Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Abstract

The paper presents a critique of four articles: “Dwelling on Potential Threat Cues: An Eye Movement Marker for Combat‐Related PTSD”, “Professional Development in Early Childhood Programs: Process Issues and Research Needs”, “Domestic Violence, Children’s Agency, and Mother-Child Relationships: Towards A More Advanced Model”, and “An Exploration of Explicit and Implicit Learning of Rules by English Second Language Learners”.

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These articles cover a range of issues belonging to different spheres of psychology: clinical neuropsychology, school psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, etc. The paper aims to discuss main issues covered in the articles, define the types of conducted studies, analyze the tools, methods, and instruments that were used in data collection and analysis, and examine the results, limitations, and possible perspectives for further research in each sphere.

Introduction

The article under consideration presents a study of the components of attentional bias.

Issue identified in the article

The study addresses the issue of a threat in posttraumatic stress disorder. It aims to outline the temporal dynamics and elements of attentional bias for threat cues in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

Source of the issue

The article by Thomas Armstrong, Sarah A. Bilsky, Mimi Zhao, and Bunmi O. Olatunji was published in a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal Depression and Anxiety.

Significance of the issue

The importance of this particular study is that it seeks to delineate the nature of attentional bias in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorders using eye-tracking technology.

Feasibility of the issue for study

The research of the components of attentional bias is feasible since similar studies have already taken place and there is a range of methods and tools for such research.

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Scope of the literature review

The authors present a review of literature that is devoted to the study of components of attentional bias. They analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the application of such data collection methods as emotional Stroop task, modified dot-probe task, hybrid lexical decision or visual search task, and eye-tracking technique. The authors also recognize the value of facial expressions analysis in the study of attentional bias.

The theoretical context of the issue

According to Armstrong, Bilsky, Zhao, and Olatunji (2013) the theory that serves as a basis for the study expresses the idea that the “initial orienting of gaze toward threat reflects facilitated detection, whereas subsequent fixation time on threat reflects maintenance of attention” (p. 498).

Hypotheses/research questions

The hypothesis suggests that as compared to non-veterans and veterans without posttraumatic stress disorder, veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder will show the orienting and maintenance bias toward fearful and disgusted expressions.

Variables of interest

The study operates with the dependent variable (attentional bias) and independent variables (combat exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis).

Methodology

Description of the research design

The study employed a quantitative experimental research design.

Control of extraneous variables

The study considered the percentage of alcohol abuse problems, other anxiety, and mood disorders diagnosed in the participants.

Assessing internal and external validity

In assessing the internal validity, the researchers considered the fact that the study was conducted outside the context of war zone stressors and controlled the extraneous variables. The results may be generalized beyond the study sample which means that the study is externally valid.

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How the sample was obtained

The researchers used the means of community advertisement and referrals from various veteran services for sampling purposes.

Measurement instruments

For the study, Armstrong et al. (2013) used the “PTSD checklist, civilian version (PCL-C)” and “disgusted, fearful, happy, and neutral expressions from eight individuals from the NimStim set of facial expressions of emotion” (p. 498).

Reliability and validity of those instruments

Concerning the reliability, the PCL-C had perfect internal consistency in the given study (α =.97). NimStim set of facial expressions of emotion is a commonly recognized source for various scientific experiments.

Sources of measurement error

The random source is the way how a participant feels, and systematic source, as Armstrong et al. (2013) explains it, is the fact that “facial expressions of fear and disgust were not specific enough to activate the trauma memory” (p. 500).

Ethical considerations

All the participants signed the consent form that was approved by the Vanderbilt University Institutional Review Board.

Data Analysis

Data analysis procedures

The study employed the ANOVA test for analysis of variance involving repeated-measures factors, and Greenhouse–Geisser procedure for the assessment of violations of sphericity.

Presentation of results. Use of tables

Armstrong et al. (2013) present the results in two tables: “Group characteristics” (p. 499) and “Ms and SDs for eye movement variables” (p. 499) and a figure “Maintenance of gaze on emotional expressions in veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (+), veterans without PTSD (−), and nonveteran controls” (p. 500).

Interpretation of results

The results presented in tables were described and at the same time commented regarding their correspondence to related studies.

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Communicating Findings

Discussion of findings

The hypothesis has been proved in part since the orienting bias toward disgusted and fearful expressions in the group of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder was not observed.

Limitations

The study of attentional bias toward threat was conducted after the development of posttraumatic stress disorder and outside the war zone.

