[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Attitudes to ageing exert a powerful influence on health and well-being, yet surprisingly little research has examined factors that contribute to the formation of these attitudes. The aim of this study was to consider the potential role of self-compassion in predicting attitudes to ageing, which in turn contribute to positive and negative mental well-being and self-reported health.
This was a cross-sectional study using data from 517 midlife women aged between 40 and 60. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the relationships between self-compassion, three facets of attitudes to ageing and well-being outcomes.
Together, self-compassion and attitudes to ageing explained between 36% and 67% of the variance in well-being. Self-compassion was a strong predictor of attitudes towards psychosocial loss, physical change and psychological growth (β range: .22-.51). Furthermore, the relationship between self-compassion and well-being outcomes was partially mediated by attitudes to physical change.
Self-compassion may be a modifiable internal resource to promote healthy attitudes to ageing in midlife, when ageing becomes personally relevant. Moreover, attitudes towards physical change may help explain how self-compassion promotes well-being among midlife women.
Aging and Mental Health 07/2015; DOI:10.1080/13607863.2015.1060946 · 1.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
The purposes of this study are to examine the course and prevalence of anxiety and depression over 24 months in women with newly diagnosed breast and gynaecologic cancer and, controlling for demographic and clinical confounders, to test the role of neuroticism and psychiatric history in determining outcome 6, 12, 18 and 24 months post-diagnosis.
Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-anxiety subscale and Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale on an 8-weekly basis from diagnosis until 96 weeks. Changes over time were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA. Hierarchical linear regression, adjusted a priori for age, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, living alone, education and tumour stream were used to predict anxiety and depression.
Participants were 105 women (66 breast, 39 gynaecologic). Rates of anxiety (18.1 %) and depression (33.3 %) were highest at diagnosis. Average rates of anxiety and depression were 5.9 and 22.4 %, respectively. Average scores of anxiety and depression were highest at diagnosis, with improvement at 8 and 40 weeks, respectively, subsequently maintained. Morbidity at diagnosis was particularly acute among women with a treatment history of anxiety/depression or with high neuroticism. These three variables were the best and only predictors over 24 months.
Women are most vulnerable to anxiety and depression at diagnosis, with improvement over time. Morbidity rates are lower than reported elsewhere. Women with high neuroticism and a psychiatric history are at greatest risk for future morbidity after adjusting for confounders. Early identification of these women plus heightened surveillance or early referral to psychosocial services may protect against longer-term morbidity.
Supportive Care Cancer 01/2015; 23(8). DOI:10.1007/s00520-014-2571-y · 2.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT A large body of research has investigated psychological distress during the menopause transition, but less is known about the experience of positive well-being at this time. The aim of this review is to evaluate the evidence on the relationship between menopausal factors (stage and symptoms) and indices of positive well-being including mood, satisfaction with life and eudaimonic well-being. A systematic review of the literature was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. Nineteen relevant publications were found. Two out of 18 studies found a statistically significant association between menopausal stage and well-being, and one found a significant negative association between vasomotor symptoms and well-being. Four found menopausal symptoms measured with aggregate scales such as the Greene Climacteric Scale were associated with significantly diminished well-being, with the effect driven by the inclusion of psychological symptoms (e.g. 'crying spells') within the aggregate scales. Results indicate that there may be a dissociation, whereby menopausal stage and core vasomotor symptoms of menopause are related to negative, but not positive well-being. Positive well-being may be largely unaffected by menopause, which may mean that it is available for use as a resilience factor that women can draw on to meet the challenges that midlife presents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Mindfulness interventions to reduce psychological distress are well-suited to pregnancy, due to their brief and non-pharmacological nature, but there is a need for more robust evidence determining their usefulness. This pilot study was designed to explore the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of a mindfulness intervention to reduce antenatal depression, anxiety and stress.Methods
The study was designed in two parts 1) a non-randomised trial targeting women at risk of mental health problems (a selected population) and 2) a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a universal population. Process evaluation focused on feasibility of recruitment pathways, participant retention, acceptability of study measures, and engagement with mindfulness practices. Measurement of psychological distress was taken pre and post intervention through the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised, the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Perceived Stress Scale.Results20 women were recruited to the non-randomised trial, and 32 to the RCT. Recruitment through a mailed study brochure at the time of booking-in to the hospital resulted in the largest number of participants in the RCT (16/32; 50%), and resulted in considerably earlier recruitment (50% in first trimester, 50% second trimester) compared to recruitment through the antenatal clinic waiting room (86% in second trimester, 14% third trimester). Over a third of women in the universal population scored above clinical cut-offs for depression and anxiety, indicating a sample with more symptomology than the general population. The most common reason for loss to follow-up was delivery of baby prior follow-up (n = 9). In the non-randomised study, significant within group improvements to depression and anxiety were observed. In the intervention arm of the RCT there were significant within group improvements to anxiety and mindfulness. No between group differences for the intervention and `care as usual¿ control group were observed.Conclusions
This small pilot study provides evidence on the feasibility of an antenatal mindfulness intervention to reduce psychological distress. Major challenges include: finding ways to facilitate recruitment in early pregnancy and engaging younger women and other vulnerable populations.Trial registrationAustralian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000742774 (31/10/2012).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
The aim of this study was to compare the relative benefits and acceptability of two different group-based mindfulness psychotherapy interventions among women with breast and gynecologic cancer.
