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(1/1365) Loud, sad or bad: young people's perceptions of peer groups and smoking.

This paper suggests that most 13 year olds and many 11 year olds have a clear and detailed grasp of their own social map, recognize the pecking order which is established amongst their peers and are aware of the different levels of risk-taking behaviour, including smoking, adopted by different peer groups in their school year. Thirty six 11 year olds and 40 13 year olds took part in the study. Their remarkably consistent views about which pupils adopt or reject smoking are closely related to their perceptions of their social map. Their accounts differentiate top girls, top boys, middle pupils, low-status pupils, trouble-makers and loners, associating smoking behaviour consistently with three of the five groups--the top girls, the low-status pupils and the trouble makers. Top boys, although sharing many of the characteristics of top girls, have an added protection factor--their keen interest in football and physical fitness. From their descriptions, it is apparent that different groups of pupils smoke for different reasons which are related to pecking order and group membership. The implications of these young people's views for health education programmes to prevent smoking and other risk-taking behaviours are far reaching.  (+info)

(2/1365) Building peace from scratch: some theoretical and technological aspects.

A peace-building process is based on activity, acceptance, understanding of political reality, communication, and empowerment. Acceptance means accepting everybody as he or she is and let each know it. This is at the heart of peace work, it is the prerequisite for effective communication, and includes accepting other even in cases of severe disagreement. Peace work requires both an understanding of political reality and the expression of one's own political opinion. Acceptance and the expression of political opinion are not at variance but complementary. Combining acceptance and understanding of the political context provides hope for real communication in which messages are both sent and received, with appreciation and interest. Empowerment implies overcoming of the feeling of powerlessness, often present in conflict by all sides and in all social groups. It includes recovery of self-respect and respect for others. Education and economic independence are important facets of the empowerment concept. Essential principles of peace-building process are responsibility, solidarity, cooperation, and nonviolence. Responsibility encompasses caring for human rights, the suffering of others, and for consequences of our own intended and unintended actions. Solidarity allows learning through listening and understanding. Even with the best intentions on both sides, cooperation may be difficult and painful. Nonviolence is a way of life.  (+info)

(3/1365) Effects of perceived patient demand on prescribing anti-infective drugs.

BACKGROUND: Although patient demand is frequently cited by physicians as a reason for inappropriate prescribing, the phenomenon has not been adequately studied. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of perceived patient demand in physician-patient encounters; to identify characteristics of the patient, physician and prescribing situation that are associated with perceived demand; and to determine the influence of perceived demand on physicians' prescribing behaviour. METHODS: An observational study using 2 survey approaches was conducted in February and March 1996. Over a 2-day period 20 family physicians in the Toronto area completed a brief questionnaire for each patient encounter related to suspected infectious disease. Physicians were later asked in an interview to select and describe 1 or 2 incidents from these encounters during which perceived patient demand influenced their prescribing (critical incident technique). RESULTS: Perceived patient demand was reported in 124 (48%) of the 260 physician-patient encounters; however, in almost 80% of these encounters physicians did not think that the demand had much influence on their decision to prescribe an anti-infective. When clinical need was uncertain, 28 (82%) of 34 patients seeking an anti-infective were prescribed one, and physicians reported that they were influenced either "moderately" or "quite a bit" by perceived patient demand in over 50% of these cases. Of the 35 critical prescribing incidents identified during the interviews, anti-infectives were prescribed in 17 (49%); the reasons for prescribing in these situations were categorized. INTERPRETATION: This study provides preliminary data on the prevalence and influence of perceived patient demand in prescribing anti-infectives. Patient demand had more influence on prescribing when physicians were uncertain of the need for an anti-infective.  (+info)

(4/1365) Dispelling the stigma of schizophrenia: II. The impact of information on dangerousness.

This study addressed a relatively neglected topic in schizophrenia: identifying methods to reduce stigma directed toward individuals with this disorder. The study investigated whether presentation of information describing the association between violent behavior and schizophrenia could affect subjects' impressions of the dangerousness of both a target person with schizophrenia and individuals with mental illness in general. Subjects with and without previous contact with individuals with a mental illness were administered one of four "information sheets" with varying information about schizophrenia and its association with violent behavior. Subjects then read a brief vignette of a male or female target individual with schizophrenia. Results showed that subjects who reported previous contact with individuals with a mental illness rated the male target individual and individuals with mental illness in general as less dangerous than did subjects without previous contact. Subjects who received information summarizing the prevalence rates of violent behavior among individuals with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders (e.g., substance abuse) rated individuals with a mental illness as less dangerous than did subjects who did not receive this information. Implications of the findings for public education are discussed.  (+info)

(5/1365) Treatment-resistant schizophrenia and staff rejection.

