Recent Submissions

  • Gut-Derived Endotoxin and Telomere Length Attrition in Adults with and without Type 2 Diabetes

    Al-Daghri, Nasser M.; Abdi, Saba; Sabico, Shaun; Alnaami, Abdullah M.; Wani, Kaiser A.; Ansari, Mohammed G. A.; Khattak, Malak Nawaz Khan; Khan, Nasiruddin; Tripathi, Gyanendra; Chrousos, George P.; et al. (MDPI AG, 2021-11-14)
    Premature 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.
  • Promoting Junior School Students’ Anti-bullying Beliefs with the CATZ Cross-age Teaching Zone Intervention

    Boulton, Michael J.; Macaulay, Peter J. R.; Atherton, Siobhan; Boulton, Louise; Colebourne, Tracey; Davies, Melanie; Down, James; Garner, Ian; Harriss, Bethan; Kenton, Laura; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-11-09)
    In tackling the widespread problem of bullying victimisation, researchers have acknowledged the value of focusing on changing bullying-related beliefs and using peer-based interventions. In three studies (N = 419, 237 intervention and 182 controls), we tested the effectiveness of the CATZ cross-age teaching programme by inviting small groups of 11-year-olds to incorporate information supporting positive beliefs (concerning non-physical forms of bullying, the value of disclosing being bullied to adults, and helping victims) into a lesson they devised for themselves and to deliver that to small groups of 9-year-olds. Specifically, we examined if the intervention would promote that (i) non-physical forms of bullying are unacceptable (study 1), (ii) disclosing bullying to adults and getting the right kind of help have value and importance (study 2), and (iii) victims can be assisted in safe ways (study 3). Self-reports of nine specific aspects of these beliefs were collected from CATZ tutors and age-matched controls prior to and following the intervention, and at five-week follow-up in one study, using both open and closed questions. Results indicated significant positive effects of CATZ on all nine outcome variables, with mostly medium and high effect sizes. These findings support the use of CATZ to foster positive anti-bullying beliefs, and issues related to its wider uptake are discussed.
  • Mission vs. Market: Theorizing the Tensions within Community Sport Trusts

    Bostock, James; woodward, jon; bull, mike; sibley, jonathan; university of derby; Manchester Metropolitan University (Common Ground Research Networks, 2021-11-17)
    With the withdrawal of the state from local sport provision in the UK, Community Sport Trusts (CSTs) have grown significantly. The growth of CSTs is a direct outcome of neoliberal and austerity policy contexts in the UK. Research on the commodification of services delivered by hybrid social organizations suggests tensions between mission and market (internal purpose versus external control). Yet little research to date has been conducted on CSTs, with even less research that takes a critical approach. We seek to begin to consider this research gap by theorizing the problem, by looking at the tensions in hybridity, social mission, enterprise objectives, and financial sustainability of CSTs. We approach this by theory building from an examination of multidisciplinary literature; community sport, nonprofit management, social enterprise, and social accounting literature to arrive at a conceptual model. This model contributes to knowledge by identifying and drawing out the tensions at play. We call for further theoretical and empirical research on CSTs that problematizes the “social” and draws attention to the inherent tensions in these hybrid business models, which are both academically under-explored and crucial to the success of a policy context where CSTs play a significant and expanding role in community sport delivery.
  • Transcriptome profile of the sinoatrial ring reveals conserved and novel genetic programs of the zebrafish pacemaker

