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See detailWell-being and working from home during COVID-19
Schifano, Sonia UL; Clark, Andrew; Greiff, Samuel UL et al

in Information Technology and People (in press)

Purpose – The authors track the well-being of individuals across five European countries during the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and relate their well-being to working from ... [more ▼]

Purpose – The authors track the well-being of individuals across five European countries during the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and relate their well-being to working from home. The authors also consider the role of pandemic-policy stringency in affecting well-being in Europe. Design/methodology/approach – The authors have four waves of novel harmonised longitudinal data in France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Sweden, covering the period May–November 2020. Well-being is measured in five dimensions: life satisfaction, a worthwhile life, loneliness, depression and anxiety. A retrospective diary indicates whether the individual was working in each month since February 2020 and if so whether at home or not at home. Policy stringency is matched in per country at the daily level. The authors consider both cross- section and panel regressions and the mediating and moderating effects of control variables, including household variables and income. Findings – Well-being among workers is lower for those who work from home, and those who are not working have the lowest well-being of all. The panel results are more mitigated, with switching into working at home yielding a small drop in anxiety. The panel and cross-section difference could reflect adaptation or the selection of certain types of individuals into working at home. Policy stringency is always negatively correlated with well-being. The authors find no mediation effects. The well-being penalty from working at home is larger for the older, the better-educated, those with young children and those with more crowded housing. Originality/value – The harmonised cross-country panel data on individuals’ experiences during COVID-19 are novel. The authors relate working from home and policy stringency to multiple well-being measures. The authors emphasise the effect of working from home on not only the level of well-being but also its distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailCognitive processes underlying impaired decision-making in gambling disorder.
Brevers, Damien UL; Vögele, Claus UL; Billieux, Joël

in Zaleskiewicz, Thomas (Ed.) Psychological Perspectives on Financial Decision Making. (in press)

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See detailA theory-driven design framework for smartphone applications to support healthy and sustainable grocery shopping
Blanke, Julia UL; Billieux, Joel; Vögele, Claus UL

in Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies (in press)

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See detailGastric interoception and gastric myoelectrical activity in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder
van Dyck, Zoé UL; Schulz, André UL; Blechert, Jens et al

in International Journal of Eating Disorders (2021), 54(7), 1106-1115

Objective: Identifying factors that control food intake is crucial to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders characterized by binge eating. In healthy individuals, stomach distension plays an ... [more ▼]

Objective: Identifying factors that control food intake is crucial to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders characterized by binge eating. In healthy individuals, stomach distension plays an important role in the development of satiation, but gastric sensations might be overridden in binge eating. The present study investigated the perception of gastric signals (i.e., gastric interoception) and gastric motility in patients experiencing binge eating episodes, i.e. bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge-eating disorder (BED). Method: Twenty-nine patients with BN or BED (ED group) and 32 age-, sex-, and BMI-matched healthy controls (HC group) participated in the study. The onset of satiation and stomach fullness were assessed using a novel 2-step water load test (WLT-II). Gastric myoelectrical activity (GMA) was measured by electrogastrography (EGG) before and after ingestion of non-caloric water. Results: Individuals in the ED group drank significantly more water until reporting satiation during the WLT-II. The percentage of normal gastric myoelectrical power was significantly smaller in the ED group compared to HC, and negatively related to the number of objective binge-eating episodes per week in bulimic patients. Power in the bradygastria range was greater in ED than in HC subjects. Discussion: Patients with EDs have a delayed response to satiation compared to HC participants, together with abnormal GMA. Repeated binge eating episodes may induce disturbances to gastric motor function. [less ▲]

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See detailMood-induced changes in the cortical processing of food images in bulimia nervosa
Lutz, Annika UL; Dierolf, Angelika; van Dyck, Zoé UL et al

in Addictive Behaviors (2021), 113

Background Negative mood often triggers binge eating in bulimia nervosa (BN). We investigated motivational salience as a possible underlying mechanism using event-related potentials (ERPs) as indicators ... [more ▼]

