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    ABSTRACT: UK NHS contracts mediate the relationship between dental and medical practitioners as independent contractors, and the state which reimburses them for their services to patients. There have been successive revisions of dental and medical contracts since the 1990s alongside a change in the levels of professional dominance and accountability. Unintended consequences of the 2006 dental contract have led to plans for further reform. We set out to identify the factors which facilitate and hinder the use of contracts in this area. Previous reviews of theory have been narrative, and based on macro-theory arising from various disciplines such as economics, sociology and political science. This paper presents a systematic review and aggregative synthesis of the theories of contracting for publicly funded health care. A logic map conveys internal pathways linking competition for contracts to opportunism. We identify that whilst practitioners' responses to contract rules is a result of micro-level bargaining clarifying patients' and providers' interests, responses are also influenced by relationships with commissioners and wider personal, professional and political networks.
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    ABSTRACT: Pervasive negative thoughts about the self are central to the experience of depression. Brain imaging studies in the general population have localised self-related cognitive processing to areas of the medial pre-frontal cortex. To use fMRI to compare the neural correlates of self-referential processing in depressed and non-depressed participants. Cross-sectional comparison of regional activation using Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) fMRI in 13 non-medicated participants with major depressive episode and 14 comparison participants, whilst carrying out a self-referential cognitive task. Both groups showed significant activation of the dorsomedial pre-frontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex in the 'self-referent' condition. The depressed group showed significantly greater activation in the medial superior frontal cortex during the self-referent task. No difference was observed between groups in the 'other-referent' condition. Major depressive episode is associated with specific neurofunctional changes related to self-referential processing.
    PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e78844. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0078844
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    ABSTRACT: Despite widespread acceptance of the 'biopsychosocial model', the aetiology of mental health problems has provoked debate amongst researchers and practitioners for decades. The role of psychological factors in the development of mental health problems remains particularly contentious, and to date there has not been a large enough dataset to conduct the necessary multivariate analysis of whether psychological factors influence, or are influenced by, mental health. This study reports on the first empirical, multivariate, test of the relationships between the key elements of the biospychosocial model of mental ill-health. Participants were 32,827 (age 18-85 years) self-selected respondents from the general population who completed an open-access online battery of questionnaires hosted by the BBC. An initial confirmatory factor analysis was performed to assess the adequacy of the proposed factor structure and the relationships between latent and measured variables. The predictive path model was then tested whereby the latent variables of psychological processes were positioned as mediating between the causal latent variables (biological, social and circumstantial) and the outcome latent variables of mental health problems and well-being. This revealed an excellent fit to the data, S-B χ(2) (3199, N = 23,397) = 126654·8, p<·001; RCFI = ·97; RMSEA = ·04 (·038-·039). As hypothesised, a family history of mental health difficulties, social deprivation, and traumatic or abusive life-experiences all strongly predicted higher levels of anxiety and depression. However, these relationships were strongly mediated by psychological processes; specifically lack of adaptive coping, rumination and self-blame. These results support a significant revision of the biopsychosocial model, as psychological processes determine the causal impact of biological, social, and circumstantial risk factors on mental health. This has clear implications for policy, education and clinical practice as psychological processes such as rumination and self-blame are amenable to evidence-based psychological therapies.
    PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e76564. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0076564
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    ABSTRACT: ObjectivesA lack of compassion in UK healthcare settings has received much recent attention. This study explores the experiences of people with dementia in the last year of life and time surrounding death and how the presence and lack of compassion, kindness and humanity influenced the experience of care.DesignQualitative in-depth interviews with bereaved informal carers of people with dementia.SettingUnited Kingdom.ParticipantsForty bereaved carers - 31 women and nine men - with an age range of 18-86 years and from wide socioeconomic backgrounds participated.Main outcome measuresExperiences of carers of care for person with dementia during last year of life.ResultsThe interviews highlighted differences and challenges in care settings in providing compassionate, humanistic care and the impact of the care experienced by the person with dementia during the last year of life on informal carers during the bereavement period and beyond. Excellent examples of compassionate care were experienced alongside very poor and inhumane practices.Conclusion The concepts of compassion, kindness and humanity in dementia care are discussed within the paper. The ability to deliver care that is compassionate, kind and humanistic exists along a continuum across care settings - examples of excellent care sit alongside examples of very poor care and the reasons for this are explored together with discussion as to how health and social care staff can be trained and supported to deliver compassionate care.
    Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 10/2013; 106(12). DOI:10.1177/0141076813503593
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    ABSTRACT: To explore responses to indirect trauma reported by health professionals and to identify issues of potential salience for midwives. Indirect exposure to a traumatic event can lead to the development of distressing and potentially enduring responses. Little is understood about the impact that perinatal trauma exposure could have on midwives. An integrative review design was used. PsychInfo, Medline, PsychArticles, Web of Knowledge, CINAHL, MIDIRS and Scopus databases were search for papers published between 1980-November 2012. Studies providing quantitative or qualitative exploration of healthcare professionals' responses to indirectly experienced traumatic events were selected. Forty-two papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Four of these studies included professionals engaged in maternity care or exposed to traumatic perinatal events. Findings indicate evidence of intrusion, avoidance and arousal in healthcare professionals, with differing degrees of frequency. Empathy, work-related stress and the extent of professional experience were identified as associated with traumatic stress responses. Evidence derived from healthcare professionals suggests that indirect exposure to the traumatic events of recipients of care can sometimes elicit traumatic stress responses. Factors increasing risk for traumatic stress were identified as empathy and organizational stress. These factors hold specific salience in midwifery. Responding to trauma in a midwifery context, as informed by findings from other healthcare professionals, could adversely affect midwives' well-being, care provided to women and contribute to an adverse organizational climate. Large-scale research considering the experiences of midwives is recommended.
