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Healthy in a Crummy World: Implications of Primal World Beliefs for Health Psychology

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... My colleagues and I Clifton & Kim, 2019;Clifton, in press) recently suggested humans hold many of these beliefs, which we call primal world beliefs or primals for short, and primals may be central to personality and well-being, which can be referred to as the strong primals hypothesis. Primals are defined as simple, adjectival, goal-relevant beliefs about the general character of the world as a whole, such as the world is an abundant place or the world is dangerous. ...
... Clifton (in press) has identified ten positive psychology variables that primals may influence, including gratitude, curiosity, hope/optimism, trust, self-efficacy, positive emotions, engagement, meaning, life satisfaction, and overall wellbeing. Clifton and Kim (2019) have hypothesized that primals influence major health outcomes, including risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, respiratory disease, infection, and cancer. Other promising dependent variables we ) mention includes clinical variables (depression, anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress), personality variables (extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and grit) and other wellbeing variables (such as zest, professional success, and having more friends). ...
... The structure of primal world beliefs with definitions (reproduced fromClifton & Kim, 2019) ...
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Researchers have begun to explore a category of beliefs called primals which concern the basic character of the world as a whole. After discussing primals' general significance, this chapter recommends the Primals Inventory (PI-99) to those seeking to measure them. The PI-99 was created by the first effort to empirically map all major primals individuals hold. Item generation efforts included, for example, the analysis of 80,677 tweets, the 840 most-frequently used adjectives in modern English, and 385 of the most influential texts in world history. Factor analysis identified 26 latent dimensions, with most variance explained by three main primals-informally called the Big Three-the beliefs that the world is Safe (vs. dangerous), Enticing (vs. dull), and Alive (vs. mechanistic). In validation studies, PI-99 subscales were internally reliable (mean α = .86); stable across time (e.g., mean 19-month test-retest correlation for the Big Three was r (398) = .77); highly correlated with many behavioral patterns and wellbeing outcomes theoretically influenced by primals; and performed better than Big Five personality traits when predicting important variables like interpersonal trust and life satisfaction. This chapter will show how the PI-99 builds on a history of measuring similar beliefs, suggest ways to improve the PI-99, and make recommendations for those seeking to use the PI-99 in their research.
... -Prince Humperdinck, The Princess Bride, 1987 Simple, descriptive beliefs about the basic character of the world (e.g., the world is dangerous) are important to study, challenging to study, and historically understudied, all for the same reason: the world is a uniquely large and encompassing object of belief. As previously argued (e.g., Clifton & Kim, 2020), understanding the behavior of any given creature requires the scientist to observe the creature's behavior in multiple environments. Scientists who observe a creature in one environment only, such as a dog in a dog park, are handicapped observers, unable to distinguish context-specific behaviors (i.e., state-like reactions to particular environments, or at least the creature's beliefs/perceptions about that environment) from organism-specific behaviors (i.e., trait-like expressions of that creature's peculiar temperament). ...
... But examinations of retrospective metabeliefs suggest that primals may generally function more as lenses used to interpret experience while being themselves largely uninfluenced by those experiences . If so, primals may causally influence health through five recently identified pathways (Clifton & Kim, 2020). If dangerous world belief increases danger percepts as theorized, this could result in (pathway 1) more frequent and acute stimulation of the cardiotoxic stress axis and (pathway 2) the gene expression pattern known as the conserved transcriptional response to adversity, both of which are associated with chronic and inflammation-related conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. ...
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Primal world beliefs (‘primals’) are beliefs about the world’s basic character, such as the world is dangerous. This article investigates probabilistic assumptions about the value of negative primals (e.g., seeing the world as dangerous keeps me safe). We first show such assumptions are common. For example, among 185 parents, 53% preferred dangerous world beliefs for their children. We then searched for evidence consistent with these intuitions in 3 national samples and 3 local samples of undergraduates, immigrants (African and Korean), and professionals (car salespeople, lawyers, and cops;), examining correlations between primals and eight life outcomes within 48 occupations (total N=4,535) . As predicted, regardless of occupation, more negative primals were almost never associated with better outcomes. Instead, they predicted less success, less job and life satisfaction, worse health, dramatically less flourishing, more negative emotion, more depression, and increased suicide attempts. We discuss why assumptions about the value of negative primals are nevertheless widespread and implications for future research.
