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Psychology Around the Net: September 9, 2017

Happy Saturday!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net focuses on some professional insight on mental health apps, why pet therapy programs are worth it, the kinds of interventions that can prevent anxiety disorders, and more.

Should You Trust an App for Mental Health Help? Mental health apps have been on the rise for a while (I’ve mentioned them several times in past posts), but now we’re getting some information from studies and expert organizations. For example, information from the U.K.’s University of Bolton suggests using mobile health interventions “shows promising and emerging efficacy” while the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) agrees that in some situations, mental health apps can be simple, effective, and offer a lower cost and introduction to various kinds of care. However, the NIMH does remind us there are no “no review boards, checklists, or widely accepted rules” for choosing the best app for you.

How Positive Psychology Transforms People and Organizations — The Academic View: Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD., who is considered one of the founding fathers of positive psychology and quite the expert in “flow” and how it helps us become happier and more productive, has provided us with help on how to know when we’re “in the flow.” (HINT: If you have complete concentration, clarity, and control, you’re halfway there!)

Behavioral Interventions Help Prevent Anxiety Disorders: New systematic review and meta-analysis show that psychological interventions and education interventions (simply put, exercises that target thoughts, feelings, and beliefs) can help prevent anxiety. Intrigued? Read the full report over at JAMA Psychiatry, too.

Pet Therapy For Mental Health: Four-Legged Volunteers Are Helping Patients: While Dr. Beth L. Murphy points out that there currently is a weak body of research dealing with pet therapy — especially related potential long-term benefits — she champions the obvious short-term benefits, such as treatment breakthroughs, as “reason enough to have a pet therapy program.”

Schizophrenia: Could Lack of Nutrients in Pregnancy Be a Cause? During a study involving mice, researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Tokyo have discovered a mechanism involving altered gene expressions and results from a lack of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the mother’s early pregnancy diet that gave “schizophrenic-like symptoms” in adult offspring.

A Guy Read 50 Years Worth of Relationship Studies. He Came Up With 17 Strategies: 50 years worth of relationship studies?! Whoa! Well, Brian Ogolsky, an associate professor in human development and family studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, read every study he could get his hands on (i.e. all “relationship maintenance materials published in the academic realm since 1950) and came up with 17 strategies — based on both individual behavior and couple behavior — for us to keep our relationships thriving.

Source: psychcenteral