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    ABSTRACT: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and the psychological flexibility model on which it is based are growing interests for those researching and treating chronic pain. One part of this model is a therapeutic process called cognitive defusion. Cognitive defusion is a process of experiencing a distinction between thoughts and the events or people they describe. This process is intended to reduce the dominating psychological influence of thoughts without necessarily changing the content or frequency of the thoughts. There are recently developed measures of this process but little study of it in people with chronic pain. This study explored the reliability and validity of the Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire (CFQ) within a chronic pain population. Three hundred twenty-six adults with chronic pain completed this measure and a set of other standard clinical measures at the start of treatment in a specialty chronic pain service in the UK. An exploratory factor analysis revealed an interpretable two-factor structure within the items of the CFQ. Internal consistency reliability was good (α=0.87). In analyses of validity the CFQ significantly correlated with general psychological acceptance and pain related acceptance as expected. In multiple regression analyses, which included relevant patient background variables, pain, and acceptance of pain, cognitive fusion contributed significantly to the explained variance in the prediction of five out of six dependent variables tested. The CFQ may be a useful measure for further research and treatment development.
    The Clinical journal of pain 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals with an eating disorder experience the rubber hand illusion (RHI) significantly more strongly than healthy controls on both perceptual (proprioceptive drift) and subjective (self-report embodiment questionnaire) measures. This heightened sensitivity to visual information about the body, and/or reduced somatosensory information processing about the body, suggest an increased malleability of the bodily self. The aim of the present study was to explore whether this is a state phenomenon or a persisting individual trait that outlasts the period of acute eating disorder. The RHI and self-report measures of eating disorder psychopathology (EDI-3 subscales of Drive for Thinness, Bulimia, Body Dissatisfaction, Interoceptive Deficits, and Emotional Dysregulation; DASS-21; and the Self-Objectification Questionnaire) were administered to 78 individuals with an eating disorder, 28 individuals recovered from an eating disorder, and 61 healthy controls. Proprioceptive drift in recovered individuals was intermediate between the acutely ill and HC groups. Subjective report of the strength of the illusion in recovered individuals was similar to acutely ill individuals. These results suggest that increased malleability of the bodily self persists, at least partially, following recovery and may be a trait phenomenon in people with eating disorders. Those with a lifetime history of an eating disorder may have heightened sensitivity to visual information about the body and reduced somatosensory information processing of the body. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013).
    International Journal of Eating Disorders 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Converging research suggests that individuals with schizophrenia show a marked impairment in reinforcement learning, particularly in tasks requiring flexibility and adaptation. The problem has been associated with dopamine reward systems. This study explores, for the first time, the characteristics of this impairment and how it is affected by a behavioral intervention-cognitive remediation. Method: Using computational modelling, 3 reinforcement learning parameters based on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) trial-by-trial performance were estimated: R (reward sensitivity), P (punishment sensitivity), and D (choice consistency). In Study 1 the parameters were compared between a group of individuals with schizophrenia (n = 100) and a healthy control group (n = 50). In Study 2 the effect of cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) on these parameters was assessed in 2 groups of individuals with schizophrenia, one receiving CRT (n = 37) and the other receiving treatment as usual (TAU, n = 34). Results: In Study 1 individuals with schizophrenia showed impairment in the R and P parameters compared with healthy controls. Study 2 demonstrated that sensitivity to negative feedback (P) and reward (R) improved in the CRT group after therapy compared with the TAU group. R and P parameter change correlated with WCST outputs. Improvements in R and P after CRT were associated with working memory gains and reduction of negative symptoms, respectively. Conclusion: Schizophrenia reinforcement learning difficulties negatively influence performance in shift learning tasks. CRT can improve sensitivity to reward and punishment. Identifying parameters that show change may be useful in experimental medicine studies to identify cognitive domains susceptible to improvement.
    Schizophrenia Bulletin 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Throughout the past 50 years mental health services have aimed to provide and improve high quality inpatient care. It is not clear whether there has been improvement as service users and nursing staff have both expressed frustration at the lack of therapeutic activities. In particular, it may be that the changing levels of symptoms over the past 50 years may affect engagement with ward activities. Eight wards in a health care trust in London serving an inner city and urban populations participated. Data were collected on participation in activities and 116 service users' perceptions of acute care as well as clinical factors. Less time was spent participating in activities today than 50 years ago, while one quarter of service users reported taking part in no activities at all. Uptake of activities was related to more positive service user perceptions of the wards. Symptom severity did not impact the frequency of participation in activities, although those who took part in no activities at all had higher negative symptoms scores. Service users' uptake of activities was not related to the severity of their illness. This belies the belief that the acutely ill cannot take part in meaningful activities. This study supports the view that more therapeutic activities could be taken up by the acutely ill and are in fact appreciated.
