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 Degree Discipline: Clinical Psychology
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posttraumatic Stress and Neurobehavioral Symptoms
The purpose of this study is to examine the structure of neurobehavioral symptoms in service members with physical and/or psychological trauma to determine the diagnostic specificity of these symptoms. Previous literature has demonstrated that orthopedic injured, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), and healthy controls shared similar levels of postconcussive symptom complaints, which suggest that postconcussion-like symptoms are not unique to MTBI. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first study examining this phenomenon in a sample of recently redeployed service members. Dimensional analysis of the PCL-C and NSI using SEM did not produce a model that was consistent with previous literature and principle component analyses did not produce a simple solution for posttraumatic stress or neurobehavioral symptoms. Thus, the study does not provide evidence for construct validity for either instrument. Implications for these findings are that clinicians need to be aware that these instruments may not be measuring coherent constructs within this population as purported and should judiciously interpret and report the results of these instruments.
The Effects of Voluntary Lateral Orienting on Positive Manifold for Lateralized Cognitive Tasks
As an extension of previous studies (Urbanczyk, Angel, & Kennelly, 1988) examining the effects of unimanual finger tapping on lateralized cognitive tasks, lateral body orienting was added to an established dual task paradigm to generate differential hemispheric activation and shifts of attention. One hundred twenty university students retained sequences of digits or spatial locations for 20 seconds either alone or during finger tapping. By turning both head and eyes left or right, the hemisphere congruent with the sequences (LH for digits, RH for locations) or incongruent (vice versa) was activated. Activation had little effect on retention means but greatly affected resource composition supporting task performance. Congruent orientation produced significantly higher positive correlations between digit and location tasks than incongruent orientation. Females showed higher sequence retention correlations than males across both orienting groups. For females, congruent activation enhanced tapping rates and retention-tapping correlations. For males, activation affected neither of these. Discussed in light of neuroanatomical research, these results suggest that congruent attentional orienting may integrate regions of the less activated hemisphere into networks of the more activated hemisphere. This unification may occur more readily across the female corpus callosum, producing a greater dependence upon a general attentional resource than for males, who appear to depend more upon hemispheric resources.
Siblings of Incest Victims: Sibling-Victim Relationships and Adjustment
The non-victimized siblings in incestuous families have often been ignored in research, literature, and treatment. This study explored these siblings' 1) relationship to the victim, 2) attribution of blame, and 3) adjustment. Participants were 30 non-victimized siblings of incest victims, between the ages of 8 and 14. They completed the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire, the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale, the Self-perception Profile for Children, the Children's Depression Inventory, and a questionnaire developed for this research. Participants' scores were compared with the normative sample scores on several measures. Siblings perceived little warmth and closeness in their relationships to their victimized sisters. Rivalry and conflict were within normal limits. Siblings blamed victims and other family members less than expected, with the greatest amount of blame attributed to perpetrators. Adjustment was impaired. Males demonstrated less athletic competence, less global self-worth, more worry and oversensitivity than normative samples. Females showed a tendency toward less global self-worth and heightened general anxiety. Siblings' overall level of emotional distress was higher than most of the normative samples.
The Reduction of Tension Headache Using EMG Biofeedback and Locus of Control as Predictors
This study investigates the status of biofeedback treatment and locus of control (LOC) affiliation on the reduction of tension headache. Three LOC groups designated as internals, powerful-other externals and chance externals (using Wallston and Wallston's, 1978, Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale) were administered an eight week electromyogram (EMG) frontalis muscle biofeedback training program using an Autogen 1700 biofeedback unit. Subjects were 12 female and four male undergraduate students who had a history of tension headache. Results indicated no significant difference in frontalis muscle tension between the beginning and end of sessions in either a biofeedback or self-control condition for any of the LOC groups. Further, there was no significant difference among LOC groups in ability to reduce muscle tension in either the training or self-control condition. Finally, neither biofeedback training nor LOC groups were significant predictors of headache reduction. Extreme within-group variability and small sample size affected study findings and these and other implications for future research are discussed.
