Self-deception can have the benefits of self-confidence and regard of peers; teenage drivers predisposed to distracted driving; AIDS-free generation will require a cure if patients don’t take their meds responsibly; parents can inflict emotional harm towards children with long-lasting consequences. These stories and more topping public health headlines today, Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

USA TodayParents can inflict emotional harm, not realize it
Parents and other caregivers who demean, bully, humiliate or otherwise emotionally abuse children may not know the harm they can cause and often do not get the help that they and their children need, says a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Psychological maltreatment is just as harmful as other types of maltreatment,” says today’s report in Pediatrics. Yet it is not recognized, understood or studied as much as physical or sexual abuse.

Wall Street JournalThe Case for Lying to Yourself
Lying to yourself—or self-deception, as psychologists call it—can actually have benefits. And nearly everybody does it, based on a growing body of research using new experimental techniques. Self-deception isn’t just lying or faking, but is deeper and more complicated, says Del Paulhus, psychology professor at University of British Columbia and author of a widely used scale to measure self-deceptive tendencies. It involves strong psychological forces that keep us from acknowledging a threatening truth about ourselves, he says.

New York TimesFor Some AIDS Patients, Only a Cure Will Do
After the phrase “AIDS-free generation” was repeated so many breathless times at the 19th International AIDS Conference last week, and a cured patient actually emerged for inspection, it seemed only logical to expect that some of the buzz would rapidly reach our clinic and the eager ears of my patient Mr. P. But no, all was business as usual. Blood was drawn and prescriptions were refilled and Mr. P. failed to show for his appointment.

NPRDistractions Come Naturally To Teenage Drivers
Distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, but teens are at higher risk. Yes, it’s true that drivers under 25 are up to three times more likely to send text messages or emails while behind the wheel than older drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But there’s a deeper problem: Teenagers are also at a developmental stage where getting distracted is more problematic than it is for older drivers.

New York TimesInsurance Rebates Seen as Selling Point for Health Law
Lucia Harkenreader’s check landed in her mailbox last week: a rebate of $456.15 from her health insurance company, with a letter dryly explaining that the money came courtesy of the federal health care law. The law requires insurers to give out annual rebates by Aug. 1, starting this year, if less than 80 percent of the premium dollars they collect go toward medical care. For insurers covering large employers, the threshold is 85 percent. a result, insurers will pay out $1.1 billion this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, although most of it will not go to individuals. The average rebate will be $151 per household.