News Briefs

March 27, 2015 - 2:01pm

Finger lengths could possibly predict a males risk of being diagnosed schizophrenic.

March 27, 2015 - 12:00pm

Researchers examined the correlation between cognitive behavioral therapy and suicide prevention.

March 27, 2015 - 10:02am

Child Abuse and Neglect suggests that children who have been sexually abused rely on their mothers support to avoid depression, according to a study.

March 26, 2015 - 10:42am

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has a released a study, which looks closely at the mental health of children whose parents have returned from deployment.



Mike Myers, MD

Stigma and the Ailing Physician

An inside look on how stigma may reinforce denial in ill doctors.

Mike Myers, MD

The Gift of Self-Disclosure

Ode to Dr. Quinn Leslie who has paved the path to accepting non-perfectionism.


Clinical pearls from the Psych Congress annual meeting.

Andrew Penn

Cannabis Exposure May Lead to Psychosis

Schizophrenia typically emerges in late adolescence and early adulthood, before the age of 25.


Asking the Right Questions to Assess Suicide Risk

J. John Mann, MD, of Columbia University, and Charles Raison, MD, Psych Congress Steering Committee member, discuss which questions clinicians should ask to best evaluate suicide risk.


Socially Disadvantaged Patients’ Mental Health Issues Often Misdiagnosed

Social Psychological & Personality Science has released a study, examining reasons patients may be misdiagnosed.


Ratio May Predict Schizophrenia For Males

Clinical Anatomy has released a study suggesting that the ratio of the lengths of a male’s index and ring finger may determine their risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Researchers examined 103 male participants who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, they compared those diagnosed to 100 male p articipants who had no mental illness diagnoses.

Results revealed that when the ring finger is longer than the index finger in males, a small 2D:4D ratio is exposed meaning there was a high exposure to testosterone in the uterus for that male. This ratio may be an indicator of schizophrenia. In addition, there was a significant difference in asymmetry of both hands in the schizophrenia and control groups, regarding the ratio of lengths in the second digit to the fourth digit.

-Alessia D’Anna 


1. Bolu, A., Oznur, T., Develi, S., Gulsun, M., Aydemir, E., Alper, M. and Toygar, M. The ratios of 2nd to 4th digit may be a predictor of schizophrenia in male patients. Clinical Anatomy. Mar 16. DOI: 10.1002/ca.22527. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Finger lengths may indicate risk of schizophrenia in males [press release]. EurekAlert!: Washington, DC; March 16, 2015.

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Early Intervention Provides Protection from Suicide in Adolescents

Experts have determined that effective cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) results in a decline of suicidal thoughts among adolescents. Results were published in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

In a recent study, Courtney Benjamin Wolk, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, center for mental health policy and services research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Rinad Beidas, PhD, assistant professor, center for mental health policy and services research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; and Philip C. Kendall, PhD, Temple University, examined evidence of links between anxiety and suicidal behaviors.

The participants of this study were 66 individuals who previously took part in a CBT intervention for child anxiety. They were treated for social/general anxiety or anxiety as a result of separation.

“This current study suggests the importance of ongoing monitoring of anxious youth who are not successfully treated for later suicidal ideation,” states Dr. Beidas.

Following a 16-year follow up post CBT, experts determined they were able to foresee lifetime suicidal ideation. Forty participants responded successfully to CBT treatment in their adolescent years, leaving the remaining 26 with non-successful responses to treatment, reporting suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months. 6 individuals admitted to making 1 or more suicide attempts, 9 stated they made suicide plans, and 18 participants experienced suicidal thoughts.

This has been the first study to prove the protective function of treatment for childhood anxiety disorders on suicidal ideation in late adolescents.

-Alessia D’Anna


1. Wolk C, Kendall P, Beidas R. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for child anxiety confers long-term protection from suicidality. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2015 Mar;54(3):175-9. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2014.12.004.

2. Successful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Youth Leads to Decreased Thinking about Suicide [press release]. Charlottesville, VA: Newswise; Mar. 2, 2015.

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Mother's Support Vital for Sexually Abused Children

By Madeline Kennedy

Sexually abused children whose mothers believe them and offer comfort are less likely to suffer from anger and depression, according to a new study.

