Browsing by Subject "Master's Programme in Psychology"

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  • Kaidesoja, Milla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Aims: The transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model of eating disorders (ED) views EDs as a single disorder with different clinical manifestations, but the CBT effectiveness research thus far has mostly only pooled results within individual ED categories. A panoramic meta-analysis (PMA) synthesizes evidence across indications, and here the aim is to explore whether a PMA in the context of CBT for EDs provides an unbiased and precise effect estimate when pooling across the ED diagnoses. Methods: Reviews that synthesize RCTs of CBT for EDs were searched, and reviews that met inclusion criteria and included meta-analytic data or valid data from a single RCT were included in the PMA. Two PMAs (CBT vs active controls, CBT vs inactive controls) were performed. The outcome most commonly employed in the meta-analyses identified in the search was chosen as the outcome of interest. Findings: Of the n=24 meta-analyses, only n=7 were eligible for the PMA. The analysis provided support for the effectiveness of CBT vs inactive controls ((SMD: 0.32, 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.59, I2= 38.1%) but results were inconclusive when CBT was compared to active controls (SMD: 0.01, 95% CI: -0.35 to 0.36, I2=75.2%). Conclusions: Due to the methodological limitations of this thesis, several central comprehensive meta-analyses had to be excluded from the PMA. Thus, this PMA failed to provide a precise and unbiased synthesis of existing data of the effectiveness of CBT for EDs across the diagnoses.
  • Rasmus, Enni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Backround Returning to work (RTW) is an essential part of stroke patients’ wellbeing. According to previous literature, severity of stroke is the most consistent predictor of RTW. However, the role of neuropsychological rehabilitation and cognitive deficits in the context of RTW is less clear. Closer examination of the predictors of RTW could enable the identification of stroke patients who are in a greater risk of unsuccessful RTW. Analyzing the connections between rehabilitation and RTW could help to provide better treatment. We studied whether RTW could be predicted by acute cognitive deficits, duration and different elements of neuropsychological rehabilitation. Methods Participants were 79 stroke patients (33% women) who had received outpatient neuropsychological rehabilitation. Prior to stroke, all patients had been either full or part time working or studying. Patients were neuropsychologically assessed in the acute phase. Logistic regression was used to assess variables associated with RTW. Results Of the patients, 49% had returned to work. Deficits in attention and processing speed predicted poorer likelihood to RTW. Fewer outpatient visits and more straightforward content of the rehabilitation were associated with RTW, possibly due to lesser stroke severity. Finally, most of the aspects of neuropsychological rehabilitation were associated with RTW. Conclusions According to this study, RTW of stroke patients can partly be predicted by acute cognitive performance. Results regarding attention and processing speed are in congruence with previous research. Additional research is needed to clarify the relations of cognitive performance and neurorehabilitation to RTW.
  • Leskelä, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Physical and social anhedonia have shown some promise as possible indicators of later mental illness, especially of depression and schizophrenia. However, previous studies have focused on college students and clinical populations, limiting their generalizability into the whole population. Most previous studies have also been cross-sectional. The aim of this longitudinal study with a general population sample is to examine whether high social or physical anhedonia in young adulthood precedes later psychiatric diagnoses. In addition, cross-sectional connections between demographic factors (sex, age, marital status, education) and social and physical anhedonia were examined. The study sample (n=453) of young adults was recruited through the Health 2000 study, which is a representative sample of the adult Finnish population. In the beginning of the study, participants filled in the self-report Chapman Revised Anhedonia Scales, and their demographic factors were clarified using a questionnaire (marital status, education level) and health records (age, sex). After this there was a follow-up period of 9 to 12 years. The psychiatric diagnoses of the participants from the follow-up period were retrieved from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register, which includes both inpatient and outpatient specialized psychiatric care. Two sets of analyses were done: analyses of variance (ANOVA) examining the cross-sectional associations between anhedonia and demographic factors (age, sex, marital status, education) and Cox regression analyses examining longitudinal associations between aforementioned variables and later psychiatric diagnoses. Male sex was associated with both higher physical and higher social anhedonia. 63 participants (13%) received at least one psychiatric diagnosis during the follow-up period. Three diagnostic groups were examined; one for receiving a depression diagnosis, one for receiving any anxiety diagnosis and one for receiving any psychiatric diagnosis. Physical or social anhedonia during young adulthood was not found to be associated with later psychiatric diagnoses. Instead, lack of marriage/cohabitation and female sex were found to be possible risk factors for receiving a diagnosis. Contrary to the hypotheses of this study, no association between anhedonia and later psychiatric diagnoses were found. However, the relatively small amount of diagnoses during the follow-up period restricted the statistical strength of the results. The results of this study suggest that anhedonia is not a major predictor of for receiving a later depression diagnosis, any anxiety diagnosis or any psychiatric diagnosis in the general young adult population.