    Minhas, Rashid; Loeffler-Wirth, Henry; Siddiqui, Yusra H; Obrębski, Tomasz; Vashisht, Shikha; Nahia, Karim Abu; Paterek, Alexandra; Brzozowska, Angelika; Bugajski, Lukasz; Piwocka, Katarzyna; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-10-02)
    Sinoatrial Node (SAN) is part of the cardiac conduction system, which controls the rhythmic contraction of the vertebrate heart. The SAN consists of a specialized pacemaker cell population that has the potential to generate electrical impulses. Although the SAN pacemaker has been extensively studied in mammalian and teleost models, including the zebrafish, their molecular nature remains inadequately comprehended. To characterize the molecular profile of the zebrafish sinoatrial ring (SAR) and elucidate the mechanism of pacemaker function, we utilized the transgenic line sqet33mi59BEt to isolate cells of the SAR of developing zebrafish embryos and profiled their transcriptome. Our analyses identified novel candidate genes and well-known conserved signaling pathways involved in pacemaker development. We show that, compared to the rest of the heart, the zebrafish SAR overexpresses several mammalian SAN pacemaker signature genes, which include hcn4 as well as those encoding calcium- and potassium-gated channels. Moreover, genes encoding components of the BMP and Wnt signaling pathways, as well as members of the Tbx family, which have previously been implicated in pacemaker development, were also overexpressed in the SAR. Among SAR-overexpressed genes, 24 had human homologues implicated in 104 different ClinVar phenotype entries related to various forms of congenital heart diseases, which suggest the relevance of our transcriptomics resource to studying human heart conditions. Finally, functional analyses of three SAR-overexpressed genes, pard6a, prom2, and atp1a1a.2, uncovered their novel role in heart development and physiology. Our results established conserved aspects between zebrafish and mammalian pacemaker function and revealed novel factors implicated in maintaining cardiac rhythm. The transcriptome data generated in this study represents a unique and valuable resource for the study of pacemaker function and associated heart diseases.
  • A qualitative exploration of the use of player loans to supplement the talent development process of professional footballers in the under 23 age group of English football academies

    Prendergast, Gareth; Gibson, Luke; University of Derby (Taylor Francis, 2021-10-27)
    A range of literature has contributed to talent development and career transition in professional football. Recently, attention has shifted to the under 23s age group of English football academies, highlighting limitations in the efficacy of this age group in developing professional footballers. Such limitations have led to players going on loan to football clubs in lower divisions to supplement their development; however, we have yet to develop a scholarly understanding of this approach. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the role of an under 23s player loan in developing professional footballers. Using a qualitative design, data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews with nine participants. Following a process of thematic analysis, findings highlighted the potential of a loan in contributing to a player’s physical and psycho-social development. Positive performances whilst on loan were also perceived to be contributing factors in increased first team selection opportunities at the player’s parent club. However, an emphasis was also placed on the need to provide consistent pastoral support to under 23s players during their loan period. Finally, more longitudinal methodologies are required to understand the individual and temporal nature of positive and negative loan experiences of under 23s players.
  • Influence of the COVID-19 Lockdown on the Physical and Psychosocial Well-being and Work Productivity of Remote Workers: Cross-sectional Correlational Study

    Tronco Hernández, Yessica Abigail; Fabio, Parente; Faghy, Mark; Roscoe, Clare M. P.; Maratos, Frances A.; University of Derby; University of Plymouth (JMIR, 2021)
    Background: Lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the living and working habits of millions of people, with potentially important implications for their physical, mental, and social well-being. Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on remote workers who were not directly affected by COVID-19. Methods: This was a correlational cross-sectional study (with an additional qualitative component) of 184 remote workers surveyed during the first COVID-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom. Standard measures of mental health (Kessler-6 Distress Scale), productivity (Brief Instrument to Assess Workers’ Productivity During a Working Day), and physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire) were used, and respondents were further surveyed on changes to their dietary, exercise, smoking, drinking, and socialization habits to produce a well-being change index. Results: The results revealed associations between sedentary behavior and poorer mental health (τb=0.14) and between poorer mental health and low work productivity (τb=–0.39). However, both positive and negative lifestyle changes were reported; a self-reported increase in well-being (with respect to diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and socialization) since the start of the pandemic was associated with both better mental health (τb=–0.14) and better work productivity (τb=0.14). Of note, among respondents without a mental health diagnosis (137/184, 74.4%), we observed rates of moderate (76/137, 55.5%) and severe (17/137, 12.4%) psychological distress, which were markedly higher than those reported in large prepandemic studies; moreover, 70.1% (129/184) of our respondents reported more sedentary behavior, 41% (129/168) increased their alcohol consumption, and 38.6% (71/184) increased their overall food intake. However, 46% (75/163), 44.8% (39/87) and 51.8% (57/110) of respondents reported spending more time walking and engaging in more moderate and vigorous exercise, respectively. Qualitative analysis revealed many positive adaptations to lockdowns (eg, decreased commuting expenses, flexibility) but also a number of structural obstacles to remote working (eg, lack of support and high expectations from employers, childcare duties). Conclusions: These findings may be of practical importance for policy makers and employers in a world in which work involves long-term remote or hybrid employment arrangements; strategies to promote more sustainable remote working are discussed.
  • Targeting Sedentary Behavior in Minority Populations as a Feasible Health Strategy during and beyond COVID-19: On Behalf of ACSM-EIM and HL-PIVOT

