17
May 20

Internet addiction

When Henry Ford came out with the Model T in 1908, it eventually changed life as that generation knew it. When television became mainstream in the 1950s, the American world was forever altered. When the internet became a household standard in the late 90s-early 00s, everything about the way we do things changed—but when the first iPhone was released in 2007, it was more than just a game changer. Sure it changed the way we talk (we don’t, we text), the way we walk (with our eyes on our phones), the way we have dinner (with our phones laid out on the table)—but it did more than that, it completely changed our relationships. Nearly 10% of Americans have some form of internet addiction (Cash et al 2012) and this has many negative implications for forming and maintaining a happy relationship.

Over half of people cannot go an hour without checking their phone (Harris Research 2012). That’s rather problematic for going to a movie, going out to dinner, engaging in a long conversation—essentially, doing anything that lasts any length of time—with your partner, is it not? There are also larger implications of smartphone addiction, according to a 2012 Pew Internet study, which suggests that this addiction can lead to shorter attention spans, poorer communication skills, greater need for instant gratification, and loss of patience. All of these things affect the way we conduct relationships. With a shorter and shorter attention span, how can we listen to our partners? With poorer communication skills, how can we say what we mean? If we need instant gratification, can we see a long-term relationship through? A study by Konrath et al in 2011 finds that the rising generation is the least empathic yet—and there surely is a technological tie in there as well.

But in terms of how technology is specifically affecting relationships, a study by Przybylski & Weinstein in 2012 revealed that when one partner pulled out their phone or had their phone out during conversation, the other partner deemed them less trustworthy, and as the lesson in module two discusses, high levels of trust are essential to moving from an exchange to a communal relationship. When the phones were out, the other partners were also less likely to engage in important conversation, closeness levels decreased, and perhaps most interestingly, perceived empathy levels went down. Empathy is very important to relationships and altruistic behavior, as discussed in module five. Phone use also leaves partners feeling alone and unimportant, which can as Harris Research revealed in their Mobile Mindset study in 2012.

In fact, people flat out say it—a Pew Research study in 2014 found that 25% of couples reported that their partner was often distracted by their phone/social media while they were spending time together, and 20% of couples reported that technology has had a significantly negative impact on their relationship. This could be due to feeling unimportant since the person is choosing to use their phone over pay attention to their partner, lacking trust because the partner does not know who the person is talking to or what they are doing on their device, or feeling alone, since the partner is not actually engaging with them. This is even more true for people ages 18-29, where 42% of people reported that their significant other was often distracted by their phone in some way, a number likely to rise since younger generations are more phone-dependent. A study by Robert Clayton in 2014 showed that there was a significant relationship between active Twitter usage and negative relationship outcomes (break ups, divorce), likely because of these reported feelings and related findings.

Social media usage can also lead to troubling relationship behavior, a long-term study by Farrugia in 2013 suggests. In this study, active to highly active Facebook use had a positive correlation with surveillance behavior and jealousy, and a negative correlation with relationship satisfaction and individualized trust. Surveillance behavior is extremely unhealthy and jealousy also hinders the relationship. As module two explains, satisfaction levels in long-term relationships already decline over time, so adding something else that decreases relationship satisfaction and reduces trust levels can only have a negative effect. Trust is also necessary to move from an exchange-based relationship to a communal relationship, which is an important step that any long term relationship takes.

That said, it does not have to be this way. Smartphones and the technology that makes them work are incredible inventions that help a lot of people and have benefitted the world in many ways. One of the main problems right now is that these devices are still relatively new, they have really only been in the world less than a decade and when you consider how new things like Facebook and social networking and related applications really are, it makes sense that people have not quite yet figured out how to reign them in and master them to make them work for us instead of us developing addictive behaviors towards them. In time, once multiple generations have been using this technology for many years, they will likely have taught their children to manage their usage much better than we have taught ours.

Anderson, J.Q., & Rainie, L (2012). Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/02/29/main-findings-teens-technology-and-human-potential-in-2020/ on February 27, 2015.