First Impressions of Therapists: the Effect of Therapist Gender, Gaze, Smiling and Subject Gender
Conceptualization psychotherapy as an interpersonal influence process emphasizes how a therapist is perceived by a client. Factors affecting a client's early impressions of a therapist could influence therapeutic interactions since first impressions are relatively stable. The study investigated effects of nonverbal behavior and gender during a simulated initial meeting between a therapist and client. Undergraduates (N = 466) viewed a male or female therapist interviewing with a new female client. Therapist gaze .(100%, 80%, 40%) and smiling (high, low) were manipulated. After subjects viewed one of 12 videotapes, they completed questionnaires rating therapist expertness, trustworthiness, attractiveness, masculinity and femininity. A comparison of the therapist with subjects' expectations of a therapist in general was obtained by pre- and post-testing utilizing a measure of client expectations. MANOVAs were performed on all ratings except expectation scores, where an ANCOVA was utilized. Main effects for therapist gender indicated the female therapist was rated as significantly more expert, attractive, trustworthy and feminine than the male (ps < .81). For ratings of masculinity, subject gender interacted with therapist gender (p < .001). Wain effects showed that high smiling was rated as more attractive and more feminine (ps < .01). Smiling and level of gaze interacted on ratings of trustworthiness, expertness and masculinity (ps < .04). The 100 per cent and 80 per cent gaze levels increased expertness, trustworthiness and masculinity ratings. Smiling affected expertness at the 80 per cent level, and trustworthiness and masculinity at the 40 per cent level. Analysis of the expectation scores resulted in a three-way interaction between subject gender, smiling and gaze (p < .02). The results suggested that female subjects expected more responsive therapist behavior. The results suggested that the ratings of the male and female therapist reflected both the use of sex stereotypes and the influence of the therapist role. Based on the nonverbal behavior manipulation, several recommendations for therapist behavior were suggested.
An Examination of Resnick's Model of Malingering: a Pai Study of Feigned Ptsd
Malingered posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) poses a formidable clinical challenge in personal injury and disability cases because of the apparent ease in feigning PTSD and the supposed link (proximate cause) to the claimed damages. The effective assessment of feigned PTSD is particularly challenging because this diagnosis is both easier to fake than other Axis I disorders and more difficult to detect. As an additional confound, some patients with genuine PTSD produce highly variable, elevated profiles on multiscale inventories that are difficult to distinguish from feigned PTSD. The current study examined whether the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) can effectively differentiate between genuine and feigned PTSD in 109 inpatients from a trauma unit. The two most effective scales were the MAL and the NDS scales. As a primary focus, the current study was the first empirical investigation of Resnick's model of malingered PTSD that is comprised of three subtypes: pure malingering (pure-M), partial malingering (partial-M), and false imputation (false-I). The primary goal was to evaluate whether each feigning group was able to (a) effectively simulate PTSD symptoms and diagnoses and (b) avoid being classified as feigning. The partial-M group proved to be the best feigning group in achieving these two goals. Furthermore, the use of well-defined groups, including an indeterminate band (i.e., unclassified) around each cut score, was explored. Overall, the use of well-defined groups improved accuracy in classification and reduced the number of false-positives.
An Investigation of Malingering and Defensiveness Using the Spanish Pai Among Spanish-speaking Hispanic American Outpatients
For response styles, malingering describes the deliberate production of feigned symptoms by persons seeking external gain such as financial compensation, exemption from duty, or leniency from the criminal justice system. In contradistinction, defensiveness occurs when patients attempt to downplay their symptoms of psychological impairment. Both of the aforementioned response styles can markedly affect the accuracy of diagnosis, especially on self-reports, such as multiscale inventories. As an important oversight, no studies have been conducted to examine the effect of culturally specific response styles on profile validity and the classification of malingering among Hispanic American clinical populations. The current study investigated whether the Spanish Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) effectively distinguished between Spanish-speaking outpatient groups randomly assigned to honest, feigning, and defensive experimental conditions. In examining the results, PAI malingering indicators utilizing Rare Symptoms strategies (NIM and MAL) demonstrated moderate to large effect sizes. For defensiveness, Spanish PAI indicators also demonstrated moderate to very large effect sizes (M d = 1.27; range from 0.94 to 1.68). Regarding psychometric properties, Spanish PAI validity scales, provide adequate to good data on reliability and discriminant validity. Clinical utility of the Spanish PAI increases as different cut scores are employed.
