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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 2010-2019
 Degree Discipline: Clinical Psychology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Affective Forecasting: the Effects of Immune Neglect and Surrogation
Studies of affective forecasting examine people’s ability to predict (forecast) their emotional (affective) responses to future events. Affective forecasts underlie nearly all decisions people make and the actions they take. However, people engage in systematic cognitive errors when making affective forecasts and most often overestimate the intensity and duration of their emotional responses. Understanding the mechanisms that lead to affective forecasting errors (e.g., immune neglect) and examining the utility of methods for improving affective forecasting errors (e.g., surrogation) can provide highly valuable information for clinicians as they assist clients in determining their goals both for therapy and for life. The first purpose of the current study was to determine if affective forecasting errors due to immune neglect lead to misjudgments about the relative emotional impact of minor versus moderate negative experiences (i.e., trauma severity). The second purpose was to examine the utility of surrogation for improving affective forecasts. Potential interaction effects between these two variables were also examined. The current study utilized a 2 (Trauma Severity: minor, moderate) X 3 (Prediction Information: surrogation information only, simulation information only, both types of information) experimental design. Undergraduates were recruited via the SONA system and randomly assigned to one of the six experimental conditions. A preliminary study was conducted to obtain surrogation information for use in the main study. All participants in the main study predicted how they would feel 10 minutes after receiving negative personality feedback, using a 10-point scale ranging from (1) very unhappy to (10) very happy. These predictions constitute their affective forecasts. All participants then actually received the negative personality feedback (ostensibly from another participant, a peer, in a nearby room) and reported their actual affective states ten minutes later, using the same scale. These ratings constitute their affective reports. Affective forecasting error was calculated as the difference between affective forecasts and affective reports. Results showed the affective forecasts of participants in the moderate trauma severity condition were significantly less accurate than those of participants in the minor trauma severity condition, providing evidence of immune neglect. Surrogation information significantly improved the accuracy of affective forecasts when participants were deprived of simulation information. Limitations of the current study and implications of the findings are discussed.
Altruism and Depression: Exploring This Relationship and the Mechanisms Behind It
The impact of environmental influences on depression has been well established by research. In particular, it is known that receiving/perceiving adequate social support has a protective influence on depression. Less is known about the protective benefits of providing support to others, namely in the form of altruistic, empathetic, or prosocial behavior. While research has shown that having altruistic attitudes and engaging in altruistic behaviors has a positive impact on physical health and mental well-being, studies on the association between altruistic attitudes and/or behavior and depression are limited. The present study examined the relationship between altruism and depression, and hypotheses were tested that allow for explanation of why altruism may protect against depression. A sample of 303 participants was recruited from the University of North Texas and the surrounding community. Participants completed an online survey that examined their altruistic activities, details regarding these activities, their prosocial attitudes, and their current level of depression. Results did not support that level of involvement in altruistic activities is directly related to depression severity. However, outcomes from involvement in altruistic activities, including sense of overburden from participating in altruistic activities, level of social interaction with other helpers and those helped during altruistic activities, and sense of life satisfaction and purpose gained from participating in altruistic activities, were significantly related to depression severity. These results suggest that participating in altruistic activities that are not perceived as overburdening may lead to outcomes that could positively impact depression. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Assessment of Feigning with the Trauma Symptom Inventory: Development and Validation of new Validity Scales with Severely Traumatized Patients
Currently, only the TSI assesses complex traumatic reactions and patient response styles. However, its feigning scale, ATR, uses a flawed detection strategy and is potentially confounded by experiences of complex PTSD. As a consequence, clinicians using the TSI to evaluate severely traumatized patients have no useful method for discriminating genuine and feigned responding. Several detection strategies have demonstrated utility within evaluations of feigned trauma including the assessment of rare symptoms, symptom combinations, symptom selectivity, and symptom severity. The current study created scales on the TSI according to these strategies using a development sample of 107 severely traumatized patients. Validation of all TSI feigning scales was then performed with a second independent sample of 71 severely traumatized patients using a mixed simulation design. Results found support for each scale's convergent validity with SIRS primary scales (M rs = .52) and discriminant validity with measures of defensiveness on the SIRS (M rs = -.07) and TSI (M rs = -.19). Each scale also produced expectedly mild to moderate relationships with SADS-C clinical scales (M rs = .32) and the SCID-IV PTSD module (M rs = -.02). Support for their criterion validity was only moderate (M ds = .69) when comparing the scores of genuine patients to those simulating disability. Potential explanations for this trend were reviewed, including (a) the impact of comorbidity, (b) the restrictions associated with creating embedded feigning scales, and (c) the influence of simulator knowledge in analogue designs. Limitations of the study and future avenues of research were discussed.
