Publications by authors named "Gina M Brelsford"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Fathers' Heightened Stress Responses to Recounting their NICU Experiences Months after Discharge: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study.

Am J Perinatol 2021 Jun 15. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Objective:  The acute and traumatic events associated with having a newborn who requires admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may elicit long-term concerns for parents postdischarge. Cognitive processing of taxing events influences recurring stress responses, which can be inferred via biomarkers such as salivary cortisol (sCort) and skin conductance (SC). In addition, personal narratives provide an important insight into individual perceptions and coping strategies. The current pilot study aimed to (1) test the hypotheses that fathers' sCort and SC would peak in response to stress induction and decrease during recovery, (2) examine associations among stress biomarkers and stress perceptions, (3) explore fathers' narratives using thematic analysis, and (4) integrate fathers' narrative themes with their stress responsivity.

Study Design:  Using a convergent mixed methods approach, we enrolled 10 fathers of infants formerly cared for in NICU who underwent a Trier Social Stress Test including recounting their NICU experience months postdischarge. Stress responsivity was measured via sCort and SC, while stress perceptions were identified by using the Perceived Stress Scale and Distress Thermometer-Parent. Personal narratives were explored by using thematic analysis.

Results:  The significant rise in fathers' sCort and SC in response to stress induction was reflected in narrative themes including loss, worry, and role strain. Subsequently, fathers' sCort and SC returned to baseline, which was illustrated by themes such as role strength, coping, and medical staff interactions. Fathers' stress measured by PSS was lower than that required for mental health referral, and did not correlate with stress biomarkers.

Conclusion:  Salivary cortisol and skin conductance are useful biomarkers of paternal stress responsivity and recovery. Thematic analysis identified fathers' NICU stressors and coping strategies that mirrored their stress responsivity patterns. Further studies are needed to more broadly examine the sociodemographic variables that influence stress reactivity and perceptions in parents of infants formerly cared for in NICU.

Key Points: · Stress associated with NICU stay is impactful on fathers and may have long-term implications.. · Salivary cortisol and skin conductance are useful noninvasive stress biomarkers.. · Fathers' coping strategies included infant bonding, partner relationship, and trust building..
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1731045DOI Listing
June 2021

Reducing the Biological and Psychological Toxicity of Poverty-related Stress: Initial Efficacy of the BaSICS Intervention for Early Adolescents.

Am J Community Psychol 2020 06 11;65(3-4):305-319. Epub 2019 Oct 11.

Penn State University Harrisburg, Middletown, PA, USA.

This proof-of-concept study tests the initial efficacy of the Building a Strong Identity and Coping Skills (BaSICS) intervention, a selective prevention of internalizing problems program for early adolescents exposed to high levels of poverty-related stress. Eighty-four early adolescents (M  = 11.36 years) residing in very low-income neighborhoods were randomized to receive the 16-session intervention (n = 44) or to an assessment-only control condition (n = 40). BaSICS teaches coping skills, social identity development, and collective social action to empower youth with the ability to connect with members of their communities and cope with poverty-related stress in positive and collaborative ways. Pretest-posttest analyses showed that intervention adolescents acquired problem-solving and cognitive-restructuring skills and reduced their reliance on avoidant coping. In addition, HPA reactivity was significantly reduced in the intervention youth, but not controls. Finally, intervention youth's internalizing and somatic symptoms as reported by both youth and their parents, showed significant reductions over time, whereas control youth had no such changes. Results provide strong support for this approach to strength-building and symptom reduction in a population of early adolescents exposed to poverty-related stress.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12400DOI Listing
June 2020

Political Affiliation, Spirituality, and Religiosity: Links to Emerging Adults' Life Satisfaction and Optimism.

J Relig Health 2018 Apr;57(2):622-635

Penn State Harrisburg, 777 W. Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA, USA.

