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 Department: Department of Psychology
Finding Out on Facebook: a Qualitative Analysis of Adolescents’ Experiences Following a Suicide Cluster
Suicide clusters have been identified in many populations; however, research exploring the role of online communication in the aftermath of a suicide cluster is extremely limited. This study used the Consensual Qualitative Research method to analyze interviews of ten high school students following a suicide cluster in a small suburban school district. Interviewee’s responses were organized into 4 domains: the suicide, impact, perceptions of school environment, and recovery. The role of social networking emerged as a common theme across domains, suggesting broad relevance to adolescents’ experience following the suicide of a peer. Implications for clinical intervention and research are discussed.
Life Beyond Betrayal: the Influence of Self-as-context on Self-complexity and Posttraumatic Stress
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 and psychological health, are discussed.
Psychosocial Mediators of the Fitness-depression Relationship Within Adolescents
Adolescence is a developmental period during which boys and girls are at high risk of developing major or minor depression. Increases in fitness have been associated with lower levels of depressive symptomatology and improvements in psychological well-being, yet the mechanisms that underlie this relationship have not been thoroughly examined. Three such psychosocial variables (i.e. body satisfaction, social physique anxiety, and physical activity self-efficacy) have been identified as possible mechanisms and although they have theoretical support, additional research is needed to demonstrate empirically the potential effects of these variables. Self-report measures were used to assess the psychosocial variables and the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) in conjunction with age, Body Mass Index [BMI], and sex was used to determine an estimate of aerobic capacity (VO2max). Path analyses were used to test the proposed model using version 6.2 EQS Multivariate Software. Results of study revealed that the boys’ and girls’ depressive scores were determined based on the extent that their fitness levels improved their satisfaction with their bodies and lowered the anxiety they experience in relation to real or imagined judgments of their physique. Although all pathways in the model were significant, with the exception of physical activity self-efficacy to depression, differences emerged between the boys and girls in terms of the strength of some of the relations amongst the variables. Limitations include restricted generalizability, self-report measures, and cross-sectional design. Results have implications for individuals in a context intended to improve physical and psychosocial well-being of adolescents.
Conceptualizing Quality of College Life
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 psychological needs also mediated the path between emotion regulation and QCL. The described pattern of results was found for three separate models representing 1) the student’s attachment with their romantic partner, 2) best friend and 3) mother. Additionally, the study’s findings suggest a change in primary attachment figure during the college years. Emotion regulation, the fulfillment of psychological needs and QCL were all affected more strongly by the student’s attachment style with their romantic partner and best friend compared to their attachment style with their parents.
Complex Ptsd As a Less Pejorative Label: Is the Proposed Diagnosis Less Stigmatizing Than Bpd?
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 was related to more favorable attitudes toward the client and her course of treatment. Regardless of CPTSD’s recognition as a formal diagnosis, education about the construct is widely recommended for therapists.
The Influence of Perceived Stress on Insulin Resistance in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes
Objective: To identify whether perceived stress is a risk-factor for higher cortisol levels and greater insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic patients, using data from participants with and without diabetes in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), specifically MIDUS II, Project 4. The following hypotheses were tested: (H1a) greater perceived stress would be associated with higher cortisol for Type 2 diabetic participants, (H1b) the perceived stress/cortisol relationship would be stronger for people with Type 2 diabetes than for those without it, (H2) greater perceived stress would be associated with higher Homeostatic Model Assessment-Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR, insulin-resistance) for Type 2 diabetic participants, (H3a) subjective well-being would moderate the perceived stress/insulin resistance relationship for Type 2 diabetic participants, and (H3b) depression would moderate the perceived stress/insulin resistance relationship for Type 2 diabetic participants. Method: MIDUS, a longitudinal study of over 7,000 American adults, explores biopsychosocial factors that could contribute to variance in mental/physical health. Only complete data were utilized. Type 2 participants (n=115) consisted of 54 males and 62 females ranging in age from 36 to 81 years. Non-diabetic participants (n=1097) consisted of 470 males and 627 females ranging in age from 34 to 84 years. Results: None of the predicted relationships were statistically significant. Waist to hip ratio was significantly related to insulin resistance (r = .31, p = .001). Conclusions: Future studies should collect information about the type and duration of stressors in addition to perceptions about stress for those with Type 2 diabetes.
Pathways From Adhd Symptoms to Obesity in a College Population
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is more recently being recognized as a lifetime disorder that continues to affect individuals into their adult lives. Recent research studies have found connections between ADHD and overweight/obesity. The current study was designed to further explore these relationships and better understand the connections between these two constructs among 340 college students. It was hypothesized that the ADHD symptoms (i.e., inattention and impulsivity) would positively predict depressive symptoms, which in turn would predict emotional/binge eating and lead to overweight/obesity. Additionally, it was hypothesized that impulsivity would predict substance use, which would predict emotional/binge eating and also predict overweight/obesity. The model was tested and exhibited excellent fit. ADHD positively predicted depressive symptoms, which in turn positively predicted emotional/binge eating and led to overweight/obesity. Further, ADHD symptoms also positively predicted substance use, which in turn predicted emotional/binge eating and led to overweight/obesity. All paths were statistically significant and findings suggest there are at least two paths that connect ADHD symptoms and overweight/obesity in adults. The current results are of importance to practicing clinicians because they provide increased clarity and depth regarding the connections and relationship between symptoms of ADHD and overweight/obesity.
