Spotlight Post #3

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

When it comes to major depressive order, there are two main types of treatment. One is psychotherapy which is the traditional counseling and meeting with a therapist. The other option is medication which fixes hormonal imbalances in the brain.

Psychology Today published an article entitled “Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict is in.” The site is reputable and intended for the general public. It provides basic information about new studies in the psychology field. The author of this article is Susan Krauss who had a Ph.D., showing she is reliable. The article claims psychotherapy can do much more than medications. It has proven to be an effective form of treatment for depression in many cases. But people are more likely to turn to drugs first. This could be harmful because prescriptions are often given without much consultation and have adverse side effects. The author also states 95% of government funding for mental health goes into medication instead of psychotherapy. She claims this is a part of the problem. She further cites evidence as to why it could be helpful to not use medication at all. For example, it is cheaper, a therapist is someone the patient can trust, and there is more evidence showing psychotherapy is more effective than medication.

The American Psychological Association also published an article advocating for psychotherapy for all forms of mental illness. This is a credible source because it is published by the official association on their organization website. It incorporates evidence from previous studies to prove the point. The article claims psychotherapy is more of a long-term solution than medication. Psychotherapy is being used as a second choice to medication when it comes to treating mental illnesses. The article claims it is due to marketing from prescription companies. Overall, therapy is proven to have fewer relapses, especially when it comes to anxiety and depression.

There is also evidence supporting medication over therapy when it comes to major depression disorder. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care published the article, “Depression: How Effective are Antidepressants?”.  The publication is credible because it was published in a peer reviewed journal and is updated biannually. The article admits, medication is not beneficial in all situations, but it helps others. It is the job of the prescriber to determine if medication is necessary. The job of antidepressants is to relieve the symptoms of depression by correcting chemical imbalances in the brain. Studies have shown, forty to sixty percent of people with depression, who use antidepressants, noticed an improvement in their mental health. More importantly, medication does help prevent relapses in many cases.

An article was published by Hazelden publishing, which is reputable because they are known for publishing a variety of articles about mental health. In “Medications Play a Key Role in Treatment,” the article describes the positive effects of drugs as well as how they work in combination with other treatments. It claims medication reduces the negative symptoms in a variety of mental disorders. It also provides evidence about the effectiveness of medication. The article uses serotonin-based medication as an example. They claim it reduces the symptoms of depression by thirty to sixty percent. When medication is combined with support from peers and family, those affected by depression are helped greatly.

There is significant evidence to demonstrate both psychotherapy and medication are effective forms of treatment in major depressive disorder. All of the evidence, however, shows different treatments work for different people. After a diagnosis, the individual should speak with an unbiased professional to discuss all treatment options. The evidence has also shown, medication works better in combination with psychotherapy, so either way this treatment is necessary. Medication should not be the first option because there are negative side effects and the drugs may not even work. There will always be trial and error when it comes to treating individuals because everyone is different. Personally, psychotherapy should always be used first because as a society, Americans are too centered on solving all problems with drugs.



(n.d.). Retrieved from

Depression: How effective are antidepressants? (2017, January 12). Retrieved from

Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In. (n.d.).                                                                   Retrieved from                  age/201507/psychotherapy-vs-medications-the-verdict-is-in

Tsharp. (n.d.). Medications Play a Key Role in Treatment | Behavioral Health Evolution.

Retrieved from

Sibling Bullying May Cause Mental Disorders, Study Finds

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

A study conducted in England discovered being involved in sibling bullying could put a child two to three times more at risk to developing mental disorders. Almost 7,000 people were randomly selected to participate in the eighteen-year-long study. The researchers claim it is the first study of its kind.

Sibling bullying is more than just sibling rivalry, it is considered “repeated negative outcomes” between siblings. Children who participate in sibling bullying are three times as likely to develop psychological disorders. The study also found, children who were victims of sibling bullying as well as peer bullying were four times as likely to develop a disorder. The more frequent the bullying attacks, the higher the risk of a disorder.

