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Handouts & questionnaires for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - first post

PLEASE NOTE: This blog post dates back to December 2008.  All the questionnaires on this page, updated scoring details for the IES-R, the widely used Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory, descriptions of how to do "reliving" of the trauma, written accounts, and site visits, as well as a series of other updated PTSD-relevant questionnaires and handouts are available on the relevant "Good knowledge" page of this website - "PTSD assessment, images, memories & assessment".  Also of relevance (particularly for child abuse) is the page "Life review, traumatic memories & therapeutic writing".

New Year’s resolution – would you like to be happier?

So here's a blast from the past ... that could be fun and useful for a New Year's resolution.  I first came across Michael Fordyce's research year's ago (Fordyce 1977; Fordyce 1983).  It was probably the first serious scientific exploration of how to help people become happier that I'd ever read.  The approach involves a training called the "Fourteen Fundamentals".  These are fourteen characteristics of happy people, extracted from research, that Fordyce argued most people could develop for themselves.  The "Fundamentals" are: 1.) Be more active and keep busy.  2.) Spend more time socializing.  3.) Be productive at meaningful work.  4.) Get better organized and plan things out.  5.) Stop worrying.  6.) Lower your expectations and aspirations.  7.) Develop positive optimistic thinking.  8.) Get present orientated.  9.) WOAHP - work on a healthy personality. 10.) Develop an outgoing, social personality.  11.) Be yourself.  12.) Eliminate negative feelings and problems.  13.) Close relationships are the #1 source of happiness. 14.) VALHAP (value happiness) - the "secret fundamental".

Recent research: prevention & treatment of overweight with changed eating behaviours, energy density & breastfeeding

Here are six studies on eating and weight.  The first, by Maruyama and colleagues, demonstrates a strong association between both "eating until full" and "eating quickly" and the chances of being overweight.  The linked BMJ editorial by Denney-Wilson & Campbell discusses these findings further, including suggesting that "Clinicians should encourage parents to adopt a child led feeding strategy that acknowledges a child's desire to stop eating that begins from birth. Reassure parents that well children don't starve."  Unfortunately Llewellyn et al show that eating rate seems to be partly genetically determined - an even stronger reason to work hard to go against any tendency to gobble food.  The Denney-Wilson editorial gives other ways to encourage weight loss, and Leahy and colleagues underlines the value of one such approach - reducing the energy density (ED) of diets " ...  by decreasing fat and sugar and by increasing fruit and vegetables."  Children whose diet was changed in this way " ...

Handouts & questionnaires for health anxiety disorder

Here are the two main questionnaires currently used to assess Health Anxiety Disorder - the HAI and the HAQ.  The HAI is the one recommended by the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative.  I've also added a scale put together by Adrian Wells that assesses safety behaviours and extent of disease belief.  Finally there is a classic CBT thoughts record.  I don't use these kinds of records much any more, but I've added it for 'completeness'.

Health anxiety inventory (HAI) - the 18 item (short form) HAI is the disorder specific scale recommended by the IAPT initiative.  The third page of the download gives typical scores for a Health Anxiety group, a more general anxiety group, a control group, and so on.   

Health anxiety questionnaire (HAQ) - this 21 item health anxiety questionnaire yields four subscales, which can make it easier therapeutically to target specific behaviours like reassurance seeking.  The third page of the download gives some idea of likely scores in different disorders.

Barbara Fredrickson’s recent research study on loving-kindness meditation (third post)

What are some implications for using forms of mind training for ourselves and for teaching others?  Reading this research study leads me to think about optimum amount of time spent practising these methods, the importance of encouraging application during daily life.  I discuss these issues in this blog posting.  It would also be fascinating and helpful to look at the challenge of maintaining the practices over time, and to consider how different forms of mind training can be directed at different targets - for example, easing symptoms, encouraging particular positive emotions (e.g. compassion, gratitude & contentment), targeting specific key wellbeing needs (e.g. self-determination theory's autonomy, competence & relatedness), and helping people live their personal values.

Recent research: mind-body & body-mind effects for cancer, allergy, dementia, & mental health

Here are five studies on the loose theme of how the mind affects the body, and the body affects the mind ... and that the distinction between mind and body is pretty arbitrary anyway.  Using meta-analysis, Chida & colleagues highlight considerable evidence suggesting that stress-related psychosocial factors have an adverse effect on cancer incidence and survival.  Andersen & colleagues report a randomized controlled trial to respond to this in women diagnosed with breast cancer.  Women in the stress management arm of the study received an initial one-year, 26 session intervention in groups of 8 to 12 people.  The aim was to reduce distress and improve quality of life, improve health behaviors (diet, exercise, smoking cessation), and facilitate cancer treatment compliance and medical follow-up.

Handouts & questionnaires for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Here are a series of assessment questionnaires and handouts for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

GAD, 2 question screen - answering "yes" to either of the two screening questions on this sheet suggests it's worth checking for a diagnosis of full Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - for example by using the GADQ (see below).

GAD, questionnaire (GADQ) - a simple questionnaire for making a full diagnosis of GAD.

GAD, assessment (GADSS) and scoring - the GAD Severity Scale.  Useful, and pays more attention to GAD's associated physical symptoms than the more purely worry-focussed scales that are often used.

GAD, metacognitions (Wells) - GAD assessment scale developed by Wells.  Includes measures of safety behaviours and metacognitions.

Barbara Fredrickson’s recent research study on loving-kindness meditation (second post)

I have already written an initial blog post about Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues' interesting recent research paper (Fredrickson, Cohn et al. 2008) on the effects of teaching people loving-kindness meditation.  So what are some possible implications of this research for people in general, for using forms of mind training (meditation, imagery, breathing techniques, self-hypnosis and relaxation) for ourselves, and for people who teach these approaches?

Recent research: six studies on depression – bereavement, pregnancy, bipolar disorder, suicide, & stress in hospital staff

Five of these six studies are from last month's American Journal of Psychiatry.  Kendler et al discuss the many similarities and only occasional differences between bereavement-related and other life event-related depression - an issue explored further in Maj's editorial.  Li et al show that depression in pregnancy (exacerbated further by stressful life events and obesity) increases the risk of preterm delivery.  Miklowitz reviews research on the value of adjunctive psychotherapy for bipolar disorder sufferers (already taking medication) and discusses the various ways it can be helpful.  Oquendo et al (in a freely viewable editorial) argue that suicidal behaviour should be placed on a "separate axis" in the next version of the DSM diagnostic system.  Finally Vertanen et al, in an interesting study, demonstrate that increased hospital overcrowding - measured by bed occupancy rates - is associated with increased use of antidepressants by hospital staff.

Kendler, K. S., J. Myers, et al. (2008). "Does Bereavement-Related Major Depression Differ From Major Depression Associated With Other Stressful Life Events?" Am J Psychiatry 165(11): 1449-1455.  [Abstract/Full Text]  

Handouts & questionnaires for obsessive compulsive disorder & body dysmorphic disorder

Here are a collection of downloadable forms, questionnaires and handouts that I use when working with people struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder.

Normal intrusions - a list of 52 "normal intrusive thoughts" with the percentage of 293 students (none of whom had been diagnosed with a mental health problem) who reported that they had experienced this thought.  I often hand out this leaflet to help people realize that experiencing occasional disturbing intrusive thoughts is totally normal.

OCD diagnosis & prevalence - leaflet giving DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder and some details of prevalence rates.