Book: Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children: A Guide for Autistic Wellbeing

Book Title:

Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children: A Guide for Autistic Wellbeing.

Author(s): Luke Beardon.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st)

Publisher: Sheldon Press.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

One of the biggest challenges for the parent of any autistic child is how best to support and guide them through the situations in life which might cause them greater stress, anxiety and worry than if they were neurotypical.

Dr Luke Beardon has put together an optimistic, upbeat and readable guide that will be essential reading for any parent to an autistic child, whether they are of preschool age or teenagers. Emphasising that autism is not behaviour, but at the same time acknowledging that there are risks of increased anxiety specific to autism, this practical book gives insight into the nature of the anxiety experienced by autistic people, as well as covering every likely situation in which your child might feel anxious or worried. It will help you to prepare your child for school, to monitor their anxiety around school, and also to be informed about the educational choices available to your child. It will give you support to help make breaktimes less stressful for them and how to help them navigate things like eating at school and out of the house.

Educationally, this book will take you and your child right up to the point of taking exams and leaving school; socially and emotionally it will cover all the challenges from bullying, friendships, relationships, puberty and sex education. It will give suggestions for alternatives in the scenarios that might cause anxiety or confusion in your child; it will also give a full understanding of your child’s sensory responses and such behaviours as masking, or echopraxia.

As the parent of an autistic child, you may find their path to adulthood different to the one you had expected to take, but as this book makes clear, autism should be celebrated and affirmed. Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children helps you to do just that, with practical strategies that will help happiness, not anxiety, remain the over-riding emotion that colours your child’s memories of their early years.

Anxiety Youth vs Healthy Youth: Threat-Anticipatory Psychophysiological Response Differences

Research Paper Title

Threat-anticipatory psychophysiological response is enhanced in youth with anxiety disorders and correlates with prefrontal cortex neuroanatomy.

Background

Threat anticipation engages neural circuitry that has evolved to promote defensive behaviours; perturbations in this circuitry could generate excessive threat-anticipation response, a key characteristic of pathological anxiety. Research into such mechanisms in youth faces ethical and practical limitations. Here, the researchers use thermal stimulation to elicit pain-anticipatory psychophysiological response and map its correlates to brain structure among youth with anxiety and healthy youth.

Methods

Youth with anxiety (n = 25) and healthy youth (n = 25) completed an instructed threat-anticipation task in which cues predicted nonpainful or painful thermal stimulation; the researchers indexed psychophysiological response during the anticipation and experience of pain using skin conductance response. High-resolution brain-structure imaging data collected in another visit were available for 41 participants. Analyses tested whether the 2 groups differed in their psychophysiological cue-based pain-anticipatory and pain-experience responses. Analyses then mapped psychophysiological response magnitude to brain structure.

Results

Youth with anxiety showed enhanced psychophysiological response specifically during anticipation of painful stimulation (b = 0.52, p = 0.003). Across the sample, the magnitude of psychophysiological anticipatory response correlated negatively with the thickness of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (pFWE < 0.05); psychophysiological response to the thermal stimulation correlated positively with the thickness of the posterior insula (pFWE < 0.05).

Limitations: Limitations included the modest sample size and the cross-sectional design.

Conclusions

These findings show that threat-anticipatory psychophysiological response differentiates youth with anxiety from healthy youth, and they link brain structure to psychophysiological response during pain anticipation and experience. A focus on threat anticipation in research on anxiety could delineate relevant neural circuitry.

Reference

Abend, R., Bajaj, M.A., Harrwijn, A., Matsumoto, C., Michalska, K.J., Necka, E., Palacios-Barrios, E.E., Leibenluft, E., Atlas, L.Y. & Pine, D.S. (2021) Threat-anticipatory psychophysiological response is enhanced in youth with anxiety disorders and correlates with prefrontal cortex neuroanatomy. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. 46(2):E212-E221. doi: 10.1503/jpn.200110.

Is There Value in Targeted Screening & Intervention Programmes of Anxiety in Young Adult Offspring with Parental Mental Health Problems?

Research Paper Title

Associations of maternal and paternal mental health problems with offspring anxiety at age 20 years: Findings from a population-based prospective cohort study.

Background

Epidemiological studies indicate that children of parents with mental health problems are at an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders.

Few studies have investigated this relationship in young adults.

Methods

Participants were from the Raine Study, which is a multi-generational birth cohort study in Australia. Maternal anxiety and depression in late childhood were assessed using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-42), and paternal lifetime mental health problems were assessed using a self-reported questionnaire.

The short form of DASS-42 (DASS-21) was used to assess anxiety symptoms among offspring at age 20. Negative binomial regression model was used to quantify the association. Data were available for 1,220 mother-offspring and 1,190 father-offspring pairs.

Results

After adjusting for potential confounders, the researchers found an increased risk of anxiety in young adult offspring exposed to maternal anxiety in late childhood and paternal lifetime mental health problems. However, they observed no increased risks of anxiety in offspring exposed to maternal depressive symptoms. Their sensitivity analysis based on the log-binomial model (binary outcome) as well as the linear model (log-transformed data) confirmed the robustness of the main results.