Data from 42 women who completed an 8-week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program comprising 22 contact hours were compared to data from 24 women who completed a 6-week mindfulness meditation program (MMP) comprising 9 contact hours. Distress, quality of life (QOL), and mindfulness were evaluated pre- (T1) and post-intervention (T2). ANCOVA was used to analyse the relationship between intervention type and T1 score on outcome variable change scores. Participants' perceptions of benefit and acceptability were assessed.
The participants did not differ on clinical or demographic variables other than MBCT participants were more likely than MMP participants to have a past history of anxiety or depression (p = .01). Scores on distress, QOL, and mindfulness improved from T1 to T2 with medium to large effect sizes for the MMP (p = .002, d = .07; p = .001, d = .08; p = .005, d = .06, respectively) and MBCT (p < .001, d = .06; p = .008, d = .04; p < .001, d = .09, respectively) interventions. ANCOVA showed no main effect for intervention type on outcome change scores and no interaction between intervention type and respective T1 score. Distress and mindfulness scores at T1 had a main effect on respective change scores (p = .02, ηp (2) = .87; p = .01, ηp (2) = .80, respectively). Both programs were perceived as beneficial and acceptable with no differences between the intervention types.
Within the limits of a small, non-randomized study, these findings provide preliminary support for the utility of a brief mindfulness intervention for improving distress and QOL in a heterogeneous group of women with cancer. Abbreviated interventions are less resource intensive and may be attractive to very unwell patients.
Supportive Care Cancer 10/2014; 23(4). DOI:10.1007/s00520-014-2442-6 · 2.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives
Some women find hot flushes and night sweats (HFNS) to interfere more in daily life and mood than others. Psychological resources may help to explain these individual differences. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of self-compassion, defined as healthy way of relating toward the self when dealing with difficult experiences, as a potential moderator of the relationship between HFNS and daily life activities, which in turn influences symptoms of depression.
This was a cross-sectional study using questionnaire data from 206 women aged 40–60 who were currently experiencing hot flushes and/or night sweats. Path analysis was used to model relationships among menopausal factors (HFNS frequency and daily interference ratings), self-compassion and mood.
Main outcome measure
Hot flush interference in daily activities and depressive symptoms.
On average, women experienced 4.02 HFNS per day, and HFNS frequency was moderately correlated with interference ratings (r = 0.38). In the path analytic model, self-compassion made significant direct contribution to hot flush interference ratings (β = −0.37) and symptoms of depression (β = −0.42), and higher self-compassion was associated with lower interference and depressive symptoms. Self-compassion also moderated the relationship between HFNS frequency and hot flush interference. Higher self-compassion was associated with weaker effects of HFNS frequency on daily interference.
Self-compassion may weaken the association between HFNS and daily life functioning, which in turn, could lead to less HFNS-related mood problems. These findings imply that self-compassion may be a resilience factor to help women manage hot flushes and night sweats.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aims to examine the acceptability and effectiveness of an antenatal group intervention designed to reduce the severity of depression and anxiety symptoms and improve maternal attachment in pregnant women with current or emerging depression and anxiety. Women who participated in the program completed pre- and posttreatment measures of depression (Centre of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale), anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) and maternal attachment (Condon Maternal Antenatal Attachment Scale). Participants also completed a satisfaction questionnaire and provided general feedback about the group intervention and experience. A total of 48 women (M = 26 weeks of gestation) commenced and 37 (77 %) completed at least 80 % of the six session group intervention. Significant improvements with moderate to large effect sizes were observed for depression as measured on the Centre of Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) (p < 0.001), Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) (p < 0.001), state anxiety (p < 0.001) and maternal attachment (p = 0.006). Improvements in posttreatment depression scores on the EPDS were maintained at 2 months postpartum. Participants reported that the program had met their expectations. Partners (n = 21) who completed evaluation forms indicated that their attendance had improved their awareness of their partner's mental health issues and resources available to their family and would recommend the program to other fathers. These preliminary findings suggest that our antenatal group program is an effective and acceptable intervention for a clinical sample of women and partners. It is a feasible addition or alternative treatment option to perinatal mental health care. Future directions could involve more comprehensive randomised controlled trials (RCT) to examine the effectiveness of the group intervention.