Cash, H., Rae, C. D., Steel, A. H., & Winkler, A. (2012). Internet Addiction: A Brief Summary of Research and Practice. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 8(4), 292–298. Retrieved February 25, 2015.

Clayton, R.B. (2014). The third wheel: the impact of Twitter use on relationship infidelity and divorce. Cyberpsychology, Social Media, and Networking, 4(2), 121-123. Retrieved February 26, 2015.

Farrugia, R.C. (2013). Facebook and Relationships: A Study of How Social Media Use is Affecting Long-Term Relationships. Rochester Institute of Technology. Retrieved February 25, 2015.

Harris Interactive Research (2012). Mobile Mindset Study. Lookout. Retrieved February 27, 2015.

Lenhart, A. & Duggan, M. (2014). Couples, the Internet, and Social Media. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/02/20/couples-the-internet-and-social-media-2/ on February 26, 2015.

 

Przybylski, A. K., & Weinstein, N. (2013). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30(3), 237-246.


17
May 20

Gottman Couples Therapy

The Gottman method was developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, beginning in the 1980s. Highlighting the value of marital friendship, shared fondness and admiration, and managing conflict, the Gottman approach focuses on giving couples the tools they need to repair any negative interactions and begin building and maintaining a Sound Relationship House. Through a large amount of research, albeit much of it conducted in their own “love lab” at the Gottman Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, the Gottman method has been established as a valuable, successful, and distinct model of couples therapy based on empirical data of real couples observed repeatedly in real time.

The overall foundation of all Gottman interventions is the Sound Relationship House. According to Gottman, the foundation of any healthy relationship is marital friendship. The friendship between the couple is the foundation of the house—essentially, something the couple can always fall back on. Building and strengthening the marital friendship is actually an intervention for the Gottman method because of the change it can generate and the way it affects the relationship. Just above that layer of the house is building what Gottman calls “love maps”—in other words, a map of each partner’s world. This is in depth knowledge about each other gives insight as to how each one functions, the way they operate, what matters to them, what their priorities are, all the way down to their favorite things (Gottman, 1999). This helps the couple understand each other on a deeper level and be more considerate and aware of the person they are. The following level of the house is sharing fondness and admiration for each other—if this is legitimately the case, then hopefully this will be a default consideration and way of operating for the couple. Turning towards instead of away is the next layer—a major part of the Sound Relationship House. Even in Gottman’s “Love Lab,” this is a significant thing that he looks for because if one or both partners consistently turn away from each other instead of turning towards each other in any given scenario, that creates additional relationship distance and spells trouble for how the couple connects. The next level of the house is the positive perspective—this will be further discussed later on, but is basically the couple having a consistently solidly positive view of each other and the relationship and reflecting that in their interactions.

The following level of the house holds a major Gottman theory of change and intervention within it, and this is managing conflict. Managing conflict, according to Gottman, involves accepting influence from each other, having dialogue about the problems, and practicing self-soothing. The style in which each approaches and engages their conflicts must be analyzed, although research has shown that contrary to the assumptions of the Gottman method, not all conflict styles are created equal (Busby & Holman, 2009). Rejection of influence from one’s partner often causes tension and strife, and in order to manage (and even resolve) conflict, accepting of some influence is necessary. The kind of dialogue that is had (and the fact that it is being had) also matters in the Gottman model—especially at the onset of the discussion. The way the conversation opens has everything to do with the path that it goes down. According to the Gottman model, a harsh start up to conversation is usually followed by one of the four horsemen and rarely leads to any positive dialogue, rather, they incite defensive behavior in both partners. Soft startups indicate a positive perspective and sensitivity towards the other partner and are far more successful in having good dialogue about problems. These startups are often the difference, in the Gottman perspective, between talking about feelings related to a problem, and casting blame at a partner. Self-soothing is always a valuable skill as well. If a partner cannot calm themselves down after an argument, a bad day, or a negative interaction, they are prone to stack one on top of the other and create further negative interactions. That said, research shows that there are other factors that can play into conflict along with Gottman’s perspective, such as Bowen’s differentiation/individuation concepts (Gubbins, Perosa, & Bartle-Haring, 2010).

