May 21, 2014

Having a Sense of Purpose May Add Years to Your Life

What do you think about this article originally published by The Assoc for Psychological Science? "Feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research has clear implications for promoting positive aging and adult development, says lead researcher Patrick Hill of Carleton University in Canada: “Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose,” says Hill. “So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur.” This is an image of a sunrise over a road in the countryside.Previous studies have suggested that finding a purpose in life lowers risk of mortality above and beyond other factors that are known to predict longevity. But, Hill points out, almost no research examined whether the benefits of purpose vary over time, such as across different developmental periods or after important life transitions. Hill and colleague Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester Medical Center decided to explore this question, taking advantage of the nationally representative data available from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study. The researchers looked at data from over 6000 participants, focusing on their self-reported purpose in life (e.g., “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them”) and other psychosocial variables that gauged their positive relations with others and their experience of positive and negative emotions. Over the 14-year follow-up period represented in the MIDUS data, 569 of the participants had died (about 9% of the sample). Those who had died had reported lower purpose in life and fewer positive relations than did survivors. Greater purpose in life consistently predicted lower mortality risk across the lifespan, showing the same benefit for younger, middle-aged, and older participants across the follow-up period. This consistency came as a surprise to the researchers: “There are a lot of reasons to believe that being purposeful might help protect older adults more so than younger ones,” says Hill. “For instance, adults might need a sense of direction more, after they have left the workplace and lost that source for organizing their daily events. In addition, older adults are more likely to face mortality risks than younger adults.” “To show that purpose predicts longer lives for younger and older adults alike is pretty interesting, and underscores the power of the construct,” he explains. Purpose had similar benefits for adults regardless of retirement status, a known mortality risk factor. And the longevity benefits of purpose in life held even after other indicators of psychological well-being, such as positive relations and positive emotions, were taken into account. “These findings suggest that there’s something unique about finding a purpose that seems to be leading to greater longevity,” says Hill. The researchers are currently investigating whether having a purpose might lead people to adopt healthier lifestyles, thereby boosting longevity. Hill and Turiano are also interested in examining whether their findings hold for outcomes other than mortality. “In so doing, we can better understand the value of finding a purpose throughout the lifespan, and whether it provides different benefits for different people,” Hill concludes. Preparation of the manuscript was supported through funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (Grant T32-MH018911-23), and the data collection was supported by Grant P01-AG020166 from the National Institute on Aging. ### All data and materials have been made publicly available via the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research and can be accessed at the following URLs: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04652.v6 and http://midus.colectica.org/. The complete Open Practices Disclosure for this article can be found at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data. This article has received badges for Open Data and Open Materials. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at https://osf.io/tvyxz/wiki/view/ and http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/3.full." For more information and resources on mental health and social work, please visit Marriage and Family Therapist Continuing Education

May 06, 2014

Study finds family-based exposure therapy effective treatment for young children with OCD

What do you think of this article on kids and OCD? "Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center study finds family-based exposure therapy effective treatment for young children with OCD 5/5/2014 • Children five to eight years old with emerging OCD can benefit from therapies used for older children A new study from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center has found that family-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is beneficial to young children between the ages of five and eight with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The study, now published online in JAMA Psychiatry, found developmentally sensitive family-based CBT that included exposure/response prevention (EX/RP) was more effective in reducing OCD symptoms and functional impairment in this age group than a similarly structured relaxation program. Jennifer Freeman, PhD, a staff psychologist at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and clinical co-director of the Intensive Program for OCD at Bradley Hospital, led the study. “CBT has been established as an effective form of OCD treatment in older children and adolescents, but its effect on young children has not been thoroughly examined,” said Freeman. “These findings have significant public health implications, as they support the idea that very young children with emerging OCD can benefit from behavioral treatment.” During the 14-week randomized, controlled trial, which was conducted at three academic medical centers over a five-year period, the team studied 127 children between the ages of five and eight with a primary diagnosis of OCD. Each child received either family-based CBT with EX/RP or family-based relaxation therapy. The family-based CBT focused on providing the child and parent “tools” to understand, manage and reduce OCD symptoms. This includes psychoeducation, parenting strategies, and family-based exposure treatment, so children can gradually practice facing feared situations while learning to tolerate anxious feelings. The family-based relaxation therapy focused on learning about feelings and implementing muscle relaxation strategies aimed at lowering the child’s anxiety. At the end of the trial period, 72 percent of children receiving CBT with EX/RP were rated as “much improved” or “very much improved” on the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale, versus 41 percent of children receiving the family-based relaxation therapy. According to Freeman, the traditional approach for children this young presenting with OCD symptoms has been to watch and wait. “This study has shown that children with early onset OCD are very much able to benefit from a treatment approach that is uniquely tailored to their developmental needs and family context,” said Freeman. “Family-based EX/RP treatment is effective, tolerable and acceptable to young children and their families.” Freeman hopes that the family-based CBT model will become the first-line choice for young children with OCD in community mental health clinics where they first present for treatment. Earlier intervention may better address the chronic issues many children have with OCD, as well as the impact the debilitating illness can have on their overall development. “We use this family-based CBT model for treating children in this age range in both our Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic and our Intensive Outpatient Program with much success,” said Freeman. “My hope is that others will utilize this treatment model to the benefit of young children at the onset of their illness.” “The findings from this study support extending downward the age range that can benefit from CBT with EX/RP for pediatric OCD treatment,” said Freeman. “With appropriate parental support, young children with OCD can make significant gains beyond what can be expected from having parents attempt to teach relaxation strategies to their children with OCD.” This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) under grant number 1R01MH079217. Freeman’s principal affiliation is the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center, a division of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island. She is also co-director of the Pediatric Anxiety Research Clinic at the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and clinical co-director of the Intensive Program for OCD at Bradley Hospital. She is an associate professor (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior." For more information on PTSD and other mental health resources, please visit, Aspira Continuing Education Online Courses or our Anxiety Disorders CE Course