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See detailTowards a cross-cultural assessment of binge-watching: Psychometric evaluation of the “watching TV series motives” and “binge-watching engagement and symptoms” questionnaires across nine languages
Flayelle, Maèva; Castro-Calvo, Jesús; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Computers in Human Behavior (2020), 111

In view of the growing interest regarding binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of television (TV) series in a single sitting) research, two measures were developed and validated to assess ... [more ▼]

In view of the growing interest regarding binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of television (TV) series in a single sitting) research, two measures were developed and validated to assess binge-watching involvement (“Binge-Watching Engagement and Symptoms Questionnaire”, BWESQ) and related motivations (“Watching TV Series Motives Questionnaire”, WTSMQ). To promote international and cross-cultural binge-watching research, the present article reports on the validation of these questionnaires in nine languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese). Both questionnaires were disseminated, together with additional self-report measures of happiness, psychopathological symptoms, impulsivity and problematic internet use among TV series viewers from a college/university student population (N = 12,616) in 17 countries. Confirmatory factor, measurement invariance and correlational analyses were conducted to establish structural and construct validity. The two questionnaires had good psychometric properties and fit in each language. Equivalence across languages and gender was supported, while construct validity was evidenced by similar patterns of associations with complementary measures of happiness, psychopathological symptoms, impulsivity and problematic internet use. The results support the psychometric validity and utility of the WTSMQ and BWESQ for conducting cross-cultural research on binge-watching. [less ▲]

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See detailCardiac cycle phases affect auditory-evoked potentials, startle eye blink and pre-motor reaction times in response to acoustic startle stimuli
Schulz, André UL; Vögele, Claus UL; Bertsch, Katja et al

in International Journal of Psychophysiology (2020), 157(1), 70-81

Startle stimuli evoke lower responses when presented during the early as compared to the late cardiac cycle phase, an effect that has been called ‘cardiac modulation of startle’ (CMS). The CMS effect may ... [more ▼]

Startle stimuli evoke lower responses when presented during the early as compared to the late cardiac cycle phase, an effect that has been called ‘cardiac modulation of startle’ (CMS). The CMS effect may be associated with visceral-afferent neural traffic, as it is reduced in individuals with degeneration of afferent autonomic nerves. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the CMS effect is due a modulation of only early, automatic stages of stimulus processing by baro-afferent neural traffic, or if late stages are also affected. We, therefore, investigated early and late components of auditory-evoked potentials (AEPs) to acoustic startle stimuli (105, 100, 95 dB), which were presented during the early (R-wave +230 ms) or the late cardiac cycle phase (R +530 ms) in two studies. In Study 1, participants were requested to ignore (n=25) or to respond to the stimuli with button-presses (n=24). In Study 2 (n=23), participants were asked to rate the intensity of the stimuli. We found lower EMG startle response magnitudes (both studies) and slower pre-motor reaction times in the early as compared to the late cardiac cycle phase (Study 1). We also observed lower N1 negativity (both studies), but higher P2 (Study 1) and P3 positivity (both studies) in response to stimuli presented in the early cardiac cycle phase. This AEP modulation pattern appears to be specific to the CMS effect, suggesting that early stages of startle stimulus processing are attenuated, whereas late stages are enhanced by baro-afferent neural traffic [less ▲]

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See detailMotivational Interviewing to Increase Physical Activity Behavior in Cancer Patients: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trials
Lion, A; Backes, A; Duhem, C et al