    Journal of Advanced Nursing 10/2013; 70(4). DOI:10.1111/jan.12274
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    ABSTRACT: The UK is a high prevalence country for underage alcohol use. We conducted an evidence synthesis to examine (1) the changing trends in underage drinking in the UK compared to Europe and the USA, (2) the impact of underage drinking in terms of hospital admissions, (3) the association between underage drinking and violent youth offending, and (4) the evidence base for the effectiveness of alcohol harm reduction interventions aimed at children and adolescents under the age of 18 years. The following databases were searched from November 2002 until November 2012: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, The Evidence for Policy and Practice Information, DARE, Medline, The Campbell Collaboration, CINAHL, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Psych INFO and Social Care Online. Our findings revealed changes in the way children drink in the UK and how much they drink. Alcohol related harms are increasing in the UK despite overall population levels of consumption reducing in this age group. Girls aged 15-16 years report binge drinking and drunkenness more than boys. Girls are also more likely than boys to be admitted to hospital for alcohol related harm. The evidence suggests a strong association between heavy episodic binge drinking and violent youth offending. Only 7 out of 45 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) identified for this review included children and adolescents under the age of 18 years. Most were delivered in the emergency department (ED) and involved a brief intervention. All were characterised by a wide age range of participants, heterogeneous samples and high rates of refusal and attrition. The authors conclude that whilst the ED might be the best place to identify children and adolescents at risk of harm related to alcohol use it might not be the best place to deliver an intervention. Issues related to a lack of engagement with alcohol harm reduction interventions have been previously overlooked and warrant further investigation.
    The International journal on drug policy 10/2013; 25(1). DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.07.008
  • Psychological Medicine 07/2013; 43(7):1560-2. DOI:10.1017/S0033291713000925
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Parental communication deviance (CD) has long been suggested as a potential risk factor for the development of psychosis and thought disorder in genetically sensitive offspring. However, the findings of the studies on the prevalence of CD in parents of psychotic patients have never been submitted to quantitative synthesis.Method:PsycINFO was searched from January 1959 to January 2012 for studies on the prevalence of CD in parents of psychotic patients. This search was supplemented with the results from a much larger systematic search (PsycINFO, PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science) on childhood trauma and psychosis.Results:A total of 20 retrieved studies (n = 1753 parents) yielded a pooled g of large magnitude (0.97; 95% CI [0.76; 1.18]) with a significant amount of heterogeneity (Q = 33.63; P = .014; I (2) = 46.47). Subgroup and sensitivity analysis of methodological features (study's design, comparison group, diagnostic criteria, CD rating method, inter-rater reliability not reported, year of publication, and verbosity) and demographic characteristics (level of education or offspring's age) revealed that pooled effect size was stable and unlikely to have been affected by these features.Conclusion:CD is highly prevalent in parents of psychotic offspring. This is discussed in the broader context of adoption and longitudinal studies that have reported a G × E interaction in the development of psychosis and thought disorder. A potential developmental mechanism is suggested to explain how CD may affect the developing offspring. The importance of further studies on CD and its potential value as a clinical concept are discussed.
    Schizophrenia Bulletin 06/2013; DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbt088
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    ABSTRACT: Both children and adults predict the content of upcoming language, suggesting that prediction is useful for learning as well as processing. We present an alternative model which can explain prediction behaviour as a by-product of language learning. We suggest that a consideration of language acquisition places important constraints on Pickering & Garrod's (P&G's) theory.
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 06/2013; 36(4):22-23. DOI:10.1017/S0140525X12002518
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    ABSTRACT: Overgeneralization has been investigated across many domains of cognitive functioning in major depression, including the imagination of future events. However, it is unknown whether this phenomenon extends to representations of personal goals, which are important in structuring long-term behaviour and providing meaning in life. Furthermore, it is not clear whether depressed individuals provide less specific explanations for and against goal attainment. Clinically depressed individuals and controls generated personally important approach and avoidance goals, and then generated explanations why they would and would not achieve these goals. Goals and causal explanations were subsequently coded as either specific or general. Compared to controls, depressed individuals did not generate significantly fewer goals or causal explanations for or against goal attainment. However, compared to controls, depressed individuals generated less specific goals, less specific explanations for approach (but not avoidance) goal attainment, and less specific explanations for goal nonattainment. Our results suggest that motivational deficits in depression may stem partly from a reduction in the specificity of personal goal representations and related cognitions that support goal-directed behaviour. Importantly, the findings have the potential to inform the ongoing development of psychotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of depression.
    PLoS ONE 05/2013; 8(5):e64512. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0064512
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