"Disclosing sexual abuse can be a very stressful process for a child, and the reactions of the child's primary caregiver can play a key role in the child's adjustment," said lead author Kristyn Zajac, an assistant professor at the Family Services Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Nearly half of all sexual assault victims are under the age of 18, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

According to previous studies, children who are abused are at risk of suicide attempts, running away and behavior problems, note the researchers in a report online now in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect.

Zajac and her colleagues recruited 118 pairs of children and mothers (or female guardians) from a child advocacy center. The children, who were between the ages of seven and 16, had been forensically evaluated to determine that physical abuse had occurred. None of the mothers was involved in the abuse.

The research staff interviewed each mother and child in separate rooms and asked them questions about the mother's level of support including her tendency to doubt or blame the child, to reassure the child, to seek more information and to express a wish for revenge against the offender.

In addition, both mother and child answered questions about the child's trauma-related emotional symptoms.

The researchers repeated the interviews nine months later, though about half of the mother-child pairs were unavailable for the second round.

Half of the perpetrators of sexual abuse were family members, about one in six were in a romantic relationship with the mother, and nearly one quarter were strangers.

Based on the first round of interviews, the study team found that children who rated their mothers as being more emotionally supportive showed lower levels of anger and depression.

Children were more likely to act out with behavior problems - so called externalizing behavior - if their mothers rated themselves as displaying more blame or doubt, but not when their mothers rated themselves as emotionally supportive.

Children whose mothers expressed a desire for vengeance against the perpetrator were at greater risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Zajac noted in an email that the study was the first to specifically examine maternal behaviors - including expressing a desire for revenge or suggesting that the child was in some way responsible for the abuse - that had a negative effect on children's adjustment.

Beverly Lovett, a professor of social work at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, said that part of the reason mothers may react in an unsupportive way is that the abusers are so often people close to the family.

Lovett, who was not involved in the study, noted that mothers may be financially or emotionally dependent on the offender, which can complicate the situation.

"When a mother hears her son or daughter tell of being sexually abused, particularly by a known and trusted person, it often catapults her into crisis," Lovett, said in an email. "Just as disclosure is a process for a child, mothers also may need time to digest the disclosure and respond in a way that does not doubt or otherwise fail to meet the child's emotional needs," she noted.

Zajac recommended seeking professional help for the children. For families without access to therapy or counseling, she recommends child advocacy centers, which may offer services to people with fewer resources. The National Children's Advocacy Center website has a search page ( for finding a local child advocacy center.

Zajac also advised that the most helpful reaction mothers can have to the news of abuse is to provide comfort and reassurance and avoid expressing skepticism or a desire for vengeance.


Child Abuse Neglect 2015.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015. Click For Restrictions -

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Children at Risk for Mental Health and Mistreatment After Parents Return from Combat

Young children whose military parents recently returned from combat deployment had more visits for mental healthcare, physical injury, and child maltreatment consults than children whose parents were not deployed, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Those visits were significantly higher if parents were injured during combat.

The findings suggest that much of the same known mental health and maltreatment risks children face when military parents are deployed carry into the post-deployment period as well, researchers explained.

To determine the impact of parental deployment on young children after their parents return, researchers looked at healthcare use of 487,460 children age 3 to 8 and broke the population into 3 groups: children who had a parent deploy and return uninjured (12%), children who had a parent deploy and return injured (1%), and children who did not have a parent deploy.

Children whose parents returned from deployment without injury had substantially higher rates of mental health and child maltreatment consults than children whose parents were not deployed.  Meanwhile, children whose parents were injured during combat had “amplified” rates of mental health issues, injuries, and maltreatment, researchers reported.

“Increased preventive and intervention services are needed for young children as parents return from deployments,” researchers wrote. “Child health and mental health providers are crucial to effective identification of these at-risk children to ensure effective care provision.”

—Jolynn Tumolo


1. Hisle-Gorman E, Harrington D, Nylund CM, Tercyak KP, Anthony BJ, Gorman GH. Impact of parents’ wartime military deployment and injury on young children’s safety and mental health. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2015;54:294-301.

2. Impact of parents’ military deployment on children’s safety and mental health [press release]. EurekAlert!: Washington, DC; March 19, 2015.

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