Applying Psychological Science, Benefiting Society

New KFF/CNN Survey on Race, Covering Transgender Care Is Good Economics for Insurance Companies, Making Sense of the Senseless Violence, Too Much TV and Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time and more- In Case You Missed It– December 8th, 2015

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Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health, and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address a new KFF/CNN survey on race, how covering transgender care is good economics for insurance companies, making sense of the senseless violence, too much TV and chill could reduce brain power over time, and more. 

New KFF/CNN Survey on Race Finds Deep Divisions in How Blacks, Whites and Hispanics Experience and View Race Relations, Discrimination and the Police – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

With racial incidents and concerns continuing to make national headlines, a new Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN Survey of Americans on Race probes deeply into the views and experiences of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, including their personal experiences with discrimination. The survey captures both similarities and differences in how people of different races view race relations, the criminal justice system, incidents of police violence against Blacks, and the Black Lives Matter movement. It also explores their experiences on racial issues and the dramatic differences in the ways people of different races view them. CNN is featuring the poll’s findings on air and across its digital platforms. A Foundation report summarizes the poll’s findings and provides the detailed question-by-question results.

Covering Transgender Care Is Good Economics for Insurance Companies– The Atlantic

While some health insurance companies are starting to pay for gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy, a majority of them still do not. The American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association are just a few organizations that consider gender-transition services to be medically necessary for transgender people. Treatments like gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy are an investment in reducing future health expenses. William Padula, at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, looks at the cost-effectiveness of transgender health care.  He found that “coverage is of really good value and it’s a low-budget impact for society from an insurance standpoint.” His view?  Health insurances companies can absolutely afford to cover the health concerns of transgender people

Making Sense of the Senseless Violence– U.S. News & World Report

Mass shootings have become a regular part of life in America. Mental health experts warn that this exposure to violence may have some major consequences for the nation. Americans are left numb by the constant exposure to violence, which according to psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, is a normal reaction. APA Fellow Russell Jones, PhD says “people can become very fearful and apprehensive,” some people have become more isolated as they continue to be exposed to constant violence. Dr. Renee Binder, President of the American Psychiatric Association, believes there are steps that can be taken to cope. These steps include reassuring your children that they are safe and creating an open and safe space to talk about these issues with your children. APA has tips for talking to kids about difficult news and disasters.

Too Much TV and Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time – NPR

According to a study at the University of California, San Francisco, published in JAMA Psychiatry, people who get little exercise or watch at least 3 hours of TV a day do worse on tests measuring cognitive focus and speed. Marcus Richards, a psychologist at the University College London, says it’s reasonable to think the gap in cognitive function between high-volume TV watchers and infrequent watchers might widen over the years. For some, the early decline in cognitive functioning could become serious later in life.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

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