At twelve years old, the participants went through a series of interviews to determine if they were a bully, victim, or neither. 364 of the participants were classified as a pure victim, 236 as a pure bully, and 384 were classified as a mixture of the two- called a bully-victim. At eighteen-years old, the participants took a test to determine if they showed any symptoms of a psychological disorder. Of the participants with a bullying status, 55 of them were found to have a psychological disorder. Less than 1% of the non-involved participants were found to develop a disorder.

It is not just the victims who are at risk. The study discovered perpetrators were just as likely as the victims to develop a psychotic disorder. The children who were victimized were also found to have additional negative consequences. They included lower IQ scores, trouble expressing their emotions, and were more likely to be bullied by peers than those who were not victims of sibling bullying. Previous studies have found a link between schizophrenia and social defeat, which many of the victims feel. Both victims and bullies are also more likely to develop negative schemas of the world around them.

It is important for parents to take initiative to prevent the negative side effects of sibling bullying, before it is too late. The study recommends parents should intervene and look to professionals to help prevent psychological harm. More research on this topic is necessary to make any definitive conclusions, but this study is a start.




It was somewhat difficult to summarize the research study in the 430 words used in the pop culture article. It was easy making the article below the word count because the word limitation was known as the summary was being written. While writing the article, there was not specific details of the information included. The difficulty came from deciding how much information to put into the summary. The original study was difficult to understand and to put it into a short article was challenging. There was a great deal of information left out such as the specific tests used, statistical analysis, strengths and limitations of the experiment, as well as any confounding variables. This information was left out because readers of an online news article would not be interested in this information. The information used in the summary included the location of the study and the categories of participants. Then it briefly explains how the data was collected and then the results were given. The five critical questions are briefly mentioned but not clearly stated. Often times they must be inferred because it was not necessary to put into the article.

Before writing the media production article, I believed journalists were too biased and left out too many details. Many of my original critiques of the pop culture article are due to the short length of it. For a journalist to accurately summarize an eighteen-year study within a short article, would be nearly impossible. Journalists often get backlash for not giving the entire story, but they have a limited word count in order to get the reader’s attention. It should be the job of the reader to find additional information to get the entire story because any article will have bias in it. The point of online articles is to have more people read them to get more money. If the article was long and described the study in full detail, not many people would want to read it.

The article does not clearly answer all five critical questions, because there is not enough space to explain all of them. The average reader would not recognize how the study operationalized their variables, but it is mentioned in the media production article. It defines how sibling bullying was defined, but does not go into further detail. Another critical question is how they selected their participants. The media production article states they were randomly selected, but they could choose not to participate. The next question asks how the study assigned their participants to groups, which can be inferred. It is unethical to assign participants to be a bully or a victim of bullying between sibling, therefore the study did not randomly assign their participants to groups. The fourth question wants to know if the experiment allows for causal claims. This is not stated in the article but can also be inferred. In order to have causal claims, the experiment must have random selection and randomly assign participants to groups, which it does not. Finally, the last critical questions asks if the study is generalized to the correct population. This is not mentioned in the media production article because the readers would not be interested in this information.

The pop culture article had many similarities and differences between the media production summary. They were similar in the way they both only provided the most basic information. The articles were both limited in the amount of words they could use, so they only provide a glimpse into the study. But they are different in the way they present the information. The pop culture article was written by a journalist getting paid to write an article to bring more readers in.  But the media production article was written only to summarize the information in the original study. They are also different because the pop culture article used the input of researchers involved in the study. The media production article did not have access to these individuals.


Johari Window Reflection

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

While picking my own characteristics I chose relaxed, accepting, happy, organized, and friendly. Of those five, the only one that was not chosen by other people was relaxed. Which makes sense because the only time a truly relax is when I’m by myself. There were a variety of characteristics in my blind spot but they were somewhat similar to the traits I picked for myself.

