Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Fall 2018

New Articles from Annals of Behavioral Medicine and Translational Behavioral Medicine

SBM's two journals, Annals of Behavioral Medicine and Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research (TBM), continuously publish online articles, many of which become available before issues are printed. Three recently published Annals and TBM online articles are listed below.

SBM members who have paid their 2018 membership dues are able to access the full text of all Annals and TBM online articles via the SBM website by following the steps below.

  1. Go to the Members Only section of the SBM website.
  2. Log in with your username and password.
  3. Click on the Journals link.
  4. Click on the title of the journal which you would like to electronically access.

To check if you are a current SBM member, or if you are having trouble accessing the journals online, please contact the SBM national office at info@sbm.org or (414) 918-3156.

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

Social Isolation Predicts Frequent Attendance in Primary Care

Tegan Cruwys, Juliet R H Wakefield, Fabio Sani, Genevieve A Dingle, Jolanda Jetten

Frequent attenders in primary care have complex physical and mental healthcare needs as well as low satisfaction with their health care. Interventions targeting mental health or psychoeducation have not been effective in reducing attendance. Here, we test the proposition that both frequent attendance and poor health are partly explained by unmet social needs (i.e., limited social group support networks).
Study 1 (N = 1,752) was a large, cross-sectional community sample of primary care attenders in Scotland. Study 2 (N = 79) was a longitudinal study of a group of young people undergoing a life transition (moving countries and commencing university) that increased their risk of frequent attendance. Study 3 (N = 46) was a pre–post intervention study examining whether disadvantaged adults who joined a social group subsequently had reduced frequency of primary care attendance.
All three studies found that low social group connectedness was associated with a higher frequency of primary care attendance. This was not attributable to poorer health among those who were socially isolated. In Study 3, joining a social group led to reduced primary care attendance to the extent that participants experienced a (subjective) increase in their social group connectedness.
Unmet social needs among frequent attenders warrant closer consideration. Interventions that target social group connectedness show promise for reducing overutilization of primary care services.

Stigma, Coping, and Alcohol Use Severity Among People Living With HIV: A Prospective Analysis of Bidirectional and Mediated Associations

Jeffrey D Wardell, Paul A Shuper, Sean B Rourke, Christian S Hendershot

HIV-related stigma is associated with health consequences among people living with HIV, including increased risk for alcohol problems. Theory suggests that maladaptive coping may mediate the relationship between HIV-related stigma and alcohol outcomes, and these variables may be bidirectionally associated over time. However, no studies have examined the temporal relationships among these variables in people living with HIV.
This study examined prospective bidirectional and mediated associations among HIV-related stigma, maladaptive coping, and alcohol use severity in patients enrolled in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort study.
Patients receiving care for HIV (N = 1,520) at one of several clinics completed self-report measures annually. Data were analyzed in a four-wave, cross-lagged panel model.
Greater HIV-related stigma at each wave consistently predicted increased maladaptive coping 1 year later. Similarly, maladaptive coping consistently predicted greater subsequent HIV-related stigma. Further, we observed some evidence that maladaptive coping mediated the prospective associations between HIV-related stigma and alcohol use severity in both directions (i.e., stigma to subsequent alcohol use severity and vice versa) although these associations were not observed across all waves.
Results suggest that HIV-related stigma and maladaptive coping are bidirectionally associated with one another over time. This study also provides some evidence that coping may be a relevant mediator of these associations, although findings were less consistent for mediated pathways. Future research should examine whether interventions addressing stigma and coping among people living with HIV may help to minimize health risks such as hazardous drinking.

The Effects of Exercise on Physical and Psychological Outcomes in Cancer Caregivers: Results From the RECHARGE Randomized Controlled Trial

Colleen A Cuthbert, Kathryn M King-Shier, J Dean Ruether, Dianne M Tapp, Kathryn Wytsma-Fisher, Tak S Fung, Nicole Culos-Reed

Family caregivers to cancer patients are at risk for physical and psychological morbidity as a direct result of being in the caregiver role. Exercise as an intervention to support caregiver health and well-being has been tested in other caregiver populations; however, no randomized controlled trials testing the effects of an aerobic and resistance training program have been conducted where cancer caregivers only have participated.
To examine the effects of a 12-week exercise program on quality of life (Short Form 36 v2), psychological outcomes, physical activity levels, and physical fitness in caregivers to cancer patients.
Seventy-seven caregivers were randomized to either an exercise intervention or wait-list control. Two participants in the exercise arm dropped out immediately after their baseline assessment. Outcome data for n = 77 participants were analyzed using intention-to-treat analysis with linear mixed models.
Significant group by time interaction effects were detected for exercise on the mental health component score of quality of life, self-reported weekly exercise levels, and the six-minute walk test. Small to medium effect sizes were detected on several outcomes including physical health component of quality of life (d = 0.36), mental health component of quality of life (d = 0.74), depression (d = 0.41), anxiety (d = 0.35), physical activity levels (d = 0.80), and the six-minute walk test (d = 0.21).
The findings suggest that exercise may improve health and well-being and could be considered as an additional type of support offered to cancer caregivers.


