The changing landscape of workplaces has drawn heightened attention to the needs and expectations of employees nationwide regarding the issues of work–life balance and mental health support.
The recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) sheds light on the prevalence of toxic workplaces and their detrimental impact on mental health. Of the data coming out of this survey, most startling was the revelation that 19% of workers reported their workplace as somewhat or very toxic. Even more alarming, those in such environments are three times more likely to suffer mental health harm at work than those individuals who are in nontoxic settings.
This blog discusses the importance of these findings, what employers can do in light of this data, and the role mental health providers can play in supporting individuals facing toxic work situations.
Understanding the impact of a toxic work environment
The APA survey brought to light the destructive toll a workplace can have on an individual’s mental well-being.
According to the survey, more than one in five workers revealed they've suffered mental health harm at work. Even worse, reported cases of harassment have jumped from 14% in 2022 to 22% in 2023. More than two-thirds of employees report experiencing workplace stress in the last month, with 57% reporting negative impacts that are associated with burnout.
Other notable findings from the survey include:
No matter the field, it is clear that employers need customized strategies to combat toxicity in various work environments.
Proactive steps for employers
To foster a supportive and mentally healthy work environment, employers can take several proactive measures to combat toxicity and promote mental health:
The role of mental health providers
For mental health providers, it's essential to address the challenges faced by individuals who are working in toxic environments. Some notable numbers from the survey: individuals who reported a toxic workplace were more than twice as likely to report that their overall mental health was fair or poor than those who did not report a toxic workplace (58% versus 21%). Of those who reported working in a toxic environment, 76% also conveyed that their work environment has a negative impact on their mental health.
Here are some strategies you can use with individuals who are experiencing workplace stress that impacts their mental health:
The results of the APA survey underscore how widespread the problem of workplace stress has become and emphasize what a toll a toxic workplace takes on mental health. Although workplaces tend to be one of the greatest areas of stress, they can also drive change by emphasizing the importance of self-care and wellbeing. Those involved in the mental health field can provide support to individuals who are experiencing workplace stress but also need to be cognizant of their own workplaces, as well. It's time to shape healthier work environments that empower everyone to thrive.
Need help hiring and developing your team? Let InVista help!
American Psychological Association. (May 2023). 2023 Work in America Survey.
U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being. (2022).
PARiConnect, our online assessment platform, can help you expand your reach when doing research!
Expand your geographic reach
By using PARiConnect, our digital assessment platform, you can email HIPAA compliant links directly to research participants. This enables you to complete research assessments online, expanding your geographic reach to areas you may not be able to use otherwise. This also allows you easier access to observer and collateral research data without requiring additional individuals to make the trip to your data collection site.
Reduce unused assessment costs
If you email an assessment link to a participant who decides not to complete it, PARiConnect allows you to easily revoke the link and reuse that assessment with another participant. You won’t have to pay for an unused assessment like you might with a paper form, saving you money typically lost on unused assessments.
Improve data integrity
When participants enter their own data, it reduces the time needed for data entry and reduces the possibility of data entry errors. PARiConnect offers settings to prevent skipping questions, so you can reduce the risk of missing data. Furthermore, you can review completion time to be sure your participants put forth appropriate effort. This can reduce the amount of time and energy needed to enter and check data, freeing up your financial and physical resources for other tasks.
Integrate efficiently with your work
The PARiConnect system allows you to download item-level assessment data to a CSV excel spreadsheet that is formatted to integrate with statistics software such as SPSS for ease of data processing and analyzation.
Let PARiConnect help you increase your geographic reach, expand your subject numbers, reduce attrition, lower assessment and travel costs, and decrease the burden of data collection.
Learn more about PARiConnect today!
Need assistance selecting assessments for your research? Learn more about all the ways PAR can help! Check out this video on using PAR assessments in research settings.
Learn more about PAR’s training and research discounts!
This week’s blog was contributed by Erika Thompson, PAR’s managing production editor. It is the second in a series on writing. Catch up on the first part here.
As a mental health practitioner, you are required to write throughout your career. One way you can streamline your writing is by using a style guide. At PAR, the house style we use for all our publications is based on American Psychological Association (APA) Style. Via the PAR Blog, we’re providing some useful information about facets of APA Style that will help you tackle research, write better reports, and communicate more effectively with colleagues.