Correlates Between Adult Romantic Attachment Patterns and Dimensional Personality Pathology
Previous research has suggested that adult attachment disturbance is related to maladaptic interaction patterns and personality disorder constructs. Specifically, research indicates that those with attachment disturbance are significantly more likely to meet criteria for a number of personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between adult attachment and the new dimensional model of personality disorders scheduled to be released in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Diosrders (5th ed.) in spring 2013. Participants completed the Schedule for Adaptive and Nonadaptive Personality (SNAP) to measure dimensional personality functioning and the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR-R) and the Attachment Prototypes to measure adult attachment patterns. Additionally, select scales from the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and the Five Factor Model (FFM) will be utilized as secondary measures of personality patterns. The results suggest strong associations between adult attachment orientations and specific maladaptive personality characteristics.
Decentering and the Theory of Social Development
The concept of decentering originated with Piaget, who defined decentering as a feature of operational thought, the ability to conceptualize multiple perspectives simultaneously. Feffer applied Piaget’s concept of decentering to the cognitive maturity of social content. This study used Feffer’s Interpersonal Decentering scoring system for stories told about TAT pictures to investigate the developmental hierarchy of decentering for children and adolescents. The participants originated from the Berkeley Guidance Study, a longitudinal sample of more than 200 individuals followed for more than 60 years by the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley. The hypotheses tested were: (1) chronological age will be positively related to Decentering as reflected in Feffer’s Interpersonal Decentering scores obtained annually between ages 10 and 13 and at 18; (2) children born into higher class homes would have higher Age 12 Decentering scores; (3) children born later in birth order will have higher Age 12 Decentering scores; (4) children whose parents were observed to have closer bonds with their children at age 21 months will have higher Age 12 Decentering scores; (5) adolescents with higher scores from the Decentering Q-sort Scale (derived from adolescent Q-sorts) will have higher Age 12 Decentering scores; and (6) participants who have higher Age 12 Decentering scores will self-report higher CPI Empathy scale scores at Age 30. A repeated measures ANOVA tested Hypothesis 1. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients tested Hypotheses 2-6. Age and Decentering scores were unrelated, as was birth order; social class findings were mixed. Parents’ bonds with child and Age 12 Decentering were negatively correlated (closer bonds predicted higher Decentering), as were Age 12 Decentering and Age 30 Empathy (higher early Decentering predicted lower adulthood Empathy). Girls (age 12) tended to decenter more consistently and had higher Decentering scores than boys.
