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- ItemStreet children and political violence: a socio-demographic analysis of street children in Rwanda(Elsevier, 2003-01-14) Veale, Angela; Dona, GiorgiaObjective: The aims were: (1) to examine the profile of African street children and to assess the link between street children in Africa and political violence; (2) to undertake a systematic examination of causal factors of street children in postgenocide Rwanda; and (3) to situate this analysis in the context of the socio-cultural and political impact of the genocide on Rwandan communities. Method: Observational mapping examined the profile and activities of Rwandan street children. Structured interviews were carried out with 290 children in four regional towns to obtain information on socio-demographic, familial, educational background, causal factors surrounding street life involvement, psychological well-being, and relationship to the street. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews examined the relationship between street children and the broader Rwandan society. Results: Street children in Rwanda were predominantly adolescent boys, almost half of whom were homeless (42%), with a high proportion of orphaned children or children who had lost at least one parent. Two variables predicted homelessness: child’s guardian and reason for being in street. Qualitative accounts of children conveyed the impact of death of family members, repatriation, imprisonment of parents, and poverty on their lives. Conclusions: The analysis highlighted the need for community based support for children in alternative guardianship care and for policies to support the reintegration of male youths in postconflict welfare strategies as prevention strategies for street migration.
- ItemPsychosocial interventions and children's rights: beyond clinical discourse(Taylor & Francis, 2003-11) Dona, Giorgia; Veale, AngelaThere has been a significant increase in psychosocial interventions in the aftermath of ethno-political violence. This paper critically examines the contribution of psychosocial interventions to the broader development agenda of reconstruction and rehabilitation. Using Rwanda as an example, we undertake a brief psychologically informed analysis of the factors that contributed to genocide, as a means of outlining the political and cultural context in which psychosocial interventions operate. During the violence, ethnicity was politically mobilized, communities polarized, and social networks fragmented. An analysis of psychosocial interventions for children demonstrates that the implications of social power and status are seldom examined before reintegration and community-based psychosocial interventions are implemented. We explore the potential impact of a narrow focus on victims and survivors on societal rehabilitation, and reflect on the implications of how 'trauma'-a dominant discourse-may be appropriated and politicized as a symbol of genocide and political legitimacy. The paper concludes with an analysis of what a human rights framework can contribute to linking psychosocial work more centrally to broader political and development analysis.
- ItemConcrete and abstract concepts in school age children(De Gruyter Open, 2004) Caramelli, Nicoletta; Setti, Annalisa; Maurizzi, Donatella D.The aim of this study is to highlight what kind of information distinguishes abstract and concrete conceptual knowledge in different aged children. A familiarity-rating task has shown that 8-year-olds judged concrete concepts as very familiar while abstract concepts were judged as much less familiar with ratings increasing substantially from age 10 to age 12, according to literature showing that abstract terms are not mastered until adolescence (Schwanenflugel, 1991). The types of relation elicited by abstract and concrete concepts during development were investigated in an association production task. At all considered age levels, concrete concepts mainly activated attributive and thematic relations as well as, to a much lesser extent, taxonomic relations and stereotypes. Abstract concepts, instead, elicited mainly thematic relations and, to a much lesser extent, examples and taxonomic relations. The patterns of relations elicited were already differentiated by age 8, becoming more specific in abstract concepts with age.
- ItemPlacebos in medicine: medical paradoxes need disentangling(BMJ Publishing Group Limited, 2005-01) Di Blasi, Zelda; Reilly, David
- ItemBias control in bodywork therapies: a review of methodological issues(Mary Ann Liebert Inc., 2005-04) Mehling, Wolf E.; Di Blasi, Zelda; Hecht, FrederickOBJECTIVE: To review and summarize the methodological challenges in clinical trials of bodywork or handson mind-body therapies such as Feldenkrais Method, Alexander Technique, Trager Work, Eutony, Body Awareness Therapy, Breath Therapy, and Rolfing, and to discuss ways these challenges can be addressed. DESIGN: Review and commentary. METHODS: Search of databases PubMed and EMBASE and screening of bibliographies. Published clinical studies were included if they used individual hands-on approaches and a focus on body awareness, and were not based on technical devices. RESULTS: Of the 53 studies identified, 20 fulfilled inclusion criteria. No studies blinded subject to the treatment being given, but 5 used an alternative treatment and blinded participants to differential investigator expectations of efficacy. No study used a credible placebo intervention. No studies reported measures of patient expectations. Patient expectations have been measured in studies of other modalities but not of hands-on mind-body therapies. Options are presented for minimizing investigator and therapist bias and bias from differential patient expectations, and for maintaining some control for nonspecific treatment effects. Practical issues with recruitment and attrition resulting from volunteer bias are addressed. CONCLUSIONS: Rigorous clinical trials of hands-on complementary and alternative therapy interventions are scarce, needed, and feasible. Difficulties with blinding, placebo, and recruitment can be systematically addressed by various methods that minimize the respective biases. The methods suggested here may enhance the rigor of further explanatory trials.