African American Father Influences on the Career Development of Emerging Adults
The current study examined the paternal influences on the career development of African American emerging adults. While statistics have shown that many African Americans remain in the lower socioeconomic status bracket and have worse academic and career outcomes, still many African Americans are successful. The literature seems to attribute lack of success to low socioeconomic status, but attributes success to close family relationships. However, most of these studies have focused on maternal relationships and have neglected to include the influence of paternal relationships. Studies that have examined African American fathers have emphasized their negative attributes. Previous studies have also failed to consider the influence of other factors on the career development process such as ethnic identity and psychological adjustment. This study explored the influence of contextual, family, and developmental factors on the career process of African American emerging adults. One hundred sixty-seven African American undergraduate students ages 18 to 25 were recruited for participation in this study. Regression analyses indicated that the quality of the father-child relationship influenced career development, though not in the manner expected. High levels of father support enhanced well-being for individuals with high ethnic identity, but did not produce the same results for individuals with low ethnic identity. Well-being was a significant predictor of career maturity. Explanations, implications, and future directions are discussed.
Evaluating Preventative Interventions for Depression and Related Outcomes: a Meta-analysis
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.
Evaluating the Role of C-reactive Protein on Cognition and Depressive Symptoms Among Women by Mexican American Ethnicity
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein found in the blood that is synthesized by the liver and has been extensively studied due to its role in inflammatory and atherosclerotic processes. The importance of this biomarker in its role in vascular risk factors is increased with several lines of evidence pointing to its association with cognitive decline. The association between CRP and depression has been increasingly analyzed by various cross-sectional studies. The research between CRP and depressive symptoms in older women has yet to generate consistent trends. In the present study, a series of regression analyses was used to explore the association between CRP and both cognitive function and depressive symptomatology among a group of rural-dwelling women. Associations were evaluated through the use of data from Project FRONTIER, a rural-based research looking at both physical and cognitive aspects of health in rural-dwelling adults and elders. Comparisons were made between Mexican American women and a group of non-Hispanic Caucasian women. CRP was a significant independent predictor of total depression (beta = -.11, t = -1.99, p =.048). CRP was also a significant independent predictor of symptoms associated with meaningless within depression (beta = -.16, t = -2.94, p =.004). Contrary to prediction, CRP was not a significant independent predictor of overall cognitive function or performance in five specific cognitive domains. There is still needed evaluation on racial/ethnic differences present in regard to the impact of varied health factors on mental health within a culturally rich, rural cohort. It is recommended that future studies utilize standardized measurement of cognitive function to facilitate a more thorough understanding and comparison of change in this particular population.
Psychopathic Traits and Insecure Attachment Patterns in Community-based Subgroups
There is a growing body of research on psychopathic traits in non-clinical populations. This emerging research has documented the prevalence of psychopathic traits in the general population and demonstrated that psychopathy has a similar latent structure as well as similar correlates (e.g., violent behavior, alcohol abuse, and lower intelligence) to forensic/offender samples. Relatedly, there is strong evidence insecure attachment patterns in adulthood are associated with many personality disorders, including psychopathy, but only a few studies have examined the relationship between attachment and psychopathic traits in non-clinical samples (albeit, convenience samples of college students). Thus, two aims of the current study are to: 1) describe and explore the manifestation and expression of psychopathic traits in a large, community-based sample and 2) examine associations between adult attachment disturbances and psychopathic traits in diverse sociodemographic subgroups. Using a cross-sectional design, results showed mean-level psychopathy factor score differences existed only when considering single sociodemographic factors (e.g., age), not an interaction of those factors. Psychopathy factor profiles were also consistent across groups, with higher levels of lifestyle followed by interpersonal, affective, and antisocial traits reported. Regarding the second aim, findings indicated support for the positive association between disturbed attachment patterns in adult relationships and psychopathic traits, although these associations differed in males and females of different age groups. Finally, there was some support for attachment processes acting as a social development pathway toward psychopathy, as insecure attachments in adulthood partially mediated the relationships between age and interpersonal, affective, and lifestyle traits of psychopathy.
Assessment of Cognitive Performance in Mixed Martial Arts Athletes
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 MMA may not typically pose a significant risk for cumulative concussions and associated adverse neuropsychological consequences.
Supervisors, Trainees, and Client Outcomes in the Training Clinic: Toward an Understanding of Relational Factors
Estimates of healthy years of life lost due to mental illness are increasing, calling greater attention to the provision of effective psychotherapy services. Hypothesized to be the key mechanism through which competencies are developed in trainee clinicians and subsequent client outcomes, clinical supervision is deserving of greater attention. Drawing on a sample of supervisors, trainees, and clients from a training clinic, the present study sought to clarify the relational factors that could facilitate the asserted supervisor-client outcome link and to better understand if, and how, clinical supervisors influence client outcomes. With the exception of supervisor openness to experience, supervisor factors did not predict meaningful variance in client outcomes. Trainee extraversion and openness to experience predicted significant variance in leader-member exchange and supervisory working alliance. Dispositional trainee factors (e.g., personality) appear to impact trainee perceptions of the supervisory relationship. Implications for training and development are discussed, in addition to directions for future research.
Explaining the Relationship Between Borderline Personality Features and Suicidal Ideation
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 be beneficial in reducing risk for suicidal thoughts. Further investigation into the role and utility of addressing EA is warranted.
A Biopsychosocial Model of Dietary Restraint in Early Adolescent Boys
The current study replicated and extended previous research by examining empirically the direct and indirect influence of social pressure (to lose weight and diet), social body comparisons, internalization of the thin ideal, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and cardiorespiratory fitness on self-reported dietary restraint in a diverse sample of middle school boys (n = 663); Mage was 12.49 years (SD = .99). With IRB approval, parental consent, and child assent, during annual FITNESSGRAM testing, participants completed questionnaires that measured the study’s constructs. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was determined by the boys’ performance on the PACER running test. The proposed model was examined using structural equation modeling (SEM). Because measures demonstrated univariate and multivariate normality, the maximum likelihood procedure within EQS to examine the measurement and structural models was used. Fit was determined using a two-index procedure. Participants were randomly split into exploratory (Sample A - 331) and confirmatory (Sample B - 332) samples. For Sample A, the measurement and structural models fit the data well. The structural model was confirmed in Sample B, with the same paths being significant and nonsignficant. For both Sample A and Sample B, 35% of the Dietary Restraint variance was explained. These findings support a multifactorial approach to understanding boys’ self-reported dietary restraint, and illuminate the negative influence of sociocultural weight pressures and salutary effects of CRF on early adolescents’ psychosocial well-being and dietary behaviors.