... -Prince Humperdinck, The Princess Bride, 1987 Simple, descriptive beliefs about the basic character of the world (e.g., the world is dangerous) are important to study, challenging to study, and historically understudied, all for the same reason: the world is a uniquely large and encompassing object of belief. As previously argued (e.g., Clifton & Kim, 2020), understanding the behavior of any given creature requires the scientist to observe the creature's behavior in multiple environments. Scientists who observe a creature in one environment only, such as a dog in a dog park, are handicapped observers, unable to distinguish context-specific behaviors (i.e., state-like reactions to particular environments, or at least the creature's beliefs/perceptions about that environment) from organism-specific behaviors (i.e., trait-like expressions of that creature's peculiar temperament). ...
... But examinations of retrospective metabeliefs suggest that primals may generally function more as lenses used to interpret experience while being themselves largely uninfluenced by those experiences . If so, primals may causally influence health through five recently identified pathways (Clifton & Kim, 2020). If dangerous world belief increases danger percepts as theorized, this could result in (pathway 1) more frequent and acute stimulation of the cardiotoxic stress axis and (pathway 2) the gene expression pattern known as the conserved transcriptional response to adversity, both of which are associated with chronic and inflammation-related conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Primal world beliefs (‘primals’) are beliefs about the world’s basic character, such as the world is dangerous. This article investigates probabilistic assumptions about the value of negative primals. We first show that such assumptions are common. For example, among 185 parents, 53% preferred very dangerous to slightly dangerous world beliefs for their children. We then searched for evidence consistent with these intuitions in 3 national samples and 3 local samples of professionals (car salespeople, lawyers, and cops), undergraduates, and immigrants (African and Korean; total N=4,535), comparing within 48 occupations. As predicted, regardless of occupation, more negative primals were almost never associated with better outcomes. Instead, they predicted less success, less job and life satisfaction, worse health, dramatically less flourishing, more negative emotion, more depression, and increased suicide attempts. We discuss possible reasons why probabilistic assumptions about the value of negative primals are nevertheless widespread and implications for future research.
... However, whereas retrospective theories could be completely false without fundamentally altering current assumptions about primals and their nature, the same is not true of interpretive theories. Fundamental to our (Janoff-Bulman, 1989;Clifton et al., 2019;Clifton and Kim, 2020;Clifton, in press) understanding of primals is the same assumption underlying researcher's conceptions of beliefs generally (e.g., Beck, 1963Beck, , 1964Beck, , 1967Beck, , 2005Crum, 2013;Dweck, 2017). Namely, that beliefs influence thought and behavior largely via ambiguity interpretation. ...
... Definitions and structure of the 26 primal world beliefs (22 tertiary, three secondary, and one primary) as identified byClifton et al. (2019). Reproduced fromClifton and Kim (2020). ...
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Do negative primal world beliefs reflect experiences such as trauma, crime, or low socio-economic status? Clifton and colleagues recently suggested that primals—defined as beliefs about the general character of the world as a whole, such as the belief that the world is safe (vs. dangerous) and abundant (vs. barren)—may shape many of the most-studied variables in psychology. Yet researchers do not yet know why individuals adopt their primals nor the role of experience in shaping primals. Many theories can be called retrospective theories; these theories suggest that past experiences lead to the adoption of primals that reflect those experiences. For example, trauma increases the belief that the world is dangerous and growing up poor increases the belief that the world is barren. Alternatively, interpretive theories hold that primals function primarily as lenses on experiences while being themselves largely unaffected by them. This article identifies twelve empirical tests where each theory makes different predictions and hypothesizes that retrospective theories are typically less accurate than interpretive theories. I end noting that, even if retrospective theories are typically inaccurate, that does not imply experiences do not shape primals. I end by offering a conceptual architecture—the Cube Framework—for exploring the full range of human experience and suggest that, though psychologists have historically focused on negative, externally imposed experiences of short-duration (e.g., trauma), positive, internally driven, and longer-term experiences are also worth considering.
