What is psychopathy?

Well, it’s probably not Dexter. The first thing to remember about psychopathy is that Dexterpsychopathy is a common usage term for what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), call Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). Psychopathy is characterised by a pervasive pattern of callousness, having a lack of empathy and general disregard for the rights of others, as well as remorselessness (Paulhus & Williams, 2002).

When people hear the word psychopathy, they most often think of serial killers. Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, oh my. However research over the last few decades has shown that psychopathy isn’t just present in ‘extreme’ cases of crime and debauchery; signs of psychopathy can also exist in more mundane, day to day experiences, including at work. Think of the nastiest bully you have seen at work. Possibly they are a candidate.

HorribleWorkplace bullies can have a significant impact on organisations. In the workplace, psychopathy has been found to have a large and significant impact on the amount and severity of conflict, bullying (Linton & Power, 2013; O’Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, & McDaniel, 2012) and employee well-being (Boddy, 2013). Unsurprisingly, workplace bullying is consistently associated with adverse mental health consequences like stress and depression (Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002; Vartia, 2001). For the less sensitive readers, bullying and workplace psychopathy also have costly repercussions on the Australian economy; between $6 billion and $36 billion every year (House Standing Committee on Education and Employment, 2012). At any one time, up to 88% of employees experience at least some workplace bullying (Mikkelsen & Einarsen, 2002).

Given what we know from global data, how does the picture look in Australia?

If you are an employee (18 years of age or over) and have worked in Australia for a minimum 6 months, have your say by completing a short anonymous survey online!

You can access the survey by clicking on the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/personalityatwork

If you know anyone else who is an employee (18 years of age or over) and has worked in Australia for a minimum of 6 months, please forward them the survey link. Feel free to share on Facebook/ Linkedin and other social media.

Image source

Dexter image obtained from the Horrorhomework.com website (2013).

Horrible Bosses image obtained from the Behind the Hype: Are you BtH? website (2011).

 References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36, 556-563. doi: 10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6

Boddy, C. R. (2013). Corporate psychopaths, conflict, employee affective well-being and counterproductive work behaviour. Journal of Business Ethics. doi: 10.1007/s10551-013-1688-0

House Standing Committee on Education and Employment. (2012). Workplace bullying: We just want it to stop. Inquiry into workplace bullying. Commonwealth of Australia – Parliament of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=ee/bullying/report/chapter1.htm

Linton, D. K., & Power, J. L. . (2013). The personality traits of workplace bullies are often shared by their victims: Is there a dark side to victims? Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 738-743. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.11.026

Mikkelsen, E. G., & Einarsen, S. (2002). Relationships between exposure to bullying at work and psychological and psychosomatic health complaints: The role of state negative affectivity and generalized self-efficacy. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43, 397-405. doi: 10.1111/1467-9450.00307

O’Boyle, E. H. J., Forsyth, D. R., Banks, G. C., & McDaniel, M. A. (2012). A meta-analysis of the Dark Triad and work behavior: A social exchange perspective. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 557-579. doi: 10.1037/a0025679

Smith, S. F., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2013). Psychopathy in the workplace: The knowns and unknowns. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18, 201-218. doi: 10.1016/j.avb.2012.11.007

Vartia, M. A-L. (2001). Consequences of workplace bullying with respect to the well-being of its targets and the observers of bullying. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 27, 63-69. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.588

Gina Huisy MAPS (2014).

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家家有本難念的經

很多時候,我們看到別人的生活,別人的成功,都會寄與羨幕,忌妒的眼神, 以為其他人享受家庭溫暖。但是冇唔記得家家有本難念的經!

peopleGina Huisy MAPS (2014).

 

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Staying upbeat at the World Cup?

During the 2006 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup, held in Germany, Wilbert-Lampden and colleagues (2006) examined the relationship between emotional stress and the incidence of cardiovascular events. They found that viewing a stressful soccer match more than doubled the risk of an acute cardiovascular event. The risk appeared to be higher amongst men with known coronary heart disease.

This might be a good time to apply a relaxation exercise!