Conclusions

The findings suggest there can be value to consider and apply targeted screening and intervention programmes of anxiety in the young adult offspring with parental mental health problems.

Reference

Ayano, G., Betts, K., Lin, A., Tait, R. & Alati, R. (2021) Associations of maternal and paternal mental health problems with offspring anxiety at age 20 years: Findings from a population-based prospective cohort study. Psychiatry Research. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.113781. Online ahead of print.

Can Participation in HIIT Improve Cognitive Function & Mental Health in Children & Adolescents?

Research Paper Title

Review of High-Intensity Interval Training for Cognitive and Mental Health in Youth.

Background

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has emerged as a time-efficient strategy to improve children’s and adolescents’ health-related fitness in comparison to traditional training methods. However, little is known regarding the effects on cognitive function and mental health.

Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effect of HIIT on cognitive function (basic information processing, executive function) and mental health (well-being, ill-being) outcomes for children and adolescents.

Methods

A systematic search was conducted, and studies were eligible if they:

  1. Included a HIIT protocol;
  2. Examined cognitive function or mental health outcomes; and
  3. Examined children or adolescents (5-18 years) old.

Separate meta-analyses were conducted for acute and chronic studies, with potential moderators (i.e. study duration, risk of bias, participant age, cognitive demand, and study population) also explored.

Results

A total of 22 studies were included in the review. In acute studies, small to moderate effects were found for executive function (standardised mean difference [SMD], 0.50, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.03-0.98; P = 0.038) and affect (SMD, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.05-0.62; P = 0.020), respectively. For chronic studies, small significant effects were found for executive function (SMD, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.15-0.76, P < 0.001), well-being (SMD, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.02-0.41; P = 0.029), and ill-being (SMD, -0.35; 95% CI, -0.68 to -0.03; P = 0.035).

Conclusions

The review provides preliminary review evidence suggesting that participation in HIIT can improve cognitive function and mental health in children and adolescents.

Because of the small number of studies and large heterogeneity, more high-quality research is needed to confirm these findings.

Reference

Leahy, A.A., Mavilidi, M.F., Smith, J.J., Hillman, C.H., Eather, N., Barker, D. & Lubans, D.R. (2020) Review of High-Intensity Interval Training for Cognitive and Mental Health in Youth.

Is there a Relationship between Diet & Mental Health in Children & Adolescents?

Research Paper Title

Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review.

Background

The researchers systematically reviewed 12 epidemiological studies to determine whether an association exists between diet quality and patterns and mental health in children and adolescents; 9 explored the relationship using diet as the exposure, and 3 used mental health as the exposure.

They found evidence of a significant, cross-sectional relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents.

They observed a consistent trend for the relationship between good-quality diet and better mental health and some evidence for the reverse.

When including only the 7 studies deemed to be of high methodological quality, all but 1 of these trends remained.

Findings highlight the potential importance of the relationship between dietary patterns or quality and mental health early in the life span.

Reference

O’Neil, A., Quirk, S.E., Housden, S.E.Q., Brennan, S.L., Williams, L.J., Pasco, J.A., Berk. M. & Jacka, F.N. (2020) Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review. American Journal of Public Health. 104(10), pp.e31-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302110.

Book: Internet Addiction in Children and Adolescents

Book Title:

Internet Addiction in Children and Adolescents: Risk Factors, Assessment, and Treatment.

Author(s): Kimberly S. Young and Cristiano Nabuco de Abreu (Editors).

Year: 2017.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Springer Publishing Co Inc.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

This is the first book to thoroughly examine how early and easy access to the Internet and digital technologies impacts children and adolescents. Experts in the field examine the research that shows the social, cognitive, developmental, and academic problems that can result when children spend excessive time in front of screens. As a whole, the book provides an invaluable resource for those who need to assess, treat, and prevent Internet addiction in children and adolescents.

Internet Addiction in Children and Adolescents:

  • Provides tools that help predict a child’s level of risk for media-related problems.
  • Examines how to diagnose and differentiate Internet addiction from other psychiatric conditions.
  • Explores evidence-based treatment approaches and how to distinguish pathology from normal development.
  • Shows how to create inpatient treatment programs and therapies to address media addiction.
  • Highlights the psychological, social, and family conditions for those most at risk.
  • Evaluates the effects of the excessive use of electronic games and the Internet on brain development.
  • Explores the physical risks that result from excessive media use and strategies for combating the problem.
  • Examines school-based initiatives that employ policies and procedures designed to increase awareness of excessive media use and help educators identify students who misuse technology, and that provide strategies of intervention and communication with parents.
  • Identifies signs of problem Internet behavior such as aggressive behavior, lying about screen use, and a preference for screen time over social interactions.
  • Outlines the risk factors for developing Internet addiction.
  • Provides strategies for treatment and prevention in family, school, and community settings.

Practitioners and researchers in psychology, social work, school counseling, child and family therapy, and nursing will appreciate this book’s thorough review of Internet addiction among children and adolescents. The book also serves as an engaging supplement in courses on media psychology, addiction counseling, abnormal psychology, school counseling, social issues, and more.