This measure of personality was somewhat accurate but I feel as if it is too general. Some people may only put the traits to be nice but not to be specific. Additionally, unconsciously I may have picked characteristics that would make me look different than what I want other people to view me as. The individuals that responded to my window may have also been doing the same thing. In order to make it more accurate it could have been empirically keyed which means it would ask questions that do not directly relate to the question it is asking. Many of the people I asked to fill out the johari window were my friends and family which makes them all biased about me. If I had asked people that may not like me, I would have gotten different answers most likely.

Some characteristics that were in my blind spot included bold, calm, caring, independent, patient, and able. The traits that most people picked were dependable, intelligent, kind, and trustworthy. These results did not teach me much about myself because they were similar to the traits I picked for myself.

Spotlight Post #2

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

It is important to note, to effectively manage stress, there must be a multitude of strategies used. One coping technique it not going to help with different types of stress. The website “Everyday Health” published an article entitled “College Life: 10 Ways to Reduce Stress.” It is targeted toward college students and the tips pertain to activities many college students struggle with. Some examples of the strategies are; get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. These strategies are likely to be successful if the student does them accurately. Many of the tips are everyday things forgotten or not done correctly due to the student’s workload. By practicing these strategies there is less stress created in the first place.  Many of the tips given in the article are considered problem-focused coping, meaning the strategies are directly aimed at the stressor. One example of this would be, not overloading with course work or a job. If an individual only takes on what they can handle, there will be less stress created in the first place. Overall the strategies can be helpful but will not completely eliminate stress for college students because college is stressful.  

“Child Development” also published an article to help with stress, but it applies more to parents. It is entitled “Stress Management for Parents” and similar to the previous article, the tips pertain to issues that parents struggle with. All the strategies given to cope with stress are emotion-focused coping which means they focus on feelings resulting from the stressor. The strategies would be effective, parents cannot aim their coping strategies to get rid of stress because it is probably their children. Some examples from the article are deep breathing and taking a mental vacation. If the individual pretends to be in a location where they feel calm and involve as many senses as possible. This can relieve stress and take the person’s mind off the stressor. At the bottom of the article there are a list of stress reducers which are all problem-focused coping because they are strategies to avoid stress. They include making a duplicate key to avoid being locked out, preparing a meal plan the night before, and waking up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. They all would allow a parent to avoid the stress of last-minute complications with kids. 

Finally, Ohio State University published an article entitled “The P.E.R.F.E.C.T. way to help young athletes reduce stress” which applies to athletes. Many of the strategies have to do with practicing mindfulness which focuses on developing nonjudgmental awareness, acceptance, and staying in the present. The tips include positive self-talk, focus on the now, and chill out. The article claims the strategies will help athletes focus on themselves instead of the expectations others put on them. The strategies seem like they will help because there are many studies based on mindfulness-based stress reduction that make it reliable. Also, if the stress if coming from the pressure put on the athletes, practicing mindfulness will allow the athletes to only focus on themselves which will get rid of the stressor. 

College students:  



First Impression Prompt- Emotion

--Original published at Sydney’s Side


“The A Team” is a popular song by Ed Sheeran. When I first listened to it I thought it was a love song. Sheeran uses phrases such as “white lips, pale face” and describes the woman he’s singing about as an angel. The tune of the song is also slow and sweet. But, in reality the song is about a drug addicted prostitute. This is obviously not a good love song, because any relationship with a drug addicted prostitute would be problematic. It may seem obvious what the song was about, but I was only eleven when it came out so I didn’t think of these things.

My sister told me what the song was really about a while after it came out and I had to listen to it again because I did not believe her. But sure enough once you know what he really means, the song makes a lot more sense. In the chorus the lyrics say she “sells love to another man” which clearly means she’s a prostitute. I didn’t realize this at first because I really wasn’t paying that much attention to the lyrics. He also sings that she will “go mad for a couple grams” which shows her addiction. Also, when I though Sheeran was referring to the woman as an angel, it was only because she eventually would die. Hence when he says, “it’s too cold outside for angels to fly” and ends the song with “for angels to die.” Listening to it after understanding what the song is about makes it very somber.


