University of Kentucky Researchers Awarded NSF Grant to Engineer Better Mental Health Solutions

From the limited data currently available, Wilson, Hammer and Usher found that engineering students aren’t necessarily more likely to have a mental health concern, but they are significantly less likely to seek help than non-engineering college students. This treatment gap became the basis for their National Science Foundation (NSF) grant proposal titled, “Development of a Survey Instrument to Identify Mental Health Related Help-Seeking Beliefs in Engineering Students.”

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Study links rising stress, depression in U.S. to pandemic-related losses, media consumption

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 18, 2020 – Experiencing multiple stressors triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic – such as unemployment – and COVID-19-related media consumption are directly linked to rising acute stress and depressive symptoms across the U.S., according to a groundbreaking University of California, Irvine study. The report appears in Science Advances, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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An Early Effect of COVID-19 Disruption: Drinking to Cope with Distress

Using alcohol to cope with distress was associated with increased drinking during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study. Adults experiencing greater depression or lower social connectedness, and those with children under age 18, were among those at risk for drinking to cope. The COVID-19 pandemic brought extensive disruptions to daily life, involving elevated stress among the general public. This increased the likelihood of people using alcohol to cope, a motive linked to solitary drinking, heavier drinking, and alcohol-related problems. At the same time, social distancing and closures meant that access to healthier supports, such as counseling and recreation, was reduced. The study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research explored adult drinkers’ use of alcohol to cope with distress during the early pandemic, with the goal of informing interventions to address long-term alcohol-related harms.

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Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression

Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

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Frequent soft drink consumption may make adolescents more aggressive

Soft drink consumption is a likely predictor of aggressive behavior, according to a new study from UAB.A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham has shown that frequent soft drink consumption by adolescents may contribute to aggressive behavior over time.  Previous studies have shown associations between soft drink consumption and mental health problems in adolescents.

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Who Could Benefit From Exercise and Behavioral Treatment?

Aerobic exercise clearly benefits young adults with major depression, and a Rutgers-led study suggests it may be possible to predict those who would benefit from behavioral therapy with exercise. Unique to this precision medicine study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, is an assessment of cognitive control and reward-related brain activity, two facets of brain function that are impaired in people with depression. Like previous studies, this one showed that aerobic exercise helps young adults with major depression.

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Is Risk of Alzheimer’s Linked to Specific Sleep Patterns?

Disturbed sleep patterns do not cause Alzheimer’s disease but people who are at high genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may be more likely to be a “morning person,” have shorter sleep duration and other measures of sleep disturbance and are less likely to have insomnia. The study is published in the August 19, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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