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Abstract

Tanzania’s education system has been passing through different changes in its policies and strategic implementation plans. As a result, improvements in various areas, such as increased students’ enrolment rate, improved pass rates, and improved infrastructure at all levels have been realized. This pilot study aimed at understanding the awareness and perception of policymakers, employers, instructors, and students of the importance of policies in integrating workplace learning and technical higher education. With the main question being, how stakeholders in the education sector perceive the importance of policies in integrating workplace learning and technical higher education. In order to answer the above question, a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews was conducted with policymakers, employers, instructors, and students. Most of the interviewees stated that policies have significant roles in ensuring the smooth integration and implementation of these two learning modes. On the other side, several challenges were mentioned in policy implementation and realization of the strategic plans. These challenges were categorized as those related to the public’s and students’ awareness and readiness, financial constraints, educational institutes’ readiness, and operationalization of the organizations and educational institutes. From this pilot study, insightful information is gained on the importance of having policies that take into account all main stakeholders in higher education.

Open access

Abstract

Serotonergic (or “classic”) psychedelics have struck many researchers as raising significant philosophical questions that, until recently, were largely unexplored by academic philosophers. This paper provides an overview of four emerging lines of research at the intersection of academic philosophy and psychedelic science that have gained considerable traction in the last decade: selfless consciousness, psychedelic epistemology, psychedelic ethics, and spiritual/religious naturalism. In this paper, we highlight philosophical questions concerning (i) psychedelics, self-consciousness, and phenomenal consciousness, (ii) the epistemic profile of the psychedelic experience; (iii) ethical concerns about the appropriate use of psychedelics; and (iv) whether spiritual or religious dimensions of psychedelic use are compatible with a naturalistic worldview.

Open access

Abstract

Background

Recently, there has been significantly increased participation in online gaming and other addictive behaviors particularly in adolescents. Tendencies to avoid social interaction and become more involved in technology-based activities pose the danger of creating unhealthy addictions. Thus, the presence of relatively immature cognitive control and high risk-taking properties makes adolescence a period of major changes leading to an increased rate of emotional disorders and addiction.

Aims

The critical roles of frontostriatal circuits in addiction have become the primary focus associated with reward in the striatum and cognitive control in the PFC. Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and nicotine addiction are currently becoming more and more serious.

Methods

In the light of neuroimaging, the similarity between brain mechanisms causing substance use disorder (SUD) and IGD have been described in previous literature.

Results

In particular, two distinct brain systems affect the way we act accounting for uncharacteristic neural function in addiction: the affective system comprises of the striatum driven by emotional, reward-related, and internal stimuli, and a cognitive system consisting of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) supporting the ventral affective system's actions via inhibitory control.

Discussion and Conclusion

Therefore, as a novel concept, we focused on the implication of frontostriatal circuits in nicotine addiction and IGD by reviewing the main findings from our studies compared to those of others. We hope that all of these neuroimaging findings can lead to effective intervention and treatment for addiction especially during this critical period.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aim

Problematic mobile phone use (PMPU) is prevalent and increases the risk for a variety of health problems. However, few studies have explored the neural mechanisms that might render adolescents more or less vulnerable. Here, we aimed to identify whether PMPU is associated with depressive symptoms and whether this relationship is moderated by intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) which is associated with PMPU.

Methods

In this longitudinal study, we included 238 students (mean age = 19.05, SD = 0.81) that came from a university in Hefei, China. They all finished MRI scans at baseline and completed questionnaires both at baseline and 1 year later. A self-rating questionnaire for adolescent problematic mobile phone use and depression anxiety stress scale-21 were used to assess PMPU and depressive symptoms. We first assessed the relationship between PMPU and depressive symptoms using an autoregressive cross-lagged model. Then, we detected the brain regions that were associated with PMPU. Moreover, the neuroimaging results were extracted to explore whether the iFC of these brain regions moderated the relationship between PMPU and depression.

Results

Consistent with our hypotheses, PMPU was positively associated with depressive symptoms, and the relationship between PMPU and depressive symptoms was moderated by iFC of the left parahippocampal gyrus-right middle temporal gyrus both at baseline and after 1 year (β = 0.554, P = 0.003; β = 0.463, P = 0.016, respectively).