  • Mäkipelto, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Aims: Schizophrenia is characterized by cognitive impairment that associates with many problems in everyday life and functioning. Earlier research has hypothesized that antidepressant medication may associate with better cognitive functioning among schizophrenia patients, but empirical results are mixed. This study explored the profile of schizophrenia patients that use antidepressants and asked whether there is an association between antidepressant use and cognitive performance in a clinical patient sample. Because of effects on the central nervous system, benzodiazepines and anticholinergic medications were also considered. Methods: Study participants were drawn from the SUPER-Finland cohort, which was collected among patients with psychotic illnesses in 2016–2018 from all university hospital districts across Finland (n=10474). The analysis included working-age (18–70) patients with a schizophrenia diagnosis (F20) and complete results from the brief cognitive assessment (n=3411). Information about regular medications and psychosocial factors were gathered through questionnaire and interview. Cognition was assessed with CANTAB (Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery), out of which the subtests measuring reaction time (RTI) and visual learning (PAL) were included. The association of antidepressants on cognition was examined using both pooled antidepressants and various antidepressant groups as predictors in linear regression models. Gender, age, age of diagnosis, living status, relationship, education, and psychological distress were controlled in the models. Results: Over 35% of schizophrenia patients regularly used at least one antidepressant. On average, schizophrenia patients using antidepressants experienced lower well-being and more psychological distress than patients without antidepressants. The use of antidepressants was not generally associated with better or poorer cognitive performance. However, the use of SNRI antidepressants was associated with a significantly faster reaction time. The use of benzodiazepines was associated with poorer cognitive performance in both reaction time and visual learning. Conclusions: The results support the conclusion that there is generally no meaningful association between antidepressants and better cognitive performance in schizophrenia. However, the association of SNRI-medicines with a slightly faster reaction time is promising and warrants further research. Several psychosocial factors were associated with the cognitive performance of schizophrenia patients, which underlines the need for supporting psychosocial well-being in cognitive rehabilitation.
  • Lukka, Venla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aim of the study. Conduct disorder and antisocial behaviour are externalizing symptoms. Furthermore antisocial behaviour is associsiated with substance use. Conduct disorder at adolescence have continuity with antisocial behaviour in adulthood and alcohol misuse in adolescence predict alcohol misuse in adulthood. This study examines association between conduct disorder and alcohol use in adolescence and antisocial behaviour and alcohol use in adulthood. Additionally this study examines ADHD symptoms effect to potential association. Methods. The data of this study is a part of a Finnish FinnTwin12 longitudinal study. The sample of this study consists of 1336 person. This study used 14 years and early adulthood (ages between 21 and 26 years) follow-up. Conduct symptoms, alcohol use and ADHD symptoms at adolescence were assessed with the C-SSAGA -psychiatric interview method for children. Antisocial behaviour and alcohol use at early adulthood were assessed with SSAGA -psychiatric interview method. Association between antisocial behaviour and alcohol use were analyzed with cross-lagged panel model. Results and conclusions. Conduct symptoms in adolescence is connected with antisocial behaviour and alcohol use at adulthood. However, alcohol use in adolescence is not connected with antisocial behaviour in adulthood. According to this study, support methods would be important to focus to children and youth with conduct symptoms. This create a possibility to prevent future problems related with alcohol use and antisocial behaviour.
