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Communities in DSpace
Building Compassionate Schools: Pilot Study of a Compassionate Mind Training Intervention to Promote Teachers’ Well-beingMounting research has supported the beneficial effects of compassion-based interventions for improving psychosocial and physiological well-being and mental health. Teachers present a high risk of professional stress, which negatively impacts their mental health and professional performance. It is crucial to make compassion cultivation a focus in educational settings, supporting teachers in coping with the school context’s challenges, and promoting their mental well-being. This study aims to test the feasibility of the Compassionate Mind Training programme for Teachers (CMT-T), as well as to preliminary explore possible mechanisms of change. Participants were 31 teachers from one public school in the centre region of Portugal, who underwent the CMT-T, a six-module Compassionate Mind Training group intervention for teachers. Feasibility was assessed in six domains (acceptability, implementation, practicality, adaptation, integration, and preliminary effectiveness), using self-reports, overall programme assessment, attrition, attendance, and home practice. Using a pre-post within-subject design, changes were assessed in self-reported psychological distress, burnout, well-being, compassion, and self-criticism. Mediation analysis for repeated measures designs was used to explore mechanisms of change. The CMT-T was feasible in all the six domains. Participants revealed significant decreases in depression, stress, and fears of compassion to others, as well as significant increases in compassion to others, self-compassion, and compassion to others’ motivations and actions after the CMT-T intervention. When self-criticism was controlled, decreases in burnout and increases in satisfaction with professional life, and self-compassion, were also found. Fears of compassion for others mediated the impact of CMT-T on teachers’ burnout, and self-compassion mediated the intervention effect on psychological well-being. This pilot study provides evidence that CMT-T is feasible and may be effective in promoting teachers’ compassionate motivations, attributes, and actions towards others and themselves and improving their mental health and well-being. These promising findings warrant further investigation within a randomized controlled trial.
Gut-Derived Endotoxin and Telomere Length Attrition in Adults with and without Type 2 DiabetesPremature aging, as denoted by a reduced telomere length (TL), has been observed in several chronic inflammatory diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, no study to date has addressed the potential inflammatory influence of the gut-derived Gram-negative bacterial fragments lipopolysaccharide, also referred to as endotoxin, and its influence on TL in low-grade inflammatory states such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The current study therefore investigated the influence of endotoxin and inflammatory factors on telomere length (TL) in adults with (T2DM: n = 387) and without (non-diabetic (ND) controls: n = 417) obesity and T2DM. Anthropometric characteristics were taken, and fasted blood samples were used to measure biomarkers, TL, and endotoxin. The findings from this study highlighted across all participants that circulating endotoxin (r = −0.17, p = 0.01) was inversely associated with TL, noting that endotoxin and triglycerides predicted 18% of the variance perceived in TL (p < 0.001). Further stratification of the participants according to T2DM status and sex highlighted that endotoxin significantly predicted 19% of the variance denoted in TL among male T2DM participants (p = 0.007), where TL was notably influenced. The influence on TL was not observed to be impacted by anti-T2DM medications, statins, or anti-hypertensive therapies. Taken together, these results show that TL attrition was inversely associated with circulating endotoxin levels independent of the presence of T2DM and other cardiometabolic factors, suggesting that low-grade chronic inflammation may trigger premature biological aging. The findings further highlight the clinical relevance of mitigating the levels of circulating endotoxin (e.g., manipulation of gut microbiome) not only for the prevention of chronic diseases but also to promote healthy aging.
‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’ Support for children with SEND in times of austerityThis chapter considers some of the moral and theoretical perspectives around the debate surrounding the allocation of resources in schools in recent times. It examines if there are any moral imperatives around the debates on how we fund education for all children, but particularly those with a Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND). The author explores what responses we can and should make when faced with difficult choices around funding and what current theory and argument can do to support us in making considered, proactive, positive and empowering choices.
Improving recognition and support for women experiencing the menopauseMenopause most commonly occurs in women aged 45-55 and may last for many years. The experience of menopause is a very individual one though many common symptoms are reported such as insomnia, hot flushes, anxiety and poor memory. Many workplaces have no recognition of the disabling effects that menopause can have nor any supportive infrastructure. Nor do workplaces have well informed managers or staff, unsurprising when women themselves often cannot recognise menopause. In addition, symptoms can be interpreted as mental illness. Medical research tends to conceptualise the psychological effects of menopause as psychiatric disorder, but this is not necessarily helpful when treatments for menopause will alleviate experiences rather than the potential inappropriate prescribing of antidepressants for example. Professional awareness is poor generally but there are many actions that can be taken to improve recognition and support; evaluate your services, introduction of specific assessment and information resources for staff and patients and also provide reasonable adjustments. Taking individual responsibility for improving knowledge and skills in this area will mean we can all contribute to a better and more effective environment for women where they feel that their needs are addressed, without having to wait for access to ‘specialist’ services, if available.
Patient-reported factors associated with degree of pain medication dependence and presence of severe dependence among spinal outpatientsTo identify risk factors for pain medication dependence. Chronic spinal pain outpatients (n=106) completed the Leeds Dependence. Questionnaire (LDQ) and measures of potential risk factors. Participants with high (n=3) and low (n=3) dependence were interviewed. Mean LDQ score was 11.52 (SD 7.35) and 15/106 participants (14.2%) were severely dependent (LDQ ≥20). In linear regression, pain intensity (β=0.313, p<0.001), being disabled by pain (β=0.355, p<0.001), borrowing pain medication (β=0.209, p=0.006), and emergency phone calls or clinic visits (β=0.169, p=0.029) were associated with degree of dependence across the range of LDQ scores. In logistic regression, pain intensity (p=0.001) and borrowing pain medication (p=0.004) increased the odds of severe dependence. Interviewees described how their pain influenced their pain medication use and one described pain medication addiction. Interventions to reduce pain intensity and pain-related disability may reduce pain medication dependence.