Religiosity As a Coping Resource for Depression and Disease Management Among Older Diabetic Patients
Compared to the general population, diabetic patients experience a higher prevalence of depression, which can often exacerbate diabetic symptoms and complicate treatment. Studies show that religion is associated with both better physical health and better psychological functioning; however, studies incorporating religion and depression among diabetic individuals are scarce. The present study addressed this gap in the literature by examining archival data from the 2008 and 2010 data waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Cross-sectional findings confirmed that stronger religiosity was positively correlated with perceived diabetes control and positive diabetes change, and negatively correlated with total number of depressive symptoms and total number of weeks depressed. Longitudinal findings confirmed that stronger religiosity in 2008 was positively correlated with perceived diabetes change in 2010 and negatively correlated with total number of depressive symptoms in 2010. Logistic regression and multiple regression analyses were performed to test four moderation models. Results showed that religiosity significantly moderated the relationship between perceived diabetes control and total number of weeks depressed. More specifically, for diabetics with low levels of religiosity, whether they believed their diabetes was under control or not did not make a significant difference in the total number of weeks depressed. However, high levels of religiosity served as a buffer against the duration of depressive symptoms but only for diabetics who perceived to have their diabetes under control. Understanding how these constructs jointly influence diabetes management and psychological functioning is critical in that medical professionals may utilize such knowledge to enhance treatment outcomes.
Sexual Behavior During the Emerging Adult Years: Attachment and Social Support Perspectives
The purpose of this study was to better understand sexual development during the transition to adulthood. Previous research was extended by testing models that examined direct effects of romantic attachment and social support on emerging adults’ sexual outcomes, as well as models that examined the mediating role of sexual motivations in those associations. Undergraduate students (n = 290, 66% female) completed questionnaires that assessed romantic attachment, social support, sexual motives, risky sexual behaviors, and health-promoting sexual beliefs. Results indicated romantic attachment strongly predicted sexual functioning, such that higher levels of attachment insecurity were associated with fewer health-promoting sexual beliefs and more risky sexual behaviors. Attachment anxiety was most closely associated with sexual outcomes for females, while attachment avoidance was a stronger predictor of sexual outcomes for males. Furthermore, coping but not intimacy motivations were found to partially mediate the link between attachment anxiety and health-promoting sexual beliefs for females. Although overall relationships between social support and sexual outcomes were not significant as hypothesized, links between specific support sources and sexual outcomes emerged during further analysis. Conclusions underscore the usefulness of attachment theory as a framework for understanding sexual behavior and provide further support for the importance of considering gender differences when examining the interplay between the attachment and sexual systems. Practical implications for sexual health prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.
Role Importance, Affectional Solidarity, and Depression Among Familial Caregivers for Older Adults
In the United States, familial caregivers provide approximately 80% of the long term elderly care and are at risk for mental health problems. As family members provide care, relationships shift from mutual support to increasing dependency on the caregivers, who in turn often experience a shift in self-concept from their prior relational role to include identification as caregiver for the care recipient. Affectional solidarity, or emotional relationship quality, can influence how caregivers experience their shifting role in relationship to a loved one. The study examined whether role importance is associated with caregiver depression over time, and tested the moderating role of affectional solidarity in this association. A subset of caregivers (N = 57) from the Longitudinal Study of Generations constituted the sample from which role importance, affectional solidarity, and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression reports were analyzed using longitudinal hierarchical regression. Findings did not support hypotheses. Results suggested that affectional solidarity may be important to consider among familial caregivers as a potential protective factor for depression. Implications for future research and practitioners are discussed.
Personality and Mental Health Attitudes Among Us Army Rotc Cadets
With the current military mental health crisis, it is important to understand the role of the leader in military mental health. First, the impact of military leader behaviors on the well-being of military personnel is reviewed. Next, the role of leader attitudes as a precursor to leader behaviors is discussed. The relation of leader behaviors to leader personality using the NEO Five Factor Model (FFM) is reviewed, as well as the relation of prejudicial attitudes to the NEO FFM personality factors. A research project is described that attempted to draw these concepts together, assessing the NEO FFM personality dimensions and mental health attitudes of US Army ROTC cadets, the future leaders of the US Army. No significant relations were observed between NEO FFM personality traits and mental health attitudes, even after controlling for Impression Management. Also, the predicted positive correlation between positive mental health attitudes and Impression Management was not found. These results suggest that more research and more refined measures are needed in the area of leader attitudes toward soldier mental health problems, and how those attitudes might impact the soldiers.