in Integrative Cancer Therapies (2020), 19

OBJECTIVE: This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) aimed at evaluating the feasibility and potential efficacy of a motivational interviewing (MI) intervention to increase physical activity (PA ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: This pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) aimed at evaluating the feasibility and potential efficacy of a motivational interviewing (MI) intervention to increase physical activity (PA) behavior in cancer patients. METHODS: Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group with standard care plus 12 MI sessions within 12 weeks or a control group with standard care only. The number of recruited participants and the modality of recruitment were recorded to describe the reach of the study. The acceptability of the study was estimated using the attrition rate during the intervention phase. The potential efficacy of the intervention was evaluated by analyzing the PA behavior. RESULTS: Twenty-five participants were recruited within the 16-month recruitment period (1.6 participants per month). Five participants (38.5%) from the experimental group (n = 13) and one participant (8.3%) from the control group (n = 12) dropped out of the study before the end of the intervention phase. No group by time interaction effect for PA behavior was observed at the end of the intervention. CONCLUSION: Due to the low recruitment rate and compliance, no conclusion can be drawn regarding the efficacy of MI to increase PA behavior in cancer patients. Moreover, the current literature cannot provide any evidence on the effectiveness of MI to increase PA in cancer survivors. Future RCTs should consider that the percentage of uninterested patients to join the study may be as high as 60%. Overrecruitment (30% to 40%) is also recommended to accommodate the elevated attrition rate. [less ▲]

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See detailBinge-Watching: What Do we Know So Far? A First Systematic Review of the Evidence
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Ridell Di Lorenzo, Kim et al

in Current Addiction Reports (2020), 7(1), 44-60

Purpose of Review: Along with the expansion of on-demand viewing technology, the practice of binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series back-to-back) has recently gained increasing ... [more ▼]

Purpose of Review: Along with the expansion of on-demand viewing technology, the practice of binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series back-to-back) has recently gained increasing research interest, given its potential harmfulness and presumed addictive characteristics. The present article provides the first systematic review of the evidence regarding this increasingly widespread behavior. Recent Findings: The results of this systematic review (including 24 studies and 17,545 participants) show that binge-watching remains an ill-defined construct as no consensus exists on its operationalization and measurement. Although such methodological disparities across studies hinder the comparability of results, the preliminary findings gathered here mainly point to the heterogeneous nature of binge-watching which covers at least two distinct realities, i.e., high but non-harmful engagement and problematic involvement in TV series watching. Summary: In these early stages of research, there is a major need for more consistency and harmonization of constructs and their operationalizations to move forward in the understanding of binge-watching. Just as important, future research should maintain the distinction between high and problematic involvement in binge-watching to avoid overpathologizing this common behavior. [less ▲]

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See detailModulation of startle and heart rate responses by fear of physical activity in patients with heart failure and in healthy adults
Hoffmann, Jeremia Mark; Finke, Johannes B.; Schächinger, Hartmut et al

in Physiology and Behavior (2020), 225(1), 113044

Fear of physical activity (FoPA) is prevalent in patients with heart failure and associated with lower physical activity despite medical exercise prescriptions. The present study examined physiological ... [more ▼]

Fear of physical activity (FoPA) is prevalent in patients with heart failure and associated with lower physical activity despite medical exercise prescriptions. The present study examined physiological indicators of FoPA by assessing startle modulation and heart rate responses after affective priming with lexical stimuli of positive, neutral, and negative valence, as well as words related to physical activity as potentially phobic cues. After screening for FoPA in patients with heart failure and healthy adults, twenty participants each were assigned to one of three subsamples: a healthy control group and two cardiac patient groups scoring either low or high on FoPA. The high-FoPA group showed more pronounced startle potentiation and heart rate acceleration (i.e., mobilization of defensive behavior) in the phobic prime condition compared to controls. Differences in FoPA accounted for 30% of the startle potentiation by phobic priming, whereas general anxiety, depression, and disease severity were no significant predictors in patients with heart failure. These findings suggest that heart failure-associated FoPA elicits avoidance behavior at a largely automatic level, and might thereby contribute to low adherence to exercise regimen. Thus, FoPA should be addressed in the design of psychological interventions for cardiac patients to foster physical activity. [less ▲]

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See detailGlucocorticoid receptor signaling in leukocytes after early life adversity.
Elwenspoek, M.; Hengesch, X.; Leenen, F. et al

in Development and Psychopathology (2020), 32(3), 853-863

Early life adversity (ELA) has been associated with inflammation and immunosenescence, as well as hyporeactivity of the HPA-axis. As the immune system and HPA-axis are tightly intertwined around the ... [more ▼]

