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Slama Talks with Students about Opportunities in Rural Practice

The University of Saint Thomas Psychology Graduate Student Organization of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling hosted Dr. Kay Slama, Ph.D., MSS, L.P., for a presentation regarding the principles of rural culture and rural counseling competencies on Thursday, October 17. Graduate students from around the Twin Cities were able to attend the free session designed to increase awareness among urban and suburban psychology students about the needs and opportunities in the greater Minnesota region. Opportunities to obtain graduate school loan forgiveness through the National Health Service Corps program was also discussed.

Dr. Slama described rural Minnesota as existing on a continuum, from a person or family who lives and works on a farm to individuals who live and work in small towns. For individuals and families who live on farms, the impact of their vocation cannot be overstated. Dr. Slama described farming as intensive work that occurs seven days a week and is often accompanied by a sense of duty to the family’s prior generations.

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A Review of Cultural Disparities Regarding Suicidal Behavior in At Risk Populations

Adolescent suicide remains a debilitating and tragic phenomenon in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, accounting for a greater number of fatalities than the next seven leading causes combined for 15- to 24-year-olds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2006). Distinct ethnic groups show unique patterns of suicidal behavior. “At risk” populations are those with elevated rates of suicide death, attempt, or ideation, among them being Latinos, African Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. Latino adolescents have shown a tendency to be at greater risk for depressive symptoms, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts than other racial/ethnic minority adolescents (Canino & Roberts, 2001; Hovey & King, 1996; Zayas, Lester, Cabassa, & Fortuna, 2005). Across the lifespan, the median age of suicide death is approximately a decade earlier for African American suicide victims than for other ethnic groups (CDC, 2006), and among American Indians between the ages of 15 and 19, suicide accounts for nearly 20% of deaths (CDC, 2006).

Culture-specific beliefs and behaviors can act as either hazardous or preventive agents on self-injurious behaviors. Analysis of the literature has produced five salient motifs accounting for cultural disparities in suicidality: family, cultural environment, history, identity, and religiosity.

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The Clinical Utility of a Dimensional Classification of BPD - A Literature Review

With the upcoming release of DSM-5, many personality disorder experts have posited the potential success of a dimensional classification system. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often at the forefront of discussion because it is the most prevalent personality disorder (Skodol et al., 2002) and individuals with BPD have a notoriously low quality of life (Masthoff et al., 2007). While many propositions for specific dimensional models have been introduced, few have examined the clinical utility of such models, which is a continuing concern of many psychologists and psychiatrists. Through a review of existing literature, with consideration for the major aspects of clinical utility, it is evident that a dimensional model of BPD would improve clinical utility and improve the validity of diagnoses.

The BPD construct has caused significant disagreement among researchers and clinicians. These disagreements include not only the clinical utility of the classification of the disorder but also conceptual issues regarding its classification (Griffiths, 2011). Many researchers assert that any taxonomy of psychological disorders is only practical if appropriate for the clinical settings in which patients’ improvement depends upon the quality of their assessment (First et al., 2004; Verheul, 2005).

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