  • Hyry, Saimi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The aim of the study. Spontaneous eye blink rate (sEBR) is a behavioral index that has been linked to frontostriatal dopaminergic activity. Reduced or increased dopaminergic activity due to clinical conditions tends to be associated with lower or higher sEBR, respectively, and sEBR can be modulated by pharmacological agents that affect dopamine signaling. Consequently, sEBR could serve as an easily accessible method of assessing brain dopaminergic tone indirectly in humans. It might be preferable to more expensive and invasive techniques such as positron emission tomography. However, it remains unclear whether variations in dopaminergic genes predict sEBR. In this cross-sectional study, the relationship between sEBR and dopaminergic genotype was examined in two samples. Two genetic polymorphisms were focused on: the COMT Val158Met polymorphism and the A1 allele of the Taq1A polymorphism. It was hypothesized that the COMT Val158Met polymorphism is associated with higher sEBR, and that the A1 allele of the Taq1A polymorphism is associated with lower sEBR. As BMI and diet have been linked with altered striatal dopamine function, the possible association between BMI, diet, and sEBR was studied exploratively. Methods. Data from three cross-sectional studies was used in this study: The intervention study (n = 31) is an experimental study that examines the effect of acute phenylalanine/tyrosine depletion on cognitive measures. The GREADT study (n = 86) focuses on the effects of genotype and diet on dopamine tone. The BEDOB study (n = 69) investigates neurocognitive mechanisms in obesity and binge eating disorder. Similar methodologies were used in the GREADT and the BEDOB studies, which is why these datasets were combined for the analyses. Blink rates were measured using an infrared eye tracking system. The participants completed the Dietary Fat and free Sugar Questionnaire (DFS) to assess how much they consumed saturated fat and refined sugar. In the GREADT/BEDOB sample, the associations between the polymorphisms, BMI, DFS-score, and sEBR were examined with univariate analyses of variance. In the intervention study sample, a generalized linear mixed model was run to check whether sEBR changed in the intervention and whether the genotypes, BMI, or DFS-score affected sEBR. Results. No influence of the genotypes was found on sEBR in either of the samples. BMI had a significant effect on sEBR in the GREADT/BEDOB sample. The association was significant in the overweight/obese group but not in the normal weight group. DFS-score did not influence sEBR in either of the samples. Conclusions. The results of this study converge with those of authors suggesting caution in using sEBR as a proxy for central dopamine functioning of healthy humans. In future studies, particular attention should be paid to methodological considerations when studying sEBR.
  • Pesonen, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Objectives. Recent results of both animal and human studies suggest that intestinal microbiota, i.e. microorganisms inhabiting the gastrointestinal system, may be connected to their host’s cognition. However, the diverse effects of intestinal microbiota are still poorly understood and especially knowledge of its associations with normative childhood cognitive development is very scarce. The purpose of the current study was to examine the possible associations between infant intestinal microbial composition, richness and diversity and cognitive performance in early childhood. Methods. The current study sample consisted of the children taking part in Finnish Health and Early Life Microbiota (HELMi) longitudinal birth cohort study. The cognitive abilities of 424 children were assessed at 2 years of age with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, using cognitive, receptive language and expressive language subscales. Of 424 tested children, those from whom microbiota analysis for at least one fecal sample was available at the time of the start of this study, were included. Fecal samples were collected when infants were 3, 6 and 12 weeks old and 6, 9 and 12 months old, and the bacterial composition, richness and diversity were analyzed with 16S rRNA- amplicon sequencing method. Results and conclusions. Intestinal microbial composition in infancy was found to be related to cognitive abilities of the children, more specifically, receptive language skills and expressive language skills. A higher abundance of the genus Finegoldia at 12 weeks of age and the genus Serratia at 6 months of age were related to worse receptive language performance at 2 years of age. A higher abundance of the family Enterococcaceae at 12 weeks of age and the genus Alistipes at 6 months of age, were associated with worse expressive language skills. In addition, the children who scored in lowest 20th percentile in the receptive language tasks, had richer intestinal microbiota at 3 weeks and 6 months of age. Conclusions cannot yet be drawn based on these preliminary findings, but the results suggest that infant intestinal microbiota may be one of the factors influencing cognitive, especially verbal, development in early childhood.
  • Miettinen, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Objectives: Personality traits have been associated with fertility behaviour, but associations between personality and fertility intentions, especially uncertainty in fertility intentions, have not been studied before. Uncertainty in fertility intentions is the state in which an individual is not sure whether to have (more) children. Fertility intentions have been used to project population trends and to better understand reproductive decision-making processes. In this study, uncertainty in fertility intentions is studied from a biological point of view, by examining personality traits and their associations with uncertainty in fertility intentions, as well as how these associations differ between men and women. Methods: The data used in this study was from the German family panel (pairfam). The respondents (n=4420) were childless men and women aged 18-45 years. Long-term fertility intentions were assessed with a question about how many children the respondents realistically intended to have in their lifetime, and the answers were divided into three categories, one of which represented uncertain intentions. Personality traits were assessed using a short version of the Big Five Inventory. The associations were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression, and gender differences were analyzed using interaction terms between personality traits and gender. Age, partnership status, education and residence were controlled in the analysis. Results and conclusion: All personality traits, except extraversion, were associated with fertility intentions independent of socio-demographic factors. Higher neuroticism and openness were associated with higher uncertainty in fertility intentions, whereas higher conscientiousness and agreeableness were associated with higher likelihood of intending to have children. There were no differences between men and women in these associations. Male gender, older age, not having a partner, and higher education were related to higher uncertainty in fertility intentions. The results are mostly in line with previous studies on the associations between personality and actual number of children, except for conscientiousness, which has previously been associated with lower fertility. This study strengthens the notion that biological factors have associations with fertility behaviour, stressing the importance of further research on the topic.