    Lassalle, Patricia Pagan; Meyer, Michelle L.; Conners, Ryan; Zieff, Gabriel; Rojas, Jacklyn; Faghy, Mark A.; Arena, Ross; Vermeesch, Amber; Joseph, Rodney P.; Stoner, Lee; et al. (Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), 2021-08-01)
    Increased sedentary behavior has been an unintended consequence of social and physical distancing restrictions needed to limit transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Sedentary behavior is defined as any waking behavior characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 METs while in a sitting, reclining, or lying posture. These restrictions negatively affect peoples’ cardiometabolic and mental health and disproportionately affect certain sectors of the population, including racial/ethnic minorities. In part, the higher risk for complications of COVID-19 could be the result of an increased prevalence of comorbid diseases. Further, regular participation and adherence to current physical activity guidelines, defined as at least 150 min·wk−1 of moderate-intensity physical activity or muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week, is challenging for many and may be especially difficult to achieve during the COVID-19 pandemic. A practical strategy to promote health and well-being during COVID-19 is reducing sedentary behavior. Reducing sedentary behaviors (e.g., breaking up periods of prolonged sitting with light-intensity physical activity) may be more easily achieved than physical activity for all individuals, including individuals of racial/ethnic decent, as it does not require purchasing equipment nor require compromising the physical restrictions necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The purpose of this commentary is to argue that sedentary behavior is a feasible, independent target to modify during COVID-19, particularly in minority populations, and to address this behavior we need to consider individual, environmental, and policy-level factors.
  • Evolutionary functional analysis: The study of social mentalities, social rank and caring-compassion

    Gilbert, Paul; university of Derby (Routledge/Taylor Francis Group, 2020-09-23)
    This chapter looks back over the past 40 years of taking an evolutionary function analytical approach to mental health difficulties. One evolved motivational system that has been strongly implicated in vulnerability to mental health difficulties, especially depression, is the competitive motivational system. This gives rise to an orientation for resource control and sets cognitive systems for social comparison, self-evaluation (inferior versus superior), self-blame/criticism versus other blame/criticism and biases behavioural systems towards either submissive-withdraw or dominant-engaged seeking behaviour. Depression tends to be associated with the unwanted and fearful low rank positions whereas narcissism is associated with assuming up rank and entitled positions. Research has also shown that unwanted low rank, and competitive defeats have major impacts on range of physiological processes associated with depression. One therapeutic approach is to help clients switch out of the competitive motivational system into a caring system which utilises very different psychological and physiological processes that promote being, prosocial behaviour and affect regulation. This is the basis of compassion focused therapy.
  • What Comes First, the Behavior or the Condition? In the COVID-19 Era, It May Go Both Ways

    Arena, Ross; Lavie, Carl J; Faghy, Mark A; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2021-08-12)
    Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This causality dilemma was first proposed by the Greek biographer Plutarch in the 1st century CE. While the cause-effect relationship between lifestyle behaviors and chronic disease is not always a certainty, and genetic predisposition can independently lead to premature chronic disease, the likelihood of developing one or more chronic conditions is significantly higher in those who: (1) lead sedentary lifestyles; (2) consume unhealthy diets; (3) smoke; or (4) have excess body mass. Recently, the Royal College of General Practitioners issued an apology for the title of an online event that suggested the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a lifestyle disease. We feel that this was the correct course of action as leading an unhealthy lifestyle is certainly not the cause for an individual contracting COVID-19 (ie, effect). However, a body of evidence has demonstrated that unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and characteristics as well as being diagnosed with one or more chronic diseases does significantly increase the risk for a complicated medical course in individuals infected with COVID-19. Moreover, the cause-effect relationship between lifestyle behaviors and characteristics and COVID-19 may eventually prove to go both ways, as the pandemic may lead to a higher prevalence of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and characteristics over the long term that eventually leads to a higher prevalence of chronic disease. As such, health living medicine must be widely practiced and prescribed to all individuals globally.
  • Incidence, severity and perceived susceptibility of COVID-19 in the UK CrossFit population

