Maria Santissima Assunta Free University
Rome, Italy

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PubMed | Kore University of Enna, Maria Santissima Assunta Free University, University of Montana, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and 2 more.
Type: | Journal: Criminal behaviour and mental health : CBMH | Year: 2016

The relationship between substance use disorders and criminal activity is strong, and one that is not easily resolved in the criminal justice system. A better understanding of personality traits among substance misusers who commit offences could support better treatment efforts.The aim of this study is to explore associations between the psychopathology of people addicted to substances who have also committed crimes.We recruited 263 substance-dependent individuals (80% male, 20% female) from a cohort of people attending regional community services in Italy. They all completed an extensive evaluation of their current mental health and personality traits. Their official criminal records were obtained, and the psychopathology of those who had a criminal record compared with those who did not.The criminal group was more likely to perceive the external world as hostile and to consider others as responsible for their own problems and difficulties; in addition, substance-dependent individuals with criminal records showed more personality traits within the psychopathy range and fewer in the dependent personality range than the substance abusers who had never committed crimes.These findings allow us to hypothesise that substance abusers who also have criminal convictions may have a specific personality profile. If further research were to confirm this, then it could have important implications for identifying people for particular treatment pathways and developing more effective treatments. Copyright 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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.

Bollettini I.,Vita-Salute San Raffaele University | Bollettini I.,E.M.A.R.C. | Poletti S.,Vita-Salute San Raffaele University | Poletti S.,E.M.A.R.C. | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2015

Background: Changes of white matter (WM) microstructure have been proposed as structural biomarkers of bipolar disorder (BD). The chronotherapeutic combination of repeated total sleep deprivation and morning light therapy (TSD + LT) can acutely reverse depressive symptoms in approximately 60% of patients, and it has been proposed as a model antidepressant treatment to investigate the neurobiological correlates of rapid antidepressant response. Methods: We tested if baseline DTI measures can predict response to treatment in 70 in-patients affected by a major depressive episode in the course of BD, treated with chronotherapeutics for one week. We performed whole-brain tract-based spatial statistics with threshold-free cluster enhancement for the DTI measures of WM microstructure integrity: fractional anisotropy, axial, radial, and mean diffusivity. Results: Increased mean and radial water diffusivity correlated with poor antidepressant response to TSD + LT in core WM tracts which are crucial for the functional integrity of the brain, including corpus callosum, corona radiata, cingulum bundle, superior longitudinal fasciculus, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, and thalamic radiation. Limitations: Limitations include issues such as generalizability, possible population stratification, medications and their effects on DTI measures, and no placebo control for chronotherapeutics. We could not consider other factors such as gene-environment interactions. Conclusions: The association of increased radial and mean diffusivity with poor response to chronotherapeutic treatment warrants interest for the study of DTI measures of WM microstructure as markers for treatment response in bipolar depression. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

PubMed | IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and Maria Santissima Assunta Free University
Type: | Journal: European psychiatry : the journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists | Year: 2017

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inactivates catecholamines, Val/Val genotype was associated to an increased amygdala (Amy) response to negative stimuli and can influence the symptoms severity and the outcome of bipolar disorder, probably mediated by the COMT polymorphism (rs4680) interaction between cortical and subcortical dopaminergic neurotransmission. The aim of this study is to explore how rs4680 and implicit emotional processing of negative emotional stimuli could interact in affecting the Amy connectivity in bipolar depression. Forty-five BD patients (34 Met carriers vs. 11 Val/Val) underwent fMRI scanning during implicit processing of fearful and angry faces. We explore the effect of rs4680 on the strength of functional connectivity from the amygdalae to whole brain. Val/Val and Met carriers significantly differed for the connectivity between Amy and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and supramarginal gyrus. Val/Val patients showed a significant positive connectivity for all of these areas, where Met carriers presented a significant negative one for the connection between DLPFC and Amy. Our findings reveal a COMT genotype-dependent difference in corticolimbic connectivity during affective regulation, possibly identifying a neurobiological underpinning of clinical and prognostic outcome of BD. Specifically, a worse antidepressant recovery and clinical outcome previously detected in Val/Val patients could be associated to a specific increased sensitivity to negative emotional stimuli.

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