Correlates Between Adult Romantic Attachment Patterns and Dimensional Personality Pathology
Previous research has suggested that adult attachment disturbance is related to maladaptic interaction patterns and personality disorder constructs. Specifically, research indicates that those with attachment disturbance are significantly more likely to meet criteria for a number of personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between adult attachment and the new dimensional model of personality disorders scheduled to be released in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Diosrders (5th ed.) in spring 2013. Participants completed the Schedule for Adaptive and Nonadaptive Personality (SNAP) to measure dimensional personality functioning and the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR-R) and the Attachment Prototypes to measure adult attachment patterns. Additionally, select scales from the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and the Five Factor Model (FFM) will be utilized as secondary measures of personality patterns. The results suggest strong associations between adult attachment orientations and specific maladaptive personality characteristics.
Female Psychopathy Predictors: Cluster B Traits and Alexithymia
Psychopathy has long been lauded as a premier predictor of negative behavioral outcomes because of its demonstrated associations with violence, antisocial conduct, and institutional maladjustment. Traditional conceptualizations of psychopathy highlight the relatively equal importance placed on personality features (i.e., a grandiose, deceitful interpersonal style and deficits in affective experience) and behavioral elements (i.e., an impulsive and irresponsible lifestyle marked by social deviance) of the syndrome. However, little research to date has investigated psychopathy dimensions in female samples, particularly as they relate to maladaptive behaviors beyond forensic settings. The current study comprehensively examined personality (i.e., Axis II Cluster B traits and alexithymia) and behavioral (i.e., suicide-related behavior and aggression) expressions of psychopathy in a sample of female inpatients recruited from trauma and dual-diagnosis units at a psychiatric hospital in Dallas, Texas. Contrary to expectations, the essential components of psychopathy in female psychiatric patients emphasized APD and NPD traits over features of HPD and BPD, which were relatively similar to elements traditionally highlighted in male psychopathy. On this point, two latent dimensions comprehensively addressed female psychopathy in the current sample: impulsive antisociality and narcissistic and histrionic interpersonal style. Interestingly, psychopathy (M r = .01) and Cluster B traits (M r = .05) were virtually unrelated to suicide-related behavior in female patients with trauma and substance use histories, but APD and BPD traits were more discerning for impulsive and premeditated aggression than variants of psychopathy. Aggression's relationship to BPD traits is at least partially mediated by alexithymia. These results are discussed in terms of improving evaluation and intervention efforts aimed at identifying and managing psychopathic females beyond forensic settings.
An Investigation of the Phase Model of Psychotherapy Across Therapeutic Orientations: Are Different Approaches Actually All That Different?
The current study investigated the process of change underlying two different evidence-based treatments that yield similar outcome effectiveness in the treatment of depression: Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). The phase model of psychotherapeutic change (Howard et al., 1993) change is used to provide both a theoretical and practical framework in which to assess different patterns of change across the treatment modalities. The phase model posits that recovery from distress occurs in three sequential stages: remoralization, remediation and rehabilitation. CT can be conceptualized as a treatment in which the primary focus is on the treatment of symptoms (remediation), whereas IPT can typically be conceptualized as focusing on interpersonal conflicts and functioning (rehabilitation). The study utilized the TDCRP dataset (Elkin et al., 1985). Survival analysis indicated no significant difference in terms of onset or pattern of improvement across treatment orientations. Chi square analyses indicated individuals treated with IPT spend significantly more time engaged in rehabilitation compared to their CT counterparts. Taken together, these findings represent evidence that the process of therapeutic change is similar, if not virtually identical, across therapeutic orientation. The analyses also indicate that the phases of therapy may not necessarily be mutually exclusive and sequential, but may instead represent co-occurring patterns of improvement which are not sequentially determined.