Evaluating Process Variables in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) was developed to specifically target experiential avoidance (EA) rather than any specific diagnostic category. A functional ACT manual was presented and used to treat diagnostically diverse clients in a large sliding fee-for-service training clinic. A multiple baseline across participants and behaviors research design was used to evaluate session-by-session changes in EA, values identification, valued action, and clinical distress. The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-2 (AAQ2), Valued Living Questionnaire (VLQ), and Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45) were given to measure processes and outcomes given the functional ACT model presented in the introduction to the paper. Baseline included the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I and II Disorders given across 2-5 50- minute sessions. The treatment phase consisted of 7-10 50-minute sessions. Participants were 10 clients. Four participants completed sufficient treatment sessions (4-9) to test the study hypotheses. Participants generally improved across time, but most improvements could not be attributed to the functional application of ACT due to changes during baseline for AAQ, VLQ-Consistency, and OQ-45. VLQ-Importance significantly improved for all participants given ACT.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Parent training Protocol Based on an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Philosophy of Parenting
Thirty-four parents were referred by their CPS caseworkers to participate in one of two ACT for Parenting workshops. These workshops followed a 12 hour treatment protocol based on an acceptance and commitment therapy philosophy of parenting. Briefly, an ACT philosophy of parenting maintains that effective parenting requires awareness and acceptance of thoughts and feelings as they occur in the context of the parent-child relationship. An ACT philosophy of parenting also relies heavily on the identification and commitment to parenting values. Participants were asked to track acceptance and valuing behavior on a daily basis for 25 days prior to the intervention and 25 days post-intervention, as well as to complete a package of self-report instruments designed to measure both ACT specific and general psychological processes, at three different points (pre-, post- and follow-up). Nineteen parents received the treatment, and of those, seventeen provided follow-up data 3-4 months post-intervention. Results indicate statistically significant changes in the expected directions for scores on the BASC-2 Externalizing Composite as well as on the Meta-Valuing Measure. A total of 10 parents also evidenced clinically significant change in the expected directions on a variety of outcome measures.
An Examination of Resnick's Model of Malingering: a Pai Study of Feigned Ptsd
Malingered posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) poses a formidable clinical challenge in personal injury and disability cases because of the apparent ease in feigning PTSD and the supposed link (proximate cause) to the claimed damages. The effective assessment of feigned PTSD is particularly challenging because this diagnosis is both easier to fake than other Axis I disorders and more difficult to detect. As an additional confound, some patients with genuine PTSD produce highly variable, elevated profiles on multiscale inventories that are difficult to distinguish from feigned PTSD. The current study examined whether the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) can effectively differentiate between genuine and feigned PTSD in 109 inpatients from a trauma unit. The two most effective scales were the MAL and the NDS scales. As a primary focus, the current study was the first empirical investigation of Resnick's model of malingered PTSD that is comprised of three subtypes: pure malingering (pure-M), partial malingering (partial-M), and false imputation (false-I). The primary goal was to evaluate whether each feigning group was able to (a) effectively simulate PTSD symptoms and diagnoses and (b) avoid being classified as feigning. The partial-M group proved to be the best feigning group in achieving these two goals. Furthermore, the use of well-defined groups, including an indeterminate band (i.e., unclassified) around each cut score, was explored. Overall, the use of well-defined groups improved accuracy in classification and reduced the number of false-positives.
Executive Control of Craving: An Examination of College Students
Previous research has shown that alcohol abuse may cause a deficit in frontal lobe functioning, specifically, areas of the frontal lobe that are related to executive function. Additionally, problems with executive function have been related to increased difficulty in managing cravings to addictive substances. The current study explored the relationship between alcohol use and performance on measures of executive functioning in a sample of 121 traditional college students. Students were given 5 measures of executive function designed to explore mental set shifting, updating, inhibition, sustained attention, and planning. These measures were used to examine the relationship between executive function and craving as measured by the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale. Levels of alcohol use were also examined using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test in relation to executive function performance and family history of alcohol abuse.
