Maria Santissima Assunta Free University
Rome, Italy
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Mannino G.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | Giunta S.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | la Fiura G.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University
Sexuality and Disability | Year: 2017

This article aims at analyzing the issue of in individuals with disability (subjects with physical and/or mental disabilities) and the new professional figure of the sexual assistant, already accepted and adopted in some parts of Europe. The sexual assistant as a professional figure has been raising many moral and practical dilemmas and additionally is a controversial figure. A service, which can offer to these particular subjects, the possibility to explore their sexuality raises many questions concerning the social, legal and moral issues, which may or may not legitimize the adoption of this practice. Moreover it can be difficult to disentangle all the complexities and issues that may be created by this professional figure. Beyond the problems that such an approach undoubtedly raises, it is a fact that the sexuality of people with disabilities is often neglected or denied. This new professional figure has the merit to underline and highlight the problem. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media New York

Pozzi G.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Frustaci A.,Unit of Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology | Tedeschi D.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Tedeschi D.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | And 4 more authors.
Brain and Behavior | Year: 2015

Background: The relationship between coping styles and mental disorders has received considerable attention and instruments have been developed to assess coping strategies. The measurement by means of category systems has been criticized and a functional hierarchy of action types linked to the adaptive processes is preferred. We aimed to determine which factors may exist within the Brief-COPE (Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced - COPE - Inventory) in an Italian sample of patients with anxiety disorders; and if these factors correlate with the severity of psychopathology or with other characteristics. Methods: A total sample of 148 patients was recruited. The Brief-COPE inventory, the Symptom Check List 90-Revised, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, the Zung Anxiety Status Inventory and the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale were administered. Results: Factor analysis of the Brief-COPE yielded nine factors accounting for 65.48% of the variance. Patients scored higher on Searching Support, followed by Acceptance, Changing Perspective, and Problem Solving. Associations between measures of psychopathology and factors of coping strategies, mostly Searching support and Avoidance, were found. Conclusions: Data of the present study support a nine-factor structure of the Brief-COPE that includes five broad dimensions of coping. Psychopathology was mostly related to Searching support and Avoidance factors, showing that these strategies may reflect ineffective ways of coping; Problem solving and Changing perspective could be a valid approach to moderate anxiety/depression symptoms and psychopathology in general. © 2015 The Authors.

Costanzi M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Costanzi M.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | Saraulli D.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Saraulli D.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 7 more authors.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Fear allows organisms to cope with dangerous situations and remembering these situations has an adaptive role preserving individuals from injury and death. However, recalling traumatic memories can induce re-experiencing the trauma, thus resulting in a maladaptive fear. A failure to properly regulate fear responses has been associated with anxiety disorders, like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thus, re-establishing the capability to regulate fear has an important role for its adaptive and clinical relevance. Strategies aimed at erasing fear memories have been proposed, although there are limits about their efficiency in treating anxiety disorders. To re-establish fear regulation, here we propose a new approach, based on the re-evaluation of the aversive value of traumatic experience. Mice were submitted to a contextual-fear-conditioning paradigm in which a neutral context was paired with an intense electric footshock. Three weeks after acquisition, conditioned mice were treated with a less intense footshock (pain threshold). The effectiveness of this procedure in reducing fear expression was assessed in terms of behavioral outcomes related to PTSD (e.g., hyper-reactivity to a neutral tone, anxiety levels in a plus maze task, social avoidance, and learning deficits in a spatial water maze) and of amygdala activity by evaluating c-fos expression. Furthermore, a possible role of lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) in mediating the behavioral effects induced by the re-evaluation procedure was investigated. We observed that this treatment: (i) significantly mitigates the abnormal behavioral outcomes induced by trauma; (ii) persistently attenuates fear expression without erasing contextual memory; (iii) prevents fear reinstatement; (iv) reduces amygdala activity; and (v) requires an intact lOFC to be effective. These results suggest that an effective strategy to treat pathological anxiety should address cognitive re-evaluation of the traumatic experience mediated by lOFC. © 2014 Costanzi, Saraulli, Cannas, D'Alessandro, Florenzano, Rossi-Arnaud and Cestari.

Vai B.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Vai B.,E.M.A.R.C. | Vai B.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | Bollettini I.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | And 4 more authors.
Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics | Year: 2014

Bipolar disorder is a severe, disabling and life-threatening illness, which affects nearly 2% of the general population. The identification of reliable and objective biomarkers may aid early diagnosis and optimize treatment efficacy. Through a careful overview of the neuroimaging studies which investigated the structural, functional, and effective connectivity in bipolar disorder, we explored the role of a disconnected cortico-limbic circuitry in the development and maintenance of the disorder. This review offers perspectives and suggestions for future research, in order to propose the corticolimbic disconnection as a neurobiological underpinning and biomarker for bipolar psychopathology. ©2014 Informa UK, Ltd.

