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Employers: Celebrate Labor Day By Showing That You Value Your Workers

September 3, 2014 Comments off

Employers: Celebrate Labor Day By Showing That You Value Your Workers
Source: American Psychological Association

Labor Day is a celebration of American workers and the contributions they have made to the well-being of the country. As we mark Labor Day’s 120th year as a federal holiday, only about half of the U.S. workforce (51 percent) say they feel valued by their employer, more than a third (36 percent) haven’t received any form of recognition in the last year and just 47 percent say recognition is provided fairly. These were among the findings of a survey released today by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence. The survey was conducted on APA’s behalf by Harris Poll on Aug. 13-15, 2014, among 882 adults who are employed either full time or part time.

Employee recognition efforts reward employees both individually and collectively for their contributions to the organization. Recognition can take various forms — formal and informal, monetary and nonmonetary. Although a majority of working Americans (81 percent) reported that their employer provides some type of recognition, less than half (46 percent) said their organization recognizes employees for individual job performance. Additionally, less than a third (29 percent) said that team or work-unit performance is recognized and even fewer reported that their employer provides recognition for company-wide results (21 percent), or engaging in specific behaviors, such as those consistent with the organization’s values (18 percent).

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

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Employee Distrust is Pervasive in U.S. Workforce

April 28, 2014 Comments off

Employee Distrust is Pervasive in U.S. Workforce
Source: American Psychological Association

Despite the rebound in the U.S. economy and an improving job market, nearly 1 in 4 workers say they don’t trust their employer and only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them, according to the American Psychological Association’s 2014 Work and Well-Being Survey released today.

While almost two-thirds (64 percent) of employed adults feel their organization treats them fairly, 1 in 3 reported that their employer is not always honest and truthful with them. “This lack of trust should serve as a wake-up call for employers,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “Trust plays an important role in the workplace and affects employees’ well-being and job performance.”

“The layoffs, benefit cuts and job insecurity that accompanied the recession put a strain on the employee-employer relationship and people aren’t quick to forget,” added Ballard. Workers reported having more trust in their company when the organization recognizes employees for their contributions, provides opportunities for involvement and communicates effectively.

Although a majority of workers reported being satisfied with their job overall, less than half said that they are satisfied with the growth and development opportunities (49 percent) and employee recognition practices (47 percent) where they work. More than a quarter (27 percent) of U.S. workers said they intend to seek new employment in the next year.

American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults

February 12, 2014 Comments off

American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults
Source: American Psychological Association

American teens report experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern as adults, according to a new survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA). In fact, during the school year, teens say their stress level is higher than levels reported by adults in the past month. For teens and adults alike, stress has an impact on healthy behaviors like exercising, sleeping well and eating healthy foods.

Findings from Stress in America™: Are Teens Adopting Adults’ Stress Habits?, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive Inc., (on behalf of APA) among 1,950 adults and 1,018 teens in the U.S. in August 2013, suggest that unhealthy behaviors associated with stress may begin manifesting early in people’s lives.

Teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale) and tops adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens versus 5.1 for adults). Even during the summer — between Aug. 3 and Aug. 31, 2013, when interviewing took place — teens reported their stress during the past month at levels higher than what they believe is healthy (4.6 versus 3.9 on a 10-point scale). Many teens also report feeling overwhelmed (31 percent) and depressed or sad (30 percent) as a result of stress. More than one-third of teens report fatigue or feeling tired (36 percent) and nearly one-quarter of teens (23 percent) report skipping a meal due to stress.

Despite the impact that stress appears to have on their lives, teens are more likely than adults to report that their stress level has a slight or no impact on their body or physical health (54 percent of teens versus 39 percent of adults) or their mental health (52 percent of teens versus 43 percent of adults).

APA Report on Gun Violence Identifies Precursors and Promising Solutions

December 13, 2013 Comments off

APA Report on Gun Violence Identifies Precursors and Promising Solutions
Source: American Psychological Association

There is no single personality profile that can reliably predict who will use a gun in a violent act — but individual prediction is not necessary for violence prevention, according to a comprehensive report on gun violence released today by the American Psychological Association.

The report summarizes the psychological research that has helped develop evidence-based programs that can prevent violence through both primary and secondary interventions. Primary prevention programs can reduce risk factors for violence in the general population. Secondary prevention programs can help individuals who are experiencing emotional difficulties or interpersonal conflicts before they escalate into violence.

“In making predictions about the risk for mass shootings, there is no consistent psychological profile or set of warning signs that can be used reliably to identify such individuals in the general population,” according to the report, entitled Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy. For this reason, primary violence prevention programs are critical. In addition, at the individual level, a promising approach is the strategy of behavioral threat assessment, which involves identifying and intervening with individuals who have communicated threats of violence or engaged in behavior that indicates preparation to commit a violent act.