The next levels are similar to each other, the first being making life dreams come true, and the final, or the “attic” per se, being creating shared meaning, and often these go hand in hand. This has much to do with another Gottman model intervention called dreams within conflict.

Busby, D. M., & Holman, T. B. (2009). Perceived match or mismatch on the Gottman conflict styles: Associations with relationship outcome variables. Family Process, 48(4), 531-545. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2009.01300.x

David, P. (2015). Wedding the Gottman and Johnson Approaches into an Integrated Model of Couple Therapy. The Family Journal, 23(4), 336-345.

Driver, J. L., & Gottman, J. M. (2004). Daily Marital Interactions and Positive Affect During Marital Conflict Among Newlywed Couples. Family Process, 43(3), 301-314. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2004.00024.x

Gottman, J. M. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientifically-based marital therapy. New York: W.W. Norton.

Gubbins, C. A., Perosa, L. M., & Bartle-Haring, S. (2010). Relationships between married couples’ self-differentiation/individuation and Gottman’s model of marital interactions. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 32(4), 383-395. doi:10.1007/s10591-010-9132-4


17
May 20

Impact of Pets on Mental Health

Animals have undergone a dramatic transformation in roles in the past few centuries. Whereas animals used to serve as mere assistants in survival and aids to physical labor, they have now edged their noses into people’s homes and beds. Undoubtedly, pets do affect certain aspects of human health, such as the likelihood of developing heart disease (Patronek & Glickman 1993), as well as depression and psychological wellbeing (Antonacopoulos & Pychyl 2008). But would it be accurate to say that pet owners have better overall wellbeing, physically and psychologically, than non-owners?

The research indicating that pets are beneficial to one’s physical health is plentiful. Heart disease, the number one killer of humans in the United States, is often caused by a mix of physical and psychosocial factors, including hypertension, high anxiety, social isolation, and elevated plasma cholesterol levels. In a landmark study by Patronek and Glickman in 1993, they hypothesized that pets would lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety, and decrease feelings of social isolation, along with a host of other positive effects, thereby leading to a lesser risk for coronary heart disease for pet owners compared to non-owners. Not only did pet owners have a lesser risk, but even for those that had heart attacks, the mortality rate of pet owners was significantly lower, and the survival rate past the one year mark was significantly higher. Numerous studies have also shown that pets do indeed significantly reduce the risk of hypertension. One study by Friedmann, Thomas, Son, Chapa, & McCune (2013) measured the systolic and diastolic blood pressures of various dog owners at home every twenty minutes of their waking hours and had them keep a diary of who was in the room and what they were doing for each time their reading was taken. With everything taken into account, both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly lower when the participant’s dog was in the room with them. The same study also tested cat owners, and the diastolic blood pressure of the cat owners was significantly lower when their cat was present in the room with them. Dog owners have also been known to have significantly fewer minor ailments such as colds and headaches than they had prior to ownership (Wells 2009).

In terms of physical activity, adults with dogs take 25% more steps per day than adults without dogs, and children with dogs are significantly more active than children without them (Owen et al. 2010). In a study by Rebecca Utz (2014), she established through the use of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study that dog and cat owners were less likely to be obese and more likely to report excellent health. It reasons to say that this could be in part to the fact that dog and cat owners reported significantly higher participation in all types of exercise behaviors; they were likely to walk at least a mile five times a week, and participated significantly more in bicycling, weight lifting, and swimming. Another study found that dog owners got more exercise, were fitter, and were seen less often by doctors than non-owners (Heady, Na, & Zheng, 2008). These results were significant among all demographics, but particularly among middle aged women, with the dog owning factor being the most significant predictor of physical health. This same study also got significant results in the sleep departments—dog owners had more nights of uninterrupted, high quality sleep than non-owners, which could lead to other effects such as less depression and better psychological condition, which are known to be associated with quality of sleep.

