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Volume 3, September

Psych, Volume 3, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 13 articles

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Article
Comparing the MCMC Efficiency of JAGS and Stan for the Multi-Level Intercept-Only Model in the Covariance- and Mean-Based and Classic Parametrization
by , and
Psych 2021, 3(4), 751-779; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040048 (registering DOI) - 30 Nov 2021
Abstract
Bayesian MCMC is a widely used model estimation technique, and software from the BUGS family, such as JAGS, have been popular for over two decades. Recently, Stan entered the market with promises of higher efficiency fueled by advanced and more sophisticated algorithms. With [...] Read more.
Bayesian MCMC is a widely used model estimation technique, and software from the BUGS family, such as JAGS, have been popular for over two decades. Recently, Stan entered the market with promises of higher efficiency fueled by advanced and more sophisticated algorithms. With this study, we want to contribute empirical results to the discussion about the sampling efficiency of JAGS and Stan. We conducted three simulation studies in which we varied the number of warmup iterations, the prior informativeness, and sample sizes and employed the multi-level intercept-only model in the covariance- and mean-based and in the classic parametrization. The target outcome was MCMC efficiency measured as effective sample size per second (ESS/s). Based on our specific (and limited) study setup, we found that (1) MCMC efficiency is much higher for the covariance- and mean-based parametrization than for the classic parametrization, (2) Stan clearly outperforms JAGS when the covariance- and mean-based parametrization is used, and that (3) JAGS clearly outperforms Stan when the classic parametrization is used. Full article
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Article
Concepts and Coefficients Based on John L. Holland’s Theory of Vocational Choice—Examining the R Package holland
by , and
Psych 2021, 3(4), 728-750; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040047 (registering DOI) - 29 Nov 2021
Viewed by 99
Abstract
John L. Holland’s theory of vocational choice is one of the most prominent career theories and is used by both researchers and practitioners around the world. The theory states that people should seek work environments that fit their vocational interests in order to [...] Read more.
John L. Holland’s theory of vocational choice is one of the most prominent career theories and is used by both researchers and practitioners around the world. The theory states that people should seek work environments that fit their vocational interests in order to be satisfied and successful. Its application in research and practice requires the determination of coefficients, which quantify its core concepts such as person-environment fit. The recently released R package holland aims at providing a holistic collection of the references, descriptions and calculations of the most important coefficients. The current paper presents the package and examines it in terms of its application for research and practice. For this purpose, the functions of the package are applied and discussed. Furthermore, recommendations are made in the case of multiple coefficients for the same theoretical concept and features that future releases should include are discussed. The R package holland is a promising computational environment providing multiple coefficients for Holland’s most important theoretical concepts. Full article
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Article
The Application of the SKT Short Cognitive Performance Test to English-Speaking Populations
Psych 2021, 3(4), 717-727; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040046 (registering DOI) - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 110
Abstract
The SKT (Syndrom-Kurz-Test) is a well-established short cognitive performance test for the detection of attention and memory deficits in Germany. The goal of this paper is to test whether the SKT could be applied to English-speaking populations to screen cognitive impairments in the [...] Read more.
The SKT (Syndrom-Kurz-Test) is a well-established short cognitive performance test for the detection of attention and memory deficits in Germany. The goal of this paper is to test whether the SKT could be applied to English-speaking populations to screen cognitive impairments in the US, Australia, and Ireland. A regression-based continuous norming technique was applied. Standardized test results obtained from German-speaking (n = 1056) and English-speaking (n = 285) samples were compared. Both samples consisted of cognitively unimpaired, community-dwelling, and independently living volunteers (non-patients) over 60 years of age. Means, medians, and standard deviations of raw scores were calculated. A high similarity in the raw value distributions of the criterion variables and a comparison of German and English multiple regression residuals indicated the equivalence among the samples. In addition, the obtained multiple regression equations for predicting the subtest scores including the explained variances (R2) were highly comparable. Age and intelligence turned out to be the most important and necessary predictors for each subtest performance. The results suggest that the new regression-based norming of the SKT can be validly used in the three English-speaking countries. Full article
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Article
Anonymiced Shareable Data: Using mice to Create and Analyze Multiply Imputed Synthetic Datasets
Psych 2021, 3(4), 703-716; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040045 (registering DOI) - 23 Nov 2021
Viewed by 191
Abstract
Synthetic datasets simultaneously allow for the dissemination of research data while protecting the privacy and confidentiality of respondents. Generating and analyzing synthetic datasets is straightforward, yet, a synthetic data analysis pipeline is seldom adopted by applied researchers. We outline a simple procedure for [...] Read more.
