatively affected by stress compared with those without their cell phones.

Source.“Study Links Mobile Device Addiction to Depression and Anxiety.” (2016, March 2). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Standard Ways of Assessing Depression Risk May Not Work Well for All Races

A new study in Frontiers in Public Health suggests standard ways of looking for depression risk may not work as well among Black individuals as White individuals, but listening to how Black individuals describe their own mental health could help.

Participants (n = 2,205 White individuals and n = 1,156 Black individuals) took a standard depression screening test at the start of their involvement in the long-term tracking study. The test asked a range of quick questions about emotions, sleep, appetite, and energy levels.

Fifteen years later, participants underwent a more detailed interview meant to assess their mental health. Those who scored high on depressive symptoms at the outset were in general more likely to meet the definition of having major depression at the later date.

White participants whose answers on the initial screening indicated a risk for depression were more likely to have major depression at the time of the later interview; this was not true for Black participants. The difference persisted even after researchers corrected for differences in participants' social, economic, and physical health status.

What predicted later depression was Black participants' self-rated health. Black participants whose self-reported health status was worse at the start were more likely to have major depression later.

Source.“When It Comes to Predicting Depression, Race May Matter More Than Was Thought, Study Suggests.” (2016, March 3). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Yoga Has Potential to Help Improve Anxiety, Depression, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

A study in Trauma, Violence, & Abuse found that although there are some promising benefits to using yoga, there is not enough evidence to support the practice as a standalone solution for improving mental health and well-being.

Researchers analyzed 13 literature reviews to conduct a meta-review of 185 articles published between 2000 and 2013, and found that yoga holds potential promise for helping improve anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and/or the psychological consequences of trauma in the short term. They are considering several possible future studies, including one that would examine the use of yoga within a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter.

Source.“Can Yoga Help Those Experiencing Depression, Anxiety or PTSD?” (2016, March 9). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

New Evidence Raises Hope for Developing Treatments and Approaches for Schizophrenia

Emerging evidence on the development, prodromal characteristics, and long-term course of schizophrenia provide reasons for optimism for developing new treatments and preventive approaches for this disorder, according to a new special issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Specific advances and approaches highlighted include:

  • contributions of altered genetics and brain connectivity to the biology of schizophrenia;
  • a renewed focus on the schizophrenia prodrome—a critical early period with opportunities for early detection and intervention;
  • identification of risks by children of parents with schizophrenia;
  • approaches to studying long-term course of schizophrenia;
  • potential for electroencephalography to show genetically mediated patterns of brain electrical activity in patients with schizophrenia; and
  • updated evidence suggesting dysfunctional voice processing may explain auditory and verbal hallucinations associated with schizophrenia.

Source. “New Studies of the 'Natural History' of Schizophrenia Raise Hope for New Treatments.” (2016, March 10). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Individuals With Intermittent Explosive Disorder Twice as Likely to Have Been Exposed to Common Parasite

Individuals with a psychiatric disorder involving recurrent bouts of extreme, impulsive anger are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to a common parasite than healthy individuals with no psychiatric diagnosis, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

In a study of 358 adult participants, researchers found that toxoplasmosis, a relatively harmless parasitic infection carried by an estimated 30% of all humans, is associated with intermittent explosive disorder (IED) and increased aggression. Participants were scored on traits including anger, aggression, and impulsivity, and fell into one of three groups. Approximately one third of participants had IED, one third were healthy controls with no psychiatric history, and the remaining one third were diagnosed with some psychiatric disorder, but not IED. This last group served as a control to distinguish IED from possible confounding psychiatric factors.

Researchers found the IED-diagnosed group was more than twice as likely to test positive for toxoplasmosis exposure (22%), as measured by a blood test, compared to the healthy control group (9%). Approximately 16% of the psychiatric control group tested positive for toxoplasmosis, but had similar aggression and impulsivity scores to the healthy control group. IED-diagnosed participants scored higher than either control group on both measures.

Toxoplasmosis-positive individuals scored significantly higher on scores of anger and aggression. Researchers also noted a link between toxoplasmosis and increased impulsivity, but when adjusted for aggression scores, this link became non-significant. This finding suggests toxoplasmosis and aggression are most strongly correlated.

Source.“People with ‘Rage’ Disorder Twice as Likely to Have Latent Toxoplasmosis Parasite Infection.” (2016, March 18). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Canadians Experience Poorer Mental Health

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Canadian individuals experience more mood and anxiety disorders than other Canadians, and are more likely to turn to heavy drinking, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

The findings come from >220,000 Canadian individuals who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey between 2007 and 2012. The study found that gay and lesbian Canadian individuals reported approximately twice the rates of anxiety and mood disorders compared to heterosexual Canadian individuals. For bisexual Canadian individuals, the rates were approximately four times those of heterosexual Canadian individuals and approximately twice the rates of gay or lesbian respondents.

Source.“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Canadians Report Higher Rates of Mental Health Issues.” (2016, March 18). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Mindfulness Training May Help Ease Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans

A new study in Depression and Anxiety of Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shows the promise of mindfulness training for enhancing the ability to manage troubling thoughts.

The study included 23 Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. All participants received some form of group therapy. After 4 months of weekly sessions, many participants reported that their PTSD symptoms had eased. However, researchers saw brain changes in those who received mindfulness training. Before mindfulness training, when Veterans were resting quietly, their brains had extra activity in regions involved in responding to threats or other outside problems. After mindfulness training, they developed stronger connections between two other brain networks: one involved in inner thoughts and one involved in shifting and directing attention. Veterans with the greatest easing of symptoms had the largest increases in connections.

Source.“Brain Changes Seen in Veterans with PTSD After Mindfulness Training.” (2016, March 30). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from

Higher Oxytocin Levels Found to Predict Severity of Postpartum Depression

Higher oxytocin levels in the third trimester of pregnancy predict severity of postpartum depression symptoms in women who previously experienced depression, reports a new study in Archives of Women's Mental Health.

Researchers recruited 66 pregnant and healthy women who were not depressed, and measured oxytocin levels in the third trimester and depression symptoms 6 weeks postpartum. Of 66 women, 13 had a history of depression before pregnancy. Among these women, the higher the oxytocin levels, the more depressive symptoms they experienced at 6 weeks. Symptoms included waking up too early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep, more worrying or anxiety, more aches and pains, headaches, changes in bowel patterns, feeling tired or a sense of heaviness, changes in appetite, and feeling sad.

The study indicates the potential for finding biomarkers to predict depressive symptoms postpartum.

Source.“Oxytocin Level in Pregnancy Predicts Postpartum Depression Severity.” (2016, March 23). Retrieved April 22, 2016, from


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