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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 2010-2019
 Degree Discipline: Psychology
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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Acculturation, Acculturative Stress, and Anxiety Among Hispanic Undergraduates

Acculturation, Acculturative Stress, and Anxiety Among Hispanic Undergraduates

Date: May 2011
Creator: Durón, Kelly M.
Description: 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.
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Acculturation and Depression in Older Mexican American Adults: the Role of Social Support

Acculturation and Depression in Older Mexican American Adults: the Role of Social Support

Date: August 2012
Creator: Caballero, Daniela
Description: 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.
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ADHD Symptomology and Overweight among College Men

ADHD Symptomology and Overweight among College Men

Date: December 2011
Creator: Johnson, Leslee M.
Description: 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 ...
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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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Back in My Hands: the Role of Self-forgiveness and Stigma in Hiv-positive Adults

Back in My Hands: the Role of Self-forgiveness and Stigma in Hiv-positive Adults

Date: August 2012
Creator: Hua, William Q.
Description: 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. ...
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Benefits and Costs of Social Interactions Among Firefighters

Benefits and Costs of Social Interactions Among Firefighters

Date: December 2010
Creator: Farnsworth, Jacob
Description: 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.
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The Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding, Subtyping, and Treating Depression: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication.

The Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding, Subtyping, and Treating Depression: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication.

Date: May 2011
Creator: McGill, Brittney C.
Description: 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 ...
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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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Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children

Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children

Date: May 2012
Creator: Benson, Karen M.
Description: 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.
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