References

Wilbert-Lampen, U., Leistner, D., Greven, S., Pohl, T., Sper, S., Volker, C., . . . Steinbeck, G. (2008). Cardiovascular events during world cup soccer. The New England Journal of Medicine, 358, 475-483. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0707427

Gina Huisy MAPS (2014)

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Are you currently working as an employee?

Are you aged 18 years or over?logo_unisa_RGB-blue

Have you been working for at least 6 months?

Yes? Then read on.

Volunteers are currently being recruited to take part in a research project to examine the associations between personality traits and workplace behaviours.

Specifically, we would like workers who have been working for a minimum six months to participate in our short anonymous survey.

To be eligible to participate in this study, participants must be:

  • 18 years of age or over.
  • Employees who have worked for a minimum six months in Australia.

Individuals will be excluded from participation on the basis of:

  • Under the age of 18.
  • Not having worked a minimum six months in Australia.
  • Self-employed.

Participation in the study will involve completing some short anonymous questionnaires online which will take approximately 25 minutes duration. Participation is completely anonymous. You can access the survey by clicking on the link below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/personalityatwork

QrCode_PersonalityWorkplaceIf you know someone else who is 18 years of age or over, who has worked as an employee for a minimum six months in Australia, and who might be interested to participate, please forward this webpage to them.

If you would like more information about the study, please contact Gina Huisy at the University of South Australia via email at gina.huisy@gmail.com

This study has been granted ethics approval by the University of South Australia Human Research Ethics Committee.

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I’m not racist BUT [insert stereotype]

Until recently I never worried about being a target of racism. Sure at school I was called a ‘Ching-Chong China girl’ and a FOB (i.e., Fresh off the Boat). I was asked whether I was an internet bride and if I ate dog. However I didn’t notice or care enough to be really affected by it. Now, many years later, I am witnessing levels of racist comments I would never have imagined even just a few years ago.  I have heard comments such as ‘Two Wongs don’t make a white’ (apparently an old Aussie favourite) and ongoing dialogue about how the Aryan race are more attractive, which coming from professional people is more than a little concerning.

What worried me most was overhearing someone recently comment on how they truly believe that Aboriginals should “go back to where they come from”. I have a very, very high tolerance for the politically in-correct but this struck me as very out of place, because it implied that the first people of Australia, who to this day are fighting for equality and power against hate speech, don’t belong in their country of origin. I’ve not previously heard this comment made about Aboriginal Australians – more often I’ve heard it targeted at refugees. I can understand that some people may genuinely not understand the nature of the insult, but to get real about it, racism is a particularly vicious and personal attack, even when it is made “just for fun”. Have we forgotten our history lessons? Aren’t our colonial forefathers ‘boat people’? Did Captain Cook fly Qantas?

Racism seems to move from one target group to another, like cringe worthy fashion waves, but whoever the target is, good ol’ racism is ever present. Abroad also, wherever there is difference in race or culture there are people determined to be racist. For example, The ongoing racist dialogue between Hong Kong locals and ‘mainland’ China has been broadcast almost daily by the South China Morning Post, which I find somewhat ridiculous given we are all Chinese.  The world over, there is distrust, social disconnect and violence between different cultures, race and religion (in Pakistan, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, western China). Many of these conflicts involve histories which we don’t fully grasp and the detail of which we cannot judge. But the racism is always there. So Racism clearly is not a uniquely Australian problem… but it still is an Australian problem.

Someone once told me that racism is just a “stereotype”, and while it does involve stereotyping, that’s just a small part of the story. Stereotypes, even though they make it easier for us to get by with all the day-to-day things we have to deal with, can still be harmful. Stereotypes are like a generalisation. They reduce the time it takes to make a decision, but at the cost of reduced accuracy in our decision making. So sure, racism does involve stereotyping, but it is more than just stereotyping. Racism is stereotyping plus the decision to be nasty toward other people. So the next time you put someone in a box (those Indian telemarketers, those Phillipino house-keepers, those [insert ethnic minority here] with the funny food or whatever) are you simply reinforcing negative stereotypes? Yes. India does have a booming industry in call centre management, but I’m pretty sure I receive calls from Australian telemarketers too. When people say “I’m not racist but…” it’s like a social disclaimer requesting permission (and protection from peers) to roll out a poorly thought through stereotype. They may as well be saying “I know it’s a poorly thought through stereotype that might be harmful to someone, but… I’m going to be racist and hurtful anyway”. When someone says this to you, it’s your choice whether to give them that permission.