Early life adversity (ELA) has been associated with inflammation and immunosenescence, as well as hyporeactivity of the HPA-axis. As the immune system and HPA-axis are tightly intertwined around the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) we examined peripheral GR functionality in the EpiPath cohort, where participants had either been exposed to ELA (separation from parents and/or institutionalization followed by adoption) (n=40) or had been reared by their biological parents (n=72). Expression of the strict GR target genes FKBP5 and GILZ as well as total and 1F and 1H GR transcripts were similar between groups. Furthermore, there were no differences in GR sensitivity, examined by the effects of dexamethasone on IL6 production in LPS-stimulated whole blood. Although we did not find differences in methylation at the GR 1F exon or promoter region, we identified a region of the GR 1H promoter (CpG 1-9) that showed lower methylation levels in ELA. Peripheral GR signaling was unperturbed in our cohort and the observed immune phenotype does not appear to be secondary to an altered glucocorticoid receptor response to glucocorticoids. To identify signaling pathways that may underlie the ELA immune phenotype, future research should focus on unbiased approaches, such as investigating whole genome methylation profiles. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh blood pressure responders show largest increase in heartbeat perception accuracy after post-learning stress following a cardiac interoceptive learning task
Schenk, Lara; Fischbach, Jean T. M.; Müller, Ruta UL et al

in Biological Psychology (2020), 154(1), 107919

Mental disorders with physical symptoms, e.g. somatic symptom disorder, are characterized by altered interoceptive accuracy (IAc), which can be explained by individual differences in interoceptive ... [more ▼]

Mental disorders with physical symptoms, e.g. somatic symptom disorder, are characterized by altered interoceptive accuracy (IAc), which can be explained by individual differences in interoceptive learning (IL). We investigated if stress facilitates IL. Seventy-three healthy participants performed a heartbeat counting task (HCT: T1) and a heartbeat perception training (HBPT). After exposure to a socially-evaluated cold pressor stress test (SECPT; n=48) or a control condition (n=25), two more HCTs were performed (T2: 30 minutes after SECPT; T3: 24 h later). After the HBPT, all participants showed an increase in IAc. We separated the stress group into high vs. low systolic blood pressures (SBP) responders (n=24 each), with high SBP responders showing the largest IAc increases. Only SBP, but not cortisol responsiveness significantly predicted IAc increase from T1 to T2. Our results indicate that post-learning autonomic stress response facilitates IL, whereas the HPA axis response may be less important for this effect. [less ▲]

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See detailFight, Flight, – Or Grab a Bite! Trait Emotional and Restrained Eating Style Predicts Food Cue Responding Under Negative Emotions
Schnepper, Rebekka; Georgii, Claudio; Elchin, Katharina et al

in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (2020), 14

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See detailThe Measurement of Resilience
Asheim, Geir; Bossert, Walter; d'ambrosio, Conchita UL et al

in Journal of Economic Theory (2020), 189

Resilience has become an important topic in many social sciences. Numerous individual choices and economic and demographic outcomes are likely to be influenced by people’s resilience. School performance ... [more ▼]

Resilience has become an important topic in many social sciences. Numerous individual choices and economic and demographic outcomes are likely to be influenced by people’s resilience. School performance, work absenteeism and burnout, longevity, the quality of sleep and health-risk behaviors such as substance abuse are some examples. Similarly, it is of high policy relevance to understand the determinants of both individual resilience (such as educational, marital and occupational status) and ecological resilience (such as climate change). Empirical work designed to uncover such relationships suffers from the absence of a resilience measure applicable in the context of large data sets. We fill this gap by proposing a specific measure that is characterized by a set of natural properties. After an introduction to the notion of resilience and its attributes, we argue why these conditions have intuitive appeal. Finally, we provide illustrating examples and derive our main characterization result. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of rejection intensity and rejection sensitivity on social approach behavior in women
Schaan, Violetta; Schulz, André UL; Bernstein, Michael et al

in PLoS ONE (2020), 15(1), 0227799

Objective: Perceived rejection plays an important role for mental health and social integration. This study investigated the impact of rejection intensity and rejection sensitivity on social approach ... [more ▼]