Background Negative mood often triggers binge eating in bulimia nervosa (BN). We investigated motivational salience as a possible underlying mechanism using event-related potentials (ERPs) as indicators of motivated attention allocation (P300) and sustained processing (LPP). Methods We collected ERPs (P300: 350–400 ms; LPP: 600–1000 ms) from 21 women with full-syndrome or partially remitted BN and 21 healthy women (HC), matched for age and body mass index. Idiosyncratic negative and neutral situations were used to induce corresponding mood states (counterbalanced), before participants viewed images of high- and low-calorie foods and neutral objects, and provided ratings for pleasantness and desire to eat. Results P300 was larger for foods than objects; LPP was largest for high-calorie foods, followed by low-calorie foods, then objects. The BN group showed an increased desire to eat high-calorie foods under negative mood and stronger mood induction effects on ERPs than the HC group, with generally reduced P300 and a small increase in LPP for high-calorie foods. Effects were limited to circumscribed electrode positions. Exploratory analyses showed clearer effects when comparing high vs. low emotional eaters. Conclusion We argue that negative mood decreased the availability of cognitive resources (decreased P300) in BN, thereby facilitating disinhibition and food cravings (increased desire-to-eat ratings). Increased sustained processing might be linked to emotional eating tendencies rather than BN pathology per se, and reflect approach motivation, conflict, or regulatory processes. Negative mood appears to induce complex changes in food image processing, whose understanding may contribute to the development of tailored interventions in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailBrain mechanisms underlying prospective thinking of sustainable behaviours
Brevers, Damien UL; Baeken, Chris; Maurage, Pierre et al

in Nature Sustainability (2021)

The preservation of our environment requires sustainable ways of thinking and living. Here, we aimed to explore the core network of brain regions involved in the prospective thinking about (un)sustainable ... [more ▼]

The preservation of our environment requires sustainable ways of thinking and living. Here, we aimed to explore the core network of brain regions involved in the prospective thinking about (un)sustainable behaviours. Using a neuroimaging cue-exposure paradigm, we requested participants (n = 86) to report behaviours that were the most feasible for them to implement (sustainable behaviour) or diminish (unsustainable behaviour) in the future. We find that increasing sustainable behaviours was perceived to be more feasible than reducing unsustainable ones. Consistent with the role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in providing access to new representations of past behaviours, we observed stronger activation of these regions when picturing an increase in sustainable behaviours. Critically, simulating the reduction of unsustainable behaviours triggered activation within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for inhibitory-control processes), which was negatively associated with hippocampal activation (a key region for memory). These findings suggest that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex downregulates brain regions that support memory retrieval of unsustainable behaviours. This mechanism could inhibit the access to episodic details associated with unsustainable behaviours and in turn allow for prospective thinking of sustainable behaviours. These findings provide an initial step towards a better understanding of the brain networks that are involved in the adoption of sustainable habits. [less ▲]

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See detailAltered regulation of negative affect in patients with fibromyalgia : a diary study
Rost, Silke; Crombez, Geert; Stefan Sütterlin, Stefan et al

in EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PAIN (2021)

Background Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and often accompanied by cognitive and emotional problems. Adaptation to fibromyalgia may therefore also rely on one's ability ... [more ▼]

Background Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and often accompanied by cognitive and emotional problems. Adaptation to fibromyalgia may therefore also rely on one's ability to regulate emotional problems. In this study, we examined two indices of emotion regulation, that is, (a) affective instability, involving frequent large fluctuations in self-reported affect, and (b) resting heart rate variability (HRV). 45.4 years; 39 females) and 46 matched healthy controls (M-age = 44.9 years; 37 females). Heart rate was monitored under resting conditions to derive HRV. Subsequently, participants completed an electronic end-of-day diary for 14 consecutive days assessing daily levels of pain, disability, negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA). Affective instability was operationalized as the mean square of successive differences in daily mood. Results Results indicate increased levels of NA instability and reduced levels of HRV in patients with fibromyalgia in comparison with healthy controls. Furthermore, HRV and NA instability were inversely related. Finally, in patients, higher NA instability was related to increased pain disability. Conclusions Current findings support the idea that patients with fibromyalgia are confronted with fluctuating emotions. These results may have important implications for treatment as they provide support for the use of emotion regulation skills training in patients with fibromyalgia to impact upon NA instability. Significance This study provides novel insight in the link between emotion regulation indices,that is, heart-rate variability and negative affective (NA) instability, in patients with fibromyalgia, and presents evidence for differences in both emotion regulation indices between patients with fibromyalgia and healthy people. Furthermore, results link increased NA instability with increased levels of daily disability in patients with fibromyalgia. Together, these findings offer support for a key role of emotion regulation in fibromyalgia outcomes, providing pathways for clinical practice. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the construct validity of interoceptive accuracy based on heartbeat counting: cardiovascular determinants of absolute and tilt-induced change scores
Schulz, André UL; Back, Sarah N.; Schaan, Violetta K. et al

in Biological Psychology (2021), 164(1), 108168

Interoceptive accuracy (IAcc) as assessed with the heartbeat counting task (IAccHBCT) may be affected by a range of factors including (1.) the ability to adequately detect cardiac signals, indicated by ... [more ▼]