racism

Gina Huisy MAPS (2014)

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Battling the Bulge 超級減肥法… 好難相信

I remember when in Australia we used to be amazed at how many Americans were overweight or obese. It seemed remarkable compared to what we considered ‘normal’. Well, things have changed. Now in Australia it is estimated that 37% of adults are overweight and an additional 24% are obese (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009). Many of us battle the bulge at some time, but according to Sandra Aamodt, about 80% of dieters don’t maintain their weight loss over the long-term. This is in part because we tend to have a desire to pick the easy option or choose a non-sustainable diet lifestyle. Fad diets promise the world, but if it was that easy, we would all be fit. Long-term weight loss intervention success is defined as 10% to 20% reduction in initial weight, maintained for at least one year [National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), 2003].

The easy option
Proposed low-fat diet packages that promote home delivered ready-made healthy meals for their customers do not always aim for long-term weight loss. Instead of educating customers about food nutrition, what foods to buy, how to cook healthy foods, exercise and portion control, these ready-made meal packages are offering convenience to customers and promoting the idea of easy ways to lose weight just by consuming their products. However if the customer decides to one day stop purchasing these ready-made meal packages, they are still left not knowing about the strategies used to manage weight loss and weight management, such as food portion control, nutrition and calorie control.

I lost 10 kilograms
When I was in Hong Kong last year, not only was I reminded by family about my chubbiness, I also struggled with high cardio exercise (try walking up the stairs to the big Buddha on Lantau Island 天壇大佛, if you get the chance) and I would find myself sweating and panting whilst running around the MTR. This gave me the impetus to do something about my fitness and so I went on a fitness regime,  starting January 2014.

No fad diets, no paying a personal trainer, no Lite n’ Easy, no Weight Watchers, no diet pills, no protein shakes, no Michelle Bridges and no gym membership! In 14 weeks, I lost over 10 kilograms.

How did I do it? No fad diets
1. Consult your GP – Given the number of injuries I accumulated during my younger years, I decided to consult with my GP to look at what exercises I could do without exacerbating old injuries.

2. Regular exercise – I started exercising three days a week, including walking and 10 minutes of jump rope each week. After my stamina increased I added more days of exercise. I don’t believe in gym memberships as I am just a regular girl wanting to keep fit.  I simply exercised from home.

rope

3. Keep your body moving – Believe or not, I did not take up rigorous fat burning exercises such as jogging, swimming or even crunches; I simply walked a lot, jump rope regularly and made sure I kept my body moving. Given my sedentary job, I would get incidental exercise whenever I could, such as using the stairs instead of catching the lift.

4. Know what you are eating – I studied food nutrition just by research online. If you rely on ready-made packages but are not familiar with information regarding nutrition, once you stop purchasing these ready packed meals, your weight is likely to come back.

5. Be patient and don’t give up – The first month was the most difficult. I saw a very minimal shift in weight. Despite increasing my exercise time, I found that my weight would increase, but I did not let this get to me. I wish I could provide before and after photos, but I genuinely believed back then that I wouldn’t be able to do it. It is important to note that modest weight loss will have an improvement on your health, but may not necessarily be reflected in body mass index (BMI) and appearance.

6. Work on long-term sustainable weight maintenance strategies – Most weight losses are not maintained and individuals regain weight after completing treatment (Puhl & Heuer, 2010). Make sure you adopt long-term sustainable weight maintenance strategies.

If you come up with your own plan and make slow adjustments, you are more likely to develop healthier habits with weight maintenance. If you are interested in losing weight, please consult your GP.

References

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2007-2008 Reissue). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

NHMRC. (2003). Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight in Obesity in Adults. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.

Puhl, R. M., & Heuer, C. A. (2010). Obesity stigma: Important considerations for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 1019-1028.

