Media Production Project

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

It is a common belief and misconception that as the cold weather approaches, depression worsens, most commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Most people believe that the colder weather lowers an individual’s mood, slows their mind and become more prone to depression. This misconception was caused by a SAD study conducted in which the participants recruited believed that they had this diagnosis. This ultimately led to bias and skewed results. An improved study was conducted by Megan K. Traffanstedt, Sheila Mehta and Steven G. LoBello to determine if a seasonally related pattern of occurrence of major depression could be demonstrated in a population-based study.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional U.S. survey of adults, from 18-99 years old. A total of 34,294 participants were randomly chosen from a population registry during all four seasons. The study was based on a larger population representative sample. The researchers ensured that depression measurement was consistent with DSM criteria, was population representative, the participants were unaware of the seasonal hypothesis and were aware of the effects of variables. The survey included the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8), which was the current measure of depression, and was conducted in 36 different states. The data collected was interpreted using regression models to determine if depression was related to sunlight exposure. The study was sure to investigate the latitude, season and sunlight exposure in each participant, and took those factors into account.

The latitude was classified as an individual living in the northern, middle or southern latitude and this aspect was tabulated at the time of the survey. The researchers were also able to acknowledge the duration of daylight for most U.S. areas. The amount of sunlight exposure ranged from 8 hours and 43 minutes to 15 hours and 37 minutes. A few analyses of the correlation between depression and sunlight were evaluated. The first being if depression is related to season, second being if latitude or season independently interacted with depression scores.

The study resulted that seasonal variables were not related to depression scores. The same results came from the effects of latitude. Most importantly the amount of sunlight exposure did not significantly alter depression scores. There was no association with depression scores and sunlight in the total sample or in the participants who had increased depression scores. Additionally there was not a correlation of sunlight exposure the day of the interview and the depression score.

This study conducted is able to be representative of the entire U.S. population and was properly executed to ensure no self-selection bias. The results of this study doubt that major depression with seasonal variation is an actual psychiatric disorder. It is evident to note that just because an individual is depressed in winter does not mean that their depression is caused by winter itself.




I found this assignment challenging because I quickly realized that the news article contained very little information to support what they were discussing. I am definitely an individual who believed what I read in news articles online; however my views have completely changed. I am now aware that the news article that I read did not contain any of the 5 important questions and did not provide the reader with any information that could verify their results. Overall both the news article and the scholarly article had the same results which allowed me to at least agree with the outcome of the news article. I did not have a lot of difficulty summarizes the research article because my original news article was 1,496 words, which gave me a ton of room to include the necessary aspects of the research for the reader to understand the study. Interestingly the difficult part was to not include too much detail that the reader would not be able to understand what I was trying to say. In the scholarly article much more information was given but not necessarily all of the information could be used in the new summary. The summary was challenging because I needed to prioritize and organize the information in a way that would make sense to the reader. I did have trouble deciding how in depth I should go or if I was being too vague. I now understand the difficulty of journalist who does not have full control of what to include in an article if they are under a word constraint. It is not their fault that they were not able to provide the reader with all the information necessary. Overall I found this assignment incredibly helpful and it now allows me to look at things in a different light.

(News Article)

(Scholarly Article)

Spotlight #3

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

When an individual has a mental health condition it is possible to be treated effectively through the use of medication or by pursuing psychotherapy. Some may believe that one is more effective than the other, or that one option is the correct option. Major Depressive Disorder has become the most common mental illness and the methods of treatment are becoming controversial.

The first article by Dave Asprey, “How to fight depression without medication”, focuses on how previously the chemical imbalance theory, where the individuals neurotransmitters were not balanced. This is why they believed prescribing medication could resolve the problem, however the drug prescribed did not alter the serotonin levels and did not work and that the benefits of these drugs is actually the placebo effect. He also explained how prescription drugs are overprescribed, and the amount of prescriptions written has increased annually. The risks of antidepressants that are most common are anxiety, agitation, insomnia, weight gain and an upset stomach. After listing all the symptoms of the antibiotics he states “I think we can do better”. His belief is that there are 5 science based hacks for a stronger brain. The first being meditation and mindfulness which have shown results of alleviating pain, stress, anxiety and depression. He also explains that getting outside more can rapidly lower stress hormones. Along with this he explains exercise and nutrition is more effective and safer for individuals with a more mild depression. Lastly he explains how to reduce oxidative stress by eliminating fats and increasing vegetables. Along with this talking to another individual can greatly benefit and aid an individual through a tough time. Although this article has a strong view point on fighting depression without medication, the source is not the most credible because it was posted on a blog and is heavily opinionated. However, he does get most of his information from reliable online sources.

