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    ABSTRACT: Speech-language practitioners recognise the importance of metapragmatic (MP) ability (the ability to explicitly reflect on pragmatic rules) in therapy for children with pragmatic and social communication difficulties. There is inconclusive evidence in the literature regarding both the development of metapragmatic ability in children with typical language and the expected levels of explicitation (reflection on pragmatic behaviours) in children's metapragmatic descriptions. The main purposes of this study were to investigate the reliability of a novel task of metapragmatic awareness (the Assessment of Metapragmatics or AMP) and to investigate typical developmental trends of metapragmatic ability and metapragmatic explicitation using the AMP task.
    Journal of communication disorders. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Retrieval orientation refers to a process where participants strategically alter how a memory cue is processed in response to different task demands. In the present study we explored whether retrieval orientation is influenced by knowing when an old stimulus was first encoded. Participants completed separate remember/know test blocks for old items from a recent delay (40 min) and old items from a remote delay (48 h). Manipulations at encoding ensured that performance levels were matched between these two blocks, thus avoiding confounds with differences in retrieval effort. Importantly, a third test block comprised old items from both delays randomly intermixed. As the nature of the old items varies unpredictably in the mixed block, it should not be possibly to adopt a specific retrieval orientation and the mixed block therefore acts as a control condition. Participants saw the words “mixed,” “recent” or “remote” prior to each test block. Comparing ERPs from the recent and remote blocks permitted an investigation of whether participants alter their retrieval orientation in response to the specific length of the retention interval. Comparing ERPs from the pure (recent and remote) test blocks to ERPs from the mixed block permitted an investigation of whether delay information per se led to differences in retrieval strategy. Analysis of the ERP data found no differences between the recent and remote blocks. However, ERPs from these pure blocks were significantly less positive than ERPs from the mixed block from 200 ms towards the end of the epoch. The findings suggest that the delay information was useful in a general sense and encouraged retrieval strategies distinct from those engaged in the mixed block. We speculate that such strategies might relate to whether or not the retrieval search is specific and constrained and/or whether processes that serve to reinstate the original encoding context are engaged.
    Brain and Cognition 01/2014; 86:124–130.
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    ABSTRACT: Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease enables the early identification and treatment of affected children, prolonging and enhancing their quality of life. Screening, however, also identifies carriers. There are minimal or no health concerns for carriers. There are, however, potential implications when carriers reach reproductive age, and thus research attention has been given to how best to convey information about these implications in a meaningful, balanced way which does not raise undue anxieties. Most research focuses on the communication from health professional to parent, yet ultimately this information is of greatest significance to the child. This study examines parents' intentions to inform their child of newborn screening carrier results. Semi-structured interviews with 67 family members explored their intentions to inform the child, and related views and support needs. Parents almost unanimously indicated they planned to inform the child themselves. Health professionals were expected, however, to provide guidance on this process either to parents through advice and provision of written materials, or directly to the child. Although parents initially stated that they would convey the result once their child had developed the ability to understand the information, many appeared to focus on discrete life events linked to informed reproductive decision making. The results highlight ways in which health care providers may assist parents, including providing written material suitable for intergenerational communication and ensuring that cascade screening is accessible for those seeking it. Priorities for further research are identified in light of the results.
    Journal of Genetic Counseling 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between psychotic symptoms and self-injurious thoughts (SITs) remains unclear. The short-term temporal associations between psychotic symptoms and SITs were explored. A sample of 36 people with a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder or at-risk mental state completed mobile phone-based measures at multiple times each day for 1 week. Clustered regression with time-lagged variables supported a relationship between paranoia and subsequent SITs. Hallucinations did not predict these thoughts when controlling for paranoia. The role of specific psychotic symptoms in triggering SITs is highlighted and the importance of considering these factors in risk management is discussed.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Metacognitive therapy (MCT) for depression is derived from the Wells and Matthews (1994) self-regulatory model, in which a Cognitive-Attentional Syndrome (CAS) is the cause of psychological disorders. MCT for depression focuses on identifying patients' CAS and helps them to stop it. The CAS consists of worry, rumination and dysfunctional coping strategies. The focus in MCT is on removing the CAS by challenging positive and negative metacognitive beliefs and eliminating dysfunctional behaviors. In this case series, MCT was delivered to four depressed Danes and treatment was evaluated in 5-11 sessions of up to one hour each. An A-B design with follow-up at 3 and 6 months was conducted and the primary outcome was Beck's Depression Inventory II (BDI-II). We measured CAS processes with the Major depressive Disorder Scale (MDD-S). The results of the case series showed clinically significant improvements in depressive symptoms, rumination and metacognitive beliefs and the effects were still present at follow-up for all patients. The small number of patients and decreasing baselines observed in some cases limits the conclusions. However, the results suggest that this treatment is feasible and was associated with large improvements in symptoms when delivered away from its point of origin and in a Danish help-seeking sample.
    Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Using mixed-methods research, we investigated whether the adult version of the WHOQOL-BREF was acceptable and feasible to use with adolescents (13-19), and what features might need to be changed to develop it. Differences from young adults quality of life (QoL) (20-30 years) could add justification. Methods: Preliminary psychometric properties of the adult WHOQOL-BREF were examined in 208 adolescents and 204 young adults. Unhealthy adolescents diagnosed with acne or elevated depressive symptoms (CES-D) were compared with healthy adolescents. Cognitive interviewing used 'think aloud' techniques with six healthy adolescents during WHOQOL-BREF completion. Concepts and wording were thematically analysed for relevance, comprehension and comprehensiveness. Results: Little data were missing from the WHOQOL-BREF suggesting some feasibility and acceptability to adolescents. Compared with adults, adolescents perceived greater access to information, a better home environment, worse pain, and medication dependency. Internal consistency reliability for adolescents was good (α = .89), especially psychological and environmental QoL. Content validity especially for social and environment domains was supported. Domains validly discriminated between high- and low-depressive symptoms but not acne groups. Additional new facets on autonomy, altruism and physical fitness and changed item contents are proposed. Conclusion: The evidence indicates that developing a new adolescent version is justifiable. Cross-cultural research should build on these preliminary findings.
    Psychology & Health 11/2013;
  • Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 11/2013; 20(9):851-852.
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose/Objective: Activity limitations following surgery are common, and patients may have an extended period of pain and rehabilitation. Inguinal hernia surgery is a common elective procedure. This study incorporated fear-avoidance models in investigating cognitive and emotional variables as potential risk factors for activity limitations 4 months after inguinal hernia surgery. Method: This was a prospective cohort study, predicting activity limitations 4 months postoperatively (Time 3 [T3]) from measures taken before surgery (Time 1, [T1]) and 1 week after surgery (Time 2 [T2]). The sample size at T1 was 135; response rates were 89% and 84% at T2 and T3 respectively. Questionnaires included measures of catastrophizing, fear of movement, depression, anxiety, optimism, perceived control over pain, pain, and activity limitations. Biomedical and surgical variables were recorded. Predictors of T3 activity limitations from T1 and T2 were examined in hierarchical multiple regression equations. Results: Over half of participants (57.7%) reported activity limitations due to their hernia at 4 months post-surgery. Higher activity limitation levels were significantly predicted by older age, higher preoperative activity limitations, higher preoperative anxiety, and more severe postoperative pain and depression scores. Conclusions/Implications: Interventions to reduce preoperative anxiety and postoperative depression may lead to reduced 4-month activity limitations. However, the additional variance explained by psychological variables was low (ΔR² = 0.05). Our models, which included biomedical and surgical variables, accounted for less than 50% of the variance in activity limitations overall. Therefore, further investigation of psychological variables, particularly cognitions related specifically to activity behavior, would be merited. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    Rehabilitation Psychology 11/2013; 58(4):350-60.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent work has shown that observers are remarkably effective in searching displays of randomly moving items. In two experiments, we combined working memory tasks with visual search, to test whether search through such complex motion displays, as compared with search through static items, places an extra burden on spatial working memory. In our first experiment, we show that the dual-task interference observed for motion search is specific to spatial working memory, in line with earlier work for static search. In our second experiment, we found dual-task interference for both static and motion search, but no difference between them. The results support the suggestion that the same search process is active during search among static and search among moving items.
    Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of the present study were to validate a measure of empowerment in a British population of people with a dual diagnosis of schizophrenia and substance misuse and assess relationships between empowerment and other key outcomes. Patients participating in a large randomised control trial for Motivational Interviewing for Drug and Alcohol misuse in Schizophrenia or psychosis (MIDAS trial) completed measures of empowerment, symptoms, global functioning and substance use at baseline, 12- and 24-month follow-ups. A three factor model of empowerment: self-efficacy and control; power and anger; and activism provided the best fit of the data across all three time points. There was some evidence of associations between empowerment and both symptoms and global functioning, although these associations were not consistent across subscales. Changes in empowerment predicted changes in symptoms and functioning at follow-up. Empowerment is a broadly defined construct and its meaning may differ across different populations of people with severe and enduring mental health problems. Empowerment is a key component of recovery and should be assessed in treatments in addition to more traditional outcome measures of symptoms and functioning.
    Social Psychiatry 10/2013;
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