Gina Huisy, MAPS (2014).

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Happy Mother’s Day?

mom dayIn Australia May 11th is Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is about the celebration of mothers and their motherhood. However not all mothers are going to have a ‘happy’ day. There are going to be mothers out there who may not be able to celebrate with their children because they don’t get to see their children or have very personal mental battles from their motherhood experience. Becoming a mother is a difficult process for both the body and mind.

According to the Black Dog Institute (2013), many women experience mood swings after the birth of a baby. Sometimes these mood swings become more severe and last more than a couple of weeks, and begin to interfere with the mother’s ability to get by from day to day. When this happens diagnosis of postnatal depression becomes more likely.  A battle at the best of times, postnatal depression can be debilitating and render a new mom unable to undertake normal routines such as caring for their baby. It is important to remember that postnatal depression is different from the baby blues that are common during the first week after childbirth.

In 2010 a study showed that one in five mothers of children aged 24 months or less had been diagnosed with depression (2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [2012]). More than half of these mothers reported that their diagnosed depression was ‘perinatal’, that is, the depression was diagnosed from pregnancy until the child’s first birthday.

In general, symptoms of depression can include:

  • Loss of enjoyment in interests
  • Poor appetite
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Low moood
  • Sense of hopelessness

… Amongst other things (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

This May 11th let’s not forget those mothers who may be having a hard time, and who may not have the support network to celebrate this honourable day.

BeyondBlue (2014) offers many good resources for mothers and individuals who would like to learn more about depression in general. If you are experiencing any distressing symptoms that are causing you concern, or someone you care about is suffering, remember there are treatments and there are people who can help. As a first step, please consult your Doctor.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Perinatal depression: Data from the 2010 Australian national infant feeding survey.   Retrieved 7 May, 2014, from http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=10737422202

Beyondblue. (2014). Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved 7 May, 2014, from http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/pregnancy-and-early-parenthood/mental-heath-conditions

Black Dog Institute (2013). What is postnatal depression? Retrieved 7 May, 2014, from http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/depression/inpregnancypostnatal/postnataldepressionpnd.cfm

Gina Huisy MAPS (2014).

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Will I cluck like a chicken under Hypnosis?

On Saturday I watched “Now You See Me” (2013), a movie about a group of magicians who show off their presumably magical skills by engaging in criminal activities.

now_you_see_me

I felt a bit eerie watching this, especially during the scene where hypnotist, Merritt McKinney (‘The Hermit’), uses Hypnosis to his own benefit. There is a scene which shows him imparting a post-hypnotic suggestion, encouraging selected audience members to believe that they are football players on the field. He activates this suggestion, and the audience engages immediately in the ‘rough and tough’ associated with being a football player, which The Hermit uses to escape from the baddies.

I know it is just a movie but as a registered practitioner I find it frustrating that a lot of my clients, having seen such parodies of Hypnosis, believe that Hypnosis can be used to “control” people, which is very much NOT the case.

I regularly get questions such as:
“Will I cluck like a chicken under Hypnosis?”
“Can you get me to drink a glass of vinegar?”
“Will I disclose things that I don’t want to talk about?”

Every client under Hypnosis has the CHOICE to either take up or reject a suggestion.

In light of the above, I would very much like to encourage you to read more about Hypnosis on my webpage – I sourced this information from the South Australian Society of Hypnosis, which I highly recommend, especially if you are interested in Hypnosis for yourself as a treatment option for a problematic behaviour. For the record, real Hypnosis can be very effective in helping people take control to quit smoking, lose weight, manage anxiety or beat depression.

Gina Huisy MAPS (2014).

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船到橋頭自然直

boat

想太多不能控制的憂慮做吔?

如果你可以預測到將來會法上什麼的事,為什麼你今日不是百萬富翁?

如果你經常擔心將來,經常想不能控制的東西想得那麼好,為什麼你還沒有猜中了六合彩?

以前我媽媽常常跟我說,擔心都沒有用。她只說,“船到橋頭自然直”。The ship will reach the end of the bridge in due course。

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New Year’s Resolution? Dieting?

 

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