An expert system using computers was developed to change different health behaviors of elementary school children, and the system was evaluated in a pilot study that was designed to refine the system. Third- and fourth-grade children participated in Study 1 that was designed to demonstrate the processes of developing feedback messages. Eight health behaviors, including outdoor play, sleep, and TV game control were analyzed by using this system. Behavioral elements such as gender, stages of change, facilitators, barriers, costs and benefits of each behavior were used to develop messages based on previous research. Finally, 6 school nurses and 11 children confirmed the expressions and the nuances of the messages to adjust for gender, the stage of change and age groups of each behavior. Then, these messages were incorporated into the system software. In Study 2, children (N=97) evaluated their stage of change in each behavior and received message sheets through the expert system. The results indicated high evaluation scores for careful reading, understanding, attention, novelty, and adjustment.
The use of class-wide cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT) for children, which is commonly practiced in Japan, was investigated. Current developments in CCBT use, its merits, importance of assessing CCBT practitioners and possible future developments in CCBT were focused, and problems associated with this approach were highlighted. This study indicated that practitioners were not fixated on conducting CCBT with children, that it was often used to determine suitable interventions for children, as well as for checking children's efficacy in coping with similar problems.
Leaving portions of meals, known as plate waste, is one problem in children's eating behaviors. Two studies in which interventions were performed during school lunch time to reduce children's plate waste using educational materials based on social cognitive theory or social skills training are described. In the first study, a picture-story showing teaching material based on social cognitive theory was developed to induce first and second-grade children to try foods they disliked by increasing their self-efficacy and outcome expectancy for eating such food. After the instructions, the teachers reported that children enjoyed the picture-show story and they came to try and eat foods they disliked, which suggested the feasibility and teaching effectiveness of the material that was used. In the second study, an educational program using social skills training was conducted. Fifth-grade children learned skills of getting just the right size of meal portions that they could totally consume. Certain attitudes and behaviors of children improved after the program. Both instructions are expected to be widely used in the future to increase desirable eating behaviors of children.
A program to promote employment and recurrent learning was conducted for women that had left work because of marriage, childbirth, childcare, or elderly care, as well as for young women lacking experience in full-time employment. The program was designed to help women pursue professional careers in childcare, elderly care or nursing by utilizing the skills that they had acquired through parenting, elderly care, or housework. Participants in the program were women (N=22; Mean age 35.82 old±6.92). Women's Self-Efficacy Scale for Reemployment and Career Change was used to evaluate the program (Gender Equality Promotion Society of Yokohama, 2015). Results indicated that the program was effective in enhancing the self-efficacy of women seeking employment (F(1,11)=12.44 p<.01). It is suggested that research should be conducted in the future to support women seeking reemployment, or career change. This is considered necessary for maintaining the increased self-efficacy achieved through this program, as well as for helping women find, or continue in employment.
A scale for assessing gender role stressors in women, which was defined as negative experiences unique to women was developed, and its reliability and validity were examined. Results indicated adequate reliability and validity of the scale. Then, demographic differences in gender role stressors in female workers were investigated. Results indicated a three-factor solution: ‘gender roles of Women at work’, ‘gender roles of women in daily life’, and ‘gender roles of women at home’. Examining the scale items suggested that perceptions about gender roles of women are changing, but remain deeply embedded. Moreover, significant individual differences in women's gender role stressors resulting from the type of employment, job title, and marital status were observed. It is suggested that mental health, as well as the overall well-being of women including their physical and social health and self-actualization needs, should be considered to help female workers continue working for extended periods.
Cross-sectional associations among work engagement, purpose in life, and psychosomatic health of Japanese women in midlife were investigated. A web-based survey was conducted with married women aged 40–60 years (n=756). Sociodemographic variables, marital satisfaction, work engagement, purpose in life, and psychosomatic health (which is indicated by anxiety, depressive mood, autonomic symptoms, and fatigue) were assessed. Results indicated that age, household income, communal/social activities, and marital satisfaction significantly predicted work engagement. Women in their 50's showed higher work engagement than those in their 40's, and mothers reported higher work engagement than childless women. Moreover, women managers demonstrated higher work engagement than non-managerial employees and part-time employees. Structural equation modeling indicated that work engagement predicted purpose in life, which, in turn, was negatively associated with psychosomatic ill-being. In conclusion, women in midlife who have higher work engagement are more likely to be older, have children, be happier in marriage, be more socially active, and be in managerial positions. Further, higher work engagement might promote higher purpose in life and potentially lead to preventing psychosomatic ill-being.