Interoceptive accuracy (IAcc) as assessed with the heartbeat counting task (IAccHBCT) may be affected by a range of factors including (1.) the ability to adequately detect cardiac signals, indicated by IAcc in a heartbeat discrimination task (IAccHBDT), (2.) cardiac signal properties, affected by sympathetic and parasympathetic tone, and (3.) non-interoceptive processes, including time estimation accuracy (TEAcc). In the current study we investigated the contribution of these factors to absolute and Δ IAccHBCT scores, induced by passive head-up and head-down tilt in 49 healthy individuals. A set of hierarchical regression models showed IAccHBDT scores as the strongest and, across different orthostatic (tilt) conditions, most stable (positive) predictor of absolute and Δ IAccHBCT scores. Neither indicators of cardiac signal properties (except for HR in head-down-tilt), nor TEAcc predicted absolute or Δ IAccHBCT scores. These findings support the convergent and discriminant validity of absolute and Δ IAccHBCT scores. [less ▲]

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See detailA randomized controlled trial of an Internet-based emotion regulation intervention for sexual health: study protocol
Fischer, Vinicius Jobim; Andersson, Gerhard; Billieux, Joel et al

in Trials (2021), 22

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See detailNoradrenergic activation induced by yohimbine decreases interoceptive accuracy in healthy individuals with childhood adversity
Schulz, André UL; Deuter, Christian E.; Breden, Ion-Hideo et al

in Development and Psychopathology (2021)

Acute stress affects interoception, but it remains unclear if this is due to activation of the sympatho-adreno-medullary (SAM) or hypothalamicpituitary-adrenocortical axis. This study aimed to investigate ... [more ▼]

Acute stress affects interoception, but it remains unclear if this is due to activation of the sympatho-adreno-medullary (SAM) or hypothalamicpituitary-adrenocortical axis. This study aimed to investigate the effect of SAM axis activation on interoceptive accuracy (IAcc). Central alpha2-adrenergic receptors represent a negative feedback mechanism of the SAM axis. Major depressive disorder and adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are associated with alterations in the biological stress systems, including central alpha2-adrenergic receptors. Here, healthy individuals with and without ACE as well as depressive patients with and without ACE (n=114; all without antidepressant medication) were tested after yohimbine (alpha2-adrenergic antagonist) and placebo. We assessed IAcc and sensibility in a heartbeat counting task. Increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after yohimbine confirmed successful SAM axis activation. IAcc decreased after yohimbine only in the healthy group with ACE, but remained unchanged in all other groups (‘group’ × ‘drug’ interaction). This effect may be due to selective up-regulation of alpha2-adrenergic receptors after childhood trauma, which reduces capacity for attention focus on heartbeats. The sympathetic neural pathway including alpha2-adrenergic circuitries may be essential for mediating interoceptive signal transmission. Suppressed processing of physical sensations in stressful situations may represent an adaptive response in healthy individuals who experienced ACE. [less ▲]

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See detailInteroceptive Approaches to Embodiment Research
Schulz, André UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in Robinson, Michael D.; Thomas, Laura E. (Eds.) Handbook of Embodied Psychology: Thinking, Feeling, and Acting. (2021)

Interoception refers to the processing and perception of signals arising from inside the body. Currently, there are two alternative conceptualizations of interoception: (1) an ‘inclusive’ view considering ... [more ▼]

Interoception refers to the processing and perception of signals arising from inside the body. Currently, there are two alternative conceptualizations of interoception: (1) an ‘inclusive’ view considering all bodily signals from inside the body as relevant for interoception, and (2) an ‘exclusive’ view, which is based on receptor types and neurophysiology, and, therefore, a focus on visceroception. These conceptualizations have different implications for the underlying neurophysiology and, therefore, the mechanisms behind embodiment. Thereafter, we discuss current models of interoception and provide definitions of the most common interoceptive terms, which include interoceptive accuracy, sensibility, sensitivity, awareness, and prediction error. We then present examples of interoceptive paradigms to assess different elements of interoception models. Typical interoceptive indicators include self-reports, behavioral measures, and neurophysiological indices. Finally, we discuss the link between interoceptive indicators and emotional experience and emotion regulation, consciousness, and decision-making. These findings illustrate the relevance of interoceptive indicators for embodiment. [less ▲]

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See detailSmartphone-based interventions for physical activity promotion: scoping review of the evidence over the last 10-years.
Domin, Alex UL; Spruijt-Metz, Donna; Theisen, Daniel UL et al

in Journal of Medical Internet Research (2021), 9(7), 24308

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See detailQuality of life among adult patients living with diabetes in Rwanda: a cross-sectional study in outpatient clinics
Lygidakis, Charilaos; Uwizihiwe, Jean Paul; Bia, Michela Gianna UL et al

in BMJ Open (2021), 11

Objectives To report on the disease-related quality of life of patients living with diabetes mellitus in Rwanda and identify its predictors. Design Cross-sectional study, part of the baseline assessment ... [more ▼]