Objective: Perceived rejection plays an important role for mental health and social integration. This study investigated the impact of rejection intensity and rejection sensitivity on social approach behavior. Method: 121 female participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions differing in the degree of induced rejection (inclusion, medium rejection, severe rejection). Thereafter they were asked to interact with an unknown person during a touch-based cooperative task. Results: Participants high in rejection sensitivity sought significantly less physical contact than participants low in rejection sensitivity. Individuals in the medium rejection condition touched their partners more often than those in the included condition, while no difference between included and severely rejected participants could be observed. Conclusions: The results suggest that the intensity of rejection matters with regard to coping. While participants in the medium intensity rejection condition aimed to ‘repair’ their social self by seeking increased contact with others, severely rejected participants did not adapt their behavior compared to included participants. Implications for therapy are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailInteroception, stress and physical symptoms in stress-associated diseases
Schulz, André UL; Schultchen, Dana; Vögele, Claus UL

in European Journal of Health Psychology (2020), 27(1), 132-153

The brain and peripheral bodily organs continuously exchange information. Exemplary, interoception refers to the processing and perception of ascending information from the body to the brain. Stress ... [more ▼]

The brain and peripheral bodily organs continuously exchange information. Exemplary, interoception refers to the processing and perception of ascending information from the body to the brain. Stress responses involve a neurobehavioral cascade, which includes the activation of peripheral organs via neural and endocrine pathways and can thus be seen as an example for descending information on the brain-body axis. Hence, the interaction of interoception and stress represents bi-directional communication on the brain-body axis. The main hypothesis underlying this review is that the dysregulation of brain-body communication represents an important mechanism for the generation of physical symptoms in stress-related disorders. The aims of this review are, therefore, (1.) to summarize current knowledge on acute stress effects on different stages of interoceptive signal processing, (2.) to discuss possible patterns of abnormal brainbody communication (i.e., alterations in interoception and physiological stress axes activation) in mental disorders and chronic physical conditions, and (3.) to consider possible approaches to modify interoception. Due to the regulatory feedback loops underlying brain-body communication, the modification of interoceptive processes (ascending signals) may, in turn, affect physiological stress axes activity (descending signals), and, ultimately, also physical symptoms. [less ▲]

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See detailAltered interoceptive awareness in high habitual symptom reporters and patients with somatoform disorders
Flasinski, Tabea; Dierolf, Angelika UL; Rost, Silke et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2020), 11(1), 1859

Objective. Altered interoception may play a major role in the etiology of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). It remains unclear, however, if these alterations concerns noticing of signals or if they ... [more ▼]

Objective. Altered interoception may play a major role in the etiology of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). It remains unclear, however, if these alterations concerns noticing of signals or if they are limited to the interpretation of signals. We investigated whether individuals with MUS differ in interoceptive awareness as assessed with the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) questionnaire. Methods. Study 1: 486 individuals completed the Screening for Somatoform Disorders (SOMS-2). 32 individuals each of the upper and lower decile of the SOMS distribution (low symptom reporters/LSR, high symptom reporters/HSR) completed the MAIA. Study 2: MAIA scores of individuals diagnosed with somatoform disorder (SFD; n = 26) were compared to individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD; n = 25) and healthy controls (HC; n = 26). Results. HSR had lower scores than LSR on the MAIA scales Not-Distracting and Not-Worrying. The SFD and MDD groups showed lower scores than HC on the MAIA scales Not-Distracting, Self-Regulation, and Trusting. The MDD group scored lower than the other two groups on the scales Body Listening and Attention Regulation. There were no group differences on the scale Noticing. Conclusion. HSR, SFD and MDD patients do not differ from HC in the awareness of noticing of interoceptive signal processing, whereas cognitive facets of interoception, such as distraction or self-regulation are differentially affected. This highlights the necessity of including specifically targeted interventions, which improve interoceptive awareness, in the prevention and treatment of SFDs. [less ▲]