Conclusions

These results advance the understanding of PMPU and suggest that iFC of the left parahippocampal gyrus-right middle temporal gyrus may be a neurobiological contributor to its relationship with depressive symptoms.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Research recognizes the extent of harm experienced by concerned significant others (CSOs) of gamblers. This systematic review’s aims are to examine the interventions for CSOs, evaluate potential benefits, and thematically describe treatment processes. The Stress-Strain-Coping-Support model (SSCS) served as the theoretical framework.

Methods

Database searches were conducted in: MEDLINE, CINAHL Complete, Web of Science Core Collection, Social Services Abstracts, Applied Social Science Index and Abstracts, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and APA PsycInfo (between 01/Jan 2011–10/Jun 2021). Other search methods were also utilized. Inclusion criteria: interventions for CSOs with CSO specific outcomes. The Evidence Project Risk of Bias Tool was used for assessment.

Results

19/768 records were included. Nine interventions were utilized: 3 CSO directed, 4 for couples, and 2 low threshold online interventions. A quantitative synthesis (N = 7 studies) of effect size estimates for depression and anxiety measures didn’t indicate any intervention to have better outcomes than others. Core themes in the treatment process identified in the qualitative synthesis (N = 7) included: information and understanding, social support, coping skills, communication, and strain. Limitations in the evidence related to sampling, control-conditions and outcome measurements.

Discussion and conclusion

Several interventions were identified, yet no specific interventions appeared more beneficial than others. Using the SSCS model, commonalities and differences in intervention content were identified, along with themes that influence treatment processes. The need for tailored interventions is discussed. Future treatment efficacy research should carefully select study designs and outcome measurements. PROSPERO (CRD42021229408).

Open access

Abstract

Background

Addictive behaviors share clinical, genetic, neurobiological and phenomenological parallels with substance addictions. Despite the prevalence of compulsive sexual behaviors, particularly problematic pornography use (PPU), how neuroendocrine systems relate to PPU is not well understood. Preclinical studies demonstrate alterations in oxytocin and arginine vasopressin (AVP) function in animal models of addiction, but no human study has tested their involvement in PPU.

Method

Participants included 122 males; 69 reported PPU, and 53 were demographically-matched participants without PPU. Plasma oxytocin and AVP levels and oxytocin-to-AVP balance were measured at baseline. Salivary oxytocin was assessed at baseline and in response to four videos depicting neutral/positive social encounters. Participants reported on empathy and psychiatric symptoms.

Results

Baseline plasma AVP levels were elevated in men with PPU, and the ratio of oxytocin-to-vasopressin suggested AVP dominance. Men with PPU reacted with greater oxytocin increases to presentation of neutral/positive social stimuli. Decreased empathic tendencies were found in men with PPU, and this reduced empathy mediated links between oxytocin and pornography-related hypersexuality. Structural equation modeling revealed three independent paths to pornography-related hypersexuality; two direct paths via increased AVP and higher psychiatric symptoms and one indirect path from oxytocin to pornography-related hypersexuality mediated by diminished empathy.

Conclusions

Findings are among the first to implicate neuropeptides sustaining mammalian attachment in the pathophysiology of pornography-related hypersexuality and describe a neurobiological mechanism by which oxytocin-AVP systems and psychiatric symptomatology may operate to reduce empathy and lead to pornography-related hypersexuality.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Romina Miranda-Olivos, Zaida Agüera, Roser Granero, Rhianna R. Vergeer, Carlos Dieguez, Susana Jiménez-Murcia, Ashley N. Gearhardt, and Fernando Fernández-Aranda

Abstract

Background and aims

Food addiction (FA) and substance use (SU) have frequently been reported in patients with eating disorders (EDs). Our study aimed to assess the prevalence rates of FA and/or lifetime problematic alcohol and illicit drug use among patients with specific ED, such as: bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED). We sought to identify clinical, psychopathological, and personality profiles involved in these addictive behavior-based phenotypes.

Methods

The total sample was 527 patients (176 BN, 115 BED, and 236 OSFED). FA was assessed through the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0. To determine lifetime SU, a semi-structured clinical interview was carried out.