Another article “Coping with Depression”, encourages individuals to handle stress on their own and emphasizes a more natural method and urges to talk to other people. Authors Melinda Smith, Lawrence Robinson, Jenn Shubin and Jeanne Segal collaboratively came up with simple steps to take in order to better help individuals with depression. The main idea they stress is reach out and stay connected in order to get support because it is difficult to overcome depression on your own. They make it aware that an individual may feel guilty of not sustaining relationships, but that is just the depression talking. In order to stay connected they recommend looking for people that make them feel safe, face time, keep up with social activities, care for a pet, or join a support group for depression. They also recommend doing things that make you feel good, exercise, eat healthy and get a daily dose of sunlight. If these self-help steps do not improve an individual’s state of being, then it is the best option to seek professional help. They emphasize not feeling guilty for not being able to handle it on their own, rather be proud of the fact you are trying to get better and are not giving up. I believe that this article was not the most credible because although the information seems accurate and logical the reference sited was from a “.com” rather than supported by medical research.

On the other hand an article written for Psychology Today, “The blues is depression. Should you treat it with pills?”, interprets the benefits of using medication to treat depression. No doubt the article explains that there are downsides to using medication, similarly with all medications there will be side effects. There is a 60% effectiveness of the people who use antibiotics for depression. They also explain that these medications do help people and people experience relatively few side effects. It is also noted that medication is a short term fix and should be used until you feel better, but be sure to wean off slowly and not all at once. It is most heavily noted that medication and psychotherapy both have very similar effectiveness rates, but medication has a direct impact more quickly. This article is more reliable because the author herself, Susan Heitler, has a Ph.D and is more educated on this topic and included reliable sources.

Another article titled “Depression: How effective are antidepressants?”. The author explains how antidepressants are a key part of treating depression. They are effective for moderate, severe and chronic depression. It is beneficial to relieve symptoms such as sadness and exhaustion, but most importantly prohibits them from coming back. The medicine is aimed to restore emotional balance, and increases the ability of certain chemicals. The more severe the depression is, the more effective the medication will be, but it varies within each individual. I found this source very credible because the article was posted on PubMed and contained factual information as well as obtained their information from a great amount of credible references.

In my opinion, I believe that psychotherapy is the better option and should be the first method for an individual who is dealing with depression. Most of the individuals who sided with medication argued that it was more effective quicker but does not have a lasting impact. On the other hand, psychotherapy is a slow continuous process, that will have a much larger impact on the individual and allow themselves to be cured properly. I also think that psychotherapy is much safer and there are no known side effects like there are with antidepressants. Overall, psychotherapy is the same effectiveness as antidepressants, but does not create additional symptoms.

Spotlight Blog #2

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

Stress never seems to be beneficial to humans however it is a natural response to a situation that threatens one’s sense of well-being. For each individual stress could be caused by something different, it could be something acute, that is time limited or something that is chronic and will extend over a large amount of time. Either way, stress can be handled in many different ways, and there are many techniques that individuals may use to cope with their stress.

In 2012, Womens Health wrote an article pertaining towards Women and how they can better handle their stress. They interviewed 435 people and asked them about their daily stressors and how they have been affecting their mood and if they had any obvious physical symptoms. The individuals with more stress, reported that they had more headaches, stomach problems, anxiety and decreased productivity. The article recommends to “break a sweat”, which allows an individual’s heart rate to increase and sends glucose to all parts of the body.  This advice correlates to a coping strategy we discussed in class, exercise.  It has been shown that there are physical and psychological benefits to exercising consistently. The article also mentions being solution-oriented will better allow an individual to accomplish a large task more easily. It is recommended to make a list with multiple steps and cross them off as you go. This is similar to problem focused learning which is more common for men to do. This allows them to aim their focus on the stressor itself and not let their emotions play a role. Similarly the article mentions getting a massage will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and your adrenal glands will cut back on releases stress hormones and boost production of feel-good neurotransmitters.  This method is similar to the mental vacation strategy, where you are able to picture yourself in a place where you feel calm and this allows you to not focus on being stressed in that moment.  The strategies recommended in this article are most likely beneficial to many individuals and directly correlate with the information we have discussed in class.

In an article published by Everyday Health, Dennis Thompson Jr. discusses different strategies to cope with stress for men. One of the most important methods discussed was solving the cause of your stressor. This way the stress can be relieved and not continue to build up. This idea is consistent with the problem focused coping strategy, where typically men focus on the stressor itself instead of focusing on their emotions. Another strategy was to meditate for around 15-20 minutes a day allowing yourself to clear your mind. This is similar to the MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction), which focuses on the observer self and allows an individual to become aware, accept themselves and stay in the present.  One interesting point the article makes is to reward yourself for accomplishing a goal. This almost acts as an incentive and motivates someone to continue working towards your goal, and will most likely benefit many individuals.