  • Mylläri, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Objective. Depression is associated with increased risk of chronic disease, which may be at least partly due to poor health behaviors. Growing body of evidence has associated depression with unhealthy diet. However, the association of depression with diet quality in the long run is not well known. Furthermore, it is unclear if dietary interventions could mitigate the harmful association of depression with diet. This study examined the association of depression with diet both cross-sectionally and longitudinally in a population-based prospective cohort. The effectiveness of an early-onset dietary intervention in modifying these associations was investigated. Methods. The sample (n = 457) was from The Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project (STRIP). The intervention group (n = 209) had undergone a dietary intervention lasting from age of 7 months until age of 20 years. Depression was measured at age 20 using Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II). Diet quality was assessed at ages 20 and 26 using a diet score calculated based on food diaries. Missing values were replaced using multiple imputation by chained equations. Linear regression analyses were used to analyze the association of depression at age 20 with diet at ages 20 and 26, as well as the modifying effect of intervention group on these associations. Results. No cross-sectional association was found for depression and diet at age 20. Depression at age 20 was longitudinally associated with worse diet quality at age 26. The associations did not differ between intervention and control groups at either of the time points. Conclusions. Contrary to previous research, this study did not find cross-sectional association for depression with diet. However, this study offers novel information on longitudinal associations, suggesting that depression may have effects on diet quality that can manifest after several years. Dietary intervention was not found effective in modifying these associations. Since long-term effects on diet may be an important factor explaining the association of depression with chronic diseases, ways to mitigate the adverse consequences of depression for diet should be explored further.
  • Harri, Anniina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Aims. Child abuse violates the human rights of the child and constitutes a risk factor for the child’s mental and physical health. In child abuse cases, disclosure is critical for ending the abuse and receiving support. The present study aims to explore the disclosure characteristics of both physical and sexual abuse to an adult recipient. The second aim is to examine, which factors are associated with receiving support after disclosure. Methods. This nationwide study utilized data from the 2019 Finnish School Health Promotion study of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, including answers from fourth to fifth (n = 99 686) and eighth to ninth (n = 87 283) graders. The analyses focused on participants who reported experiencing parental physical abuse and/or sexual abuse within the past year (n = 26 597). Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine which variables predicted disclosing abuse to adults and receiving support after disclosure. Results and conclusions. Of the total sample of 186 969 participants, 12.2% reported experiencing physical and 4.1% sexual abuse during the past year. Physical abuse (31.5%) was disclosed to adults almost as often as sexual abuse (31.7%). Logistic regression analyses showed that male gender, younger age, and foreign background were associated with disclosure regardless of abuse type. In addition, experiencing sexual abuse increased physical abuse disclosure whereas experiencing parental mental abuse decreased sexual abuse disclosure. Nearly 90% of the victims who reported needing support received it. Older age and exposure to only one abuse type were associated with receiving support after disclosure, as were also Finnish background among the physical abuse victims and experiencing sexual abuse by perpetrators other than parental figures among the sexual abuse victims. These results increase our understanding of the factors associated with abuse disclosure to adults and suggest the importance of assessing and identifying those exposed to multiple abuse types. In addition, the results help identifying victims at risk for not receiving support they need.
  • Immonen, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Aims of the study. The aim of this study was to examine normative development of sleep patterns and circadian rhythmicity during adolescence. Previous studies have found that sleep duration shortens across the lifespan, and especially adolescents’ sleep timing shifts later due to physiological and psychological factors. Sleep patterns in adolescence are connected to individual’s endogenous circadian rhythms, usually measured by delayed melatonin secretion in the evening. There is a lack of understanding how sleep patterns are related to circadian body temperature rhythms during adolescence. Methods. This study was part of SleepHelsinki! cohort study of the Sleep & Mind Research Group. Adolescents’ sleep patterns were measured with actigraphies, whereas circadian body temperature was measured from the skin surface. Circadian temperature rhythmicity was inspected by circadian period length, the mesor of skin surface temperature and the amplitude of daily changes within the rhythm. Baseline measurements were measured from 215 (71.6 % girls) adolescents aged 16–18 years. At one-year follow-up, 156 (76.3 % girls) adolescents were measured again. Mixed models for repeated measures were used to examine changes over the year in sleep patterns and endogenous circadian temperature rhythm, separately for both girls and boys. Sex differences were tested with one-way variance analysis. Linear and ordinal regressions were used to predict sleep and circadian rhythm over the year. Results and conclusions. Over the year, adolescents’ sleep duration became longer during the week, while weekend sleep shortened. However, this change was only significant for girls. Sleep schedule became more delayed for both girls and boys during the week, as sleep onset, midpoint and offset occurred at a later time. Circadian rhythm changed for boys, as their average skin surface temperature increased, and their circadian temperature amplitude became smaller. Boys also had significantly lower circadian temperature amplitude than girls at the follow-up. Compared to boys, girls were 5.85 times more likely to have a high circadian temperature amplitude at the follow-up measurement. Changes in sleep length during the week was moderated by temperature amplitude, with higher circadian amplitude predicting sleep duration to become longer. Still, the likelihood to have long sleep duration was affected by past sleep duration.