High career self-efficacy is associated with active career development and commitment. This study investigated the effects of career self-efficacy on the reemployment status of married women after childbirth based on the consistency between the reality and ideal work style. Married working women with children (102 regular and 102 irregular employees, M=40.55±5.77 and 40.35±5.90 years, respectively) participated in the study. They completed questionnaires regarding career self-efficacy in their past (before childbirth) and present (after childbirth) workplaces. The study findings showed that the career self-efficacy of women in irregular employment was lower as compared to that of their counterparts in regular employment. Moreover, for women who wanted to return to work after having children, a higher promotion efficacy before leaving employment was found to increase the probability of being in regular employment after childbirth. It is suggested that educational support to develop abilities to actively regard their career success as part of self-actualization goals, as well as to develop confidence in the capability to achieve these goals might promote the reemployment of married women with children.
With the aging population and dwindling workforce, Japan is encouraging more women to enter the workforce and contribute to economic growth through diversity. Health psychological challenges faced by female workers are categorized into either personal and individual issues caused by biological and psychosocial gender, as well as social problems such as working conditions. The current conditions and literature on personal and individual issues including the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and childbirth, as well as social issues including gender gap and the work-life-balance, are reviewed. Finally, future directions are discussed.
The relationship between body image dissatisfaction and the desire to be slim with a tendency for eating disorders was investigated. Female college students participated in a survey (N=237). Results of path analysis indicated that “dissatisfaction with other people's opinion of one's body” influenced “dissatisfaction with plumpness and the desire to be slim.” Also, “dissatisfaction with plumpness and the desire to be slim” caused “inappropriate dieting behaviors,” “apprehension concerning food intake,” and “binge eating.” Therefore, it is possible that sensitivity to other people's evaluations in interpersonal relationships originates from the tendency for eating disorders. These findings indicate that in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy is appropriate for addressing body image problems and problematic eating behaviors, including inappropriate dieting behaviors, whereas self-psychology and interpersonal therapy might be effective for problems related to the self, including values and roles. It is suggested that appropriate selection and integration of these psychotherapies could result in more favorable therapeutic outcomes.
Research trends on eating behaviors in young, healthy, girls in Japan were reviewed, and key perspectives and well-designed analog research aimed at developing clinical techniques for preventing eating disorders were examined. Many studies conducted in Japan have examined problems related to eating behaviors in young girls who are considered to be at high risk. However, conventional studies have not sufficiently contributed to improving the treatment of eating disorders. This could be because problems related to eating behavior are diverse, and studies that are unrelated to eating disorders have been reviewed. Moreover, treatment targets investigated to date have been inappropriate, and research methods have been limited. It is suggested that future studies should clarify the causal relationships of factors causing eating disorders through experimental methods. Furthermore, consideration of the quality of life, which is important in the treatment of eating disorders, should be considered.
Research on programs for preventing eating disorders and systematic strategies to enhance the effects of such programs were reviewed. Several studies have investigated preventive programs in schools and programs targeting girls in a vulnerable age for developing these disorders. Findings suggest that preventive programs should focus not only on disorder specific risk factors but also on broader features including other mental health problems. Currently, dissonance-based interventions (DBIs) are considered the “gold-standard” of preventive programs for adolescent girls. It would be necessary to develop efficient and effective preventive programs requiring minimum number of sessions in the future, because other problems would also have to be addressed. It is suggested that preventive programs should specifically consider cognitive development, the training of teachers and students as facilitators, and addressing problems having shared risk factors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is well established as an effective treatment for eating disorders. Nevertheless, only approximately 50% of patients being treated with current manual based CBT completely cease binge eating and purging. Therefore, improving CBT is a research priority. In this paper, we have discussed the utility and limitations of the cognitive behavioral model from the viewpoints of basic research on behavioral, cognitive, and physiological indicators. The results suggest the following. (1) The association between cognitive features and abnormal eating behaviors shown in previous studies reflects only one aspect of the actual clinical presentation. (2) The method of observing microstructural eating behaviors used in basic research could be considered an intervention. (3), Advancements in IT technology has enabled the simultaneous determination of cognitive and behavioral indicators that had been individually assessed until recently. Therefore, development of IT is expected to facilitate more detailed studies of cognitive behavioral models.
In Japan, legalized casinos have been developed through the enactment of the Integrated Resort Promotion Bill. In this review, previous findings on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for gambling disorder are discussed as an established treatment available in Japan. Results of the review suggested that there are three CBT agendas for case formulation and intervention in gambling disorders. It would be important for future studies to (i) set intervention goals by focusing on improving adaptation, (ii) develop subtypes of gambling disorder based on descriptions of the function of gambling behaviors, and (iii) develop intervention techniques to modify the influence of risk situations. It is expected that findings of health psychology, which emphasizes the importance of adaptive behaviors would contribute to future CBT research and practice for gambling disorders.