    Redwood-Mills, Athalie; Ralston, Grant; Wilson, Jennifer; Nottingham Trent; FiiT for Life Education Ltd, Derby; University of Derby (BioMed Central, 2021-09-06)
    Contemporary literature indicates that a higher body mass index (BMI) serves as a risk factor for metabolic disease and is also correlated with greater disease severity. Subsequently, it has been linked to increased COVID-19 severity. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether regular CrossFit™ participation was associated with lower BMI, decreased COVID-19 severity and susceptibility. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 1806 CrossFit™ (CF) participants. Participants were asked about their age (yrs), sex (male vs. female), ethnic group, body height (cm) and weight (kg). Body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) was computed and consistent with WHO (2018) criteria. Participants self-reported their training history, health and lifestyle history, nutritional customs, present training status and suspected levels of exposure to COVID-19. Once submitted the collected data were coded, cleaned and analysed. The final model comprised of 1806 CF individuals from an online survey response rate of 2086. The participants age ranged from 18 to 65+ yrs. Self-reported mean body mass index (BMI: kg/m2) reported that < 1% were underweight, 41% were healthy, 46% overweight, 10% class I obese, 2% class II obese, and < 1% class III obese. A Kruskal–Wallis H test compared gender and self-reported probability of being infected with COVID-19 with significant differences between subgroups (x2 (4, N = 1739) = 10.86, p = 0.03). Analysis of BMI and perceived severity of COVID-19 revealed a difference however not, significant (x2 (4, N = 1739) = 9.46, p = 0.051). Results on BMI and perceived probability of COVID-19 infection revealed no significant difference (x2 (4, N = 1739) = 2.68, p = 0.61). A separate analysis on BMI and perceived COVID-19 susceptibility revealed no significant difference (x2 (4, N = 1740) = 6.02, p = 0.20). The purpose of the study was to establish whether habitual CrossFit™ participation is associated with reduced BMI, and to further investigate whether habitual participation impacted perceptions of disease. Results of the study indicate that self-reported CrossFit™ participation during the first UK lockdown, measured in minutes of exercise was indicative of a lower BMI. This has been associated with greater host immunity to disease. A history of CrossFit™ participation was not shown to impact perceptions of disease. However, our sample population reported few changes to habitual exercise during lockdown which may be due to the ‘community’ and increased adherence associated with CrossFit™.
  • A Call to Clarify the Intensity and Classification of Standing Behavior

    Kowalsky, Robert J; Stoner, Lee; Faghy, Mark A; Barone Gibbs, Bethany; Human Science Research Centre (MDPI, 2021-08-10)
    Public health guidelines for physical activity now include recommendations to break up prolonged sitting with light-intensity activities. Concurrently, interventions to increase standing have emerged, especially within the workplace in the form of sit–stand or standing workstations. Moreover, in short-duration studies, breaking up prolonged sitting with standing has been associated improved cardiometabolic outcomes. Publicly available estimates of the intensity of standing range from 1.5 to 2.3 metabolic equivalents (METs), neatly classifying standing as a light-intensity activity (>1.5 to <3.0 METs). Further delineation between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ standing has been proposed, with corresponding METs of >2.0 METs and ≤2.0 METs, respectively. However, this study reviews data suggesting that some standing (e.g., while performing deskwork) is substantially below the minimum light intensity activity threshold of 1.5 METs. These data bring into question whether standing should be universally classified as a light-intensity behavior. The objectives of this study are to (i) highlight discrepancies in classifying standing behavior in the human movement spectrum continuum, and (ii) to propose a realignment of the ‘active’ vs. ‘passive’ standing threshold to match the light intensity threshold to help provide a clearer research framework and subsequent public health messaging for the expected health benefits from standing.
  • Associations of Sedentary Time with Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.