The Relations Between Perceived Parent, Coach, and Peer Created Motivational Climates, Goal Orientations, and Mental Toughness in High School Varsity Athletes
Determining the factors that contribute to mental toughness development in athletes has become a focus for researchers as coaches, athletes, and others extol its influence on performance success. In this study we examined a model of mental toughness development based on achievement goal theory, assessing the relations between motivational climates, goal orientations, and mental toughness. Five hundred ninety-nine varsity athletes, representing 13 different sports from six different high schools in a southwestern United States school district, participated in the study. Athletes completed self-report measures assessing parent, peer, and coach motivational climates, goal orientations, and their mental toughness. Initially, I examined the measurement model and found it fit the data well both in the exploratory (SRMR = .06; CFI = .94) and confirmatory (SRMR = .06; CFI = .95) samples. Second, the structural model was examined and found to fit the data well in both the exploratory (SRMR = .08; CFI = .93) and confirmatory samples (SRMR = .07, CFI = .95). Parent task-involving climate, (β = .55; p < .05) and coach task-involving climate (β = .32; p < .05), but not peer task-involving climate (β = .05), were associated with task goal orientation (R2 = .57). Ego goal orientation (R2 = .32) was explained by peer ego-involving climate (β = .15; p < .05), parent ego-involving climate (β = .39; p < .05), and coach ego-involving climate (β = .16; p < .05). Finally, only task goal orientation (β = .75; p < .05) was related to the athletes’ mental toughness (R2 = .56); the ego goal orientation pathway was not significant (β = .04). These results speak to the potential positive influence of parents and coaches on athletes’ mental toughness through their endorsement of task-involving messages and pursuits leading to the development of a task goal orientation.
Development and Validation of a Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility
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 consistency and test-retest reliability. Confirmatory factor analysis results were positive, but indicate further refinement. Analyses suggested good construct validity of the MRSF in relation to psychological well-being and psychopathology; construct validity in relation to extant constructs in the psychology of religion was varied. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Lean on Me: Social Support Compensation and Risk of Death in Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) has an estimated incidence of nearly 11 million US adults aged 65 years and older. Evidence suggests that the quality of the marital relationship is an important factor for diabetes related health outcomes affecting self-management and adherence (Kiecolt-Glaser & Newton, 2001). However, an individual in need may compensate for primary support that is unavailable or not optimal by looking for other sources of support, which may be important for health outcomes (Rini, et al., 2008). The present study examined compensation for poor spousal support through other social relationships. A total of 12,640 participants reported they had diabetes and were married (Male = 6,317 and Female = 6,323), and of this group 1,084 men and 583 women had died over the course of the study period. Women reported lower spousal support, but significantly more aggregated social support across relationships than men. Few persons reported low spousal support and low support compensation, rendering the cell sizes highly unequal and the associated data uninterpretable. Ancillary analyses were conducted with the idea that some variance in total compensation support may moderate mortality risk finding that higher aggregated social support across non-spousal relationships was associated with lower risk of death accounting for ~3% of the variance in the final model. The current findings demonstrate how an individual can compensate for a poor primary support relationship through a broader support network. These findings should guide future research to focus on how individuals build, maintain, and seek support from social relationships.
Factors That Influence Athletic Trainers’ Ability to Recognize, Diagnose, and Intervene: Depression in Athletes
Athletic trainers (ATs) are professionals who are most directly responsible for athletes’ health care in a sport environment. ATs work with athletes on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of athletic injury; it is through these interactions that put ATs in an ideal position to recognize the psychological and emotional distress that athletes may suffer. Consequently, the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) has called for ATs to be competent in implementing psychosocial strategies and techniques (e.g., goal-setting, imagery, positive self-talk), recognizing basic symptoms of mental disorders, and identifying and referring athletes in need of psychological help. I explored ATs’ ability to recognize, diagnose, and provide a referral for collegiate athletes who were presenting with symptoms of depression across three different scenarios. The study examined factors that may impact ATs’ abilities in these areas, including AT gender, athlete gender, and type of presenting problem (e.g., athletic injury, romantic relationship, or sport performance issue). Overall, female ATs were better at recognizing depressive symptoms than male ATs, though both were equally proficient at diagnosing depression. Regardless of gender of the AT, gender of the athlete, and presenting problem, ATs were most likely to refer the athletes to a counselor/psychologist, and to a lesser extent sport psychology consultant (SPC). ATs viewed referrals to an SPC as most appropriate for presenting problems related to sport (i.e., performance problem or injury). The results highlight a possible bias in referrals to an SPC, in that SPCs may not be considered an appropriate referral source for romantic relationship problems. Implications for ATs and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Ethnic Differences in Caregiving Style
This study explored the caregiving styles of 306 grandparents raising grandchild across three ethnic groups (164 European Americans, 65 Latinos, and 77 African Americans). Significant differences were found in caregiving styles between European Americans and African Americans. Caregiver appraisal (burden, satisfaction, and Mastery) was found to be predictive of caregiving style across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Caregiver style was predictive of grandchild functioning across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Lastly, caregiver style was found to be predictive of grandparent well-being across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Implications are discussed in terms of the complex, multidimensional and culturally embedded nature of the caregiving experience and the importance of considering culture for optimal outcomes.
Effects of Religious Attendance on Suicidal Ideation: Examining Potential Mediators of Social Support, Locus of Control, and Substance Abuse
Religion has a well-documented relationship with mental health benefits and has consistently demonstrated an impact on several specific mental health concerns, including suicide, generally finding various religious facets to be inversely associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. More specifically, religion has been found to be associated with suicide in a number of ways, including decreased acceptance of suicide, decreased likelihood of suicidal thoughts, decreased likelihood of suicidal attempts, fewer suicide attempts, lower relative risk of suicide, lower suicide rate, and increased reasons for living. Several studies have proposed potential mediators (e.g., social support, locus of control, and substance abuse) of the relationship between religion and mental health, usually in non-clinical samples. The current study sought to examine the association between religious attendance and suicidal ideation using archival data of a clinical sample collected from the University of North Texas Psychology Clinic. Results from this sample revealed no evidence of mediation, instead suggesting a direct effect of religious attendance on suicidal ideation. Two mediation models demonstrated the effects of external locus of control and social support on suicidal ideation. These models are discussed in terms of their directionality, considering the extant research on these associations. Findings of the current study have implications for welcoming the incorporation of salient religious topics throughout treatment in mental health settings, including discussion of religious attendance among those clients who have identified religion as a personal value.