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See detailChildhood trauma affects stress-related interoceptive accuracy
Schaan, Violetta UL; Schulz, André UL; Rubel, Julian A. et al

in Frontiers in Psychiatry (2019), 10(1), 750

Early life adversity (ELA) may cause permanent disturbances in brain-body signaling. These disturbances are thought to contribute to physical symptoms and emotional dysregulation in adulthood. The current ... [more ▼]

Early life adversity (ELA) may cause permanent disturbances in brain-body signaling. These disturbances are thought to contribute to physical symptoms and emotional dysregulation in adulthood. The current study investigated the effects of childhood trauma on young adults’ interoceptive accuracy as an indicator of brain-body communication that may be dysregulated by ELA. Sixty-six participants completed an online-questionnaire followed by a laboratory session including the socially-evaluated cold pressor stress test during which ECG, salivary cortisol and interoceptive accuracy were assessed. Childhood trauma was negatively related to interoceptive accuracy (IAc) after the stressor. This stress-effect could not be observed for heart rate and cortisol, which were unrelated to IAc. Participants reporting higher baseline unpleasantness exhibited lower IAc after the stressor, while increases in unpleasantness due to the stressor were associated with higher IAc. Unpleasantness at baseline mediated the effect of childhood trauma on IAc after the stressor. [less ▲]

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See detailCommunity- and mHealth-based integrated management of diabetes in primary healthcare in Rwanda: the protocol of a mixed-methods study including a cluster randomised controlled trial (D²Rwanda)
Lygidakis, Charilaos UL; Uwizihiwe, JP; Kallestrup, P et al

in BMJ Open (2019), 9(7), 028427

Introduction In Rwanda, diabetes mellitus prevalence is estimated between 3.1% and 4.3%. To address non-communicable diseases and the shortage of health workforce, the Rwandan Ministry of Health has ... [more ▼]

Introduction In Rwanda, diabetes mellitus prevalence is estimated between 3.1% and 4.3%. To address non-communicable diseases and the shortage of health workforce, the Rwandan Ministry of Health has introduced the home-based care practitioners (HBCPs) programme: laypeople provide longitudinal care to chronic patients after receiving a six-month training. Leveraging technological mobile solutions may also help improve health and healthcare. The D²Rwanda study aims at: (a) determining the efficacy of an integrated programme for the management of diabetes in Rwanda, which will provide monthly patient assessments by HBCPs, and an educational and self-management mHealth patient tool, and; (b) exploring qualitatively the ways the interventions will have been enacted, their challenges and effects, and changes in the patients’ health behaviours and HBCPs’ work satisfaction. Methods and analysis This is a mixed-methods sequential explanatory study. First, there will be a one-year cluster randomised controlled trial including two interventions ((1) HBCPs’ programme; (2) HBCPs’ programme + mobile health application) and usual care (control). Currently, nine hospitals run the HBCPs’ programme. Under each hospital, administrative areas implementing the HBCPs’ programme will be randomised to receive intervention 1 or 2. Eligible patients from each area will receive the same intervention. Areas without the HBCPs’ programme will be assigned to the control group. The primary outcome will be changes in glycated haemoglobin. Secondary outcomes include medication adherence, mortality, complications, health-related quality of life, diabetes-related distress and health literacy. Second, at the end of the trial, focus group discussions will be conducted with patients and HBCPs. Financial support was received from the Karen Elise Jensens Fond, and the Universities of Aarhus and Luxembourg. Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval was obtained from the Rwanda National Ethics Committee and the Ethics Review Panel of the University of Luxembourg. Findings will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. Trial registration number NCT03376607; Pre-results. [less ▲]