This study examined the relationship between characteristics of patients suffering from treatment-refractory schizophrenia and staff rejection and criticism. Subjects were 30 inpatients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia and the 29 staff members treating them. Measures included assessment of the patients' symptoms and aggression risk profile using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and assessment of staff attitudes toward these patients using the Patient Rejection Scale (PRS). Nursing staff completed the Nurses' Observation Scale for Inpatient Evaluation (NOSIE). PRS ratings did not correlate with patients' demographic and treatment characteristics. Significant correlations existed, however, between increased staff rejection and higher scores for PANSS cognitive factor and NOSIE manifest psychosis factor. Negative symptoms, although preponderant in the patient sample, were not significant predictors of staff rejection on the PRS. Older nursing staff tended to view patients as more irritable and manifestly psychotic. These findings suggest that disorganized behavior and impaired cognition dysfunction areas are more likely to be associated with high levels of rejection among staff working with treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients. Incorporation of the relatively new concepts of cognitive dysfunction and treatment resistance in staff training programs and multidisciplinary team reviews may greatly benefit schizophrenia patients and the staff treating them.  (+info)

(6/1365) Effects of the label "schizophrenia" on causal attributions of violence.

We investigated the relation between the label of "schizophrenia" and causal attributions of violence. Undergraduates read 1 of 10 scenarios in which two variables were manipulated: a psychiatric label and environmental stress. The scenario described an employee who acted violently toward his boss. Subjects made causal attributions for the employee's behavior by completing an adapted version of the Causal Dimension Scale II. Subjects also completed a questionnaire designed to explore several issues concerning the effects of the schizophrenia label on perceptions of behavior. Contrary to the primary hypothesis, the schizophrenia label did not lead subjects to make significantly more personality causal attributions for violent behavior. With increasing environmental stress, subjects did make significantly fewer personality attributions. A follow-up study using practicing clinicians as subjects yielded similar findings. The results of these studies are discussed in light of perceived stereotypes of persons with schizophrenia and conceptual issues in attribution research.  (+info)

(7/1365) Developmental theory for a cognitive enhancement therapy of schizophrenia.

Recent findings on psychosocial and neurodevelopmental anomalies in schizophrenia patients indicate that deficits related to social cognition-the ability to act wisely in social interactions-may be important constraints on complete social and vocational recovery. Social cognition is acquired over many decades and appears to be partially independent of formal IQ and neuropsychological problems. It invites a more developmental approach to the rehabilitation of schizophrenia, one that we call Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET). CET draws on an emerging literature that implicates both pre- and postonset neurodevelopmental difficulties, as well as a complementary literature on diffuse neuropsychological impairments that supports the notion of a neurodevelopmental insult. We analyzed evidence for an associated developmental basis to social cognitive impairment in the context of a model that addressed both the acquisition of interpersonal wisdom and the adaptive process that might follow developmental failures. A contemporary model of human cognition is then used to identify the metacognitive functions that characterize the developmental acquisition of normal cognition and, by inference, the associated difficulties of many patients with schizophrenia. A rehabilitation strategy for schizophrenia, designed to facilitate the metacognitive transition from prepubertal to young adult social cognition, would thus emphasize developmental learning experiences during the remediation of social cognitive deficits. A "gistful" appraisal of interpersonal behavior and novel social contexts best reflects the theoretical intent of this new intervention.  (+info)

(8/1365) Practice principles of cognitive enhancement therapy for schizophrenia.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) is a developmental approach to the rehabilitation of schizophrenia patients that attempts to facilitate an abstracting and "gistful" social cognition as a compensatory alternative to the more demanding and controlled cognitive strategies that often characterize schizophrenia as well as much of its treatment. Selected cognitive processes that developmentally underlie the capacity to acquire adult social cognition have been operationalized in the form of relevant interactive software and social group exercises. Treatment methods address the impairments, disabilities, and social handicaps associated with cognitive styles that appear to underlie the positive, negative, and disorganized symptom domains of schizophrenia. Style-related failures in secondary rather than primary socialization, particularly social cognitive deficits in context appraisal and perspective taking, are targeted goals. Illustrative examples of the techniques used to address social and nonsocial cognitive deficits are provided, together with encouraging preliminary observations regarding the efficacy of CET.  (+info)