Discrimination and Perceived Stress in Sexual and Gender Minorities: Self-esteem As a Moderating Factor
Sexual and gender minorities are subjected to discrimination and stigmatization which increase vulnerability to psychological co-morbidities (Mays & Cochran, 2001). The mechanisms through which discrimination contributes to distress in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) communities can be partially elucidated through the minority stress model. The minority stress model argues that minorities are subjected to negative societal attitudes and discrimination that results in excessive psychosocial stress related to their minority position, which is distinct from daily stress. Meyer’s minority stress model is supported by social stress theoriesand data linking discrimination to stress in lgb samples. Researchers suggest that self-esteem buffers the negative effects of adverse experiences but tests of the moderating effect of self-esteem on the discrimination-distress relationship in ethnic and gender minorities yielded mixed results. Szymanski found that self-esteem moderates the relationship between discrimination and psychological distress in a male sexual minority sample, but this has never been tested in a gender-balanced sexual minority sample. We hypothesized that higher levels of self-esteem are associated with lower overall perceived stress in lgbt adults, and that self-esteem acts differentially in lgbt populations to moderate perceived discrimination. We found that discrimination, self-esteem and the interaction effect between discrimination and self-esteem accounted for 53 percent of the total variance in perceived stress scores, ∆R2 = .38; adj. R2 = .53, F(12, 133) = 14.47, p < .001.When we tested whether self-esteem moderated the relationship between discrimination and stress, discrimination was positively related to stress, β = .13, t(144) = 2.14, p < .05, and self-esteem was negatively related to stress, β = -.63, t(144) = -10.26, p < .001. The interaction between self-esteem and discrimination positively correlated with stress, β = .14, t(144) = 2.29, p < .05. Our findings suggest that self-esteem may alleviate the impact of discrimination on perceived stress, which has important implications for interventions designed to reduce stress in lgbt communities.
The Vulnerability of Self-report Measures of Psychopathy to Positive Impression Management: a Simulation Study with Inmates
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 each measure. Another key finding was the identification of promising PPI-R Virtuous Responding Scale cut scores that can be utilized within forensic populations. Results indicate self-report measures should not be used to replace the PCL-R or comprehensive assessment of psychopathy in forensic evaluations; however, they do provide additional useful information and may be beneficial in other clinical settings.
Diabetes Status of Mexican Americans: Impact of Country of Birth
In order to better tailor treatment to specific populations, factors which contribute to health disparities among different racial/ethnic groups must be examined. Among Mexican American individuals, the high rate of diabetes represents a significant contributor to overall health. The present study focuses on factors affecting diabetes status among Mexican Americans born in either Mexico or the United States using the 2007 – 2008 NHANES data set. Comparisons were made between diabetes status based on self-report and clinical classification using HbA1c. Results indicated that within the diabetic subsample, Mexican Americans born in Mexico were twice as likely to be incorrectly classified as non-diabetic, when they actually were diabetic, when using a self-report method. In contrast, nativity did not result in differences in diabetes incidence using the HbA1c clinical cut-score diagnostic classification. Age, BMI, gender, nativity, and health insurance coverage were found to have varying relationships to diabetes prevalence and HbA1c levels, but time in the U.S. for Mexico-born individuals was not found to uniquely predict diabetes incidence. Analyses also demonstrated that Mexico-born males, as compared to the other groups, had significantly higher HbA1c levels. Further research is necessary to better understand the relationships among these factors. However, findings do demonstrate a need for more objective disease classification, particularly when examining immigration status and diabetes. Additionally, the complexity of these interactions establishes a need for specific health intervention for foreign-born populations which might be missed by self-report screening asking about presence of disease and exacerbated by an oversimplification of the “healthy immigrant effect”.
An Exploration of the Criterion and Construct Validity of the Self-compassion Scale
Past research indicates that self-compassion has positive implications for psychological health and functioning. However, as a newly specified construct, the literature regarding self-compassion could benefit from a more thorough validation of the primary scale used in this area of research, the Self-Compassion Scale. In the present study, structural path analysis (using Amos) was used to explore the criterion validity of the SCS with four variables which have been theorized to be relevant to self-compassion (caregiver emotional responsiveness, fear of emotion, internalized spirituality, and achievement goal orientation). Initial hypothesis testing indicated support for the path model, with the exception of achievement goals which were not significantly associated with self-compassion. Trimming these paths in a subsequent analysis improved model fit. Interestingly, further analyses of the model indicated that the pairing of participant and parent gender produced substantial differences in path coefficients. Next, correlational and factor analytic methods were used to test the construct validity of the SCS. Correlational analyses found adequate convergent construct validity but some lack of divergent validity between SCS dimensions and conceptually similar constructs (i.e., fear of emotion, social connectedness and self-criticism). Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a two-factor model fit the data better than the one-factor model proposed by the author of the SCS. The incremental validity of the two-factor model was supported by incorporating a two-factor SCS in the path analysis. In sum, these findings generally support the criterion validity of the SCS through meaningful associations with theoretically relevant variables but cautions that these associations are strongly influenced by gender. It is also strongly recommended that a two-factor model of the SCS be explored in further research to ascertain its incremental utility for understanding self-compassion’s positive effects on psychological health.
Family Interaction Patterns, Child Attachment, and Child Emotional Adjustment
The present study examined the links between whole family interaction patterns, parent-child attachment, and child emotional adjustment in a sample of 86 community families with children between the ages of 8 and 11. Family interactions were observed and coded with the System for Coding Interactions and Family Functioning (SCIFF; Lindahl, 2001). Target children completed the Children’s Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CCSQ; Yunger, Corby, & Perry, 2005), and the Behavior Assessment System for Children- 2nd Edition, Self Report of Personality (BASC-2 SRP; Reynolds &Kamphaus, 2004). Results of hierarchical regressions indicated that Secure and Avoidant attachment each independently predicted children’s emotional symptoms in some models. Family Cohesion and Positive Affect moderated the relationship between father-child attachment and children’s emotional symptoms. Results of the current study support the utility of considering dyadic attachment and family interaction patterns conjointly when conceptualizing and treating children’s emotional outcomes.
