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APA Journal: Rehabilitation Psychology

A randomized problem-solving trial for adolescent brain injury: Changes in social competence.Open in a New Window

Purpose/Objective: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adolescence has well documented effects on social competence. Few studies have examined the effects of behavioral interventions on social competence or identified factors associated with changes in social competence after injury. Research Method/Design: Adolescents with moderate to severe TBI ages 12–17 years were randomized within 6 months of injury to either a problem solving and communication (CAPS) group that received online counseling (n = 65) or an Internet resources comparison (IRC) group (n = 67) for a comparative effectiveness trial. Parent-report measures of social competence (Child Behavior Checklist, CBCL; Home and Community Social Behavior Scales, HCSBS; Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale, BERS-2) were administered at baseline (preintervention) and approximately 6 months later. Analyses examined these measures in relation to treatment group, TBI severity, and age. Regression analyses were also conducted to examine baseline measures of cognition as predictors of social competence after TBI. Results: CAPS had a more positive effect than the comparison condition on the HCSBS and BERS-2 for younger teens with moderate TBI and older teens with severe TBI. More parent-rated executive dysfunction at baseline was related to both lower concurrent levels of social competence and less positive gains in competence over time, whereas higher baseline IQ predicted greater gains in competence. Conclusions/Implications: CAPS may be effective for improving social competence for teens after TBI, with benefits dependent on the teen’s age and injury severity. Parent-rated executive dysfunction, moreover, has utility in predicting both lower concurrent levels of social competence and subsequent postinjury gains in competence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


An Internet-based virtual reality intervention for enhancing self-esteem in women with disabilities: Results of a feasibility study.Open in a New Window

Purpose: To examine the feasibility of an online self-esteem enhancement group program for women with disabilities. Method: A sample of 19 racially and ethnically diverse, community-living women with physical disabilities, 22 to 61 years old, participated in a 7-session interactive group intervention (extending Hughes et al., 2004) in the 3-D, immersive, virtual environment of, using avatars with voice and text communication. Baseline and postintervention questionnaires were administered online. Criteria for determining feasibility were (a) enrollment, (b) engagement, (c) acceptability, and (d) improvement on measures of self-esteem, depression, self-efficacy, and social support. Results: We attained our enrollment goal and engagement exceeded expectations. Acceptability was positive; participants gave “helpful” and “enjoyable” ratings of 3.21 and 3.27, respectively, (mean on a 1 to 4 Likert scale, where 4 = high) to 5 intervention components—session materials, group sharing and discussion, relaxation exercises, action planning, and group excursions. Significant increases from baseline to postintervention were found on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (p = .02; Cohen’s d = .60) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale−10 (p = .005; Cohen’s d = .74), with a trend toward significance on the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (p = .08; Cohen’s d = .42). The intervention did not significantly affect the measure of social support. Implications: An intervention to enhance self-esteem may have a corollary benefit on depressive symptomatology. Offering psycho-educational, small group interventions using online virtual worlds shows promise for circumventing disability-related and environmental barriers to accessing mental health services experienced by women with mobility limitations, and should undergo further development and testing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Requesting workplace accommodations: Impact of self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and positive affect.Open in a New Window

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the impacts of self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and positive affect on intentions to request workplace accommodations among people with disabilities (PWDs). Method: Seven-hundred and fourteen adults with disabilities participated in an online survey study. This study used structural equation modeling to examine the impact of self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and positive affect on intentions to request workplace accommodations. Results: The results showed that self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and positive affect accounted for 55.1% of the variance in accommodation request intentions. Conclusions: Accommodation request is a complex process that involves cognitive and affective factors for individuals with disabilities. Rehabilitation professionals need to help PWDs boost their level of self-efficacy and outcome expectancy by engaging in accommodation request and goal-setting skills training. In addition, rehabilitation professionals should assist PWDs to recognize the significance of positive affect in the process of accommodation request. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


The importance of exercise self-efficacy for clinical outcomes in pulmonary rehabilitation.Open in a New Window