Exploring Psychopathic Personality Traits and Moral Development in a Non-criminal Sample
This study explored psychopathic personality traits among a non-criminal, college undergraduate sample. Much research has been done on conceptualizing the construct of psychopathy, but this work has been conducted primarily with incarcerated individuals using a structured interview, The Psychopathy Checklist – Revised (PCL-R; Hare, 1991, 2003). The goal of the current study was to assess psychopathic traits among non-criminal individuals using The Self-Report Psychopathy Scale - Version Four (SRP-IV; Paulhus, Neumann, & Hare, in press), and compare how SRP-IV scores were associated with a well recognized semi-structured interview for psychopathy, The Psychopathy Checklist – Screening Version (PCL: SV; Hart, Cox, & Hare, 1995). The study also examined whether psychopathic personality traits could be predicted using a measure of normal-range personality, based on the five-factor model (FFM; Digman, 1990), and a measure developed by Loevinger (1976) related to ego development. Five-Factor Model Rating Form (FFMRF; Mullins-Sweat, Jamerson, Samuel, Olson, & Widiger, 2006) scores and Total Protocol Ratings (TPR score) on the Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT; Hy & Loevinger, 1996) were used to predict psychopathy scores. Correlations of SRP-IV scores and PCL: SV scores with FFMRF scores and WUSCT TPR scores were also examined for their uniformity. As predicted, there were significant, negative correlations between FFM domains, Agreeableness and Conscientious, and SRP-IV scores, as well as significant, negative correlations between WUSCT TPR scores and SRP-IV scores. These correlations ranged from small to strong for both SRP-IV overall scores and for SRP-IV factor scores (i.e., Interpersonal Manipulation, Callous Affect, Erratic Lifestyle, and Criminal Tendencies). Additionally, FFM domain scores and WUSCT TPR scores significantly predicted SRP-IV scores. FFM domains, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and WUSCT TPR scores, were the strongest predictors of SRP-IV scores. Similar results were found when FFM domain scores and WUSCT TPR scores predicted SRP-IV factor scores. Results also indicated Agreeableness and Conscientious explained an additional 24% of the variance in psychopathy scores, after controlling for WUSCT TPR scores. Conversely, WUSCT TPR scores explained an additional 5% of the variance in psychopathy scores after controlling for Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Finally, as predicted, the differences in correlations between psychopathy scores (i.e., PCL: SV, SRP-IV), and Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and WUSCT TPR scores were not statistically significant providing evidence that correlates of psychopathic traits can be measured among non-criminal individuals using a self-report measure, the SRP-IV, and that these findings are concordant with those based on a standardized structured assessment for psychopathy. Limitations of the study, implications, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.
Factors Affecting Revictimization in Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Structural equation modeling was used to examine how childhood sexual abuse (and other associated variables, such as family functioning and experiencing multiple forms of abuse) relates to revictimization and psychological distress. Participants were women who participated in Project HOW: Health Outcomes of Women interviews, a longitudinal study that spanned six waves of interviews. Only women with a history of childhood sexual abuse were included in the present study (n=178). Experiencing nonsexual child maltreatment in addition to childhood sexual abuse appears directly related to adult sexual and physical revictimization and indirectly related to psychological distress. Childhood sexual abuse alone was not predictive of revictimization or psychological abuse. This suggests that other mediating factors may explain the relation between CSA and revictimization found in other research. Clinical implications based on the results of the present study emphasize the importance of identifying children who have experienced multiple forms of abuse as particularly at risk for future victimization. In addition, providing interventions with a focus on education and empowerment might decrease risk for future violence and subsequent emotional maladjustment. Potential future research could examine the treatment outcomes and efficacy of these interventions as well as identify those mediating factors that increase the risk for adult revictimization for those individuals who experience only childhood sexual abuse.
Female Psychopathy Predictors: Cluster B Traits and Alexithymia
Psychopathy has long been lauded as a premier predictor of negative behavioral outcomes because of its demonstrated associations with violence, antisocial conduct, and institutional maladjustment. Traditional conceptualizations of psychopathy highlight the relatively equal importance placed on personality features (i.e., a grandiose, deceitful interpersonal style and deficits in affective experience) and behavioral elements (i.e., an impulsive and irresponsible lifestyle marked by social deviance) of the syndrome. However, little research to date has investigated psychopathy dimensions in female samples, particularly as they relate to maladaptive behaviors beyond forensic settings. The current study comprehensively examined personality (i.e., Axis II Cluster B traits and alexithymia) and behavioral (i.e., suicide-related behavior and aggression) expressions of psychopathy in a sample of female inpatients recruited from trauma and dual-diagnosis units at a psychiatric hospital in Dallas, Texas. Contrary to expectations, the essential components of psychopathy in female psychiatric patients emphasized APD and NPD traits over features of HPD and BPD, which were relatively similar to elements traditionally highlighted in male psychopathy. On this point, two latent dimensions comprehensively addressed female psychopathy in the current sample: impulsive antisociality and narcissistic and histrionic interpersonal style. Interestingly, psychopathy (M r = .01) and Cluster B traits (M r = .05) were virtually unrelated to suicide-related behavior in female patients with trauma and substance use histories, but APD and BPD traits were more discerning for impulsive and premeditated aggression than variants of psychopathy. Aggression's relationship to BPD traits is at least partially mediated by alexithymia. These results are discussed in terms of improving evaluation and intervention efforts aimed at identifying and managing psychopathic females beyond forensic settings.
Implementation of a Therapy Group for Wives of Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Development and Preliminary Outcomes
The purpose of this study was to develop a manualized therapy group for wives or significant others of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and to evaluate its effectiveness in reducing wives' psychological symptoms. A second aim of the study was to determine if women's involvement in the wives group resulted in decreases in their husbands' PTSD symptoms. Women recruited for the study were administered pre-test measures during a screening session. They then participated in a 9-session manualized therapy group designed by the researcher that included psychoeducational, process, and support components. Examples of group topics included psychoeducation regarding PTSD, assertiveness and communication, intimacy, self-care, and stress management. After completing the group sessions, participants were asked to complete post-test measures. Other factors explored in this study included marital satisfaction, perceived social support, general satisfaction with the group, and demographic variables. Results indicated that wives who participated in the group treatment exhibited significant decreases in secondary stress symptoms and increases in marital satisfaction from pre-test to post-test. The majority of participants also reported high levels of satisfaction with the group process. Therefore, it appears that the group protocol presented in this study could be a useful tool in the treatment of wives of veterans with PTSD. The results of this study have potential implications regarding the clinical treatment of families of veterans with PTSD and the development of future programs within the VA system.
Intimate Partner Violence Among Female Undergraduates: The Role of Language in the Development of Posttraumatic Stress
Research findings across a variety of samples (e.g., clinical, shelter, hospital) estimate that 31% to 84% of women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) exhibit symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study sought to further investigate the abuse-trauma link by examining the relationship between lifetime trauma exposure, type of abuse (i.e., physical, psychological), and perspective-taking abilities (i.e., here-there, now-then). The role of experiential avoidance in the development of PTSD symptoms was also examined. Results indicated that lifetime trauma exposure (β = .31) and psychological abuse (β = .34) were significant predictors of PTSD symptomatology. Additionally, analyses revealed that experiential avoidance (β = .65) was a significant predictor of PTSD symptoms that partially mediated the relationship between IPV and PTSD symptomatology. Implications of findings are discussed as well as future suggestions for research examining type of IPV and PTSD.
An Investigation of Malingering and Defensiveness Using the Spanish Pai Among Spanish-speaking Hispanic American Outpatients
For response styles, malingering describes the deliberate production of feigned symptoms by persons seeking external gain such as financial compensation, exemption from duty, or leniency from the criminal justice system. In contradistinction, defensiveness occurs when patients attempt to downplay their symptoms of psychological impairment. Both of the aforementioned response styles can markedly affect the accuracy of diagnosis, especially on self-reports, such as multiscale inventories. As an important oversight, no studies have been conducted to examine the effect of culturally specific response styles on profile validity and the classification of malingering among Hispanic American clinical populations. The current study investigated whether the Spanish Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) effectively distinguished between Spanish-speaking outpatient groups randomly assigned to honest, feigning, and defensive experimental conditions. In examining the results, PAI malingering indicators utilizing Rare Symptoms strategies (NIM and MAL) demonstrated moderate to large effect sizes. For defensiveness, Spanish PAI indicators also demonstrated moderate to very large effect sizes (M d = 1.27; range from 0.94 to 1.68). Regarding psychometric properties, Spanish PAI validity scales, provide adequate to good data on reliability and discriminant validity. Clinical utility of the Spanish PAI increases as different cut scores are employed.
An Investigation of the Phase Model of Psychotherapy Across Therapeutic Orientations: Are Different Approaches Actually All That Different?
The current study investigated the process of change underlying two different evidence-based treatments that yield similar outcome effectiveness in the treatment of depression: Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). The phase model of psychotherapeutic change (Howard et al., 1993) change is used to provide both a theoretical and practical framework in which to assess different patterns of change across the treatment modalities. The phase model posits that recovery from distress occurs in three sequential stages: remoralization, remediation and rehabilitation. CT can be conceptualized as a treatment in which the primary focus is on the treatment of symptoms (remediation), whereas IPT can typically be conceptualized as focusing on interpersonal conflicts and functioning (rehabilitation). The study utilized the TDCRP dataset (Elkin et al., 1985). Survival analysis indicated no significant difference in terms of onset or pattern of improvement across treatment orientations. Chi square analyses indicated individuals treated with IPT spend significantly more time engaged in rehabilitation compared to their CT counterparts. Taken together, these findings represent evidence that the process of therapeutic change is similar, if not virtually identical, across therapeutic orientation. The analyses also indicate that the phases of therapy may not necessarily be mutually exclusive and sequential, but may instead represent co-occurring patterns of improvement which are not sequentially determined.
Is Mattering what Matters: A Validation Study of the Meta-Valuing Measure of Flexible Valuing
Freely choosing a life direction, or flexible valuing, is a core component of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Initial research suggests that valuing behavior may contribute to psychological well-being, but has been stymied by a lack of an efficient measure. The current study examined the psychometric characteristics of a new measure of flexible valuing, the Meta-Valuing Measure (MVM), in a sample of 532 undergraduates. Exploratory factors analysis revealed 3 orthogonal factors, Valuing (α = .94), Freedom from Values Conflict (α = .92), and Flexibility in Valuing (α = .73). The majority of expected relationships with other constructs were significant including those with measures of values, mindfulness, quality of life, experiential avoidance, and psychological distress.
Miranda Reasoning and Competent Waiver Decisions: Are Models of Legal Decision Making Applicable?
Miranda understanding, appreciation, and reasoning abilities are essential to courts' determinations of knowing and intelligent Miranda rights waivers. Despite the remarkable development of Miranda research in recent decades, studies have generally focused on understanding and appreciation of Miranda rights, but have not examined Miranda reasoning and waiver decisions. Therefore, examining the nature of defendants' decisional capacities constitutes a critical step in further developing theoretical and clinical models for competent Miranda waiver decisions. The current study evaluated Miranda waiver decisions for 80 pretrial defendants from two Tulsa-area Oklahoma jails. Previously untested, the current study examined systematically how rational decision abilities affect defendants' personal waiver decisions. Components from general models of legal decision making, such as decisional competence and judgment models, were examined to determine their applicability to Miranda waiver decisions.
Organized Semantic Fluency and Executive Functioning in an Adult Clinical Sample and a Community Sample
The study investigated an organized semantic fluency task, (the Controlled Animal Fluency Task - CAFT) as a measure of executive functioning (EF) in adults, and the relationship with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Participants (N = 266) consisted of a clinical sample (n = 142) utilizing neuropsychological assessment data collected at an outpatient psychological center, and a community sample (n = 124). The clinical sample was a heterogeneous mixed neurological group including a variety of health conditions and comorbid anxiety and depression. The CAFT Animals by Size demonstrated a significant positive correlation with Category Fluency (r = .71, n = 142, p < .001) , Animal Fluency (r = .70, n = 142, p < .001), and with other, established neuropsychological measures. The CAFT Animals by Size condition demonstrated a significant moderate negative correlation with IADL for the sample as a whole (r = -.46, n = 248, p < .001), and for the clinical sample (r = -.38, n = 129, p < .001), but not for the community sample. In a hierarchical regression analysis, CAFT Animal by Size explained additional variance in IADL (&#916;R2 = .15). In a hierarchical regression analysis predicting IADL with the control variables entered first, followed by Category Fluency, with CAFT Animal by Size entered last, CAFT Animals by Size did not make a significant additional contribution. A stepwise forward regression indicated Category Fluency, education, and Category Switching are better predictors of IADL than CAFT Animals by Size. Normative data for the CAFT were calculated separately for age groups and education levels. Simple logistic regression indicated CAFT Animal by Size was a significant predictor of clinical or community group membership. A second logistic regression analysis indicated the CAFT Animal by Size condition improved the prediction of membership in the clinical versus the community group, compared to the MMSE alone. Applications of the CAFT are discussed.
