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Psych, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2022) – 12 articles

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23 pages, 380 KiB  
Review
Optimized Clinical Strategies for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Integrating Ketamine Protocols with Trauma- and Attachment-Informed Psychotherapy
by Sherry-Anne Muscat, Glenn Hartelius, Courtenay Richards Crouch and Kevin W. Morin
Psych 2022, 4(1), 119-141; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010012 - 8 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 5888
Abstract
Strategically timed trauma- and attachment-informed psychotherapy to address underlying emotional wounds, paired with ketamine administered in precision-calibrated doses to ensure high-entropy brain states, may be key to improving the quality and duration of ketamine’s therapeutic efficacy for treatment-resistant depression. This approach optimizes the [...] Read more.
Strategically timed trauma- and attachment-informed psychotherapy to address underlying emotional wounds, paired with ketamine administered in precision-calibrated doses to ensure high-entropy brain states, may be key to improving the quality and duration of ketamine’s therapeutic efficacy for treatment-resistant depression. This approach optimizes the opportunities for change created by ketamine’s known effects as a rapid antidepressant that stimulates synaptogenesis, normalizes neural connectivity and coherence, enhances neuroplasticity, reduces inflammation, and induces high-entropy brain states with associated subjective psychedelic experiences. Ketamine, a non-selective N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist is a safe, effective, fast-acting dissociative anesthetic that, as a standalone treatment, also exhibits rapid sustained antidepressant effects, even in many patients with treatment-resistant depression. A prior history of developmental trauma and attachment injuries are known primary factors in the etiology of treatment resistance in depression and other mental disorders. Thus, the adjunct of targeted psychotherapy attuned to trauma and attachment injuries may enhance and prolong ketamine efficacy and provide an opportunity for lasting therapeutic change. Psychotherapy engagement during repeated ketamine sessions for patient safety and integration of altered states, paired with separate individualized psychotherapy-only sessions timed 24–48 h post ketamine induction, takes advantage of peak ketamine-induced dendritic spine growth in the prefrontal cortex and limbic system, and normalized network connectivity across brain structures. This strategically timed paired-session approach also exploits the therapeutic potential created by precision-calibrated ketamine-linked high-entropy brain states and associated psychedelic experiences that are posited to disrupt overly rigid maladaptive thoughts, behaviors, and disturbing memories associated with treatment-resistant depression; paired sessions also support integration of the felt sense of happiness and connectivity associated with psychedelic experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prominent Papers in Psych  2021–2023!)
5 pages, 225 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial of the Psych Special Issue “Computational Aspects, Statistical Algorithms and Software in Psychometrics”
by Alexander Robitzsch
Psych 2022, 4(1), 114-118; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010011 - 2 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2021
Abstract
Statistical software in psychometrics has made tremendous progress in providing open source solutions (e [...] Full article
9 pages, 277 KiB  
Article
Gender Gap in Healthcare Worker—Patient Communication during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Italian Observational Study
by Vitale Elsa
Psych 2022, 4(1), 105-113; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010010 - 23 Feb 2022
Viewed by 2085
Abstract
The value of the healthcare worker–patient communication has been well demonstrated and validated in several studies evidencing its relation to positive patient health outcomes, including better care response, simpler decision-making, better patient psychological well-being, and, therefore, considerable patient care satisfaction. The present study [...] Read more.