Values and Valuing in a College Population
Values and valuing behavior have many conceptualizations. Despite how they are defined, values have a significant impact on behavior and are idiosyncratic in nature. The present study reviewed values research and sought to explore values identification and successful valued living among an archived sample of university students. Specifically, in a convenience sample of 282 undergraduate students, variables that affect values identification and behavior such as ethnicity, gender, psychological distress, and psychological flexibility were identified. Results indicated that university students identified with more than one valued living domain (as measured by the PVQ) and that contextual factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, and religiosity/spirituality were associated with specific values endorsed. Furthermore, psychological distress, including depression and anxiety (as measured by the DASS) was negatively correlated with values purity – the extent to which values are freely chosen. Finally, psychological flexibility (low experiential avoidance as measured by the AAQ-2), predicted values purity and successful living in accordance with identified values, and the relationship between these two variables was mediated by psychological flexibility.
Altruism and Depression: Exploring This Relationship and the Mechanisms Behind It
The impact of environmental influences on depression has been well established by research. In particular, it is known that receiving/perceiving adequate social support has a protective influence on depression. Less is known about the protective benefits of providing support to others, namely in the form of altruistic, empathetic, or prosocial behavior. While research has shown that having altruistic attitudes and engaging in altruistic behaviors has a positive impact on physical health and mental well-being, studies on the association between altruistic attitudes and/or behavior and depression are limited. The present study examined the relationship between altruism and depression, and hypotheses were tested that allow for explanation of why altruism may protect against depression. A sample of 303 participants was recruited from the University of North Texas and the surrounding community. Participants completed an online survey that examined their altruistic activities, details regarding these activities, their prosocial attitudes, and their current level of depression. Results did not support that level of involvement in altruistic activities is directly related to depression severity. However, outcomes from involvement in altruistic activities, including sense of overburden from participating in altruistic activities, level of social interaction with other helpers and those helped during altruistic activities, and sense of life satisfaction and purpose gained from participating in altruistic activities, were significantly related to depression severity. These results suggest that participating in altruistic activities that are not perceived as overburdening may lead to outcomes that could positively impact depression. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Personality Correlates of Anorexia Nervosa in a Nonclinical Sample
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between anorexia nervosa and several personality traits. Past research in this area has been contradictory for several reasons. Sociocultural theories have described the media's role in promoting eating disorders by portraying a thin body-type as the ideal. However, they have neglected to describe the personality ideal which our society promotes in women. It is proposed here that anorexics incorporate and oppose this ideal. Therefore, the anorexic personality is one filled with conflict.
An Analysis of the Performance of a Clinical Sample of African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic Children on the WISC-III
The goals of revision for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Third Edition included enhancement of the factor structure, improvement of subtests, and revision of norms. The researchers reported that the very few items that were found to be biased were replaced. The WISC-III performance of a clinical sample of African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic children was analyzed to determine if the test bias was eliminated as claimed in the goals of the revision.
Detection of Malingering on Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices and the Booklet Category Test
The capacity of Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) and the Booklet Category Test (BCT) to discriminate between groups of brain-injured, simulated malingering, and normal participants was investigated in this study. Exploratory analyses were also conducted to examine the differences between groups categorized as sophisticated and naive fakers. Clinical decision rules and discriminant function analyses were utilized to identify malingerers. Clinical decision rules ranged in hit rates from 41% to 78%, in sensitivity from 2% to 100%, and in specificity from 86% to 100%. Discriminant functions ranged in hit rates from 81% to 86%, in sensitivity from 68% to 73% and in specificity from 82% to 87%. Overall, the least helpful detection method examined was below chance responding on either measure, while the most efficient was gross errors for SPM.