Objectives To report on the disease-related quality of life of patients living with diabetes mellitus in Rwanda and identify its predictors. Design Cross-sectional study, part of the baseline assessment of a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Setting Outpatient clinics for non-communicable diseases of nine hospitals across Rwanda. Participants Between January and August 2019, 206 patients were recruited as part of the clinical trial. Eligible participants were those aged 21–80 years and with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus for at least 6 months. Illiterate patients, those with severe hearing or visual impairments, those with severe mental health conditions, terminally ill, and those pregnant or in the postpartum period were excluded Primary and secondary outcome measures Disease-specific quality of life was measured with the Kinyarwanda version of the Diabetes-39 (D-39) questionnaire. A glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) test was performed on all patients. Sociodemographic and clinical data were collected, including medical history, disease-related complications and comorbidities. Results The worst affected dimensions of the D-39 were ‘anxiety and worry’ (mean=51.63, SD=25.51), ‘sexual functioning’ (mean=44.58, SD=37.02), and ‘energy and mobility’ (mean=42.71, SD=20.69). Duration of the disease and HbA1c values were not correlated with any of the D-39 dimensions. A moderating effect was identified between use of insulin and achieving a target HbA1c of 7% in the ‘diabetes control’ scale. The most frequent comorbidity was hypertension (49.0% of participants), which had a greater negative effect on the ‘diabetes control’ and ‘social burden’ scales in women. Higher education was a predictor of less impact on the ‘social burden’ and ‘energy and mobility’ scales. Conclusions Several variables were identified as predictors for the five dimensions of quality of life that were studied, providing opportunities for tailored preventive programmes. Further prospective studies are needed to determine causal relationships. [less ▲]

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See detailDisorganized attachment in adolescence: Emotional and physiological dysregulation during the Friends and Family Interview and a conflict interaction
Decarli, Alessandro; Pierrehumbert, Blaise; Schulz, André UL et al

in Development and Psychopathology (2020)

The current study examined the effects of attachment on autonomy, relatedness and emotion regulation during an attachment interview (Friends and Family Interview; FFI) and a parent-child conflict ... [more ▼]

The current study examined the effects of attachment on autonomy, relatedness and emotion regulation during an attachment interview (Friends and Family Interview; FFI) and a parent-child conflict interaction (Family Interaction Task; FIT) in 49 adolescents (11 to 17 years old). Disorganized adolescents showed a steeper decrease in heart rate variability (HRV) than organized ones, during both the FFI and the FITs. Dismissing adolescents showed a more pronounced decrease in HRV during the FFI than secure and preoccupied individuals; no differences were found between these groups in HRV during the FITs. The results suggest that disorganized adolescents had more difficulties in regulating their emotions during both the FFI and the FITs, whereas dismissing individuals seemed effectively challenged only during the interview. [less ▲]

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See detailFamily violence and COVID19
Gomez Bravo, Raquel UL; Mariani Borrero, Yusianmar; Dascal-Weichhendler, Hagit et al

in Self and Society in the Corona Crisis (2020)

According to WHO, violence against women tend to increase during any type of emergency, such as the COVID19 outbreak, impacting not just women but also children and their families health . Although data ... [more ▼]

According to WHO, violence against women tend to increase during any type of emergency, such as the COVID19 outbreak, impacting not just women but also children and their families health . Although data on family violence during crisis is scarce, existing reports from China, UK and USA already suggest an increase of intimate partner violence. As social distancing measures are taken and people forced or encourage to stay at home, we could expect that the increase of tension at many homes will unfortunately end up in new cases of family violence or exacerbations of existing ones. Such context of an overloaded health system facing the crisis may imply in extra challenges for victims to seek help. This article aims to summarize the existing evidence regarding family violence during crisis and the resources available that can help to mitigate the impact of violence. [less ▲]

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See detailHealth benefits of walking in nature: a randomized controlled study under conditions of real-life stress.
Olafsdottir, Gunnthora; Cloke, Paul; Schulz, André UL et al

in Environment and Behavior (2020), 52(3), 248-274

We investigated the effects of recreational exposure to the natural environment on mood and psychophysiological responses to stress. We hypothesized that walking in nature has restorative effects over and ... [more ▼]

We investigated the effects of recreational exposure to the natural environment on mood and psychophysiological responses to stress. We hypothesized that walking in nature has restorative effects over and above the effects of exposure to nature scenes (viewing-nature-on-TV) or physical exercise alone (walking-on-a-treadmill-in-a-gym) and that these effects are greater when participants were expected to be more stressed. Healthy university students (N=90) were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 conditions and tested during an exam-free period and again during their exam time. Mood and psychophysiological responses were assessed before and after the interventions, and again after a laboratory stressor. All interventions had restorative effects on cortisol levels (p < .001), yet walking in nature resulted in lower cortisol levels than did nature viewing (p < .05) during the exam period. Walking in nature improved mood more than watching nature scenes (p < .001) or physical exercise alone (p < .05). [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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