Caselli M.C.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies | Rinaldi P.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies | Varuzza C.,Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu | Varuzza C.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research | Year: 2012

Purpose: The authors studied the effect of the cochlear implant (CI) on language comprehension and production in deaf children who had received a CI in the 2nd year of life. Method: The authors evaluated lexical and morphosyntactic skills in comprehension and production in 17 Italian children who are deaf (M = 54 months of age) with a CI and in 2 control groups of children with normal hearing (NH; 1 matched for chronological age and the other whose chronological age corresponded to the duration of CI activation). The authors also compared children with unilateral CI to children with bilateral CI. Results: Children with CI appeared to keep pace with NH children matched for time since CI activation in terms of language acquisition, and they were similar to same-age NH children in lexical production. However, children with CI showed difficulties in lexical comprehension when a task required phonological discrimination as well as in grammar comprehension and production. Childrenwith bilateral CI showed better comprehension than did children with unilateral CI; the 2 groups were similar for production. Conclusions: Activation of CI in the 2nd year of life may provide children who are deaf with a good opportunity to develop language skills, although some limitations in phonological and morphological skills are still present 3 years after auditory reafferentation. © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

ABSTRACT: To evaluate the associations between Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) Alternative Model of Personality Disorder traits and domains and categorically diagnosed narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD), respectively, 238 inpatient and outpatient participants who were consecutively admitted to the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Unit of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, were administered the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5) and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders (SCID-II). Based on SCID-II, the participants were assigned to the following groups: a) NPD (n = 49), b) BPD (n = 32), c) any other PD (n = 91), and d) no PD (n = 63). Emotional lability, separation insecurity, depressivity, impulsivity, risk taking, and hostility were significantly associated with BPD diagnosis. Attention seeking significantly discriminated participants who received an SCID-II categorical NPD diagnosis. Separation insecurity, impulsivity, distractibility, and perceptual dysregulation were the DSM-5 traits that significantly discriminated BPD participants. Domain-level analyses confirmed and extended trait-level findings. Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Scopelliti M.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | Tiberio L.,CNR Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
Environment and Behavior | Year: 2010

The transition to college or university can lead to the challenge of adapting to a new setting. Homesickness has been frequently investigated as a potential negative consequence of relocation. This study analyzed the role of multiple place attachment in the development of homesickness among university students. The study used a multicausal framework. Situational, personality, and environmental psychological variables were considered. Different factors of a person's personality were associated with vulnerability to homesickness. In addition, multiple place attachment and vulnerability to homesickness impacted the homesickness felt by students. © 2010 SAGE Publications.

Maruotti A.,University of Southampton | Maruotti A.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University
Environmental and Ecological Statistics | Year: 2016

The analysis of circular data has been recently the focus of a wide range of literature, with the general objective of providing reliable parameter estimates in the presence of heterogeneity and/or dependence among observations under a longitudinal setting. In this paper, we extend the variance component model approach to the analysis of longitudinal circular data, defining a mixed effects model for radial projections onto the circle and introducing dependence between projections through a set of correlated random coefficients. Estimation is carried out by numerical integration through an expectation-maximization algorithm without parametric assumptions upon the random coefficients distribution. The resulting model is a finite mixture of projected normal distributions. A simulation study has been carried out to investigate the behavior of the proposed model in a series of empirical situations. The proposed model is computationally parsimonious and, when applied to a real dataset on animal orientation, produces novel results. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York

Varvara P.,Childrens Hospital Bambino Gesu | Varvara P.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University | Varuzza C.,Childrens Hospital Bambino Gesu | Sorrentino A.C.P.,Childrens Hospital Bambino Gesu | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2014

The present study was aimed at investigating different aspects of Executive Functions (EF) in children with Developmental Dyslexia (DD). A neuropsychological battery tapping verbal fluency, spoonerism, attention, verbal shifting, short-term and working memory was used to assess 60 children with DD and 65 with typical reading (TR) abilities. Compared to their controls, children with DD showed deficits in several EF domains such as verbal categorical and phonological fluency, visual-spatial and auditory attention, spoonerism, verbal and visual short-term memory, and verbal working memory. Moreover, exploring predictive relationships between EF measures and reading, we found that spoonerism abilities better explained word and non-word reading deficits. Although to a lesser extent, auditory and visual-spatial attention also explained the increased percentage of variance related to reading deficit. EF deficits found in DD are interpreted as an expression of a deficient functioning of the Central Executive System and are discussed in the context of the recent temporal sampling theory. © 2014 Varvara, Varuzza, Sorrentino, Vicari and Menghini.

Aiello A.,University of Cagliari | Ardone R.G.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Scopelliti M.,Maria Santissima Assunta Free University
Evaluation and Program Planning | Year: 2010

This study proposes a psychological analysis of the relationships between people and their residential environment in two neighbourhoods in Rome, within the theoretical framework of place theory. The analysis was aimed at getting indications for neighbourhood improvement, which can lead to residential satisfaction and neighbourhood attachment. We considered both constructs as the result of the relationships between the physical attributes of the environment, the cognitive perceptions and the affective appraisals of residents, and the activities they carry out. The role of socio-demographic and residential variables was also considered. Theoretical implications of results and indications for neighbourhood improvement are discussed. Residential satisfaction and neighbourhood attachment have a different pattern of predictors, emerging from all the dimensions of analysis we considered. Using hierarchical linear models, cognitive, affective and behavioural variables emerged as significant first-level predictors of both criterions, and physical attributes were found to be significant second-level predictors. In addition, the joint analysis of objective neighbourhood features and residents' experience within a place-specific framework showed to be an effective approach to identify relevant domains for neighbourhood improvement. Commercial and leisure facilities can contribute to make the neighbourhood more lively; building density and green areas have inverse effects on the prevalence of social activities. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.

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