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Archive for the ‘psychology and sociology’ Category

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Taxpayer $1,259 a Year, Small Businesses $3,923

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Taxpayer $1,259 a Year, Small Businesses $3,923
Source: U.S. Public Interest Research Group

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded that ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for special interest loopholes in our tax laws. A new U.S. PIRG report released today revealed that the average American taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,259 in state and federal taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying an estimated $184 billion in state and federal income taxes by using complicated accounting tricks to shift their profits to offshore tax havens. Of that $184 billion, $110 billion is avoided specifically by corporations.

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UNODC — Global Study on Homicide 2013 (released 4/10/14)

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Global Study on Homicide 2013
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
From press release (PDF):

Almost half a million people (437,000) across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, according to a new study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Launching the Global Study on Homicide 2013 in London today, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, said: “Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities left shattered. There is an urgent need to understand how violent crime is plaguing countries around the world, particularly affecting young men but also taking a heavy toll on women.”

Globally, some 80 per cent of homicide victims a nd 95 per cent of perpetrato rs are men. Almost 15 per cent of all homicides stem from domestic violence (63,600). However, the overwhelming majority – almost 70 per cent – of domestic violence fatalities are women (43,600). “Home can be the most dangerous place for a woman,” said Mr . Lemahieu. “It is particularly heart-breaking when those who should be protecting their loved ones are the very people responsible for their murder.”

Over half of all homicide victims are under 30 years of age, with children under the age of 15 accounting for just over 8 per cent of all homicides (36,000), the Study highlighted.

Recent Declines in Adolescent Inhalant Use

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Recent Declines in Adolescent Inhalant Use (PDF)
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

+ In 2012, almost 650,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 used inhalants in the past year.

+ Past year inhalant use among adolescents generally has been declining since about 2006; most recently, rates decreased from 3.3 percent in 2011 to 2.6 percent in 2012.

+ Rates of past year inhalant use among adolescents decreased between 2011 and 2012 for several demographic groups, including males, whites, those living in the Northeast and West, and those living in metropolitan areas.

Barriers to Psychiatric Care among Military and Veteran Populations in the US: The Effect of Stigma and Prejudice on Psychological and Pharmacological Treatment

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Barriers to Psychiatric Care among Military and Veteran Populations in the US: The Effect of Stigma and Prejudice on Psychological and Pharmacological Treatment
Source: International Journal of Advances in Psychology

This paper addresses the importance of understanding veterans’ individual beliefs and the effects of stigma on pharmacological and psychological treatment among active military personnel and veterans. The discussion can assist treating clinicians in reducing barriers to treatment and increasing compliance with effective psychological and pharmacological interventions for this population. The author has conducted more than 3000 interviews with veterans from World War II (WWII), the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who applied for service connected Veterans Administration compensation due to mental health conditions. A summary of the responses from veterans regarding their reaction to psychiatric treatment is given and compared to the findings of other provided preliminary studies regarding the effect of individual beliefs and stigma on treatment compliance.

Which Poor Neighborhoods Experienced Income Growth in Recent Decades?

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Which Poor Neighborhoods Experienced Income Growth in Recent Decades?
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Why has average income grown in some poor neighborhoods over the past 30 years and not in others? We explore that question and find that low-income neighborhoods that experienced large improvements in income over the past three decades tended to be located in large, densely populated metro areas that grew in income and population. Residential sorting—changes in population and demographics within neighborhoods—could help to explain this relationship.

Understanding the acceptability of e-mental health – attitudes and expectations towards computerised self-help treatments for mental health problems

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the acceptability of e-mental health – attitudes and expectations towards computerised self-help treatments for mental health problems
Source: BMC Psychiatry

Background
E-mental health and m-mental health include the use of technology in the prevention, treatment and aftercare of mental health problems. With the economical pressure on mental health services increasing, e-mental health and m-mental health could bridge treatment gaps, reduce waiting times for patients and deliver interventions at lower costs. However, despite the existence of numerous effective interventions, the transition of computerised interventions into care is slow. The aim of the present study was to investigate the acceptability of e-mental health and m-mental health in the general population.