The goal of this study was to extend the existing literature regarding the intersection between belief systems shaping psychological processes and subjective well-being among emerging adults. A nationwide sample of 3966 college students reported on their political affiliation, spirituality, and religiosity in relation to their subjective well-being. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that politically conservative participants were significantly more optimistic and satisfied with life than their liberal counterparts and Republican emerging adults reported significantly higher life satisfaction than Democrats. Republican emerging adults also reported significantly higher rates of religiosity and spirituality than Democratic and Independent politically affiliated emerging adults. Our findings corroborate and expand upon existing literature regarding belief systems and political identity as determinants of subjective well-being in emerging adults.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-017-0477-yDOI Listing
April 2018

Sacred Spaces: Religious and Secular Coping and Family Relationships in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Adv Neonatal Care 2016 Aug;16(4):315-22

School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania (Dr Brelsford and Mr Ramirez); and Division of Newborn Medicine, Penn State Hershey, College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania (Drs Veneman and Doheny).

Background: Preterm birth is an unanticipated and stressful event for parents. In addition, the unfamiliar setting of the intensive care nursery necessitates strategies for coping.

Purpose: The primary study objective of this descriptive study was to determine whether secular and religious coping strategies were related to family functioning in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Methods: Fifty-two parents of preterm (25-35 weeks' gestation) infants completed the Brief COPE (secular coping), the Brief RCOPE (religious coping), and the Family Environment Scale within 1 week of their infant's hospital admission.

Findings: This descriptive study found that parents' religious and secular coping was significant in relation to family relationship functioning. Specifically, negative religious coping (ie, feeling abandoned or angry at God) was related to poorer family cohesion and use of denial.

Implications For Practice: These findings have relevance for interventions focused toward enhancing effective coping for families.

Implications For Research: Further study of religious and secular coping strategies for neonatal intensive care unit families is warranted in a larger more diverse sample of family members.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ANC.0000000000000263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5498099PMC
August 2016

Religious and Spiritual Journeys: Brief Reflections from Mothers and Fathers in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Pastoral Psychol 2016 Feb 19;65(1):79-87. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

College of Medicine, Penn State Hershey, Hershey, PA, USA.

The birth of a child is often accompanied by elation and celebration, but when a birth results in admittance to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the typical emotions of joy and celebration may be tempered with anxiety and fear. Parents with a religious and spiritual worldview may find their faith and spiritual lens is an important aspect of coping with their NICU experience. There is a dearth of literature on this issue, and thus a pilot study was implemented that included eight mothers and fathers of babies admitted to the NICU. Parents responded to a brief interview 4 to 6 weeks after discharge that focused on how their religious or spiritual worldview changed as a result of their NICU experience, how they coped with their premature newborn after discharge, and the perceived impact on their spousal/partner relation-ship. Results indicated that parents who presented to the NICU with a religious or spiritual background indicated their faith grew as a result of their experience in the NICU. Parents without a religious or spiritual worldview also reported being able to adequately manage their NICU experience and reported little to no change in their religious or spiritual lives. Further, parents reported they coped well after their babies' discharge from the NICU and had supportive spousal relationships. This pilot study supported assessment of religious and spiritual experiences as a salient aspect in NICU parents' lives. Further study is necessary to elucidate how religiosity and spirituality can be strengthened for families during this challenging time.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11089-015-0673-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5647828PMC
February 2016

Exploring Latino College Students' Sexual Behaviors in Relation to Their Sexual Attitudes, Religiousness, and Spirituality.

J Relig Health 2015 Aug;54(4):1345-57

Health Education Program, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Penn State Harrisburg, W314 Olmsted, 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA, 17057-4898, USA,

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between religiosity, spirituality, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors among Latino and non-Latino college students. The sample included 230 undergraduate college students enrolled at a mid-sized University in the western USA. Sexual behaviors among Latinos were significantly correlated with sexual attitudes and spiritual disclosure in close relationships. However, sexual behaviors for non-Latino respondents were only significantly related to sexual attitudes, not indices of religiousness or spirituality. Sexual educators, health educators, college-level instructors, and counselors can use these results to help Latino and non-Latino students alike understand the relationship between their religious and spiritual beliefs, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-014-9929-9DOI Listing
August 2015

Sanctification and spiritual disclosure in parent-child relationships: implications for family relationship quality.

Authors:
Gina M Brelsford

J Fam Psychol 2013 Aug 17;27(4):639-49. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

Psychology Program, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA 17057, USA.