The Prediction of Adjustment in Institutionalized Juvenile Offenders
Predictors of institutional adjustment for juvenile offenders were examined using a sample of 120 males in a detention facility. While demographic information failed to differentiate between well and poorly adjusted juveniles, psychological measures appeared to be more effective. Several MMPI-A clinical scales were useful predictors with the overall elevation in clinical scales being one of the strongest predictors. In addition, the Psychopathy Checklist - Clinical Version (PCL-CV) was a strong predictor of adjustment. Major ethnic differences occurred in the prediction of adjustment, with the MMPI-A and PCL-CV scales predicting infraction rates for the African American group but not Anglo American or Hispanic American groups.
The Relationship Between the Grief Process and the Family System: The Role of Affect, Communication, and Cohesion
Sixty-six people who had recently experienced the death of a parent or a spouse completed a questionnaire packet to assess their current grief symptomatology and some characteristics of the relationships within their family. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire 4-5 weeks after the death and then again six months later. The present study compared two competing models to explain whether the grief process affects the characteristics of relationships within the family system or that family characteristics affect the experienced grief symptoms.
The Effects of Different Confidentiality Conditions on Adolescent Minor Patients' Self-Report of Behavioral and Emotional Problems
The primary purpose of the present study was to determine if information regarding potential parental or legal guardian access to mental health information would deleteriously impact male and female adolescent psychiatric patients' willingness to self-report personal problems and symptoms.
Precocious Ego Development in Physically Abused Children
The Rorschach records and Wechsler Intelligence Scale scores of sixty-six children between the ages of 5 and 13 were compared. Subjects in each group were from one of three conditions: children who have documented histories of physical abuse, children referred for clinical intervention with no history of abuse, and a community sample of children with no documented history of abuse or psychological treatment. Data from the groups were analyzed to examine evidence of increased reliance on ego functions related to motor activity and concurrent deficits in other areas of ego function by subjects in the physical abuse group. Results revealed that the physical abuse group showed a greater tendency toward color-dominant responses on the Rorschach than the comparison groups and that the Community control group produced records with lower extended form quality than the clinical groups. No significant differences were found for Performance/Verbal IQ split, EB style, Cooperative Movement or Aggressive content.
Interpersonal Perception and Communication within Marital Dyads
The present study examined the relationships among similarity, interpersonal perception and communicative behaviors in marriage. It was hypothesized that greater understanding, feelings of being understood, and realization of understanding would be associated with greater self-disclosure, use of more direct person control strategies, and use of less attention control strategies. It was further hypothesized that measuring feelings of being understood and realization of understanding, in addition to measuring understanding, would improve prediction of behavior. Finally, it was hypothesized that the contextual measure of understanding would better predict self-disclosure and interpersonal control than would global measures of understanding.
Cognitive Processing Bias in Sexually Aggressive College Men
The study of cognitive factors in sexual aggression has, for the most part, been limited to beliefs and attitudes. The present study sought to detect a rape-supportive schema of sexual relationships that organizes and guides information processing in several cognitive domains: cognitions arising in the context of a simulated sexual situation, memory, person perception, and social reasoning.
Disclosure and its Perceived Impact as Mediators of the Long-Term Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse
The primary purpose of the present study was to investigate factors associated with childhood sexual abuse which mediate long-term effects. Of particular interest were the mediators of disclosure and its perceived impact, as well as variables related to the severity of the abuse. Also of interest were impact areas related to a history of molestation which have received little attention in the literature. Five hundred and seventy-five female undergraduates completed an extensive questionnaire with measures of family background, childhood and adult sexual experiences, health status, and psychological variables. Of these subjects, 286 reported at least one incident of child sexual abuse. It was hypothesized that those females with histories of sexual abuse who received a positive response to their disclosure of abuse would demonstrate more adaptive adult functioning as compared to those victims receiving a negative response, or those who never disclosed. Significant differences were not detected among the three groups on the outcome measures. A number of reasons were explored for why these differences may not have been detected in the present investigation. Although differences were not detected for disclosure status, significant differences were detected between females reporting a history of child sexual abuse and those reporting no abuse on all of the outcome measures. Specifically, sexual abuse victims were more likely than nonvictims to be sexually revictimized in adulthood. Potential explanations for this finding were explored in a discriminant function analysis predicting revictimization status. Further, abused females had significantly higher levels of depression, dissociation, and perceptual disturbances when compared to their nonabused peers. Sexual abuse victims also reported more health symptoms across various bodily systems and had more negative attributions about their physical health status. Differences between the abused and nonabused groups on levels of perceptual disturbance and perceived physical health status are particularly noteworthy since previous research has detected these symptoms only through clinical samples.