This week, we’re covering how to cite sources properly. According to APA (2020): “Scientific knowledge represents the accomplishments of many researchers over time. A critical part of writing in APA Style is helping readers place your contribution in context by citing the researchers who influenced you” (p. 253). In other words, citing helps readers better understand what led to your conclusions. It also prevents you from accidentally plagiarizing someone else’s work. It’s important to cite both ideas, which may be paraphrased from someone else’s work, and direct quotes.
Two elements are needed to cite properly: a short mention of the author and date of publication, or in-text citation, which appears within the text at the appropriate and relevant place; and a reference list entry, which expands on the citation by including the title, the source, and sometimes a link to locate the work.
In-text citations can be narrative or parenthetical. In a narrative citation, the author and date are mentioned as part of the running text: “In 2010, Costa and McCrae published new normative data on the NEO.” In a parenthetical citation, the author and date are mentioned in parentheses: “New normative data on the NEO are also available (Costa & McCrae, 2010).”
Reference list entries vary in format based on the type of publication, but generally the author is mentioned first, with the date of publication, title, and source following. Use a 0.5-in. hanging indent to format each entry—that is, indent the second and any subsequent lines.
In some instances, it may be hard to figure out which reference entry format to use. The most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association provided much-needed guidance on how to cite a test and how to cite a variety of different websites:
Feifer, S. G., & Clark, H. K. (2016). Feifer Assessment of Mathematics (FAM): Professional manual. PAR.
(Note that the “supporting literature” [i.e., the manual; APA, 2020, p. 340] is cited versus the test itself, the title of the test is capitalized and italicized, and the publisher location is not mentioned.)
Online magazine or newspaper article
Bourke, J., & Titus, A. (2019, March 29). Why inclusive leaders are good for organizations, and how to become one. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/03/why-inclusive-leadersare-good-for-organizations-and-how-to-become-one
Gupta, G. (2016, September 4). Empowering leadership. People Matters. https://www.peoplematters.in/blog/leadership/empowering-leadership-14014
(Note that established newspaper and magazine titles are italicized, whereas for websites that don’t have a publication associated with it, the title of the article is italicized.)
A recent APA blog post explained how to cite ChatGPT. Because the results of the chat cannot be retrieved by others, communications are considered to be the output of the ChatGPT algorithm, and OpenAI is considered to be the “author” of the algorithm. Thus, each communication should be explained very clearly in text and cited as such:
OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat The in-text citation is (OpenAI, 2023).
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association covers many, many more types of sources, including journal articles, books, audiovisual media, and social posts.
Curious about how we keep track of references to our products? Check out our white paper on Zotero, which includes links to product-specific, continually updated, easy-to-access bibliographies.
Interested in partnering with PAR for research or publishing? Visit our Partner with PAR page to learn more.
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
McAdoo, T. (2023, April 7). How to cite ChatGPT. APA Style. https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/how-to-cite-chatgpt
This week’s blog was contributed by Erika Thompson, PAR’s managing production editor. It is the first in an ongoing series on writing.
As a mental health practitioner, you are required to write throughout your career. One way you can streamline your writing is by using a style guide. At PAR, the house style we use for all our publications is based on American Psychological Association (APA) Style. Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide some useful information about facets of APA Style that will help you tackle research, write better reports, and communicate more effectively with colleagues.
This week, we’re covering how to write as respectfully and inclusively as possible. According to APA (2020):
It is unacceptable to use constructions that might imply prejudicial beliefs or perpetuate biased assumptions against persons on the basis of age, disability, gender, participation in research, racial or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or some combination of these or other personal factors (e.g., marital status, immigration status, religion). (p. 131)
To prevent biased writing, we must focus on two things: specificity and sensitivity.
When we write with specificity, we eliminate unconscious attitudes that might sneak into overly general language. Being as precise as possible also allows your research or other scholarly work to reflect the most accurate and helpful information for readers. For example, use exact age ranges versus broad categories of ages, use specific names for racial and ethnic groups versus broad categories (e.g., “Chinese American” vs. “Asian American”), and use specific terms for gender identity and sexual orientation (e.g., “cisgender women,” “bisexual people”). Provide definitions of research groups early, and then stick to the same label throughout the manual: “Participants scoring between X and X on the ANX scale made up the low anxiety group.” “The low anxiety group exhibited no change from test to retest.”
