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Publications (10 of 25) Show all publications
Storm, H., Günther, A., Sackey, P. V., Bernhardsson, J. & Bjärtå, A. (2019). Measuring pain: Physiological and self-rated measurements in relation to pain stimulation and anxiety. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 63(5), 668-675
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Measuring pain: Physiological and self-rated measurements in relation to pain stimulation and anxiety
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2019 (English)In: Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, ISSN 0001-5172, E-ISSN 1399-6576, Vol. 63, no 5, p. 668-675Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction: The aim of the present study was to investigate how emotions influence pain, measured by one subjective self-rated measure, the numeric rating scale (NRS), and one objective physiological measure, the number of skin conductance responses (NSCR). Method: Eighteen volunteers were exposed to conditions with pictorial emotional stimuli (neutral, positive, negative), authentic ICU-sound (noise, no-noise) and electrical stimulation (pain, no-pain) individually titrated to induce moderate pain. When using all combinations of picture inducing emotions, sound, and pain, each of these conditions (12 conditions lasting for 60 seconds each) were followed by pain ratings. Ratings of arousal (low to high) and valence (pleasant to unpleasant) were used as indicators of affective state for each condition. Mean NSCR was also measured throughout the experiment for each condition. Results: Even though NRS and NSCR increased during painful stimuli, they did not correlate during the trial. However, NSCR was positively correlated with the strength of the electrical stimulation, r = 0.48, P = 0.046, whereas NRS showed positive correlations with the anxiety level, assessed by affective ratings (arousal, r = 0.61, P < 0.001, and valence, r = 0.37, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The NRS was strongly influenced by affective state, with higher pain ratings during more anxiety-like states, whereas NSCR correlated to the strength of electrical pain stimulation. That reported pain is moderated by anxiety, puts forward a discussion whether reduction of the anxiety level should be considered during analgesia treatment.

Keywords
anxiety, arousal, pain, skin conductance, valence, visual analog scale
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35824 (URN)10.1111/aas.13323 (DOI)000464283800014 ()30701545 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2019-03-19 Created: 2019-03-19 Last updated: 2019-05-22Bibliographically approved
Leiler, A., Bjärtå, A., Ekdahl, J. & Wasteson, E. (2019). Mental Health and Quality of Life among Asylum Seekers and Refugees Living in Refugee Housing Facilities in Sweden. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 54(5), 543-551
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mental Health and Quality of Life among Asylum Seekers and Refugees Living in Refugee Housing Facilities in Sweden
2019 (English)In: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, ISSN 0933-7954, E-ISSN 1433-9285, Vol. 54, no 5, p. 543-551Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 2015, there was a high influx of refugees to Sweden, creating an extreme situation where individuals were forced to remain in large housing facilities for long periods. The present study aims to describe the mental health and quality of life of these individuals. 

Methods. Data, based on 510 individuals, were obtained by means of a questionnaire at open screenings conducted at or nearby refugee housing facilities. Of the participating refugees, 367 were asylum seekers and 143 had received a residence permit but were still awaiting a more permanent housing solution. The questionnaire included measures of depressive symptoms (PHQ-9), symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7), risk of having post traumatic stress disorder (PC-PTSD), and quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF).

Results. Of the total sample, 56-58.4% reported clinically significant levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety and risk of having PTSD. Prevalence estimates were higher among asylum seekers than among those who had received their residence permit. Quality of life was generally rated below population norms and correlated negatively with mental health outcomes.

Conclusions. Individuals residing in refugee housing facilities show high levels of psychological distress and rate their quality of life as low. Asylum seekers score higher than those having received a residence permit. These results are troublesome since the wait time for asylum decisions has lengthened considerably after 2015. The results of the present study calls for the urgency of societal actions to shorten the asylum process wait time and improve conditions at the housing facilities.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Keywords
Refugee mental health, Prevalence, Aylum seekers
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35290 (URN)10.1007/s00127-018-1651-6 (DOI)000468889500003 ()30580381 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85059004802 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-12-19 Created: 2018-12-19 Last updated: 2019-07-08
Leiler, A., Hollifield, M., Wasteson, E. & Bjärtå, A. (2019). Suicidal ideation and severity of distress among refugees residing in asylum accommodations in Sweden. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(15), Article ID 2751.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Suicidal ideation and severity of distress among refugees residing in asylum accommodations in Sweden
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 16, no 15, article id 2751Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Refugees worldwide suffer high levels of distress and are at increased risk for death by suicide. The Refugee Health Screener (RHS) was developed to screen for emotional distress among refugees and can be used to assess distress severity. This paper examines the association between distress severity and suicidal ideation in a sample of refugees residing in asylum accommodations. Data from the RHS and item 9 on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) was analyzed. Results showed that individuals at moderate and severe levels of distress were much more likely to exhibit suicidal ideation than individuals with low levels of distress. Even though we cannot conclude that individuals with low levels of distress do not have thoughts of ending their lives, further suicide assessment is warranted in asylum seekers with moderate to severe distress on the RHS. 

