Sibling Closeness in Middle School Predicts Differences in College Graduation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“siblings” by Britt Reints is licensed under CC BY 2.0Xiaoran Sun

Department of Human Development and Family Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802.  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: College graduation has significant implications for adult life outcomes including for employment, family formation, and health (IOM & NRC, 2015).

Investigating how sibling differences in college graduation emerge sheds light on why children growing up in the same family sometimes follow diverging paths in adulthood. Our study also responds to the call by researchers interested in policy and practice to conduct longitudinal research investigating the role of early family socialization processes in educational attainment (Pettit, Davis-Kean, & Magnuson, 2009). Despite siblings’ important role in child and adolescent development, previous research has focused on parenting and on the academic outcomes of individual children in the family.

Further, although sibling experiences, including their relationship characteristics and parental differential treatment, have been linked to sibling similarities and differences in domains such as risky behaviors (Slomkowski, Rende, Novak, Lloyd-Richardson, & Raymond, 2005), to date, there has been very little research on the role of sibling experiences in positive development, such as academic achievement.   Continue reading

Many Men Believe It Is More Important to Be an Active Father Than Breadwinner

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“fathers day” by James Simkins is licensed under CC BY 2.0Richard J. Petts PhD

Department of Sociology
Ball State University
North Quad 213
Muncie, IN 47306

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study looked at a national sample of over 2,000 fathers with children aged 2-18 to assess whether attitudes about traditional masculine norms and attitudes toward the new fatherhood ideal influence the degree to which fathers are involved in their children’s lives.

Our research shows that fathers who adhere to more traditional forms of masculinity (acting tough, being independent, not expressing emotion), are less involved in their children’s lives and have a greater likelihood of engaging in harsh punishment.

In contrast, fathers who identify more with the new fatherhood ideal (which emphasizes engaged, nurturing, supportive fathering) are involved more frequently in their children’s lives. We know from a large body of research that father involvement is associated with numerous positive outcomes for children (e.g., fewer problem behaviors, higher psychological well-being, better academic outcomes).

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What Do We Find Disgusting? and Why?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
rat- wikipedia imageMícheál de Barra, PhD

Lecturer in Psychology
Brunel University London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Disgust has been called the “intuitive microbiologist”  – it tracks the sources of infection in our environment. But so far, there has been little attempt to link the sources of disgust to the sources of infectious disease in a comprehensive way. So we developed a method for developing stimuli based on a random sample illness.

We basically asked ourselves what the kinds of cues that might be associated with that kind of disease risk and asked people to rate disgust responses. The main motive for this was to contribute to a debate in the literature about if there are “kinds of disgust” and if so, how many. I results were a little ambiguous there I’m afraid.

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Could Oxytocin Be a Social Equalizer?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Monkeys” by Dmitry Baranovskiy is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yaoguang Jiang PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
PLATT Lab
University of Pennsylvania 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) are important neuropeptides known to influence social behaviors in a wide array of mammals. In humans, OT is widely referred to as the ‘prosocial’ hormone and is thought to promote social functions in neurotypical individuals as well as those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Currently, dozens of ongoing clinical trials in the US are trying to evaluate the therapeutic potential of these neuropeptides in remedying social deficits associated with disorders such as ASD. Yet there are significant gaps in our knowledge especially regarding the neurobiological basis of OT and AVP function. Most importantly, we are unclear which brain areas and pathways these neuropeptides act on to influence social behavior. Additionally, due to strong similarity in molecular structure, OT can bind to AVP receptors with high affinity and vice versa, making it difficult to rule out the possibility that, for example, the behavioral effect of exogenous oxytocin is mediated through the AVP system. Both of these questions have been thoroughly investigated in rodents, but unfortunately the same thing cannot be said for humans.

Our study aims to bridge the gap between rodent and human literature on neuropeptide function by studying rhesus macaque monkeys. These monkeys resemble human beings not only in their social behaviors, but also in the neural network that is supporting those behaviors. In this study we show that treating one male macaque monkey intranasally with aerosolized OT relaxes his spontaneous social interactions with another monkey.

