Monthly Archives: August 2011

Partying in college doesn’t always mean happiness

Heather Rudow August 31, 2011

(Photo:Flickr/Tulane Public Relations)

If they believe what they see on TV and in the movies, students headed off to college for the first time might be under the impression that going out and partying is the key to being happy and having fun. But an Indiana University study found that instead, it is actually the positive connections that students make that are the driving forces of their happiness.

The researchers looked at extroverted college students and students who tended to keep more to themselves, and they found that the happiest people were not the ones who were drinking and partying all the time. According to Shyness Research Institute Director Bernardo J. Carducci, the happiest students were the ones who focused more of their time on connections with friends, family and positive thinking — and less time on partying and drinking.

“You don’t have to go out and party to be happy,” Carducci said. “That’s the thing students feel they need to do, particularly when they’re new to campus. But, it’s critical to maintain contacts with family, with friends and like-minded individuals with whom you feel some sort of meaningful connection. That could be other people in clubs that you belong to, like the accounting club, astronomy club . . . people you play intramural sports with.”

Another study conducted found that students who are goal-oriented tend to be happier than those who are less focused.


Stressed out workers least likely to work out

Heather Rudow

(Photo:Flickr/lululemon athletica)

Numerous studies have already made it known that exercise works wonders as a stress reliever. But a recently published study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that the people who need the gym’s relaxing qualities the most are the ones least likely to get it.

According to a release from the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, the study looked at questionnaires from more than 2,000 people about their stress levels, health status, quality of life, tobacco use and physical activity, which were collected when they enrolled in their employer’s wellness center. The researchers found that workers who are stressed out were most likely to drop out of the gym or not sign up at all. Stressed employees also reported more fatigue, lower activity levels, poorer eating habits and poorer overall health than non-stressed workers.

In a related story, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers found that exercise can act as a “second medicine” for people suffering from depression.


Psychologist explains how to cope with stress Post-Hurricane Irene

Heather Rudow

(Hurricane Irene’s aftermath in Roosevelt Island in New York. Photo:Flickr/_snapp)

While many East Coast residents are currently dealing with billions of dollars of property damage from Hurricane Irene which made its way up the coast this past weekend, many are also having trouble dealing with residual mental anxiety from the ordeal. The Daily Press spoke with clinical psychologist and American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health chairman for southeastern Virginia Jeffrey Katz for tips on how to handle stress and anxiety from the storm.

Click here to read the story


A positive mother-son relationship has a positive impact in teen years

Heather Rudow August 30, 2011


A newly published study focusing on the relationships between low-income mothers and their sons living in Pittsburgh found that while it is normal for the relationship between a mother and son to change over time, the way that relationship changes can affect the boy’s behavior later in life.

The Wayne State University-led study surveyed 265 mother-and-son pairs over the course of 10 years, beginning when the boys were 5 and ending at age 15. According to a Wayne State news release, the researchers looked at the neighborhood the families were living in, the mother’s relationship with her partner, the quality of parenting provided by the mother and the child’s temperament, the level of conflict and warmth between mothers and sons, and the boys’ delinquent behavior, relationships with best friends and sense of morality during adolescence.

The researchers discovered that the mothers of boys who had a difficult temperament when they younger reported less closeness over time as well as higher levels of conflict. The boys who reported higher levels of conflict with their mothers were also “more likely to engage in delinquent behavior as teens.” Mothers with better relationships with their significant others reported better, long-lasting relationships with their sons, and sons who reported being closer with their mothers were “more likely to have a better relationship with their best friends during the teen years.”

Highly competitive video games linked to aggression

Heather Rudow


Parents have been warned to steer their children away from violent video games for fear of violent behavior, but new research suggests that it might actually be the highly competitive nature of these games that leads to aggression.

Researchers studied college students while they played four different video games in two separate experiments, some of them being extremely violent and not competitive and some of them being highly competitive. The students’ heart rates were also monitored. Afterwards, according to an American Psychological Association release, the students participated in what they believed to be a separate food study, where they “had to make up a cup of hot sauce for a ‘taster’ who they were told did not particularly like hot or spicy food. The participants could choose from one of four different hot sauces (from least hot to most hot) for the taster to drink.”

Through their experiments researchers found that, regardless of how much violence was in the video games, it was the video games with extreme competitiveness that led to aggression in the  subjects:

“On average, students who played the highly competitive games … prepared significantly more of a hotter sauce than participants who played … the least competitive games. They also had significantly higher heart rates.”

“These findings suggest that the level of competitiveness in video games is an important factor in the relation between video games and aggressive behavior, with highly competitive games leading to greater elevations in aggression than less competitive games,” researcher Paul J.C. Adachi told the APA.