Will going to the hospital in July kill you?

standard post
Eric Barker  -  
Comments  -  

The authors found that inside medical institutions, fatal medication errors spiked in July and in no other month. This July peak was visible only in counties with teaching hospitals. In these counties, the number of July deaths from medication errors was 10 percent above the expected level. No similar link was observed for other causes of death or for deaths outside hospitals.

And

According to sociology professor David Phillips and his student Gwendolyn Barker from the University of California, San Diego, fatal medication errors peak in July in counties with teaching hospitals, which coincides with the yearly influx of new medical residents who are given increased responsibility for patient care.

Source. Hat tip: David DiSalvo

Join over 151,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

6 Things The Most Productive People Do Every Day

New Harvard Research Reveals A Fun Way To Be More Successful


These Weekend Activities Best Help You Recover From The Work Week

standard post
Eric Barker  -  
Comments  -  

Anything that helps you not think about work, aids relaxation and also “mastery experiences.” Doing the things you’re good at.

For most employees, the weekend offers the opportunity to recover and unwind from demands faced during the working week. In this study, first, we examined which factors contribute to employees’ successful recovery during the weekend. Second, we investigated if being highly recovered after the weekend benefits different dimensions of job performance during the week. Using a within-person design we conducted a week-level study with 133 employees over four working weeks. Participants responded to weekly web-based surveys at the beginning and at the end of the working week. Hierarchical linear modelling showed that psychological detachment, relaxation, and mastery experiences during the weekend predicted the state of being recovered at the beginning of the working week. The state of being recovered in turn predicted fluctuations in weekly task performance, personal initiative, organizational citizenship behaviour, and low perceived effort. Our results stress the importance of recovery during the weekend for both the individual and for organizations.

Source: “Recovery during the weekend and fluctuations in weekly job performance: A week-level study examining intra-individual relationships” from Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Volume 83, Number 2, June 2010 , pp. 419-441(23)

Join over 90,000 readers and get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

How To Be Resilient: 8 Steps To Success When Life Gets Hard

What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

How To Make Your Life Better By Sending Five Simple Emails


A Quick And Easy Way To Relieve Stress

standard post
Eric Barker  -  
Comments  -  

Chew gum:

The notion that chewing gum may relieve stress was investigated in a controlled setting. A multi-tasking framework which reliably evokes stress and also includes performance measures was used to induce acute stress in the laboratory. Using a randomised crossover design forty participants (mean age 21.98 years) performed on the multi-tasking framework at two intensities (on separate days) both while chewing and not chewing. Order of workload intensity and chewing conditions were counterbalanced. Before and after undergoing the platform participants completed the state portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Bond–Lader visual analogue mood scales, a single Stress Visual Analogue Scale and provided saliva samples for cortisol measurement. Baseline measures showed that both levels of the multi-tasking framework were effective in significantly reducing self-rated alertness, calmness and contentment while increasing self-rated stress and state anxiety. Cortisol levels fell during both levels of the stressor during the morning, reflecting the predominance of a.m. diurnal changes, but this effect was reversed in the afternoon which may reflect a measurable stress response. Pre–post stressor changes (Δ) for each measure at baseline were subtracted from Δ scores under chewing and no chewing conditions. During both levels of stress the chewing gum condition was associated with significantly better alertness and reduced state anxiety, stress and salivary cortisol. Overall performance on the framework was also significantly better in the chewing condition. The mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown but may involve improved cerebral blood flow and/or effects secondary to performance improvement during gum chewing.

Source: “Chewing gum alleviates negative mood and reduces cortisol during acute laboratory psychological stress” from Physiology & Behavior, Volume 97, Issues 3-4, 22 June 2009, Pages 304-312

Join over 151,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

6 Hostage Negotiation Techniques That Will Get You What You Want

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips


What’s worse: losing your job or being afraid of losing your job?

standard post
Eric Barker  -  
Comments  -  

“…perceived job insecurity ranks as one of the most important factors in employees’ well-being and can be even more harmful than actual job loss with subsequent unemployment.”

This paper analyzes the impact of job insecurity perceptions on individual well-being. In contrast to previous studies, we explicitly take into account perceptions about both the likelihood and the potential costs of job loss and demonstrate that most contributions to the literature suffer from simultaneity bias. When accounting for simultaneity, we find the true unbiased effect of perceived job insecurity to be more than twice the size of naive estimates. Accordingly, perceived job insecurity ranks as one of the most important factors in employees’ well-being and can be even more harmful than actual job loss with subsequent unemployment.

Source: “Perceived Job Insecurity and Well-Being Revisited: Towards Conceptual Clarity” from German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), Berlin, March 2010

Join over 190,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

New Harvard Research Reveals A Fun Way To Be More Successful


Is this why we can do fun stuff for hours but work stresses us out?

standard post
Eric Barker  -  
Comments  -  

I’ve always wondered why if something is “fun” we can do it for hours, yet if it’s “work” it stresses us out and leaves us exhausted when the distinction between the two is often arbitrary and idiosyncratic. (Doing your taxes is frustrating while solving puzzles is fun. How different are they really?)

Certainly, interest in the task at hand is a big factor but this study touched on an interesting element as well:

This study examined pilots’ vigilance during an extended general aviation flight as measured by their capacity to exercise control over the aircraft during a planned flight. Thirty-one qualified pilots flew a flight simulator from Wagga Wagga to Bankstown, Sydney, a distance of 207 nautical miles. The flight comprised five separate legs, although three legs were subjected to analysis. On the basis of attentional resource theory, it was hypothesised that task performance would differ based on the requirement for memory retrieval. Consistent with the hypothesis, the results revealed a deterioration in those tasks for which there was a substantial requirement for memory retrieval. Further analysis revealed that the deterioration in performance was best predicted by pilots’ perception of the workload associated with the flight and their perception of their ability to exercise control over aircraft during normal conditions. The implications are discussed in terms of system design and training.

Source: “Vigilance decrement during a simulated general aviation flight” from Applied Cognitive Psychology

This very much ties in with flow, a concept proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi which I strongly believe in.

The thing I’ll probably be most likely to take away from the study above is the repetition of the word perception. Deterioration in performance had nothing to do with how much work there really was or the actual level of the pilot’s skill. It was the pilot’s perception of workload and skill.

Perhaps I’m being too picky about wording; maybe they mention perception here because that’s all the pilot really could know. But the distinction might still remain, nonetheless.

In the latest Radiolab podcast (which I can’t recommend strongly enough) they discussed the body’s ability to regulate the perception of energy and pain. It seems the body has a governor of sorts that tells you how much gas you have left in the tank and doles out discomfort when it thinks you’re working too hard. Turns out this regulator is extremely conservative. It tells us we can do no more long before our muscles actually give out.

Some people can ignore it. Those people run ultra-marathons and multi-state cycling races that last days. Their bodies aren’t all that different than yours or mine. So, no, you don’t get to look at them and say they are physically gifted freaks of nature. It seems the majority of what allows them to do what they do is mental.

A while back I posted about the techniques the Navy Seals started teaching which dramatically increased passing rates. None of them had anything to do with training the body.

So much of our ability to enjoy the good things and persevere the bad has little to do with the world as it is and much more to do with how we perceive it. Just something I’ll be trying to keep in mind today.