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See detailRespiratory modulation of intensity ratings and psychomotor response times to acoustic startle stimuli
Münch, Eva Elisabeth; Vögele, Claus UL; Van Diest, Ilse et al

in Neuroscience Letters (2019), 711(1), 134388

Respiratory interoception may play an important role in the perception of respiratory symptoms in pulmonary diseases. As the respiratory cycle affects startle eye blink responses, startle modulation may ... [more ▼]

Respiratory interoception may play an important role in the perception of respiratory symptoms in pulmonary diseases. As the respiratory cycle affects startle eye blink responses, startle modulation may be used to assess visceral-afferent signals from the respiratory system. To ascertain the potential impact of brainstem-relayed signals on cortical processes, we investigated whether this pre-attentive respiratory modulation of startle (RMS) effect is also reflected in the modulation of higher cognitive, evaluative processing of the startle stimulus. Twenty-nine healthy volunteers received 80 acoustic startle stimuli (100 or 105 dB(A); 50 ms), which were presented at end and mid inspiration and expiration, while performing a paced breathing task (0.25 Hz). Participants first responded to the startle probes by 'as fast as possible' button pushes and then rated the perceived intensity of the stimuli. Psychomotor response time was divided into 'reaction time' (RT; from stimulus onset to home button release; represents stimulus evaluation) and 'movement time' time (MT; from home button release to target button press). Intensity judgements were higher and RTs accelerated during mid expiration. No effect of respiratory cycle phase was found on eye blink responses and MTs. We conclude that respiratory cycle phase affects higher cognitive, attentional processing of startle stimuli. [less ▲]

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See detailSocial Media as an Opportunity for Public Health Interventions: The #Metoo Movement as an Exemplar
Gomez Bravo, Raquel UL; Gomez Bravo, María; Lygidakis, Charilaos UL et al

in Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and EHealth (2019), 7(e5), 1-7

Background: Social media have been used exponentially and globally, providing a means for billions of users to connect, interact, share opinions and criticise, becoming one of the main channels of ... [more ▼]

Background: Social media have been used exponentially and globally, providing a means for billions of users to connect, interact, share opinions and criticise, becoming one of the main channels of communication for users around the world. One of the most popular free social media networks is Twitter, with more than 100 million active users per day worldwide. Purpose: The aim of this study was to analyse a sample of the public conversations generated, using the hashtag #MeToo, around the topic of sexual abuse on Twitter. Methods: Using social media marketing software, the use of the #MeToo hashtag was analysed over a period of 60 days (14 September 2017 to 13 November of 2017). Results: The #MeToo conversation was mainly in English (79.3%), located in the United States (48.2% of cases), but with global repercussions. The volume of mentions of the #MeToo hashtag was far greater (97.7%), compared with other hashtags related to violence over this period of time, using mostly Twitter (96.2%). Conclusions: These results suggest that it is possible to describe different groups using the social media, and analyse their conversations to identify opportunities for successful public health interventions. If the topic is relevant for the general public, it will generate interest and conversations at the global level, supported by a universal and borderless channel such as Twitter. [less ▲]

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See detailParental divorce is associated with an increased risk to develop mental disorders in women
Schaan, Violetta UL; Schulz, André UL; Schächinger, Hartmut et al

in Journal of Affective Disorders (2019), 257(1), 91-99

Background: Parental divorce has been associated with reduced well-being in young adults. It is, however, unclear whether this finding is clinically relevant as studies using structural clinical ... [more ▼]

