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 Department: Department of Psychology
 Degree Level: Master's
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Date: August 2013
Creator: Robinson, Emily V.
Description: 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.
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Internalizing-externalizing Psychopathology and Personality Pathology As Predictors of Treatment Rejection in Substance Users

Internalizing-externalizing Psychopathology and Personality Pathology As Predictors of Treatment Rejection in Substance Users

Date: August 2013
Creator: Lewis, Jonathan James
Description: 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 ...
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Attention Biases Associated with Vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder

Attention Biases Associated with Vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder

Date: May 2013
Creator: Bain, Kathleen Marie
Description: 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 ...
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Early and Current Family Environment Among Inpatient Trauma Survivors: Associations with Multi-type Abuse and Sexual Orientation

Early and Current Family Environment Among Inpatient Trauma Survivors: Associations with Multi-type Abuse and Sexual Orientation

Date: May 2013
Creator: Williams, Jennifer S.
Description: 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.
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Impact of Clinician Expectations on Termination Status and Therapeutic Outcome

Impact of Clinician Expectations on Termination Status and Therapeutic Outcome

Date: May 2013
Creator: Connor, Dana R.
Description: 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.
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The Influence of Extraversion, Religiosity, and Spirituality on Health Behaviors

The Influence of Extraversion, Religiosity, and Spirituality on Health Behaviors

Date: May 2013
Creator: Jenkins, Elizabeth P.
Description: 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.
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Masturbation and Relationship Satisfaction

Masturbation and Relationship Satisfaction

Date: May 2013
Creator: Ramos, Marciana Julia
Description: 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 ...
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Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Proposed Personality Traits for the Dsm-v: Association with Mood Disorder Symptoms

Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Proposed Personality Traits for the Dsm-v: Association with Mood Disorder Symptoms

Date: May 2013
Creator: Kilmer, Jared Newman
Description: The current work assesses the relationship between reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) and Personality Traits for the DSM-5 (PID-5), to explore the degree to which they are associated with mood disorder symptoms. Participants (N = 138) from a large public university in the South were administered a semi-structured interview to assess for current mood disorder and anxiety symptoms. They were also administered self-report inventories, including the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and Behavioral Approach System (BAS) scales and the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). Results indicate that both the BIS/BAS scales and the PID-5 scales were strongly associated with current mood symptoms. However, the maladaptive personality traits demonstrated significantly greater associations with symptoms compared to the BIS/BAS scales. Results also indicated support for using a 2-factor model of BIS as opposed to a single factor model. Personality models (such as the five factor model) are strongly associated with mood symptoms. Results from this study add to the literature by demonstrating credibility of an alternative five-factor model of personality focused on maladaptive traits. Knowledge of individual maladaptive personality profiles can be easily obtained and used to influence case conceptualizations and create treatment plans in clinical settings.
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Body Dissatisfaction, Disordered Eating Behaviors and Body Image Quality of Life in African American Women with Hiv

Body Dissatisfaction, Disordered Eating Behaviors and Body Image Quality of Life in African American Women with Hiv

Date: December 2012
Creator: Hammon, Sarah A.
Description: 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.
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Heterosexist Harassment and Rejection, Emotional Social Support and Perceived Stress in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample

Heterosexist Harassment and Rejection, Emotional Social Support and Perceived Stress in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample

Date: December 2012
Creator: Fritz, Sarah-Mee Hesse
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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