... For example, one study of the psychological effects of the global financial crisis found that participants' depression was worse in the declining stage of the crisis than it was at its peak (Sargent-Cox et al., 2011). Further research should investigate this question and should aim to determine the causal direction of interactions between adversity, mental health, and primals (Clifton, 2020a;Clifton & Kim, 2020). Thus, the impact of the small changes in primal world beliefs observed here will depend on whether they stabilize, accumulate over time, or return to baseline after the pandemic. ...
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Introduction: People hold general beliefs about the world called primals (e.g., the world is Safe, Intentional), which are strongly linked to individual differences in personality, behavior, and mental health. How such beliefs form or change across the lifespan is largely unknown, although theory suggests that beliefs become more negative after disruptive events. The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to test whether dramatic world changes and personal adversity affect beliefs. Method: In a longitudinal, quasi-experimental, pre-registered design, 529 US participants (51% female, 76% White) provided ratings of primals before and several months after pandemic onset, and information about personal adversity (e.g., losing family, financial hardship). Data were compared to 398 participants without experience of the pandemic. Results: The average person in our sample showed no change in 23 of the 26 primals, including Safe, in response to the early pandemic, and only saw the world as slightly less Alive, Interactive, and Acceptable. Higher adversity, however, was associated with slight declines in some beliefs. One limitation is that participants were exclusively American. Conclusion: Primals were remarkably stable during the initial shock wrought by a once-in-a-century pandemic, supporting a view of primals as stable lenses through which people interpret the world.
... Definitions and Structure of Primal World BeliefsNote. 26 primals (22 tertiary, 3 secondary, and 1 primal) were identified byClifton et al. (2019); figure fromClifton & Kim, 2020) ...
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Primal world beliefs ("primals") are beliefs about the basic character of the world (e.g., "the world is an abundant place"). The first effort to empirically map primals identified over two dozen such beliefs. The four highest-order beliefs--the overall belief that the world is Good (vs. bad), followed by Good's three dimensions of Safe (vs. dangerous), Enticing (vs. dull), and Alive (vs. mechanistic)-were novel and strongly correlated to many theoretically relevant outcomes such as depression. However, measuring these four beliefs currently requires administering the 99-item Primals Inventory (PI-99) and computing lengthy subscales (71, 29, 28, and 14 items). This article validates briefer measures. Study 1 (N = 459) and Study 2 (N = 5,171) examines the dimensionality, internal reliability, and test-retest reliability of scores on an 18-item measure of Good, Safe, Enticing, and Alive (PI-18). Study 3 (N = 3,947) does the same for a briefer 6-item measure of overall Good world belief (PI-6). Study 4 (N = 5,794) compares both versions to the PI-99 (the gold standard) and 14 of its correlates, including depression and life satisfaction. We conclude by recommending the PI-6 and PI-18 for most research and clinical uses and note that correspondence of three parallel forms implies not only scale accuracy but also robustness of the latent phenomena. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Definitions and Structure of Primal World BeliefsNote. 26 primals (22 tertiary, 3 secondary, and 1 primal) were identified byClifton et al. (2019); figure fromClifton & Kim, 2020) ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Primal world beliefs (‘primals’) are beliefs about the general character of the world as a whole (e.g., ‘the world is an abundant place’). The first effort to empirically map major primals identified over two dozen such beliefs. The four highest order beliefs––the overall belief that the world is Good (vs. bad), followed by Good’s three dimensions of Safe (vs. dangerous), Enticing (vs. dull), and Alive (vs. mechanistic)—were novel and strongly correlated to theoretically-relevant outcomes such as depression. However, they currently require administering the 99-item Primals Inventory (PI-99) and computing lengthy subscales (71, 29, 28, and 14 items). This article validates briefer measures. Study 1 (N=459) and Study 2 (N=5,171) examines the dimensionality, internal reliability, and test-retest reliability of an 18-item measure of Good, Safe, Enticing, and Alive (PI-18). Study 3 (N=3,947) does the same for a briefer 6-item measure of overall Good world belief (PI-6). Study 4 (N=5,794) compares both versions to the PI-99 (the gold standard). We conclude by recommending the PI-6 and PI-18 for most research and clinical uses and note that correspondence of three measures implies not only scale accuracy but also the robustness of the latent phenomena.