Synthetic datasets simultaneously allow for the dissemination of research data while protecting the privacy and confidentiality of respondents. Generating and analyzing synthetic datasets is straightforward, yet, a synthetic data analysis pipeline is seldom adopted by applied researchers. We outline a simple procedure for generating and analyzing synthetic datasets with the multiple imputation software mice (Version 3.13.15) in R. We demonstrate through simulations that the analysis results obtained on synthetic data yield unbiased and valid inferences and lead to synthetic records that cannot be distinguished from the true data records. The ease of use when synthesizing data with mice along with the validity of inferences obtained through this procedure opens up a wealth of possibilities for data dissemination and further research on initially private data. Full article
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Article
Tobacco Profile and Evaluation of the DS14 Scale in Patients with Coronary Syndrome
Psych 2021, 3(4), 694-702; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040044 (registering DOI) - 20 Nov 2021
Viewed by 169
Abstract
Background: the prevalence of current smokers in patients with coronary syndrome is high. This risk behaviour significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular complications. In the recommendations for the management of cardiovascular diseases, psychosocial and psychological factors are still neglected in practice. The aim [...] Read more.
Background: the prevalence of current smokers in patients with coronary syndrome is high. This risk behaviour significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular complications. In the recommendations for the management of cardiovascular diseases, psychosocial and psychological factors are still neglected in practice. The aim of study was to verify the prevalence of tobacco use in hospitalized patients with coronary syndrome, notably to verify the type-D personality and tobacco use in the groups obtained from the evaluation of the DS14 scale. Methods: in this cross-sectional study, we addressed 100 hospitalized patients with coronary syndrome. Results: in the cohort, 48% patient were current smokers, 21% were never smokers, 24% were former smokers, 4% were occasional smokers, and 3% were quitters. Based on the evaluation of DS14, 21% of patients were classified as type-D personality and 38% as non-type-D; we identified two subtypes: the NA group at 23% and the SI group at 18%. In the group of the current smokers, 81% declared that they wanted to quit smoking, 15% of the patients were undecided, and 4% of current smokers did not want to quit. Conclusions: cardiac patients are aware that their disease is related to smoking; despite the severity of their disease, patients’ motivation to change their risky behaviour is low. Full article
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Article
Handling Missing Responses in Psychometrics: Methods and Software
Psych 2021, 3(4), 673-693; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040043 - 19 Nov 2021
Viewed by 156
Abstract
The presence of missing responses in assessment settings is inevitable and may yield biased parameter estimates in psychometric modeling if ignored or handled improperly. Many methods have been proposed to handle missing responses in assessment data that are often dichotomous or polytomous. Their [...] Read more.
The presence of missing responses in assessment settings is inevitable and may yield biased parameter estimates in psychometric modeling if ignored or handled improperly. Many methods have been proposed to handle missing responses in assessment data that are often dichotomous or polytomous. Their applications remain nominal, however, partly due to that (1) there is no sufficient support in the literature for an optimal method; (2) many practitioners and researchers are not familiar with these methods; and (3) these methods are usually not employed by psychometric software and missing responses need to be handled separately. This article introduces and reviews the commonly used missing response handling methods in psychometrics, along with the literature that examines and compares the performance of these methods. Further, the use of the TestDataImputation package in R is introduced and illustrated with an example data set and a simulation study. Corresponding R codes are provided. Full article
Article
A Pilot Study of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme in Patients Suffering from Atopic Dermatitis
Psych 2021, 3(4), 663-672; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040042 - 17 Nov 2021
Viewed by 258
Abstract
Introduction: Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) have several potential stressors including the symptoms of the disease itself, the stigmatization due to their appearance, and emotional and psychological strain. Psychological factors and stress can trigger and exacerbate the symptoms of skin diseases and there [...] Read more.
