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Veliko Tarnovo Hall - Marinela

Children and Young People

Rachel M Hiller, Carolin Ritter, Noortje Vriends, Angeliki Argyriou, Silviu Matu / Vanessa Cobham (chair) Speaker

Chair: Vanessa Cobham

14:00 A longitudinal study of the trauma-related psychological profiles of young people in
            out-of-home care
          Rachel M Hiller; Sarah L Halligan, University of Bath
          Richard Meiser-Stedman, University of East Anglia
          Elizabeth Elliott, University of Bath

14:15 Corporal punishment across the globe: Parent and child characteristics associated
            with self-reported spanking in nine countries with and without legal bans of spanking
          Carolin Ritter, University of Braunschweig
          Inga Frantz, University of Braunschweig
          Catherine Lee, University of Ottawa
          Nina Heinrichs, University of Braunschweig

14:30 It does matter where you live! –Associations between community violence exposure
           and conduct problems in an international context.
         Noortje Vriends, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel & University of Basel
         Linda Kersten,Christina Stadler

14:45 Psychosocial mediators of the relationship between sexual orientation and depressive
            symptoms in a longitudinal sample of young people
          Angeliki Argyriou, King’s College London
          Kimberley Goldsmith, King’s College London
          Alkeos Tsokos, University College London
          Katharine Rimes, King’s College London

15:15 Robot enhanced therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: A randomized
            clinical trial
         
Silviu Matu, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
          
Daniel David, Babeș-Bolyai University & Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, USA
          
Aurora Szentagotai, Anca Dobrean, Cristina Costescu, Radu Șoflău, Anamaria Ciocan,
           Mihaela Selescu, Liana Mureșan

 

Abstracts:

1) A longitudinal study of the trauma-related psychological profiles of young people in out-of-home care

Rachel M Hiller; Sarah L Halligan, Department of Psychology, University of Bath, UK;

Richard Meiser-Stedman, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of East Anglia, UK ; Elizabeth Elliott, Department of Psychology, University of Bath, UK.

Young people in out-of-home care represent a particularly vulnerable group of UK youth. They have typically been removed from their family home due to the experience of prolonged and significant abuse and/or neglect and experience correspondingly elevated psychological difficulties across their life. The aim of this longitudinal study was to identify the role of cognitive predictors of posttraumatic stress and the impact on their general wellbeing. 118 young people aged 10-17 years old, and their carers, were recruited from three local authorities in England. Over 80% were in foster care, with the remainder in kinship care or residential care. Following their initial assessment they completed a second 6-month follow-up. Cognitive processes covered maladaptive appraisals, trauma-related memory, and coping, based on the cognitive model of posttraumatic stress disorder. General wellbeing includes school-wellbeing, an area where young people in care often have poor outcomes. Results highlighted the large proportion of young people in care who show elevated rates of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Findings particularly highlighted the role of trauma-memories and how young people cope with such memories, as driving their posttrauma distress, and the significant impact of these processes on their concurrent and later wellbeing. Results will be discussed in relation to the implications for trauma-focussed psychological interventions for young people in care, as well as implications for broader trauma-informed care in the services and systems that have contact with these young people.  

 

2) Corporal punishment across the globe: Parent and child characteristics associated with self-reported spanking in nine countries with and without legal bans of spanking

Carolin Ritter, Department of Psychology, University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany; Inga Frantz, Department of Psychology, University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany; Catherine Lee, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada; Nina Heinrichs, Department of Psychology, University of Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany,

Introduction: Spanking is associated with negative child outcomes, such as externalising and internalising problems, and more negative parent-child relationships (Gershoff & Grogan-Kaylor, 2016). Understanding factors associated with corporal punishment (CP) is essential to allow governments, policy makers and communities to take targeted actions to reduce rates of CP. The prohibition of CP has been shown to be an effective tool in reducing physical punishment in child discipline in a set of European countries, particularly if combined with campaigns publicising the law change (Bussmann, Erthal, & Schroth, 2011). There has been a growing momentum to prohibit CP around the world. To date, 53 countries have fully prohibited CP, with 29 of those countries having instated a legal ban just within the last ten years. Several other countries have committed to prohibition of CP (Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, 2018). Apart from the legal status of CP, other parent and child characteristics have been examined to identify further factors associated with parent-reported CP. Perron et al. (2014) showed in their large Canadian sample that more parent-reported spanking was associated with positive parental attitudes towards spanking, more child behaviour problems, a younger child age, lower parent education, and more income inadequacy. The aim of this current study was to identify child and parent characteristics associated with CP in countries with and without legal bans of CP. Method: Over 9,000 parents of children between 2 and 12 years of age participated in the International Parenting Survey (IPS; Morawska, Heinrichs, & Sanders, 2011). The IPS is a web-based survey developed to explore parenting experiences across countries, including countries with legal bans of CP, such as Germany (N = 1439), and Spain (N = 2007), as well as countries without such bans, such as Australia (N = 588), Belgium (N = 512), Canada (N = 2382), Hong Kong (N = 616), Indonesia (N = 154), Switzerland (N = 331), and the United Kingdom (N = 717). Results: Preliminary analyses of the German sample indicated that increased self-reported use of CP was associated with younger child age, younger parent age at child birth, and lower parental level of education. The more child behavior problems parents reported and the more positive attitudes towards CP they expressed, the more likely were they to report spanking. For German mothers perceived lack of support within their family, as well as maternal psychological distress, increased the probability of self-reported CP. Further analyses of the international data will be presented, with a focus on analyzing differences between countries with and without prohibition of CP. Discussion: A better understanding of factors associated with CP in countries with and without legal bans will make a significant contribution to the development of strategies and interventions to reduce child physical punishment. Conclusion: Prohibiting CP and publicising the law change needs to be combined with targeted parental education, interventions to support parents manage child problem behaviour, and efforts to reduce maternal psychological distress and strengthen family relationships.

3) It does matter where you live! –Associations between community violence exposure and conduct problems in an international context.

Noortje Vriends, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel & University of Basel, Switzerland; Linda Kersten,Christina Stadler, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychiatric University Clinics Basel & University of Basel, Switzerland

Background: Cross-national differences in conduct problems (e.g. Greenberger, et al., 2000) underscore the importance of environmental factors in conduct problems (CP). In line, our recently published study (Kersten et al., 2017) revealed a significant association between the environmental factor “community violence exposure (CVE)” and CP in healthy controls and in patients with conduct disorder. In addition we preliminary found that rates of CVE were significantly different in the 7 EU countries (not included in the publication). Others also found that CVE varies significantly across countries (Schwab-Stone, 2013). Therefore, we assume that the association between CVE and CD must be investigated taking the national context into account. Method: The present study aims to examine the association between witnessing and victimization of CVE and conduct problems in a sample (N = 1608) of children and adolescents from seven different countries in Europe, and thus taking the national context into account. Conduct problems were defined by oppositional deviant disorder and conduct disorder items of the Kiddie-SADs. CVE was defined by the SAHA witnessing and experiencing scales of CVE. Multiple regression models are used to test the hypotheses. Analyses were controlled for age and gender. Results: The association between victimization of CVE and conduct problems varies significantly across the seven European countries, whereas the association between witnessing CVE and conduct problems does not. A post-hoc analysis revealed that in Germany, the Netherlands, and England victimization of CVE associated with CD, whereas in the countries it does not. Conclusions: Prevention or intervention efforts regarding CVE and CD should be planned according to the national context. Future studies should investigate which factors influence these national differences in the association between victimization of CVE and CD. In sum, these results show that associations between environmental factors, which associate with conduct problems, should be take the national context into account.

