On November 27 at the UMH it was defended the doctoral thesis: "Relationship between separation anxiety and health in school children" by Micaela Rodriguez and directed by Professors Jose P. Espada and Mireia Orgilés. The aim of the thesis was to adapt and validate the Portuguese version of the Separation Anxiety Scale for Children (CASI-N). The study confirmed the factorial structure of the questionnaire and its psychometric properties. It was concluded that the instrument can be used for the assessment of Portuguese children with guarantees.
Professor Kenneth Griffin, researcher at the Institute for Prevention Research at Cornell University in New York has taught a seminar to Aitana researchers on program evaluation advanced methods. During his visit, Dr. Griffin is collaborating in ongoing studies on health promotion, in addition to participating in the training of the researchers of the group.
Aitana researchers have carried out the validation of the General Self-Efficacy Scale for adolescents. It is known that self-efficacy is relevant to human functioning, so its assessment in adolescents can provides valuable information about the expectations of achieving goals. The study involved more than 600 Spanish adolescents between 14 and 18 years. Significant correlations were found between self-efficacy and self-concept. The results of this study were recently published in the Electronic Journal of Research of Educational Psychology.
Recently it was presented the thesis 'Relationship between self-concept and sexual risk behavior in adolescents: universal versus selective prevention', by Yolanda Perez and directed by Dr. José Pedro Espada, head of AITANA research group.
This study concludes that more than 40% of adolescents do not use condoms in all sexual relations. There was a relationship between high levels of self-concept in physical appearance with earlier sexual debut, a greater number of sexual partners and more sexual activity.
The second phase of the research evaluated a prevention program for adolescents with low self-concept that brings expertise in prevention and affects self-improvement, compared to other standard program focused on improving knowledge and skills. The goal of these programs is to reduce the existing high rates of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents.
The latest issue of INFOCOP, a publication directed to psychologists in Spain, includes a study conducted by researchers of Aitana and the Jaume I University of Castellon, in which levels of social anxiety, self-concept and mood are compared in adolescents according to their sexual orientation. This research involved 832 adolescents aged 14-18 years from several areas of the country, of which 40 were identified as homosexuals. Adolescents completed a self-report to gather information on sexual activity and identify the sexual orientation. They also completed some questionnaires to assess social anxiety, self-concept and mood. The overall levels of general social anxiety and in the specific subscales were similar in both sexual orientations. The scores on self-concept, in all its dimensions, also did not differ between heterosexual and homosexual adolescents. However, there were significant differences in mood, whose level was lower in homosexual adolescents. From the results it can be concluded that, in recent years, the homosexual community has rapidly evolved in social and legal levels in Spain. If social rejection directly influences emotional disorders of homosexual adolescents, our findings reflect a decline in emotional problems among this group. From a social perspective, it is noted a trend toward acceptance of homosexuality as a sexual condition. From an individual point of view, although it is observed worse mood among homosexual adolescents,they generally show a good self-concept and a good ability to adapt to their environment.
Dr. Griffin is collaborating with the research group AITANA as a visiting researcher from July to December 2012 under the program funded by the Spanish Department of Education, Culture and Sports.
Dr. Kenneth Griffin is a Professor of Public Health in the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior in the Department of Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. His research focuses on the etiology and prevention of substance use and HIV risk behavior in adolescents and young adults. Dr. Griffin's team works to design, implement and evaluate preventive intervention programs for youth. The work of Dr. Griffin covers both action strategies as the study of protective factors of risk behaviors. Dr. Griffin also is the principal investigator of a major study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that examines the long-term effects of a program of drug abuse prevention with minority youth in the state of New York.
Professor Griffin has previously collaborated with AITANA researching predictive factor of driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. During his stay at the University Miguel Hernández, Dr. Griffin will teach seminars on research methodology and program evaluation for doctorate students and will act as a consultant to ongoing research projects.
In the latest issue of the journal INFOTABACO, published by the department of health of the Generalitat de Catalunya, a paper written by Dr. Jose Pedro Espada about the Project EX has been included. It presents the study carried out to adapt and assess the smoking cessation program aimed at Spanish teenagers. The main researcher presents at the paper the background and the objectives of the study, which is funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad through the program of the Plan Nacional de I+d+i.
A study carried out by AITANA research group with more than 2500 children and adolescents from Alicante show that more than 26% of the sample report symptoms of anxiety disorders. Symptoms related to separation anxiety disorder were the more common symptoms, with a percentage of 5,5% of children and adolescents showing anxiety when they are separated from their parents. The panic disorder and social phobia were the disorders less reported by the sample. The prevalence of anxiety disorders symptoms was related to the age and gender of the participants. Girls showed more anxiety than boys in any disorder, except in obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Moreover, separation anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic tended to decrease with age, and social phobia and generalized anxiety symptoms were more frequent in older participants. The authors of the study, which has been published in Revista de Psiquiatría y Salud Mental, conclude that the early detection and prevention of anxiety symptoms is necessary to prevent the development of anxiety disorders in later life.
The XV National AIDS conference, organized by the Interdisciplinary Spanish Society of AIDS, took place this year in Madrid, with the theme "To prevent more, to diagnose early, to treat better”. The AITANA researchers exposed the effects of an HIV prevention program on knowledge and attitudes in adolescents with high levels of sexual sensation seeking. They also indicated the factors related to AIDS phobia in Spanish adolescents, and the factors associated with the consistent condom use in heterosexual adolescents. In Addition, they shared the findings of a recent study that examines the differences in self-concept in function of the adolescent’s sexual status.
The AITANA group has validated a questionnaire to examine the habits and main sleep problems of Spanish children. The Sleep Self-Report was created to be answered by children and it provides information about the quality of sleep, sleep anxiety, refusal to go to bed and bedtime routines. The study, which involved over 1200 children, has been carried out in collaboration with the author of the original questionnaire, Dr. Judith Owens from U.S. Rhode Island Hospital, a pediatric sleep expert.
The validation of the questionnaire has been published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development.
The study examines the efficacy of a treatment for teenagers smokers: the EX program.
The first phase consists of a pilot study with students under 18 and a control group, who will attend therapeutic groups at schools. In a second phase the prevention version of the program will be applied, involving the entire class. The research project lasts three years and is funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
The group AITANA has participated at the V International Conference of Clinical Psychology, organized by the Spanish Association of Behavioral Psychology, which was held in Santander.
The Professor José Pedro Espada has coordinated a Symposium about addictive behaviors. The Symposium addressed the psychopathological and therapeutic aspects of addictions in adolescents and young people. In his presentation, Professor José Luis Carballo has examined the risk factors of Internet abuse in youths. Sergio Fernandez-Artamendi, researcher at the University of Oviedo, has analyzed the results of a treatment supported by incentives to quit cocaine. Finally, Professor José Pedro Espada has presented the adaptation of a USA smoking cessation program and its effectiveness from a controlled trial among adolescents.
The use of new technologies has increased considerably. For its assessment, appropriate instruments focused on social skills are needed in the context of the Internet. The EMES validation study was led by Professor José Luis Carballo and it was published in the Psicothema journal. The results concluded that the scale is a useful instrument for assessing social skills in both the real context and the context of the Internet.