Mental Health

Social constraints, genetic vulnerability, and mental health following collective stress

A repeat-length polymorphism of the serotonin promoter gene (5-HTTLPR) has been associated with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in trauma-exposed individuals reporting unsupportive social environments. We examine the contributions of the triallelic 5-HTTLPR genotype and social constraints to posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms in a national sample following the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks. Saliva was collected by mail from 711 respondents (European American subsample n = 463) of a large national probability sample of 2,729 adults.

Risk, Religiosity, and Emerging Adulthood: Description of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim University Students at Entering the Freshman Year

American students transitioning to university are at an increased risk for behaviours such as binge drinking, depression and suicidality. Despite the proliferation of prevention and intervention programs, rates remain high. Although religiosity is known to confer a protective effect in this population, it remains largely untapped as a resource because, among other reasons, it is poorly understood, poses ethical challenges, and exposes areas of distrust between the religious and medical establishments.

Whatever does not kill us: cumulative lifetime adversity, vulnerability, and resilience

Exposure to adverse life events typically predicts subsequent negative effects on mental health and well-being, such that more adversity predicts worse outcomes. However, adverse experiences may also foster subsequent resilience, with resulting advantages for mental health and well-being. In a multiyear longitudinal study of a national sample, people with a history of some lifetime adversity reported better mental health and well-being outcomes than not only people with a high history of adversity but also than people with no history of adversity.

Future-Oriented Thinking and Adjustment in a Nationwide Longitudinal Study Following the September 11th Terrorist Attacks

 We conducted a three-year longitudinal study of the mental and physical health of a national probability sample following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Adjustment over the three years following the attacks was associated with higher levels of future-oriented thinking and lower levels of fear about future terrorism (as measured 1, 2, and 3 years post-9/11), even after adjusting for demographics, lifetime trauma, pre-9/11 mental and physical health, and 9/11-related exposure.

Ethnicity and Gender in the Face of a Terrorist Attack: A National Longitudinal Study of Immediate Responses and Outcomes Two Years After September 11

 This study examines ethnic and gender differences in open-ended immediate responses to an online prompt provided by a nationwide sample of 1,559 individuals in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These responses were used to predict longitudinal outcomes over the following 2 years. Results show that African Americans and women responded with more emotions (e.g., sadness, sympathy) than did Whites and men. African Americans and women also endorsed violent retaliation less often than did their White, male counterparts.

Expressing thoughts and feelings following a collective trauma: immediate responses to 9/11 predict negative outcomes in a national sample.

Collective traumas can negatively affect large numbers of people who ostensibly did not experience events directly, making it particularly important to identify which people are most vulnerable to developing mental and physical health problems as a result of such events. It is commonly believed that successful coping with a traumatic event requires expressing one's thoughts and feelings about the experience, suggesting that people who choose not to do so would be at high risk for poor adjustment.

Applying the theory of planned behavior to reporting of forced sex by African-American college women

Forced sex is a public health issue affecting many college women. Despite physical and mental health consequences, and multiple prevention programs on college campuses, most sexual violence goes unreported (Fisher, Daigle, Cullen, & Turner, 2003). The purpose of this research was to determine the significant attitudes and beliefs that are associated with reporting of forced sexual experiences.

Dating Violence: Comparing Victims Who Are Also Perpetrators With Victims Who Are Not

Dating violence is accepted as bi-directional with both genders as victims and perpetrators. While researchers have studied perpetration and victimization, limited research has explored differences in young women who are victims and perpetrators with those who are victims only. This study compares injury and mental health symptoms of victims who reported perpetrating violence with victims who did not.

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