Psychologically, pets have also proved to benefit their owners. There are particular benefits for those in one person households. One study in Switzerland concluded that those who lived in one person households and owned cats were less likely to report being in a bad mood than those who lived alone without a cat (Antonacopoulos & Pychyl 2010). In the same report, studies also showed that female university students and female seniors were less likely to report being lonely if they had a pet than if they did not. An additional study saw similar benefits, with a lessening in depression and feelings of loneliness resulting from simple benefits of having animals, such as their presence in the room, and their making the human feel needed (Wells 2011). Other studies have shown that pets improve psychological wellbeing by increasing social interactions between people, such as getting their dogs together for a “play date,” and going to dog parks and interacting with other owners, as well as the positive social effects that come from positive comments and attention that come from owning a pet such as a dog or cat that people are often drawn to (Wells 2009). Pets have also been shown to alleviate highly stressful life occurrences such as death in the family or divorce, and can reduce feelings of anxiousness, depression, and isolation (Wells 2009). One study even showed that all these benefits were not even isolated to the primary caretaker—they extend to everyone living in the house with the pet (Lewis, Krägeloh, & Shepherd, 2009). These are some great studies showing impact that pets have on wellbeing.

Antonacopoulos, N., & Pychyl, T. A. (2010). An examination of the potential role of pet ownership, human social support and pet attachment in the psychological health of individuals living alone. Anthrozoös, 23(1), 37-54. doi: 10.2752/175303710X12627079939143

Friedmann, E., Thomas, S. A., Son, H., Chapa, D., & McCune, S. (2013). Pet’s presence and owner’s  blood pressures during the daily lives of pet owners with pre- to mild hypertension. Anthrozoös, 26(4), 535-550. doi:10.2752/175303713X13795775536138

Heady, B., Na, F., & Zheng, R. (2008). Pet dogs benefit owners’ health: A “natural” experiment in China. Social Indicators Research, 87(3), 481-493. doi:10.1007/s11205-007-9142-2

Lewis, A., Krägeloh, C. U., & Shepherd, D. (2009). Pet ownership, attachment, and health-related quality of life in New Zealand. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 5(1), 96-101.

McConnell, A. R., Brown, C. M., Shoda, T. M., Stayton, L. E., & Martin, C. E. (2011). Friends with benefits: On the positive consequences of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(6), 1239-1252. doi:10.1037/a0024506

Owen, C. G., Nightingale, C. M., Rudnicka, A., Ekelund, U., McMinn, A, van Sluijs, E, et al. (2010). Family dog ownership and levels of physical activity in childhood: Findings from the Child Heart and Health Study in England. American Journal of Public Health, 100(9), 1669-1671. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.188193

Patronek, G.J., & Glickman, L. T. (1993). Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease. Medical Hypotheses, 40(4), 245-249. doi:10.1016/0306-9877(93)90049-V

Utz, R. (2014). Walking the dog: The effect of pet ownership on human health and health  behaviors. Social Indicators Research, 116(2), 327-339. doi:10.1007/s11205-013-0299-6


15
May 20

Mental Health and Criminal Justice

Mental health training should be a requirement for criminal justice professionals (cops, firefighters, EMS, guards, troopers, even judges/magistrates), and mental health professionals should be essential staff in every jail and prison. There are so, so many issues that arise both out in the community and within correctional facilities that truly would benefit from a trained mental health clinician, and this is something that can be funded by the state. In addition, most staff members should have basic mental health training to prevent a wide variety of unnecessary issues.

This is an important issue for many reasons. Many of the people who get booked into jails everyday are citizens with mental health issues. It is essential that those people have proper care while in the custody of whatever justice facility they are in, and it would make communication issues much less frequent, as well as cut down on outbursts and potentially dangerous situations for both the citizen and the professional. Additionally, criminal justice workers often encounter critical situations in which someone with a mental health issue may be presenting as a danger to themselves or others. It would be incredibly beneficial for all criminal justice professionals to know how to handle these situations safely.