Alternative explanations

Since the given study investigated attentional bias outside the context of war-zone stressors, Armstrong et al. (2013) claim that the “increased dwell on threat observed in veterans with PTSD reflects the baseline cognitive vulnerability” or “maybe contingent on active symptoms of PTSD (e.g., hypervigilance)” (p. 501).

Implications for the practitioner

Armstrong et al. (2013) believe that the results of the study should be employed in “treatment targets for attention modification procedures that directly attenuate attentional bias for threat” (p. 497).

Implications for future research

Further research may employ a longitudinal research design and study the attentional bias in the course of its development.

Professional Development in Early Childhood Programs: Process Issues and Research Needs

Introduction

The article considers the professional development of early childhood educators, stresses the necessity of empirical studies of forms of professional development, and gives the research directions for such studies.

Issue identified in the article

The article is devoted to the theme of professional development practices for early childhood educators. It suggests the research directions for studying the effects of professional development efforts on skills, behaviors, and dispositions on their practitioners.

Source of the issue

The article of Susan M. Sheridan, Carolyn Pope Edwards, Christine A. Marvin, and Lisa L. Knoche was published in the Early Education and Development journal.

Significance of the issue

The significance of the covered issue is explained by the fact that for a full-fledged and effective educational experience for children, an early childhood educator should have a complex understanding of child development.

Feasibility of the issue for study

Professional development includes various activities that help to increase the skill set, knowledge base, and attitudinal perspectives of early childhood educators.

Scope of the literature review

The article defines early childhood professional development as various forms of organization and provides a review of literature that is devoted to five main types of these forms: education, credentialing, specialized on-the-job in-service training, coaching, and communities of practice.

The theoretical context of the issue

According to Sheridan, Edwards, Marvin, and Knoche (2009), the underlying theory of the study suggest the idea that the process of professional development and transition from theory to the application of it in practice is non-linear and unlimited: it is a “dynamic enterprise composed of transactive experiences and interactions among individuals in complex systems” (p. 385).

Hypotheses/research questions

Sheridan et al. (2009) pose the central research question of the study “How professionals move from awareness (knowledge) to action (practice) and the adoption of particular dispositions in their professional repertoires?” (p. 385).

Variables of interest

Since the study is qualitative, it does not operate, manipulate, or make use of any variables.

Methodology

Description of the research design

The study employs a qualitative research design using grounded theory.

Control of extraneous variables

Since the study is qualitative, it does not operate, manipulate, or make use of any variables.

Assessing internal and external validity

The internal validity of the study may be assessed by specialists in the field of education and children psychology. External validity is partially proven by the correspondence of the study to related studies. Future investigations of ways and methods of professional development will give a more detailed assessment of external validity.

How the sample was obtained

Since the primary data collection method of the study was the literature analysis, the particular method of sampling cannot be observed.

Measurement instruments

The study presents literature analysis and uses grounded theory as the main tool for measurement.

Reliability and validity of those instruments

Although these concepts relate to quantitative research, reliability, and validity of the grounded theory may be examined regarding the trustworthiness of the study that can be proved by the generalizability of the study results.

Sources of measurement error

Qualitative research allows for the random source of measurement error: the wrong interpretation of the theory by the author.

Ethical considerations

If the future study employs a case study design method for examination of the bilateral model implementation algorithm, then the researchers should develop an ethical policy for the study. For example, use a consent form that the participants (subjects of observation in a case study) sign before the participation. It is a common practice in qualitative and quantitative studies.

Communicating Findings

Discussion of findings

The professional development of the early childhood educator should enhance the knowledge and skills, as well as show their practical implementation.

Limitations

The study gives the research directions for the professional development of early childhood educators but does not provide particular ways and methods of such development.

Alternative explanations

Professional development of early childhood educators should now only enhance the professional knowledge and skills but foster a culture of communication with children.

Implications for the practitioner

Early childhood educators should understand the necessity of evidence-based early childhood experiences for the development of a child.

Implications for future research

Examine the components that promote change in skills, knowledge, and dispositions that indicate the effective practice of the early childhood educator.

Domestic Violence, Children’s Agency, and Mother-Child Relationships: Towards a More Advanced Model

Introduction

The article addresses the issue of mother-child relationships in families that experience domestic violence, criticizes the unilateral model of parent-child relationships, and promotes the idea that children’s supportiveness of abused mothers in domestic violence situations contributes to positive outcomes.

Issue identified in the article

The article addresses the issue of mother-child relationships in families that experience domestic violence.

Source of the issue

The article by Emma Katz was published in Children & Society journal. This periodical covers various studies relating to children and adolescents.

Significance of the issue

The importance of the issue is explained by the common misinterpretation of children’s agency in domestic violence situations and limitations of the accepted unilateral model of parent-child relations.