Introduction: Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) have several potential stressors including the symptoms of the disease itself, the stigmatization due to their appearance, and emotional and psychological strain. Psychological factors and stress can trigger and exacerbate the symptoms of skin diseases and there is evidence that stress has a relevant clinical effect on the function of skin cells in vivo. Our objective was to evaluate in a pilot study the feasibility, acceptance, and effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme in AD patients in a clinical setting. Methods: 10 patients took part in an 8-week MBSR programme, which included, e.g., mindful and conscious awareness of the body and bodywork, and seated meditation. We assessed sociodemographics and disease related variables with standardized measures at predefined time points including Score of Atopic Dermatitis, Patient Oriented Eczema Measure, Dermatology Life Quality Index, Perceived Stress Questionnaire, Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI), and others. Participants also gave qualitative feedback regarding the effects of the intervention. Results: The mean age was 53.10 years (SD = 15.04), seven patients were female, and disease duration was 36.6 years (SD = 25.5). Calculating pre-post effect sizes (Cohen’s d), the FMI indicated significant improvement in the “presence” and “acceptance” subscales. There was also tendency for less stress. This was confirmed by the qualitative statements of the participants. Conclusions: The MBSR programme is feasible and acceptable for AD patients. Considering the long disease history and the severity of disease burden, the effects of this intervention seem promising as an adjunct to conventional treatments for patients with AD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Psychodermatology)
Article
Listening to People with Misophonia: Exploring the Multiple Dimensions of Sound Intolerance Using a New Psychometric Tool, the S-Five, in a Large Sample of Individuals Identifying with the Condition
Psych 2021, 3(4), 639-662; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040041 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 899
Abstract
Misophonia involves a strong emotional response to certain sounds and can cause significant distress and functional impairment. The aim of this study was to present and psychometrically evaluate a new, multidimensional measure of misophonia, the S-Five. The study also aimed to present and [...] Read more.
Misophonia involves a strong emotional response to certain sounds and can cause significant distress and functional impairment. The aim of this study was to present and psychometrically evaluate a new, multidimensional measure of misophonia, the S-Five. The study also aimed to present and test a supplementary tool, a checklist of triggers that measure the nature and intensity of reactions. The stages of development for the measure are described. Psychometric testing on the final version of the tool was conducted using a sample of 828 individuals who identified with having misophonia. Analyses included factor structure assessment, measurement invariance testing, reliability (test–retest and internal consistency), and (concurrent) convergent validity assessment. Five factors emerged in the S-Five as dimensions of the experience of misophonia: internalising appraisals, externalising appraisals, sense of emotional threat, outbursts, and impact. No measurement bias was identified with respect to gender and age. All reliability and validity indices were satisfactory. The S-Five is a multidimensional measurement scale with satisfactory psychometric properties and will be a valuable tool for improving understanding of misophonia in research and clinical settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prominent Papers in Psych- 2021-2023!)
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Article
An Evaluation of DIF Tests in Multistage Tests for Continuous Covariates
Psych 2021, 3(4), 618-638; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040040 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 210
Abstract
Multistage tests are a widely used and efficient type of test presentation that aims to provide accurate ability estimates while keeping the test relatively short. Multistage tests typically rely on the psychometric framework of item response theory. Violations of item response models and [...] Read more.
Multistage tests are a widely used and efficient type of test presentation that aims to provide accurate ability estimates while keeping the test relatively short. Multistage tests typically rely on the psychometric framework of item response theory. Violations of item response models and other assumptions underlying a multistage test, such as differential item functioning, can lead to inaccurate ability estimates and unfair measurements. There is a practical need for methods to detect problematic model violations to avoid these issues. This study compares and evaluates three methods for the detection of differential item functioning with regard to continuous person covariates in data from multistage tests: a linear logistic regression test and two adaptations of a recently proposed score-based DIF test. While all tests show a satisfactory Type I error rate, the score-based tests show greater power against three types of DIF effects. Full article
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Article
The Theoretical and Statistical Ising Model: A Practical Guide in R
Psych 2021, 3(4), 593-617; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040039 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 928
Abstract
The “Ising model” refers to both the statistical and the theoretical use of the same equation. In this article, we introduce both uses and contrast their differences. We accompany the conceptual introduction with a survey of Ising-related software packages in R. Since [...] Read more.
