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    ABSTRACT: International studies indicate that the median prevalence of psychotic experiences in children is 7%. It has been proposed that environmental stress during pregnancy may affect the neurodevelopment of the foetus and lead to a vulnerability in the child to later stressors and psychopathology. AIM In this study we explore the relationship between environmental stress during pregnancy and psychotic experiences in children in the general population at 12years. METHODS We analysed a birth cohort of 5038 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Environmental stress was measured as life event exposure. Data on life events were collected on women during their pregnancy, whilst psychotic experiences in the offspring were assessed at age 12. RESULTS There was a weak association between maternal exposure to life events and psychotic experiences at twelve years (crude OR 1.10 95% CI 1.02-1.18) per quartile of life event score. This association was not reduced after adjustment for socio-economic status, family history of schizophrenia, maternal education or birth weight but after adjustment for maternal anxiety and depression and smoking in early pregnancy there was no longer any evidence for an association (OR 1.01 95% CI 0.93-1.10). CONCLUSION This study provides some evidence to suggest that stressful life events may affect child psychotic experiences through effects on maternal psychopathology, and possibly physiology, during pregnancy.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Schizophrenia Research
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives The National Health Service (NHS) Stop Smoking Service (SSS) is an extremely cost-effective method of enabling smoking cessation. However, the SSS is only used by a minority of smokers. Developing interventions to maintain service attendance may help to increase the number of quitters. This study pilots an intervention aimed at maintaining attendance by (1) increasing motivation to attend through a booklet providing evidence of service effectiveness and (2) strengthening the link between motivation to attend and attendance through forming an implementation intention. DesignA factorial randomized controlled trial. MethodsA total of 160 newly enrolled smokers at the Surrey NHS SSS were recruited and randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (1) standard care (SC), (2) SC+effectiveness booklet, (3) SC+implementation intention, and (4) SC+effectiveness booklet+implementation intention. The outcome measures included attendance at the SSS and the 4-week quit rate. ResultsThe booklet increased service attendance (OR=2.93, p<.01, 95% CI=1.45-5.93; Number Needed to Treat=3.3) but had no impact on the 4-week quit rate (OR=1.55, 95% CI=0.75-3.21). Forming an implementation intention had no impact on service attendance or the 4-week quit rate. Attending the service was associated with a higher 4-week quit rate (=87.52, p<.001). Conclusions Presenting information about the effectiveness of the service improved service attendance. A larger trial now needs to evaluate whether this intervention can also increase the quit rate.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · British Journal of Health Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: In this article, we make the case for a systematic program of research into the causal relationship between the therapeutic alliance and outcomes of psychological treatments for the eating disorders. To make that case, we need to begin by considering the validity of existing assumptions about that alliance-outcome relationship. We will then suggest what research is needed to allow clinicians to structure their work to best effect (e.g., should therapists focus on establishing a strong alliance even if it means not applying more therapy-specific techniques, or should they stress the application of those techniques even when the working alliance might seem likely to be weakened as a result). Although the authors have a background in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), our aim is to suggest a research base that applies to a variety of psychotherapies, allowing for common or different conclusions about the alliance-outcome relationship, depending on what the proposed research indicates. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013).
    No preview · Article · Dec 2013 · International Journal of Eating Disorders
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