Sessions to See: Making the Most of the Last Day

at APA 2014

at APA 2014

Convention is winding down and many people are preparing for the last day of sessions before heading home. After a busy three days of activities, most people are ready to skip out on sessions to sleep in or go to the airport to beat the afternoon madness.

However, the convention still offers lots of exciting and interesting sessions. Plus, it’s a great time to visit the bookstore to make your purchases. As the convention comes to a close, below are some sessions that may be interesting to see if you’re still wondering, “What session should I go to?”

8AM

Therapist Self-Care – A Lifespan Perspective: Evidence-based Expressive Writing as a Tool

CC Room 145A (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will cover empirical studies of expressive writing, an experiential portion involving expressive writing, and discussion.

How Do Psychologists with Privilege Respond to the Stigmatized Others?

CC 209A (50 minutes)

The session will focus on individual, cultural and contextual barriers and assets, as well as training implications for working with culturally stigmatized others.

9AM

Integrating Individual, Family and Systems- Focused Interventions: A Video Illustration

CC 101 (50 minutes)

The session will illustrate the interdependent nature of individual-, family- and systems-based interventions in a program focusing on family-based treatment of adolescent substance abuse and delinquency.

Taking a Stand? Sport Psychology, Media and GLBT Athletes in Sochi

CC 158 (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will focus on the experiences of GLBT athletes competing in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Criminal Justice System

CC 209A (50 minutes)

The session will present on overview of ASD by a psychologist and a parent of a child with autism who is also a former judge.

10AM

Children’s Resilience in the Context of Military Deployment and Their Aftermath

CC 204C (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will discuss how scientific knowledge about resilience can provide the evidence base for programs to support and enhance the resilience of military-connected families.

11AM

Influence of Culture and Context on Family: School Partnerships

CC 209A (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will explore various influences of culture and context on the development and implementation of family-school partnerships.

12PM

Global Violence Toward Women: Interventions and Strategies for Change

CC 152A (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will explore global violence toward women through an examination of sexual assault and rape in Africa, domestic violence and international sex trafficking, emphasizing treatment methods and interventions.

1PM

Interprofessional Training: Preparing Psychology Students for the Changing Health Care Market

CC 154B (50 minutes)

The session will showcase an interprofessional training program for psychology graduate students and interns to address changes in health care.

How Can Psychologists Help Men and Boys?

463536557Five people were wounded overnight in shootings on Chicago’s West and South sides, according to a report in this morning’s Chicago Tribune. It’s a headline that appears almost daily in my city, and the victims, all men age 16 to 32, are among the most disadvantaged in the city – and frankly, in the country. Perhaps more importantly, this violence, and the stress and trauma that it leads to, is taking a serious toll on the health of men and boys in poor, urban communities throughout our nation, according to presenters at a symposium today.

At the session, members of APA’s working group on health disparities in boys and men discussed reasons why this population and other underserved groups of men have some of the worst health outcomes in the country.

Working group chair Wizdom Hammond, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pointed to several psychosocial factors that contribute to these health disparities, including a need among men to endorse and demonstrate traditional traits of masculinity, including toughness, self-reliance, confidence and aggression.

“It’s likely that the strains and conflicts associated with trying to live up to this masculine ideal is at least partly responsible for producing the kinds of health disadvantages we’re seeing,” Hammond said.

The researchers explained that, compared to women, males are more likely to take health behavioral risks, delay preventive health screenings and care-seeking for health problems, minimize their physical and mental health symptoms and signs of distress and have higher rates of substance abuse. These behaviors are even more widespread among men of low socioeconomic status, those who are ethnic and racial minorities, those who are gay or bisexual, and those who have been incarcerated.

Particularly when it comes to mental health, men and boys are socialized very early not to talk about their emotions around traumatic experiences, said presenter Waldo Johnson, PhD, of the University of Chicago.

“Therefore, they tend to suffer in silence,” he said.

The group is now finalizing an evidence-based report and a series of best practices and recommendations on the topic, for dissemination to psychologists and other health providers. One thing is clear, Johnson said:

“Any prevention or treatment program for this population must account for the unique circumstances of men and boys.”

Is Gaming the New Digital Drug?

Everyone loves a good baby photo, but APA convention speaker Andrew Doan, MD, PhD, of the Uniformed Services University School of the Health Sciences, showed his audience a photo of his young son that Doan finds difficult to look at. The picture upsets him because Doan doesn’t remember much of his son at that age — although he does have vivid memories of his favorite video game at the time.

177253792Doan was addicted to video games for 10 years, playing anywhere from 50 to 100 hours per week while also attending The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Doan recovered – though he came close to losing his wife and family – and is now conducting research on how gaming re-programs the brain. He is also working to educate the public about gaming addiction as Head of Addictions and Resilience Research for the U.S. Navy.

Some studies, he pointed out, estimate that one in 11 U.S. children and teenagers are addicted to video games, he said.

At the APA session, Doan provided an overview of research that indicates that such games have a strong impact on us psychologically and physiologically, including that they overdrive the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal system and deplete cortisol supplies.

“How does your body burn [that adrenalin], if you only move your two thumbs?” he asked.

Doan encouraged attendees to pay more attention to gaming addiction and noted that all types of addiction research can inform gaming addiction and other process addictions, such as addiction to pornography.

Fellow speaker Hilarie Cash, PhD, has also seen the addiction firsthand, and shared her treatment approach for people with gaming addiction at the session. Her reSTART Internet Addiction Program in Washington state helps people who need treatment for Internet, video gaming and technology overuse, including day-trading addiction. The program helps people – mostly young men — develop better sleep patterns, eat more healthfully, exercise and shed addictions that accompanied their gaming, such as marijuana and Adderall. Cash and her colleagues also emphasize such practical skills as how to maintain a clean home and nurture social relationships.

“Almost universally, [our clients] lack good strong social skills, so we really emphasize that,” Cash says.

College Students with ADHD More Likely to be Anxious, Depressed

479706173College students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety than students without ADHD, according to preliminary findings from the first year of a five-year NIMH funded longitudinal study, presented this morning at APA’s Annual Convention.

Researchers examined data from more than 450 college freshman with and without ADHD at three universities and found that:

  • Students with ADHD report much higher levels of depression and anxiety — near 30 percent — compared with students without the disorder, whose numbers are closer to 5 percent for depression and anxiety.
  • Those with ADHD are also more likely to have lower grade-point averages than the comparison group, perhaps due to poorer organizational skills and fewer academic coping strategies.
  • Students with ADHD were much more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, including having multiple sexual partners and unprotected sexual intercourse.

With an increasing number of students with ADHD attending college, addressing these disparities isn’t just a challenge for the nation’s higher education system – it’s a psychosocial problem with major public health ramifications, said Arthur Anastopoulos, PhD, the study’s lead investigator and a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

“I don’t think getting extra time on tests or doling out stimulant prescriptions is going to fix this,” Anastopoulous said. “We have to get the message out to parents that they need to start actively preparing their high school children to take more ownership of the disorder and the responsibilities that they will be faced with in college.”