Archives of Women s Mental Health 07/2014; 17(6). DOI:10.1007/s00737-014-0447-2 · 2.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
The purpose of this study was to identify psychosocial factors associated with glycemic control in a sample of adult women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus preparing for pregnancy.
This was a cross-sectional study. Participants comprised a subsample (n=38) of a larger study investigating predictors of prepregnancy care uptake in women with pre-existing diabetes. Participants were recruited from the diabetes and pregnancy clinics at 2 major hospitals and completed self-report questionnaires on personality, coping style, social support and knowledge of diabetes and pregnancy. The main outcome was glycemic control using glycated hemoglobin (A1C) as the outcome of interest.
The sample was divided into good (n=20) vs. poor (n=18) glycemic control based on their A1C at entry to the study. Univariate tests indicated no differences between the 2 groups on any of the variables except that the good control group were better educated. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that problem-focused coping and higher education remained significantly associated with better glycemic control when controlling for potential confounds.
Providing women with enhanced prepregnancy diabetes education with a particular emphasis on problem-solving and coping skills may enable them to take more proactive approaches to challenges they face in managing their diabetes. That in turn can improve glycemic control at the critical period.
Canadian Journal of Diabetes 07/2014; 38(6). DOI:10.1016/j.jcjd.2013.12.007 · 2.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of obstetric and neonatal complications. The aim of this study was to better understand the factors that may influence these adverse outcomes.
We examined obstetric and neonatal outcomes of pregnant women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and factors possibly influencing these outcomes. A retrospective review of the medical history of 112 women with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder was undertaken. Data for controls were extracted from the hospital's electronic birth record data.
Women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder presented later for their first antenatal visit and had higher rates of smoking and illicit drug use than the control group. They also had higher rates of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Their infants were less likely to have Apgar scores 8-10 at both 1 and 5minutes and were more likely to be admitted to special care/neonatal intensive care nursery than the infants of controls. The rate of pre-term birth was significantly increased in the women with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Pre-term birth and admission to special care/neonatal intensive care were predicted by smoking and illicit drug use.
These data point to potentially modifiable factors as significant contributors to the high rate of adverse obstetric and neonatal outcomes in women with mental illness. Comprehensive management of women with mental illness prior to, during pregnancy and in the postnatal period may have long-term benefits for their offspring.
Schizophrenia Research 06/2014; 157(1-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.05.030 · 3.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Risky drinking criteria in older adults lack consistency across the literature. The variable definitions of risk have contributed in part, to widely differing prevalence estimates for risky drinking, ranging from 1% to 15%.
(1) To identify the prevalence of different types of risky drinking by applying several different criteria, (2) To investigate whether older adults have knowledge of the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended guidelines for safe drinking.
The study population consisted of community dwelling past-year drinkers (n = 292) aged ≥ 60 years. Participants completed a postal survey on alcohol consumption using the AUDIT-C.
Applying multiple risky drinking criteria indicated that 6.6% to 31.7% of women and 21.6% to 44.8% of men were risky drinkers. Men were more likely than women to have inaccurate knowledge of the NHMRC guidelines, and nearly 59.2% of men who exceeded 14 drinks per week reported either not knowing the recommended limits or reported limits that exceeded the guidelines. Conclusions/Importance: A substantial number of older men drank at risky levels and overestimated safe drinking limits. Greater education on the vulnerability to alcohol-related harm together with greater screening practice by health professionals and service providers is recommended. Findings illustrate how different risky drinking criteria vary in their average AUDIT-C scores, with the NHMRC criteria showing greater average scores compared to other criteria. RESULTS also imply that cutoff scores of ≥ 4 for women and ≥ 6 for men are consistent with a range of risky drinking criteria in older adults.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose of the Study:Little research has examined factors that contribute to the formation of attitudes toward one's own aging. The current study aimed to examine personality as defined by the Five-Factor model of personality as an antecedent of attitudes, while taking into account demographic and health factors known to be relevant to such attitudes.
Participants aged 60 years or older (N = 421) were part of a longitudinal study of health and well-being in Australia, and completed a postal survey comprising measures of personality, the Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire, the SF-12 health survey, and the Satisfaction with Life Scale.
Higher levels of neuroticism were associated with less positive attitudes toward old age as a time of psychological growth, and higher extraversion and agreeableness were significant predictors of less negative attitudes toward psychosocial loss. Baseline measures of self-reported mental and physical health, as well as change in those scores, also made significant contributions to attitudes toward aging.
