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Journal: Journal of counseling psychology


Discrimination has been shown to disproportionately burden transgender people; however, there has been a lack of clinical attention to the mental health sequelae of discrimination, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Additionally, few studies contextualize discrimination alongside other traumatic stressors in predicting PTSD symptomatology. The current study sought to fill these gaps. A community-based sample of 412 transgender adults (mean age 33, SD = 13; 63% female-to-male spectrum; 19% people of color; 88% sampled online) completed a cross-sectional self-report survey of everyday discrimination experiences and PTSD symptoms. Multivariable linear regression models examined the association between self-reported everyday discrimination experiences, number of attributed domains of discrimination, and PTSD symptoms, adjusting for prior trauma, sociodemographics, and psychosocial comorbidity. The mean number of discrimination attributions endorsed was 4.8 (SD = 2.4) and the 5 most frequently reported reasons for discrimination were: gender identity and/or expression (83%), masculine and feminine appearance (79%), sexual orientation (68%), sex (57%), and age (44%). Higher everyday discrimination scores (β = 0.25; 95% CL [0.21, 0.30]) and greater number of attributed reasons for discrimination experiences (β = 0.05; 95% CL [0.01, 0.10]) were independently associated with PTSD symptoms, even after adjusting for prior trauma experiences. Everyday discrimination experiences from multiple sources necessitate clinical consideration in treatment for PTSD symptoms in transgender people. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Gender, Psychological trauma, Gender identity, Sexual orientation, Transgender, PTSD


This study was conducted to examine under what situation (i.e., when individuals used more or less family support) and for whom (i.e., those with high or low self-esteem) perceived racial discrimination would or would not have a significant positive association with psychological distress. A total of 95 Asian American male college students completed an online survey. A hierarchical regression analysis indicated a significant 3-way interaction of family support, self-esteem, and perceived racial discrimination in predicting psychological distress after controlling for perceived general stress. A simple effect analysis was used to explore the nature of the interaction. When Asian American male college students used more family support to cope with racial discrimination, the association between perceived racial discrimination and psychological distress was not significant for those with high or low self-esteem. The result from the simple interaction indicated that, when more family support was used, the 2 slopes for high and low self-esteem were not significantly different from each other. Conversely, when they used less family support, the association between perceived racial discrimination and psychological distress was not significant for those with high self-esteem, but was significantly positive for those with low self-esteem. The result from the simple interaction indicated that, when less family support was used, the slopes for high and low self-esteem were significantly different. The result suggested that low use of family support may put these male students with low self-esteem at risk for psychological distress. Limitations, future research directions, and clinical implications were discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Regression analysis, Race, Self-esteem, All rights reserved, Asian American, Racism, American Psychological Association, Racial segregation


The relationship between treatment progress (as rated by both clients and therapists) and real relationship (also rated by both clients and therapists) was decomposed into between-therapist and within-therapist (between-client) effects and analyzed using the actor-partner interdependence model. We reanalyzed a subset of the data, 12 therapists and 32 clients, from Gelso et al.’s (2012) study of brief, theoretically diverse outpatient treatment. Consistent with and extending previous research, clients whose therapists provided higher average levels of client-perceived real relationship across the clients treated by a given therapist had better progress ratings from both themselves and their therapists. Within each therapist’s caseload, differences between clients in client- or therapist-rated real relationship were unrelated to either client- or therapist-rated outcome. Clients whose therapists provided higher average levels of therapist-perceived real relationship, across the clients treated by the therapist, had worse progress ratings from the therapists. The results provide additional evidence for the importance of between-therapist differences in therapeutic relationship qualities, both client and therapist rated. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Mental health, Therapy, Psychotherapy, All rights reserved, American Psychological Association, Copyright, The Real, Therapeutic relationship


This pilot study examined the effectiveness of a new emotion-focused individual counseling intervention designed to increase self-forgiveness for regretted actions committed against another person. Exactly 26 adult participants (21 completers) who indicated they had unresolved emotions about a past offense enrolled in the study and were randomly assigned to a delayed or immediate treatment condition. Controlling for screening scores, participants who received the treatment had significantly lower self-condemnation and significantly greater self-forgiveness regarding their offense at the end of treatment than did participants who spent time on a waiting list. Again controlling for screening scores, participants who received the treatment had significantly lower general psychological distress and significantly greater trait self-compassion at the end of treatment than did participants who spent time on a waiting list. All treatment gains were maintained at 2-month follow-up. In addition, increases in state self-forgiveness over the course of the intervention predicted lower levels of general psychological distress follow-up. Results of this study demonstrate the utility of this new intervention for helping clients resolve the negative residual effects of unforgiveness toward the self, both for offense-specific and general well-being outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Time, Psychology, Personality psychology, Effect, 2000s comedy films