    Alansare, Abdullah Bandar; Bates, Lauren C; Stoner, Lee; Kline, Christopher E; Nagle, Elizabeth; Jennings, J Richard; Hanson, Erik D; Faghy, Mark A; Gibbs, Bethany Barone; King Saud University, Saudi Arabia; et al. (MDPI, 2021-08-12)
    To evaluate if sedentary time (ST) is associated with heart rate (HR) and variability (HRV) in adults we systematically searched PubMed and Google Scholar through June 2020. Inclusion criteria were observational design, humans, adults, English language, ST as the exposure, resting HR/HRV as the outcome, and (meta-analysis only) availability of the quantitative association with variability. After qualitative synthesis, meta-analysis used inverse variance heterogeneity models to estimate pooled associations. Thirteen and eight articles met the criteria for the systematic review and meta-analysis, respectively. All studies were cross-sectional and few used gold standard ST or HRV assessment methodology. The qualitative synthesis suggested no associations between ST and HR/HRV. The meta-analysis found a significant association between ST and HR (β = 0.24 bpm per hour ST; CI: 0.10, 0.37) that was stronger in males (β = 0.36 bpm per hour ST; CI: 0.19, 0.53). Pooled associations between ST and HRV indices were non-significant (p > 0.05). Substantial heterogeneity was detected. The limited available evidence suggests an unfavorable but not clinically meaningful association between ST and HR, but no association with HRV. Future longitudinal studies assessing ST with thigh-based monitoring and HRV with electrocardiogram are needed
  • Current and Future Implications of COVID-19 among Youth Wheelchair Users: 24-Hour Activity Behavior.

    Conners, Ryan T; Bates, Lauren C; Lassalle, Patricia Pagan; Zieff, Gabriel; Whitehead, Paul N; Stevens, Sandra; Killen, Lauren; Cochrum, Robert; Rodebaugh, Kathryn L; Stoner, Lee; et al. (MDPI, 2021-08-11)
    Preventative measures taken worldwide to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 have had a tremendous impact on youth. Following social restrictions, youth with and without physical disabilities are engaging in less physical activity, more increased sedentary behavior, and poor sleep habits. Specifically, youth wheelchair users (YWU) are likely disproportionately affected by COVID- 19 and have a higher risk of contraction due to underlying comorbidities. While we cannot control all of the negative long-term implications of COVID-19 for YWU, participation in positive 24-h activity behaviors can decrease chronic disease risk and the likelihood of long-term complications resulting from infection. This commentary is to extend the discourse on the importance of 24-h activity behaviors by focusing on YWU. Specifically, we discuss the importance of chronic disease prevention, provide a brief overview of 24-h activity behaviors, and outline some of the lessons that can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Effects of a Nutrition Education Intervention on Sports Nutrition Knowledge during a Competitive Season in Highly Trained Adolescent Swimmers.

    Foo, Wee Lun; Faghy, Mark A; Sparks, Andy; Newbury, Josh W; Gough, Lewis A; Birmingham City University; University of Derby; University of Illinois at Chicago; Edge Hill University (MDPI, 2021-08-06)
    The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a seven-week nutrition education intervention on the sports nutrition knowledge (SNK) of highly trained UK adolescent swimmers. Fifteen national and international adolescent swimmers (males = 5; females = 10, 15.5 ± 1.1 years, 170.2 ± 7.5 cm, 60.3 ± 5.7 kg) participated in the study during seven consecutive weeks of the competitive swimming season. The participants received 30 min of nutrition education once per week in a classroom-based setting after they had completed their regular swim training. An undergraduate sports nutrition student delivered all nutrition education sessions and SNK questionnaires were administered to the participants pre- and post-intervention. The mean total SNK score improved by 8.3% (SD = 8.4%, 95% CI = 4.1-12.6; p = 0.006; ES = 1.0) following the nutrition education sessions. On an individual basis, ten swimmers significantly improved their total SNK score, whereas four swimmers did not improve, and one swimmer performed significantly worse after the intervention. Moreover, the swimmers' knowledge of hydration improved by 22.2% (SD = 20.6%, 95% CI = 11.8-32.6, p = 0.004, ES = 1.1) over the seven-week timeframe, which was the only nutrition topic to have a significantly increased knowledge score. The current study therefore suggests that a nutrition education intervention can positively influence the SNK of highly trained adolescent swimmers.
  • Predictors of poor 6-week outcome in a cohort of major depressive disorder patients treated with antidepressant medication: the role of entrapment