    Social Psychiatry 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: What is already known? Adapting to chronic illness is a phrase commonly used in health psychology. Common operationalizations include presence or absence of psychopathology, or low negative affect and good functional status. A variety of models are currently used to study adaptation to chronic illness. Each explain some variance in adjustment outcomes. What does this editorial add? An argument for a consistent overarching theory that is specific to the process of adaptation to chronic illness. Adaptation is characterized as a return to equilibrium after critical illness events or stressors. A new working model of adapting to chronic illness.
    British Journal of Health Psychology 11/2013; 18(4):681-686.
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. For people with psychosis, contact with informal caregivers is an important source of social support, associated with recovery, and with better outcomes following individual cognitive therapy (CBTp). In this study, we tested whether increased flexibility in delusional thinking, an established predictor of positive outcome following CBTp, was a possible mechanism underlying this effect. Methods. 219 participants with delusions (mean age 38 years; 71% male; 75% White) were grouped according to the presence of a caregiver (37% with a caregiver) and caregiver level of expressed emotion (High/Low EE, 64% Low). Delusional belief flexibility was compared between groups, controlling for interpersonal functioning, severity of psychotic symptoms, and other hypothesised outcome predictors. Results. Participants with caregivers were nearly three times more likely than those without to show flexibility (OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 5.0, p = 0.001), and five times more likely if the caregiving relationship was Low EE (OR = 5.0, 95% CI 2.0-13.0, p = 0.001). ORs remained consistent irrespective of controlling for interpersonal functioning and other predictors of outcome. Conclusions. This is the first evidence that having supportive caregiving relationships is associated with a specific cognitive attribute in people with psychosis, suggesting a potential cognitive mechanism by which outcomes following CBTp, and perhaps more generally, are improved by social support.
    Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: It has been consistently demonstrated that delusions are related to jumping to conclusions (JTC), a data-gathering bias and potential candidate endophenotype of psychosis. Recent research suggests that JTC may be a marker of treatment response. However, we know little about the factors contributing to the occurrence of this reasoning bias. This study investigated the relationship between JTC and hypothesised deficits in working memory, employing standard well-validated neuropsychological tests, in people with current delusions. One hundred and twenty six people with schizophrenia spectrum psychosis and current delusions were assessed for current symptoms, and tested for JTC. We compared performance on tests of working memory in those with the reasoning bias and those without. As expected, 30-40% of this sample of people with current delusions showed the JTC bias. There were no differences in premorbid IQ between those with and without the JTC reasoning bias. However, the performance of the JTC group was significantly worse on tests of working memory. The JTC data-gathering bias is associated with impairments in working memory. New non-pharmacological interventions for people with delusions, designed to improve data gathering, may benefit from incorporating strategies to overcome deficits in working memory.
    Schizophrenia Research 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: A previous randomised controlled trial demonstrated that a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) self-management intervention significantly improved irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and disability compared to treatment as usual (TAU). The current study analysed additional data to establish whether; 1) cognitive, behavioural and emotional factors hypothesized to perpetuate IBS symptoms and disability changed following CBT and, 2) ascertain if changes in these factors over the intervention period mediated treatment effects 6-months later. IBS patients (CBT = 31, TAU = 33) completed measures pre-and-post intervention including: Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale and Cognitive and Behavioural Responses to Symptoms Questionnaire. Path models were evaluated to determine whether changes in cognitive and behavioural factors over the treatment period mediated treatment effects. Compared to TAU, CBT patients showed significant positive changes on several cognitive variables but not anxiety and depression following intervention. Positive change in illness perceptions following intervention mediated the treatment effect on improved IBS symptom severity and social adjustment six months later. Changes in damaging beliefs mediated the effect on social adjustment. Change in cognition rather than mood mediated treatment related improvements. Changing negative perceptions of IBS appears to be a particularly important treatment mechanism.
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 07/2013; 51(10):690-695.
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    ABSTRACT: The Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders Patient Health Questionnaire (PRIME-MD PHQ-9) is a common screening tool designed to facilitate detection of depression according to DSM-IV criteria. However, the factor structure of the PHQ-9 within the palliative care population has not been evaluated. 300 participants completed the PHQ-9 within one week of referral to a palliative care service. Participants completed the PHQ-9 again four weeks later (n=213). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and multiple-group CFA were undertaken to test the factor structure of the PHQ-9 and evaluate model invariance over time. A two-factor model comprising somatic and cognitive-affective latent factors provided the best fit to the data. Multiple-group CFA suggested model invariance over time. Structural equation modelling revealed that follow-up (time 2) cognitive-affective and somatic symptoms were predicted by their baseline (time 1) factors. The PHQ-9 measures two stable depression factors (cognitive-affective and somatic) within the palliative care population. Studies are now required to examine the trajectories of these symptoms over time in relation to clinical intervention and events.
    Journal of psychosomatic research 07/2013; 75(1):60-4.
  • International Journal of Clinical Practice 07/2013; 67(7):595-8.
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