Background: Parental divorce has been associated with reduced well-being in young adults. It is, however, unclear whether this finding is clinically relevant as studies using structural clinical interviews are missing. This study, therefore, investigated if young adults with divorced parents are at risk to develop mental disorders. Furthermore, differences in parental care, social connectedness, chronic stress and traumatic experiences between children of divorced and non-divorced parents were investigated. Methods: 121 women (mean age: 23 years) were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSMIV Axis I (i.e., major mental disorders) and II (i.e., personality disorders) Disorders and asked to complete questionnaires assessing parental care, social connectedness (loneliness, attachment anxiety and avoidance), chronic stress, childhood trauma and depression. Results: Young adults of divorced parents had a higher risk for Axis I but not Axis II disorders as compared to young adults of non-divorced parents. Participants from divorced families as compared to non-divorced families reported more depression, loneliness, childhood trauma, attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, chronic stress and less parental care. Limitations: Due to the cross-sectional design of this study, conclusions about causality remain speculative. Conclusion: The increased vulnerability of children of divorced parents to develop mental disorders, and to experience more chronic stress, loneliness, attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, and traumatic experiences during childhood is alarming and highlights the importance of prevention programs and psycho-education during the process of parental divorce. Parental support with regard to adequate caregiving is needed to help parents to better support their children during and after their divorce. [less ▲]

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See detailEmotion regulation and sexual health: an online study protocol
Fischer, Vinicius; Andersson, gerhard; Billieux, Joël et al

in International Journal of Sexual Health (2019), 31

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See detailEnhanced Cortical Processing of Cardio-Afferent Signals in Anorexia Nervosa
Lutz, Annika UL; Schulz, André UL; Voderholzer, U. et al

in Clinical Neurophysiology (2019), 130(9), 1620-1627

Objective: To assess cardiac interoception in anorexia nervosa (AN) using a multidimensional approach. Methods: We assessed the physiological dimensions of cardioception, i.e. the peripheral signal itself ... [more ▼]

Objective: To assess cardiac interoception in anorexia nervosa (AN) using a multidimensional approach. Methods: We assessed the physiological dimensions of cardioception, i.e. the peripheral signal itself (heart rate, HR, and heart rate variability, HRV) and its cortical representation (heartbeat evoked potentials, HEPs), and the psychological dimensions of interoceptive accuracy (heartbeat perception) and interoceptive sensibility (confidence ratings). Electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) were recorded concurrently during rest and while performing a heartbeat perception task in a sample of 19 female in-patients with AN (DSM-5) and 19 healthy control women (HC). Results: HEPs, defined as mean EEG amplitude in a time window of 455-595 ms after the Rpeak of the ECG, were significantly larger in the AN than in the HC group across conditions (p = .002, d = 1.06). There was a trend toward better heartbeat perception in AN, but no group differences in HR, HRV, and confidence ratings. Conclusions: Individuals with AN showed an interoceptive profile of heightened cortical processing, a trend toward heightened interoceptive accuracy, and unaltered cardiac autonomic activation and interoceptive sensibility. Significance: In terms of neurobiological models of AN, enhanced cortical representations of interoceptive signals might reflect a mechanism, which promotes fasting by alleviating negative body states. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of alexithymia in parent-child interaction and in the emotional ability of children with autism spectrum disorder
Pinto Costa, Andreia UL; Steffgen, Georges UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in Autism Research (2019)

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have more emotional difficulties than typically developing (TD) children. Of all the factors that impact children’s emotional development, parents, and the way ... [more ▼]

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have more emotional difficulties than typically developing (TD) children. Of all the factors that impact children’s emotional development, parents, and the way they interact with their children, are of crucial importance. The present study compared the amount of parent-child interactions among 35 dyads of parents and their children with ASD and 41 dyads of parents and their TD children, aged between 3 and 13 years, during a frustration-eliciting situation. We further examined whether children’s alexithymia is linked to parent-child interactions and whether parent-child interactions are linked to children’s emotional difficulties. We found that parents of children with ASD interacted significantly less with their children than parents of TD children. This reduced interaction was better explained by children’s alexithymia than by children’s ASD diagnosis. Finally, parent-child interaction mediated the relationship between children’s ASD diagnosis and children’s emotion regulation ability, as well as some aspects of children’s emotional reactivity but only if not accounting for children’s alexithymia levels. Our results demonstrate the determinant role children’s alexithymia plays on parent-child interactions and on how these interactions are linked to children’s difficulties in emotion regulation and emotional reactivity. Results are discussed in light of how parent-child interactions and the emotional ability of children with ASD can be improved by targeting children’s alexithymia. [less ▲]

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