The value of the healthcare worker–patient communication has been well demonstrated and validated in several studies evidencing its relation to positive patient health outcomes, including better care response, simpler decision-making, better patient psychological well-being, and, therefore, considerable patient care satisfaction. The present study purposed to assess how patients perceived healthcare worker–patient communication during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether there were any gender-related differences among participants. From March 2020 to April 2020, an online questionnaire was administered to those who declared a patient’s condition in this period. The data considered included data on gender and a Quality of Communication questionnaire (QOC). A total of 120 patients were recruited online. Of these, 52 (43.33%) were females and 68 (56.67%) were males. Significant differences were recorded between females and males in the QOC questionnaire as regards Item no.2 (p = 0.033), Item no.6 (p = 0.007), Item no.11 (p = 0.013), Item no.12 (p = 0.003), Item no.13 (p = 0.002), Item no.15 (p = 0.008), and Item no.16 (p = 0.037), respectively. The potentially different elements between the two sexes considered were assessed in: Component 1: the need to be completely informed about their own health condition, and Component 2: the need to receive authentic and sincere communication from the healthcare worker involved. In light of the present findings, it has emerged that male patients seemed to be more active and positive in effective healthcare worker–patient communication. Full article
5 pages, 492 KiB  
Editorial
Τhe Contribution of Mobile Mental Health Units to Community Psychiatric Care in Greece
by Maria Samakouri, Olympia Evagorou and Athena Frangouli-Sakellaropoulou
Psych 2022, 4(1), 100-104; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010009 - 12 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2650
Abstract
The implementation of Mobile Mental Health Units (MMHUs) was a decisive step in the psychiatric reform and the development of community psychiatric care in Greece [...] Full article
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11 pages, 265 KiB  
Essay
Psychotherapy as a Polyphonic and Playful Conversation
by Cátia Guerra, Raquel Pedrosa, Patrícia Nunes, Joana Rebelo, Eva Osório and António Roma-Torres
Psych 2022, 4(1), 89-99; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010008 - 9 Feb 2022
Viewed by 3287
Abstract
Since the emergence of hypnosis, we have witnessed a multiplication of psychotherapies, which have different backgrounds and aims. The omnipresence of psychotherapy leads us to an inevitable question: what is psychotherapy? In this article, we analyse the concept of mental disorder and how [...] Read more.
Since the emergence of hypnosis, we have witnessed a multiplication of psychotherapies, which have different backgrounds and aims. The omnipresence of psychotherapy leads us to an inevitable question: what is psychotherapy? In this article, we analyse the concept of mental disorder and how psychotherapy works, underlining three mechanisms: influence, polyphonic dialogue and play. Focusing on the therapeutic dialogue, we explore what is told during therapy and how, what is done while telling, and how dialogue can create new narratives and new meanings, highlighting the importance of influencing the patient on changing the symptomatic behaviour. We also consider how the multiple voices of the patient, therapist and others can generate an alternative to the monologic discourse of the disease. While the psychiatric illness may indicate a sterile dialogue which often expands the pathology, communicating in a different and active way can create new and healthier meanings. Therefore, one of the therapy’s aims is to influence the patient, throughout a dialogic and playful conversation, to gain freedom from disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prominent Papers in Psych  2021–2023!)
16 pages, 372 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Stan’s Variational Bayes Algorithm for Estimating Multidimensional IRT Models
by Esther Ulitzsch and Steffen Nestler
Psych 2022, 4(1), 73-88; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010007 - 5 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2969
Abstract
Bayesian estimation of multidimensional item response theory (IRT) models in large data sets may come with impractical computational burdens when general-purpose Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) samplers are employed. Variational Bayes (VB)—a method for approximating the posterior distribution—poses a potential remedy. Stan’s general-purpose [...] Read more.
Bayesian estimation of multidimensional item response theory (IRT) models in large data sets may come with impractical computational burdens when general-purpose Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) samplers are employed. Variational Bayes (VB)—a method for approximating the posterior distribution—poses a potential remedy. Stan’s general-purpose VB algorithms have drastically improved the accessibility of VB methods for a wide psychometric audience. Using marginal maximum likelihood (MML) and MCMC as benchmarks, the present simulation study investigates the utility of Stan’s built-in VB function for estimating multidimensional IRT models with between-item dimensionality. VB yielded a marked speed-up in comparison to MCMC, but did not generally outperform MML in terms of run time. VB estimates were trustworthy only for item difficulties, while bias in item discriminations depended on the model’s dimensionality. Under realistic conditions of non-zero correlations between dimensions, VB correlation estimates were subject to severe bias. The practical relevance of performance differences is illustrated with data from PISA 2018. We conclude that in its current form, Stan’s built-in VB algorithm does not pose a viable alternative for estimating multidimensional IRT models. Full article