Results

Patients with BN had the highest rates of FA both with and without SU. No gender differences were obtained for the prevalence of current FA and/or lifetime SU. Patients reporting at least one addictive-related behavior exhibited increased clinical severity compared to those who reported none. Increased impulsivity (such as high lack of premeditation, sensation seeking, and positive urgency) and low self-directedness were differentiating factors for presenting one or two addictive behaviors.

Discussion and Conclusions

Overall, patients presenting with at least one addictive-like behavior reported a poorer clinical status than those without. Also, patients with FA and SU exhibited a more dysfunctional profile characterized by high impulsivity and low self-directedness. These findings would support the need for targeted treatments to reduce impulsivity and increase self-directedness, especially in patients with any addictive-related behavior, as a step towards improving their treatment outcome.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the relationship between compulsive sexual behavior (CSB), religiosity, and spirituality. This review summarizes research examining the relationship CSB has with religiosity and spirituality, clarifying how these constructs inform the assessment and treatment of this syndrome.

Methods

The present paper reviews research published through August 1, 2021, using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Only studies providing quantitative analyses were included.

Results

This review identified 46 articles, subsuming 59 studies, analyzing the relationship between CSB and religiosity or spirituality. Most studies used cross-sectional designs with samples primarily composed of heterosexual White men and women. Generally, the studies found small to moderate positive relationships between religiosity and CSB. Studies considering the mediating or moderating role of moral incongruence identified stronger, indirect relationships between religiosity and problematic pornography use (PPU), a manifestation of CSB. Few studies examined the association between spirituality and CSB, but those that did either reported negative relationships between indicators of spiritual well-being and CSB or positive relationships between CSB and aspects of spiritual struggles.

Discussion and conclusions

Although research examining CSB and religiosity has flourished, such growth is hampered by cross-sectional samples lacking in diversity. Moral incongruence assists in explaining the relationship between religiosity and PPU, but future research should consider other manifestations of CSB beyond PPU. Attention should also be given to examining other religiosity and spirituality constructs and obtaining more diverse samples in research on CSB, religiosity, and spirituality.

Open access

Abstract

Background

With the continued spread of smartphones and development of the internet, the potential negative effects arising from problematic smartphone use (PSU) in adolescents are being reported on an increasing basis. This study aimed to investigate whether altered resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) is related to the psychological factors underlying PSU in adolescents.

Methods

Resting-state functional magnetic resonance images were acquired from 47 adolescents with PSU and 46 healthy control adolescents (the CON group). Seed-based functional connectivity analyses were then performed to compare the two groups with respect to rsFC in the right inferior frontal gyrus, associated with various forms of self-control, and rsFC in the left inferior frontal gyrus.

Results

Compared to the CON group, the PSU group exhibited a reduction in rsFC between the right inferior frontal gyrus and limbic areas, including the bilateral parahippocampal gyrus, the left amygdala, and the right hippocampus. In addition, a reduction in fronto-limbic rsFC was associated with the severity of PSU, the degree of self-control, and the amount of time the subjects used their smartphones.

Conclusion

Adolescents with PSU exhibited reduced levels of fronto-limbic functional connectivity; this mechanism is involved in salience attribution and self-control, attributes that are critical to the clinical manifestation of substance and behavioral addictions. Our data provide clear evidence for alterations in brain connectivity with respect to self-control in PSU.

Open access

Abstract

As a consequence of the unprecedented labor market circumstances that the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic brought about, organizations have faced challenges never seen before. One such challenge was the sudden ubiquity of working from home, which resulted in an intensive learning experience for employees and employers alike. While there is an increasing body of research on working from home in general, the perceived effectiveness of this mode of working is still under-researched. This niche provided the inspiration for us to investigate what factors might influence employees' self-efficacy in working from home arrangements. We conducted a mixed-methods case study by collecting both qualitative and quantitative data from 24 employees of a division of the Hungarian subsidiary of a chemical and consumer goods multinational. The purpose of our investigation was to gain a deeper understanding of perceived self-efficacy and self-regulation during the learning processes that the participants experienced under the new circumstances. Results suggest that the perceived high level of work-efficiency among the employees of the examined division was based on the firmly controlled work-division, trusting managers, as well as supportive and clear communication, which created space for autonomy in the adaptation process. The findings also revealed that self-reflection acted as a predictor of perceived work self-efficacy.

Open access