Apology and Forgiveness in Couples
Following a transgression, interpersonal forgiveness is one strategy used to restore harmony between the victim and offender. Research also suggests that forgiveness can promote psychological and physical health. Research has shown that an apology from the offender may facilitate the forgiveness process. The majority of studies suggest that when a victim receives an apology, they experience higher levels of forgiveness toward their offender. The purpose of this thesis was to explore the association between apology and forgiveness in a sample of adults and undergraduate students (N = 803). The results are organized in three sections. First, I found a positive relationship between apology and forgiveness, replicating prior research. Second, I created a new measure of transgression severity, and provided evidence of internal consistency, construct validity, and criterion-related validity for this measure. Third, I tested two variables hypothesized to moderate the association between apology and forgiveness. First, there was some evidence that perceived offender humility moderated the association between simple apology and forgiveness. Offenders who were perceived as being more humble when providing a simple apology were granted more forgiveness than their less humble counterparts. Second, there was some evidence that transgression severity moderated the association between a complete apology and forgiveness, but the effect was in the opposite direction as hypothesized. For individuals who reported a transgression of high severity, there was a stronger association between the completeness of an apology and forgiveness than for individuals who reported a transgression of low severity. I conclude by discussing limitations, areas for future research, and implications for counseling.
Brief Symptom Inventory: Music and Non-Music Students
The present study is a comparison of music and non-music students with respect to their response patterns on the Brief Symptom Inventory as well as several demographic questions. The sample consisted of 148 non-music students and 141 music students at three levels: (1) freshmen/sophomore; (2) juniors/seniors; and (3) graduate students. Music students consisted of volunteers from several different music classes and non-music students were volunteers from non-music classes. There were no significant differences found among or between groups for the BSI subscales. However, music students were significantly less likely to have gone to counseling in the past and to seek professional counseling for future problems. Recommendations for psycho-educational interventions with musicians are discussed as well as suggestions for future research.
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.
Racial/ethnic Differences in Hospital Utilization for Cardiovascular-related Events: Evidence of a Survival and Recovery Advantage for Latinos?
Evidence continues to demonstrate that racial/ethnic minority groups experience a disproportionate burden of disease and mortality in cardiovascular-related diseases (CVDs). However, emerging evidence suggests a health advantage for Latinos despite a high risk profile. The current study explored the hospital utilization trends of Latino and non-Latino patients and examined the possibility of an advantage for Latinos within the context of CVD-related events with retrospective data collected over a 12-month period from a local safety-net hospital. Contrary to my hypotheses, there was no advantage for in-hospital mortality, length of stay or re-admission in Latinos compared to non-Latinos; rather, Latinos hospitalized for a CVD-related event had a significantly longer length of stay and had greater odds for re-admission when compared to non-Latinos. Despite data suggesting a general health advantage, Latinos may experience a relative disparity within the context of hospital utilization for CVD-related events. Findings have implications for understanding the hospital utilization trends of Latinos following a CVD-related event and suggest a call for action to advance understanding of Latino cardiovascular health.
Denial of Risk: the Effects of Intentional Minimization on Risk Assessments for Psychopathic and Nonpsychopathic Offenders
Risk assessments for offenders often combine past records with current clinical findings from observations, interviews, and test data. Conclusions based on these risk assessments are highly consequential, sometimes resulting in increased criminal sentences or prolonged hospitalization. Offenders are therefore motivated to intentionally minimize their risk scores. Intentional minimization is especially likely to occur in offenders with high psychopathic traits because goal-directed deception is reflected in many of the core traits of the disorder, such as manipulativeness, glibness, and superficial charm. However, this connection appears to be based on the conceptual understanding of psychopathy, and it has rarely been examined empirically for either frequency or success. The current study examined the connection between psychopathic traits and the intentional minimization of risk factors using a sentenced jail sample. In general, offenders were able to effectively minimize risk on the HCR-20 and SAQ, while the PICTS, as a measure of cognitive styles, was more resistant to such minimization. Psychopathic traits, especially high interpersonal facet scores, led to greater minimization using a repeated measure, simulation design. Important differences in the willingness and ability to use deception were found based on (a) the content of subscales, and (b) the mode of administration (i.e., interview vs. self-report). The important implications of this research are discussed for risk assessment procedures regarding likely areas of deception and its detection. It also informs the growing literature on the connection between psychopathic traits and deception.
Attention and Metacognition in the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of Desire
The elaborated intrusion (EI) theory of desire is a cognitive model that describes the processes involved in craving as intrusive thoughts that are elaborated upon leading to dissonance when desires are not met. While the theory is based on a wide body of research, certain theoretical predictions have not been fully examined. Specifically, EI theory argues that mental imagery has a central role in craving, and predicts that attempts to suppress substance-related intrusive thoughts and mental imagery is related to increased craving. Further, EI theory suggests that elaboration of craving imagery is related to attention and working memory processes, however, there are questions about whether differential performance in these domains is related to craving. The current study examined the relationship between attention/working memory performance and alcohol craving in a sample of 119 young adult males. Additionally, metacognition was examined to clarify the phenomenological aspects of craving within EI theory. Attention and working memory performance did not significantly predict intrusive thought and mental imagery elaboration. Individuals with high craving reported significantly higher levels of anxiety, thought suppression, and greater strength and frequency of craving-related mental imagery. They were also more likely to try to control their own thoughts and make negative judgments on their ability to do so. The strength of craving-related intrusive thoughts, not mental imagery, was the most significant predictor of craving. Implications for the understanding of craving and treatment recommendations based on the findings are discussed.
