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 Degree Discipline: Clinical Psychology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Assessment of Cognitive Performance in Mixed Martial Arts Athletes

Assessment of Cognitive Performance in Mixed Martial Arts Athletes

Date: August 2014
Creator: Heath, Christopher J.
Description: Incidents and awareness of sports-related concussion have grown in recent years, attracting attention in both the academic and popular press. These concussions can lead to the rapid onset of neurological dysfunctions, as well as a variety of subjective symptoms. Although concussive sequelae are typically considered transient, debate remains about the persistent effects of repeated traumatic contact during sport participation. Although research has examined the complications of head trauma found in traditionally popular sports (e.g., football, soccer, boxing), little research has focused on the growing sport of mixed-martial-arts (MMA). Research specifically pertaining to MMA is in nascent stages, but to-date studies suggest that concussive injuries for this sport are prevalent and the training regimens of these athletes may place them at a high risk for concussive or subconcussive head traumas—as well as the accompanying neurological difficulties. The current study is the first to assess cognitive profiles of MMA athletes using an objective neuropsychological assessment instrument. Among 56 athletes (28 MMA athletes and 28 athletes not exposed to head traumas), no neuropsychological differences were found between groups of athletes. Additionally, no aspects of MMA training regimen shared a reliable relationship with neuropsychological performance or subjective concussive symptoms. This suggests non-professional participation in ...
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Complex Ptsd As a Less Pejorative Label: Is the Proposed Diagnosis Less Stigmatizing Than Bpd?

Complex Ptsd As a Less Pejorative Label: Is the Proposed Diagnosis Less Stigmatizing Than Bpd?

Date: August 2014
Creator: Miller, Susannah
Description: Clinicians’ attitudes and behaviors toward patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are affected by the label’s stigma. Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) was proposed as a comprehensive and less stigmatizing diagnostic category for clients with BPD and a history of complex trauma. Given considerable similarities across both disorders’ diagnostic criteria, the CPTSD framework holds promise as a means to improve therapists’ attitudes towards clients with BPD and a history of complex trauma. However, this quality of CPTSD had not yet been examined empirically. Using vignettes in a between-subjects experimental design, this study investigated whether CPTSD is a less stigmatizing label than BPD for trauma survivors. Participants were 322 practicing psychotherapists. Evidence of BPD stigma was found, as was an affinity for CPTSD. Results generally supported CPTSD as a less stigmatizing label than BPD; therapists presented with a CPTSD-labeled vignette were somewhat less likely to blame the client for her symptomatic behavior and expected slightly stronger working alliance with the client than therapists presented with the BPD-labeled vignette. However, therapists’ agreement with the BPD diagnosis and theoretical orientation were found to be more salient than diagnostic label in affecting concepts related to the stigmatization of BPD clients. Additionally, familiarity with CPTSD ...
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Conceptualizing Quality of College Life

Conceptualizing Quality of College Life

Date: August 2014
Creator: Cardona, Laura A.
Description: The objectives of this study were to mathematically model the quality of college life (QCL) concept and to study the associations between attachment style, emotion regulation abilities, psychological needs fulfillment and QCL via structural equation modeling. Data was collected from 507 undergraduate students (men = 178, women = 329; age M = 21.78 years, SD = 4.37). This data was used to provide evidence for the validity of the College Adjustment Scales (CAS) as a measure of quality of college life. The CAS demonstrated good convergent validity with the World Health Organization Quality of Life measure (WHOQOL), Subjective Well-being and Psychological Well-being Scales. Results: Students who were insecurely attached were as likely to feel adequate in their academic and professional endeavors as securely attached students. However, insecurely attached students had lower QCL levels, lower fulfillment of psychological needs and more emotion regulation difficulties than securely attached students. The results also indicated that Anxious Attachment and Avoidant Attachment were positively and strongly associated. Nonetheless, Anxious Attachment and Avoidant Attachment affected QCL through different mechanism. Emotion regulation mediated the path between Anxious Attachment and QCL while the fulfillment of psychological needs mediated the path between Avoidant Attachment and QCL. The fulfillment of ...
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Development and Validation of a Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility

Development and Validation of a Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility

Date: August 2014
Creator: Schmalz, Jonathan E.
Description: Religion and spirituality are vital aspects of many people’s lives both in the United States and across the globe. Although many constructs and measures exist to describe and assess the experience of pursuing the sacred, the complexity of religious and spiritual experience leads to mixed results in relation to well-being and psychopathological traits. However, in broad terms, the relationship appears positive. Over the past 30 years the need for more refined and useful approaches to the study of religious and spiritual behavior has been repeatedly acknowledged. Although authors wisely caution development of further measures without due cause, extant constructs and measures do not provide clear and consistent results for understanding the influence of one’s relationships to religion and spirituality upon behaviors of clinical interest. The present project drew from the functional contextual concept of psychological flexibility, which provides clarity to understanding the encouragement and maintenance of psychological well-being. A new construct of religious and psychological flexibility is explicated as a functional approach to understanding religious and spiritual behavior in a manner that is useful in research and clinical settings alike. The development and evaluation of the Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility (MRSF) is described. The MRSF evidenced adequate internal ...
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Evaluating Preventative Interventions for Depression and Related Outcomes: a Meta-analysis

Evaluating Preventative Interventions for Depression and Related Outcomes: a Meta-analysis