- ItemReactions to treatment debriefing among the participants of a placebo controlled trial(BioMed Central Ltd., 2005-04-22) Di Blasi, Zelda; Crawford, Fay; Bradley, Colin P.; Kleijnen, Jos; Medical Research Council, United Kingdom; Chief Scientist Office, ScotlandBACKGROUND: A significant proportion of trial participants respond to placebos for a variety of conditions. Despite the common conduct of these trials and the strong emphasis placed on informed consent, very little is known about informing participants about their individual treatment allocation at trial closure. This study aims to address this gap in the literature by exploring treatment beliefs and reactions to feedback about treatment allocation in the participants of a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (RCT). METHODS: Survey of trial participants using a semi-structured questionnaire including close and open-ended questions administered as telephone interviews and postal questionnaires. Trial participants were enrolled in a double-blind placebo-controlled RCT evaluating the effectiveness of corticosteroid for heel pain (ISRCTN36539116). The trial had closed and participants remained blind to treatment allocation. We assessed treatment expectations, the percentage of participants who wanted to be informed about their treatment allocation, their ability to guess and reactions to debriefing. RESULTS: Forty-six (73%) contactable participants responded to our survey. Forty-two were eligible (four participants with bilateral disease were excluded as they had received both treatments). Most (79%) participants did not have any expectations prior to receiving treatment, but many 'hoped' that something would help. Reasons for not having high expectations included the experimental nature of their care and possibility that they may get a placebo. Participants were hopeful because their pain was so severe and because they trusted the staff and services. Most (83%) wanted to be informed about their treatment allocation and study results. Over half (55%) said they could not guess which treatment they had been randomized to, and many of those who attempted a guess were incorrect. Reactions to treatment debriefing were generally positive, including in placebo responders. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that most trial participants want to be informed about their treatment allocation and trial results. Further research is required to develop measure of hope and expectancy and to rigorously evaluate the effects of debriefing prospectively.
- ItemA review of South African research in the field of dynamic assessment(Psychological Society of South Africa, 2006-03) Murphy, Raegan; Maree, David J. F.Dynamic assessment, which is often characterised by the learning potential approach across the world and in South Africa, is receiving more attention from educators and research practitioners alike. When compared to the status of international research, local dynamic assessment research can still be regarded as being in its infancy. A selection of studies conducted within this domain was analysed and the results carefully assessed in terms of positive and negative findings to serve as an indication of the trends that this discipline may face in South Africa. The main findings indicate that although the field is still being researched today, there has been a decrease in the number of studies as well as a concomitant decrease in the implementation of dynamic research efforts. The reasons cited are a lack of time, costs, inefficiencies and also confusion as to what dynamic assessment entails. There is, as yet, no consistent definition of dynamic assessment in South Africa, which makes it all the harder to entrench dynamic assessment as a methodology and implement it on as wide a scale as possible.
- ItemPolish children's productivity with case marking: the role of regularity, type frequency, and phonological diversity(Cambridge University Press, 2006-08) Dabrowska, Eva; Szczerbinski, Marcin; British Academy, United Kingdom57 Polish-speaking children aged from 2;4, to 4;8 and 16 adult controls participated in a nonce-word inflection experiment testing their ability to use the genitive, dative and accusative inflections productively. Results show that this ability develops early: the majority of two-year olds were already productive with all inflections apart from dative neuter; and the overall performance of the four-year-olds was very similar to that of adults. All age groups were more productive with inflections that apply to large and/or phonologically diverse classes, although class size and token frequency appeared to be more important for younger children (two- and three-year-olds) and phonological diversity for older children and adults. Regularity, on the other hand, was a very poor predictor of productivity. The results support usage-based models of language acquisition and are problematic for the dual mechanism model.