An article written for Best Colleges, focused on a student’s guide to handling stress. Primarily students not only have the daily stressors of homework and assignments, but the social pressures and work responsibilities as well.  The author recommends that students set realistic goals for themselves and to not spread themselves too thin. Often times students are not able to manage their time well, or have too many things going on at once, which can ultimately lead to constant stress. This method could act as an maladaptive strategy because it will be able to decrease the stress but could also restrict you from doing everything you would want to do. For instance you may not be able to play a sport, have time to hang out with your friends and do well in school.  However, this is a very useful strategy and will most definitely reduce the stress in most students lives. Another way to reduce stress is to eat healthier, because your body can better handle stress when you are as healthy as you can possibly be. This is a very effective method to handle stress because it will overall make you a healthier person and it is shown that individuals who eat healthier have more energy. This is similar to how self-indulgence can be problematic, a lot of times people will binge-eat and avoid doing something to compensate for stress, which can lead to other problems. However, if you are able to restrict yourself and maintain a healthy diet, this will combat the temptation to binge eat in stressful situations.

Johari Window Bonus Blog

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

The process of completing the Johari window self-assessment was very interesting to me. I was very curious and intrigued to see what others had to say about me as well as compare the results to what I may have thought about myself. I overall found this way of measuring personality quite accurate because they are real humans who can first hand describe what the person may be like. Although this is true, people may not be 100% honest because they may not want to describe the person rudely or offensive. The personality traits that I had in common with other people’s perception was caring, energetic, friendly and organized. This was quite surprising to me that so many people agreed upon my personality traits. The only trait I had chosen that was not similar was accepting. There were many traits that were chosen that I had not even thought of about myself. This aspect of the assessment was very interesting, because I really enjoyed seeing how others perceive me. The one trait I found most shocking was “brave”. I never considered myself to be brave, and I still question this because I tend to get scared easily and think a million times before actually doing something. Another trait I found interesting was “confident”, I also did not think that I would come across as a confident person because I can tend to be quite shy at times and do not do well in certain social situations. I did get 75% of people saying that I am energetic and this does not surprise me at all, because most of the time I can be very high energy. Overall I think I learned quite a bit about myself through this and did not realize that this is what other individuals may think of me.

First Impression Week #9

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

It is very well known that sleep is important and a necessity to remain healthy. Inevitably a typical college student most likely lacks the recommended amount of sleep. For most individuals getting a full 9 hours of sleep a night is not a realistic goal. With balancing classes, homework, studying, activities and socializing, sleep tends to get pushed aside. Personally I never realize how much a lack of sleep will affect me until I have to wake up the next morning.  Most students have classes all day, not allowing them to start their work until the midafternoon. During this time it may not be possible to do work, because students seem to be tired after a full day, or they have a prior commitment to another activity. This pushes off the work that needs to be done, which further prohibits the time they will go to sleep.  Personally I believe that I started off with good sleeping habits my first semester, but they have progressively gotten worse.

I typically do my homework and studying as soon as classes finish, this way I don’t have time to get unmotivated or too relaxed. I found this very helpful, because if I was to lay in bed for an hour and then do my work, I would have a much more difficult time getting up. This also makes it possible for me to get to bed earlier rather than pushing off my work to do later. Over the course of this semester, my work load has gotten heavier which has changed my sleeping habits. Now days I won’t get to bed before midnight. This leaves me with getting only 7 hours of sleep a night, since I have an 8 am every day. On average I sleep 6-7 hours a night which has definitely put a toll on my body and mind. Even when I do decide to go to bed around midnight, it may take a while to actually fall asleep since living in the dorms is not the quietest.  One thing I am trying to avoid is going on my phone before bed. I tend to check my phone and reply to people right before I go to bed, because it seems to be the only available time I have, but this often gets me distracted and I can get lost on my phone. This would most likely improve my sleep habits by calming my brain down before sleeping.  Overall it seems to be an unrealistic goal to get a full 8 hours of sleep every night for a college student who is trying to balance a variety of things.

First Impression Week #8

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

This week I watched the TED talk on “Different Ways of Knowing”, by Daniel Tammet. Daniel Tammet has Synesthesia, which is where he is able to see the world in a much richer and vaster way. He is able to see the world differently, and correlates words, numbers and sentences with colors, shapes and textures. He believed that different ways of perceiving, leads to different ways of knowing and understanding.