  • Michelsson, Erica (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    nformation and computer technologies (ICT), and to assess the relationships of cognitive ability and key factors relating to ICT use and attitudes. This study assessed a number of ICT related factors including internet addiction, smartphone and tablet use, social media use, computer self-efficacy, negative attitudes towards ICT, positive expectations towards ICT, and ICT use for work. Methods: The study sample was part of the PLASTICITY (Perinatal Adverse events and Special Trends in Cognitive Trajectory) -study. The sample consisted of a Finnish cohort born between 1971–1974 (n = 546), who lived through the ICT diffusion era. Multidimensional item response theory (MIRT) was used to assess the structural composition of the ICT-questionnaire. Cognitive abilities were measured with The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) when the examinees were 9 years old, and with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) when the examinees were 40-45 years old. Two structural equation models were created to describe the associations between subjective wealth, education, cognitive ability and the ICTQ factors. The model with adulthood cognitive abilities predicting ICT use was compared to the model with childhood cognitive abilities predicting adulthood ICT use. Results and discussion: ICT use and attitudes were affected by cognitive ability, education, and wealth, and computer self-efficacy and negative attitudes towards ICT emerged as central mediators in the social cognitive model of ICT use. Cognitive ability predicted four of the seven ICT factors: computer self-efficacy, negative attitudes towards ICT, computer use for work, and indirectly the use of smartphones and tablets. Cognitive ability did not predict internet addiction, social media use, and ICT hobbies, or positive expectations towards ICT. Based on the mediation analysis, some of this effect is likely to be attributable to the other consequences of cognitive ability, including education and wealth. However, at least some seem to reflect more direct cognitive selectivity, perhaps due to the verbal and information-processing skill demands of the ICT. Furthermore, cognitive ability measured during childhood, decades before the individuals were introduced to ICT, was as significant as a predictor for negative attitudes towards ICT and computer self-efficacy, as adulthood cognitive abilities. Overall, the results imply that cognitive ability is not associated with access to ICT, but affects the predispositions to use technology and the acquisition of ICT skills.
  • Ketvel, Laila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objective: Both stress-related exhaustion and depression have previously been associated with a decline in cognitive performance, but there is a lack of evidence on whether these conditions have different associations with different cognitive domains and whether they have additive effects on cognitive performance. Furthermore, very little is known about the cognitive effects of chronic stress-related exhaustion. Consequently, the aims of this study were to 1) examine the associations between current stress-related exhaustion and cognitive performance, 2) investigate whether different developmental trajectories of stress-related exhaustion are differently associated with cognitive performance, 3) compare the association between stress-related exhaustion and cognitive performance to the relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive performance, 4) examine if individuals with comorbid stress-related exhaustion and depression have lower cognitive performance than individuals with at most one of these conditions (i.e., whether clinical stress-related exhaustion and clinical depression might have additive effects on cognitive performance). Methods: The data used in the study was a Finnish population-based sample of six cohorts born between 1962 and 1977 from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. Stress-related exhaustion was assessed using the Maastricht Questionnaire, depressive symptoms with the Beck Depression Inventory, and cognitive performance with four subtests of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, measuring visuospatial associative learning, reaction time, sustained attention, and executive functions. Cognitive performance and depressive symptoms were assessed in 2012, and stress-related exhaustion in 2001, 2007, and 2012. Participants were 35 to 50 years old in 2012. Linear associations between stress-related exhaustion and cognitive performance (N = 905) and depressive symptoms and cognitive performance (N = 904) were examined by conducting multivariate regression analyses. Age, sex, socioeconomic status, and parents’ socioeconomic status were controlled in the regression models. Additionally, multivariate analyses of variance were performed to investigate the different developmental trajectories of stress-related exhaustion and their relation to cognitive performance (N = 541) and the associations of comorbid stress-related exhaustion and depression with cognitive performance (N = 1273). Results and conclusion: The main finding was that high stress-related exhaustion is associated with slower reaction times, but not with performance in spatial working memory, visuospatial associative learning, or executive functions. Ongoing, chronic stress-related exhaustion was more strongly associated with slower reaction times than short-term exhaustion experienced years ago. Compared to depressive symptoms, high stress-related exhaustion was associated with slower reaction times also when subclinical cases were included, whereas only clinical levels of depressive symptoms had an association with slower reaction times. There were no differences in cognitive performance between individuals with only stress-related exhaustion or depression and those with comorbid stress-related exhaustion and depression, which supports the notion that these conditions do not have additive effects on cognitive performance. These findings add to the existing evidence of the cognitive effects of stress-related exhaustion in the general population and have several practical implications. Further research is needed on the topic, preferably with longitudinal designs, more comprehensive cognitive measures, and clinical assessment of the psychiatric symptoms.