My ultimate argument is that mandatory mental health training for all criminal justice professionals would greatly benefit many different aspects of the field. Many different situations that occur in the criminal justice field would benefit from having mental health professionals available for intervention as well as well trained staff for day to day interactions. A study was done in 2019 by R. Shively discussing the importance of mental health training in the corrections field, and another study was done the same year discussing the benefits of having mental health staff in crisis situations that occurred during ride alongs (Shively 2019, White & Weisburd 2019).

Think of all the different things that would be affected just by staff members having basic mental health training. They could reduce altercations, intervene in high risk situations, and be of assistance in crises.

References

Shively, R. (2019). The Importance of Staff Training in Mental Health. Correctional Health         Care Report20(3), 37–43. Retrieved from             http://search.ebscohost.com.postu.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?  direct=true&db=i3h&AN=135305905&site=ehost-live&scope=site

White, C., & Weisburd, D. (2019). A Co-Responder Model for Policing Mental Health Problems at Crime Hot Spots: Findings from a Pilot Project. Policing: A Journal of Policy and  Practice, 12(2), 194-209


15
May 20

Role Identities in the Stanford Prison Experiment

Role identities are concepts of the self in different roles. Each participant in the study took on a role identity for their assigned position, whether it was guard or prisoner, that role was taken on and lived out to the fullest. The participants that took place in the study were all of a similar age in a university degree program, predominantly white, all male, and all middle class. Demographics always affect dynamics so of course they affected that as well as the results. Any human is susceptible to altered identity and behavior based on assigned roles, but it is unbelievable to think that a major shift in demographics would not impact the results in some way. For instance, including women might behave differently than the men did. People of different religions might have chosen different actions. People from a different cultural background may respond differently. There are all kinds of ways things could be affected.

There was a major resocialization for the participants of the Stanford Prison Experiment. The prisoners were stripped, searched, deloused, given a smock, a new number to be known by instead of a name, and put through an entire process to help “resocialize” them as prisoners. Guards were given no training but given a uniform, a whistle, and a billy club. Every participant was resocialized into their role by removing every ounce of their previous identity possible and resocialized physically and mentally into their new role through dress, name (or lack of), schedule, routine, and rules. The guards and prisoners adapted. Some adapted more poorly than others, to the point of dropping out of the study. The participants resocialized in ways some never would have imagined and embodied their new roles quite quickly.

I think the Stanford Prison Experiment simulates a real-world experience very well. Particularly having worked in jails, I have seen what inmates go through and some unfortunate actions from guards. People definitely can and do respond to role identity and the power of those roles can be very strong. It tells us that people can be drastically affected by the power and “duty” given to them. There are limitations as this was a very small number of people and a very limited amount of time.

There were many ethical standards discussed, and many violated. The Stanford Prison Experiment lacked fully informed consent by participants, they did not consent to being “arrested” at their homes, the participants, particularly the prisoners, were not protected from psychological harm, and experienced great humiliation and distress. From a research perspective, to improve ethical standards it could have included complete consent and discussed the possibilities even though they could not have predicted exactly what would happen. They also could have given the guards some guidelines to some extent as to what they could and could not do, although they would not have gained all the information they did.

I agree with the Lucifer effect interpretation. There are few other interpretations that disagree with this stance and the Lucifer effect explains why people who were “normal” before coming into the Stanford Prison Experiment ended up doing such unseemly things to one another. While the Stanford Prison Experiment did shed light on the human ability to change roles and commit acts against their fellow man particularly in situations of blind submission to authority, there are still questions to be answered regarding individuals, relationships, and systems in relation to the Lucifer effect.

References

DeLamater, John D., and Meyers, Daniel J., and Collett, Jessica. (2014). Social Psychology, 8th edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ISBN-13: 9780813349503

Zimbardo, P. G. (2017). On the ethics of intervention in human psychological research: With special reference to the Stanford prison experiment. Cognition,().