- ItemDynamic assessment precursors: Soviet ideology and Vygotsky(2008-04) Murphy, RaeganDynamic assessment’s history stretches back to antiquity but its formal beginnings are more recent. The dynamic assessment movement, inspired largely by the works of Binet, Vygotsky and Feuerstein, has coalesced into a mightier movement precipitating a testing renaissance in some circles. Forerunners of dynamic assessment often credit the works of Vygotsky but similarly do not credit the socio-political times during which he worked. This article seeks to extract what is considered pertinent to Vygotsky’s theoretical work: the times in which he lived and how he successfully managed to negotiate for himself a path around the constraints of the day. In order to more fully appreciate the trajectory that dynamic assessment has subsequently followed during the last seventy years it is deemed a worthwhile effort to return to the historical record of Soviet Psychology and investigate how dynamic assessment managed to become grounded in psychological science due largely to socio-historical influences. In order to fully comprehend the dynamic assessment movement a similar comprehension of the movement’s history is sought. How and why Vygotsky theorized the way he did has as much to do with his own initial thoughts as it did with the reigning political ideology then current in the Soviet Union.
- ItemGlobal and local perceptual style, field-independence, and central coherence: an attempt at concept validation(Faculty of Psychology, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, 2009) Milne, Elizabeth; Szczerbinski, Marcin; University of Sheffield, United KingdomHistorically, the concepts of field-independence, closure flexibility, and weak central coherence have been used to denote a locally, rather globally, dominated perceptual style. To date, there has been little attempt to clarify the relationship between these constructs, or to examine the convergent validity of the various tasks purported to measure them. To address this, we administered 14 tasks that have been used to study visual perceptual styles to a group of 90 neuro-typical adults. The data were subjected to exploratory factor analysis. We found evidence for the existence of a narrowly defined weak central coherence (field-independence) factor that received loadings from only a few of the tasks used to operationalise this concept. This factor can most aptly be described as representing the ability to dis-embed a simple stimulus from a more complex array. The results suggest that future studies of perceptual styles should include tasks whose theoretical validity is empirically verified, as such validity cannot be established merely on the basis of a priori task analysis. Moreover, the use of multiple indices is required to capture the latent dimensions of perceptual styles reliably.
- ItemWczesne predyktory trudności w czytaniu i pisaniu.(Polskie Towarzystwo Dysleksji Warszawski Oddzial nr 1, 2009) Szczerbinski, Marcin; Sosin, Ireny; Matraszek, Małgorzaty
- ItemPerspectives on female sexual offending in an Irish context(Social Care Ireland, 2009-09) Lambert, Sharon; Hammond, SeanThe issue of child sexual abuse perpetrated by women has received little recognition by researchers and when the subject is addressed it is often dismissed as being a rare event. It is only in the last decade that greater interest has been shown in the area of female-perpetrated sexual abuse of children. This is due to the dramatic increase of research into all types of sexual offending and the decrease in the taboo surrounding victimisation. Current literature in the area has largely looked at the development of typologies and establishing prevalence rates. More recently research has focused on ‘barriers’ to recognising this type of abuse. The purpose of this paper is to identify Irish perspectives on female sexual abusers and how this relates to the current literature. A questionnaire was distributed to health care professionals and volunteer workers in children’s charities. The results indicate that there is confusion about how to manage female sexual abusers and this is similar to other research findings in the area.
- ItemRevisiting core issues in dynamic assessment(Psychological Society of South Africa, 2009-12) Murphy, Raegan; Maree, David J. F.Dynamic assessment is currently poised at a juncture at which theoretical and practical assessment resolutions are necessitated. Such issues concern theoretical approaches towards psycho-educational assessment. In order to partially explore these basic assessment approaches, a questionnaire was delivered via electronic mail to one hundred internationally, currently active dynamic assessment researchers and practitioners. The findings from the responses formed the basis for an informal content analysis, which was conducted utilising themes as primary meaning unit and word counts as secondary meaning unit of analyses. The one common and uniting feature about the current research in this area is the broad range of theoretical approaches towards assessment and the current lack of unanimity across types of approaches. Responses showed that varied theoretical frameworks are employed in dynamic assessments which do not necessarily cohere with other traditional approaches. It is contended that an exploratory revisiting of core assessment approaches would assist in positioning practitioners’ and researchers’ theoretical approaches in future assessments.
