As we bid farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015, many people find themselves making resolutions and setting goals. Often, these resolutions are extraordinarily challenging life changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or changing the way you interact with people. In an op-ed for Chron.com, the website of The Houston Chronicle, Dr. Gregory Ramey argues that resolutions often set people up for failure. About 90% of resolution setters don’t achieve their goals, which can compromise self-esteem and undermine their willingness to continue making positive changes. Ramey suggests that making smaller, more gradual changes may be a better strategy if you want to ensure that 2015 is better than 2014.
A Berkeley University study of more than 600 men and women has found that a person’s sense of self-worth, whether inflated or deflated, may be at the core of many mental health issues. Researchers found that a person’s perceived social status was a good predictor of their mental health, with those who experienced anxiety and depression reporting little pride and power. By contrast, people vulnerable to mania or narcissism often reported intense pride and a preoccupation with the pursuit of power.
In a study of 404 healthy adults, researchers evaluated how hugs and social support might influence health. They found that strong social support, including frequent hugs, could improve immunity, protecting people against infections.
Mass violence almost inevitably triggers discussions of mental health care, but those discussions tend to fade as the violence disappears from the headlines. A new book, The Virginia Tech Massacre: Strategies and Challenges for Improving Mental Health Policy on Campus and Beyond, explores potential policy changes in mental health that might reduce acts of mass violence. The book was edited by Robert Cohen, PhD, a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, and Aradhana Sood, MD, a psychiatry professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Sood sat on the Virginia Tech Review Panel that was tasked with investigating the 2007 massacre.
A study of 243 adults born into poverty and followed until the age of 32 has found that experiences during the first three years can strongly affect life outcomes. Researchers found that children whose parents offered sensitive, responsive care prior to the age of 3 had better relationships, higher academic achievement, and better social skills.
Parents commonly reward their children with toys and other trinkets, but a new study suggests this strategy could backfire. Researchers found that children who received many material rewards were more likely to grow into materialistic adults. While occasionally buying things for children proved unproblematic, researchers highlighted the need to encourage gratitude.
Analyzing data submitted to the UK’s The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, researchers found that less than half of prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs are written for the conditions those drugs are intended to treat. Elderly patients were twice as likely to receive these drugs compared to middle-aged patients. Anti-psychotics can have serious side effects, raising red flags about the safety of prescribing them for off-label uses.
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