    Carvalho, Serafim; Caetano, Filipa; Pinto-Gouveia, José; Mota-Pereira, Jorge; Maia, Dulce; Pimentel, Paulo; Priscila, Cátia; Gilbert, Paul; Hospital de Magalhães Lemos, Porto, Portugal; Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal; et al. (Informa UK Limited, 2020-07-10)
    Only a small number of consistent processes predict which depressed patients will achieve remission with antidepressant medication. One set of processes is that of social ranking strategies/variables that are related to life events and severe difficulties. Particularly, defeat and entrapment predict poorer response to antidepressants. However, results are inconsistent. The current study aimed to evaluate evolutionary strategies, childhood maltreatment, neglect and life events and difficulties (LEDs) as predictors of remission in depressed patients undergoing pharmacological treatment in a psychiatric outpatient sample. A cohort of 139 depressed outpatients undergoing pharmacological treatment was followed prospectively in a naturalistic study for 6 weeks. Two major evaluations were considered at baseline and 6 weeks. We allocated patients to a pharmacological treatment algorithm for depression – the Texas Medication Algorithm Project. Variables evaluated at baseline and tested as predictors of remission included demographic and clinical data, severity of depression, social ranking, evolution informed variables, LEDs and childhood maltreatment. Of the 139 patients, only 24.5% were remitted at week 6. In univariate analyses, non-remitted patients scored significantly higher in all psychopathology and vulnerability scales except for submissive behaviour and internal entrapment. For the logistic regression, a higher load of LEDs of the entrapment and humiliation dimension in the year before the index episode (OR = 6.62), and higher levels external entrapment in the Entrapment Scale (OR = 1.10) predicted non-remission. These variables accounted for 28.7% of the variance. Multivariate analysis revealed that external entrapment was the only predictor of non-remission.
  • Fear leads to suffering: Fears of compassion predict restriction of the moral boundary

    Crimston, Charlie R.; Blessing, Sarah; Gilbert, Paul; Kirby, James N.; The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; University of Derby, UK (Wiley, 2021-07-19)
    Empirical investigations into the psychological drivers of more or less expansive moral thinking are lacking from the psychological literature. One potential driver that warrants deeper investigation is compassion – a prosocial motivation to both identity and alleviate suffering. The current research examined the extent to which compassion, and fears of compassion, act as a driver and inhibitor, respectively, of a morally expansive mindset. We tested these associations across three studies (N = 749) and found robust support for our predictions. Specifically, stronger compassion to others, and greater fears of extending compassion to others, were linked to enhanced and reduced moral expansiveness, respectively. Moreover, over and above empathy and mindfulness, fears of compassion and compassion uniquely predicted moral expansiveness. Finally, compassion was found to consistently mediate the relationship between fears of compassion to others and moral expansiveness. Our findings further our understanding of the psychological factors that may drive and restrict morally expansive mindsets and hold implications for the broader domains of moral decision-making and prosocial motivation as well as the application of practices that are designed to facilitate a compassionate mindset (e.g., Compassionate Mind Training).
  • The experience of loneliness: The role of fears of compassion and social safeness

    Best, Talitha; Herring, Lee; Clarke, Chantelle; Kirby, James; Gilbert, Paul; University of Queensland; University of Derby (Elsevier BV, 2021-07-31)
    There are multiple factors associated with an increasing rate of loneliness. One common thread may be social disconnection and a reduced ability to feel safe in social settings for fear of giving to and receiving help from others. This study used an online survey to explore loneliness and its relationship with related psychological constructs of social connectedness, social safeness, subjective happiness, and fears of compassion in 177 adults (Female = 126), aged 18–70 years. The results showed that those with high loneliness reported significantly higher fears of expressing compassion for others and self, and receiving compassion from others, as well as lower reported social safeness, subjective happiness and social connection compared to those with reported low loneliness. Those with moderate levels of loneliness were not significantly different from the high loneliness group on fears of compassion towards others or measures of positive affect. The findings show that social safeness, and fears of receiving compassion from others or self are highly related to those with high levels of loneliness.
  • The efficacy of the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP program in reducing psychopathic traits: A controlled trial with male detained youth