... As Clifton and Kim (2020) note, when an organism's behavior is observed in a single context, like a dog in a dog park, it is difficult to judge the extent to which the behavior is context-specific (i.e. a state-like reaction to that park) or organism-specific (i.e. a trait-like expression of that dog). Likewise, if an organism has beliefs about a place the organism never leaves, then these beliefs would drive many patterns of behavior that would manifest as seemingly trait-like personality characteristics while actually being context-specific reactions to an underlying perception. ...
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Primal world beliefs are a recently-identified set of basic perceptions about the general character of reality (e.g. the world is boring) thought to have many psychological implications. This article explores implications relevant to wellbeing and positive intervention research. After summarizing the supposed general function of primal world beliefs, I specify ten hypotheses concerning gratitude, curiosity, optimism, trust, self-efficacy, positive emotions, engagement, meaning, life satisfaction, and overall wellbeing. Each variable may involve behavioral patterns that present as trait-like personality characteristics while actually being context-specific reactions to underlying (and malleable) perceptions. Experimental research could test these hypotheses by (a) examining whether primal world beliefs partially mediate the wellbeing impact of established interventions such as Three Good Things and (b) creating novel interventions specifically targeting primal world beliefs. To foster the latter, I discuss elements that novel interventions might incorporate, illustrating with an example called the Leaf Exercise.
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Decades of research have demonstrated that beliefs matter, driving people’s emotional responses and, in turn, their behaviors. The recent work of Clifton and colleagues (2019) has significantly advanced the understanding of world beliefs through the development of the primal world belief’s (primals) scale. Primals are highly correlated with personality and well-being variables. Evidence suggests they serve as a schematic lens influencing how people view their experiences of the world. Building on this research, this capstone examines the hidden biases influencing judgment when it comes to the messages parents share with their children about school. Taking a metacognitive approach, the potential for a parent’s beliefs about school to influence their children’s beliefs and, in turn, their children’s mastery are examined, and are considered in the context of mattering. It is possible that parent beliefs could create positive and negative spirals, influencing both student and community outcomes. For this reason, the primals scale was modified to measure (1) student beliefs about school (2) student perceptions of their parent’s beliefs about school and (3) student engagement. Data will be gathered and analyzed over this next year. A positive psychology intervention (PPI) was also created using the modified primals scale to gain a better understanding of the possible underlying mechanisms associated with beliefs and to potentially identify elements of causation. It was also developed to guide parents—alongside their children—to regularly savor the Good in schools. Intended to alter hidden biases and framing beliefs, it is expected to help parents and their children develop a broader base of resources and strategies for support. The intervention is targeted to improve beliefs about school, increase PERMA, and increase mattering, agency, and hope. This analysis suggests there may be opportunities for expanding the role of positive psychology in schools.
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If behavior is influenced by the perceived character of situations, many disciplines that study behavior may eventually need to take into account individual differences in the perceived character of the world. In the first effort to empirically map these perceptions, subjects varied on 26 dimensions, called primal world beliefs or primals, such as the belief that the world is abundant. This dissertation leverages the first comprehensive measure of primals to further discussions in political, developmental, clinical, and positive psychology. Chapter I challenges the consensus that political conservativism is distinguished by the belief that the world is dangerous. Results suggest previous research relied on a measure highlighting dangers conservatives fear and neglecting dangers liberals fear, when both perceive the world as almost equally dangerous (8 samples; total N=3,734). A novel account of political ideology is proposed based on more predictive primals. Chapter II discusses how primals might develop. The author distinguishes retrospective theories—where primals reflect the content of past experiences—from interpretive theories—where primals act as lenses for interpreting experiences while remaining uninfluenced by them—and suggests twelve ways each theory’s relative merit can be empirically tested. A novel comprehensive framework for considering experiences in relation to any new construct is also proposed. Chapter III explores primals’ wellbeing-related correlates. By showing that many parents aim to teach negative primals to their children, some prevalence for meta-beliefs (i.e., beliefs about beliefs) associating negative primals with positive outcomes is established. Study 2 tests these meta-beliefs in six samples (total N=4,535) in regards to eight outcomes: job success, job satisfaction, emotion, depression, suicide, physical health, life satisfaction, and flourishing. Results indicate that negative primals are almost always associated with modestly to dramatically worse outcomes, across and within professions. In addition to filling a literature gap, and establishing bases for future comparison studies, findings could be used to strengthen interventions by undermining counterproductive meta-beliefs. Findings also underscore the urgent need for further research on the impact of primal world beliefs—teaching children or anyone that the world is a bad place in order to protect or prepare them may be ill-advised.