 

4) Psychosocial mediators of the relationship between sexual orientation and depressive symptoms in a longitudinal sample of young people

Angeliki Argyriou, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychiatry, King’sCollege London; Alkeos Tsokos, Department of Statistical Science, University College London; Katharine Rimes, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychiatry, King's College London;

OBJECTIVE: This longitudinal study investigated psychosocial mediators in the relationship between sexual minority status and depressive symptoms in young people. METHOD: Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort were analyzed. Sexual orientation was assessed at 15 years and depressive symptoms were assessed at 18 years (Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire). Mediators were assessed at 17 years: unhelpful assumptions about the self and others, hypothesized to be vulnerability factors in cognitive theories of depression (Dysfunctional Attitude Scale – Short Form); self-esteem (Bachman revision of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale); and family relationships measured with four items. Using Full Information Maximum Likelihood, data from 14,814 individuals were analyzed. Multiple mediation using structural equation modelling was conducted, with family relationships entered as a latent variable. Potential confounding variables including depressive symptomatology at age 13 were entered as covariates. Sex was examined as a moderator. RESULTS: Sexual minority youth had higher risk for depressive symptoms at 18 years than heterosexual youth. They also had poorer relationships with their family and more unhelpful assumptions, and there was weaker evidence suggesting lower self-esteem, especially for boys. Poorer family relationships and unhelpful assumptions mediated the relationship between sexual minority status and depressive symptoms, while there was weaker evidence to support self-esteem as a mediator. There was no evidence to suggest that sex moderated these relationships. CONCLUSIONS: Poorer family relationships, more unhelpful self-beliefs and possibly lower self-esteem may contribute to sexual orientation disparities in depressive symptoms, indicating possible areas for prevention and intervention.

4) Robot enhanced therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders: A randomized clinical trial
Silviu Matu1, Daniel David1,2, Aurora Szentagotai1, Anca Dobrean1, Cristina Costescu1, Radu Șoflău1, Anamaria Ciocan1, Mihaela Selescu1, Liana Mureșan1

1Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, and The International Institute for the Advanced Studies of Psychotherapy and Applied Mental Health, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Department of Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, U.S.A.

Introduction:
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by persistent deficits in communication and repetitive or restrictive behaviors. Research has shown promising results for the use of a social robots to improve social skills in ASD children. However, previous studies are mostly case studies and single case experiments. Rigorous data comparing robotic-based interventions with standard treatments in randomized clinical trials is needed to establish the efficacy of this innovative intervention.
Method:
The present paper describes an equivalence randomized clinical trial which included63 children with a diagnosis of ASD, aging between 3 to 6 years old. Children meeting inclusion criteria, a psychiatric diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, confirmed by an assessment with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS), are randomly allocated to one of two groups: (1) standard therapy (ST), derived from cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) / applied behavior analysis (ABA) or (2) robot-enhanced therapy (RET), in which the same intervention as for ST is delivered by a semi-autonomous robotic mediator agent (the robot acts as an interaction partner while the therapist is supervising the session). Both interventions are tailored to level of skill of each individual child. The primary outcomes of the interventions are imitation (IM), joint-attention (JA) and turn-taking (TT) performances. Secondary outcomes include performance on cognitive tasks, engagement, communication and the presence of stereotype behaviors. We also assessed ASD symptoms at post-test using standardized measures, such as the ADOS and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). Both interventions are delivered over 12 bi-weekly sessions of about 45 minutes each.
Results:
Twenty-seven children had their data analyzed at the present moment. Univariate within-between ANOVAs revealed significant time effects for imitation (F (1, 25) = 21.79, p < .001), and turn-taking performance (F (1, 25) = 4.50, p = .044), for the first levels of difficulty in the tasks. No other significant time, group, or group*time effects emerged. These preliminary results pointto the equivalence of the two interventions. Somesmall advantages for the RET condition were present for secondary outcomes.
Discussion:
The present study will provide some of the first rigorous data regarding the efficacy of robot-enhanced therapy delivered by an intelligent robotic agent which requires less direct input from an operator to deliver the intervention. This could open the door for the dissemination of evidence-based interventions for ASD children through the use of robotic agents.
Conclusion:
Robot-enhanced interventions might provide a new and efficacious method to enhance social skills in ASD children.