Development of a Differential Neurocognitive Profile for Alzheimer’s Dementia and Vascular Dementia
Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) is among the most common diseases in the Geriatric population, and its prevalence is expected to quadruple by 2047.Vascular Dementia (VaD) is the second most frequent cause of dementia, with studies indicating VaD accounts for 10-20% of dementia cases across the globe. A diagnostic model differentiating AD and VaD would be clinically and scientifically valuable, considering the treatment approaches for these conditions are different. Although there are differences between AD and VaD on their neuropsychological profiles, a diagnostic model that successfully differentiates AD and VaD on neuropsychological testing has not been developed, despite previous attempts. Our study addresses this gap in the literature by examining two diagnostic models used to predict the conversion of AD from mild cognitive impairment, and a third model was proposed to differentiate AD from VaD. We conducted ROC Analyses using the variables LM II Standard Score, Animals Total, and CDRS Sum based on a previous diagnostic model. The sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of mild VaD were calculated for all possible scores of each test measure. The Animals Total cutoff score of 7 achieved excellent sensitivity and specificity, receiving 96% and 92%, respectively. In this sample, patients who could name at least seven animals under 60 seconds were highly likely to be diagnosed with VaD. LM II Scaled Score also achieved statistical significance (p <0.001) and a cutoff score of 4 received 96% sensitivity and 77% specificity. Patients who achieved an LM II Scaled Score of 4 or higher were highly likely to be diagnosed with VaD.
Sexual and Nonsexual Boundary Violations Between Sport Psychology Professionals and Their Client-athletes
Sexual attraction (SA), as well as sexual (SBVs) and nonsexual boundary violations (NSBVs), have been identified as matters of ethical concern, being viewed as harmful within mental health or counseling relationships. Much of the literature in the area of SA and SBVs has focused on the counselor-client relationship, but it has been investigated only minimally in the field of sport psychology and specifically with regard to sport psychology professionals (SPPs). Because SA, SBVs, and NSBVs between SPPs and their client-athletes seem to be potentially problematic concerns in need of empirical investigation and practical scrutiny, the aim of this study was to examine: (a) the incidence of SBV and NSBV beliefs and behaviors among SPPs; (b) SPPs' feelings regarding SA for and from client-athletes; and (c) SPPs' willingness to seek supervision to manage their SA beliefs and behaviors towards client-athletes. SPPs (n = 365) completed the Survey of Applied Sport Psychologists (SASP) via e-mail or regular mail. As expected, SPPs experienced SA (40.6%) and generally did not experience strong feelings as a result of the SA. However, of the SPPs experiencing SA, 13.5% of males and 13.8% of females engaged in a SBV with a client-athlete. NSBV behaviors and beliefs are also reported. Chi-squared analyses revealed male SPPs engaged in nonsexual touching with their client-athletes more frequently than female SPPs. T-tests suggested ethically trained SPPs were more likely to seek supervision as a result of SA and view certain NSBVs as good professional behavior in comparison to non-ethically trained SPPs. Appropriate supervision and ethical training for SPPs experiencing SA could be helpful in the management of potential future SBV or NSBV behaviors. Implications for SPPs working with athletes, limitations of the present study, and recommendations for future research are discussed.
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.
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.
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.
A Multi-method Approach to Examining Stress and Anxiety Among Mexican American College Students
United States post-secondary education continues to see an increase in Hispanic enrollment, particularly those of Mexican heritage. The present study was designed to examine this population’s experience of stress, anxiety and academic approach-avoidance conflict. Data were collected at North Texas postsecondary institutions. Participants (N = 197) completed an online survey including a Picture Story Exercise (PSE), open-ended responses to hypothetical scenarios, and self-report measures. The current study utilized a mixed-method approach integrating content analysis measures and self-reports. Results indicated that anxiety symptoms expressed to academic, familial, and minority social situations differed, partial η2=.39; with the academic scenario including the highest and minority social scenario the lowest anxiety. Results suggested that Mexican-American college students may express cognitive and affective symptoms of anxiety more frequently than physical symptoms on scenarios but not on self-report scales (Personality Assessment Inventory Anxiety; PAI Anxiety). PSE responses suggested that Conflict and Drive for Goal Orientation were frequent among this sample. Academic Total Anxiety and Academic Physical Anxiety related positively to PSE Conflict, while Academic Cognitive Anxiety related negatively to PSE Positive Outcomes. Exploratory models predicting PSE variables from Academic Anxiety and PAI Anxiety were inconclusive but suggested that gender accounted for significant variance in PSE scores.
Personality Factors and Trust in Placebo Medical Trials
Prior research has reported that individual differences influence both placebo and nocebo responses. The present study examined how individual personality, as well as trust, influence placebo/nocebo belief and symptom reporting after receiving an inert capsule that for some was described as an active “cognitively-enhancing” trial medication. Individuals (N = 104) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: condition A participants were told they’d received the medication, condition B participants were told they’d received a placebo, and condition C participants were told, via random assignment, each would receive either the medication or placebo (after the experiment this condition listed the group – medication or placebo - each believed s/he was in). The study was completed in the UNT Student Health and Wellness Center to provide context in a medical setting. Of the 104 participants, 46 (44.2%) were either placed by experimental design or self-report in the medication group. Participants with a belief in medication ingestion, regardless of condition (i.e., A or C), reported significantly more symptoms (M = 16.65, SD = 3.178), than participants who believed they had ingested a placebo (M = 14.21, SD = 2.58), t (102) = 4.32, p = .001. Aspects of Neuroticism and Extroversion, as well as trust were correlated with symptom reporting and/or placebo/nocebo responses. It appears that that personality is part of a combination including trust, context and expectations. It is recommended that future research on personality and placebo effects consider the role of individual factors, context and communication of expectations.