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If behavior is influenced by the perceived character of situations, many disciplines that study behavior may eventually need to take into account individual differences in the perceived character of the world. In the first effort to empirically map these perceptions, subjects varied on 26 dimensions, called primal world beliefs or primals, such as the belief that the world is abundant. This dissertation leverages the first comprehensive measure of primals to further discussions in political, developmental, clinical, and positive psychology. Chapter I challenges the consensus that political conservativism is distinguished by the belief that the world is dangerous. Results suggest previous research relied on a measure highlighting dangers conservatives fear and neglecting dangers liberals fear, when both perceive the world as almost equally dangerous (8 samples; total N=3,734). A novel account of political ideology is proposed based on more predictive primals. Chapter II discusses how primals might develop. The author distinguishes retrospective theories—where primals reflect the content of past experiences—from interpretive theories—where primals act as lenses for interpreting experiences while remaining uninfluenced by them—and suggests twelve ways each theory’s relative merit can be empirically tested. A novel comprehensive framework for considering experiences in relation to any new construct is also proposed. Chapter III explores primals’ wellbeing-related correlates. By showing that many parents aim to teach negative primals to their children, some prevalence for meta-beliefs (i.e., beliefs about beliefs) associating negative primals with positive outcomes is established. Study 2 tests these meta-beliefs in six samples (total N=4,535) in regards to eight outcomes: job success, job satisfaction, emotion, depression, suicide, physical health, life satisfaction, and flourishing. Results indicate that negative primals are almost always associated with modestly to dramatically worse outcomes, across and within professions. In addition to filling a literature gap, and establishing bases for future comparison studies, findings could be used to strengthen interventions by undermining counterproductive meta-beliefs. Findings also underscore the urgent need for further research on the impact of primal world beliefs—teaching children or anyone that the world is a bad place in order to protect or prepare them may be ill-advised.
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Primal world beliefs–or primals–are a category of beliefs about the overall character of the world that inform individual differences in cognition, affect, and behavior. In a recent comprehensive effort, Clifton et al. (2019) cataloged 26 pervasive primals and developed the Primals Inventory (PI-99) to measure them. In this study (N = 592), we describe the adaptation and initial validation of the German Primals Inventory (PI-66-G), an instrument to measure primals in German-speaking countries. The PI-66-G's first-order structure was supported by exploratory factor analyses and the resulting scales demonstrated good reliability (median α = 0.81). Based on the PI-66-G, we extend Clifton et al.' (2019) work by modeling the primals' hierarchical structure: Higher-order factor analyses reproduced their three-level model including one primary primal (Good), the three original secondary primals (Safe, Enticing, Alive), and three additional secondary primals (Empowering, Communal, Fluid). In line with the previous findings, the PI-66-G's primals were differentially (but mainly positively) correlated with the Big Five and life satisfaction. The results suggest that primals can generally be organized in a hierarchical model, but that the current model cannot properly describe every primal. Based on our findings, we discuss three hypotheses that should be evaluated in future research.
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1. The Belief in a Just World.- 2. The First Experiment: The Effect of Fortuitous Reward.- 3. The Second Experiment: Observers' Reactions to the "Innocent Victim".- 4. The Third Experiment: The Martyred and Innocent Victims.- 5. Three Experiments That Assess the Effects of Sex and Educational Background of Observers, Experimenter and Observer Influence on One Another, and the Reactions of "Informed" and Nonimplicated Observers.- 6. Reactions to the Belief in a Just World Theory and Findings: The "Nay-Sayers".- 7. Condemning the Victimized.- 8. The Assignment of Blame.- 9. The Response to Victimization: Extreme Tests of the Belief in a Just World.- 10. Who Believes in a Just World: Dimension or Style.- 11. Deserving versus Justice.- References.
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Acute inflammatory responses are essential for pathogen control and tissue repair but can also cause severe collateral damage. Tight regulation of the response is required to minimize host injury, but in the face of chronic infections and age-associated immune dysregulation, inflammatory processes may exert multiple detrimental effects on the organism. The signs of low level systemic inflammation commonly detectable in elderly people are associated with many chronic diseases of ageing and may even contribute to their causation. The purpose of this article is to review recent literature from the past two years providing new data on the inter-relationships between inflammatory status and chronic diseases of ageing.