A recent qualitative review by Wood, Froh, and Geraghty (2010) cast doubt on the efficacy of gratitude interventions, suggesting the need to carefully attend to the quality of comparison groups. Accordingly, in a series of meta-analyses, we evaluate the efficacy of gratitude interventions (ks = 4-18; Ns = 395-1,755) relative to a measurement-only control or an alternative-activity condition across 3 outcomes (i.e., gratitude, anxiety, psychological well-being). Gratitude interventions outperformed a measurement-only control on measures of psychological well-being (d = .31, 95% confidence interval [CI = .04, .58]; k = 5) but not gratitude (d = .20; 95% CI [-.04, .44]; k = 4). Gratitude interventions outperformed an alternative-activity condition on measures of gratitude (d = .46, 95% CI [.27, .64]; k = 15) and psychological well-being (d = .17, 95% CI [.09, .24]; k = 20) but not anxiety (d = .11, 95% CI [-.08, .31]; k = 5). More-detailed subdivision was possible on studies with outcomes assessing psychological well-being. Among these, gratitude interventions outperformed an activity-matched comparison (d = .14; 95% CI [.01, .27]; k = 18). Gratitude interventions performed as well as, but not better than, a psychologically active comparison (d = -.03, 95% CI [-.13, .07]; k = 9). On the basis of these findings, we summarize the current state of the literature and make suggestions for future applied research on gratitude. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Mental health, Educational psychology, Qualitative research, Statistical hypothesis testing, Positive psychology, The Little Things


Previous research on heterosexuals' beliefs about sexual orientation (SO) has been limited in that it has generally examined heterosexuals' beliefs from an essentialist perspective. The recently developed Sexual Orientation Beliefs Scale (SOBS; Arseneau, Grzanka, Miles, & Fassinger, 2013) assesses multifarious “lay beliefs” about SO from essentialist, social constructionist, and constructivist perspectives. This study used the SOBS to explore latent group-based patterns in endorsement of these beliefs in 2 samples of undergraduate students: a mixed-gender sample (n = 379) and an all-women sample (n = 266). While previous research has posited that essentialist beliefs about the innateness of SO predict positive attitudes toward sexual minorities, our research contributes to a growing body of scholarship that suggests that biological essentialism should be considered in the context of other beliefs. Using a person-centered analytic strategy, we found that that college students fell into distinct patterns of SO beliefs that are more different on beliefs about the homogeneity, discreteness, and informativeness of SO categories than on beliefs about the naturalness of SO. Individuals with higher levels of endorsement on all 4 SOBS subscales (a group we named multidimensional essentialism) and those who were highest in discreteness, homogeneity, and informativeness beliefs (i.e., high-DHI) reported higher levels of homonegativity when compared with those who were high only in naturalness beliefs. We discuss the implications of these findings for counseling and psychotherapy about SO, as well educational and social interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Sample, Higher education, Sexual orientation, Essentialism, Heterosexuality, Undergraduate education, Substance theory, Social constructionism


This study examined sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) by 1,612 individuals who are current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Data were obtained through a comprehensive online survey from both quantitative items and open-ended written responses. A minimum of 73% of men and 43% of women in this sample attempted sexual orientation change, usually through multiple methods and across many years (on average). Developmental factors associated with attempts at sexual orientation change included higher levels of early religious orthodoxy (for all) and less supportive families and communities (for men only). Among women, those who identified as lesbian and who reported higher Kinsey attraction scores were more likely to have sought change. Of the 9 different methods surveyed, private and religious change methods (compared with therapist-led or group-based efforts) were the most common, started earlier, exercised for longer periods, and reported to be the most damaging and least effective. When sexual orientation change was identified as a goal, reported effectiveness was lower for almost all of the methods. While some beneficial SOCE outcomes (such as acceptance of same-sex attractions and reduction in depression and anxiety) were reported, the overall results support the conclusion that sexual orientation is highly resistant to explicit attempts at change and that SOCE are overwhelmingly reported to be either ineffective or damaging by participants. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Sexual orientation, All rights reserved, Jesus, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Latter Day Saint movement, Sexual orientation change efforts, Latter Day Saint, National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality


Vocational interests predict educational and career choices, job performance, and career success (Rounds & Su, 2014). Although sex differences in vocational interests have long been observed (Thorndike, 1911), an appropriate overall measure has been lacking from the literature. Using a cross-sectional sample of United States residents aged 14 to 63 who completed the Strong Interest Inventory assessment between 2005 and 2014 ( = 1,283,110), I examined sex, age, ethnicity, and year effects on work related interest levels using both multivariate and univariate effect size estimates of individual dimensions (Holland’s Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional). Men scored higher on Realistic ( = -1.14), Investigative ( = -.32), Enterprising ( = -.22), and Conventional ( = -.23), while women scored higher on Artistic ( = .19) and Social ( = .38), mostly replicating previous univariate findings. Multivariate, overall sex differences were very large (disattenuated Mahalanobis' = 1.61; 27% overlap). Interest levels were slightly lower and overall sex differences larger in younger samples. Overall sex differences have narrowed slightly for 18-22 year-olds in more recent samples. Generally very small ethnicity effects included relatively higher Investigative and Enterprising scores for Asians, Indians, and Middle Easterners, lower Realistic scores for Blacks and Native Americans, higher Realistic, Artistic, and Social scores for Pacific Islanders, and lower Conventional scores for Whites. Using Prediger’s (1982) model, women were more interested in people ( = 1.01) and ideas ( = .18), while men were more interested in things and data. These results, consistent with previous reviews showing large sex differences and small year effects, suggest that large sex differences in work related interests will continue to be observed for decades. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: United States, Gender, Multivariate statistics, Sex, Race, White American, Native Americans in the United States, Strong Interest Inventory


The first 6 months of marriage are optimal for marriage enrichment interventions. The Hope-Focused Approach to couple enrichment was presented as two 9-hr interventions-(a) Handling Our Problems Effectively (HOPE), which emphasized communication and conflict resolution, and (b) Forgiveness and Reconciliation through Experiencing Empathy (FREE). HOPE and FREE were compared with repeated assessment controls. Couples were randomly assigned and were assessed at pretreatment (t1); 1 month posttreatment (t2) and at 3- (t3), 6- (t4), and 12-month (t5) follow-ups using self-reports. In addition to self-report measures, couples were assessed at t1, t2, and t5 using salivary cortisol, and behavioral coding of decision making. Of 179 couples who began the study, 145 cases were analyzed. Both FREE and HOPE produced lasting positive changes on self-reports. For cortisol reactivity, HOPE and FREE reduced reactivity at t2, but only HOPE at t5. For coded behaviors, control couples deteriorated; FREE and HOPE did not change. Enrichment training was effective regardless of the focus of the training. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Marriage, Same-sex marriage, All rights reserved, Family therapy, Hinduism, Alimony


High levels of empathy are associated with healthy relationships and prosocial behavior; in health professionals, high levels of empathy are associated with better therapeutic outcomes. To determine whether empathy can be taught, researchers have evaluated empathy training programs. After excluding 1 outlier study that showed a very large effect with few participants, the meta-analysis included 18 randomized controlled trials of empathy training with a total of 1,018 participants. The findings suggest that empathy training programs are effective overall, with a medium effect (g = 0.63), adjusted to 0.51 after trim-and-fill evaluation for estimated publication bias. Moderator analyses indicated that 4 factors were statistically significantly associated with higher effect sizes: (a) training health professionals and university students rather than other types of individuals, (b) compensating trainees for their participation, © using empathy measures that focus exclusively on assessing understanding the emotions of others, feeling those emotions, or commenting accurately on the emotions, and (d) using objective measures rather than self-report measures. Number of hours of training and time between preintervention assessment and postintervention assessment were not statistically significantly associated with effect size, with 6 months the longest time period for assessment. The findings indicate that (a) empathy training tends to be effective and (b) experimental research is warranted on the impact of different types of trainees, training conditions, and types of assessment. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Statistical significance, Effectiveness, Pharmaceutical industry, Efficacy, Effect size, Meta-analysis