JHU Press Blog

Managing Depression during the Coronavirus Crisis

by eea | Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 5:00 PM

By Susan J. Noonan MD, MPH

The COVID-19 worldwide health crisis has had a major impact on us medically, socially, and economically, with significant disruption to our lives and daily routines. It is a cause of monumental stress, newfound fear, and anxiety in many, including:

fear of the unknown; fear of contracting the virus ourselves and in loved ones, with uncertain and potentially fatal outcomes; concerns about insufficient access to both routine and urgent health care, treatments, procedures, medications, and resources; loneliness due to social isolation and physical separation; fear and anxiety related to erratic changes in our economy, job losses, and diminishing personal financial resources.

The nearly continuous media coverage magnifies our fears, especially when varied, uncertain, rapidly changing, or contradictory information is circulated.

These concerns are more profound in the approximately 25 million adults and adolescents in the United States who experience a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder each year. Most of the life changes that accompany the COVID-19 crisis have a negative effect on depression, our ability to manage it, and the stabilizing factors in our lives that support our emotional health. They include:...Read More

The Reach of a Long-Arm Stapler: An interview with Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez

by may | Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 1:57 PM

Long-Arm Stapler

The Summer 2018 issue of the journal Library Trends includes The Reach of a Long-Arm Stapler: Calling in Microaggressions in the LIS Field through Zine Work . The paper, by Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez, Rose L. Chou, Jenna Freedman, Simone Fujita, and Cynthia Mari Orozco, is an examination of a unique participatory project that was started in 2014 by colleagues in the library and informations sciences (LIS) community. The LIS Microaggressions project began as a crowd-sourced community website, and grew into several issues of a printed zine. The site and subsequent zine were created as a space for library workers, particularly women and people of color, to speak to their experiences of microaggressions in the workplace, and to bring those voices together in a shared, collective space. We are grateful to Elvia Arroyo-Ramirez for taking time to discuss the project and paper in more detail with JHU Press.

How did your academic journey bring you to Library Information Sciences? What drew you to library science?

As an undergraduate at UCLA, I had a work-study student position in the Performing Arts Special Collections (now Library Special Collections). I was a third-year, and...Read More

Dementia Care and Communication during the Coronavirus Pandemic

by eea | Monday, June 29, 2020 - 3:00 PM

By Rachael Wonderlin, MS

Special thanks to Michelle Tristani from Benchmark Senior Living

Communicating with people living with dementia is never an easy task: for many families, it’s the hardest thing they do on a regular basis. Concerned with how to answer challenging questions from an aging loved one (“Where are my parents?”) to coping with repetitive phrases or requests, family caregivers are often unsure of exactly what words to use or even what tone to use.

Enter: COVID-19. In a time where our world seems overrun by stress and uncertainty, comes even more stress and uncertainty for families who have loved ones living with dementia. How can you best communicate with a loved one if their senior care community is shut down due to coronavirus concerns? How can you visit? What do you say to a loved one who may be experiencing anxiety, but may not be able to understand exactly what’s happening around them?

Put simply, here’s the key: we don’t want to add our own anxiety into the mix.

...Read More

Possible Implications of the Novel Coronavirus for Mood Disorders

by eea | Friday, June 26, 2020 - 5:00 PM

By Merry Noel Miller, M.D.

Feelings of anxiety, despair, and even suicidal thoughts may increase during the current pandemic. These feelings are especially likely to develop among those who are more vulnerable due to a mood disorder. Some will feel new, intense sadness and difficulty functioning. Others who already experienced depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder find their conditions worsening at this time.

We are all being told to “socially distance” ourselves, and some are being told to go into quarantine. This leads to a level of social isolation that can be overwhelming for some. The news is dire on every network. Many people have lost their jobs and may be panicking about how to make ends meet. Job loss may bring with it the loss of identity, routine, and social network.

We may be unable to access our usual sources of support. The social distancing rules keep us from experiencing in person the daily conversations with friends and acquaintances that often give meaning to our lives. Our normal lifestyles have been disrupted, including having children at home all day. Frayed nerves can lead to increased conflict. Families who are not used...Read More

The Forms of Informal Empire: Britain, Latin America, and Nineteenth-Century Literature

by eea | Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 5:00 PM

A few years ago, at a get-together in Santiago, Chile, I met a local man I’ll call Luis. Amid small talk, he mentioned that he supervises a number of his family’s copper mines in the north. When I asked him how his family came to own them, he shrugged and said only: “My great-grandfather was English.” I had not told Luis that I was in Santiago precisely to research the history of British involvement in Latin America, so he had no reason to expect my familiarity with the subject. But those four words, for anyone passingly familiar with the economic history of Latin America, are self-explanatory.

When Latin America won its independence in the early nineteenth century, Britain was waiting, pocketbook in hand. Through loans, purchases, and investments, Europeans—but especially the British—took advantage of the vulnerable post-war Latin American economies to gain control over industries ranging from railroads to agriculture to leather. We call this informal empire.