Methods
An advisory group of service users identified dimensions that potentially influence an individual’s decision to engage with a particular treatment for mental health problems. A large sample (N = 490) recruited through email, flyers and social media was asked to rate the acceptability of different treatment options for mental health problems on these domains. Results were analysed using repeated measures MANOVA.

Results
Participants rated the perceived helpfulness of an intervention, the ability to motivate users, intervention credibility, and immediate access without waiting time as most important dimensions with regard to engaging with a treatment for mental health problems. Participants expected face-to-face therapy to meet their needs on most of these dimensions. Computerised treatments and smartphone applications for mental health were reported to not meet participants’ expectations on most domains. However, these interventions scored higher than face-to-face treatments on domains associated with the convenience of access. Overall, participants reported a very low likelihood of using computerised treatments for mental health in the future.

Conclusions
Individuals in this study expressed negative views about computerised self-help intervention and low likelihood of use in the future. To improve the implementation and uptake, policy makers need to improve the public perception of such interventions.

SPLC report: Users of leading white supremacist web forum responsible for many deadly hate crimes, mass killings

April 18, 2014 Comments off

SPLC report: Users of leading white supremacist web forum responsible for many deadly hate crimes, mass killings
Source: Southern Poverty Law Center

Nearly 100 people in the last five years have been murdered by active users of the leading racist website, Stormfront, according to a report released today by the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.

Registered Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the web forum became the first hate site on the Internet in 1995, a month before the Oklahoma City bombing. The report found that hate killings by Stormfront members began to accelerate rapidly in early 2009, when Barack Obama took office as the nation’s first black president.

A similar racist web forum, Vanguard News Network (VNN), was used by neo-Nazi and former Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller, who has been charged with the Sunday murder of three people he mistakenly believed were Jews in Overland Park, Kan. Miller, who apparently changed his last name in recent years to Cross, logged more than 12,000 posts on VNN, whose slogan is, “No Jews, Just Right.”

USDoJ Executive Office for Immigration Review: FY 2013 Statistics

April 17, 2014 Comments off

USDoJ Executive Office for Immigration Review: FY 2013 Statistics (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review
From press release (PDF):

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) today announced that it has released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Statistics Yearbook. As announced on its website on October 1, 2013, EOIR has been working to enhance its external data reporting by changing the way it analyzes and reports its data. The new statistical methodology is featured in the FY 2013 Statistics Yearbook, an annual compilation of data that examines respondents’ cases by nationality, language, and disposition, and provides detailed information surrounding asylum cases.

CRS — The Distribution of Household Income and the Middle Class

April 17, 2014 Comments off

The Distribution of Household Income and the Middle Class (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Although not itself a subject of legislation, the shape of the income distribution enters Congress’s decision-making process concerning such policy issues as taxes, means-tested benefits, and social insurance programs. Congress also considers legislation specifically in the name of those in the middle class, which is variously defined as some income level or income range within the distribution of U.S. households with income. After briefly analyzing the distribution of household money income in 2012, the report attempts to put the term “middle class” into greater perspective.

CRS — Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund: Programs and Policy Issues

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund: Programs and Policy Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

As communities face a variety of economic challenges, some are looking to local banks and financial institutions for solutions that address the specific development needs of low-income and distressed communities. Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) provide financial products and services, such as mortgage financing for homebuyers and not-for-profit developers, underwriting and risk capital for community facilities; technical assistance; and commercial loans and investments to small, start-up, or expanding businesses. CDFIs include regulated institutions, such as community development banks and credit unions, and nonregulated institutions, such as loan and venture capital funds.

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (the Fund), an agency within the Department of the Treasury, administers several programs that encourage the role of CDFIs, and similar organizations, in community development. Nearly 1,000 financial institutions located throughout all 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible for the Fund’s programs to provide financial and technical assistance to meet the needs of businesses, homebuyers, community developers, and investors in distressed communities. In addition, the Fund allocates the New Markets Tax Credit to more than 5,000 eligible investment vehicles in low-income communities (LICs).

This report begins by describing the Fund’s history, current appropriations, and each of its programs. A description of the Fund’s process of certifying certain financial institutions to be eligible for the Fund’s program awards follows. The next section provides an overview of each program’s purpose, use of award proceeds, eligibility criteria, and relevant issues for Congress.