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2 pages, 289 KiB  
Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Psych in 2021
by Psych Editorial Office
Psych 2022, 4(1), 71-72; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010006 - 26 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1481
Abstract
Rigorous peer-reviews are the basis of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
11 pages, 993 KiB  
Brief Report
Engagement Analysis of Canadian Public Health and News Media Facebook Posts and Sentiment Analysis of Corresponding Comments during COVID-19
by Melissa MacKay, Taylor Colangeli, Sydney Gosselin, Sophie Neumann and Andrew Papadopoulos
Psych 2022, 4(1), 60-70; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010005 - 9 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3877
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, key stakeholders have used social media to rapidly disseminate essential information to the public to help them make informed health-related decisions. Our research examined how the public responded to official actors’ Facebook posts during COVID-19 and examined the comment [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, key stakeholders have used social media to rapidly disseminate essential information to the public to help them make informed health-related decisions. Our research examined how the public responded to official actors’ Facebook posts during COVID-19 and examined the comment sentiment and post engagement rates. CBC News and CTV News received a greater proportion of negative comments and a lower average post engagement rate compared with Healthy Canadians. Additionally, the proportion of negative and positive comments varied over time for all sources; however, over 30% of the comments for all three actors were consistently negative. Key stakeholders should monitor the public’s response to their social media posts and adapt their messages to increase the effectiveness of their crisis communication efforts to encourage the adoption of protective measures. Full article
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11 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
The Interventions of a Mobile Mental Health Unit on the Refugee Crisis on a Greek Island
by Iliana Fylla, Eleonora Fousfouka, Maria Kostoula and Pinelopi Spentzouri
Psych 2022, 4(1), 49-59; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010004 - 3 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3797
Abstract
This present study concerns refugees and asylum seekers who have been referred to a Mobile Mental Health Unit (MMHU-Ch) in rural Greece on a Northeast Aegean Island during the refugee crisis in 2015. Our objective is the examination and recording of psychopathology characteristics’, [...] Read more.
This present study concerns refugees and asylum seekers who have been referred to a Mobile Mental Health Unit (MMHU-Ch) in rural Greece on a Northeast Aegean Island during the refugee crisis in 2015. Our objective is the examination and recording of psychopathology characteristics’, the presentation of the therapeutic interventions provided, and the difficulties. The sample is composed of 418 requests made by refugees, asylum seekers, adults, and children. The clinical and demographic data have been gathered from the MMHU-Ch’s charts. The study is retrospective, descriptive with quantitative and categorical variables. The data has been analyzed with the utilization of SPSS. The dominant diagnosis in children involves anxiety disorders, developmental disorders, and PTSD. One noteworthy finding is the high percentage of suicide behavior regardless of psychiatric diagnosis, which should be further examined. As far as interventions are concerned, the conclusions which have arisen are the gradually stronger commitment of the referents, but also the high percentage of requests that dropped out. Further examination of the interventions and their efficiency is recommended as well as probing the features of psychopathology in the long term with a view to clarifying the patronizing and aggravating factors. Full article
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11 pages, 782 KiB  
Article
Validation of the Visual Cognitive Assessment Test (VCAT) for the Early Diagnosis of Cognitive Impairment in Multilingual Population in Malaysia
by Li Yun Ng, Chen Joo Chin, Monica Danial, Stephenie Ann Albart, Purnima Devi Suppiah, Kurubaran Ganasegeran, Wei Theng Tan, Hung Eun Hoo, Ewe Eow Teh, Gaaitheri Karupiah, Laavanya Vijaya Kumar, Wen Mei Choong, Hooi Ling Tan, Szer Lik Yeap, Al-Zilal Abdul Wahid, Khian Boon Ng, Mohammad Nabhan Khalil, Esther G. Ebenezer, Basanta Kumar Mohanty, Helvinder Kaur, Xin Hui Choo, Wee Kooi Cheah, Sreevali Muthuvadivelu, Prema Muninathan, Hoon Lang Teh, Chiann Ni Thiam, Jia Hui Loh, Alan Swee Hock Ch’ng, Nagaendran Kandiah and Irene Looiadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Psych 2022, 4(1), 38-48; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010003 - 1 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4389
Abstract
As Malaysia undergoes a demographic transformation of population aging, the prevalence of dementia is expected to rise, posing a major public health threat issue. Early screening to detect cognitive impairment is important to implement appropriate clinical interventions. The Visual Cognitive Assessment Test (VCAT) [...] Read more.