The “Ising model” refers to both the statistical and the theoretical use of the same equation. In this article, we introduce both uses and contrast their differences. We accompany the conceptual introduction with a survey of Ising-related software packages in R. Since the model’s different uses are best understood through simulations, we make this process easily accessible with fully reproducible examples. Using simulations, we show how the theoretical Ising model captures local-alignment dynamics. Subsequently, we present it statistically as a likelihood function for estimating empirical network models from binary data. In this process, we give recommendations on when to use traditional frequentist estimators as well as novel Bayesian options. Full article
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Tutorial
Tutorial on the Use of the regsem Package in R
Psych 2021, 3(4), 579-592; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040038 - 05 Oct 2021
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Sparse estimation through regularization is gaining popularity in psychological research. Such techniques penalize the complexity of the model and could perform variable/path selection in an automatic way, and thus are particularly useful in models that have small parameter-to-sample-size ratios. This paper gives a [...] Read more.
Sparse estimation through regularization is gaining popularity in psychological research. Such techniques penalize the complexity of the model and could perform variable/path selection in an automatic way, and thus are particularly useful in models that have small parameter-to-sample-size ratios. This paper gives a detailed tutorial of the R package regsem, which implements regularization for structural equation models. Example R code is also provided to highlight the key arguments of implementing regularized structural equation models in this package. The tutorial ends by discussing remedies of some known drawbacks of a popular type of regularization, computational methods supported by the package that can improve the selection result, and some other practical issues such as dealing with missing data and categorical variables. Full article
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Article
Bivariate Distributions Underlying Responses to Ordinal Variables
Psych 2021, 3(4), 562-578; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040037 - 01 Oct 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
The association between two ordinal variables can be expressed with a polychoric correlation coefficient. This coefficient is conventionally based on the assumption that responses to ordinal variables are generated by two underlying continuous latent variables with a bivariate normal distribution. When the underlying [...] Read more.
The association between two ordinal variables can be expressed with a polychoric correlation coefficient. This coefficient is conventionally based on the assumption that responses to ordinal variables are generated by two underlying continuous latent variables with a bivariate normal distribution. When the underlying bivariate normality assumption is violated, the estimated polychoric correlation coefficient may be biased. In such a case, we may consider other distributions. In this paper, we aimed to provide an illustration of fitting various bivariate distributions to empirical ordinal data and examining how estimates of the polychoric correlation may vary under different distributional assumptions. Results suggested that the bivariate normal and skew-normal distributions rarely hold in the empirical datasets. In contrast, mixtures of bivariate normal distributions were often not rejected. Full article
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Article
Evaluating Caregiver Risk: The Dementia Caregiver Interview Guide
Psych 2021, 3(4), 552-561; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych3040036 - 25 Sep 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
Objectives: Family and other informal caregivers of individuals with dementia can be at increased risk for a significant decline in wellbeing or their ability to continue to provide care. There is extensive literature on the multifactorial elements contributing to risk, but frontline practitioners [...] Read more.
Objectives: Family and other informal caregivers of individuals with dementia can be at increased risk for a significant decline in wellbeing or their ability to continue to provide care. There is extensive literature on the multifactorial elements contributing to risk, but frontline practitioners may be uncertain how to apply their knowledge of risk to an assessment of individual caregivers during clinical encounters. We developed a new one-page guided interview tool (the Dementia Caregiver Interview Guide, or DCIG) to guide practitioners to: (1) systematically assess known factors associated with high caregiver risk in a clinical interview format and (2) concisely document their judgement regarding risk of decompensation arising from caregiver stress. This semi-structured interview format collects detailed information while promoting a collaborative communication process. This study evaluated the validity of risk-assessment using the DCIG. Methods: A convenience sample of 50 caregivers was recruited during routine intake at the Reitman Centre at Sinai Health in Toronto, Canada. Risk was assessed using both the DCIG and the Caregiver Risk Screen (CRS). Total scores on the two tools were compared to establish concurrent and discriminant validity for the DCIG. Results: The DCIG correlated positively with the CRS (Spearman’s rho = 0.737; p < 0.001) and identified caregivers at risk at a moderate level of agreement with the CRS (Cohen’s Kappa = 0.559). Conclusions: The DCIG allows clinicians to efficiently identify caregivers’ level of risk for functional and emotional decline or decompensation in a client-centered, naturalistic manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prominent Papers in Psych- 2021-2023!)
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