Tammet gave multiple examples of calculations, an Icelandic word,  and a poem, and showed the audience what he visualized when seeing this. I found it interesting that in my mind I saw a complex calculation, but in his mind he came up with a clever way to solve this by picturing a chess board. A majority of the audience guessed that the Icelandic word meant sad, which they happened to be correct. This raised an interesting point, Tammet discussed that sounds match the intuitive perception of the listener. The other example he showed of the poem stance was quite interesting, because each word was correlated to an image in his mind, and this allowed him to get a better understanding of the meaning behind the poem. Rather than visually recognizing the meaning from words, he was able to do this with a visual representation. He also showed other numbers such as the mathematical constant, pi. He showed how this number represented a landscape with many different colors. In his mind words can have personalities and colors.

I found this way of thinking and life, to be extremely interesting. I believe that this would heavily impact someone’s life because their way of thinking is completely different than a majority of people. Some people may not understand their point of view. I also think that being able to have this way of perception, would be a great advantage and tie meaning to learning which is semantic encoding, which is the most powerful and effective. I also think that this would make an individual pay attention to a lot more detail because they are relating it to a color or image in their minds. Overall, like Tammet had said, his way of life is much richer than other individuals because of his ability to see the world in so many colors, images and textures.


First Impression Week #7

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

Abstinence and the harm-reduction method both seem to be effective ways to reduce addiction. The abstinence method seems to be more effective in my opinion and seems to have a much greater result. If someone decides to change their addiction and is dedicated to a program like the 12-step program, this rigorous program will most likely ensure a positive outcome. Although each individual is different, a program like this will give most people the help they need and they will be able to do this with the aid of others. This is a very important aspect in trying to break an addiction. It is so easy to give in to yourself, but when you have someone else to face, you tend to think more about your decisions and the opinions of others. I believe that if there are set guidelines to follow, it will make the process much more manageable and it will be clear what the individual needs to do to become clean. This method also gives the person a specific goal in mind, which is to not use drugs or alcohol. The support of other people who are in a similar position will also continuously motivate them to stick to their goals and accomplish them. The harm-reduction method is also a method that can reduce addiction; however there is no clear goal in mind. Since the goal is to not become clean, this will allow the individual to still use, just not in an excessive amount. No matter the amount, there are still consequences and effects on the brain are physically altered and cannot be reversed. So although this method can reduce the addiction, it will continue to affect the brain. The abstinence method guarantee’s that an individual is capable of sobriety and makes it possible to be clean in the future.

Spotlight Blog #1

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

In today’s society the divorce rate has increased immensely. Over time it has become a more controversial topic because some may believe that it is the best and most viable option, while others may believe there are better ways to solve relationship problems. The effect of divorce on children has started to be observed, and both the positive and negative aspects have been addressed.

In a recent article, Sol R. Rappaport discussed that although initially children may seem unstable after their parents’ divorce, their difficulties decrease, and are able to better handle high-conflict issues later in life. In certain situations, divorce may be the better option, if it is able to reduce stress in the family’s home which allows the children to be better adjusted to their home lives. Rappaport also stated that there is no evident difference in children’s emotions or behaviors if their parents are divorced or from their peers whose parents are still married. He also mentions that the 25% of children who do have difficulties after divorce is not the divorce itself but the factors related to divorce. He also mentions that divorce is a painful memory and experience and may be impacted, but so is losing a parent. Neither of these events should mean that an individual will grow up with psychological disorders. His largest point was that divorce does not have a direct effect on children but there are contributing factors. Every situation is different and it depends on the level of conflict, the mental health of the parents, the involvement of the caregiver, and the financial impact and the child’s perception. Overall he discovered that 75 – 80% of individuals do not have significant psychological difficulties. This information was collected from a scholarly journal database and was written by a well-educated clinical psychologist.

Similarly Dr. Shoshana Bennett wrote an article about the positive impact a divorce can have on children. She wrote an article for Huffpost, she used her knowledge in psychology as a psychologist aided her in her research of this topic. She explains how if the parents are happier as individuals, this will make the children happier. If the couple is not happy with one another this could give reason for the children to be upset and sad too. By eliminating the negativity and sadness, this allows the children to live more positively. She also discusses that getting rid of the tension in the air will completely change the child’s behavior for the better. Bennett also explained how some individuals believe that they should stay in a toxic relationship in order to keep their children happy. She rejects this theory and explains that it is better to remove yourself from that situation so that the child can realize that they deserve a healthy and supportive relationship. Lastly, she explains how it is important for your child to see you happy and healthy which will impact your child’s life immensely.