Scholars and history books tend to treat the British Empire as a system of formal colonies, which it was. But it was also this process of influence and coercion, leveraged by massive economic power, in territories beyond their...Read More

Helping Older Individuals Manage Anxiety and Depression during the COVID-19 Crisis

by eea | Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 5:00 PM

By Mark D. Miller, M.D., and Charles F. Reynolds III, M.D.

Let’s first define “older” as those at least age 60. This segment of the population is on track to soon become 22% of the whole. It is a heterogeneous group comprised of a reasonably healthy, mobile, and digitally savvy subgroup on one end of a spectrum of “functional capability” and those that are quite impaired in their functioning due to chronic medical or mental illness, chronic pain, isolation, lack of mobility, poverty, substance abuse, and/or lack of an adequate social support system. The latter group is more vulnerable to the unprecedented strains caused by the pandemic from COVID-19 we have all been thrust in to.

As both authors of this article personally meet the age cut-off for being elderly (one of us is a grandfather already and the other would like to be one soon), we will therefore digress momentarily and speak from our own qualified experience. We have both been fortunate to be well educated, enjoy supportive family and friends, financial comfort, and a variety of purposeful participatory activities that make us both look forward to getting up every day. That...Read More

Grading the College: A History of Evaluating Teaching and Learning

by eea | Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 12:00 PM

I first became interested in the history of efforts to evaluate teaching and learning while co-chairing Wheaton College’s assessment committee. I learned that skeptical colleagues sometimes perceived evaluation to be an outgrowth of a campaign to disempower professors while catering to students, parents, legislators, and corporate leaders. I came to understand that this critique depended in part on two interrelated assumptions about the past, neither of which had been investigated by historians. First, critics usually assumed that the roots of evaluation only stretched back to the start of the corporatization of higher education in the 1970s and 1980s. Second, most critics assumed that evaluation had always been associated with external accountability and imposed from outside of the academy with little respect for the professional or academic interests of faculty members.

I became concerned about how these assumptions could justify faculty disengagement from questions that seemed especially pressing at public institutions and at private tuition-dependent institutions (such as Wheaton). When I began to explore the archival record, it became clear that evaluation had not always been a market-driven or anti-intellectual phenomenon. Based on manuscript evidence from the papers of the AAUP, the American Council on Education, and a...Read More

Coping with Behavioral Addictions During COVID-19

by eea | Monday, June 22, 2020 - 3:00 PM

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH

Although much has been written about stay-at-home orders and people with substance addiction, little if anything has been said about how the shelter-in-place affects the approximately 10-15% of Americans (i.e. upwards of 48 million) who currently struggle with behavioral addictions (for example, gambling, food, internet gaming, sex/pornography, and shopping) as well as whether the current climate may put certain people at risk of developing one of these behavioral problems.

Behavioral addictions are defined as behaviors that are rewarding in some fashion (i.e. giving the person some sort of mood boost, or even conversely relieving stress) and done to an extent that the person feels out of control, unable to curtail the time they spend on the behavior, and it leads to some sort of personal distress or impairment in their functioning. While these behaviors are often fun and distracting initially, they may be potentially problematic if done excessively. The current climate that keeps people at home with fewer distractions means that they have greater access online to certain problematic behaviors, such as gambling, gaming, pornography, and shopping; and less access to external variables...Read More

The “Hidden Pandemic” - The Psychological Impact of COVID-19

by eea | Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 4:30 PM

By George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, ABPP

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Author: The Johns Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid (JHU Press); Rodney Makes a Friend: Helping Your Child Develop resilience and Social Intelligence (BookBaby); and Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need (AMACOM/ HarperCollins)

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely be a defining event for an entire generation… But what of the “hidden pandemic?”

History teaches us that there will always be more psychological “casualties” than physical casualties as a result of disasters such as the pandemic. When I use the term psychological casualty, I mean someone who has been adversely impacted to the degree they cannot adequately do the things they need to do. Estimates vary widely but we can say that roughly one-third of the population directly affected by the pandemic will suffer such significantly adverse psychological reactions and could benefit from some form of psychological support (Manderscheid, 2006).

In various capacities, I have...Read More

Defending Privilege – Q&A with author Nicole Mansfield Wright

by eea | Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 12:00 PM

Some reviewers have described Defending Privilege as an explainer of the historical roots of our current political warfare. How does your book illuminate current events?

These days, government leaders, cable hosts, journalists, and protestors are battling to decide: Who are the real victims in society—the privileged or the marginalized? The eighteenth-century literature I examine helped construct the foundations of this debate. A number of novels were penned by conservative authors aggrieved by personal experiences of what they regarded as the legal system's failure to uphold their privilege. Fiction operated as propaganda, asserting that the wealthy and those of high status ought to be given special treatment by the government and law enforcement. While the authors occasionally gave lip service to the needs of the marginalized—such as grateful slaves or industrious street urchins—these characters were used to highlight their masters’ generosity and demonstrate that the social hierarchy was righteous and the powerful deserved their high positions.

Why did you decide to write this book?

Eighteenth-century Britain was the wellspring of so many of today’s social and political institutions, from our legal system to the way we choose the leaders of our...Read More