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February 2003
NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL NEWS
Summarized by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.

Uncertain Economy and Worker Disabilities
Economic uncertainty causes more psychiatric-related disabilities at work, according to an EAP director at a major national bank. Daniel Conti, EAP chief at Bank One says, “Untreated stress is a health risk that can lead to depression and other illnesses.” He noted a study which found a 33% increase in medical claims when companies layoff workers after a merger. This was part of a conference in Orlando, FL in September, 2002 (annual conference of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance).

Cardiac Implications of Loneliness
Students who describe themselves as lonely had increased blood pressure when assigned a task. This raises questions about an increased risk of cardiac problems due to social isolation, perhaps over a long-term period of time.

Researcher John Cacioppo reported this study in the May-June issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. He can be reached at cacioppl@uchicago.edu.

Single Moms at Risk for Depression
Single moms experience depression at a rate three times higher than that for other women, parents or not. The British National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity surveyed 5,000 women between the ages of 16 and 64 for this study. Contact Deborah Hart in the External Affairs Department of the Royal College for more information: dhart@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Girls Encouraged to Relax
Girl Scouts can earn a “Stress Less” badge if they receive foot massages, take aromatherapy treatments, visit a spa, or listen to “Sounds of the Rainforest” relaxation tapes. The badge is a round patch with a hammock on it.

Alicia McLucas, a scout leader from Redwood City, CA says, “Learning to relax isn’t easy. A lot of parents could use this too.” Reported by Knight Ridder news service.


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