  • Laitinen, Elmeri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Goals Length of human lifespan is an important measure of societal welfare. Mortality is largely linked to physical health, but psychological well-being has also been shown to predict mortality, happier people living longer lives. Psychological well-being can be construed as both subjective well-being (SWB) and eudaimonic well-being (EWB), and measures belonging to both of these constructs have been shown to individually predict mortality. No study to date has, however, compared these differing measures of psychological well-being as predictors of mortality. This study compares measures of life satisfaction (a part of SWB) and purpose in life (a part of EWB) as predictors of mortality. Methods The data used in this study comes from the Midlife in the US (MIDUS) survey, a large-scale longitudinal study spanning almost 20 years. MIDUS includes measures for life satisfaction and purpose in life, as well as data on mortality and many health behaviors with a sample of N=3768. Effects of life satisfaction and purpose in life on mortality were analysed with multiple Cox proportional hazards models. Results Life satisfaction predicts mortality when modeled alone, as does purpose in life. When modeled together, only purpose in life predicts mortality. This finding stands when additional health behavior variables are controlled, but when the sample is stratified by sex, the relation between life satisfaction and mortality also reaches marginal significance for women but not men. Conclusions This study shows that purpose in life might be a better predictor of mortality compared to life satisfaction. The results also give preliminary support for a hypothesis that purpose, and by proxy EWB, is closer to the evolutionary and physiological core of psychological well-being.
  • Laukkanen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The aim of the study. Working memory (WM) is a cognitive function that relies on the neurotransmitter dopamine. WM has multiple subfunctions: maintaining relevant information, ignoring distractors, and updating the information when needed. Information maintenance and ignoring irrelevant stimuli are associated with brain activity in the prefrontal cortex and updating information with the striatum. A connection between polymorphisms within the dopaminergic genes COMT (COMT Val158Met polymorphism) and DRD2/ANKK1 (Taq1A polymorphism), and WM performance has been established in previous studies, and these genes seem to impact dopamine signaling in the prefrontal cortex and striatum, respectively. The present study investigates associations between dopaminergic gene polymorphisms and WM performance. The main research questions include the main effects and interactions that the genes have to WM on performance overall and WM stability and flexibility in particular. The study investigates also whether obesity, diet, and age affect WM performance, as there are indications for these from previous studies. Methods. Data from three separate cross-sectional studies with a total of 244 participants was used. A computer-based visual working memory task was used to assess the WM performance measures accuracy and reaction time. Other measurements included blood measures, Body Mass Index (BMI), and the Dietary Fat and free Sugar Questionnaire (DFS). Results and conclusion. In WM accuracy analyses, there was a significant main effect for the task condition as well as interactions between the COMT*task condition and COMT*Taq1A*task condition. In the three-way interaction analysis for WM accuracy, the most beneficial combination was Met/Met & A1- in the task condition measuring the stability, and Val/Met & A1+ in the task condition measuring the flexibility. This result gives support for established knowledge about how Met/Met combined with A1- is beneficial especially for WM stability and maintenance. Also, the inverted-U shape theory and previous studies' results of A1+ being beneficial in executive functions updating tasks, give support to the result regarding WM flexibility. In the three-way interaction reaction time analysis, the combination of Val/Met & A1+ was the fastest in every task condition. However, the significant differences were mainly between A1- and A1+ genotypes when combined with Val/Met and between Met/Met and Val/Met genotypes when combined with A1-. The two-way interaction between COMT Val158Met and task condition did not remain significant in pairwise comparisons. In reaction time analyses, COMT Val158Met and Taq1A had a significant main effect where reaction times followed the order: Met/Met < Val/Val < Val/Met, with Val/Met being significantly slower than the others and in Taq1A A1+ < A1-, with a significant difference. Adding age, BMI, and DFS to the analyses did not affect the significant/non- significant main effects or interactions in the analyses. The results of this thesis converge with the previous knowledge about these genotypes having an interacting effect on working memory stability and flexibility. However, these effects are complex to interpret as the results and their directions differed between the task conditions and outcome measurements. In the main outcome variable (accuracy), the result regarding the WM stability is well in line with previous literature about the Met/Met & A1- combination being beneficial to WM performance, and the result about Val/Met & A1+ being beneficial for WM flexibility gets preliminary support from executive function studies, but also opens new research avenues regarding the WM flexibility subfunction.
