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      Culturally informed research design issues in a study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder


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          Recent research suggests that psychedelic drugs can be powerful agents of change when utilized in conjunction with psychotherapy. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy has been studied as a means of helping people overcome posttraumatic stress disorder, believed to work by reducing fear of traumatic memories and increasing feelings of trust and compassion toward others, without inhibiting access to difficult emotions. However, research studies for psychedelic psychotherapies have largely excluded people of color, leaving important questions unaddressed for these populations. At the University of Connecticut, we participated as a study site in a MAPS-sponsored, FDA-reviewed Phase 2 open-label multisite study, with a focus on providing culturally informed care to people of color. We discuss the development of a study site focused on the ethnic minority trauma experience, including assessment of racial trauma, design of informed consent documents to improve understanding and acceptability to people of color, diversification of the treatment team, ongoing training for team members, validation of participant experiences of racial oppression at a cultural and individual level, examination of the setting and music used during sessions for cultural congruence, training for the independent rater pool, community outreach, and institutional resistance. We also discuss next steps in ensuring that access to culturally informed care is prioritized as MDMA and other psychedelics move into late phase trials, including the importance of diverse sites and training focused on therapy providers of color.

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          Social identity contingencies: how diversity cues signal threat or safety for African Americans in mainstream institutions.

          This research demonstrates that people at risk of devaluation based on group membership are attuned to cues that signal social identity contingencies--judgments, stereotypes, opportunities, restrictions, and treatments that are tied to one's social identity in a given setting. In 3 experiments, African American professionals were attuned to minority representation and diversity philosophy cues when they were presented as a part of workplace settings. Low minority representation cues coupled with colorblindness (as opposed to valuing diversity) led African American professionals to perceive threatening identity contingencies and to distrust the setting (Experiment 1). The authors then verified that the mechanism mediating the effect of setting cues on trust was identity contingent evaluations (Experiments 2 & 3). The power of social identity contingencies as they relate to underrepresented groups in mainstream institutions is discussed. (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved.
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            Payment of clinical research subjects.

            Offering payment to clinical research subjects, in an effort to enhance recruitment by providing an incentive to take part or enabling subjects to participate without financial sacrifice, is a common yet uneven and contentious practice in the US. Concern exists regarding the potential for payment to unduly influence participation and thus obscure risks, impair judgment, or encourage misrepresentation. Heightening these concerns is the participation not only of adults but also of children in pediatric research trials. Thorough assessment of risks, careful eligibility screening, and attention to a participant's freedom to refuse all serve to reduce the possibility of compensation adversely affecting the individual and/or the study. Institutional review boards currently evaluate payment proposals with minimal guidance from federal regulations. Here, reasons for providing payment, payment models, ethical concerns, and areas for further research are examined.
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              Previous Exposure to Trauma and PTSD Effects of Subsequent Trauma: Results From the Detroit Area Survey of Trauma


                Author and article information

                Journal of Psychedelic Studies
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                30 July 2019
                : 1-11
                [ 1 ]Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut , Storrs, CT, USA
                [ 2 ]School of Psychology, University of Ottawa , Ottawa, ON, Canada
                [ 3 ] MAPS Public Benefit Corporation , Santa Cruz, CA, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Monnica T. Williams, PhD; School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, 136 Jean-Jacques Lussier, Vanier Hall, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada; Phone: +1 613 562 5801; Fax: +1 613 562 5169; E-mail: mwilli25@ 123456uottawa.ca
                © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                : 01 May 2019
                : 13 June 2019
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 49, Pages: 11
                Original article

                Evolutionary Biology,Medicine,Psychology,Educational research & Statistics,Social & Behavioral Sciences
                methodology,PTSD,racial trauma,psychedelic,MDMA,race


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