Zimbardo, P. G., Haney, C., Banks, W. C., & Jaffe, D. (1971). Stanford prison experiment. Zimbardo, Incorporated.


26
Apr 20

Unethical Activism

              Unethical Activism

Written By: Judy Laut

              Several economists have alluded that saving lives is not as important as saving the economy. One of those economists, Sean Snaith, has stated “…there are eight billion people in the world, so the number of deaths from the [Corona] virus, as bad as it has been, does not justify devastating the economy…” (Hacket, 2020) Interestingly enough, the economist making these ethically-debatable claims has also stated that there needs to be a cost-benefit analysis to support his accusations (which hasn’t been done yet). Why would Sean Snaith, Ph.D., the director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting and a nationally recognized economist in the field of business and economic forecasting, be willing to make such claims without taking the necessary steps to support his theory? Perhaps Dr. Snaith is counting his chickens before they hatch, so to say. He is pushing for social change based on his beliefs without having all of the information that he himself describes as necessary. I think it’s a fair assessment that Dr. Snaith as well as those economists that share his beliefs and have come to similar conclusions are participating in activist research, at least certain aspects of it.

“Activist research goes beyond participatory research in that the researcher is not only vested in the outcome of the research, but may be pushing a certain value set through their research.” (Nelson) Dr. Snaith has already shown that he has a bias towards believing that lost lives do not justify the devastation of the economy. This bias is evident as Dr. Snaith has already publicly announced his findings and beliefs without completing his research. Snaith is directly contradicting the findings of health experts who say that “reopening commerce too soon could lead to a resurgence in cases.” (Hacket, 2020) The biases between the health experts and economists can be seen in their contradicting research findings and beliefs on how society should proceed. The health experts are concerned about health and the economists are concerned about the economy and the research from both groups support their corresponding values and biases towards certain outcomes. The contradicting research findings raises major ethical concerns specifically when those findings are publicized without completing all research and have the potential of contributing to the loss of life.

It may not have directly been Dr. Snaith who contributed to the many protests that have been seen, specifically in Madison, Wisconsin, but there is no doubt that his value set and the value set of economists with similar findings have most definitely contributed. Thousands of people protested and rallied the shelter in place order, all in close proximity and all without face masks. The protesters held similar beliefs as Snaith and wielded “… signs that said “All Workers Are Essential” and “Death … is preferable to communism.”( Beck & Glauber, 2020) Ironically, “The same day as the protest, Wisconsin saw its highest daily increase in confirmed positive cases of the virus – 304.” (Beck & Glauber, 2020)

I find Dr. Snaith’s actions deplorable and completely unethical regardless of his findings. At no point should the loss of life be deemed less important than a declining economy. I think that scientists, health experts, economists, psychologists, and researchers in all areas owe it to society and their field of study to not only complete all necessary steps to confirm or deny their hypothesis when conducting research but to also refrain from publicly publishing their findings that are not peer-reviewed and that may contribute to the loss of life and the spread of an uncontrollable, untreatable virus.

 

 

References

Beck, M., & Glauber, B. (2020, April 24). Thousands gather at Wisconsin state

Capitol to protest coronavirus restrictions. Retrieved April 26, 2020, from

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/04/24/coronavirus-

wisconsin-protest-draws-thousands-state-capitol/3023629001/

Hackett, D. (2020, April 24). Is an Economic Shutdown Worse Than COVID-19?

A State Economist Weighs In. Retrieved April 26, 2020, from

https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/coronavirus/2020/04/opening-up-the-

economy

Nelson, A. (N.D.) Lesson 13: Social Change/ Participatory Research – Lesson

Overview [Notes]. Retrieved from

https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2040175/modules/items/28379818


20
Apr 20

Online learning is a lot harder than you think.

“How hard could going to school online really be?”

That is a question I am asked more times than I can count. It is a lot harder than a lot of people think. In some of my classes, there is hardly any material posted by the instructor; it was just “read this chapter in your textbook and take this quiz” It was almost as if I was trying to teach myself everything that I needed to know.

For me, math is my weakness, so taking a math class all online seemed like a death sentence for me. Being a psychology major, we have to take a statistic class, I was TERRIFIED! There was no way I was going to pass. When I got to Stat 200, I would spend hours with a tutor; I would meet with my professor through zoom, email, and phone communication. It was a lot harder than when I took a math class in high school and just had to raise my hand to get help.

Online learning, you don’t get that personal communication between your teacher and your peers. You are left physically alone, but virtually you have everything you need at your fingers tips. Sometimes you just need to look for it. If I were to answer the “how hard could it be?” question accurately, I would have to say, “It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do!”


20
Apr 20

New age learning

New-age learning is something I never thought I would be involved with. When I first attended college everything was done at a brick and mortar with face to face interaction with our professors. I had one professor who had a favorite student and they seemed to always be nicer to them, willing to answer the questions they would ask. The third-grade teacher we learned about who wanted to teach her class how stereotyping was interesting. It reminded me of a lesson Mr. Smith (name changed) did in high school. He was my high school history teacher and we were learning about World War II.

In this lesson, he had everyone who had brown hair and brown eyes stand up and move to the back of the classroom. Anyone who had any hair color other than blond hair and blue eyes was told to also join those in the back of the classroom. After he had us separated he told those of us left sitting to look around the room. My natural hair color is blond and I have blue eyes. There was me and two other people left sitting. He told us we would have been the only ones to survive if Hitler were to still be alive. This may seem extreme and probably not something you would expect to learn about in high school but it helped drive home the point of discrimination.

It was a lesson that still sticks with me 14 years later. I will never forget him or that lesson, I will never forget that simply because someone looks different than me they are discriminated against. I think that was a defining moment for me, even if I didn’t know it back then. As an adult, I speak out against discrimination, I teach my kids that you treat everyone the same regardless of what they look like, who they love, or what gender they are.

 


20
Apr 20

Coping and Pain

My mother once told me that she is a passive-aggressive type of person, explaining that she seems to bottle everything up inside until those emotions burst from inside, usually at the person causing the distress. My father seems to be the same way, wearing a smile on his face as issues become more frequent and complex until the only response left is a frown. My brother, I think, tries to keep his negativity in check around his friends until he can find someone to vent his frustrations to. Even I seem to have inherited the same habit, where I worry about school, work, home, family, the present, the future, and everything in between. Plans unravel, situations become more dire, and all one can do is smile and press on as things grow more out of control. When searching for inspiration for this blog post, though, I started to realize that maybe, similar to learning more about pessimism, this form of coping with negativity might not be the healthiest to enact.

Though I couldn’t find information related to it in the book or modules for this course, an article by Ana Masedo and M. Rosa Esteve a concept called “Wegner’s Theory of Ironic Processes”, and how theory has been used to study pain tolerance. Masedo and Esteve mention how “Research suggests that suppression contributes to a more distressing pain experience”, and their experiment seemed to involve putting groups representing the variables of repression, acceptance, and spontaneous coping, and exposing them to “a cold presser procedure.” The results of Masedo and Esteve’s experiment, then, indicate that “The acceptance group showed pain and distress immersion ratings that were significantly lower than in the other two groups”.

Another study focused on suppression and acceptance was conducted by Laura Campbell-Sills, David Barlow, Timothy Brown, and Stefan Hofmann. In their study, participants with anxiety and mood disorders were assigned to two groups where they seemed to learn either emotion suppression or emotion acceptance before proceeding to watch an emotional movie. From this study and their measurements, Campbell-Sills et al. found that “Although both groups reported similar levels of subjective distress during the film, the acceptance group displayed less negative affect during the post-film recovery period. Furthermore, the suppression group showed increased heart rate, and the acceptance group decreased heart rate in response to the film.” While Masedo and Esteve showed how acceptance can affect ones reaction to physical pain, Campbell-Sills et al. seem to demonstrate how it can also have an effect on emotional distress, as well.