The Assessment of Cognitive Functioning among Patients with Unilateral Visual Neglect: Effects of Field of Presentation and Cueing
Prior evidence has shown a reduction of neglect on line bisection tasks as a function of altered hemispace presentation and left cueing. The present study was conducted to examine the effect of these factors in reducing symptoms of neglect on measures of general cognitive functioning. To examine proposed changes, revised versions of the Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices and the Memory-for-Designs (MFD) Test were constructed by placing the target stimuli in the right hemifield. Two experimental presentations, a right hemispace condition and a right hemispace plus left cue prompt condition, were compared to the standard presentation format. The primary hypotheses predicted that RBD neglect patients would reveal enhanced performance on the criterion measures as a result of these manipulations. Significant correlations were predicted between the neglect measures and between the two scoring systems for the MFD. The sample was comprised of 54 hospitalized patients, assigned to either a RBD neglect group (N = 18), a RBD nonneglect group (N = 18) , or an orthopedic control group (N = 18) . Both RBD groups were administered the Mini Inventory of Right Brain Injury, to document the presence and severity of right brain injury. Presence of neglect was assessed via the Schenkenberg Line Bisection Task and the Bells Test for Visual Neglect. Subjects were examined under all three conditions by administering one third of the items for each condition. Neglect subjects demonstrated significantly poorer performance on both criterion measures than the two comparison groups. However, no significant improvement in performance was revealed with right hemispace presentation of stimuli or left cue prompts combined with the right hemispace version. Ancillary predictions concerning correlations for the neglect measures and MFD scoring systems were confirmed. Results are interpreted in terms of increased attentional demands and task complexity. These results suggest that, despite the frequent clinical use of these manipulations in the cognitive assessment of this population, support for the efficacy of these procedures is lacking.
Effects of Meal Size and Type, and Level of Physical Activity on Perceived Masculinity, Femininity, Likability and Attractiveness
Previous research indicates that women are judged on the amount of food eaten and that both men and women are judged on the type of food eaten. This study is an attempt to determine whether meal size or type predominantly accounts for these findings on the variables of masculinity, femininity, attractiveness, thinness, fitness, and likability. Physical activity was also included to determine its effect on these variable. Subjects used were 313 undergraduate students. Results indicate that meal type is more influential than meal size and that physical activity significantly influences judgements of others. The results are discussed in terms of future research and relatedness to socio-cultural theories of eating disorders.
A Cross-Sectional Study of Custodial Grandparenting: Stresses, Coping Skills, and Relationships with Grandchildren
This cross-sectional study compared three groups of grandparents, two custodial and one noncustodial, to identify and delineate the unique challenges and expectations faced by custodial grandparents due to their nontraditional roles while attempting to disentangle grandparental role demands from child-specific problems as sources of distress. Those grandparents raising grandchildren demonstrating neurological, physical, emotional, or behavioral problems exhibited the most distress, the most disruption of roles, and the most deteriorated grandparent-grandchild relationships. Although the custodial grandparents raising apparently normal grandchildren demonstrated less distress, less disruption of roles, and less deterioration of the grandparent-grandchild relationship than those grandparents raising grandchildren displaying problems, they still demonstrated higher levels than did traditional grandparents. Those grandparents who reported fewer resources, demonstrated poor attitudes regarding seeking mental health services, and reported raising grandchildren displaying problems had the lowest levels of adjustment.
Identification of Dissociative Experiences in Children and Adolescents
This study attempts to quantify the dissociative experiences reported by children and adolescents, and to determine whether the variance in degree of dissociation in children has useful diagnostic and treatment implications.