Keywords
Refugees, Severity of distress, Suicidal ideation
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-37013 (URN)10.3390/ijerph16152751 (DOI)000482128400120 ()31374949 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85070980526 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-09-02 Created: 2019-09-02 Last updated: 2019-09-23Bibliographically approved
Dylman, A. & Bjärtå, A. (2019). When your heart is in your mouth: the effect of second language use on negative emotions. Cognition & Emotion, 33(6), 1284-1290
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When your heart is in your mouth: the effect of second language use on negative emotions
2019 (English)In: Cognition & Emotion, ISSN 0269-9931, E-ISSN 1464-0600, Vol. 33, no 6, p. 1284-1290Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on bilingualism and emotions has shown stronger emotional responses in the native language (L1) compared to a foreign language. We investigated the potential of purposeful second language (L2) use as a means of decreasing the experience of psychological distress. Native Swedish speakers read and answered questions about negative and neutral texts in their L1 (Swedish) and their L2 (English) and were asked to rate their level of distress before or after the questions. The texts and associated questions were either written in the same (within-language), or different languages (cross-language). We found that within-language trials when the text was written in participants’ native language (Swedish–Swedish) resulted in an increase of distress, whilst cross-language trials (Swedish–English) resulted in a decrease of distress. This implies that purposeful second language use can diminish levels of distress experienced following a negative event encoded in one's first language.

Keywords
Second language processing, L2 use, negative emotions, bilingualism
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34955 (URN)10.1080/02699931.2018.1540403 (DOI)2-s2.0-85056117790 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-11-27 Created: 2018-11-27 Last updated: 2019-06-12Bibliographically approved
Bjärtå, A., Leiler, A., Ekdahl, J. & Wasteson, E. (2018). Assessing Severity of Psychological Distress Among Refugees With the Refugee Health Screener, 13-Item Version. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 206(11), 834-839
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing Severity of Psychological Distress Among Refugees With the Refugee Health Screener, 13-Item Version
2018 (English)In: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, ISSN 0022-3018, E-ISSN 1539-736X, Vol. 206, no 11, p. 834-839Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The recent inflow of refugees to Sweden has put pressure on health care as well as revealing a need for methods regarding assessment of refugees' mental health status. The present study investigated the use of the Refugee Health Screener (RHS; Hollifield et al., 2013) to distinguish among severity levels of symptoms of psychological distress in refugees. Refugees residing in asylum accommodations (n = 510) were screened with RHS-13, together with screeners for depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Risk for mild, moderate, or severe levels of depression, anxiety, or/and PTSD was used as screening proxy. Receiver operating characteristic analysis rendered cutoff scores of 11, 18, and 25, for mild, moderate, and severe symptoms, respectively. Evaluated against each symptom scale separately, cutoffs performed well. Cutoff 11, previously identified by Hollifield et al. (2016), was also confirmed. However, utilization of additional cutoffs could improve refugee mental health by guiding clinical decision making.

Keywords
Refugee mental health, screening instrument, symptom severity levels
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35042 (URN)10.1097/NMD.0000000000000886 (DOI)000449644500002 ()30256332 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85055612622 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-12-04 Created: 2018-12-04 Last updated: 2019-08-06Bibliographically approved
Leiler, A., Bjärtå, A., Ekdahl, J. & Wasteson, E. (2018). High levels of psychological distress among asylum seekers and refugees in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at association of psychological Science, APS.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>High levels of psychological distress among asylum seekers and refugees in Sweden
2018 (Swedish)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In 2015 there was an unforeseen increase of refugees worldwide. In order to face the high rates of psychological distress refugees suffer, the AMIR-project created a model for early assessment and intervention of mental health among refugees. Previous research might not be applicable to the groups seeking asylum in Europe from 2015, so as a first step, a study aiming to estimate the prevalence of mental health problems was conducted.  

