Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Suicide Rates Rise in UK

According to the Office of National Statistics the suicide rate for men aged 45-59 in the UK is now the highest since 1986. Against a trend over the past two decades that has seen suicide rates gradually falling, suicide rates are now rising again for both men and women wih highest suicide rates being among men aged 30-44. According to stephen Platt at Edinburgh University disadvantages midlle aged men face a perfect storm of “unemployment, deprivation, social isolation, changing definitions of what it is to be a man, alcohol misuse, labour market and demographic changes that have had a dramatic effect on their work, relationships and very identity.” Next month the government will award research contracts worth £1.5m to develop new initiatives as part of a “refreshed” suicide prevention strategy.

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Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

Gender Differences in Suicidal Behaviour in Adolescence

A cursory look at the statistics is enough to tell us that there are huge gender differences involved in suicidal (and self-harming) behaviour. Here’s an interesting study:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749692 #mentalhealth

Filed under: Impact Training, Other Mental Health, self-harm, Suicide, , , , ,

Fat-faced Men and Aggression

I am often amazed by the things that researchers get up to. The research below is, to me at least, both bizarre and intriguing.

What lies beneath the face of aggression?
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci first published online December 23, 2011
Carré JM, Murphy KR, Hariri AR
Recent evidence indicates that a sexually dimorphic feature of humans, the facial width-to-height ratio (FWHR), is positively correlated with reactive aggression, particularly in men. Also, predictions about the aggressive tendencies of others faithfully map onto FWHR in the absence of explicit awareness of this metric. Here, we provide the first evidence that amygdala reactivity to social signals of interpersonal challenge may underlie the link between aggression and the FWHR. Specifically, amygdala reactivity to angry faces was positively correlated with aggression, but only among men with relatively large FWHRs. The patterns of association were specific to angry facial expressions and unique to men. These links may reflect the common influence of pubertal testosterone on craniofacial growth and development of neural circuitry underlying aggression. Amygdala reactivity may also represent a plausible pathway through which FWHR may have evolved to represent an honest indicator of conspecific threat, namely by reflecting the responsiveness of neural circuitry mediating aggressive behavior.
Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA, 48202. justin@carrelab.com.

Filed under: Violence, , , ,

Stressed Men More Likely To Gamble And Takes Risks

Stressed Men More Likely To Gamble And Takes Risks

ScienceDaily (July 1, 2009) — Stressed out, dude? Don’t go to Vegas.

New research, to be published July 1 in the journal PLoS One, shows that men under stress may be more likely to take risks, correlating to such real-life behavior as gambling, smoking, unsafe sex and illegal drug use.

In contrast, stressed women moderate their behavior and may be less likely to make risky choices, the study found.

“Evolutionarily speaking, it’s perhaps more beneficial for men to be aggressive in stressful, high-arousal situations when risk and reward are involved,” said Nichole Lighthall of the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology and lead author of the paper. “Applied to financial risk taking, it’s akin to competition for territory or other valuable resources.”

The researchers asked participants to play a game called the Balloon Analogue Risk Task in which inflating a balloon earns money (five cents per pump). Participants were told that they could cash out their earnings by clicking a “Collect $$$” button at any point in the game.

However, the balloon would explode if it was inflated beyond its randomly determined breakpoint. All winnings for exploded balloons would be lost.

“One valuable aspect of the [balloon task] is its predictive validity for real-world impulsivity,” Lighthall explained. “Some risk taking was necessary to make gains, but excessive risk was associated with diminishing returns. If you always clicked and never cashed out, you would lose every time.”

The balloon task has been previously used to assess tolerance for risky behavior among inner-city adolescents and substance abusers, among others.

“Obviously, there are situations in the real world where risky behavior would not be beneficial,” Lighthall said. “Sometimes being conservative, thoughtful and taking it slow are good things.”

In the control group, men and women displayed statistically similar levels of risk taking, inflating the balloon about 40 times on average.

However, women in the stressed group only inflated the balloon an average of 32 times – more than 30 percent less often than their stressed male counterparts, who inflated the balloon an average of 48 times.

“Men seem to enter more risky financial situations than women, which was part of the impetus for our study,” Lighthall said. “But only in the stressed condition did we see any statistical differences in risky behavior between men and women.”

Stressful experiences have been shown to stimulate the release of cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone.” Participants randomly assigned to the stress group held a hand in ice-cold water, which raised cortisol levels, particularly among female participants. No participants were using hormone birth control.

According to Lighthall, future research might use neuroimaging to explore how the brain processes stress or examine whether psychological stress, such as anticipating giving a speech, would yield similar results as the physical stress manipulation used in this study.

Mara Mather, director of the Emotion and Cognition Lab at USC and associate professor of psychology and gerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, and Marissa Gorlick, also of the USC Davis School of Gerontology, were co-authors of the study.
Adapted from materials provided by University of Southern California, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Filed under: Other Mental Health, Violence, , , ,

Young people’s gendered interpretations of suicide and attempted suicide

Jonathan Scourfield*, Nina Jacob, Nina Smalley, Lindsay Prior§ and Katy Greenland¶

*Senior Lecturer, PhD Student, ¶Lecturer, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff, Freelance Researcher, and

§Professor of Sociology, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK

Child and Family Social Work 2007, 12, pp 248–257

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to uncover gendered interpretations of various kinds

of suicidal behaviour. Its empirical basis is focus group discussions

with a range of young people, including users of social work services.

In support of Canetto’s research, the authors found some of the young

people to be associating ‘successful’ suicides with masculinity and

‘failed’ suicide attempts with femininity. These feminized suicide

attempts were subject to some fairly pejorative interpretations, such

as being motivated by revenge or manipulation. There was no particular

pattern of viewpoints in terms of the sex of respondents. The

implications of these findings for social work are discussed.

Filed under: Suicide, , , , ,