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Journal: The American journal of orthopsychiatry


Paid sick leave is increasingly identified as a social justice issue having important implications for health and wellness; however, little is known about its relationship to mental health. Data from the 2015 cross section of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS; 2015) were used to examine the relationship between paid sick leave and psychological distress during the last 30 days among N = 17,897 working United States adults. The 6-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), a valid and reliable instrument for assessing psychological distress in population based samples, was used to measure the outcome variable of interest. The K6 score was computed from 6 questions and was regressed on paid sick leave status, after controlling for variables known to be related to psychological distress. Results indicated that workers who lack paid sick leave benefits report a statistically significant higher level of psychological distress, and are 1.45 times more likely to report their distress symptoms interfere a lot with their life or activities compared with workers with paid sick leave. This research adds to a body of work analyzing institutional structures and social determinants of health. Findings support the potential value of paid sick leave as an intervention to promote behavioral health. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Statistics, Sociology, Population health, Social justice


This qualitative study explored social-cultural factors that shape treatment seeking behaviors among depressed rural, low-income women in Appalachia-a region with high rates of depression and a shortage of mental health services. Recent research shows that increasingly rural women are receiving some form of treatment and identifying their symptoms as depression. Using purposive sampling, investigators recruited 28 depressed low-income women living in Appalachian Kentucky and conducted semistructured interviews on participants' perceptions of depression and treatment seeking. Even in this sample of women with diverse treatment behaviors (half reported current treatment), participants expressed ambivalence about treatment and its potential to promote recovery. Participants stressed that poor treatment quality-not merely access-limited their engagement in treatment and at times reinforced their depression. While women acknowledged the stigma of depression, they indicated that their resistance to seek help for their depression was influenced by the expectation of women’s self-reliance in the rural setting and the gendered taboo against negative thinking. Ambivalence and stigma led women to try to cope independently, resulting in further isolation. This study’s findings reiterate the need for improved quality and increased availability of depression treatment in rural areas. In addition, culturally appropriate depression interventions must acknowledge rural cultural values of self-reliance and barriers to obtaining social support that lead many women to endure depression in isolation. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Mental health, Sociology, Symptoms, Illness, Culture, Mind, Rural


The objective of this article is to analyze the relationship between suffering from stressful life events (SLE) and subsequent suicidal behavior among women in a homeless situation, examining the differences in the number and characteristics of SLE experienced by attempters and nonattempters. The study was carried out based on the data obtained from a sample of women living homeless in Madrid (Spain; n = 138). The information was gathered using a structured interview. The results show that 46% of these women living homeless in Madrid had attempted suicide, and 32% of them had done so for the first time when they were homeless. We observed a high level of SLE among the women in a homeless situation, with a substantial increase in the number and severity of the stressors suffered by the interviewees who had attempted suicide, both during their childhood and adolescence and in their later lives. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2018 APA, all rights reserved).


This article tests a hypothesized model of overall happiness among homeless people in Spain. The research was conducted based on a representative sample of homeless people in Madrid (n = 235), all adults, who had spent the night before the interview in a shelter for homeless people, on the street or in other places not initially designed for sleeping, or who were in supervised accommodation for homeless people at the time of the interview. Information was gathered using a structured interview. The results obtained show that around half of the homeless people in Madrid said that they were happy. A positive meta-stereotype and a better perceived general health were associated with a higher overall happiness, while feelings of loneliness were associated with a lower overall happiness. Happiness also showed a significant effect on future expectations. Disabilities and handicaps had a significant effect on perceived general health, which was in turn associated with overall happiness among homeless people. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Homelessness, Unemployment


Religious freedom restoration acts (RFRAs) in the United States potentially facilitate discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (i.e., sexual minorities). In the current investigation, we explored whether a population health metric among sexual minority adults changed over time based on the presence, absence, or introduction of a state RFRA. Data are from 21 of the United States that gathered sexual orientation data from population-based samples of noninstitutionalized adults in the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (CDC, 2015, 2016). The analytic sample included 4,911 sexual minority individuals. Time was measured in 4 3-month quarters (i.e., Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4). For each state, the prevalence of sexual minority adults reporting ≥14 unhealthy days/30 days was calculated. Only Indiana (the only state in the sample that passed an RFRA in 2015) exhibited significant increasing proportions over time of sexual minority adults reporting ≥14 unhealthy days (Q1 = 24.5%, Q2 = 34.8%, Q3 = 41.2%, Q4 = 59.5%; β = 0.50, SE = 0.23, p = .037). Post hoc analyses revealed that unhealthy days did not increase for heterosexual adults in Indiana. Indiana’s RFRA could have contributed to the increasing prevalence of unhealthy days among sexual minority adults in that state during 2015. Public health surveillance tools are needed to expedite analyses of the impact of laws on minority population health. (PsycINFO Database Record