- ItemIndividual through community resilience in social reintegration of children associated with armed forces and groups(Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, 2010-01) Veale, Angela; Dowdney, LindaIn “Trauma, resilience, healing-How do we move forward?” Dowdney (2007) utilised "resilience" as an integrative concept in the psychosocial field as it had the potential to bridge mental health and community-based approaches to social reintegration. Since then, empirical evidence on psychosocial adjustment and social reintegation has found that while the majority of former child soldiers are resilient and reintegrate successfully, there are those that do not. Youth perceived by community members to have been actively involved in killing experience more discrimination and less community acceptance (Betancourt et al, 2010), as also do those discriminated against for other reasons such as having returned home with "rebel" babies (McKay & Mazurana, 2004) or as a result of extreme poverty and being perceived as having nothing to offer. It remains a challenge in psychosocial practice as to how we can best support those who are experiencing major difficulties in social reintegration. This paper explores whether "resilience" can offer us a conceptual tool in the social reintegration of former child soldiers that continue to experience significant challenges.
- ItemTemperament and character correlates of neuropsychological performance(Psychological Society of South Africa, 2010-06) Cassimjee, Nafisa; Murphy, RaeganWe investigate the association between temperament and character dimensions, on the one hand,and computerised neuropsychological test performance, on the other hand. Temperament and character dimensions were operationalised as scores on the subscales of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI), a 240-item measure that is based on the psychobiological theory of personality. Neuropsychological outcomes were measured on six computerised tests of executive functioning and abstract reasoning from the University of Pennsylvania Computerised Neuropsychological Test Battery (PennCNP). The executive and abstract reasoning tasks included a test of Motor Praxis (MPRAXIS), the Penn Abstraction, Inhibition and Working Memory Task (AIM), the Letter-N-Back (LNB2), the Penn Conditional Exclusion Task (PCET), the Penn Short Logical Reasoning Task (SPVRT) and the Short Raven s Progressive Matrices (SRAVEN). Results from this exploratory study yielded significant associations between neuropsychological performance and temperament and character traits. The temperament traits of Harm Avoidance and Reward Dependencewere positively correlated with reaction time on the AIM and the SPVRT. The character dimension of Self-Transcendence was significantly associated with performance accuracy on the AIM and the temperament dimension of Novelty Seeking was inversely related to performance accuracy on the LNB2. These results confirm the importance of addressing the temperament and character correlates of neuropsychological performance in both clinical and non-clinical studies.
- ItemIntroduction to psychological assessment in the South African context(Psychological Society of South Africa, 2010-06) Murphy, RaeganThe article reviews the book "Introduction to Psychological Assessment in the South African context," edited by C. Foxcroft and G. Roodt.
- ItemTransitional justice, post-conflict agendas, and psychology(Taylor & Francis, 2010-07-10) Veale, AngelaBook Review: Hamber, Brandon (2009)Transforming Societies After Political Violence: Truth, Reconciliation, and Mental Health, Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. isbn: 978-0-387-89426-3
- ItemThe effect of varying practitioner communication on patients' health status and treatment outcomes(JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd., 2010-10) Verheul, William; Mistiaen, Patriek; Di Blasi, Zelda; Kok, Louise; van Dulmen, Sandra; Bensing, Jozien; Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, NetherlandsThis is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows: To assess the effects of interventions in which healthcare practitioner communication in face-to-face consultations with patients is experimentally varied in comparison to usual care or contrasted active control interventions, on patient health and treatment outcomes. A secondary aim is to investigate if the intervention effect is modified by intervention type, type of illness, length of follow-up, type of outcome and the way the subjects are exposed to communication in studies (real versus simulated).
- ItemGender-based insecurity and opportunities for peace: supporting the reintegration of young war-affected mothers.(United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), 2011) Worthen, Miranda; McKay, Susan; Veale, Angela; Wessells, MikeIn conflicts throughout the world, armed forces and groups recruit children to fight, maintain their camps, perform labor and be used for sexual purposes. The experiences of children associated with armed forces and groups (CAAFAG) are not uniform, nor can there be a uniform approach to helping them when the conflict is over. This article examines the gendered experiences of girls prior to recruitment, during their time with the fighting forces, through disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) processes, and in their communities after formal DDR has ended. We also present some of the experiences of the Participatory Action Research (PAR) Study with Young Mothers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Northern Uganda—a study conducted predominantly with former CAAFAG which used a highly participatory methodology to help participants attain community-based reintegration. In the PAR study young mother participants took a central role in the design and implementation of their reintegration process. A mixture of self-help style psychosocial support and livelihood support were critical to their success. As this population had exceptionally low social status, lacked confidence and self-respect, and did not have rudimentary economic skills at the start, social support and community mobilization were critical in laying the groundwork for livelihood activities and facilitating the sustainability of these activities.