Translational Behavioral Medicine

How to empower patients? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Amber Werbrouck, Eva Swinnen, Eric Kerckhofs, Ronald Buyl, David Beckwée, Liesbet De Wit

Patient empowerment, a concept focused on patient-centeredness and patients autonomy, is a well-discussed topic in health literature. However, translating theory into practice is a challenge. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of interventions on patient empowerment and to identify and compare the modalities of these interventions. For this systematic review including meta-analysis, eligibility criteria were as follows: (i) adult participants with one or more chronic somatic diseases, (ii) “patient empowerment” was explicitly measured (i.e., outcome or measuring instrument), (iii) randomized controlled designs, and (iv) written in English, French, Dutch, or German. A systematic search strategy was applied in five online databases (last search: March 29, 2017). Thirty-two studies were included in this review, of which 23 studies could be included in the meta-analysis. Overall effect estimate was significant in favor of the intervention; however, heterogeneity was high. Subgroup analyses revealed that the effect estimate was higher in studies with interventions that comprised individual sessions. The most recurrent behavioral change technique identified in our review was “knowledge”, though this is not sufficient to empower. “Goal setting” and “action planning” were more likely to be applied in successful interventions. “Knowledge” could be combined with “goal setting” and “action planning” to empower. Thorough understanding of the concept of patient empowerment remains necessary. Future research should focus on somatic chronic diseases other than diabetes, a consensus definition for patient empowerment, and clinimetric properties of instruments.

Translational behavioral medicine for population and individual health: gaps, opportunities, and vision for practice-based translational behavior change research

Jun Ma, Megan A Lewis, Joshua M Smyth

In this commentary, we propose a vision for “practice-based translational behavior change research,” which we define as clinical and public health practice-embedded research on the implementation, optimization, and fundamental mechanisms of behavioral interventions. This vision intends to be inclusive of important research elements for behavioral intervention development, testing, and implementation. We discuss important research gaps and conceptual and methodological advances in three key areas along the discovery (development) to delivery (implementation) continuum of evidence-based interventions to improve behavior and health that could help achieve our vision of practice-based translational behavior change research. We expect our proposed vision to be refined and evolve over time. Through highlighting critical gaps that can be addressed by integrating modern theoretical and methodological approaches across disciplines in behavioral medicine, we hope to inspire the development and funding of innovative research on more potent and implementable behavior change interventions for optimal population and individual health.

Team Red, White & Blue: a community-based model for harnessing positive social networks to enhance enrichment outcomes in military veterans reintegrating to civilian life

Caroline M Angel, Blayne P Smith, John M Pinter, Brandon B Young, Nicholas J Armstrong, Joseph P Quinn, Daniel F Brostek, David E Goodrich, Katherine D Hoerster, Michael S Erwin

Military service assimilates individuals into a socially cohesive force to address dangerous and traumatic situations that have no counterpart in civilian life. Upon leaving active duty, many veterans experience a “reverse culture shock” when trying to reintegrate into civilian institutions and cultivate supportive social networks. Poor social reintegration is associated with greater morbidity and premature mortality in part due to adoption of risky health behaviors, social isolation, and inadequate engagement in health care services. Although institutions like the Veterans Health Administration (VA) do much to address the complex psychosocial and health care needs of veterans and their families with evidence-based care, only 61% of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans are enrolled in VA care and there are numerous perceived barriers to care for enrollees. To address this gap, a community-based nonprofit organization, Team Red, White & Blue (RWB), was created to help veterans establish health-enriching social connections with communities through the consistent provision of inclusive and locally tailored physical, social, and service activities. This article provides an overview of the development and refinement of a theory-based framework for veteran health called the Enrichment Equation, comprised of three core constructs: health, people, and purpose. By operationalizing programming activities and roles, we describe how theoretical components were translated into a social networking implementation package that enabled rapid national spread of Team RWB. We conclude with future opportunities to partner with researchers and other organizations to understand program impact, and to identify effective intervention components that could be adapted for similar vulnerable groups.