A great article published in American Psychologist. Yes, psychosocial research can help the National Institute of Mental Health achieve its grand challenge to reduce the burden of mental illnesses and psychological disorder.
Adonis on the apps: Online objectification, self-esteem, and sexual minority men.
Researchers at Columbia University and University of Texas at Austin examine the relationship between use of dating apps and self-esteem in sexual minority men. Dating apps can play a critical role in how sexual minority men internalize difficult standards of body image. Using objectification theory as a framework, the study tests associations between number of apps used, frequency of use, online objectification, internalization, and self-esteem.
Similar to online dating apps where people swipe left or right to find the best looking prospect, social media and fitness accounts have burgeoned. People present the best of themselves (with filters, hashtags, etc.) in social media. There are a number of accounts dedicated to fitness and weightlifting that is fundamentally changing the way we work out and the expectations we have about our bodies. Many Instagram fitness “celebrities” sell a message of self-love, but post images of thin or muscular bodies that are difficult to attain.
The Columbia and UT Austin researchers suggest future research that explores the long-term affects of online dating apps and online objectification. An interesting finding from their study is the more body-focused images an individual is exposed to, the more likely they are to experience a negative emotional or psychological effect. Online objectification and the perils to self-esteem may be related to the number of apps used rather than frequency of use. Posting pictures where a person’s face is cropped out while highlighting one’s body may have negatively affect self-esteem.
More information is needed to understand the role of online dating apps and social media on our perceptions of self and emotional well-being.
Check out the article in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinities.
Breslow, A. S., Sandil, R., Brewster, M. E., Parent, M. C., Chan, A., Yucel, A., Bensmiller, N., & Glaeser, E. (2019, April 4). Adonis on the Apps: Online Objectification, Self-Esteem, and Sexual Minority Men. Psychology of Men & Masculinities. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/men0000202
by Bill Nguyen
The StigmaFree Campaign, created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is in response to rising stigma and misconceptions regarding mental illness. The campaign’s official webpage states that its mission is “to end stigma and create hope for those affected by mental illness.” Through providing insightful reference materials as well as a self-diagnostic quiz gauging one’s susceptibility to stigma, the campaign encourages individuals to learn about the misunderstandings surrounding mental illnesses and take a pledge to educate themselves and their community about the misunderstandings.
The campaign’s official website and all of its content can be accessed here.
The Center for Open Science joins a new DARPA program to find out.
As a research member involved in the first psychological science replication project (COS, 2015), I’m excited and quite interested in what is next with this 3-year project. Can we develop and deploy automated tools to assign “confidence scores” to social and behavioral science research results? What does this mean for the research field, accountability, and the value of replication science?
More information about this project is available by visiting the Center for Open Science news article published February 5, 2019.
In January 2018, Apple released an announcement about their update to the Health app allowing for updated Health Records to be accessed by consumers. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, University of California San Diego Health, and other participating hospitals and clinics were the first to make the beta feature available to patients.
Results from the first study was released one year later (January 2019) and published in JAMA (Personal Health Records: More Promising in the Smartphone Era?) The University of California San Diego Health was an early adopter of the Apple Health Records feature, as one of the first 12 health systems to test the app, and their researchers set out to gauge the initial reactions of patients to the new platform. As of fall 2018, UC San Diego Health has hundreds of personal health record users who have downloaded thousands of clinical results and other pieces of medical information though the platform.
The study found that early adopters were highly enthusiastic about the prospect of accessing updated medical records using the app. The study found that patients were generally satisfied with the app’s ease-of-use and felt that it improved their understanding of their health and facilitated conversations with clinicians.
The research, led by Christian Dameff, M.D., department of emergency medicine; Brian Clay, M.D., department of medicine, and Christopher Longhurst, M.D., department of pediatrics as well as CIO and associate CMO at UCSD, was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (link above).
Interoperability is not a new idea. There have been significant challenges with making electronic data usable and interoperable (between different users and systems). Now as this moves forward, practitioners will need to update EHR systems and standard processes. As of 2012, an estimated 62% of physicians were still using the fax machine as a primary means of communication.
Health informatics experts agree that if this general capability is going to benefit all patients in the U.S., it will need to eventually expand beyond Apple to other smartphone devices.
by Bill Nguyen
Meditation, extant in a variety of forms, is gaining prominence within the behavioral health community as a means of reducing stress and anxiety. As such, incorporating meditation into daily life may prove beneficial to one’s mental wellbeing and happiness. Provided in this article are notable facts and resources concerning meditation and its practical effects.
Notable Facts About Meditation
Meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiety. A 2014 study from the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine concluded that mindful meditation programs over an 8-week period showed evidence pointing to a reduction in stress and anxiety. In addition, meditation has been known to improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia.
Meditation can help with a broad range of mental disorders. Mental Health America attributes meditation to reduced symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Meditation can also promote emotional health. A 2014 and 2015 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that mindful meditation led to a decrease in depression in over 4,600 adults. Furthermore, a 2003 study conducted by Psychosomatic Medicine indicated that meditation led to positive changes in the brain where positive thinking and optimism is processed.
Meditation can combat age-related memory loss. A 2015 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information linked Kirtan Kriya, a Kundalini meditation technique, with improvement in the memory of people with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Contact your physician or mental health provider for information on how to implement meditation into your treatment plan. Do not go off prescribed medication without first consulting your physician.