The final section analyzes four policy considerations of congressional interest, regarding the Fund and the effective use of federal resources to promote economic development.

See also: Community Development Block Grants: Funding Issues in the 113th Congress (PDF)

The Five Most Costly Children’s Conditions, 2011: Estimates for U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Children, Ages 0-17

April 17, 2014 Comments off

The Five Most Costly Children’s Conditions, 2011: Estimates for U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Children, Ages 0-17
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

This Statistical Brief presents data from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC) regarding medical expenditures associated with the top five most costly conditions for children in 2011. These top five conditions–mental disorders; asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); trauma-related disorders; acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections (URI); and otitis media (ear infections)–were determined by totaling and ranking the expenses for all medical care delivered in 2011.

CRS — Green Infrastructure and Issues in Managing Urban Stormwater

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Green Infrastructure and Issues in Managing Urban Stormwater (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

For decades, stormwater, or runoff, was considered largely a problem of excess rainwater or snowmelt impacting communities. Prevailing engineering practices were to move stormwater away from cities as rapidly as possible to avoid potential damages from flooding. More recently, these practices have evolved and come to recognize stormwater as a resource that, managed properly within communities, has multiple benefits.

Searching for Myself: Motivations and Strategies for Self-Search

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Searching for Myself: Motivations and Strategies for Self-Search
Source: Microsoft Research

We present findings from a qualitative study of self-search, also known as ego or vanity search. In the context of a broader study about personal online content, participants were asked to search for themselves using their own computers and the browsers and queries they would normally adopt. Our analysis highlights five motivations for self-search: as a form of identity management; to discover reactions to and reuse of user-generated media; to re-find personal content; as a form of entertainment; and to reveal lost or forgotten content. Strategies vary according to motivation, and may differ markedly from typical information-seeking, with users looking deep into the results and using image search to identify content about themselves. We argue that two dimensions underpin ways of improving self-search: controllability and expectedness, and discuss what these dimensions imply for design.

Hooked on Smartphones: An Exploratory Study on Smartphone Overuse among College Students

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Hooked on Smartphones: An Exploratory Study on Smartphone Overuse among College Students (PDF)
Source: Association for Computing Machinery

The negative aspects of smartphone overuse on young adults, such as sleep deprivation and attention deficits, are being increasingly recognized recently. This emerging issue motivated us to analyze the usage patterns related to smartphone overuse. We investigate smartphone usage for 95 college students using surveys, logged data, and interviews. We first divide the participants into risk and non-risk groups based on self-reported rating scale for smartphone overuse. We then analyze the usage data to identify between-group usage differences, which ranged from the overall usage patterns to appspecific usage patterns. Compared with the non-risk group, our results show that the risk group has longer usage time per day and different diurnal usage patterns. Also, the risk group users are more susceptible to push notifications, and tend to consume more online content. We characterize the overall relationship between usage features and smartphone overuse using analytic modeling and provide detailed illustrations of problematic usage behaviors based on interview data.

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking Statutes

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking Statutes
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Enacted in 1984, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act set the minimum drinking age at 21. To comply with federal law, states prohibit persons under 21 years of age from purchasing or publicly possessing alcoholic beverages.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 9.3 million persons aged 12 to 20 (24.3 percent of this age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month and an estimated 11.2 percent of persons aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.

In an effort to combat underage drinking, state legislators have enacted laws that assign responsibility to adults who allow minors to drink alcohol at social gatherings. Thirty-one states allow social hosts to be civilly liable for injuries or damages caused by underage drinkers. Twenty-six states and the Virgin Islands have criminal penalties for adults who host or permit parties with underage drinking to occur in the adults’ homes or in premises under the adults’ control. These social host statutory provisions do not apply to licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars, and liquor stores, which are covered by dram shop laws.

Who Pays Taxes in America in 2014?

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Who Pays Taxes in America in 2014?
Source: Citizens for Tax Justice

All Americans pay taxes. Everyone who works pays federal payroll taxes. Everyone who buys gasoline pays federal and state gas taxes. Everyone who owns or rents a home directly or indirectly pays property taxes. Anyone who shops pays sales taxes in most states.