Writing with sensitivity means writing while acknowledging people’s preferences and their humanity. For example, overgeneralizing by using adjectives as nouns to label groups—for example, “the poor” or “schizophrenics”—eliminates the individuality of the people in those groups. Instead, use adjectival forms or nouns with descriptive phrases, like “poor people” or “individuals with schizophrenia.”
There are many other areas that require writing with sensitivity:
These are just a few tips and examples of how to improve your writing by focusing on specificity and sensitivity. For more information, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
This week’s blog was contributed by Melissa Milanak, PhD, PAR’s clinical assessment. Melissa is a licensed clinical psychologist and internationally recognized academic. She has extensive clinical experience providing therapy and conducting assessments with a diverse array of patient populations.
As your trusted source for assessments for all your clinical needs, PAR is excited to also partner with you in many practical ways as you conduct your research, whether it be a large federally funded grant, a manuscript you are preparing to submit, or a course project with your students and trainees running on zero budget. Here are just a few of the ways PAR can help researchers.
The submission deadline is approaching, and it is time to write the methods section. Instead of spending hours pouring through assessment manuals and reading journal article after journal article to extract psychometric data for the one paragraph, consider reaching out to PAR directly. Our psychologists and researchers have already prepared and formatted the assessment info paragraphs for you that you can insert into your manuscripts and grant applications. Don’t see the one you need there? Let us know and we will get you the info you need.
Through our data sharing program, you can partner with our R&D team to help us collect important data on our assessments all while receiving discounts and/or free usage of the related assessments. All data sharing is of course de-identified and confidential to protect participants.
Through our digital assessment platform, PARiConnect, you can email HIPAA-compliant links directly to research participants to complete all of your research assessments online, expanding your geographical reach. You can also access observer and collateral research data without requiring additional individuals to come into your data collection site. Plus, if you send out an assessment link and a participant decides not to participate, you can revoke the link and reuse the assessment with another participant without having to pay for an unused assessment.
By using PARiConnect, either through a HIPAA-compliant email link or in-person digital entry option, participants enter their own data, removing a layer of data entry error (and the need to invest in time for research assistants to enter and check data entry). Plus, with settings to prevent skipping questions, you can reduce the risk of missing data.
In less than a minute, you can download item-level assessment data to a CSV spreadsheet formatted to integrate with statistics software such as SPSS to increase the ease of data processing and analyzation.
Through our FREE Training Portal and team of clinical assessment advisors, PAR provides on-demand training for you and your research teams to learn about the assessments from underlying constructs to administration, scoring, and interpretation.
As you are designing your research, clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and psychometrists who have a history of successfully securing federally funded grants and publishing in high impact-factor journals are available to consult with you to build effective, efficient research assessment batteries.
These examples are just the beginning when exploring ways that PAR can partner with you to design, conduct, and publish your research using high-caliber, industry gold-standard assessments. Reach out to our team today to learn more!
Check out this video on ways PAR can help you easily integrate digital assessments into your practice.
This week’s blog was contributed by Sierra Iwanicki, PhD. Sierra is a clinical psychologist and project director in the research and development department at PAR.
In the mid-20th century, humanistic psychology emerged in direct response to perceived limitations of psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Contrary to those earlier theories, humanism focused on the individual as a whole person, with the cardinal belief that perceived experiences fundamentally shaped us as human beings. In the 1940s and 1950s, clinicians began to encourage the collaborative use of projective instruments (e.g., drawings, Rorschach, TAT) to develop insight with clients.
A few decades later, clinicians began to write about the use of psychological assessment within a humanistic frame. Ray A. Craddick criticized the approach of treating a “person primarily as a series of building blocks of traits, factors, habits, etc. [calling] the separation of man into parts…antithetical to both the humanistic tradition and to personality assessment.” Drawing from a phenomenological perspective, researchers like Constance Fischer first wrote about the “testee as a co-evaluator,” and later articulated a model of collaborative, individualized psychological assessment. In subsequent years, clinicians continued to write about the therapeutic benefits and collaborative approaches of assessment.
In 1993, Stephen Finn coined the term therapeutic assessment to describe a semi-structured, systemized method for using assessment in a collaborative, therapeutic fashion. Since then, he and psychologists like Constance Fischer and others have promoted collaborative methods to conduct assessments.