Oxytocin reduces differences in social behavior between dominant and subordinate monkeys, thereby flattening the status hierarchy.Oxytocin also increases behavioral synchrony within a pair, perhaps through increased attention and improved communication. Intranasal delivery of aerosolized AVP reproduces the effects of OT with greater efficacy. Remarkably, all behavioral effects are replicated when either OT or AVP is injected focally into the anterior cingulate gyrus (ACCg), a brain area linked to empathy, vicarious reward, and other-regarding behavior. ACCg lacks post-synaptic OT receptors but is rich in post-synaptic AVP receptors, suggesting exogenous OT may shape social behavior, in part, via nonspecific binding, particularly when available at supra-physiological concentrations.  Continue reading

Men Use Dating Apps for Casual Sex More Than Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Droid Apps Cell Phone” by Carissa Rogers is licensed under CC BY 2.0Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair  PhD
Professor, Department of Psychology
Norwegian University of Science and Technology 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The background is all earlier research on sexual behavior, showing both robust individual differences predictors as well as sex differences. We wished to investigate to what degree picture (PBMDA) based mobile dating apps differ from other arenas of sexual behavior.

  • How many have used or are current users:
  • Nearly half of the participants reported former or current Picture-Based Mobile Dating Apps (PBMDA) use. One in five was a current user.”

Our main prediction was confirmed:

  • We found that PBMDA-users tend to report being less restricted in their sociosexuality (as measured with the SOI-R) than participants who have never used PBMDAs

Including  specifation:

  • This effect was equally strong for men and women. Sociosexuality essentially accounted for the effects of other variables such as seeking a casual sex partner, being comfortable picking up strangers, and self-reported short-term mate value.

Sex differences were also found:

  • As predicted, women and men’s reasons for using PBMDAs differed. Relative to women, men emphasized desire for sex as a reason for using PBMDAs.

The most surprising finding was as often due to a discussion with reviewer who was worried whether unrestricted sociosexuality was not more likely a result of use rather than a predictor of use. This improved the detail of our analysis and the conclusion that “When controlling for sex, age and SOI Desire there was no evidence that length of use increased lifetime casual sex partners.”

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Are Well-Off People Protected from Dementia?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Dorina Cadar
Research Associate in Dementia
Psychobiology Group
Department of Behavioural Science and Health
University College London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Dementia is one of the most feared medical conditions, which represents a significant global challenge to health and social care.

Education may serve different roles in the development of dementia: it is a proxy for early life experiences and (parental) socioeconomic status, it is related to future employment prospects, income and wealth, determines occupational exposures and characteristics of adult life (e.g., job complexity, work stress, environmental exposures) and it provides lifelong skills for optimal mental abilities and mastery. However, given that education is typically completed many decades before dementia onset, other individual and area-based components of socioeconomic status, such as wealth, income and area deprivation may provide a more accurate indication of current socioeconomic resources.  Also, at older ages, accumulated wealth represents a more robust measure of socioeconomic resources than income or occupation alone.

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When Do Organized Activities for Kids Become Too Much?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Sharon Wheeler PhD

Dr Sharon Wheeler PhD Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health Department of Sport and Physical Activity Faculty of Arts and Sciences Edge Hill University Lancashire

Dr. Wheeler

Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health
Department of Sport and Physical Activity
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Edge Hill University
Lancashire

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well-known that family background and parents’ investment in their children has a big impact on a number of outcomes, including how well people do at school, the jobs they get, and how they spend their leisure time. It is also known that it is middle-class parents who tend to work particularly hard to make sure their children get on in life.

This research starts to question whether parents’ investment in their children’s organised activities is having the desired impact. Parents initiate and facilitate their children’s participation in organised activities as it shows that they are a ‘good’ parent and they hope such activities will benefit their children in both short-term (keeping fit and healthy, developing friendship groups) and long-term ways (getting jobs, having lots of opportunities in the future).

The reality, which has been highlighted in this research, is that while children might experience some of these benefits, a busy organised activity schedule can put considerable strain on parents’ resources and families’ relationships, as well as potentially harm children’s development and well-being.