Social scientific research on family life, religion, and spirituality tends to focus on global religiousness and spirituality with few studies seeking to understand interpersonal religious and spiritual contributors, namely sanctification and spiritual disclosure, from multiple family members' perspectives. This study explored 91 mother-college student and 64 father-college student dyads who rated their use of spiritual disclosure and theistic and nontheistic sanctification of the parent-child dyad in relation to parent-child relationship quality (e.g., parent-child relationship satisfaction and open communication). Results indicate significant positive links between higher levels of spiritual disclosure and greater theistic and nontheistic sanctification, for mothers, fathers, and their children. However, only greater nontheistic sanctification and higher levels spiritual disclosure were significantly related to increased parent-child relationship quality. Through use of Actor-Partner Interdependence Models (APIMs) results indicated unique contributions of spiritual disclosure to parent-child relationship quality above nontheistic sanctification for open communication in the family. However, full models, which included nontheistic sanctification and spiritual disclosure, predict college students' relationship satisfaction with their mothers and fathers. Implications for interpersonal religiousness and spirituality as contributors to familial relationship quality in research and practice are discussed.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033424DOI Listing
August 2013

Training Methods in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Tradition and Invention.

J Cogn Psychother 2013 1;27(1):19-29. Epub 2013 Jan 1.

Penn State University, Harrisburg.

Cognitive behavioral supervisors influence new generations of clients and clinicians. Accordingly, the task is meaningful, rewarding, challenging, and critically important. This article describes traditional and unconventional approaches to supervising clinicians in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Traditional methods such as the use of the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale, videotape/audiotape review, live supervision, and cotherapy are reviewed. Further, inventive procedures for teaching supervisees cognitive flexibility, empathy, tolerance for ambiguity, and remaining steadfast when faced with negative emotional arousal are explained. Popular media, improvisation and acting exercises, and working with professional actors as teaching methods are explained.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/0889-8391.27.1.19DOI Listing
January 2013

Religiosity, spirituality, sexual attitudes, and sexual behaviors among college students.

J Relig Health 2012 Sep;51(3):601-14

Health Education Program, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Penn State Harrisburg, W314 Olmsted Bldg, 777W. Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057, USA.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether religiosity, spirituality, and sexual attitudes accounted for differences in sexual behaviors among college students. The sample included 960 college students enrolled at four northeastern colleges. Results indicated differences in sexual attitudes, religiosity, and spirituality by gender. Moreover, sexual attitudes, religiosity, and spirituality were associated with sexual behaviors among college students. Sexual behaviors among males were influenced by their sexual attitudes, religiosity, and spirituality, while for females, their sexual behaviors were mostly influenced by their sexual attitudes. College health professionals can use these findings when discussing sexual practices with students.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-011-9527-zDOI Listing
September 2012

Core principles in cognitive therapy with youth.

Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2011 Apr 16;20(2):369-78. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Division of Child Psychiatry, Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center/College of Medicine, 22 NE Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.

Cognitive therapy (CT) is increasingly being adopted by child psychiatrists for a variety of clinical problems. This article explains the cardinal principles, practices, and processes associated with this approach. More specifically, a brief overview of the treatment model is offered along with an emphasis on case conceptualization and modular format for treatment. The value of collaboration, guided discovery, establishing a good therapeutic alliance, empiricism, and transparency in clinical work, as well as bringing the head and heart to consensus, is explained. Finally, the hallmark session structure that characterizes CT is delineated.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2011.01.009DOI Listing
April 2011

Spiritual disclosure between older adolescents and their mothers.

J Fam Psychol 2008 Feb;22(1):62-70

Psychology Program, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA 17507, USA.

This study examines the role of spiritual disclosure within older adolescent-mother relationships. Spiritual disclosure is defined as mutual disclosure of personal religious and spiritual beliefs and practices. Three hundred 18- to 20-year-old college students and 130 of their mothers reported on spiritual disclosure in their relationships. According to both parties, greater spiritual disclosure was related to higher relationship satisfaction, greater use of collaborative conflict resolution strategies, less dysfunctional communication patterns, less verbal aggression, and increased general disclosure in mother-adolescent relationships beyond global religiousness and demographics. Spiritual disclosure also predicted unique variance in collaborative conflict resolution strategies beyond these factors and general disclosure. The findings underscore the value of attending to the interpersonal dimension of religion/spirituality. More specifically, the results suggest that spiritual disclosure is an indicator of relationship quality, one that is tied to better relationship functioning, and one that merits further attention in studies of family dynamics.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0893-3200.22.1.62DOI Listing
February 2008
-->