First Impression- The Mozart Effect

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

The Mozart effect seems a little too good to be true when first reading about it. It makes sense that the child may grow up to be a classical music fan because of classical conditioning. But, playing classical music when a child is young does not seem like it would make them smarter. I do not know much about the effects of music on the brain but I have heard that it can make you happy and soothe you. This makes sense but I see no biological reason as to why it can make you smarter. The New York Times article included information from other psychologist who claim there is not sufficient evidence to make the claim that classical music will make a child smarter. I think this theory has a lot to do with the fact that individuals who listen to classical music regularly are stereo typically smarter.

The fact that the Governor of Georgia wanted to spend so much money on a theory that is not scientifically proven seems a bit preposterous. He also seems biases toward the subject because of his family history involved in music, as well as his so-called natural  fascination. Although $105,000 is a small portion of the $12.5 billion budget, the money could go to other more important things.  If there were more research behind the Mozart effect I would think this is a great idea, but there isn’t.

Intelligence is not determined by what type of music you listened to as a child. There are many different biological and environmental factors that can affect this. Children must make connections and start learning about the world around them.


How I Destress

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

I have some stress management strategies that I know are counter intuitive and I should not be doing, but there are some good things I do to decrease stress.  When I am extremely stressed I either avoid the problem like the plague or sometimes I face it head on.  When I feel like ignoring the problem, I like to take a nap and then I’ll figure something out when I wake up. I know this is very bad stress management because I wake up feeling more stressed than I did before.

But other times when I am stressed I will figure out exactly what it is. Most times it is one of my more difficult classes that I am falling behind in so I will make myself coffee or tea and just sit down and work on that class. When I am done I feel much better and less stressed because instead of worrying about how I’m not understanding things, I am actively working on it. If I feel overwhelmed and can’t do anything about it I like to just get in my car and drive around. I’ll usually put on the type of music that I associate with my mood at the time and jam out. This works pretty well for me when I do it because I feel refreshed afterward and I took my mind off of what was bothering me.

Some other stress management activities I could incorporate into my routine is exercise. It’s a way to get rid of all my pent up energy and do something productive, and it is easy to just walk to The Body Shop. Additionally, I could color or draw because that is another way to take my mind off of the situation and relax a little bit.

First Impression Post- Sleep

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

My current sleep habits are all over the place. I can go from having a full eight hours of sleep one night to only sleeping for a few the next. Most nights I would say I get around 6 or 7 hours which isn’t terrible but it could be better. But I know it is important to stay consistent in what time I go to bed and wake up, which varies greatly. This past week for example there were a few nights I went to bed around one and others I was in bed before eleven. Some days I will take naps if I didn’t sleep enough the night before which in turn puts me into a cycle where I can’t fall asleep for a while and am tired again the next day. On the weekends I like to catch up on the sleep I didn’t get during the week, which is probably pointless but it gives me a reason to sleep in. I usually go to bed around midnight and don’t wake up until eleven the next day on weekends. This probably is not very healthy and adds to the inconsistency of my sleep habits.

A realistic goal for the amount of sleep per night a college student should get would probably be around six or seven hours. I can improve my sleep habits by going to bed at the same time every night as well as trying to increase the amount of hours I get. I should also apply this to the weekend, not matter how much I want to sleep in it would be good to keep it the same as it is during the week.

Spotlight Post #1

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

A study, researched by Paul Amato and Juliana Sobolewski, found evidence that children of divorce have more negative outcomes when compared to children whose parents are still married. This is a credible source because the study is published by the American Sociological Review which is an academic journal. “The Effects of Divorce and Marital Discord on Adult Children’s Psychological Well-Being” conducted a seventeen-year longitudinal study to find the consequences of divorce. The researchers claim the stress of divorce is what causes the negative effects on children because they are unable to continue their mental development as well as comprehend what is going on around them. Therefore, they are developmentally delayed, and this problem will follow them into adulthood. Additionally, children of divorced parents are statistically more likely to have a lower socioeconomic status which could be attributed to the children being more likely to drop out of school early or more likely to not attend college. The researchers believe this is because divorce decreases the standard of living for these children as well as less parental involvement. Evidence from the study also shows, when compared to adults with married parents, those with divorced parents have lower quality relationships and report more conflict. 

