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Journal article

The relationship between spiritual experiences, transpersonal trust, social support, and sense of coherence and mental distress - a comparison of spiritually practising and non-practising samples

Authors:
KOHLS Niko, WALACH Harald, WIRTZ Markus
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Religion and Culture, 12(1), January 2009, pp.1-23.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

The pathways from exceptional experiences (measured with the Exceptional Experiences Questionnaire, EEQ), transpersonal trust (TPV), social support (F-SoZu) and sense of coherence (SOC) scales towards mental distress within a spiritually practising (SP) and a non-practising sample (NSP) were compared, using structural equation modelling. A high amount of variance explained for SOC, a moderate amount for F-SoZU and for TPV a very small amount only in the SP sample were found. In contrast, for the EEQ, which grasps positive and negative spiritual, psychopathological, and visionary dream experiences, a strong relationship was found for the NSP sample but only a moderate relationship for the SP sample. Further analysis revealed that the path coefficients from positive, negative spiritual, and psychopathological experiences to distress were significantly lower in the SP sample. Thus, as regular spiritual practice seems to alter the pathways to distress derived from positive and negative spiritual and psychopathological experiences, unidimensional questionnaires only grasping positive spiritual experiences seem to be inappropriate for explaining the intrapersonal mechanisms associated with regular spiritual practice.

Book

Sheltered employment in five member states of the Council of Europe: Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland

Authors:
SAMOY Erik, WATERPLAS Lina
Publisher:
Council of Europe
Publication year:
1997
Pagination:
67p.,bibliogs.
Place of publication:
Strasbourg

Comparative study looking at the situation of sheltered employment in the twelve Member States of the European Union. The data for each country is grouped under the following headings: institutional context; target population; access to sheltered employment; characteristics of the people in sheltered employment; and a discussion of the topics currently under debate around sheltered employment in each country.

Journal article

Exploring perceptions of family relationships by individuals with intellectual disability and psychiatric disorders

Authors:
WIDMER Eric D., KEMPF-CONSTANTIN Nadine L., CARMINATI Giuliana Galli
Journal article citation:
Families in Society, 91(4), October 2010, pp.378-384.
Publisher:
The Alliance for Children and Families

This article explores the ways in which individuals with intellectual disability (ID) and psychiatric disorders perceive their family relationships compared with the perceptions of those relationships by family members. The study used social network methods as it focused on perceptions of a large number of family relationships of individuals with ID rather than specific family dyads. The participants were 17 individuals with mild ID and psychiatric disorders who were patients at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. Each participant was interviewed and completed the Family Network questionnaire. The first family member that they cited was also interviewed. A third group, a comparison nonclinical group of 17 individuals, matched for age and sex with the clinical group were also interviewed. The results showed that the clinical group, compared with comparison nonclinical individuals, perceived their family as presenting less emotional support and fewer influential relationships, but the same number of conflict relationships. For the most part, the interviews with family members confirmed these results, confirming that the patients had a very limited set of supportive relationships. However, there were some significant differences in the perceptions between patients and their family members, with family members perceiving additional relationships that the patient did not perceive. The importance of these findings for research on family relationships of individuals with ID is discussed.

Journal article

Predictors and course of vocational status, income, and quality of life in people with severe mental illness: a naturalistic study

Authors:
NORDT Carlos, et al
Journal article citation:
Social Science and Medicine, 65(7), October 2007, pp.1420-1429.
Publisher:
Elsevier

Due to high unemployment rates, people with mental illness are at risk of poverty and are deprived of the social and psychological functions of work, such as the provision of social support, structuring of time, and self-esteem, with a negative effect on their perceived quality of life (QoL). Two distinct processes are held responsible for the low work force participation of people with mental illness: ‘Social underachievement’ and ‘social decline’. Social underachievement signifies that, due to early illness onset, the educational attainment of people with mental illness is low and entry to the labour market fails. Social decline, on the other hand, describes the loss of competitive employment after illness onset, followed by prolonged periods of unemployment and difficulties to re-enter the labour market. This study examines how social underachievement and decline are reflected in the course of vocational status, income, and QoL of people with severe mental illness in the years after a psychiatric admission in a naturalistic longitudinal design. A total of 176 participants diagnosed with schizophrenia or affective disorders were interviewed during an index hospitalization in two large psychiatric hospitals in Zurich. Follow-up interviews were conducted 12 and 30 months after. Random coefficient models (multilevel models) were used to examine simultaneously the predictors and course of the variables of interest. A low number of psychiatric hospitalizations, a higher educational degree, a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and years of work experience predicted a higher vocational status. Vocational status decreased in first-admission participants with prolonged hospitalizations during the follow-up period. Income did not change over time and was positively influenced by a higher age of illness onset, competitive employment, higher education, and not having had a longer hospitalization recently. Subjective QoL significantly improved and was rated higher by people with any kind of employment than by participants without a job. Participants with an affective disorder, those with few hospitalizations but a recent inpatient stay of longer duration, showed lower QoL. Including employment issues early in treatment is especially important for people with an early illness onset and those with more severe forms of psychiatric disorder. A life course perspective enhances the understanding of patients’ vocational potential and needs for support.

Journal article

Benchmarking a liaison psychiatry service: a prospective 6-month study of quality indicators

Authors:
O'KEFFE Nikki, et al
Journal article citation:
Psychiatric Bulletin, 31(9), September 2007, pp.345-347.
Publisher:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

There are no national standards to evaluate the quality of delivery of inpatient liaison psychiatry services in general hospitals in the UK. In order to benchmark the service against best international practice, we adapted quality indicators from two peer-reviewed studies from Australia and Switzerland and monitored our performance standards over a period of 6 months. There were 145 patients assessed over the study period. We set a priori target of 90% achievement on indicators in the areas of timeliness of response to all referrals, timeliness of response to referrals following self-harm and quality of supervision of junior medical staff attaining 93.8, 87.5 and 89.6% respectively.  National bodies should develop benchmarks in this area so that services can demonstrate the quality of their service and learn from others’ good practice.