Though these articles’ abstracts don’t really provide much explanation about acceptance and suppression and how these concepts could relate to pain, their results make me wonder how that data can relate to the way my family seems to handle stress. If repression of our negative emotions isn’t effective in eliminating physical and emotional pain experienced momentarily in an experiment, then how effective is it to really cope like this in a more realistic environment? How many people engage in repression, possibly without even realizing it, when there could be other ways to handle whatever pain they feel?

 

References:

Campbell-Sills, L., Barlow, D. H., Brown, T. A., & Hofmann, S. G. (2005, November 21). Effects of suppression and acceptance on emotional responses of individuals with anxiety and mood disorders. Retrieved April 19, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005796705002068

Masedo, A. I., & Esteve, M. R. (2006, March 29). Effects of suppression, acceptance and spontaneous coping on pain tolerance, pain intensity and distress. Retrieved April 19, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0005796706000489


18
Apr 20

Pay attention to your loved one- SUICIDE might be closer than you think!

Suicide prevention line

I personally have been impacted by this in my own family.  My daughter became deeply depressed in the summer of 2018.  She was just turned 26, a bubbly young adult with a heart of gold.  She loved dancing, animals, had a joyous adventurous vibe wanting to experience the world as she saw it.  She had loved the arts and New York.  She had a love of writing poetry and reading.

She seemed to deteriorate and change in her behaviors, which started with her mood swings, and her patterns and actions.  She seemed very snippy and started to lose interest in her favorite things.  I even seen a mean side to her. Now, I had experience dealing with mental health professionals with her diagnoses, but this was different.  I tried to address the concerns I was noticing, but it was worse.  She even began rejecting my grandson, her nephew who she loved dearly since his birth in December 2017.  She lost concern and started tearing up her poetry, throwing out her books she treasured, and videos and keepsakes she cherished.  She was refusing a lot.  I did my own outreach attempt, which helped but barely, and ended up going to her medication appointment.

It was a blessing that she was receptive to the new psychologist who was kind, and very thorough as she usually doesn’t like opening up.  That was a blessing.  He recommended some things like a day program but she rejected that and at that time, she didn’t get hospitalized but was being watched by me, etc.

She had to work through finding out what the issues were and come to find out, one of her medicines she had been on can create these issues later on. That was one problem.  She later agreed to talking to a therapist and made strides there and stopped again in 2019 after making progress.

That was the scariest time for me.  I had tools, but it almost wasn’t enough how bad it was.  So just wanted to share in case anyone may need and to call the prevention line, and take your friend/loved one to crisis in your area if possible.  Save a life! It can happen to the best of us, unexpectedly, or by other means that may have ignited it.

This song is an example of how my daughter felt.  Please pay attention and do all you can.  My daughter actually heard me playing this as I posted this and said that is exactly a song from that time and how she felt.  She clearly remembers and said, “You remember mom.”  Sobering.

“More Americans teens and young adults appear to be struggling with mental health issues.”  (CBSNEWS)

Retrieved from CBSNEWS:  Health experts also recommend that everyone also familiarize themselves with the warning signs of suicide, which may include:

  • A person thinking about or threatening suicide or seeking a way to kill themselves
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Feelings of purposelessness, anxiety, being trapped, or hopeless
  • Social isolation and withdrawing from people and activities
  • Expressing unusual anger, recklessness, or mood change

“If you believe a loved is at risk of suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help from a doctor or the nearest hospital emergency department or dial 911. It’s important to remove access to firearms, medications, or any other potential tools they might use to harm themselves.” (CBSNEWS)

“For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.”  (CBSNEWS)

Find your local crisis invention number and keep it available.  Pay attention to all of the signs.

References:

CBSNEWS.  Welch, Ashley.  “Depression, anxiety, suicide increase in teens and young adults, study finds.”  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/suicide-depression-anxiety-mental-health-issues-increase-teens-young-adults/.

YouTube. Vevo.  Logic.  “1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid”  Aug. 17, 2017.  Accessed April 18, 2020.


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