Book: Coping Skills for Teens Workbook

Book Title:

Coping Skills for Teens Workbook – 60 Helpful Ways to Deal with Stress, Anxiety and Anger.

Author(s): Janine Halloran (Author), Amy Maranville (Editor), and Meg Garcia (Illustrator).

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Encourage Play, LLC.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

A teen version of the #1 Bestselling Coping Skills for Kids Workbook, this version is written specifically with a tween/teen audience (age 11+) in mind.

There are 60 coping strategies included in the book, and it is divided into Coping Styles to make searching for a coping skill easier.

This book also includes several pages to support teens as they work on their coping skills, including: Feelings Tracker Worksheet Identifying Triggers and Making a Plan Positive to Negative Thoughts Worksheet Journal Pages Wellness Worksheets, including a Self-Care PlanThere’s also a rich resource section full of apps, books, card decks, and other resources to help teens deal with stress, anxiety and anger.

Linking PTSD and the Parents of Children with Cancer

Research Paper Title

Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms among Lithuanian Parents Raising Children with Cancer.

Background

The study aims to evaluate post-traumatic stress symptom expression among Lithuanian parents raising children with cancer, including social, demographic, and medical factors, and to determine their significance for the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Methods

The study was carried out in two major Lithuanian hospitals treating children with oncologic diseases. The cross-sectional study included 195 parents, out of which 151 were mothers (77.4%) and 44 were fathers (22.6%). Post-traumatic stress symptoms were assessed using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised. To collect the sociodemographic, childhood cancer, and treatment data, we developed a questionnaire that was completed by the parents. Main study results were obtained using multiple linear regression.

Results

A total of 75.4% of parents caring for children with cancer had pronounced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The female gender (β = 0.83, p < 0.001) was associated with an increased manifestation of symptoms, whilst higher parental education (β = -0.21, p = 0.034) and the absence of relapse (β = -0.48, p < 0.001) of the child’s disease reduced post-traumatic stress symptom expression.

Conclusions

Obtained results confirmed that experiencing a child’s cancer diagnosis and treatment is extremely stressful for many parents. This event may lead to impaired mental health and increased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) risk; hence, it is necessary to provide better support and assistance to parents of children with cancer.

Reference

Baniene, I. & Zemaitiene, N. (2020) Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms among Lithuanian Parents Raising Children with Cancer. Children (Basel, Switzerland). 7(9), pp.116. doi: 10.3390/children7090116.

Book: Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health

Book Title:

Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

Author(s): Anne Claveirole and Martin Gaughan (Editors).

Year: 2010.

Edition: First (1st), Illustrated Edition.

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health has been designed to help the student and newly qualified health care professional to familiarise themselves with the key theoretical frameworks underpinning the field of children and young people’s mental health.

It explores the mental health challenges that children and young people face, and how we as adults can work alongside them to help them face and overcome such challenges.

This book provides comprehensive information on the theory and practice of particular mental health difficulties which children and young people may have to face, including self-harm, depression, suicide, child abuse, eating disorders, substance misuse, and early onset psychosis.

Understanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health is essential reading for pre-registration students in nursing and healthcare on child and mental health branches, and for newly qualified nursing, health and social care practitioners who work with children and young people.

  • Brings together specialist practitioners and academics in the field
  • Incorporates the latest guidelines and policies.
  • Practical and accessible in style with learning outcomes, activities, examples and recommended reading in each chapter.

What is the Impact of COVID-19 & Lockdown on the Mental Health of Children & Adolescents?

Research Paper Title

Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations.

Background

COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has brought about a sense of fear and anxiety around the globe. This phenomenon has led to short term as well as long term psychosocial and mental health implications for children and adolescents.

The quality and magnitude of impact on minors is determined by many vulnerability factors like developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health condition, being economically underprivileged or being quarantined due to infection or fear of infection.

This paper is aimed at narratively reviewing various articles related to mental-health aspects of children and adolescents impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and enforcement of nationwide or regional lockdowns to prevent further spread of infection.

Methods

The researchers conducted a review and collected articles and advisories on mental health aspects of children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They selected articles and thematically organised them. The researchers put up their major findings under the thematic areas of impact on young children, school and college going students, children and adolescents with mental health challenges, economically underprivileged children, impact due to quarantine and separation from parents and the advisories of international organisations. They have also provided recommendations to the above.

Conclusions

There is a pressing need for planning longitudinal and developmental studies, and implementing evidence based elaborative plan of action to cater to the psycho social and mental health needs of the vulnerable children and adolescents during pandemic as well as post pandemic.

There is a need to ameliorate children and adolescents’ access to mental health support services geared towards providing measures for developing healthy coping mechanisms during the current crisis.

For this innovative, child and adolescent mental health policies with direct and digital collaborative networks of psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians, and community volunteers are deemed necessary.

Reference

Singh, S., Roy, D., Sinha, K., Parveen, S. Sharma, G. & Joshi, G. (2020) Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Research. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113429. Online ahead of print.