  • Keskinen, Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objectives: LARPing is an example of a hobby that requires a lot of time and dedication. Despite LARPing bringing energy and new experiences, it is also stressful. Different coping strategies are used to manage stress and its symptoms. The use of maladaptive, that is long-term harmful, coping strategies has been associated with more significant stress symptoms compared to adaptive, that is beneficial for functioning, coping strategies. Thus, studying the association between different coping strategies and stress symptoms can help to improve the well-being of LARPers. The purpose of this Master's Thesis is to study which coping strategies are associated with stress symptoms among LARPers and whether there is a difference in the strengths of the connections when comparing the associations of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies with stress symptoms. Methods: The stress related to LARPing was studied online with a new survey. The survey included for example questions about the perceived stress in LARPing, possible causes of the stress, stress symptoms, coping strategies, and background information. 67.6% of the respondents identified as women, 22.5% as men and 9.9% as non-binary. Exploratory factor analyses were performed on the variables measuring coping strategies and the variables measuring stress symptoms. Sum variables of coping strategies and stress symptoms were formed based on the factor analyses. A relationship between the coping variables and stress symptom variables was examined by linear multi-explanatory regression analyses. Age, gender, and relationship status were controlled in all regression analyzes. Results and conclusions: Maladaptive coping strategies were associated with stress symptoms. LARPers who used more self-blame as a coping strategy reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, substance use was associated with anxiety symptoms, avoidance with depressive symptoms, and increased use of social support with symptoms of brain overload, which included difficulties in concentration, memory, and sleeping. However, not all coping strategies that were perceived as maladaptive were associated with stress symptoms. Coping strategies that were perceived as adaptive were not associated with stress symptoms. Since maladaptive coping strategies are associated with symptoms of stress, the well-being of LARPers could be improved, for example, through psychoeducation. The psychoeducation could be given, for example, in the pre- or post-brief of a LARPing session and it should focus on diminishing the maladaptive coping strategies.
  • Hartikainen, Sari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Objective: Anxiety has been studied in COVID-19 patients, but there are few studies comparing the level of anxiousness in patient groups requiring different levels of treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate anxiety symptoms in COVID-19 patients six months after the acute phase of the disease. The study also compared the amount of anxiety symptoms between patients in intensive care unit, those treated in a hospital ward, those who stayed at home during the illness, and a healthy control group. Moreover, the study aimed at investigating the associations of need for support (physical, mental, practical life and obtaining disease-related information) during the recovery phase of the disease with anxiety symptoms at six months. Methods: This study was a part of the RECOVID-20 research project, which is a collaborative project between the University of Helsinki and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). The project investigates the physical and mental symptoms of COVID-19 patients three and six months after hospitalization. In the present study, 135 COVID-19 patients (58 in the intensive care unit, 41 in the regular hospital care, and 36 patients who stayed at home during the illness) and 50 healthy controls were included. The data were collected during the first and second wave of the pandemic in years 2020 and 2021, three and six months after the acute phase of the illness. At three months, participants were interviewed by phone. The interview included questions about their need for support, as well as questions of physical and psychological well-being. At six months, a questionnaire was sent to them including a questionnaire (GAD-7, The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment) on symptoms of anxiety. The differences in anxiety between different groups and the associations between need for support and later anxiety symptoms were analyzed using general linear models (GLM). Results and conclusions: COVID-19 patients had more symptoms of anxiety six months after the acute phase when compared to the healthy control group, but the patient groups did not differ. In addition, 25 % of the COVID-19 patients and 12 % of the healthy control group had at least mild anxiety symptoms. While recovering from the COVID-19 infection, most support was needed for information about the COVID-19 disease, and the least support for practical life. Furthermore, the need for mental support associated with greater post-disease anxiety symptoms. The study provides new evidence that COVID-19 patients need more support, especially for their mental symptoms which might be associated with anxiety. Further research should focus on the need for support and its association with mental health in COVID-19 patients.