Consistent evidence documents the negative impacts of family separation on refugee mental health and concerns for the welfare of distant family members and desire to reunite with family members as priorities for refugees postmigration. Less is known about refugees' emic perspectives on their experiences of family separation. Using mixed methods data from a community-based mental health intervention study, we found that family separation was a major source of distress for refugees and that it was experienced in a range of ways: as fear for family still in harm’s way, as a feeling of helplessness, as cultural disruption, as the greatest source of distress since resettlement, and contributing to mixed emotions around resettlement. In addition to these qualitative findings, we used quantitative data to test the relative contribution of family separation to refugees' depression/anxiety symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and psychological quality of life. Separation from a family member was significantly related to all 3 measures of mental health, and it explained significant additional variance in all 3 measures even after accounting for participants' overall level of trauma exposure. Relative to 26 other types of trauma exposure, family separation was 1 of only 2 traumatic experiences that explained additional variance in all 3 measures of mental health. Given the current global refugee crisis and the need for policies to address this large and growing issue, this research highlights the importance of considering the ways in which family separation impacts refugee mental health and policies and practices that could help ameliorate this ongoing stressor. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Psychology, Psychological trauma, Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Prolonged exposure therapy, Quantitative research, Vietnam War


The knowledge of Syrian psychosocial activists in displaced communities is an invaluable resource for developing an ecological understanding of community needs and attitudes. This may elucidate the structural challenges of displacement to be addressed in psychosocial interventions. During Phase 1 of the study, we employed the community readiness model-a tool to assess community climate, needs, and resources-to determine community capacity-building needs. Eight Syrian key informants were interviewed in Amman, Jordan (December 2013 to January 2014). Community readiness scores were calculated. Thematic analysis explored community identified needs. During Phase 2, a focus group was conducted with 11 local psychosocial workers in Amman (September 2016) employing Phase 1 findings to develop a local capacity-building intervention. For the Phase 1 results, community attitudes toward mental health were reported to be rapidly changing. However, continued stigma, lack of knowledge of service availability, and insufficient number of services were noted as barriers to care. Sense of civic engagement and cultural knowledge of local psychosocial actors were noted as significant strengths. However, lack of access to work rights and technical supervision were identified as contributing to burnout, undermining the sustainability of local, grassroots initiatives. A need for training in clinical interventions, along with ongoing supervision, was identified. For the Phase 2 results, local psychologists elected to receive training in culturally adapted cognitive behavior therapy and operational capacity building. The cultural and contextual knowledge of Syrian community members are invaluable. Unfortunately, failure to provide these professionals with basic work rights and technical support have undermined the sustainability of their endeavors. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


Differences in mental illness (MI) stigma among adolescents were examined cross-sectionally across race, ethnicity, and gender to identify target populations and cultural considerations for future antistigma efforts. An ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of sixth graders (N = 667; mean age = 11.5) self-completed assessments of their MI-related knowledge, positive attitudes, and behaviors toward peers with MI and adolescent vignettes described as experiencing bipolar (Julia) and social anxiety (David) symptoms. Self-reported race, ethnicity, and gender were combined to generate 6 intersectional composite variables: Latino boys, Latina girls, non-Latina/o (NL) Black boys, NL-Black girls, NL-White boys, and NL-White girls-referent. Linear regression models adjusting for personal and family factors examined differences in stigma using separate and composite race, ethnicity, and gender variables. In main effects models, boys and Latina/o adolescents reported greater stigma for some outcomes than girls and NL-White adolescents, respectively. However, intersectional analyses revealed unique patterns. NL-Black boys reported less knowledge/positive attitudes than NL-Black and White girls. NL-Black and Latino boys reported greater avoidance/discomfort than NL-White girls. Moreover, NL-Black girls and boys and Latina/o girls and boys wanted more social separation from peers with mental illness than NL-White girls; NL-Black boys also reported more separation than NL-White boys, NL-Black girls, and Latina girls. Finally, NL-Black boys and Latina girls wanted more distance from David than NL-White and Black girls. Vital for informing future antistigma interventions, this study generates new knowledge about how differences in views about MI exist across racial and ethnic identity, and how gender intersects with these perceptions. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


Research can be used to develop empirically informed policy solutions to our most pressing public problems. However, research is all too often left out of the public policymaking conversation. Researchers can change this, by learning how to engage and collaborate with policymakers. In this article, we present and adapt a conceptual framework from the field of community psychology-Kelly’s (1971) “Qualities for a Community Psychologist”-to provide insight into training graduate students for policy engagement. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


Mental health needs have been recognized as a priority area by the World Health Organization (WHO), and a Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (2013) was proposed to address the needs of millions of people around the world. Concerns have been raised about the degree to which current global efforts are appropriate and sufficient for promoting mental health (MH), reducing the risk for common MH disorders, and addressing the needs of individuals experiencing mental illness. This commentary expands on the presentation of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice’s Task Force on Global Mental Health at the 16th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action, held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada June 21-24, 2017, “Building Capacity to Address Mental Illness and Emotional Distress in Low-Resource Settings and Among Refugee Populations.” Utilizing a socioecological framework, this commentary offers a call to action in addressing global mental health by emphasizing the need for greater investments in wellness promotion, prevention, treatment, and recovery. Importantly, such efforts need to value local knowledge and culture, harness natural existing resources and assets, and ensure equitable distribution of key resources for MH. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2019 APA, all rights reserved).