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Song Contests Linked To Life Satisfaction and Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Sara Singing for the IT MS Society” by Draft is licensed under PDM 3.0Filippos Filippidis MD, MSc, MPH, PhD
Lecturer in Public Health
School of Public Health
Imperial College London
London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research suggests that big sports and international events are associated with happiness, productivity, suicides and homicides. Considering the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Europe, we wanted to see if there is any association between performance in the competition and life satisfaction and suicides. We used interview data from more than 160,000 people in Europe collected from 2009 to 2015 and found that better performance in the contest was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction in the country. Winning the competition did not confer any additional advantage. When comparing bad performance in the ESC with no participation at all, we found that even bad performance was associated with higher satisfaction with life compared to absence from the competition.

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Despite Social Media, Nearly Half of Americans Feel Lonely or Left Out

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Doug Nemecek, MD MPH Co-chair of the National Quality Improvement Committee  Senior medical director for CIGNA 

Dr. Nemecek

Dr. Doug Nemecek, MD MPH
Co-chair National Quality Improvement Committee
Senior medical director for CIGNA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that approximately 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental health condition, and research has noted that mental health issues are one of the most rapidly increasing causes of long-term sick leave. But when looking closer, we found that most people with mental health or chronic conditions have a similar pathology: they also suffer from loneliness. It’s clear that loneliness has a tremendous impact on health – it actually has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We decided we needed to learn more.

The key takeaway from our research is that most Americans are considered lonely, as measured by a score of 43 or higher on the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Specifically, we found that nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone or left out, and one in four Americans rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them. We also discovered that younger adults are lonelier and claim to be in worse health than older generations.

However, our survey revealed several bright spots that reinforce the social nature of humans and the importance of community. Our results showed that people who report being less lonely are more likely to have regular, meaningful, in-person interactions; be in good overall physical and mental health; and have found a balance in their daily activities, including getting the right amount of sleep, socialization and work/life balance. We also hypothesized that the workplace played a role in this. It turns out that we were right – being employed and having good relationships with your co-workers is correlated with being less lonely and being more healthy.  Continue reading

Dark Skin Tones May Be Underrepresented in Medical Textbooks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patricia Louie, MA PhD Student, Department of Sociology University of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada

Patricia Louie

Patricia Louie, MA
PhD Student, Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: While most physicians believe that they treat patients equally, research shows that racial inequality pervades the U.S. health care system (Feagin and Bennefield 2014; Williams 2012). Because these inequities persist even after demographic and other socio-economic differences are taken into consideration scholars have started to look at the representation of race in the medical curriculum. The idea is that medical curriculum creates both implicit and explicit connections between race and disease. We build on this body of work by investigating the representation of race (White, Black and Person of Color) and skin tone (light, medium and dark) in the images of four preclinical anatomy textbooks – Atlas of Human AnatomyBates’ Guide to Physical Examination & History Taking, Clinically Oriented Anatomy, and Gray’s Anatomy for Students.  Skin tone is important.

The majority of medical imagery consists of decontextualized images of body parts where skin tone, which may be related to disease presentation, is the only phenotypical marker. If doctors associate light skin tones with White patients, this may also influence how doctors think about who is a “typical” patient, particularly for the type of disease that is shown in that image.

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Social Media Does Not Displace Face-to-Face Communication With Family and Friends

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey A. Hall, Ph.D. Associate Professor The University of Kansas

Dr. Hall

Jeffrey A. Hall, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The University of Kansas
Relationships and Technology Lab

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The idea that new forms of media displace our face-to-face relationships with close friends and family is an old idea.  Two decades ago, when the internet experienced a period of rapid growth, the most recent form of the social displacement hypothesis emerged. Studies from that time ended up finding little to no evidence of displacement by the internet.

The main findings of this study focus on displacement by social media.  The first study was conducted with a longitudinal, nationally representative sample of Americans from 2009-2011.  This study found that during a period of rapid social media adoption, there was little to no association between adopting and using social media and direct social contact over the three years of the study.  Furthermore, using more social media did not result in lowered well-being.