    Ribeiro da Silva, Diana; Rijo, Daniel; Brazão, Nélio; Paulo, Marlene; Miguel, Rita; Castilho, Paula; Vagos, Paula; Gilbert, Paul; Salekin, Randall T.; university of Alabama; et al. (American Psychological Association (APA), 2021-06)
    To assess the efficacy of the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP program in reducing psychopathic traits among male detained youth. In this controlled trial, a treatment group (n = 58) and a control group (n = 61) answered the Youth Psychopathic Traits Inventory-Short (YPIS) and the Proposed Specifiers for Conduct Disorder (PSCD) at baseline, posttreatment, and 6-month follow-up. Treatment participants attended the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP; controls only received Treatment As Usual (TAU). Treatment effects were tested with latent growth curve models (LGCM). At baseline, no significant differences between groups were found. Results from LGCM showed that condition was a significant predictor of change over time observed in almost all outcome measures. Concerning the YPIS, treatment participants presented a significant decrease both in the total score and in the YPIS factors scores when compared with the controls (medium/large effect sizes; growth modeling analysis—GMA d ranging from .58 to 1.12). Considering the PSCD, treatment participants also showed a significant decrease both in the total score and in the PSCD factors scores (except for the grandiose-manipulative factor) when compared with controls (medium effect sizes; GMA d ranging from .53 to .72). Results also showed that treatment effects were maintained 6 months after the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP completion. Findings indicate that the PSYCHOPATHY.COMP is a promising treatment approach to reduce psychopathic traits among male detained youth, suggesting that interventions targeting these traits should be considered in their rehabilitation, as the absence of tailored interventions may increase the levels of psychopathic traits and their associated risks.
  • Enhancing Primary School Children's Knowledge of Online Safety and Risks with the CATZ Cooperative Cross-Age Teaching Intervention: Results from a Pilot Study

    Boulton, Michael J.; Boulton, Louise; Camerone, Eleonora; Down, James; Hughes, Joanna; Kirkbride, Chloe; Kirkham, Rachel; Macaulay, Peter; Sanders, Jessica; University of Chester (Mary Ann Liebert Inc, 2016-10-01)
    Children are heavy users of the Internet and prior studies have shown that many of them lack a good understanding of the risks of doing so and how to avoid them. This study examined if the cross-age teaching zone (CATZ) intervention could help children acquire important knowledge of online risks and safety. It allowed older students to act as CATZ tutors to design and deliver a lesson to younger schoolmates (tutees), using content material about online risks and safety provided by adults. Students in Year 6 (mean age = 11.5 years) were randomly assigned to act as either CATZ tutors (n = 100) or age-matched controls (n = 46) and students in Year 4 (mean age = 9.5 years) acted as either CATZ tutees (n = 117) or age-matched controls (n = 28) (total N = 291). CATZ tutors, but not matched controls scored significantly higher on objective measures of knowledge of both online risks and safety, and CATZ tutees, but not matched controls did so for online safety. Effect sizes were moderate or large. CATZ was highly acceptable to participants. The results suggest that CATZ is a viable way to help school students learn about online dangers and how to avoid them.
  • Perceptions and responses towards cyberbullying: A systematic review of teachers in the education system

    Macaulay, Peter; Betts, Lucy R.; Stiller, James; Kellezi, Blerina; Nottingham Trent University (Elsevier BV, 2018-11-23)
    The rise and availability of digital technologies for young people have presented additional challenges for teachers in the school environment. One such challenge is cyberbullying, an escalating concern, associated with wide-reaching negative consequences for those involved and the surrounding community. The present systematic review explored teachers' perceptions and responses towards cyberbullying in the education system. Once the search strategy was applied across the six databases, 20 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria for the current review. The studies were reviewed and examined for common themes. Five themes were identified: (a) Cyberbullying characteristics and student involvement, (b) Cyberbullying training and guidance for teachers, (c) School commitment and strategies to manage cyberbullying, (d) The impact and extent of cyberbullying prevalence and consequences, and (e) Teachers' confidence and concern towards cyberbullying. The themes are discussed in a narrative synthesis with reference to implications for teachers and for the continued development and review of anti-cyberbullying initiatives.

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