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.
Mental Toughness Training for Police Officers: the Impact of a Stress Inoculation Program on Police Stress
This study examined the impact that a stress inoculation training (SIT) program had on a small-sized city police department in the southwestern U.S. Specifically, the aim of this study was to investigate how a SIT program impacted police officer self-reported levels of organizational stress, operational stress, perceived life stress, and mood states. All 24 participants were recruited from a population of 132 sworn, active duty police officers and were pre-tested through administration of a questionnaire packet containing a host of measures related to demographics, organizational stressors, operational stressors, general life stressors, and mood states. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of the following treatment conditions: (1) delayed training; (2) SIT program; and (3) SIT plus booster program. On completion of the SIT program, members of each of the treatment conditions were re-assessed through the administration of the aforementioned questionnaire packet. Subsequent to conducting the booster sessions, participants from each treatment condition took part in a second, and final, follow-up assessment. Results suggested that organizational stress was decreased for participants in the SIT program, particularly at follow-up. Results also suggested that energy (i.e., vigor) was increased for participants in the SIT plus booster program at both post-test and follow-up. Furthermore, results suggested that there was a statistically significant decrease in perceived life stress at both post-test and follow-up, yet statistically analysis was unable to tease out which group contributed to this significance. These findings support the efficacy of an SIT program in assisting police officers combat organizational stressors.
Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans
Research has indicated that OEF/OIF veterans are experiencing mental health concerns following deployment. While there are increasing numbers of veterans returning to higher education institutions after discharging from the military, there is a scarcity of empirical research investigating student veterans’ experiences as they transition into college. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether social support moderates the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment among a sample of student veterans. Participants were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, measures of psychological distress (i.e., GAD-7, PHQ-9, IES-R), Multidimensional Scales of Perceived Social Support, and the Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire. Multiple regressions revealed significant main effects for the variables of interest, but analyses failed to support the hypothesis that perceived social support would moderate the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment.
Adolescent Behavior Problems and Interparental Conflict: the Moderating Role of Parent-child Attachment
The current study examined the role that parent-child attachment plays in the relationship between marital conflict and the development of behavior problems in adolescents. To evaluate the hypothesis that attachment moderates this relationship, 57 families were recruited via e-mail invitation sent to families that participated in local church youth groups, school organizations, and a treatment program designed for adolescents with behavior problems. One custodial parent and his/her adolescent child completed an online or paper version of a survey consisting of the Achenbach’s Behavior Checklists, the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment, and the Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale. Hypotheses were evaluated using Baron and Kenny’s (1986) procedures to test moderating effects with multiple regression analyses. Mother attachment demonstrated a significant moderation effect between the intensity of interparental conflict and the parent’s report of externalizing behavior problems. Specifically, at low conflict intensity levels, relative to low attachment security, high attachment security was associated with fewer externalizing behavior problems, whereas at high intensities of interparental conflict high attachment security was associated with more externalizing behavior problems.
Examining High School Coaches’ Likelihood to Refer To, Interest in Working With, and Plans to Hire a Sport Psychologist
The primary goal of the current study was to extend previous research suggesting that coaches are the primary gatekeepers who may be a barrier to working with athletes by examining high school coaches likelihood to refer to, interest in, and intention to hire a sport psychologist. Specifically, the current study examined relationships between high school coaches’ sex, age, and type of sport coached (i.e., contact vs. non-contact) and their likelihood to refer athletes to a sport psychologist for a variety of presenting issues (i.e., poor attentional focus, poor leadership, family issues, etc.). It also examined relationships between coaches’ sex, age, and type of sport coached (i.e., contact vs. non-contact) and their interest in working with a sport psychologist. Finally, the study examined reasons why coaches did not plan to hire a sport psychologist. An examination of the possible reasons that high school coaches do not plan to hire a sport psychologist served an exploratory purpose. Participants included 450 coaches who coached high school sports in the United States. Results indicated that female coaches and non-contact sport coaches were more likely to refer athletes to a sport psychologist for a variety of referral issues than male coaches and coaches of contact sports. Similarly, significantly more female coaches and non-contact sport coaches showed interest in working with a sport psychologist than male coaches and coaches of contact sports. Coaches who did not plan to hire a sport psychologist reported that cost, lack authority to hire, and lack of availability as primary reasons. Implications of the findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
Perceived Parent-child Relationship Quality’s Moderation Effect on the Acculturation-wellbeing Relationship Among Young Adults From Immigrant Families
The current study examined relationships among acculturation, parent-child relationship quality, and selected wellbeing indicators (health-related quality of life, life satisfaction, anxiety, depression, and stress) among a group of young adults from immigrant families of Asian and Hispanic descent. The first goal of the current study was to replicate previous research demonstrating a mixed relationship between acculturation and the wellbeing indicators. The second was to explain this relationship by testing for a moderation effect of parental care on the acculturation-wellbeing relationship. An examination of differences between members of the two ethnic groups on all measured variables served an exploratory purpose. Participants included 204 participants of Asian (N =80) and Hispanic (N = 124) descent who came from an immigrant family, or a family in which at least one parent was born outside of the U.S. Eligible respondents were also current students at the University of the North Texas who fell within the age range of 18-24, and the data for the current study was selected from a larger dataset (N = 1064). Results indicated that higher acculturation levels had a positive effect on each wellbeing indicator. Father Care and Mother Care were found to be significantly positively correlated with most outcome variables but neither parental care variable moderated the acculturation-wellbeing relationship. Asian and Hispanic participants differed on a number of predicting and outcome variables. Implications of the findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
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.