The second study in this paper looked at data from 2015, and found that using social media in a day had little bearing on who people communicated with and how they communicated. That is, passive social media use did not seem to displaced face-to-face communication with close friends and family.  Continue reading

How Does Hip-Hop/Rap Music Influence Molly/Ecstasy Use in African Americans?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Khary Rigg, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Mental Health Law & Policy University of South Florida

Dr. Rigg

Khary Rigg, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Mental Health Law & Policy
University of South Florida 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the past two decades, the demographic profile of MDMA (ecstasy/molly) users has changed. In particular, African American MDMA use has risen in some cities. One possible explanation of this new trend is the drug’s recent popularity (as molly) in hip-hop/rap (HHR) music. Several top rappers endorse the drug as a way to have fun or get women “loose.” There are currently no studies, however, that investigate the extent to which African American MDMA users listen to. hip-hop/rap music or the influence that these pro-MDMA messages have on their use of the drug.

This study used survey and interview data to identify the extent to which hip-hop/rap music is listened to by African American MDMA users and assess the perceived influence of HHR music on their decision to begin using.

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Overly Materialistic Desires Linked To Marriage Dissatisfaction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Marriage” by Susan Nicole Cinci Csere is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ashley LeBaron

Brigham Young University
Provo 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was a really fun one for me. Previous research had linked materialism with lower marital satisfaction. However, no one had really looked into why that is–what is it about materialism that tends to facilitate less-happy marriages? As I thought about it and explored different theories, I came to the hypothesis that perhaps it is a matter of competing values.

Perhaps those who highly value money and possessions are less likely to highly value their marriage, and then subsequently do not put into their relationship the time, effort, etc. needed for high marital satisfaction. And that’s exactly what our findings show! Perception of marriage importance mediated (i.e., explained) the negative association between materialism and marital satisfaction. Of course it is more complex than this and there are likely other mediators out there, but I think this was an important contribution to the couple finance field.  Continue reading

Distance to Trauma Center & Prehospital Care Influence Outcomes from Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Molly Jarman PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Brigham and Womens Hospital 

Dr. Jarman

Dr. Molly Jarman PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at
Brigham and Womens Hospital 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in the US, and there are well documented disparities in injury incidence and outcomes. Certain populations (i.e. rural, low income, people of color) experience more injury than others, and are more likely to die following and injury.

Past studies focused on individual health and socioeconomic characteristics as the primary driving force behind these disparities, along with variation in the time required to transport an injured patient to the hospital. We wondered if geographic features of an injury incident location contributed to variation in injury mortality that was not explained by differences in individual patient characteristics.

In other words, we know that who you are contributes to injury mortality, and we wanted to know if it also matters where you are when an injury occurs.

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Relationship Status Helps Determine Contraception Choice

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Birth control pills” by lookcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marie Harvey, DrPH MPH
Lisa P. Oakley, PhD MPH
College of Public Health and Human Sciences
Oregon State University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Because decisions about contraceptives are often made by young adults in the context of their relationships and specific partners, the characteristics of that relationship and feelings about that partner will likely influence how those decisions are made. Many studies have previously investigated individual factors that affect contraceptive choice and when examining partner influences have used questions that were not specific to a particular partner. Intuition, however, suggests that feelings for a specific partner would likely influence one’s perception of risk for disease acquisition, and thereby, their contraceptive choice. So, it was important to us to look at the influences of each specific partner and how the unique dynamics of each partnership influence contraceptive use.

In this study, we investigated how relationship qualities and dynamics (such as commitment and sexual decision-making) impact contraceptive choice above and beyond individual factors. We also used partner-specific questions.

We found that both individual and partner-specific relationship qualities and dynamics predicted contraceptive use, but these factors varied by contraceptive method. For example, young adults who reported greater exclusivity with a specific partner and more relationship commitment were less likely to use only condoms with that partner. Additionally, individuals who felt they played a strong role in making sexual decisions in their relationship were also more likely to only use condoms. Continue reading