Feasibility of the issue for study

The bilateral model of parent-child relationships has been recognized outside the field of domestic violence research, but its application inside this field is not quite feasible yet.

Scope of the literature review

The literature that serves as a basis for study under consideration includes several quantitative clinical types of research, qualitative feminist, and child-centered studies.

The theoretical context of the issue

The article is based on the theories of parent-child relationships. Katz (2015) argues that despite children who experience domestic violence are often seen as “passive witnesses” they are capable of “making decisions, taking actions and influencing their surroundings” (p. 70).

Hypotheses/research questions

The central question of the study is “What a strong, positive mother-child relationship looks like in the context of domestic violence?” (Katz, 2015, p. 77). To answer this question, Katz (2015) poses several subquestions such as “How the unilateral model is limiting understandings of children’s supportiveness towards their abused mothers” (p. 74), “Is a model of parent-child relationships where agentic children and parents support each other effective one?” (p. 77).

Variables of interest

Since the study is qualitative, it does not operate, manipulate, or make use of any variables.

Methodology

Description of the research design

The study employs a qualitative research design using grounded theory: based on quantitative and qualitative research reviews it considers the theory of implementation of the bilateral model of parent-child relationships.

Control of extraneous variables

Since the study is qualitative, it does not operate, manipulate, or make use of any variables.

Assessing internal and external validity

The internal validity of the study may be assessed by specialists in the field of family psychology and counseling, as well as the field of domestic violence research. External validity is partially proven by the correspondence of the study to related quantitative clinical researches and qualitative feminist and child-centered studies. Further research of the particular algorithms of bilateral model implementation will give a more detailed assessment of external validity.

How the sample was obtained

Since the primary data collection method of the study was the literature analysis, the particular method of sampling cannot be observed. However, if one considers the quantitative researches and qualitative studies that served as a basis for the given research, one may enumerate various sampling methods such as random, purposive, probability, convenience, homogenous, etc.

Measurement instruments

Such a data collection method as a literature analysis presupposes the grounded theory the main tool for measurement in qualitative research.

Reliability and validity of those instruments

Although these concepts relate to quantitative research, reliability and validity of the grounded theory may be examined regarding the trustworthiness of the study, which, in turn, can be proved by the generalizability of the study results.

Sources of measurement error

Since the main tool for measurement in the study was the grounded theory, the only source of measurement error is the wrong interpretation of the theory by the author. However, the study is conducted properly and logically presents the literature review and interpretation of the theory.

Ethical considerations

If the future study employs a case study design method for examination of the bilateral model implementation algorithm, then the researchers should develop an ethical policy for the study. For example, use a consent form that the participants (subjects of observation in a case study) sign before the participation. It is a common practice in qualitative and quantitative studies.

Data Analysis

Data analysis procedures

Discourse analysis of related literature was the main data analysis procedure.

Presentation of results. Use of tables

The study presents the results of discourse analysis in descriptions and does not employ graphs or tables.

Interpretation of results

The results of the study are described and interpreted in the next section of the present critique.

Communicating Findings

Discussion of findings

The implementation of the bilateral model of parent-child relationships will provide various advantages: it will help to explore different ways in which a child can support his mother that experiences domestic abuse, positive and negative impact of this support for both a mother and a child.

Limitations

The study promotes the idea of implementation of the bilateral model of parent-child relationships inside the field of domestic violence research but does not suggest particular guidelines for it.

Alternative explanations

The benefits of bilateral model implementation may also be explained by the fact that it will prevent further development of prejudice against the supportive and caring role of children in parent-child relationships.

Implications for the practitioner

Specialists who work with families in psychological counseling centers, state and social services should recognize children’s ability to influence the family environment, to provide emotional support that is necessary to all the members of the family that experience domestic abuse.

Implications for future research

Future research should be devoted not only to the advantages of the bilateral model and limitations of the unilateral model but the algorithm of bilateral model implementation, the effects of this implementation on family relationships, personal development of children, etc.

An Exploration of Explicit and Implicit Learning of Rules by English Second Language Learners

Introduction

The article suggests that the form-focused approach in second language learning results in better performance.

Issue identified in the article

The article is devoted to the issue of whether second language learners of English can benefit from explicitly taught rules.

Source of the issue

The article by Diana Ayliff was published in a journal for language learners Per Lingam.

Significance of the issue

The popularization of communicative approaches to the teaching of foreign languages resulted in a decrease of grammatical literacy among those for whom English is a second language.

Feasibility of the issue for study

Ayliff (2011) states that “greater emphasis on the form of the language… might result in more accurate written discourse” (p. 61) in expressing her idea feasibility of the issue.