Journal article

Mental and social health in disasters: relating qualitative social science research and the Sphere standard

Authors:
BATNIJI Rajaie, VAN OMMEREN Mark, SARACENO Benedetto
Journal article citation:
Social Science and Medicine, 62(8), April 2006, pp.1853-1864.
Publisher:
Elsevier

Increasingly, social scientists interested in mental and social health conduct qualitative research to chronicle the experiences of and humanitarian responses to disaster. The authors reviewed the qualitative social science research literature in relation to a significant policy document, the Sphere Handbook, which includes a minimum standard in disaster response addressing “mental and social aspects of health”, involving 12 interventions indicators. The reviewed literature in general supports the relevance of the Sphere social health intervention indicators. However, social scientists’ chronicles of the diversity and complexity of communities and responses to disaster illustrate that these social interventions cannot be assumed helpful in all settings and times. With respect to Sphere mental health intervention indicators, the research largely ignores the existence and well-being of persons with pre-existing, severe mental disorders in disasters, whose well-being is addressed by the relevant Sphere standard. Instead, many social scientists focus on and question the relevance of posttraumatic stress disorder-focused interventions, which are common after some disasters and which are not specifically covered by the Sphere standard. Overall, social scientists appear to call for a social response that more actively engages the political, social, and economic causes of suffering, and that recognizes the social complexities and flux that accompany disaster. By relating social science research to the Sphere standard for mental and social health, this review informs and illustrates the standard and identifies areas of needed research.

Journal article

Factors influencing social distance toward people with mental illness

Authors:
LAUBER Christoph, et al
Journal article citation:
Community Mental Health Journal, 40(3), June 2004, pp.265-274.
Publisher:
Springer

When identifying ways to reduce stigmatization because of mental illness it is crucial to understand contributing factors. Social distance—the willingness to engage in relationships of varying intimacy with a person—is an indicator of public attitudes toward persons with mental illness. Multiple linear regression analysis of the results of a vignette-based opinion survey conducted on a representative population sample in Switzerland (n = 594). The level of social distance increases if situations imply social closeness. The vignette describing a person with schizophrenia, attitudes to general aspects of mental health (lay helping, community psychiatry), emotions toward those affected, and the attitude toward consequences of mental illness (medical treatment, medication side effects, negative sanctions, e.g. withdrawal of the driver license) were found to predict social distance. Demographic factors such as age, gender, and the cultural background influence social distance. The explained variance (R2) is 44.8%. Social distance is a multifaceted concept influenced by, e.g., socio-economic and cultural factors, but also by the respondent's general attitude toward (mental) health issues. These results suggest that more knowledge about mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia, may increase social distance. The findings presented here may help to focus anti-stigma campaigns not only on transmission of knowledge, but on integrating different approaches.

Journal article

Service provision for elderly depressed persons and political and professional awareness for this subject: a comparison of six European countries

Author:
BRAMSFELD Anke
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18(5), May 2003, pp.392-401.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Under-treatment of depression in late-life is a subject of rising public health concern throughout Europe. This study investigates and compares the availability of services for depressed elderly persons in Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Additionally, it explores factors that might contribute to an adequate services supply for depressed elderly people. Review of the literature and guide supported expert interviews. Analysis of the practice of care provision for depressed elderly persons and of indicators for political and professional awareness, such as university chairs, certification processes and political programmes in gerontopsychiatry. Only Switzerland and the UK offer countrywide community-oriented services for depressed elderly persons. Clinical experience in treating depression in late-life is not regularly acquired in the vocational training of the concerned professionals. Indicators suggest that the medical society and health politics in Switzerland and the UK regard psychiatric disease in the elderly more importantly than it is the case in the other investigated countries. Service provision for depressed elderly persons seems to be more elaborated and better available in countries where gerontopsychiatry is institutionalised to a greater extend in the medical society and health politics.

Journal article

Anxiety, depression, and religiosity - a controlled clinical study

Authors:
PFEIFER Samuel, WAELTY Ursula
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Religion and Culture, 2(1), May 1999, pp.35-45.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

Studies on religiosity and mental health have yielded mixed results. There are few studies in clinical settings, many of which are limited to an older population. This study had the goal of firstly exploring the interrelation of neuroticism and religiosity in clinically diagnosed patients in Switzerland compared with a group of healthy controls, and secondly, exploring differential aspects of positive or negative perceptions of religion in the individual. The findings support the clinical observation that the primary factor in explaining neurotic functioning in religious patients is not their personal religious commitment but their underlying psychopathology. Patients and healthy controls differ in the way they experience supportive and conflicting aspects of religiosity.

Book Full text available online for free

A review of the research literature on serious violent and sexual offenders

Authors:
CONNELLY Clare, WILLIAMSON Shanti
Publisher:
Scotland. Scottish Executive. Central Research Unit
Publication year:
2000
Pagination:
125p.,bibliog.
Place of publication:
Edinburgh

Aims to provide a summary of current and recent UK and international literature on the sentencing of dangerous offenders and the subsequent management of these offenders, whether in hospital or prison settings, and upon release into the community. The research is divided by country, split up into those who use a community protection approach, those who use a clinical approach, and other jurisdictions. It concludes with an examination of the issue of compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

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