Methods. Five hundred and ten refugees participated at open screenings conducted at refugee housing facilities. Of the participants, 367 were asylum seekers and 143 had received a residence permit. Instruments included measures of depressive symptoms, anxiety, risk of having PTSD and quality of life.

Preliminary results. A high percentage of individuals (56-58.4%) reported clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety and risk of having PTSD. Prevalence estimates were significantly higher among asylum seekers than among those who had received their residence permit. Quality of life was generally rated below population norms and correlated significantly with mental health outcomes.

Conclusions. Individuals residing in refugee housing facilities show high levels of psychological distress. Asylum seekers are worse off than those having received a residence permit. Actions should be taken to improve conditions in housing facilities, to shorten the time awaiting the asylum decision and to provide psychosocial support to help individuals manage their distress during the time of waiting.

Key words: Refugee – asylum seeker – mental health – quality of life - prevalence

National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35121 (URN)
Conference
association of psychological Science, APS
Available from: 2018-12-10 Created: 2018-12-10 Last updated: 2018-12-10Bibliographically approved
Sarkadi, A., Bjärtå, A., Leiler, A. & Salari, R. (2018). Is the refugee health screener a useful tool when screening 14-18 year old refugee adolescents for emotional distress?. The Journal of Refugee Studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Is the refugee health screener a useful tool when screening 14-18 year old refugee adolescents for emotional distress?
2018 (English)In: The Journal of Refugee Studies, ISSN 0951-6328, E-ISSN 1471-6925Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

The high number of asylum seekers in Sweden has highlighted the need for structured assessment tools to screen for refugee mental health problems in clinical services. We examined the utility of the Refugee Health Screener (RHS) in refugee adolescents, aged 14-18, attending routine clinical examinations or staying in group homes/refugee centres (N=29). Participants completed a survey, including the RHS, administered through iPads in their native language. The RHS showed excellent internal consistency (α = .96) and correlated moderately with symptoms of PTSD (r=0.41, p=.025). Mean scores and prevalence rates were comparable to a study of adult refugees in Sweden. Unaccompanied refugee minors (URM) scored significantly higher (M=32.0, SD=12.9) compared to youth staying with their families (M=7.5, SD=8.2, p<.001, d=2.27). Our findings confirm that the RHS can be used in the adolescent population in Sweden.  These findings moreover suggest that URMs are a particularly vulnerable group with a large burden of mental health problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford, UK: Oxford Academic, 2018
Keywords
Refugee mental health, Screening, the Refugee Health Screener
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Applied Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35289 (URN)
Available from: 2018-12-19 Created: 2018-12-19 Last updated: 2019-01-16Bibliographically approved
Bernhardsson, J., Bjärtå, A. & Sundin, Ö. (2018). Top Down Modulation Despite Fear, Shown By Behavioral and Electrophysiological Activity. In: : . Paper presented at 30th Annual Convention Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA USA, May 24–27, 2018.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Top Down Modulation Despite Fear, Shown By Behavioral and Electrophysiological Activity
2018 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35312 (URN)
Conference
30th Annual Convention Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA USA, May 24–27, 2018
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2018-12-21Bibliographically approved
Bernhardsson, J., Bjärtå, A., Esteves, F. & Sundin, Ö. (2017). Make no mistake: You are being watched. In: : . Paper presented at 57 Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Vienna, Austria, October 11-15, 2017 (pp. s153-s153). , 54
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Make no mistake: You are being watched
2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-33460 (URN)000415045300617 ()
Conference
57 Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Vienna, Austria, October 11-15, 2017
Available from: 2018-04-08 Created: 2018-04-08 Last updated: 2019-05-28Bibliographically approved
Bernhardsson, J., Bjärtå, A., Champoux-Larsson, M.-F. & Palmius, J. (2017). PUPIL - A tool for creating and conducting online distributed experimental paradigms. In: : . Paper presented at International Convention of Psychological Science, Vienna, Austria, March 23-25, 2017.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>PUPIL - A tool for creating and conducting online distributed experimental paradigms
2017 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32167 (URN)
Conference
International Convention of Psychological Science, Vienna, Austria, March 23-25, 2017
Available from: 2017-11-27 Created: 2017-11-27 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-0011-7770

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