Personality was a significant antecedent of attitudes towards aging, as were mental and physical health. The data highlight the role of potentially modifiable factors, such as mental and physical health. If these factors act as resources that shape an individual's attitudes during the aging process, then one potential foundation for holding positive attitudes to aging is to maintain physical and mental health. This requires interventions and policies that are effective in encouraging health-promoting behaviors.
The Gerontologist 05/2014; DOI:10.1093/geront/gnu041 · 3.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Psychological disorders are commonly associated with gynecological conditions, but are frequently undetected and untreated, and may influence the presentation and treatment outcomes of the physical condition. A literature search was conducted in order to provide a narrative review of psychological aspects of menopause, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, chronic pelvic pain, incontinence and polycystic ovarian syndrome. All the conditions that have been addressed in this review can be associated with an increased risk of psychological symptoms and disorders. Anxiety and depression are common and are associated with significant morbidity. Gynecological conditions, by their nature, are likely to be accompanied by impairments in social, occupational and personal functioning. Greater emphasis should be placed on the mental health aspects of gynecological conditions.
Women s Health 05/2014; 10(3):237-254. DOI:10.2217/whe.14.16
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infants born <30 weeks' gestation are at increased risk of long term neurodevelopmental problems compared with term born peers. The predictive value of neurobehavioural examinations at term equivalent age in very preterm infants has been reported for subsequent impairment. Yet there is little knowledge surrounding earlier neurobehavioural development in preterm infants prior to term equivalent age, and how it relates to perinatal factors, cerebral structure, and later developmental outcomes. In addition, maternal psychological wellbeing has been associated with child development. Given the high rate of psychological distress reported by parents of preterm children, it is vital we understand maternal and paternal wellbeing in the early weeks and months after preterm birth and how this influences the parent-child relationship and children's outcomes. Therefore this study has aims to examine how 1) early neurobehaviour and 2) parental mental health relate to developmental outcomes for infants born preterm compared with infants born at term.
This prospective cohort study will describe the neurobehaviour of 150 infants born at <30 weeks' gestational age from birth to term equivalent age, and explore how early neurobehavioural deficits relate to brain growth or injury determined by magnetic resonance imaging, perinatal factors, parental mental health and later developmental outcomes measured using standardised assessment tools at term, one and two years' corrected age. A control group of 150 healthy term-born infants will also be recruited for comparison of outcomes. To examine the effects of parental mental health on developmental outcomes, both parents of preterm and term-born infants will complete standardised questionnaires related to symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress at regular intervals from the first week of their child's birth until their child's second birthday. The parent-child relationship will be assessed at one and two years' corrected age.
Detailing the trajectory of infant neurobehaviour and parental psychological distress following very preterm birth is important not only to identify infants most at risk, further understand the parental experience and highlight potential times for intervention for the infant and/or parent, but also to gain insight into the effect this has on parent-child interaction and child development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
While mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) has demonstrated efficacy in reducing depressive relapse/recurrence over 12-18 months, questions remain around effectiveness, longer-term outcomes, and suitability in combination with medication. The aim of this study was to investigate within a pragmatic study design the effectiveness of MBCT on depressive relapse/recurrence over 2 years of follow-up.
This was a prospective, multi-site, single-blind trial based in Melbourne and the regional city of Geelong, Australia. Non-depressed adults with a history of three or more episodes of depression were randomised to MBCT + depression relapse active monitoring (DRAM) (n=101) or control (DRAM alone) (n=102). Randomisation was stratified by medication (prescribed antidepressants and/or mood stabilisers: yes/no), site of usual care (primary or specialist), diagnosis (bipolar disorder: yes/no) and sex. Relapse/recurrence of major depression was assessed over 2 years using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 2.1.
The average number of days with major depression was 65 for MBCT participants and 112 for controls, significant with repeated-measures ANOVA (F(1, 164)=4.56, p=0.03). Proportionally fewer MBCT participants relapsed in both year 1 and year 2 compared to controls (odds ratio 0.45, p<0.05). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis for time to first depressive episode was non-significant, although trends favouring the MBCT group were suggested. Subgroup analyses supported the effectiveness of MBCT for people receiving usual care in a specialist setting and for people taking antidepressant/mood stabiliser medication.
This work in a pragmatic design with an active control condition supports the effectiveness of MBCT in something closer to implementation in routine practice than has been studied hitherto. As expected in this translational research design, observed effects were less strong than in some previous efficacy studies but appreciable and significant differences in outcome were detected. MBCT is most clearly demonstrated as effective for people receiving specialist care and seems to work well combined with antidepressants.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 03/2014; 48(8). DOI:10.1177/0004867414525841 · 3.41 Impact Factor