In Japan, gambling has been illegal except for certain types of gambling. Some types of gambling were recently legalized with the Integrated Resort (IR) Promotion Law for setting up casino resorts. However, this law does not legalize all acts of illegal gambling. Therefore, we examined the possibility of adopting psychological approaches to treat problems related to illegal gambling. Results suggested the significance of using functional analysis to examine the problem of illegal gambling as gambling disorders. Furthermore, personal traits associated with illegal gambling need to be ascertained. Then, to solve illegal gambling problems, these findings should be integrated with efforts to improve and rehabilitate individuals in the Japanese judicial and criminal justice systems, such as avoiding risk-situations and setting adaptive goals. Accumulating knowledge of psychological approaches remains a task for the future.
While many people across the world enjoy gambling as a form of leisure, approximately 1–5% of the population struggles with gambling disorder. This rate is known to be even higher in Japan. Although a clinical diagnosis for gambling has long existed, not many clinicians are familiar with its etiology or treatment methods. Casino operation was recently legalized in Japan; while an economic boost is expected, an increase in gambling-related problems is also of concern. Because of the growing interest on the impact of gambling and gambling disorder in Japan, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of literature on gambling-related issues. Specifically, the following topics are discussed: 1) the prevalence and diagnostic classification, 2) etiological factors, and 3) interventions. Due to similarities between Japanese and American treatment environments, findings from the studies conducted in the U.S. are the primary focus of this paper. Recommendations to Japanese researchers, treatment providers, and other stakeholders are also provided.
Hericium erinaceum (H. erinaceum) has long been used for culinary as well as for medicinal purposes. Recently, it has been reported that H. erinaceum exerts important bioactivities, including the induction of neuronal growth factor (NGF) synthesis, the inhibition of beta-amyloid peptide cytotoxicity, and protection against neuronal cell death caused by endoplasmic reticulum stress. It has also been reported that the intake of Amyloban®3399, which contains a standardized extract of H. erinaceum improves negative moods, such as irritability and anxiety, and raises incentives associated with improved concentration and motivation. The effects of the extracted from H. Erinaceus “Hericenones” and “Amiroban” are reviewed, and effect of H. erinaceum and Amyloban®3399 on mental health, including recent finding by the authors, are discussed.
A review of research trends in dietary supplements is reported, and the applicability of research methodology of health psychology to contemporary research on dietary supplements is explored. First, an outline was provided of food for specified health conditions, as well as functional food and potential issues related to them. Then, a field survey was conducted, which indicated that a majority of dietary supplement users expect direct benefits on their health and nutrition, whereas they were skeptical about their substantial effects. The need to investigate the function of dietary supplements in human health and lifestyle by applying research methods typically used in health psychology is proposed as a new trend in dietary supplements and health psychology research in Japan. Examining the effects supplements on variations in mental and physical health under naturalistic conditions, such as in daily life would be significant. Finally, we have discussed the applicability of practical interventions based on methodology established in health psychology to examine the benefits of dietary supplements to buffer against stress and maintaining health.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are an attractive therapeutic option for health problems. Genetic and environmental factors influence serum levels of EPA and DHA. Also, omega-3 fatty acids are known to be essential for the growth and the development of the human brain. It is also well known that diet and nutrition influence depression. Several randomized controlled trials have reported the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids in depressive disorders. Meta-analyses have indicated some advantages of omega-3 fatty acids in depressive disorders, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids might have an influence on the pathophysiology of depression. It is possible that the intake of higher levels these acids might result in a lower prevalence of depression.
Effects of the odor of milk that was fermented with lactic acid bacteria and yeast on autonomic nerve activity and mood status were investigated. The odor of fermented milk increases gastric vagal nerve activity and decreases adrenal sympathetic nerve activity in rats. Furthermore, it has been reported that the odor of fermented milk had an anxiolytic effect based on the results of an elevated plus-maze task in mice. We investigated the effects of the odor of fermented milk on humans using physiological parameters (pupillary light reaction, heart rate variability) and a questionnaire (Mood Check List-Short form 1; MCL-S.1). Results indicated that the odor of fermented milk increased parasympathetic nerve activity and decreased anxiety in humans. These results suggest that the odor of milk fermented with lactic acid bacteria and yeast has an anxiolytic effect due to the modulation of autonomic nerve activity.
The beneficial physiological effects of food and fragrances have been increasingly focused in recent years. The extensive use of fragrances is being promoted in the fields of food, cosmetics, health, and pharmaceutical sciences. The launch of the system of Foods with Function Claims in 2015 further enhanced the interest in the physiological effects of these components. However, there are many challenges in evaluating the physiological effects of fragrances in real-life conditions, and sufficient outcomes have not been obtained yet. Therefore, it might be important to identify problems in evaluation systems and develop or introduce new evaluation systems to promote the effective use of food and fragrances. Challenges and issues related to conventional methods of evaluation are discussed. Moreover, physiological techniques of comprehensive evaluation are presented with the aim of contributing to development of research on fragrances.