Article
This article reviews research and interventions that have grown up around a model of psychological well-being generated more than two decades ago to address neglected aspects of positive functioning such as purposeful engagement in life, realization of personal talents and capacities, and enlightened self-knowledge. The conceptual origins of this formulation are revisited and scientific products emerging from 6 thematic areas are examined: (1) how well-being changes across adult development and later life; (2) what are the personality correlates of well-being; (3) how well-being is linked with experiences in family life; (4) how well-being relates to work and other community activities; (5) what are the connections between well-being and health, including biological risk factors, and (6) via clinical and intervention studies, how psychological well-being can be promoted for ever-greater segments of society. Together, these topics illustrate flourishing interest across diverse scientific disciplines in understanding adults as striving, meaning-making, proactive organisms who are actively negotiating the challenges of life. A take-home message is that increasing evidence supports the health protective features of psychological well-being in reducing risk for disease and promoting length of life. A recurrent and increasingly important theme is resilience - the capacity to maintain or regain well-being in the face of adversity. Implications for future research and practice are considered. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Article
Recent analyses have discovered broad alterations in the expression of human genes across different social environments. The emerging field of social genomics has begun to identify the types of genes sensitive to social regulation, the biological signaling pathways mediating these effects, and the genetic polymorphisms that modify their individual impact. The human genome appears to have evolved specific "social programs" to adapt molecular physiology to the changing patterns of threat and opportunity ancestrally associated with changing social conditions. In the context of the immune system, this programming now fosters many of the diseases that dominate public health. The embedding of individual genomes within a broader metagenomic network provides a framework for integrating molecular, physiologic, and social perspectives on human health. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 8, 2013: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301183).
Article
Threat has been linked to conformity, but little is known about the specific effects of different kinds of threat. We test the hypothesis that perceived threat of infectious disease exerts a unique influence on conformist attitudes and behavior. Correlational and experimental results support the hypothesis. Individual differences in Perceived Vulnerability to Disease predict conformist attitudes; these effects persist when controlling for individual differences in the Belief in a Dangerous World. Experimentally manipulated salience of disease threat produced stronger conformist attitudes and behavior, compared with control conditions (including a condition in which disease-irrelevant threats were salient). Additional results suggest that these effects may be especially pronounced in specific domains of normative behavior that are especially pertinent to pathogen transmission. These results have implications for understanding the antecedents of conformity, the psychology of threat, and the social consequences of infectious disease. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
There is considerable evidence for the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing (MI) in the treatment of substance abuse, as well as a number of other health behavior areas. The present paper summarizes and critically reviews the research in three emerging areas in which (MI) is being applied: diet and exercise, diabetes, and oral health. Although 10 prior reviews focused in part on MI studies in the areas of diet, exercise, or diabetes, the present paper provides an up-to-date review, and includes oral health as another emerging area of MI research. Overall, 37 articles were reviewed: 24 in the areas of diet and exercise, 9 in the area of diabetes, and 4 in the oral health area. Research in these areas suggests that (MI) is effective in all these health domains, although additional research is needed, particularly in the oral health arena. Specifically, future research in the areas of diet and exercise should examine the clinical utility of MI by health care professionals (other than dietitians), studies in the area of diabetes should continue to examine long-term effects of MI on glycemic control, and research in the area of oral health should focus on developing additional trials in this field. Further, future studies should demonstrate improved research methodology, and investigate the effects of possible outcome mediators, such as client change talk, on behavior change.
Article
Science Citation Classic Award
Article
A placebo effect on post-operative swelling was investigated as a possible model for studying psychological influences on recovery from surgery. 79 patients undergoing removal of impacted third-molars received one of five different procedures shortly after emerging from general anaesthetic. These included dentist-administered or placebo ultrasound (the latter given in two different ways to control for massage effects), untreated controls and a group instructed to apply facial massage to themselves. Pre- and post-operative measurements included trait and state-anxiety, coping style, emotional state, pain, plasma cortisol and facial swelling. Cortisol levels correlated with anxiety and avoidant coping. Post-operative anxiety was negatively correlated with pre-operative arousal. Neither coping nor emotional state was affected by the treatments, but swelling was reduced by a placebo effect of ultrasound. Cortisol levels also responded, apparently to an effect of massage. The coping and emotional factors which we measured here cannot, therefore, explain the effects of this psychological procedure on post-operative recovery.