The nation’s tax system is barely progressive. Those who argue that the wealthy are overtaxed focus solely on the federal personal income tax, while ignoring the other taxes that Americans pay. But, as the table to the right illustrates, the total share of taxes (federal, state, and local) that will be paid by Americans across the economic spectrum in 2014 is roughly equal to their total share of income.

Many taxes are regressive, meaning they take a larger share of income from poor and middle-income families than they do from the rich. To offset the regressive impact of payroll taxes, sales taxes and even some state and local income taxes, we need federal income tax policies that are more progressive.

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research (2014)

April 16, 2014 Comments off

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Each year, child protective services receive reports of child abuse and neglect involving six million children, and many more go unreported. The long-term human and fiscal consequences of child abuse and neglect are not relegated to the victims themselves — they also impact their families, future relationships, and society. In 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) issued the report, Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, which provided an overview of the research on child abuse and neglect. New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research updates the 1993 report and provides new recommendations to respond to this public health challenge. According to this report, while there has been great progress in child abuse and neglect research, a coordinated, national research infrastructure with high-level federal support needs to be established and implemented immediately.

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research recommends an actionable framework to guide and support future child abuse and neglect research. This report calls for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to child abuse and neglect research that examines factors related to both children and adults across physical, mental, and behavioral health domains–including those in child welfare, economic support, criminal justice, education, and health care systems–and assesses the needs of a variety of subpopulations. It should also clarify the causal pathways related to child abuse and neglect and, more importantly, assess efforts to interrupt these pathways. New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research identifies four areas to look to in developing a coordinated research enterprise: a national strategic plan, a national surveillance system, a new generation of researchers, and changes in the federal and state programmatic and policy response.

Culture: Persistence and Evolution

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Culture: Persistence and Evolution (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

This paper presents evidence on the speed of evolution (or lack thereof) of a wide range of values and beliefs of different generations of European immigrants to the US. The main result is that persistence differs greatly across cultural attitudes. Some, for instance deep personal religious values, some family and moral values, and political orientation are very persistent. Other, such as attitudes toward cooperation, redistribution, effort, children independence, premarital sex, and even the frequency of religious practice or the intensity of association with one’s religion, converge rather quickly. Moreover, the results obtained studying higher generation immigrants differ greatly from those obtained limiting the analysis to the second generation, and imply lesser degree of persistence. Finally, we show that persistence is “culture specific” in the sense that the country from which one’s ancestors came matters for the pattern of generational convergence.

Mental Health Professionals’ Attitudes and Expectations About Adoption and Adopted Children

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Mental Health Professionals’ Attitudes and Expectations About Adoption and Adopted Children
Source: National Council for Adoption

Many researchers have documented heavy use of clinical services by adoptees, but little is known about how much training mental health professionals actually receive about adoption, or their beliefs about adoption and adopted people. It is important to understand mental health professionals’ expectations for their adopted clients.

Previous research has shown that teachers treat students differently if they have high expectations for those students. In other studies, some adoptive parents have told us it was necessary to educate their child’s counselor about issues related to adoption. We have therefore investigated adoption-related expectations and training on adoption issues among mental health professionals. In this article, we will review some of the most current published information about the adjustment of adopted children, and present our own findings regarding clinicians’ beliefs and expectations for their adopted clients.

Gender Differences in Primary Substance of Abuse across Age Groups

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Gender Differences in Primary Substance of Abuse across Age Groups
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

+ In 2011, about 609,000 of the 1.84 million admissions to substance abuse treatment were female (33.1 percent), and 1.23 million were male (66.9 percent)
+ Compared with their male counterparts, a larger proportion of female admissions aged 12 to 17 reported alcohol as their primary substance of abuse (21.7 vs. 10.5 percent)
+ Marijuana as the primary substance of abuse was less common among female than male admissions aged 12 to 17 (60.8 vs. 80.7 percent) and 18 to 24 (22.1 vs. 33.4 percent)
+ Within the 65 or older age group, the proportion of female admissions reporting primary abuse of prescription pain relievers (e.g., oxycodone) was nearly 3 times that of their male counterparts (7.2 vs. 2.8 percent)

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