Aug 02

July News: Women, Children, Animals Edition

Some of the most interesting mental health news in July pertained to women, children, and animals:

I. What’s in It for Women? Vs. What’s in It for My Husband? Bella DePaulo, PhD, Psychology Today

Psychologist Bella DePaulo has written extensively on topics related to being single. An excerpt from her recent article comparing single women to married ones on the issue of politics:

Unmarried women, whether Black or White or Latina, think differently than married women in an important way, and that difference may help explain why single women vote reliably for Democrats and married women do not…

There are other important ways that married and unmarried women differ, such as the ways they think about traditional gender roles or gender discrimination, and whether they have children at home. The authors examined a half-dozen such differences, and none of them mattered for voting as much as the women’s beliefs about whether their own life outcomes were linked to those of other women’s.

II. In 100 Percent Unsurprising News, Working at Breastaurants Is Bad for Women’s Mental Health. Rachel Sugar, Grub Street

Hooters is one example of a “breastaurant,” lingo that was new to me, as was SOREs (see below excerpt). As Sugar notes, what’s not shocking at all is the “greater risk for anxiety and eating disorders” among women who work at such places.

While these problems aren’t specific to ‘sexually objectifying restaurant environments”’ (SOREs for short) — people, especially women, are objectified working at all kinds of restaurants, the study acknowledges — the researchers chose to focus on breastaurants, rather than restaurants in general, because ‘those types of restaurants are growing in popularity.’

III. The children most likely to be bullied by their own friends. Jacqueline Howard, CNN

In just-what-they-need kids’ news…

Two separate studies published in June support…that overweight or obese children are more likely to have ‘frenemies’ than non-overweight children…
Frenemies and weight-related bullying can have a negative impact not only on overweight children’s emotional health but on physical health, and it could lead to more weight gain for a child…

IV. Spanking Leads to Mental Health Problems, Study Shows. Dawn Jorgenson, Local 10

In another-study-with-a-predictable-outcome news:

Data gathered over a 50-year period shows the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to develop mental health problems.

According to a study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan, even though most Americans don’t recognize spanking as abusive behavior, it has been linked to aggression, anti-social behavior and cognitive difficulties….

V. Therapy animals are everywhere. Proof that they help is not. Karin Brulliard, Washington Post

…The trend, which has accelerated hugely since its initial stirrings a few decades ago, is underpinned by a widespread belief that interaction with animals can reduce distress — whether it happens over brief caresses at the airport or in long-term relationships at home. Certainly, the groups offering up pets think this, as do some mental health professionals. But the popular embrace of pets as furry therapists is causing growing discomfort among some researchers in the field, who say it has raced far ahead of scientific evidence…

On the other hand, scientific evidence isn’t everything. Sometimes you just know something helps.

(And on the other other hand—sorry, but this is reportedly true—sometimes a service animal is actually just the beloved pet of someone faking a mental health problem for selfish purposes.)