  • Kauhanen, Lina-Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objective: The coronavirus disease COVID-19 causes neuropsychological problems to a proportion of patients having contracted the illness in the months following the illness and on a more long-term basis. Currently there is little knowledge about how the required level of care in the acute phase affects the presence of symptoms and their change over time. The objective of this study was to investigate the neuropsychological effects of COVID-19 from a patient self-reported symptoms and cognitive screening perspective. The study examines the effects of the required level of care in the acute phase and time since contracting the illness on self-reported symptoms and cognitive screening results three and six months after the acute phase. Furthermore, the aim was to illustrate the relationship between these two assessments. Methods: The data was collected within the RECOVID-20 project (Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District and University of Helsinki). Subjects (N = 164, of which 96 women, mean age 54.1 years) contracted COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. The data was collected from three different levels of care as required by the acute phase: intensive care unit patients, regular inpatient wards and patients who were ill at home. Self-reported symptoms were assessed with the A-B Neuropsychological Assessment Schedule and cognitive performance was measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment-Blind screening tool three and six months after the acute phase. Group differences and change over time was analysed using multivariate variance analyses and linear mixed models. Results and conclusions: About a third of all patients reported neuropsychological symptoms regardless of the level of care required in the acute phase both three and six months after the acute phase. Symptoms consisted mainly of fatigue, slowing and concentration problems. In the cognitive screening patients having received ICU and inpatient ward care performed worse compared to patients having been ill at home, but a statistically significant result was not detected when controlling for age. A statistically significant relationship between self-reported symptoms and cognitive performance was observed only in ICU patients at three months. Although the majority of COVID-19 patients do not have significant symptoms after the acute phase, there are patients that show preliminary signs of more chronic symptoms based on both self-reported symptoms and cognitive screening. More research is needed to investigate the causes of these symptoms.
  • Miettinen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Objective: Preliminary evidence has shown that COVID-19-disease can be associated with memory problems, but previous research is still limited and contains many methodological issues. The aim of this research was to investigate whether COVID-19-disease associates with memory functions. Moreover, this study compared possible differences in memory functioning six months after the acute illness between COVID-19-patiences who had required intensive care (ICU), were treated in regular inpatient ward, or recovered at home. Methods: This study is part of RECOVID-20-project. It includes 164 COVID-19-patients and 48 healthy controls who participated in a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment six months after the acute illness. Assessment variables contains neuropsychological subtests which measure different aspects of memory (logical memory I & 2, word list 1 & 2, digit span and Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure). COVID19-patiens were divided into three groups according to the required level of hospital care in acute phase of illness. The three groups were: ICU (n=71), ward (n=49) and home group (N=44). Associations between COVID-19-disease and memory functions were analyzed using covariance analysis and multivariate covariance analysis. Group differences in memory functions were assessed with MANCOVA and further with Discriminatory Analysis. Results and conclusions: No significant differences were found in any memory aspects between COVID-19- patients and healthy controls. Results are partly in conflict with previous studies which have shown that COVID-19-disease can be associated with memory problems especially in aspects of working memory, short- and long-term auditory memory and long-term visual memory. However, this study indicated that ICU and ward group with severe or critical COVID-19-disease had significantly worse overall memory performance than patients who had recovered at home. Age affected different ways of memory functioning in different groups.
  • Huotari, Pinja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Objective: Long-term associations of the COVID-19-disease with patients’ wellbeing are not currently well known, but so far evidence of prolonging somatic and mental symptoms after the acute phase have been reported. Patients that have been treated in the ICU or normal wards have been suggested to be in elevated risk for experiencing these symptoms. How prolonging symptoms affect patient’s quality of life has not yet been thoroughly studied. The aim of this study was to investigate how the symptoms reported in three-months follow-up were associated with the quality of life at six-months follow-up of patients treated in the ICU or normal wards and those who were sick at home in six-months follow-up. COVID-19 patients were also compared with healthy controls. Associations between the length of hospital stay and quality of life in ICU and ward patients were also investigated. Methods: The data of this study were collected during the first and second waves of COVID-19 in 2020. This study is a part of the RECOVID-20 project, which is a collaboration project of Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District and University of Helsinki. Altogether 241 subjects (54 % women, mean age 54.5) participated in this study (54 % women, mean age 54.5), and the subjects were recruited from four groups: ICU and ward group, patients who were sick at home and healthy controls. Somatic and mental symptoms at three-months of the acute phase were assessed with a telephone survey and a questionnaire was sent to the patients’ home. In the six-months follow-up the patients’ quality of life was assessed with RAND-36 survey that was sent home. The associations of prolonging COVID-19 symptoms with quality of life were analyzed using multivariate covariance analysis (MANCOVA) and further with discriminant analysis. The relationship between the length of hospital stay and quality of life was assessed with MANCOVA. Results and conclusions: The symptoms reported in the three-months follow-up were associated with lowered quality of life in the six-months follow-up. There were no significant differences in quality of life between the patient groups. The length of hospital stay was not associated with quality of life in ICU and ward groups. These results support previous studies that have found prolonging symptoms of COVID-19 to be associated with quality of life. According to this study, all patient groups can experience clinically significant prolonging symptoms of COVID-19 alike with later association with quality of life.