English summaries

English Summaries (01/2020)

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Maaria Nikunen, Martti T. Tuomisto, Ulla Siljamäki-Ojansuu & Satu-Sisko Koivula

The “Decimal System” – A new algorithm for identifying psychological problems of eating and obesity and setting treatment goals

According to Finland’s Current Care Guidelines on Obesity, healthcare professionals’ guidance skills should be developed to provide the most comprehensive and individualized lifestyle guidance. The “Decimal System” is a new system for classifying psychological problems or strengths. The aim of the system is to understand clients’ problems in daily living, and thus set treatment goals and choose optimal intervention methods. In addition, the objective is to identify primary behavioural problems, so that these can be analyzed and altered from a valid perspective. The decimal system has so far been used in behaviour therapy but is well suited for all applied behavioural sciences. In this review article, we take a closer look at the psychological problems of eating and obesity. For instance, eating behaviour is associated with the pleasure of dining, attentional biases for food cues, taste preferences, knowledge about food, inhibitory control, dietary restraint, mindfulness, emotions and emotional skills, stress and body image. To help rectify these problems, we introduce the new decimal system, which we believe to be a useful method for understanding and explaining the problematic behaviour related to obesity.

Keywords: problems, strengths, eating behaviour, obesity, decimal system

Kirsi Salonen, Katriina Hyvönen, Kalevi Korpela, Heta Saranpää, Jenna Nieminen & Joona Muotka

Flow with Nature intervention: Participants’ experiences and changes in affects

The aim of this study was to investigate employees’ experiences and their affects during a nature-based well-being intervention (Flow with Nature intervention), which was developed in this study. The data consisted of Finnish employees divided into three groups: Flow with Nature groups, Independent Nature groups (who experienced nature independently) and the control group. Participants (= 121) were mostly females (92% female; average age 47 years). Changes in affects during each meeting were compared between the three groups with ANOVA and with hierarchical linear modelling (HLM) during the intervention period (five meetings once a week). The discussions of the participants in the Flow with Nature groups were analyzed with content analysis. The results showed that participating in the nature intervention groups (Flow with Nature and Independent Nature groups) had immediate positive effects on the affects of the participants at each meeting, and the positive effects were stronger at several meetings as compared to participants in the control group. There was no difference between the changes in affects when comparing participants in the Flow with Nature groups and participants in the Independent Nature groups. There was no difference either in the degree of changes in affects across measurements. The result of the content analysis of the group discussions revealed four main categories: comprehensive nature experiences, impacts of nature, specific characteristics of the nature intervention and significance of social experiences. The participants in Flow with Nature groups became more aware of the positive effects of nature and disturbing experiences in nature were reduced or resolved during the intervention. 

Keywords: effects of nature on well-being, nature-based intervention, Flow with Nature intervention, comprehensive nature experience, physical activity in nature

Matti Kuittinen, Petri Karkkola, Maiju Cankurt, Noora Haapaniemi & Kirsi Honkalampi

Perceived competencies of professional psychologists: The significance of work experience and subfield

Professional competencies, or an individual’s professional capabilities and skills, form the essence of psychological professional ability. The aim of this research was to investigate the competencies required in psychological practice, and examine how these relate to age and work experience. An earlier version of the competence questionnaire (Korhonen, 2005; Kuittinen et al., 2014) was supplemented with statements on supervision of work, and its factor structure as well as the reliability of its competence sum variables were examined in this study. The data used in the study was collected by the Finnish Psychological Association and the Finnish University Network of Psychology. Their survey was conducted in electronic format in summer 2017, examining psychologists’ specialization needs as well as their professional competences. Explorative factor analysis yielded the following seven factors: supervision and training skills, professional identity, adjustment to working conditions, working with clients, continuous professional development, methodological and assessment skills, collaborative and teamwork skills. Supervision and training skills competency yielded the greatest explanatory power. The competencies as evaluated by psychologists correlate with age, work experience, and work context. Collaborative and teamwork competencies, supervision and training skills, work identity as well as adjustment to working conditions were highest among the over-50s age group. Regarding working context, psychologists working in universities, companies and as independent practitioners evaluated most of their competencies higher than other respondents. Psychological competencies differ by age and acquired work experience, thus presenting the biggest challenge for junior psychologists in particular. The competence questionnaire in the present study is a viable instrument for developing the education of future psychologists and to assess the development of professional competencies. However, the definitions and assessment of competencies must acknowledge both societal changes and changing demands for psychologists.

Keywords: competency, psychology, reliability