Do Beliefs about Biology Matter for Mental Health?

Monday, April 3, 2017

For P&N doctoral students, the Major Area Paper (MAP) is the first major milestone in the student's PhD program. For clinical doctoral student Kate MacDuffie, her MAP turned into a published article, with co-author Tim Strauman, and was recently cited in an APA blog post.

"This work was motivated by my involvement in public outreach efforts like Brain Awareness Week at Duke, MacDuffie says. "Through these community experiences, I became interested in the impact of learning about one’s own biology, and was surprised to find very little in the clinical literature on the topic. Given our rapidly advancing understanding of the biological basis of psychopathology, research is urgently needed to establish the best way of communicating this new scientific knowledge to those who are most affected by it—patients with a diagnosis. Our paper highlights the need for improved communication, and proposes a framework for helping patients understand their own biology."

Reference Article

MacDuffie, KE & Strauman, TJ. (In press). Understanding our own biology: the relevance of auto-biological attributions for mental health. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice.