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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 2010-2019
 Degree Discipline: Psychology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy
The accurate assessment of psychopathy constitutes a critical component of forensic assessments addressing offender populations. Among the core characteristics of psychopathy, the interpersonal component of deception and empathic deficits are prominently observed in offenders with psychopathic traits. Given the negative consequences of being classified as a psychopath, offenders may be likely to minimize their psychopathic traits. In particular, no research has investigated whether offenders with psychopathic traits are able to simulate empathy in an effort to mask their cognitive or affective empathy deficits (e.g., lack of remorse about offenses). The present study aims to contribute to the literature with regard to the simulation of empathy. Using a mixed between- and within-subjects design, 81 male detainees were placed into (a) a low psychopathy group, (b) a moderate psychopathy group, or (c) a high psychopathy group based on the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised. For the within-subjects component, all offenders answered empathy questionnaires under genuine and simulation conditions. Results indicate the sample possessed cognitive empathy, but did not display affective empathy under genuine instructions. Under simulation instructions, participants significantly increased their scores on several empathy measures. The implications of simulated empathy and comparisons between groups regarding simulation abilities are discussed.
Acculturation, Acculturative Stress, and Anxiety Among Hispanic Undergraduates
First generation college students face some unique challenges in the pursuit of higher education. Aside from academic stressors, there are stressors related to social and cultural transitions which may exacerbate pre-existing emotional or psychological distress. Research suggests that acculturation influences psychological well-being and development. The current study examined the relationships between acculturation, acculturative stress, socio-economic status, and symptoms of anxiety among first-generation college students of Hispanic origin. Participants (N = 125) included those who were first in their family to attend college and were primarily female, of traditional college age, and of Mexican heritage. All measures were self-report and were completed online. Overall, this study was inconclusive as most analyses were underpowered. The present study failed to support a relationship between style of acculturation and symptoms of anxiety, although, experiencing Anglo marginality was related to high levels of acculturative stress and anxiety. Finally, regression analysis revealed that acculturative stress, age, and Anglo marginalization were significant predictors of anxiety and accounted for 31% of variance in anxiety. Implications of the present study were discussed. Further study with adequate power is highly recommended.
Acculturation and Depression in Older Mexican American Adults: the Role of Social Support
Despite socioeconomic disadvantages, less acculturated Mexican Americans tend to exhibit better mental health than their more acculturated counterparts. However, in the case of older Mexican American adults, research has demonstrated the opposite to be true (Gonzalez, Haan, & Hinton, 2001). A variable of interest potentially responsible for this difference is social support. Thus, the current study proposed to investigate the mediation and moderation effects that social support has on the relationship between acculturation and depression in older Mexican American adults age 60 or older. Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) was analyzed. Results showed that the mediating effect of contact with one’s children (-.109*) and the moderating effect of total social support and contact with one’s children (-.127*; -.103*) were statistically significant in the relationship between acculturation and depression. Although these effects are small they may still hold important implications for better understanding this population.
Acculturation and Feminist Endorsement on Control of Health and Health Behaviors in Hispanic Females
Hispanic women are the fastest growing population in the United States. Thus, it is important to explore health disparities that affect this population and better understand potential causes. Several explanations have been proposed for disparities that exist including turning to cultural alternatives rather than conventional medicine, low numbers of health insurance enrollments among Hispanics, and acculturation. However, little attention has been given to explanations that take into account the unique experiences of Hispanic women. The present study explored these experiences through investigation of endorsement of feminist attitudes (e.g., gender role adherence and beliefs that men and women should be treated equally in society) and level of acculturation. Undergraduate Hispanic women (18-24 years of age, M = 20.25, SD = 1.51) at the University of North Texas completed measures including the Multidimensional Health Questionnaire, the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans-II, and the Liberal Feminist Attitude and Ideology Scale. Although results indicate that acculturation was not significant in the sample, feminist endorsement was found to be positively correlated with health-esteem, health-efficacy, and internal-health locus of control. Limitations and recommended directions for future research are explored.
ADHD Symptomology and Overweight among College Men
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood disorder that often persists into adulthood. Among adults, ADHD is highly comorbid with addictive behaviors (e.g., substance abuse and dependence), and depressive disorders. Recently, an association between ADHD and obesity has been reported in the literature; emotional and binge eating may be “addictive behaviors” that contribute to weight gain in this population. The purpose of this study was to test competing models of the hypothesized link between ADHD symptomology and overweight. Specifically, in Model 1, symptoms of depression are expected to mediate the relationship between symptoms of impulsivity and inattention and emotional and binge eating which, in turn, leads to weight gain (i.e., increased BMI). In Model 2, however, the impulsive symptoms have direct relationships with emotional and binge eating in addition to being mediated by depressive symptoms. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed to test how the models fit the data of 790 college men. Both models fit the data well, with Model 2 being preferred because of its greater connection to theory. All paths were significant indicating that increased impulsive and inattentive symptoms predicted increased symptoms of depression that, in turn, predicted increased emotional/binge eating, which has a direct and positive relationship with increased BMI. Moreover, impulsive symptoms were also directly related to emotional/binge eating, suggesting different paths to overweight across ADHD subtypes. The findings of the current study elucidate the links between ADHD symptoms and overweight (i.e., increased BMI).
Athletic Trainers and Sport Psychology: Knowledge, Experience and Attitudes
Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) play a unique role in sport environments as the primary medical staff available to athletes. Thus, ATCs are well positioned to oversee athletes’ physical and psychological well-being. Although sport psychologists (SPs) have been identified as a potential resource for ATCs, previous studies have reported a lack of collaboration between SPs and ATCs. This study aimed to (a) examine ATCs’ views regarding professional roles for both ATCs and SPs, (b) explore ATCs’ referral behaviors, (c) evaluate ATCs belief in the credibility of sport psychology across demographic (i.e., gender, age) and experiential variables (i.e., access to SPs), and (d) examine ATCs’ involvement in sport psychology. Four hundred ninety-six ATCs (265 men, 231 women) completed and returned the questionnaire. ATCs viewed assisting in the psychological recovery of athletes as the most acceptable professional role for fellow ATCs; aiding in the psychological recovery of injured athletes and teach mental skills were identified by ATCs as the most appropriate roles for SPs. In considering an athlete experiencing interpersonal difficulties (e.g., relationship problems), a mixed design ANOVA revealed a ATC sex by referral option interaction; female and male ATCs indicated they would likely refer the athlete to a counselor/therapist, followed by a SP, however, female ATCs reported a greater likelihood of referring to a counselor/therapist than male ATCs whereas male ATCs indicated a greater likelihood of referring to a SP. Further, ATCs’ regular access to SPs and completion of formal sport psychology coursework were identified as variables associated with greater belief in the credibility of sport psychology. These results suggest that access and previous experience with SPs remain significant variables associated with ATCs views about, and belief in, the work of SPs. Implications for sport psychology professionals and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Attention Biases Associated with Vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is associated with significant social and occupational impairments, as well as increased risk for substance abuse and suicide. More research is needed to identify potential mechanisms associated with vulnerability to the disorder. Previous research has identified altered processing of emotional information in bipolar and bipolar-prone individuals, including attentional biases which appear to differ based on the current affective state of the individual. The current study applied a sensitive measure of attention (i.e., eye-tracking) to assess whether vulnerability to bipolar disorder, as indexed by hypomanic personality traits, would be correlated with biases in attention to emotional facial stimuli, independent of mood state. Hypomanic personality traits were hypothesized to be associated with greater attention to happy and angry faces, as indexed by faster initial orientation, more frequent gazes, and longer gaze duration for these stimuli. Participants completed self-report measures assessing current mood symptoms, positive and negative affect, and hypomanic personality traits. They then completed two tasks assessing attention for emotional faces. The first was an eye-tracking task, which measured latency to first fixation, total gaze duration and total number of gazes for each emotional face category. The second was a spatial cueing task which assessed both attentional engagement with emotional faces, and ability to disengage attention from this material. Hypomanic personality traits were significantly negatively correlated with latency to orient attention to happy faces. A trend toward decreased latency to orient to angry faces with higher hypomanic personality traits was also demonstrated. Hypomanic traits were not correlated with attention to sad faces. Furthermore, hypomanic traits were associated only with differences in initial orientation of attention, not with continued engagement or disengagement. The results of this study suggest that individuals with higher levels of hypomanic personality traits, who are hypothesized to be at greater risk of developing bipolar disorder, are characterized by differences in their initial orientation of attention to positive emotional stimuli, independent of their current mood state. This finding is indicative of biased information processing in individuals with vulnerability to bipolar disorder. Such a bias may have important clinical implications for individuals with a vulnerability to bipolar disorder, as it may represent a mechanism by which vulnerability leads to increased, and at times problematic, engagement with rewarding stimuli.
Back in My Hands: the Role of Self-forgiveness and Stigma in Hiv-positive Adults
While advancements in treatment have made HIV a more manageable disease, only recently have psychosocial variables associated with the health of persons living with HIV (PLH) began to receive increased scrutiny. HIV-related stigma, considered by some researchers to be a “second epidemic,” is one such psychosocial variable and is associated with negative physiological and psychological health outcomes. In an effort to alleviate the effects of stress, increased research attention has focused on forgiveness as a teachable coping strategy. Current forgiveness interventions demonstrate encouraging results in decreasing anger and neutralizing stress but have not been applied to HIV-positive populations. In this study, Lazarus and Folkman’s transactional model of stress and coping (1984) and Prochaska and Velicer’s transtheoretical model of health behavior (1997) were utilized as theoretical frameworks to inform a randomized clinical trial that examines coping skills, particularly forgiveness, in PLH and perceived HIV-related stigma. An ethnically diverse sample of HIV-positive adults (n = 57) was randomized into a treatment or control group. The treatment group participated in six weeks of cognitive-behavioral group therapy that focused on the teaching of forgiveness as an effective coping tool while the control group was psychoeducational in nature and did not involve mention of forgiveness. Data was obtained on a variety of medical and psychosocial variables, including types of forgiveness (dispositional forgiveness, forgiveness of self, forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of situations) and perceived HIV-related stigma. Data were collected at three time points: at baseline (Time 1) prior to randomization of participants to the treatment or control group, immediately post intervention (Time 2), and at six-month follow-up (Time 3). Importantly, forgiveness was shown to be a teachable skill that PLH can use to potentially improve mental health. Men in the treatment group reported significantly higher levels of dispositional forgiveness and self-forgiveness than men in the control group at six-month follow up. Additionally, self-forgiveness at Time 1 and self-forgiveness at Time 3 significantly accounted for 34% and 28% of the variance, respectively, in HIV-related stigma at Time 3. Though self-forgiveness was shown to be better than forgiveness of others in predicting HIV-related stigma, the forgiveness intervention was not effective in reducing overall HIV-related stigma in PLH. HIV-related stigma is likely more complex than originally conceptualized. Implications and future directions in improving interventions to mitigate HIV-related stigma are discussed.
Benefits and Costs of Social Interactions Among Firefighters
Despite high levels of exposure, firefighter posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates are unclear. Likewise, questions remain regarding how social interactions and beliefs about emotion might interact to influence PTSD in firefighters. In this study, U.S. urban firefighters (N = 225) completed measures of social support, negative social interactions, and fear of emotion which were then used via regression analyses to predict PTSD symptoms. Each independent variable predicted PTSD beyond variance accounted for by demographic variables. Additionally, fear of emotion emerged as the strongest individual predictor of PTSD and a moderator of the relation between social interactions and PTSD symptoms. These findings emphasize the importance of beliefs about emotion; both in how these beliefs might influence the expression of PTSD symptoms, and in how the social networks of trauma survivors might buffer distress.
The Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding, Subtyping, and Treating Depression: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication.
The most effective and useful way to diagnose and subtype depression has been a long debated topic which even now does not have a definite answer. The biopsychosocial approach to diagnosis may be a solution to this problem by linking various etiologies to symptom presentation. The biopsychosocial model, in regard to depression, takes into account biological risk factors/contributors, psychological or cognitive risk factors/contributors, and social risk factors/contributors to depression when making diagnosis and subtyping determinations. However, the most effective way to use this model in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of depression is not yet clear. In this study, the utility of the biopsychosocial model as an effective approach to conceptualizing and treating depression was assessed by testing hypotheses that showed that etiological contributors are related to the presence and differential presentation of depression, and that these etiologically-based subtypes of depression respond differently to different forms of treatment. These hypotheses were tested using data from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication (NCS-R). Results showed that the biopsychosocial model can effectively predict the presence, severity and chronicity of depression, and may inform specific biopsychosocially-based subtypes. No conclusions could be drawn regarding success in treatment based on the biopsychosocial model. Future directions for research based on the current study are discussed.
Body Dissatisfaction, Disordered Eating Behaviors and Body Image Quality of Life in African American Women with Hiv
The purpose of the current study was to further our understanding of the subjective experience of middle-age African American women who are HIV+ and on highly active antiretroviral therapy, particularly how self-reported lipodystrophy (LD), levels of body dissatisfaction, body image quality of life, and engagement in disordered eating behaviors are related. Multiple regression, MANOVA, MANCOVA, ANOVA, and chi-square were utilized to test hypotheses. Results revealed that HIV+ and HIV- women did not differ significantly on their levels of body dissatisfaction or drive for thinness. When HIV+ women were examined in more detail a pattern emerged: women who self-reported fat hypertrophy had significantly higher levels of body dissatisfaction, bingeing, but not purging, and dietary restriction and fear of weight gain compared to women who did not self-report LD. About 75% of the sample was overweight or obese, and when BMI was controlled for, these differences persisted for body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors for fat hypertrophy, but not fat atrophy. Overall, the findings indicate that the type of LD, specifically hypertrophy, is more related to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors, than LD in general. Clinical implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.
Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children
It has long been recognized that childhood bereavement is a risk factor for depression in adulthood. Research also has consistently demonstrated that parental depression is linked to poor parent-child relationship quality. The current study examined whether bereavement in childhood increases likelihood of current depressive symptoms among parents and explored whether this vulnerability in the parent then alters the quality of the parent-child relationship. Archival data for a sample of 86 families (N=176 parents) are drawn from the Family & Kid Connection project led by Dr. Shelley Riggs. Instruments utilized include the Background Information Questionnaire, the Symptom Assessment-45 Questionnaire, and the Parenting Relationship Questionnaire. Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model, Multilevel Modeling procedures explored the hypothesis that parental depression mediates the association between parents’ childhood bereavement and their perception of the parent-child relationship. Results show a significant relationship between parental (actor) depressive symptoms and parent-child attachment, indicating the need for therapeutic interventions targeting the parent-child relationship, and not just parents, for parents suffering from depression.
Comparing the 2010 and 2011 Appic Match: Applicant Characteristics and Unmatched Applicant Distress
The internship is one of the most important components of doctoral training in professional psychology. Given the serious problem of the internship imbalance, applicant and program characteristics that constitute a good “fit” with internship training programs have become of greater interest as securing an internship becomes a more competitive process. This study surveyed internship applicants from programs part of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP), before and after the 2010 and 2011 match days. Number of interview offers was found to be the factor most consistently associated with successfully matching, and several other applicant characteristics salient to matching and obtaining interview offers were identified, including applicant personality. Additionally, personal accounts, but not empirical evidence, of going unmatched have attested to the psychological distress associated with this event. in the current study, while going unmatched was not found to be equitable to a traumatic stressor, evidence was found to support significant decrease in subjective well-being with respect to immediate distress. Findings are discussed in terms of the predictability of and implications for the match process and internship imbalance, and recommendations are made for future research directions.
A Comparison of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a New Sleep Questionnaire, and Sleep Diaries
Self-report retrospective estimates of sleep behaviors are not as accurate as prospective estimates from sleep diaries, but are more practical for epidemiological studies. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the validity of retrospective measures and improve upon them. The current study compared sleep diaries to two self-report retrospective measures of sleep, the commonly used Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and a newly developed sleep questionnaire (SQ), which assessed weekday and weekend sleep separately. It was hypothesized that the new measure would be more accurate than the PSQI because it accounts for variability in sleep throughout the week. The relative accuracy of the PSQI and SQ in obtaining estimates of total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), and sleep onset latency (SOL) was examined by comparing their mean differences from, and correlations with, estimates obtained by the sleep diaries. Correlations of the PSQI and SQ with the sleep diaries were moderate, with the SQ having significantly stronger correlations on the parameters of TST, SE, and sleep quality ratings. The SQ also had significantly smaller mean differences from sleep diaries on SOL and SE. The overall pattern of results indicated that the SQ performs better than the PSQI when compared to sleep diaries.
Correlates of Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction often leads to a tremendous burden on those afflicted with the condition, draining their time, resources, and life away until they have nothing left. To further elucidate the problem of video game addiction, the current research examines the level of video game addiction of 111 participants, along with their motivation for their addictive behaviors, the quality of life of addicted individuals, and possible relations between video game addiction and other forms of addiction. Results of the current research indicate a correlation between addictive video game use and depression, alcohol use, a desire for escapism, a need for social interaction, and lack of self-control. The results of a multiple regression indicate that, amongst the various research factors, depression is the factor with the most significant link to addictive video game use, implying a dangerous correlation between mental health and an addictive behavior that some erroneously disqualify as a true addiction.
Cross-measure Equivalence and Communicability in the Assessment of Depression: a Fine-grained Focus on Factor-based Scales
Depression is heterogeneous, however, depression measures conceptualize it as homogeneous. To help fulfill NIMH's strategic plan to focus on components of depression, this study analyzed the psychometrics of factor-based subscales in the BDI-II, CES-D, IDAS, and IDS. CCA was also used to explore redundancy across measures. Using a diverse sample of symptomatic undergraduates, this study found the IDAS to be the best measure, with complete DSM-IV symptom coverage and psychometrically sound subscales. The other measures did not have consistent subscales or coverage of symptoms. Furthermore, CCA revealed low levels of redundancy across measures. These results serve to disabuse the field of a perception that different measures of equivalently measure depression. Conversion tables were provided to empirically compare scores from different measures.
Daily-collected Sleep Diaries Compared to Weekly-collected Sleep Diaries Via Actigraph Concordance
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Both sleep diaries and actigraphy have been recommended to assess sleep in research and clinical settings. Investigators have traditionally used sleep diaries that were completed daily by participants and collected weekly but have recently begun using sleep diaries that are both completed and collected daily. No research had previously assessed the agreement between daily-collected sleep diaries and actigraph data over one week. Undergraduate students were randomly assigned to use daily- or weekly-collected sleep diaries. Sleep parameters obtained from these measures were compared to each other via concordance with concurrent actigraph data. It was hypothesized that daily-collected sleep diaries would have greater concordance with actigraphy than weekly-collected sleep diaries. Results indicated that daily-collected sleep diaries provided more reliable data than weekly-collected sleep diaries, but the differences were not statistically significant. Additional aims examined self-reported sleep diary adherence, the participation day number, and day of the week. There were trends for the Daily group to have better adherence. Overall concordance did not change based on the day number or day of the week. Both sleep diaries yield comparable sleep parameter data, suggesting that clinicians and researchers can use either method to estimate sleep parameters.
Demographic and Psychosocial Contributions to the Expression of Schizotypal Personality Traits.
Previous research suggests there are a number of variables that are associated with the expression of schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) symptoms. Such variables include childhood trauma, depression and anxiety, substance use, normal-range personality traits, ethnicity, and gender. However, research to date has not examined all of these variables in a single study to determine how they may be interrelated or differentially related to SPD symptom domains. Of particular interest is the association of these variables as explained by the diathesis-stress model. This study utilized a convenience sample of 298 undergraduate students to examine a continuous range of scores for symptoms of SPD and how the interrelation of biological factors such as gender and ethnicity and psychosocial factors and stressors such as childhood trauma and personality traits, specifically neuroticism and extroversion, influence the expression of SPD symptoms. It was predicted that anxiety, depression, stress, and childhood trauma would positively correlate to SPD symptoms. It was also hypothesized that neuroticism and substance use would positively correlate to schizotypal traits and extroversion would be negatively correlated to schizotypal traits as measured by the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief. It was further hypothesized that psychosocial stressors would be moderated by the aforementioned biological factors.
Depression in Diabetic and Non-Diabetic Individuals: Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Diet
About 8.3% of individuals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM) are diagnosed with comorbid depression, a higher rate than the general adult population. This project examined the differences of depression symptoms experienced between diabetic and matched non-diabetic individuals and the relationship of daily activity and nutrition behaviors with depression between these groups. The 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was utilized to assess: depression symptoms, diabetic glycemic control as measured by glycoginated hemoglobin (HbA1c), amount of physical activity, percentage of macronutrients, daily frequencies of foods consumed, and the use of nutritional food labels to make food choices. A sample of diabetic (n = 451) and non-diabetic individuals (n = 451) were matched to on age, gender, ethnicity, and education. The diabetic individuals experienced greater depression on both continuous and ordinal diagnostic variables. Counter to expectation, there was no relationship observed between depression and HbA1c in diabetic individuals, r = .04, p > .05.
Does Prostate Cancer Begin in the Prostate? Key Predictors of Diagnosis
The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify the key predictors of prostate cancer; such study may lead to the development of appropriate interventions and prevention. Previous epidemiological studies have found these following factors to be key predictors for being diagnosed with hormone-associated carcinoma such as prostate cancer: age, ethnicity, physical activity, family history, diet, sleep amount, marital status, and having another form of carcinoma. Many studies have included results only for men over the age of 65, however, prostate cancer is claiming the lives of many African American, Hispanic and White American men over the age of 35, and younger men are more likely to battle it if they are genetically predisposed. The sample population (N =21,646) was selected because men aged 35 or over have the highest prevalence of prostate cancer. Of this sample, 619 reported having prostate cancer, and 1,401 reported having some other type of cancer. This study employs a logistic regression model using SAS® and utilizes the National Health Interview Survey data set and a multivariate analysis of the years 2006, 2007, and 2008. To improve the quality of future research the methods need modification, the subpopulation being studied should be larger, and the studies should be longitudinal. This particular study found the aforementioned factors to be critical in predicting prostate cancer. Maximum sun exposure was found to be also related to having prostate cancer. Key predictors for prostate cancer diagnosis are age, ethnicity, having some other cancer and maximum sun exposure, and education. Though previous studies have found physical activity, sleep amount, and occupation to be beneficial in reducing the risk for prostate cancer, it was not confirmed in this particular study.
Early and Current Family Environment Among Inpatient Trauma Survivors: Associations with Multi-type Abuse and Sexual Orientation
The present study is an exploratory analysis of associations among sexual orientation, childhood abuse, and characteristics of both early and current family environment in a sample of 80 inpatient trauma survivors. Participants were administered a background information questionnaire, Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule, the Family Environment Scale and other instruments not analyzed in the current study. Multi-type abuse was significantly associated with low expressiveness and independence and high control in the early family, but no associations emerged with current family characteristics. Results suggest that the intergenerational transmission of family organization and moral-religious orientation occurred in the entire sample, and the transmission of family conflict patterns occurred only in the L/G/B group. Overall, participants perceived improvements in their current family environments compared to their early family environments. Findings yield support for the sexual minority stress model and mixed support for the intergenerational transmission of family characteristics.
The Effect of Relationship Quality on Mental Representations of Social Support and Cardiovascular Reactivity
The aim of the current study was to examine how thinking about qualitatively different social network members may differentially affect cardiovascular reactivity to a subsequent stressor. Eighty-two undergraduates were asked to think and write about different types of relationships preceding a social stressor. No differences between conditions in CVR were found during social support induction phase or the stressor task. Women in the supportive condition were found to have slower SV recovery than those in the ambivalent condition. The results of this study are inconsistent with previous evidence for a relationship between mental representations of social ties and CVR. Future research should seek to rule out confounding variables and clarify this effect.
The Effectiveness of Substance use Measures in the Detection of Denial and Partial Denial
Many substance users deny their substance use to avoid negative consequences, thus diluting the accuracy of assessment. To address this issue, indirect items are often included on substance use measures to identify those who deny their use. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of complete denial and partial denial on substance use measures. Partial denial, also termed denial of effects, is the denial of substance use interfering in multiple domains of a person's functioning. The study used a mixed within- and between-subjects design with participants from a dual diagnosis inpatient unit. Each participant completed the study under two different conditions which include an honest condition and an experimental condition (either complete denial or partial denial). Results show that partial denial is distinctly different from complete denial across three self-report substance use measures. Importantly, substance users engaging in these denial conditions were often undetected by these measures.
Effects of Defensiveness on the Reporting of Personality Disorder Symptoms
Personality disorders are not granted the same clinical attention accorded Axis I disorders despite their instrumental role in treatment and outcome. Even when standardized assessments are used, their clinical utility may be limited by an overly favorable self-presentation. The current study focused on defensiveness, the intentional denial of symptomatology, by examining individuals’ ability to minimize their presentation on personality disorder diagnostic measures. Using a within-subjects simulation design, dually diagnosed inpatients were assessed under both honest and defensive conditions. The study used self-report (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV – Axis II – Personality Questionnaire, SCID-II-PQ) and interview-based (Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality, SIDP-IV) diagnostic measures and a self-report measure of favorable self-presentation (Paulhus Deception Scales, PDS). The inpatients were quite capable of hiding maladaptive personality traits on diagnostic measures, with similarly large effect sizes on both the SCID-II-PQ and SIDP-IV. In addition to the PDS, two new detection strategies for identifying defensiveness showed promise.
The Effects of Priming, Culture, and Context on Perception of Facial Emotion, Self-representation and Thought: Brazil and the United States
Individualist and collectivist cultural approaches describe the relationship between an individual and his or her social surroundings. the current study had a two-fold purpose. the first was to investigate whether Brazilians, like other collective peoples, displayed more group self-representations, categorized items more relationally and paid more attention to context than Americans. the second purpose of this study was to investigate if counter-cultural primes played a role in activating either collective or individual selves. Both American (n = 100) and Brazilian (n = 101) participants were assigned either to a no-prime condition or a counter-cultural prime condition and then were asked to rate emotion cartoons, categorize items, complete the Twenty Statement Test (TST), and choose a representative object. As expected, unprimed Brazilian participants displayed more collectivist patterns on emotional (F[1,196] = 10.1, p = .001, ?²= .049; F[1,196] = 7.9, p = .006, ?²= .038; F[1,196] = 9.0, p = .005, ?²= .044) and cognitive (F[1, 196] = 6.0, p < .01, ?² = .03) tasks than Americans. However, Brazilians offered more individualist self-representations (F[1, 195] = 24.0, p < .001, ?² = .11) than American participants. Priming only had a marginal effect on item categorization (F[1,194] = 3.9, p = .051, ?² = .02). Understanding such cultural differences is necessary in the development of clinicians’ multicultural competence. Therefore, these findings, along with the strengths and limitations of this study and suggestions for future research, are discussed.
Emotional and Cognitive Coping in Relationship Dissolution
Romantic relationships are important for social development and can impact an individual’s functioning both positively and negatively, especially when the relationship breaks up. Emotional and cognitive coping strategies including emotion approach coping, avoidance, and rumination and variable response to expressive writing intervention were examined in relation to post-dissolution distress. Undergraduate participants randomized into two groups completed measures of cognitive and emotional coping variables and global distress, with the experimental group completing a three-session expressive writing protocol. Writing samples were rated for processing mode, or the degree of vague general statements. Avoidance and rumination demonstrated significant cross-sectional associations with Time 1 distress controlling for demographics and characteristics of the former relationship. Gender moderated the relationship between rumination and distress. Using a matched sub-sample, the groups did not differ on emotional coping variables or distress. Results demonstrate the importance of examining emotional coping strategies in conjunction with relationship dissolution.
Evaluating Social Factors in Diabetes Management by Mexican American Ethnicity
Differences in Mexican American ethnicity, family and friend social support, and importance of diabetes self-management as related to diabetes management in the older adult population were evaluated with the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 2003 Diabetes Study. Comparisons were made between Mexican Americans with Type II diabetes and similar non-Hispanic Caucasian and African American individuals with Type II diabetes. Neither family/friend social support nor importance of diabetes self-management were significant predictors of HbA1c levels. Results did not support the idea that perception of receiving support from family/friends or placing importance on diabetes self-management covaried with lower HbAlc level (family/friend: beta = -.13, t = -1.47, p = .143; self management: beta = .08, t = .55, p = .584).
Event Centrality: Debunking the “Bad Science” Myth That Self-reported Posttraumatic Growth Does Not Reflect Positive Change
Despite strong evidence supporting the existence of posttraumatic growth (PTG), some investigators question whether the construct measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) is that of perceived growth or “actual” growth. In a replication of a recent investigation, the present study sought to refine the methodology used by employing the construct of event centrality. Due to its limited sample size, the results of this analysis did not provide strong evidence in support of the hypothesis that limiting analyses to individuals rating their trauma as high in event centrality improves the ability of the PTGI to reflect “actual” growth. However, results did support the idea that investigations of PTG conducted immediately following a trauma may be more reflective of a coping process, rather than growth. Further research is warranted to investigate the role of event centrality in posttraumatic growth, and the effect of time on the progression of growth following trauma.
An Examination of Maternal Acceptance among Mothers and their Children with ADHD Symptomatology
The current study examined the role of self-reported and child-reported maternal lack of acceptance in increasing the likelihood of developing internalizing and externalizing symptoms among children with ADHD symptomatology. The effects of a social desirability bias on mother’s self-reports of rejection were controlled for. Mother-child agreement about parenting behaviors like warmth/affection, hostility/aggression and indifference/neglect was also investigated. In addition, variables with the potential to affect agreement (i.e., parents’ social desirability bias, child age, child sex) were examined. Participants included 120 boys and 90 girls, 6 to 11 years old (M = 8.25, SD = 1.18) with and without ADHD and their primary parent/guardian (N = 209). Parent and child participants completed self-report instruments separately. Results indicate that the relationship between mother-and-child-reported ADHD symptoms and internalizing symptoms is strongest when mothers exhibit low levels of rejection. Among the ADHD subsample, maternal lack of acceptance acts as a risk factor by strengthening the relationship between hyperactive/impulsive symptoms and externalizing symptoms. In addition, mothers and their children report significantly different levels of parenting behaviors. Child age and child sex were significant predictors of parent-child disagreement.
Examination of Sleep Disparities Among a Racially/ethnically Diverse Sample of Adolescents
Racial, ethnic and gender disparities have been found among a variety of health variables, but to date no study has comprehensively examined whether similar differences exist between sleep variables such as duration, efficiency and quality, in early adolescence. There is a general consensus among previous literature that adolescence is a time when a decrease in total sleep time and an increase in sleep problems are observed. Previous literature, however, mainly focused on the influence of puberty to explain these changes. the current study examined if differences exist between 1462 Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, and African American early adolescents (ages 10-14 years) on sleep duration, efficiency and quality. Results showed that adolescent boys reported significantly longer sleep durations, better sleep quality, shorter sleep onset latencies, and later rise times than girls. Results also showed that sixth graders slept longer than seventh and eighth graders, and that seventh graders woke up much earlier than the other two grades. Lastly, results showed that Caucasian students reported longer sleep onset latencies and lower sleep efficiencies than African American students. Trends were observed for boys having greater sleep efficiencies than girls and for Caucasian students sleeping longer than Hispanic students. Based on the differences observed in our sample, introducing sleep education in middle school is discussed.
Exploring the Relationships Between Mindfulness, Self-compassion, and Ethnic Identity Development
Ethnic identity development is a process that occurs for all individuals, and weakness in ethnic identity is associated with numerous psychosocial difficulties. Security in ethnic identity can be difficult for those exposed to varying attitudes and behaviors in a multicultural society. As such, the current study examined the influence of mindfulness and self-compassion on ethnic identity development. a sample of 479 undergraduate students completed online self-report questionnaires measuring demographic information, mindfulness, self-compassion, ethnic identity status, and self-esteem. Results suggested that mindfulness and self-compassion are significant negative predictors of ethnic identity, and that self-compassion was a better predictor of ethnic identity status than was mindfulness. Self-compassion did not moderate the relationship between mindfulness and ethnic identity status, as was hypothesized. the sample included primarily Caucasian (n = 278) individuals born in the United States, which likely limited generalizability of findings. Implications of the current findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Factor Analysis of the Spouse Observation Checklist-revised Using Attachment Theory As an Organizational Framework
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the factor structure of the Spouse Observation Checklist-Revised using attachment theory as an organizational framework. The study used archival data from a community sample of 92 heterosexual childless couples married 1-5 years and 4 lesbian couples (N = 192). Separate exploratory factor analysis on the Perception of Self-Behavior and Perception of Partner-Behavior items revealed symmetrical 4-factor structures with factors reflecting emotional support, physical intimacy, instrumental support, and disengagement. Separate analyses examined associations of the four identified factors with the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale to begin to place the SOC-R within a nomological network.
Forgiveness and Loneliness: Stress and Anxiety’s Correlates in a Student and Clinical Hiv-positive Sample
Persistent periods of stress exacerbate the symptoms of chronic illness. Additionally, loneliness is strongly correlated with stress and both state and trait anxiety. Prolonged periods of loneliness are linked with depression in both clinical and student samples. Forgiveness, a cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response to interpersonal or intrapersonal conflict, is important to social harmony. in this study I describe three studies that examine forgiveness, loneliness, stress, and anxiety in two populations, a student population and an HIV+ clinical population. Study 1 examined how the variables of forgiveness and loneliness are associated with perceived stress in a student sample of undergraduate students. Study 2 examined the same variables (forgiveness, loneliness, and perceived stress) in an HIV-positive clinical population. Finally, study 3 extends the model and examines the relationship of forgiveness and loneliness to variables related to stress, state and trait anxiety. for studies 2 and 3, 63 HIV-positive individuals participated in the cross-sectional correlational study. the data was analyzed in each study using hierarchical linear regression analysis. We also tested the models for the three studies to determine if forgiveness moderates the relationship between loneliness and state and trait anxiety. in study 1, using hierarchical linear regression analyses, I found that increased forgiveness and decreased loneliness was associated with less perceived stress in both a non-clinical and clinical sample of HIV-positive adults. in studies 2 and 3, I conducted hierarchical linear regression analyses and found that increased forgiveness contributed a significant portion of the variance in perceived stress and state and trait anxiety in a non-clinical and HIV-positive sample. I did not find moderation in any of the models.
The Glass Is Neither Half Full Nor Empty, It Is Shattered: a Prospective Study of Shattered Assumptions Theory and Psychological Flexibility
Shattered assumptions theory posits that each individual has a core set of assumptions about the world and the self, often termed the assumptive world which includes: the world is a benevolent place, the world is meaningful, and the self is worthy. Experiencing a traumatic event is believed to lead individuals to question these assumptions in light of the new contradictory information that causes the assumptive world to shatter, leaving the individual to rebuild a more negative perception of the world and themselves. This rebuilding of a fragile new set of core beliefs is believed to be a cause of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Although shattered assumptions theory has been widely accepted in the field of trauma psychology, the shattering of the assumptive world has not been empirically supported due to measurement issues and poor research designs. The current study implemented a prospective design to assess a new measure of the individual’s assumptive world when there is an intervening trauma. In a college sample (N = 336), individuals who experienced a traumatic event over the course of the semester (n = 40) evidenced decreases in optimism in their assumptive worlds, in comparison to individuals who did not experience a traumatic event. The results suggest there is a limited shattering of the assumptive world for those who experienced a traumatic event. Applications, limitations and future directions are discussed.
Heterosexist Harassment and Rejection, Emotional Social Support and Perceived Stress in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample
The minority stress theory suggests LGBs experience greater stress levels due to their sexual minority identities; thus, they are more prone to psychological distress. Poor mental health is linked to internalized homophobia and heterosexism. However, affirmative social support may mitigate the stress response via the buffering hypothesis. My model posits that LGBs are more likely to report perceived stress; however, affirmative social support can mitigate stress. I investigated the relationship between perceived stress and sexual minority identity. I explored the relationship between heterosexism, emotional support and perceived stress and the moderating role of social support in my LGB sample. I conducted a hierarchical linear regression to test my model, which accounted for 29% of the variance in perceived stress. Heterosexism and emotional support were significantly associated with perceived stress. I failed to find a moderating role of emotional support. Limitations, strengths, future research and implications are discussed.
Identifying the Level of Prognostic Information Desired by People with Cancer
The study explored whether certain factors might be used to distinguish between people with cancer who do or do not want detailed information about their disease progress, do or do not want to be informed if their disease is no longer considered curable, and who do or do not want an estimation of life expectancy if their disease is no longer considered curable. The factors included whether an individual has an internal versus external locus of control, uses an active coping strategy or a planning coping strategy, the level of spirituality, and age. Participants consisted of 51 people with cancer from a cancer center in the state of Washington. Results indicated that 98% wanted detailed information about their disease progress, 94% wanted to be informed if their disease was no longer considered curable, and 78% wanted an estimation of life expectancy if their disease was no longer considered curable. Due to the majority of the participants endorsing the need for prognostic information none of the factors (e.g. coping strategies, locus of control, spirituality) were able to predict the information needs of the patients with cancer. Clinical implications of this study suggest that physicians have an ongoing, open dialogue with their patients about their prognostic information needs. The dialogue might be especially important for patients undergoing active treatment for cancer, since it could affect treatment decisions.
Impact of Clinician Expectations on Termination Status and Therapeutic Outcome
Given the high rates of premature termination in training clinics, research aimed at understanding client attrition is urgently needed. Recent investigations in this area have implicated expectations of psychotherapy as a strong predictor of premature termination; however, this phenomenon has only been studied from the perspective of client expectations to date. There is reason to believe clinician expectations for the duration and effectiveness of psychotherapy may further impact the likelihood of their clients terminating prematurely. This study sought to address this gap in the literature by examining the association of clinicians' expectations to clients' psychotherapy outcomes and termination status in a training clinic setting. Clinicians were found to hold significantly higher expectations for client improvement than would be expected, and these high expectations were found to be positively correlated with clinically significant change in clients. Implications for improving client retention and treatment outcome in training clinics are discussed.
The Influence of Extraversion, Religiosity, and Spirituality on Health Behaviors
Religion and spirituality are thought to be of great importance for the meaning and quality of life for many individuals, and research suggests that there may be important health benefits associated with religion and spirituality. Religion and spirituality should be related to health behaviors for a number of reasons. Health behaviors are important contributors to an individual's overall health, illness and mortality. Major negative health behaviors related to health outcomes are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, risky driving, and high risk sexual behaviors. Health behaviors may also be linked to personality traits. The key trait examined for this study was extraversion. It includes adjectives such as being active, assertive, energetic, outgoing, and talkative. In this thesis, I take several hypotheses and explore the influence of extraversion, religiosity, and spirituality on health behaviors.
Influences on Grief Among Parentally Bereaved Adults
The parent-child relationship is significant throughout the life course, although both positive and negative changes occur as children reach adulthood and develop an identity independent of their family of origin. Grief resulting from parental loss during this time may be a product of many variables including age, relationship quality, and sex roles. The current study examined several variables potentially influencing grief after the death of a parent. As part of a larger study, adults (n = 180) completed measures assessing parental involvement, personal grief and adjustment, as well as sex role preferences. The archival data were subjected to analyses of covariance, taking into account time since the death and children’s sex role preferences (traditional or egalitarian). Female sex of the child was significant in predicting several aspects of grief, suggesting that women have a stronger emotional experience of grief. This may be a result of young women’s stronger emotional bonds with parents when compared to men, feelings of exclusion from college peers during bereavement, or vulnerability for rumination. Sex role preferences were also influential in several aspects of grief. Sex of the parent was not significant, although the interaction for sex of the parent and sex of the child was, suggesting that for daughters, the loss of a mother may be particularly difficult. Results suggest that women may express more intense emotions as part of the grief process and maintain stronger bonds with the deceased, although this likely depends heavily on cultural, familial, and religious contexts, as well as cause of death.
Internalizing-externalizing Psychopathology and Personality Pathology As Predictors of Treatment Rejection in Substance Users
Substance use disorders (SUDs) are often comorbid with other psychopathology such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. While some research suggests individuals with comorbid psychopathology are more likely to seek substance use treatment than those with independent disorders, other studies have also shown many individuals with dual diagnoses still never seek treatment. Moreover, few studies have tried to elucidate the underlying structure of SUD treatment rejection, and instead examined it in more simplistic terms. In addition, studies have tended to examine the impact of individual disorders on treatment rejection, but have not incorporated an empirically supported approach to conceptualizing psychopathology in terms of comorbidity between broad latent dimensions referred to as internalizing (e.g., depression, anxiety) and externalizing (e.g., antisocial personality disorder, polysubstance use) psychopathology. Modeling psychopathology in terms of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology is becoming a prominent approach to understanding mental disorders, yet little research to date has investigated the effects these broad dimensions have on SUD treatment rejection. The current study utilized latent variable modeling techniques to (1) determine the latent structure of SUD treatment rejection in a large U.S. sample, and investigate whether treatment rejection is a multidimensional construct; and (2), to explore the ability of internalizing psychopathology, externalizing psychopathology, and personality pathology to predict the SUD treatment rejection factor(s). The current study relied on use of a general population sample of 43,093 individuals from the first wave of National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) study. Support was found for the hypothesis that SUD treatment rejection would be a multidimensional construct.  Exploratory structural equation modeling indicated a three-factor model best fit the data. Operational definitions and clinical implications of these three treatment rejection factors ("Objective barriers," "Psychological barriers," and "Self-focused barriers") are discussed. Among internalizing psychopathology, externalizing psychopathology, and personality pathology, structural equation modeling identified internalizing psychopathology as the most robust predictor of these three factors for alcohol treatment rejection (n = 1063), indicating endorsement of treatment barriers increased as levels of internalizing psychopathology increased. This pattern also held true for externalizing psychopathology, while personality pathology only negatively predicted objective treatment barriers.  For drug treatment rejection (n = 562), only internalizing psychopathology significantly predicted the treatment rejection factors, indicating treatment endorsement of drug treatment barriers increased as levels of internalizing psychopathology increased. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
Interpersonal Factors Related to the Pursuit of a Higher Education Among First Generation Undergraduate Students
The typical educational stressors experienced by college students, in conjunction with developmental stressors such as separation from parents, individuation, and perceived social support, can interact to impact adaptation significantly. First generation college students (students who are the first in their family to attend college) can experience stressors beyond the typical educational stressors experienced by later generation college students, including lack of support from family and peers as well as financial difficulties that can interact to impact the pursuit of an education beyond the undergraduate level. The present study examined factors that may be especially influential in the pursuit of a higher education for first generation college students. Results indicated that aspects of family enmeshment were related to academic motivation for first generation students, but not for later generation students. Exploratory analysis showed that family and finances were mentioned more often among first generation students when compared to later generation students as stressors that strongly influence the desire to continue beyond the undergraduate level.
Intuitive Eating Scale: An Examination Among Adolescents
Intuitive eating assesses the degree to which individuals eat based on physiological cues rather than emotional or situational cues. The Intuitive Eating Scale was initially developed using college women. This study extends the work of Tylka and reports on the psychometric evaluation of the Intuitive Eating Scale (IES) in a sample of 515 middle school boys and girls. Exploratory factor analysis uncovered 4 factors: unconditional permission to eat, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, trust in internal hunger/satiety cues and awareness of internal hunger/satiety cues; confirmatory factor analysis suggested that this 4-factor model adequately fit the data after 4 items with low factor loadings were deleted. Supporting its construct validity, IES scores were negatively related to body mass index, body dissatisfaction, negative affect, pressure for thinness, and internalization of the thin ideal, and were positively related to satisfaction with life, and experiencing greater positive affect.
Is Mindfulness Just Another Ego Depletion Exercise?
Given increasing interest in the therapeutic benefits of mindfulness, limitations of its treatment utility are frequently questioned. As such, the purpose of the study was to examine the effects of mindfulness on a subsequent self-control task in a sample of college students. A total of 67 participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a control condition, an experimental mindfulness-only condition or a comparison expectancy-plus-mindfulness condition to investigate the utility of mindfulness practice when motivated by an outcome of increased self-control. Results did not indicate a difference in persistence on a difficult task between conditions, regardless of the manipulation. Conceptual and experimental limitations of current study’s findings, as well as future directions, are discussed.
Lipodystrophy, Body Image and Depression in Hiv Positive Black Women
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seropositive men on highly active antiretroviral therapy treatment (HAART) who experience lipodystrophy syndrome (LD), a side effect of HAART, rate themselves as more depressed than those who did not experience LD(Crane et al., 2008). Furthermore, men who rated their LD symptoms as more severe also scored higher on depression measures than men who experienced less severe symptoms. It is unknown these findings can be generalized to other groups of HIV positive individuals. The current study seeks to fill this gap in the literature by exploring the associations between LD, body image, and depressive symptoms in an archival sample of HIV positive Black women. This study aims to describe the body changes associated with HAART in a Black female sample and explore the relationships between LD, body image, depression, and quality of life. Findings supported past research indicating a correlation between depression and poor body image but did not indicate that body image quality of life moderated the relationship between perceived body changes and depression. Results expanded on the literature by indicating that perceived body changes may be more distressing to Black women with HIV than objective changes. Lastly, findings suggested that Black women may have inaccurate perceptions of their own body changes. These findings are particularly informative for healthcare workers who treat HIV+ women. It is imperative that they consider clients’ self-report as well as clinical symptoms.
Managing HIV: Self-Efficacy, Mindfulness, Optimism, and Meaning
The purpose of the current study is to investigate the extent to which mindfulness (observing and describing), dispositional optimism and personal meaning are associated with self-efficacy for managing a chronic disease (SEMCD) among 57 people living with HIV in the DFW Metroplex. Several statistical analyses, including a hierarchical linear regression analysis, were conducted. Results indicate, after controlling for age and gender, the overall model accounted for a significant proportion of the variance (adjusted R2 = .39) in self-efficacy for managing chronic disease, F (6, 50) = 5.80, p < .01. Both subscales of mindfulness were significantly related to self-efficacy. However, observing was negatively, associated with SEMCD (β = -0.44, p < .05), and describing was positively associated with self-efficacy (β = 0.60, p < .01). As a result, incorporating these mindfulness skills into self-efficacy based self-management programs may greatly improve self-management, thus positively influencing psychological and physiological health outcomes that are essential to the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV/AIDS. Future research should investigate methods of manipulating observing and describing, and determine what proficiency in these skills is most beneficial to improve self-efficacy.
Masturbation and Relationship Satisfaction
Relationship satisfaction often declines after marriage or cohabitation and between 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Furthermore, many couples who stay together report feeling unsatisfied in their relationships. Thus, it is important to examine factors that contribute to enduring and satisfying relationships. One factor that has been closely linked to relationship satisfaction is the sexual relationship of the couple. One aspect of the sexual relationship that has received little attention is masturbation. Although most psychologists hold positive views about masturbation, and recommend masturbation in many instances, the empirical data examining the association between masturbation and relationship satisfaction has mixed findings, with the majority of studies reporting a small negative relationship between these variables. The purpose of the present study was to further explore the association between masturbation and relationship satisfaction, focusing on possible moderators and mediators of this relationship including: masturbation guilt, openness with an individual's partner about masturbation, gender, object of arousal during masturbation, and reason for masturbating. Overall, masturbation frequency did not have a significant association with relationship satisfaction. However, the object of arousal during masturbation and openness about masturbation moderated the association between masturbation frequency and relationship satisfaction. Specifically, individuals who (a) used objects of arousal other than the partner when masturbating and (b) were less open about the masturbation reported a more negative association between masturbation frequency and relationship satisfaction.
Mental Toughness: An Analysis of Sex, Race, and Mood
Mental toughness has become a focus for researchers as coaches, athletes, and others extol its influence in performance success. In this study I examined mental toughness among collegiate athletes, focusing on its potential relationship to different demographic variables and to the athletes’ mood. Two hundred seventy-two student-athletes representing 12 different sports from a southwestern NCAA Division I university, participated by completing the Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ), the Brief Assessment of Mood (BAM), and providing demographic information. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) assessed differences in mental toughness scores by sex, race, scholarship status, and starting status. Significant differences in mental toughness emerged between Black – White, male – female, and full – partial – zero scholarship athletes. Pearson correlations showed mental toughness was significantly related to lower levels of anxiety, sadness, anger, confusion, fatigue, and total mood disturbance, and higher levels of vigor.
Methodological Issues in Malingering Research: The Use of Simulation Designs
The accurate determination of malingering relies on the use of validated and clinically relevant assessment measures. Simulation design is the most often-used research design to accomplish this. However, its external validity is sometimes questioned. The goal of the thesis was to systematically evaluate these major elements: situation, incentives, and coaching. The situation in simulation studies can vary from relevant (academic failure in a college population) to irrelevant (capital murder) for the samples being studied. Incentives refer to the external motivation given to improve simulators' performance and can be positive (extra credit and monetary reward) or negative (extra time and effort). Finally, coaching refers to whether the participant receives any information on detection strategies that are designed to identify feigners. Using a large undergraduate sample in a factorial design, results indicate that a scenario familiar to the participants generally improved the believability of their responses. Coaching also improved the ability to feign convincingly, while incentive type was not associated with any change in scores. The implications of these findings for future research designs and the connection to practice are discussed.
Minority Stress, Spirituality and Psychological Quality of Life in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample
Unique factors associated with the experience of spirituality and religiosity for many in lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities include minority stress. Using structural equation modeling, we examined whether minority stress mediates the relationship between spirituality and psychological quality of life (QOL). Results indicate minority stress mediates the relationship between spirituality and psychological QOL for gay men and bisexuals. However, minority stress is not a significant mediator for lesbians. Therefore, lesbians may experience minority stress and its relationship to psychological QOL differently than gay men and bisexuals due to higher societal acceptance. This study provides support for examining lesbians, gay men and bisexuals separately rather than as one sexual minority group.
Neuropsychological Functioning in Active Duty Soldiers with Physical and/or Psychological Trauma
This quasi-experimental study investigates neuropsychological functioning differences between 63 active duty soldiers who were placed into three groups (MTBI, PTSD, control) to provide better information for differentiating PTSD and MTBI. The ANAM and MicroCog were utilized to measure psychomotor speed, memory, and attention. Participants with PTSD performed worse on most measures of psychomotor speed and attention, and endorsed more symptoms of depression and anxiety when compared to MTBI and control participants. Further, attention appears to be the best cognitive domain for differentiating PTSD from MTBI, whereas memory variables did not differentiate these groups. Clinical and research implications of these findings are discussed.