Article
The concept of self-efficacy is receiving increasing recognition as a predictor of health behavior change and maintenance. The purpose of this article is to facilitate a clearer understanding of both the concept and its relevance for health education research and practice. Self-efficacy is first defined and distinguished from other related concepts. Next, studies of the self-efficacy concept as it relates to health practices are examined. This review focuses on cigarette smoking, weight control, contraception, alcohol abuse and exercise behaviors. The studies reviewed suggest strong relationships between self-efficacy and health behavior change and maintenance. Experimental manipulations of self-efficacy suggest that efficacy can be enhanced and that this enhancement is related to subsequent health behavior change. The findings from these studies also suggest methods for modifying health practices. These methods diverge from many of the current, traditional methods for changing health practices. Recommendations for incorporating the enhancement of self-efficacy into health behavior change programs are made in light of the reviewed findings.
Article
This study tested placebo responses in psychomotor performance when caffeine or alcohol was expected. Fifty male university students were assigned to one of four placebo groups or to a no-treatment control group. Two groups received placebo caffeine and two received placebo alcohol. Subjects performed 12 trials on a pursuit rotor task and performance was measured by the percent time on target. Then they received information about the expected drug effect on the task. One caffeine placebo group (C+) and one alcohol placebo group (A+) were led to expect enhanced performance on the task. The other caffeine placebo group (C-) and alcohol placebo group (A-) were led to expect impaired performance. Subjects subsequently performed 12 trials on the task. An interaction was obtained between the expected type of effect and the expected type of drug. The C+ group displayed superior performance compared to the C- group, and the reverse relationship was observed between the A+ and A- group. In addition, subjects led to expect alcohol-induced impairment (A-) performed better than subjects led to expect caffeine-induced impairment (C-). Subjects also reported greater motivation to resist impairment when they expected alcohol rather than caffeine. The research indicates that understanding and predicting placebo responses may require consideration of the drug that is expected as well as its expected effect.
Article
Seventy male, Hindu Myocardial Infarction (MI) patients were interviewed twice--4 to 5 days after their first heart attack (Time 1) and a month after their first heart attack (Time 2). The patients' beliefs about the world (world beliefs), about the causes of the disease (causal beliefs), and about the factors contributing to their recovery (recovery beliefs) were measured. Each category of beliefs was concerned with three domains: karma, God, and just world (or self). The patients' physical and psychological recovery was evaluated. World and recovery beliefs were intercorrelated, but these beliefs were only weakly correlated with causal beliefs. Furthermore, world beliefs and recovery beliefs were positively associated with recovery from MI at both Time 1 and Time 2. Attribution of causality to God was negatively correlated with medical recovery, perceived recovery, and mood state at Time 2. This trend was in the reverse direction for attribution of causality to self.
Article
Two studies examined effects of ambient darkness and chronic beliefs about danger on activation of stereotypes about Blacks. Chronic beliefs were measured by a Belief in a Dangerous World (BDW) questionnaire. In Study, 1, participants in either a dimly lit or dark room saw photos of Black men and rated the extent to which specific traits described the cultural stereotype of Blacks. In Study 2, participants in either a well-lit or dark room completed reaction-time tasks assessing implicit associations between Blacks and evaluative attributes. Separate measures assessed stereotypes connoting danger versus those that are merely derogatory. Results revealed BDW x Darkness interactions on activation of danger-relevant stereotypes: BDW positively predicted activation in dark but not in light conditions. It appears that chronic beliefs about danger can facilitate activation of functionally relevant stereotypes, but this effect occurs primarily under circumstances (such as darkness) that heuristically suggest vulnerability to harm. Conceptual implications are discussed.
  • Jdw Clifton
  • J D Baker
  • C L Park
  • D B Yaden
  • Abw Clifton
  • P Terni
Clifton JDW, Baker JD, Park CL, Yaden DB, Clifton ABW, Terni P, et al. Primal world beliefs. Psychol Assess 2019;31(1):82-99.