Objective: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) improves functional exercise capacity and health status in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), although these outcomes are often not maintained following PR. Self-efficacy is a precursor to outcomes achievement, yet few studies have examined the importance of self-efficacy to outcome improvement during PR, or how it develops over time. Further, the contribution of exercise-specific self-efficacy to outcomes in PR is unknown. The aims of this study were to determine (a) whether baseline exercise self-efficacy predicts PR attendance and change in functional exercise capacity and health status over PR, and (b) if exercise self-efficacy changes with PR. Method: Fifty-eight out of 64 patients with COPD completed PR and assessments of exercise self-efficacy (task, coping, scheduling), the 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) at the beginning and end of PR. Analyses were conducted to predict attendance, and change in 6MWT and SGRQ, while controlling for baseline demographic and clinical indicators. Change in 6MWT, SGRQ, and self-efficacy with PR was also examined. Results: Clinically significant increases in the 6MWT and SGRQ were achieved with PR. Stronger task self-efficacy predicted better attendance, while stronger coping self-efficacy predicted greater 6MWT improvement. No variables predicted SGRQ change. Scheduling self-efficacy significantly improved with PR, whereas task and coping self-efficacy did not. Conclusion: Baseline exercise self-efficacy appears to be a determinant of rehabilitation attendance and functional exercise improvement with PR. Clinicians should evaluate and target exercise self-efficacy to maximize adherence and health outcome improvement with PR. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Using personality traits to construct linear growth models of mental health in family members of individuals with severe brain injury.Open in a New Window

Objective: No studies have examined the impact of personality traits on mental health among caregivers of individuals with severe brain injury. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to construct linear growth models to examine whether the personality traits of family members of individuals with severe brain injury could predict the trajectories of their own mental health-related quality of life (HRQoL), anxiety, and depression beginning in a neurointensive care unit through 1 year after injury. Method: Danish family members of individuals with severe brain injury (n = 52) completed the Short Form-36 assessing mental HRQoL (vitality, social functioning, role limitations–emotional, mental health), anxiety, and depression across 5 time points during the 1st year after injury. The measure of personality was administered 3 months after the patients’ discharge. Results: All mental HRQoL, anxiety, and depression variables improved significantly over time. Caregivers who were less neurotic and less conscientious had higher vitality, social functioning, and mental health over time, whereas caregivers who were more agreeable had higher social functioning over time. Caregivers with lower neuroticism had lower anxiety and depression over time, as well as a more accelerated decrease in anxiety and depression. Conclusions: Caregivers’ personality traits were strongly associated over time with mental HRQoL, anxiety, and depression, with neuroticism being especially important for trajectories of anxiety and depression. These results suggest that personality assessments for caregivers of individuals with severe brain injury could help identify those most at risk for poor mental health over the course of rehabilitation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Behavioral inhibition and activation systems in traumatic brain injury.Open in a New Window

Purpose/Objective: Personality has been linked to cognitive appraisal and health outcomes; however, research specific to traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been sparse. Gray’s theory of behavioral inhibition system and behavioral activation system (BIS/BAS) offers a neurobiologic view of personality that may be especially relevant to neurobehavioral change associated with TBI. The present study examined theoretical and psychometric issues of using the BIS/BAS scale among adults with TBI as well as BIS/BAS personality correlates of TBI. Research Method/Design: Eighty-one adults with complicated-mild to severe TBI and 76 of their significant others (SOs) participated. Measures included the BIS/BAS scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and Awareness Questionnaire. Results: Among adults with TBI, BIS/BAS internal consistency reliabilities were similar to those found in normative samples of adults without TBI. The TBI group endorsed significantly higher BAS than did the SO group, and injury severity was positively correlated to BAS. The SO group showed expected patterns of correlation between personality and affect; positive affect was associated with BAS, and negative affect with BIS. In contrast, in the TBI group, BAS was positively correlated to both positive and negative affect. Impaired awareness of abilities moderated the intensity of relationships between BIS/BAS and affect. Conclusions/Implications: TBI was associated with relatively intensified BAS (approach behavior) but not BIS (avoidance behavior). The observed pattern is consistent with the neurobiology of TBI-related personality change and with theory regarding the independence of the BIS and BAS systems. The BIS/BAS scale shows promise as a personality measure in TBI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Social isolation after spinal cord injury: Indicators from the Longitudinal Aging Study.Open in a New Window

Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop and test a conceptual model of social isolation, incorporating social disconnectedness (objective measures) and perceived isolation (subjective appraisals) in an aging sample of participants with spinal cord injury (SCI). Method: The study used cross-sectional data from 768 participants from the most recent administration of the SCI Longitudinal Aging Study, which was initiated in 1973. Measures included the revised version of the Life Situation Questionnaire, items from the Craig Handicap Assessment Reporting Technique, and the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. Indicators of social isolation were combined into scales assessing social disconnectedness and perceived isolation. We tested the hypothesized model of social isolation, including both social disconnectedness and perceived isolation, after SCI using structural equation modeling. Results: Results of structural equation modeling indicated good fit between the hypothesized model and data (root-mean-square error of approximation = 0.073, 90% confidence interval [0.070, 0.075]; comparative fit index = 0.949; Tucker Lewis Index = 0.946). Perceived isolation was significantly related with social disconnectedness (standardized coefficient [r] = .610). Several exogenous factors were significantly related to social disconnectedness and perceived isolation. Older participants were more likely to report lower levels of perceived isolation. Time since injury demonstrated an inverse relationship with both social disconnectedness and perceived isolation. Higher level and severity of injury were associated with higher levels of social disconnectedness. Conclusion: Our study establishes a stable model of social isolation to guide future research exploring the effect of social isolation on health after SCI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Personal assistance, disability, and intimate partner violence: A guide for healthcare providers.Open in a New Window

Purpose/Objective: Our objective was to provide evidence-based guidance for health care providers to engage in brief and extensive assessment of intimate partner violence (IPV) and to initiate appropriate safety precautions and referrals, all within the context of disability. Research Method/Design: This article is a review of the literature on prevalence and risk factors for IPV in nondisabled couples and in couples where a partner has a disability, on various assessment tools, and on the impact of personal assistance on relationships. Results: When an individual has a disability, it is often her or his partner who provides personal assistance. While providing this assistance can produce individual and/or interrelational benefits, it is also associated with a number of mental and physical health problems, including anxiety, depression, anger, drug abuse, and relationship discord and dissatisfaction. In addition, IPV is not uncommon among couples, and risk for partner violence may include depression, drug abuse, and relationship dissatisfaction, among others. Conclusions/Implications: It is likely that health care providers will encounter individuals with disabilities who are both receiving care from their partners and who are also the victims of partner violence. Thus, they will need to be prepared to assess and triage patients who are in or may be at risk for abusive relationships and to ensure patient safety in the context of these relationships. However, it is also critically important that this assessment occurs within a culturally inclusive and disability-affirming context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Differential item function analysis of a scale measuring worry about affording healthcare in multiple sclerosis.Open in a New Window

Purpose/Objective: A measure of worry about affording health care was developed in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to further the study of how trouble affording health care can affect health. This study examined whether the measure showed bias by gender, age, insurance type, income, and type of MS. Absence of bias would facilitate comparisons between groups in future studies. Research methods/Design: A sample of 433 people with MS completed the 5-item worry about affording health care measure. Demographic information was also collected. To test for bias, we used differential item function analysis with the graded response model of item response theory. We tested for bias from gender, age, insurance type, income, and type of MS. Results: Differential item function analyses found no significant bias for the worry about affording health care measure when comparing the following groups: men to women; younger than 55 years old to 55 years and older; public insurance to no public insurance; lower income to higher income; and relapsing/remitting MS type to other MS types. Conclusions/Implications: This brief measure of worry about affording health care can be used in future studies without concern for measurement bias on the factors examined here. Future studies should examine the relationship of this worry to adherence to treatment and other factors that may be affected by worries about health care affordability. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Brain–computer interface for individuals after spinal cord injury.Open in a New Window

Purpose/Objective: To investigate the feasibility of brain–computer interface (BCI) with patients on an inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI) unit. Research Method/Design: This study included 25 participants aged 18–64 who sustained traumatic or nontraumatic SCI and did not have severe cognitive or psychiatric impairment. Participants completed a variety of screening measures related to cognition, psychological disposition, pain, and technology experience/interest. The Emotiv electroencephalography system was used in conjunction with a cube rotation and manipulation game presented on a laptop computer. Results: The majority of participants successfully completed the BCI game and reported enjoyment of the experience. Outside of a mild trend of lower performance among participants with a past or present head injury, there were no demographic variables, injury variables or screening measures significantly associated with BCI performance. Conclusions/Implications: The BCI paradigm demonstrated feasibility and safety across participant age range, educational and vocational background, and level of injury. Despite the rapid integration of technology into rehabilitation health care settings, there are few evidence-based studies regarding the feasibility of technology with specific inpatient populations. Clinical implications and challenges of using this technology in a rehabilitation setting are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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