In addition, the vast majority of people suffering from a mental illness are not violent, and despite decades of research, “there is only a moderate ability to identify individuals most likely to commit serious acts of violence,” the report notes. When a person does resort to violence, that behavior is typically associated with a confluence of “individual, family, school, peer, community and sociocultural factors that interact over time,” and appropriate access to mental health treatment can reduce gun violence, the report says. However, the availability of such mental health care remains “woefully insufficient,” it adds.

The APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (Version 2.0)

August 27, 2013 Comments off

The APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (Version 2.0) (PDF)
Source: American Psychological Association

The APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major 2.0 (hereinafter referred to as Guidelines 2.0) represents a national effort to describe and develop high-quality undergraduate programs in psychology. Guidelines 2.0 grew out of an expectation expressed in the first iteration of the Guidelines that policy documents on curricular matters should be living documents, meaning that the recommendations must be systematically revised over time to ensure their relevance. The task force charged with the revision of Guidelines 2.0 examined the success of implementing the original document and made changes to reflect emerging best practices and to integrate psychology’s work with benchmarking scholarship in higher education.

Guidelines 2.0 abandoned the original distinction drawn between psychology-focused skills and psychology skills that enhance liberal arts development. Instead, the new Guidelines describes five inclusive goals for the undergraduate major that represent more robust learning and assessment activities. Developmental levels of student learning outcomes capture expectations at both a Foundation level, which represents the completion of approximately the first four courses in the major; and a Baccalaureate level, which corresponds to the indicators in the original Guidelines. Although in most cases foundation and baccalaureate developmental changes occur across courses in the curriculum, some changes can occur within specific courses (e.g., scientific reasoning and critical-thinking skills developed in research methods and statistics courses). Another major change in Guidelines 2.0 is the emphasis on the advantages of studying psychology as a strong liberal arts preparation for attaining a position in the professional workforce. A final improvement in Guidelines 2.0 includes a carefully designed infusion approach to the important goals related to the development of cultural competence and diversity skills development.

College students’ mental health is a growing concern, survey finds

June 10, 2013 Comments off

College students’ mental health is a growing concern, survey finds

Source: American Psychological Association

Ninety-five percent of college counseling center directors surveyed said the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern in their center or on campus, according to the latest Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors survey of counseling center directors. Seventy percent of directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems on their campus has increased in the past year.

The survey also found that:

  • Anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).
  • On average, 24.5 percent of clients were taking psychotropic medications. However, 19 percent of directors report the availability of psychiatric services on their campus is inadequate.
  • Directors report that 21 percent of counseling center students present with severe mental health concerns, while another 40 percent present with mild mental health concerns.

Crossroads: The Psychology of Immigration in the 21st Century

May 3, 2012 Comments off
Source:  American Psychological Association
The United States today has approximately 39.9 million immigrants—the largest number in its history (Passel & Cohn, 2012; U.S. Census Bureau, 2011c). As a nation of immigrants, the United States has successfully negotiated larger proportions of newcomers in its past (14.7% in 1910 vs. 12.9% today) and is far from alone among postindustrial countries in experiencing a growth in immigration in recent decades. Notably, nearly three quarters of the foreign-born are naturalized citizens or authorized noncitizens (Congressional Budget Office [CBO], 2011). One in five persons currently residing in the United States is a first- or second-generation immigrant, and nearly a quarter of children under the age of 18 have an immigrant parent (Mather, 2009). As such, immigrants and the second generation have become a significant part of our national tapestry.
Just as this demographic transformation is rapidly unfolding, the United States is facing international, domestic, and economic crises (Massey, 2010). Like other historical economic downturns (Simon, 1985), the current recession has served as a catalyst to make immigration a divisive social and political issue (Massey & Sánchez, 2010). Across the nation, immigrants have become the subject of negative media coverage (Massey, 2010; M. Suárez-Orozco, Louie, & Suro, 2011), hate crimes (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund, 2009), and exclusionary political legislation (Carter, Lawrence, & Morse, 2011). Given the demographic growth, however, we now face an “integration imperative” (Alba, Sloan, & Sperling, 2011)—not only for the well-being of this new population but also for that of the nation’s social and economic future.
Psychologists are, and increasingly will be, serving immigrant adults and their children in a variety of settings, including schools, community centers, clinics, and hospitals, and thus should be aware of this complex demographic transformation and consider its implications as citizens, practitioners, researchers, and faculty. This report aims specifically to describe this diverse population and address the psychological experience of immigration, considering factors that impede and facilitate adjustment. This report, which includes the recent theoretical and empirical literature on immigrants, (a) raises awareness about this growing (but poorly understood) population; (b) derives evidence-informed recommendations for the provision of psychological services for the immigrant-origin population; and (c) makes recommendations for the advancement of training, research, and policy efforts for immigrant children, adults, older adults, and families.
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