According to Finn and colleagues, defining elements of collaborative and therapeutic assessment include:
• Having respect for clients (e.g., providing them with comprehensible feedback)
• Taking a relational view of psychological assessment (e.g., acknowledging the vulnerability of clients in the assessment situation)
• Maintaining a stance of compassion and curiosity rather than judgment and classification (e.g., fully understanding clients in all their complexity, not just summarizing them in terms)
• Having a desire to help clients directly (e.g., not just providing helpful information to other stakeholders)
• Taking a special view of tests (e.g., viewing tests as tools and results as ways to understand and help clients)
• Staying flexible (e.g., conducting a home visit as part of an assessment)
Fast forward to 2021: A multidisciplinary database search yielded more than 4,000 peer-reviewed journal articles related to psychological assessment as a therapeutic intervention, therapeutic assessment, or collaborative assessment. However, Kamphuis et al. note that the treatment utility of assessment has long been controversial, stipulating a broader view of relevant outcome metrics, more powerful research designs, and use of stepped assessment, taking into account the complexity of the patient’s psychopathology. Nevertheless, there is consensus that therapeutic assessment tends to yield more useful psychological assessment data as well as increase the effectiveness of assessment feedback.
In fact, a meta-analysis found the therapeutic benefits of individualized feedback following psychological assessment yielded a notable effect size of .42. More recently, a meta-analysis compared well-defined therapeutic assessment compared to other forms of intervention and showed three areas where it was superior: 1) decreasing symptoms (effect size .34), 2) increasing self-esteem (effect size .37), and 3) fostering therapeutic alliance and engagement and satisfaction with treatment (effect size .46). Overall,
research has shown that collaborative and therapeutic assessment is effective for adults, couples, children, adolescents, and families. According to the Therapeutic Assessment Institute, more than 35 studies have demonstrated that collaborative/therapeutic assessment is generally effective at improving outcomes for a wide range of clients with diverse clinical problems across various settings.
The Therapeutic Assessment Institute was formed in 2009 to promote and coordinate training in Therapeutic Assessment. Learn more.
Clinicians and researchers—are you using a PAR product in your research? If you a professional who would be interested in partnering with us to advance the scope of solutions PAR provides, we would love to talk to you about it!
We are looking to gather additional data on our existing assessments with the goal of further validating our instruments, developing and identifying product enhancements, or adding features that allow our customers to better meet the needs of those they serve.
Learn more about the PAR Data Program and find out how you can take part!
The Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales (SEARS) assesses positive social–emotional attributes in children and adolescents. New research published in the June issue of Assessment provides further data to support its clinical use.
The authors studied the factor structure, measurement invariance, internal consistency, and validity of the SEAR-Adolescent (SEARS-A) Report in individuals ages 8 to 20 years. The study focused on 225 childhood cancer survivors and 122 students without a history of significant health problems in the control group. They were all administered the SEARS-A, finding it to have an adequate factor structure and model fit and demonstrated invariance across domains of age, health status, gender, race, and socioeconomic status.
Additionally, the researchers found the SEARS-A to have excellent internal reliability, criterion validity, and current validity when compared with another similar instrument.
The researchers concluded that the SEARS-A has the potential to be a sound tool to assess and predict social–emotional outcomes among at-risk youth between the ages of 8 and 20 years.
Learn more about this research or learn more about the SEARS.
Are you using a PAR product in your research? If you are a clinician, researcher, or other professional who would be interested in partnering with us to advance the scope of solutions we can provide, we would love to talk to you about it!
We are looking to gather additional data on our existing assessments with the goal of further validating our instruments, identifying and developing product enhancements, or adding features that allow our customers to better meet the needs of those they serve.
New research presented in an upcoming article in the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology supports the use of multiple variables to assist emergency departments’ ability to predict pediatric patients at risk for persistent postconcussive symptoms (PPCS).
The study, which cites the PostConcussion Symptom Inventory™–2 (PCSI-2), followed a cohort of 5- to 18-year-olds diagnosed with an acute concussion. Each participant’s risk factors were determined at diagnosis and they were followed for 30 days postinjury. The study found that headache and total clinical risk score were associated with greater odds of PPCS. Furthermore, teenagers, individuals with a history of prolonged recovery from a previous concussion, and those in the high-risk group (based on the Zemek et al.  risk score) tended to have an increased risk of PPCS.
PAR Project Director Maegan Sady, PhD, ABPP-CN, was a coauthor of this study, which was conducted by emergency room physician Dr. Jeremy Root at Children’s National Hospital.
Learn more about the PCSI-2!