Childhood maltreatment and bipolar disorder

Currell, E. The Mental Elf. Published online: 2 June 2016

This systematic review and meta-analysis set out to examine whether a history of childhood maltreatment in individuals with bipolar disorder was associated with an increased risk for negative clinical outcomes. Heterogeneity of findings across the literature was also explored.

Summary/ Clinical implications: 

  • A history of childhood maltreatment could be an early indicator of disorder progression, helping identify individuals who might be at risk of a more undesirable disorder course.
  • Potential to stratify patients according to their risk for certain undesirable outcomes means treatment could be more targeted and specific.
  • Results lead the authors to suggest that the use of established treatment processes, such as those used in major depression, may be appropriate, including pharmacological interventions that target biological vulnerabilities. Additionally, comorbidities with PTSD and anxiety disorders lead to implications of trauma and anxiety-based treatments to improve illness course.
  • Clinicians may consider checking for childhood trauma in patients with bipolar disorder or in those with a more severe or unremitting course.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here


Psychological Abuse, Mental Health, and Acceptance of Dating Violence Among Adolescents

Temple, J. R. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published online: 27 May 2016

Image source: harumi-kyun – deviantart

Purpose: Existing literature indicates that acceptance of dating violence is a significant and robust risk factor for psychological dating abuse perpetration. Past work also indicates a significant relationship between psychological dating abuse perpetration and poor mental health. However, no known research has examined the relationship between acceptance of dating violence, perpetration of dating abuse, and mental health. In addition to exploring this complex relationship, the present study examines whether psychological abuse perpetration mediates the relationship between acceptance of dating violence and mental health (i.e., internalizing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and hostility).

Methods: Three waves of longitudinal data were obtained from 1,042 ethnically diverse high school students in Texas. Participants completed assessments of psychological dating abuse perpetration, acceptance of dating violence, and internalizing symptoms (hostility and symptoms of anxiety and depression).

Results: As predicted, results indicated that perpetration of psychological abuse was significantly associated with acceptance of dating violence and all internalizing symptoms. Furthermore, psychological abuse mediated the relationship between acceptance of dating violence and internalizing symptoms.

Conclusions: Findings from the present study suggest that acceptance of dating violence is an important target for the prevention of dating violence and related emotional distress.

Read the abstract here

Education, education, mental health.

Education, education, mental health: Supporting secondary schools to play a central role in early intervention mental health services | Institute for Public Policy Research

This report examines why schools are facing a ‘perfect storm’, and makes the case for putting secondary schools at the heart of early intervention provision for children and young people with emerging, low-level mental health problems.

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Suicide by children and young people in England

Bereavement, bullying, exams and physical health conditions such as acne and asthma are some of the experiences linked to suicide in children and young people according to a new report by The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH).

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Researchers studied the reports from a range of investigations and inquiries on 130 people under the age of 20 in England who died by suicide between January 2014 and April 2015, extracting information about their personal circumstances that the reports highlighted. This is the first time there has been a national study of suicide in children and young people in England on this scale.

The researchers found that 28% of the young people who died had been bereaved, in 13% there had been a suicide by a family member or friend. 36% had a physical health condition such as acne or asthma, and 29% were facing exams or exam results when they died. Four died on the day of an exam, or the day after.

The full report is available to download here

An infographic summary of the report can be downloaded here

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Digital Risk and Resilience Resources
image source: uditha wickramanayaka – Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

These Digital Risk resources have been developed as a hub of information and support for all professionals who work with children and young people.

The content has been co-produced by Xenzone and young people from their online counselling and support service,

For further information and learning on this topic, come and try our e-learning session on digital risk and resilience

Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in Primary Care

Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder During Adolescence in the Primary Care Setting: A Concise Review

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder with a worldwide prevalence of about 5% in school-age children. This review is intended to assist primary care providers (PCPs) in diagnosing and treating ADHD in adolescents.

PubMed, PsychInfo, and Science Citation Index databases were searched from March 1990 to 2015 with the keywords: ADHD, primary care/pediatrics and children/adolescents, abstracts addressing diagnosis and/or treatment with 105 citations identified including supplementary treatment guidelines/books.

Adolescent ADHD presents with significant disturbances in attention, academic performance, and family relationships with unique issues associated with this developmental period. Diagnostic challenges include the variable symptom presentation during adolescence, complex differential diagnosis, and limited training and time for PCPs to conduct thorough evaluations.

The evidence base for treatments in adolescence in comparison to those in children or adults with ADHD is relatively weak. Providers should be cognizant of prevention, early identification, and treatment of conditions associated with ADHD that emerge during adolescence as substance use disorders.

Adolescent ADHD management for the PCP is complex, requires further research, and perhaps new primary care psychiatric models, to assist in determining the optimal care for patients at this critical period.

Full reference: Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder During Adolescence in the Primary Care Setting: A Concise Review. Journal of Adolescent Health. Published Online:May 18, 2016

How urban living affects children’s mental health

ScienceDaily. Published online: 11 May 2016

Image source: Windeh at English Wikipedia // CC BY-SA 3.0

Lower social cohesion among neighbors and higher crime rates contribute to higher rates of psychotic symptoms among urban children, a new study from researchers at Duke University and King’s College London finds.

Previous research has also identified higher rates of psychotic symptoms among children in cities. The new study, available online this week in Schizophrenia Bulletin, is the first to examine why.

Psychotic symptoms include paranoid thoughts, hearing or seeing things that others do not, and believing others can read one’s mind. Psychotic experiences in childhood are associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in adulthood.

Read the commentary here

Read the original research abstract here