Date: August 2014
Creator: González, David Andrés
Description: The burden of depression requires modalities other than individual psychotherapy if we are to reduce it. Over the past two decades preventative programs for depression have been developed and refined for different populations. The six years since the last meta-analysis of preventative interventions—inclusive of all program types—have seen a number of new studies. The current study used the greater statistical power provided by these new studies to analyze moderators of, and sub-group differences in, the effect of these interventions on depression. Moreover, this meta-analysis synthesized effect sizes for outcomes other than, but often related to, depression (e.g., anxiety) and for within-group change scores with the goal of better informing program implementation and evaluation. Twenty-nine studies met inclusion criteria and indicated that small, robust effects exist for reductions in depression diagnoses and symptomatology. Significant effects were also observed for anxiety, general health, and social functioning.
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Explaining the Relationship Between Borderline Personality Features and Suicidal Ideation

Explaining the Relationship Between Borderline Personality Features and Suicidal Ideation

Date: August 2014
Creator: Nichols, Erica
Description: Researchers have previously identified substance use and borderline personality disorder as factors that increase risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This study explored the relationship between these factors in samples of students and individuals seeking outpatient treatment. Supplemental data collected via the internet (MTurk) also looked at experiential avoidance (EA) with the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth. The Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Scale for Suicide Ideation, and Personality Assessment Inventory- Borderline Features Scale elicited information regarding severity and/or frequency of substance use, suicidal thoughts, and borderline features respectively. Additionally, the Psychiatric Diagnostic Screening Questionnaire was administered to the UNT sample. The UNT sample analyses indicate substance use moderates, strengthening, the relationship between borderline features and current suicidal thoughts. However, severity of suicidal thoughts was lower for individuals high in both borderline features and substance use disorder symptoms compared to those low in borderline features and high in substance use symptoms. The MTurk sample analyses suggest substance use functions as a mediator. A robust relationship existed between substance use severity and EA, showing substance use as a behavioral marker for EA. In conclusion, concurrent treatment of substance use and borderline personality features would ...
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Life Beyond Betrayal: the Influence of Self-as-context on Self-complexity and Posttraumatic Stress

Life Beyond Betrayal: the Influence of Self-as-context on Self-complexity and Posttraumatic Stress

Date: August 2014
Creator: Sinha, Aditi
Description: While current research indicates that traumas high in social betrayal are more closely associated with symptoms of posttraumatic stress and identity disturbances than are traumas low in betrayal, the psychological mechanisms by which identity problems occur are less understood. The current project explored the relationships between traumas high and low in betrayal and their influence on self-complexity, through the RFT and ACT conceptualization of three types of self-experiencing: self-as-content, self-as-process, and self-as-context. The roles of experiential avoidance, dissociation, and severity of PTSD symptoms were also considered within this framework. A sample of 548 undergraduate students at the University of North Texas completed online self-report questionnaires, and results suggested that self-as-context more strongly predicted PTSD symptoms than trauma exposure, dissociation, and experiential avoidance. Moreover, high betrayal trauma was found to be a stronger negative predictor of self-as-context than low betrayal trauma. Exposure to trauma was found to significantly predict self-complexity, and self-as-context more strongly predicted self-complexity than did self-as-process. Interestingly, self-as-context did not moderate the relationship between trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms, nor between trauma exposure and self-complexity. Implications of the current study’s findings, as well as suggestions for further research related to the impact of interpersonal betrayal on the self ...
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The Vulnerability of Self-report Measures of Psychopathy to Positive Impression Management: a Simulation Study with Inmates

The Vulnerability of Self-report Measures of Psychopathy to Positive Impression Management: a Simulation Study with Inmates

Date: August 2014
Creator: Kelsey, Katherine R.
Description: Psychopaths have long been characterized as having a remarkable disregard for the truth, to the extent that deceit is often regarded as a defining characteristic of the syndrome. Scholars described heightened concerns about how psychopaths’ deceitful and manipulative nature could significantly obstruct evaluations of psychopathy. The accurate evaluation of psychopathy is very important in forensic and correctional settings, and in such issues as risk assessment or dangerousness. Although the PCL-R is considered the quasi-gold standard when it comes to evaluating psychopathy, self-report measures have become more widely available and researched. Very few studies specifically evaluated response styles and self-report psychopathy measures despite the significant concerns regarding psychopathy and deception. The current study evaluated the ability of inmates with different levels of psychopathy to successfully engage in positive impression management on the SRP-4, LSRP, and PPI-R. Utilizing a repeated-measures, within-subjects design, 78 male inmates completed the study under genuine and simulation conditions. Overall, inmates were able to significantly lower their scores on all three self-report measures and achieved scores equivalent to and even lower than college and community samples. Inmates with higher levels of psychopathy were able to achieve larger decreases in scores on the PPI-R and on several scales for ...
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Posttraumatic Stress and Neurobehavioral Symptoms

Posttraumatic Stress and Neurobehavioral Symptoms

Date: December 2013
Creator: Klein, Robert S.
Description: 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.
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Altruism and Depression: Exploring This Relationship and the Mechanisms Behind It

Altruism and Depression: Exploring This Relationship and the Mechanisms Behind It

Date: August 2013
Creator: Wright, Brittney, C.
Description: 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 ...
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