Scope of the literature review

The study reviews literature that is devoted to explicit and implicit learning of grammatical rules.

The theoretical context of the issue

According to Ayliff (2011), the theoretical basis for the study was provided by Green and Hecht’s exploration of the efficacy of learning language rules, which showed that knowing rules helps learners “approximate the target language more accurately” (p. 57).

Hypotheses/research questions

Ayliff (2011) seeks to find an answer to the question “Does know a rule increase the accuracy of learners’ performance?” (p. 55), and proposes several hypotheses for the study: “Some rules are more difficult to learn than others” (p. 56), “Explicit knowledge of rules helps adult L2 learners produce more target-like structures in English” (p. 56), “Fewer L1 speakers than L2 learners will have explicit knowledge of rules, but the L1s will perform better than L2s in correcting errors” (p. 56).

Variables of interest

The study operates with one dependent variable (knowledge of grammatical rules), and three independent variables (form-focused course, teacher’s course, and professional course of English language).

Methodology

Description of the research design

The study repeats the quantitative experimental design of Green and Hecht’s exploration of the efficacy of learning language rules.

Control of extraneous variables

The study control the extraneous variables, by asking the participants their grade level of English (all participants passed English at grade 12 level) and the quality of teaching English in their schools.

Assessing internal and external validity

The internal validity of the tests used in the study has not been assessed but may be assessed by direct questions to the participants whether the test was suitable for the indicated purpose of the study. As a means of assessing the external validity, the author suggests further similar studies in other institutions in South Africa.

How the sample was obtained

The study focuses on undergraduate students of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University that are registered for a course in English.

Measurement instruments

The study used the grammaticality task of 12 sentences with a free-response variant.

Reliability and validity of those instruments

The reliability may be assessed by the inter-rate reliability method. The validity of the grammaticality task may be assessed direct questions to the participants whether the test was suitable for the indicated purpose of the study.

Sources of measurement error

These were not mentioned, but the study may consider such random sources of error as the way participants feel because it directly influences the cognitive abilities that are important in doing tests.

Ethical considerations

These were not mentioned in the study; however, the study may use the consent form for the participants in which the author outlines the purpose of the study, description of the procedure and guarantees the confidentiality to the participants.

Data Analysis

Data analysis procedures

The quantification of data was performed

considering independent and dependent variables and employed the scoring technique for the analysis of responses. All the results have been presented graphically.

Presentation of results. Use of tables

Ayliff (2011) presented the results in a graph (that compared the results of the given study to results of the original study) and two tables: “High (+) and low (-) scoring rules and corrections” (p. 59) and “Percentage Correct Corrections according to Correctness of Rule” (p. 60).

Interpretation of results

The results presented in the graph and tables were described and at the same time commented regarding their correspondence to the original study.

Communicating Findings

Discussion of findings

The study confirmed the first hypothesis that some rules are more difficult to learn than others, the second hypothesis that explicit knowledge of rules helps adult second language learners produce more target-like structures in English. The third hypothesis was proved only partially, since, as Ayliff (2011) explains it, “L1 English speakers had explicit knowledge of rules only 23% of the time, but they did perform better than the L2s in correcting the errors” (p. 60).

Limitations

The study used test tasks with those grammatical rules that are easy to formulate; that can be applied mechanically and fall into clear categories.

Alternative explanations

Among the reasons for the poor performance of second language learners, the author names the fact that most of them were not taught much explicit grammar in school, that is why it is difficult for them to understand the nature of their errors.

Implications for the practitioner

The study has shown that there should be a balance between form-focused and meaning-focused teaching. Additionally, Ayliff (2011) suggests that the educational system should “be teaching some of the hard rules to L2 secondary school and tertiary learners explicitly” (p. 62).

Implications for future research

The author suggests that further study may be conducted at various institutions in South Africa to prove or test the findings.

References

Armstrong, T., Bilsky, S. A., Zhao, M., & Olatunji, B. O. (2013). Dwelling on potential threat cues: An eye movement marker for combat‐related PTSD. Depression and anxiety, 30(5), 497-502.

Ayliff, D. (2011). An exploration of explicit and implicit learning of rules by English second language learners. Per Linguam, 22(1), 55-64.

Katz, E. (2015). Domestic violence, children’s agency and mother–child relationships: towards a more advanced model. Children & Society, 29(1), 69-79.

Sheridan, S. M., Edwards, C. P., Marvin, C. A., & Knoche, L. L. (2009). Professional development in early childhood programs: Process issues and research needs. Early Education and Development, 20(3), 377-401.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, November 1). Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/combat-related-posttraumatic-stress-disorder/

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