Sunday, May 19, 2019

Stress is experienced when an aspect of an individual's identity has the potential to be negatively evaluated; perceived appearance judgements contribute to psychological & biological stress

The effect of perceived appearance judgements on psychological and biological stress processes across adulthood. Natalie J. Sabik et al. Stress and Health, March 18 2019. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2863

Abstract: Social self‐preservation theory posits that stress is experienced when an aspect of an individual's identity has the potential to be negatively evaluated. Appearance is a central part of identity; however, little research has examined whether perceived appearance judgements are a source of social‐evaluative stress. In addition, stress may be an explanatory link in the association between appearance perceptions and depressive symptoms. This study examined whether perceived appearance judgements were associated with increased stress and greater depressive symptoms among adults. Study 1 examined the associations between self‐reported appearance judgements and cortisol stress responses in response to a laboratory stressor (Trier Social Stress Test) among 71 individuals aged 18–65. Study 2 assessed self‐reported appearance judgements and depressive symptoms among 498 adults ages 18–65 via an online survey data collection. Appearance judgement was associated with a stronger cortisol response, higher self‐reported stress, and greater depressive symptoms. Stress mediated all associations between appearance judgements and depressive symptoms and neither age nor gender moderated these associations. The findings suggest that appearance judgements contribute to psychological and biological stress processes and demonstrated that stress mediated the association between appearance judgements and depressive symptoms.

Between 1870 and 1916, over 80 percent of alliance ties were partially or completely covert. Otherwise, hidden military pacts are rare. Why was secrecy prevalent in this particular period and not others?

Secrecy among Friends: Covert Military Alliances and Portfolio Consistency. Raymond Kuo. Journal of Conflict Resolution, May 16, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022002719849676

Abstract: Scholars think that friendly nations adopt secrecy to avoid domestic costs and facilitate cooperation. But this article uncovers a historical puzzle. Between 1870 and 1916, over 80 percent of alliance ties were partially or completely covert. Otherwise, hidden pacts are rare. Why was secrecy prevalent in this particular period and not others? This article presents a theory of “portfolio consistency.” Public agreements undermine the rank of hidden alliances. A partner willing to openly commit to another country but not to you signals the increased importance of this other relationship. States pressure their covert partners to avoid subsequent public pacts. This creates a network effect: the more secret partners a state has, the greater the incentives to maintain secrecy in later military agreements. Covert alliances have a cumulative effect. In seeking the flexibility of hidden partnerships, states can lock themselves into a rigid adherence to secrecy.

Keywords: alliance, international alliance, international security, military alliance, secrecy

The high prevalence of intimate partner violence against women in countries with high levels of gender equality (the “Nordic paradox”) is not the result of measurement bias, but a real problem

Prevalence of intimate partner violence against women in Sweden and Spain: A psychometric study of the ‘Nordic paradox.’ Enrique Gracia et al. PLOS, May 16, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217015

Abstract: The high prevalence of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) in countries with high levels of gender equality has been defined as the “Nordic paradox”. In this study we compared physical and sexual IPVAW prevalence data in two countries exemplifying the Nordic paradox: Sweden (N = 1483) and Spain (N = 1447). Data was drawn from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Survey on violence against women. To ascertain whether differences between these two countries reflect true differences in IPVAW prevalence, and to rule out the possibility of measurement bias, we conducted a set of analyses to ensure measurement equivalence, a precondition for appropriate and valid cross-cultural comparisons. Results showed that in both countries items were measuring two separate constructs, physical and sexual IPVAW, and that these factors had high internal consistency and adequate validity. Measurement equivalence analyses (i.e., differential item functioning, and multigroup confirmatory factor analysis) supported the comparability of data across countries. Latent means comparisons between the Spanish and the Swedish samples showed that scores on both the physical and sexual IPVAW factors were significantly higher in Sweden than in Spain. The effect sizes of these differences were large: 89.1% of the Swedish sample had higher values in the physical IPVAW factor than the Spanish average, and this percentage was 99.4% for the sexual IPVAW factor as compared to the Spanish average. In terms of probability of superiority, there was an 80.7% and 96.1% probability that a Swedish woman would score higher than a Spanish woman in the physical and the sexual IPVAW factors, respectively. Our results showed that the higher prevalence of physical and sexual IPVAW in Sweden than in Spain reflects actual differences and are not the result of measurement bias, supporting the idea of the Nordic paradox.

At the NIH, the proportion of all grant funds awarded to scientists under the age of 36 fell from 5.6% in 1980 to 1.5% in 2017; nearly 99% of investment are awarded to scientists or engineers 36 yo or older

Two threats to U.S. science. Bruce Alberts, Venkatesh Narayanamurti. Science, May 17 2019, Vol. 364, Issue 6441, pp. 613. DOI: 10.1126/science.aax9846

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The current grant opportunities for starting a new independent research career in academia have not only become increasingly unavailable to young scientists and engineers, but are also disastrously risk-averse. At the NIH, the proportion of all grant funds awarded to scientists under the age of 36 fell from 5.6% in 1980 to 1.5% in 2017. One might ask the rhetorical question: How successful would Silicon Valley be if nearly 99% of all investments were awarded to scientists and engineers age 36 years or older, along with a strong bias toward funding only safe, nonrisky projects? Similarly, at the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Laboratories, high-risk, high-reward research and development has been severely limited [...]

U.S. leadership must focus on stimulating innovation by awarding an equal number of grants to those new investigators proposing risky new research ideas [...]. At the same time, it is imperative that the United States reconsider its visa and immigration policies, making it much easier for foreign students who receive a graduate degree in a STEM discipline from a U.S. university to receive a green card, while stipulating that each employment-based visa automatically cover a worker's spouse and children.

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Milk and Dairy Product Consumption: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Shows There is No Increase of Risk of All-Cause Mortality

Milk and Dairy Product Consumption and Risk of Mortality: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Ivan Cavero-Redondo et al. Advances in Nutrition, Volume 10, Issue suppl_2, May 15 2019, Pages S97–S104, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmy128

ABSTRACT: The effect of dairy product consumption on health has received substantial attention in the last decade. However, a number of prospective cohort studies have shown contradictory results, which causes uncertainty about the effects of dairy products on health. We conducted an overview of existing systematic reviews and meta-analyses to examine the association between dairy product consumption and all-cause mortality risk. A literature search was conducted in MEDLINE (via PubMed), EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Web of Science databases from their inception to April, 2018. We evaluated the risk of bias of each study included using the AMSTAR 2 tool. The risk ratios (RRs) for each meta-analysis were displayed in a forest plot for dose-response and for high compared with low dairy consumption. The initial search retrieved 2154 articles; a total of 8 meta-analyses were finally included after applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The number of included studies in each meta-analysis ranged from 6 to 26 cohort studies, which reported data from 6–28 populations. The sample sizes varied across studies from 24,466 participants reporting 5092 mortality cases to 938,817 participants reporting 126,759 mortality cases. After assessing the risk of bias, 25% of the studies were categorized as acceptable, 25% as good, and 50% as very good. The RRs reported by the meta-analyses ranged from 0.96 to 1.01 per 200 g/d of dairy product consumption (including total, high-fat, low-fat, and fermented dairy products), from 0.99 to 1.01 per 200–244 g/d of milk consumption, and from 0.99 to 1.03 per 10–50 g/d of cheese consumption. The RR per 50 g/d of yogurt consumption was 0.97 (95% CI: 0.85, 1.11). In conclusion, dairy product consumption is not associated with risk of all-cause mortality. This study was registered in PROSPERO as CRD42018091856.

Keywords: milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, meta-analysis, review, mortality