As Malaysia undergoes a demographic transformation of population aging, the prevalence of dementia is expected to rise, posing a major public health threat issue. Early screening to detect cognitive impairment is important to implement appropriate clinical interventions. The Visual Cognitive Assessment Test (VCAT) is a language-neutral cognitive assessment screening tool suitable for multilingual populations. This study was aimed to validate the VCAT screening tool for the detection of cognitive impairment amongst the population of Malaysia. A total of 184 participants were recruited, comprising 79 cognitively healthy participants (CHP), 46 mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients, and 59 mild dementia (Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia) patients from five hospitals between May 2018 and December 2019 to determine the usefulness of VCAT. Diagnostic performance was assessed using area under the curve (AUC), and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysies was performed to determine the recommended cutoff scores. ROC analyses for the VCAT was comparable with that of MoCA (Montreal Cognitive Assessment) in differentiating between CHP, MCI, and mild dementia (AD and VaD) participants. The findings of this study suggest the following optimal cutoff score for VCAT: Dementia 0–19, MCI 20–23, Normal 24–30. The mean ± SD time to complete the VCAT was 10.0 ± 2.75 min in the CHP group and 15.4 ± 4.52 min in the CI group. Results showed that 76.0% of subjects thought that the instructions in VCAT were similar or easier to understand compared with MoCA. This study showed that the VCAT is a valid and useful screening tool for patients with cognitive impairment in Malaysia and is feasible to be used in the clinical settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prominent Papers in Psych  2021–2023!)
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28 pages, 380 KiB  
Article
An Introduction to Factored Regression Models with Blimp
by Brian Tinnell Keller
Psych 2022, 4(1), 10-37; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010002 - 31 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3504
Abstract
In this paper, we provide an introduction to the factored regression framework. This modeling framework applies the rules of probability to break up or “factor” a complex joint distribution into a product of conditional regression models. Using this framework, we can easily specify [...] Read more.
In this paper, we provide an introduction to the factored regression framework. This modeling framework applies the rules of probability to break up or “factor” a complex joint distribution into a product of conditional regression models. Using this framework, we can easily specify the complex multivariate models that missing data modeling requires. The article provides a brief conceptual overview of factored regression and describes the functional notation used to conceptualize the models. Furthermore, we present a conceptual overview of how the models are estimated and imputations are obtained. Finally, we discuss how users can use the free software package, Blimp, to estimate the models in the context of a mediation example. Full article
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9 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
Dietary Habits and Obesity in Patients with Psychotic Disorders in Rural Areas in Northwestern Greece
by Maria Bakola, Thiresia Manthopoulou, Konstantinos Bonotis and Vaios Peritogiannis
Psych 2022, 4(1), 1-9; https://doi.org/10.3390/psych4010001 - 29 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2565
Abstract
People suffering from psychotic disorders display high rates of physical morbidity and mortality in comparison to the general population. The present study explores the relation between the dietary habits, the prevalence of obesity and the occurrence of physical morbidity in patients who suffer [...] Read more.
People suffering from psychotic disorders display high rates of physical morbidity and mortality in comparison to the general population. The present study explores the relation between the dietary habits, the prevalence of obesity and the occurrence of physical morbidity in patients who suffer from psychotic disorders in rural regions of northwest Greece. Two scales were applied to evaluate the quality of life (Quality of Life Questionnaire II, Moorehead–Ardelt) and the dietary habits (Dietary Instrument for Nutrition Education (DINE) Questionnaire) of these patients. The study sample used in this study consisted of 55 patients who suffered from a psychotic disorder. Most (75%) were male, with a mean age of 51.5 years and an average duration of disease of 25.1 years. Of these, 38.2% (21 patients) were obese with a BMI < 30 Kg/m2, 32.7% (16 patients) were overweight and 29.1% had a normal body weight. The majority of the sample, 80%, was treated with second-generation medications. With regards to their dietary habits, 94.5% (52/55) of the sample showed a low intake of fiber content, 67.3% (37/55) showed a high intake of saturated fats and 100% (55/55) a low intake of unsaturated fats. The rates of physical morbidity in the present sample were 21.8% with at least one disease and 14.5% with two diseases, whereas 5.5% met the criteria for metabolic syndrome (MS). The average BMI of the women was statistically significantly higher compared to the men. The majority of the sample (69.1%) exhibited acceptable levels of quality of life. No co-relations of quality of life with BMI were found. In addition, no co-relations of BMI with dietary habits were revealed. Full article
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