Growth and balance important to well-being
Dr. Heidi Wayment’s research on the importance of growth and balance to well-being and flourishing has been recently published. Her most recent paper captures several years of work on the “Quiet Ego.” With colleagues Jack Bauer (University of Dayton) and former NAU graduate student Kateryna Sylaska, their paper has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
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Social relationships and depression
Dr. Steven Barger studies social and economic determinants of health and presented his research on social relationships and depression conducted with a large representative sample of Swiss adults (> 12,000 participants) at the 72nd annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in San Francisco, CA.
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This research was a collaboration with faculty at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern in Switzerland.
Dr. Barger and his colleagues Jürgen Barth and Nadine Messerli-Bürgy found that participants who reported being sometimes or very often lonely had a much higher incidence of a recent major depressive episode. In addition, participants perceiving that their support needs were not being met and those who were not living with a romantic partner were also at higher risk. Other social relationship resources, such as having a confidant, seeing friends or family regularly and/or someone to help with daily activities (tangible support) were unrelated to major depression. In contrast, all of the social relationship characteristics examined, with the exception of living with a romantic partner, were associated with depressive symptoms. That is, people who lacked a confidant, perceived their social support needs were unmet, lacked tangible support and regular contact with friends and family were more likely to have depressive symptoms. Thus, a broader range of social relationship elements were related to depressive symptoms as compared to major depression. Overall loneliness was the strongest predictor of major depression and depressive symptoms in Switzerland, replicating associations found in nationally representative studies from the US and Australia. In addition, a broad set of markers for relationship quality and quantity were associated with sub-clinical depression. Thus, when characterizing the types of social relationships that are associated with mental health, it is important to evaluate a number of social relationship domains and distinguish between clinical versus sub-clinical depression. A manuscript based upon this research was published in an issue of BMC Public Health, a BioMed Central journal.
Human sexuality research
Dr. Andy Walters’ research on human sexuality, masculinity, gender performance, and sexuality among socially marginalized populations has led to several recent publications, all of which involved former NAU students:
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- Sylaska, K. M., & Walters, A. S. (2014). Testing the extent of the gender trap: College students’ perceptions of and reactions to intimate partner violence. Sex Roles, 70, 134-145;
- Sharpe, D. I., Walters, A. S., & Goren, M. J. (2013). Effect of cheating experience on attitudes toward infidelity. Sexuality and Culture, 17, 643-658.
- Walters, A. S., & Valenzuela, I. (2013). Under the watchful eye: Masculinity among Latino men in the wake of Arizona 1070. In J. M. Aston & E. Vasquez (Eds.), Masculinity and femininity: Stereotypes and myths, psychology, and the role of culture (pp. 51-69). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science.,
- Walters, A. S., & Burger, B. D. (2013). “I love you, and I cheated”: Investigating disclosures of infidelity to primary partners. Sexuality and Culture, 17, 20-49.