Skip to content

Science News About Coping with Traumatic Events

Children Carry Emotional Burden of AIDS Epidemic in China

Science Update

Researcher interviewing with teen study participant

Having a parent with HIV/AIDS or losing one or both parents to the illness leads to poorer mental health among children in China, according to a recent study funded in part by NIMH. Published in the November–December 2009 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, the study also emphasizes the need to develop culturally and developmentally appropriate measures and interventions for diverse populations.

Continue Reading…

History of Childhood Maltreatment Linked to Higher Rates of Unemployment, Poverty

Science Update

boy's face

The long-term impacts of childhood maltreatment include higher rates of unemployment, poverty, and use of social services in adulthood, according to a new study by David Zielinski, Ph.D., of the NIMH Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications. The related losses in productivity and tax revenues, increased spending on social services, and potential transmission of abusive behaviors from one generation to the next, suggest major costs to society as well. The results were published online ahead of print on October 8, 2009, in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect.

Continue Reading…

PTSD Treatment Efforts for Returning War Veterans to be Evaluated

Science Update

man and woman in individual therapy

Joan Cook, Ph.D., of Yale University and colleagues have been awarded funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to evaluate the implementation of two evidence-based psychotherapies for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. The grant addresses the NIH Challenge Grant topic “Strategies to Support Uptake of Interventions within Clinical Community and Settings.”

Continue Reading…

Economic Analysis Estimates Cost of Providing Comprehensive Mental Health Care Following Disasters

Science Update

adult hugging child in lake

Making evidence-based mental health services accessible to everyone in a disaster-stricken area would have substantial public health benefits, according to a statistical model developed by NIMH-funded researchers.

Continue Reading…

Child Abuse Survivors Have Higher Risk for STDs in Adulthood Than Non-abused Adults

Science Update

A history of child abuse or neglect can increase the risk for STDs in adulthood, according to a study partly funded by NIMH. The researchers reported their findings in the April 2009 supplemental issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Continue Reading…

Childhood Maltreatment Undermines Physical Health in Adulthood

Science Update

It’s well known that early life experiences can affect a child’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral development. A recent study funded by NIMH takes this link one step further showing that negative childhood experiences, such as abuse or neglect, can affect a person’s physical health as well. Published in the February 24, 2009, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study suggests a history of child abuse or neglect can lower a person’s overall immunity and ability to manage stress, and that this effect may be long-lasting.

Continue Reading…

Task Force Finds Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Effective for Children and Adolescents Exposed to Trauma

Science Update

Individual and group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) were the only interventions found effective in an evaluation of seven commonly-used approaches to reduce the psychological harm to youth who experience trauma.

Continue Reading…

HIV-positive Survivors of Sexual Abuse Who Receive Coping Intervention Less Likely to Engage in Unprotected Sex

Science Update

HIV-positive people who have experienced childhood sexual abuse are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior if they receive a group intervention designed to help them cope with their traumatic history, according to an NIMH-funded study published April 1, 2008, in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Continue Reading…

Virtual Reality, Psychotherapy, Show Promise in Treating PTSD Symptoms; Civilian Access to Care Remains a Concern

Science Update

WASHINGTON, DC, May 7 — Early data from an NIMH-sponsored double-blind study of 24 war veterans shows a marked reduction in acoustic startle — the reflex response to sudden loud sounds — in those treated with virtual reality exposure therapy combined with either d-cycloserine, an antibiotic that has been shown to facilitate the extinction of fear memories; pill placebo; or the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam (Xanax).

Continue Reading…

Journal Highlights Effectiveness of Research Based Psychotherapies for Youth

Science Update

Reviews of the current research on psychosocial and behavioral therapies, or psychotherapies, for children and adolescents found a number of well established and probably efficacious treatments for many mental disorders. For example, six were probably efficacious for anxiety disorders, and two were well established for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to scientists funded by NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divisions of the National Institutes of Health.

Continue Reading…

Mental Disorders Persist Among Hurricane Katrina Survivors

Science Update

More residents affected by Hurricane Katrina are enduring mental disorders than was initially determined a few months after the storm, according to a study published online January 8, 2008, in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The trend runs counter to the typical pattern of recovery after a natural disaster, in which the prevalence of mental disorders among the survivors gradually decreases and fades out after about two years.

Continue Reading…

Research-based Principles May Help Improve Mental Health Recovery Following Mass Trauma

Science Update

Experts on trauma-related research and medical practices from around the world recently identified five principles to guide mental health care efforts immediately or shortly after a mass trauma, such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack. In a related commentary, NIMH scientist Farris Tuma, Sc.D., MHS, discusses how these principles may help determine effective mental health care for large numbers of people following an emergency, and how best to deliver it. The article and commentary were published in the Winter 2007 issue of Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes.

Continue Reading…

Hurricane Katrina Survivors Lack Access to Mental Health Services

Science Update

The majority of Hurricane Katrina survivors who developed mental disorders after the disaster are not receiving the mental health services they need, and many who were receiving mental health care prior to the hurricane were not able to continue with treatment, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print December 17, 2007, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Continue Reading…

New Research to Study Program that Improves Police Interactions with Mentally Ill

Science Update

A new grant funded by NIMH will examine the effectiveness and utility of a program designed to improve police interactions with people who have mental disorders

Continue Reading…

Early Mental Health Intervention Reduces Mass Violence Trauma

Press Release

Early psychological intervention guided by qualified mental health caregivers can reduce the harmful psychological and emotional effects of exposure to mass violence in survivors, according to a national conference report released today.

Continue Reading…

NIMH Awards New Grants in Response to Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001

Press Release

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded new grants for research on mental health needs resulting from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Continue Reading…