Posttraumatic Stress and Neurobehavioral Symptoms
The purpose of this study is to examine the structure of neurobehavioral symptoms in service members with physical and/or psychological trauma to determine the diagnostic specificity of these symptoms. Previous literature has demonstrated that orthopedic injured, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), and healthy controls shared similar levels of postconcussive symptom complaints, which suggest that postconcussion-like symptoms are not unique to MTBI. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first study examining this phenomenon in a sample of recently redeployed service members. Dimensional analysis of the PCL-C and NSI using SEM did not produce a model that was consistent with previous literature and principle component analyses did not produce a simple solution for posttraumatic stress or neurobehavioral symptoms. Thus, the study does not provide evidence for construct validity for either instrument. Implications for these findings are that clinicians need to be aware that these instruments may not be measuring coherent constructs within this population as purported and should judiciously interpret and report the results of these instruments.
Risk and Resilience Faced by Children of Deployed Service Members
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of military deployment on children, and the roles that risk and protective factors and parenting stress play in emotional symptoms and behaviors exhibited by children while their parents are deployed. A sample of 143 parents (recruited from all branches of the military) who remained at home while their spouses were deployed completed online self-report questionnaires measuring demographic and background information, child internalizing and externalizing behavior, parenting stress, child adaptability, valuing behavior, family cohesion/environment, and parenting behaviors. The sample primarily consisted of mothers (n = 141) and Caucasian individuals (n = 126), which may limit the generalizability of the findings. Results of the study suggest risk factors including parenting stress, corporal punishment, length of time a parent is deployed, and type of deployment (combat vs. non-combat) were predictive of poorer child outcomes. Protective factors including values consistent behavior, child adaptability, and family cohesion were predictive of better childhood outcomes. Parenting stress served as a mediating variable between the relationship of total risk and child outcomes, while values consistent behavior served as a mediating variable between the relationship of protective factors experienced by children and child outcomes. Military deployments not only impact the service members, but also their families at home. Further study and identification of risk and protective factors faced by military children and families are imperative. Implications of findings are discussed as well as suggestions for future research concerning deployment and impact on military families (e.g. identification and empirical validation of programs to support military families.
The Role of Experiential Avoidance in Trauma, Substance Abuse, and Other Experiences
Experiential avoidance (EA) is a process in which a person attempts to avoid, dismiss, or change experiences such as emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. EA is associated with a number of psychological disorders and is generally harmful to psychological well-being. Various studies have explored the role of EA as a mediator, while others have studied EA as a moderator. The current study aimed to further understand and broaden the knowledge of the role of EA in regard to trauma, substance abuse, aggression, and impulsivity by examining relationships between these variables with EA as a mediator and as a moderator. Experientially avoidant behaviors (i.e., substance abuse, aggression, and impulsivity) were related to higher levels of EA. EA was found to partially mediate the relationship between the number of traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as well as the relationship between substance abuse and PTSD. EA was also found to moderate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and aggression. Findings from the present study as well as its limitations and future directions for research are discussed.
Values and Valuing in a College Population
Values and valuing behavior have many conceptualizations. Despite how they are defined, values have a significant impact on behavior and are idiosyncratic in nature. The present study reviewed values research and sought to explore values identification and successful valued living among an archived sample of university students. Specifically, in a convenience sample of 282 undergraduate students, variables that affect values identification and behavior such as ethnicity, gender, psychological distress, and psychological flexibility were identified. Results indicated that university students identified with more than one valued living domain (as measured by the PVQ) and that contextual factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, and religiosity/spirituality were associated with specific values endorsed. Furthermore, psychological distress, including depression and anxiety (as measured by the DASS) was negatively correlated with values purity – the extent to which values are freely chosen. Finally, psychological flexibility (low experiential avoidance as measured by the AAQ-2), predicted values purity and successful living in accordance with identified values, and the relationship between these two variables was mediated by psychological flexibility.