In another perspective, and most commonly thought, individuals like Keenan M. believe that divorce can have a negative impact on children’s lives. Divorce can cause pain, loneliness, and anxiety. The beginning may be an adjustment period, but for many this can because long term affects. He explains how for younger children and toddlers, they tend to feel abandoned or confused and will later have separation anxiety. For teens, they may feel angry and distance themselves from their family which leads to them reckless actions like skipping school, experimenting with drugs and alcohol and committing crimes. This is also problematic when there is ongoing conflict in the household causing children to have a more difficult time at home. This is because children do better with a routine rather than a constant back and forth between homes and different schedules. The information written by the author seems to be credible because the article was published on an online database with scholarly articles.

In a similar study, the author described the effects of divorce on older children and how they’ve been affected in the long term. The author explained a situation where divorce heavily impacted younger adults and composed it into a scholarly article. The author explained that older children might feel abandoned or betrayed since they had no expected this outcome. It may seem that older children can cope better with the divorce but in reality they are blocking it out but are really being impacted by it. Divorce has also caused an issue with older children because they often get in the middle of the situation and serve as the mediator or have to start taking on parental control. One of the effects on children the author mentions is that they have to plan a family event which is a great burden since they are not used to this additional stress. The most significant effect is that when children witness a failure of their parents’ marriage they question their own relationships and are afraid of commitment.

Collectively I believe that divorce can play a major role in a child’s life and can negatively impact a child however it may not be as extreme in certain cases. A child who has witnessed their parents’ divorce have observed many negative aspects. In most cases the child will be stuck in the middle or have to choose a side which adds additional stress. Additionally, a child bears a lot of pain during this time and in some cases this feeling could worsen. One of the largest points is that when a child has to go through the pain of their parents’ divorce, they tend to lose hope in marriage. They also become less confident in themselves and are afraid of commitment which could prohibit them from getting into a relationship or not take them seriously.



First Impression Week #6

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

For this First Impression Post, I chose to write about my study habits and how i prepared for the first exam.  Going into the first exam I was extremely nervous and had no idea what to expect, and that seems to be common for every first exam with a new professor. Evidently I have come to realize it takes trial and error to find the perfect study method for each class.

My plan of action was to take in depth notes from the textbook to ensure I understood the material that we had learned in lecture as well as learnt the additional information that would be on the exam. Reviewing these notes with examples really helped me understand the overall concepts better. Along with the textbook notes, I read through my lecture notes many, many times. I would get together with a few people and read the notes out loud, slide by slide and discuss the major points. As we would get to the next lectures notes we would go back and ask one another questions from the previous lectures to better retain the information. Additionally I would re-write my notes, which I believe helps me stay focused when studying, and allows me to not slack. Occasionally I would write on the white boards and list the names important people and write all that I knew about them and go back and add more. I felt that this method was beneficial and allowed myself to be tested before the actual exam. By these multiple methods I felt prepared for the exam.  Lastly I took the chapter quizzes multiple times, to get practice on what types of questions may be asked.

My method was to definitely over learn, and although I felt confident with my method I am always in search of a better way to retain the information. My way of studying is very time intensive and it would be beneficial to have a less time consuming method.

First Impression Post Week #5

--Original published at Nadia's Blog

Some may believe that video games are not the best activity for a child to be playing. This may be because it is not a healthy way to stay active, and this is becoming more and more common. Less children are spending time outside, and more time on technology. Along with this, many video games are promoting violent behavior. I believe that violent video games are becoming more and more graphic and they are not promoting a healthy mindset for younger individuals.

Primarily, these video games are now increasingly popular within younger individuals, and are able to make a larger impact on them since their mind is still developing. For example in Piaget’s developmental theory, the preoperational stage (3-7), these children are still not able to see things from another persons perspective. This is the age group where children begin to play these violent video games, and they are lacking the understanding that they are physically harming another human being and are not aware of their actions. Although, the video game is not actually real life and no human is actually being killed, the point of the games are usually to kill all the people, which is clearly not a positive message and allows these children to believe that hurting another human is acceptable. This can clearly have a larger impact later on in a child’s life if they continue to play these video games. Relating this back to the attachment theories, individuals who were abused or had non involved parents later on showed that these individuals had more problems in the future, this could be a similar situation where the children are being exposed to violence at a young age where it will later on impact what type of person they will be when they are older.

As most of us know, children are easily influenced and tend to believe what someone older than them might say. Knowing this, we can assume that violent video games most definitely have an impact on younger children into their later lives. It is now increasingly becoming worse as technology advances, and the visuals are more graphic and making the situations more realistic. Overall, the video games are not having a positive influence on children and I do believe that there should be age restrictions on who may play what game in order to ensure that a child is aware of how harmful these actions can truly be.