Another study entitled, “Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Parent-Child Relationships: Within-Family Comparisons of Fathers and Mothers” focuses on the child’s relationship with their parents rather than how the divorce affects them psychologically. This study was published by the European Sociological Review which is also an academic journal and therefore is credible. The article shows the relationship between father and child is strongly impacted by divorce. The mother and child relationship is also impacted but not as strongly as the father. The study also found that there was an inequality between the parents, therefore one relationship was stronger than the other. It is concluded with the statement, further research is needed but it clearly shows there is a strong impact of divorce on parent child relationships. 

A magazine article published by the Scientific American proposes the idea that divorce may be hard on children, but they can adjust with no damage. The magazine is credible because it presents scientific studies monthly to educated readers and has been doing so for a long time. The article cites multiple studies that conclude divorce has little impact for children. One of the studies states initially children have short term problems with anxiety and disbelief but once they recover, very few have long term problems. The magazine also cites a study from Penn State University in which researchers compared academic achievement and behavior problems between children of different ages with separated or married parents. They discovered there was little to no difference between the groups. 

              Live Science is website that publishes reviews of recent scientific studies and is credible because it cites the studies it uses so its readers can fact check for themselves. Rachel Rettner recently published an article entitled “Divorce Not Always Bad for Kids” where she provides evidence from multiple research studies to show divorce does not always negatively affect or damage children. The children who lived in high conflict families, but their parents stayed together were proven to have more conflict in their future relationships when compared to children whose parents divorced. Parents who want to stay together for their kids may be causing more harm, it all depends on the situation. The article uses evidence to show that children with divorce parents are only affected for a short period following the divorce but if their parents fight and stay together, they are in a period of distress for most of their childhood. 

Divorce is not uncommon in America today, in fact it is relatively normal for peers to have divorced parents or to meet someone who is divorced. There is many different studies that look into the effects of divorce but it is still controversial. Both sides of the issues have fair points, but it really depends on the person. I agree more with the side that there are long term effects because there are many longitudinal studies and statistics show a big difference between children with divorced or married parents. But that being said, they are just statistics and a child can still grow to their full potential, just because their parents are divorced does not mean their life is going to be doomed. 


Amato, P. R., & Sobolewski, J. M. (2001). The Effects of Divorce and Marital Discord on         Adult  Children’s Psychological Well-Being. American Sociological Review. Retrieved           from 

Arkowitz, H. (2013, March 01). Is Divorce Bad for Children? Retrieved                               from 

Kalmijn, M. (2013). Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Parent-Child Relationships: Within-Family  Comparisons of Fathers and Mothers. European Sociological Review. Retrieved from 

Rettner, R. (2010, June 30). Divorce Not Always Bad for Kids. Retrieved from

1st Impression on Drugs

--Original published at Sydney’s Side

The medical use of marijuana seems more beneficial than harmful if health care providers are actually writing prescriptions for it. With any drug, there are always side effects. For example, ibuprofen is harmful to your liver if you take too much of it but that doesn’t stop some people from popping them like candy. Some negative side effects are that it makes people act differently, if there are individuals using marijuana to stop seizures for example, they would act differently all the time. Additionally, there is a risk of addiction because it is a drug, I’m not saying ‘it’s the gateway drug’ or anything but any drug runs the risk of causing addiction. My point is, medical professionals are trained to weigh out the risky side effects of drugs but they will always do what is in the best interest of the patient, therefore medical marijuana should be legal.

As for recreational marijuana, I have heard many debates over this topic but I am leaning toward the legalization side. The problems with this are the same problems that would happen with medical marijuana but in this case, the people using it don’t need to have it to help their health. There is no medical benefit in this case so it could be compared to the effects of alcohol. On the positive side, it would get rid of the people illegally selling marijuana and the government could tax it and make money off of it. It would also decrease the amount of people arrested for selling it and save money that way. If alcohol is legal and regulated, what is the big difference between the two?