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  1. Effects of Breastfeeding on Postpartum Depression and Anxiety [Download]

    Title: Effects of Breastfeeding on Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
    Author: Chen, Steven
    Description: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mental health condition that affects an estimated 13 – 19% of mothers, with well documented negative consequences on maternal and infant health (O’Hara & McCabe, 2013). Research has explored risk factors for PPD, including depression history and social support. However, breastfeeding as a risk factor remains understudied. Recent research has found mixed findings on the relationship between breastfeeding and PPD, in part due to varying operationalization of breastfeeding and depression. Breastfeeding difficulties may not only be due to depression but also anxiety, but anxiety has not been measured as much as depression. To address these research gaps, the present study evaluated the association between breastfeeding and PPD and between breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. Given that depression and anxiety are highly comorbid (Austin et al., 2010), we hypothesized that there will be a negative relationship between breastfeeding and depression, and between breastfeeding and anxiety. We reviewed medical charts from 283 postpartum mothers who received OBGYN services at 6-weeks postpartum. The sample included predominantly married (58.3%), African American (46.4%) women. The Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to identify women with symptoms of both depression and anxiety, with higher scores indicating higher severity. Postpartum mothers were separated into two groups: (1) Breastfeeding group (n= 224), who reported breastfeeding exclusively breastfeeding or combined breastfeeding and formula feeding; and (2) Formula feeding group (n= 58), who reported exclusively formula feeding or formula feeding due to early cessation of breastfeeding. Results indicate no significant difference in depression scores between breastfeeding (M= 0.37, SD= 0.42) and formula feeding groups (M= 0.37, SD= 0.55); t(280)= -0.07, p= 0.95. There was a marginally significant difference in the anxiety subscale, in which the breastfeeding group reported having more anxiety symptoms (M= 0.87, SD= 0.66) than the formula feeding group (M= 0.67, SD= 0.72); t(280)= 1.97, p= 0.050. These findings suggest a mixed relationship between breastfeeding and PPD, and breastfeeding and postpartum anxiety. Future research should be conducted to understand the extent of comorbidity between anxiety and depression. Additionally, research should focus on the role of anxiety in PPD to understand why higher anxiety scores on the EPDS may occur for postpartum mothers who either breastfeed or formula feed their infant. Our results suggest the importance of screening for both PPD and anxiety, and encouraging mothers to make decisions about breastfeeding that are best for them to decrease risk for maternal depression and anxiety.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Postpartum depression, Mental health, Breastfeeding
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  2. Effects of Ethnicity on American Children’s Attitudes About Mental Illness [Download]

    Title: Effects of Ethnicity on American Children’s Attitudes About Mental Illness
    Author: Quinn, Shaylyn
    Description: Approximately 44.7 million adults in the United States experience mental illness in a given year. Yet in 2016, only 43% of those adults suffering from a mental health condition received mental health services (SAMHSA, 2017), largely because of the negative stigma associated with mental illness in the United States. Culture also plays an indisputable role in the conversation about mental health, reflected in the differences in prevalence of mental disorders, attitudes towards mental illness, and the subsequent utilization of mental health services among various racial and ethnic groups (Asnaani, Richey, Dimalite, Hinton, & Hoffman, 2010, SAMHSA, 2015). Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14, three-quarters by age 24 (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters, 2005). Therefore, it is in the interest of children, families, and future generations to attempt to better understand the formation of mental health stigma among children. To further investigate the relationship between race/ethnicity and stigmatization of mental illness among American children, this study recruited 37 children age 9 to 11 from a variety of organizations such as YMCAs, community centers, and extracurricular programs in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts. Participants read two short stories about hypothetical classmates exhibiting signs of either depression or conduct disorder, two of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders among children. With a parent’s consent, participants then filled out a questionnaire that was adopted from the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Opening Minds initiative (MHCC, 2013). The questionnaire used a Likert scale to measure implicit stereotyped attributions and social tolerance regarding individuals with a mental disorder. Each item was given a score of 1 to 5 in such a way that higher scores indicated greater levels of stigmatization. Stigma scores combined stereotype and social tolerance scores. Parents filled out a demographic questionnaire, listing the child’s race/ethnicity and his or her exposure to mental illness within the immediate family. Preliminary analyses on this sample indicated that mean stigma scores were statistically significantly greater for the 25 participants belonging to a minority group (M=3.19) than for the 12 European Americans (M=2.67, t(37)=2.95, p<.01). These results highlight the need for culturally specific strategies for combatting mental health stigma among American children. Further data collection is currently still in progress.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Mental health
    Date Uploaded: 04/14/2018
  3. Culture, Time-Orientation, Coping Styles and their Effects on Procrastination [Download]

    Title: Culture, Time-Orientation, Coping Styles and their Effects on Procrastination
    Author: Shen, Ruihang
    Description: With the rapid development of new media in the present age, procrastination has become increasingly prevalent, especially among students. With considerable negative consequences on physical and mental health, academic and career achievements and financial and relationship aspects, a sizable body of research have examined various factors that influence the extent to which individuals procrastinate. However, most current research studying procrastination focuses on western, English-speaking countries. Also, though some research identifies time-orientation can be a significant predictor of procrastination, few study connect culture influence with time-orientation. Building on other studies, this project seeks to understand whether individuals’ time-orientations and copy styles mediate the influence of culture on procrastination. Theoretically, this study will fill in the gap of the previous study and extend people’s understanding of procrastination. Data are being collected from undergraduate students at the George Washington University. Participants will be approximately 75 domestic American students and 75 sojourning students originally from China. Participants will be asked to fill out a survey questionnaire that measures people’s considerations for future consequences, coping styles, motives of social media use, and tendency to procrastinate. Collected data will be analyzed using statistical analysis techniques, such as multiple regression. Results from the research will support or reject the following hypotheses: H1: Chinese students will have greater concern for future consequences than American students. H2: Concern for future consequence will be negatively associated with the use of social media to escape/relax, and will be positively associated with the use of social media to learn/get help. H3: The use of social media to escape/relax is positively associated with the tendency to procrastinate, whereas the use of social media to learn/get help is negatively associated with the tendency to procrastinate. H4: Concern for future consequences and motives for social media use will mediate the effect of culture on the tendency to procrastinate. The research will deepen people’s understanding of the role of culture and social media use in shaping individuals’ tendencies to procrastinate, thus helping people, especially college students, to control their procrastination tendencies.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Mental health, Cultural influence, Social media
    Date Uploaded: 04/14/2018