Chronically Ill Children: Maternal Stress and Psychological Symptomatology
This study used a parenting stress and coping model to identify predictors of symptomatology for 13 8 mothers of medically compromised children. This model proposed that: child characteristics (severity of the chronic illness and child related parenting stressors); parent characteristics (self-esteem, sense of competence, and parents' perceived stress/distress); and environmental characteristics (social support, general life stressor events, and demographic variables) contribute to psychological symptomatology for these mothers. Multiple regression analysis found a relationship between general life stressor events, severity of the children's chronic conditions, lower satisfaction with social support, lower self-esteem, and younger mothers' ages and greater symptomatology. Trends toward significance were found for more parenting stress and lower parenting sense of competence predicting greater symptomatology. Predicted relationships between family socioeconomic status and parenting daily hassles and symptomatology were not supported.
Racial Differences in Female Achievement Motivation and Motivation to Work
In the present project racial differences in female achievement motivation and motivation to work were examined, and related this information to the theory that African American females, when compared to White females, are less likely to marry someone equal to themselves in the areas of education, employment, and earning potential because of an assumed shortage of suitable African-American males. It was hypothesized that African-American females would score higher on assessments of achievement motivation and motivation to work, and rate lower the likelihood of meeting and marrying a partner equal in education level, employment level, and earning potential than would White females. Data analysis supported all hypotheses. The results were discussed in the context of the female achievement motivation literature as well as the literature concerning female motivation to work.
Predictors of Compliance and Aggressive Behavior in the Presence of Command Hallucinations
The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Change Version (SADS-C), the Social Adjustment Scale-Patient Version II (SAS-PATII) and the Command Hallucination Questionnaire (CAQ) were administered to 86 psychotic inpatients to investigate the relationship between command hallucinations, aggressive behavior, and compliance. Two SADS-C items ("severity of hallucinations" and "depersonalization") were useful as indicators of command hallucinations. Ninety-two percent had complied with their command at least once in the past month. Three SADS-C variables related to compliance with command hallucinations were identified: middle insomnia, the belief that the voice was acting in your best interest, and overt irritability. The patients' level of distortion of reality did not appear to influence compliance rates. Results also indicated that patients who experience command hallucinations were not significantly more or less dangerous than other psychotic inpatients.
Comparing Stress Buffering and Main Effects Models of Social Support for Married and Widowed Older Women
Social support has been shown to lessen the negative effects of life stress on psychological and physical health. The stress buffering model and the main effects model of social support were compared using two samples of women over the age of 50 who were either married or recently widowed. These two groups represent low and high uncontrollable major life stress respectively. Other life stress events were also taken into account. Measures assessed current level of life stress, perceived social support, satisfaction with social support, and psychological symptomatology. Results using overall psychological health as the dependent variable support the main effects model.
Attention and Information Processing Variables in Hypothetically Psychosis-Prone College Students
Considering the explanations of schizophrenia that presume schizophrenia spectrum disorders (e.g., schizotypal personality disorder, schizoaffective disorder, etc.) to be genetically related to schizophrenia, the purpose of this study was to investigate the attention and information processing abilities of individuals who have been identified as schizotypal or psychosis-prone (i.e., schizophrenia spectrum functioning in individuals who do not have schizophrenia). Research indicates that persons identified as psychosis-prone may show attention and information processing deficits similar to individuals with schizophrenia. The identification and description of individuals who later decompensate into schizophrenia would advance the understanding of schizophrenia and its causes. The Chapman's PER-MAG scale (Perceptual Aberration-Magical Ideation) was used to identify 35 hypothetically psychosis-prone college students (schizotypy group) and 42 normal college students (nonschizotypy group) out of the 806 volunteer subjects. Their attention and information processing abilities were measured by COGLAB (a multiparadigmatic cognitive test battery that represents a continuum of cognitive functions, from preattentional to attentional, to conceptual). Their social adjustment was measured by the Premorbid Adjustment Scale (PAS). The hypotheses of the study were that the hypothetically psychosis-prone subjects would perform poorer than controls on COGLAB measures and that COGLAB measures of a more molar nature would better predict social adjustment than would the more molecular tasks. The results of the study did not support the hypotheses as there were no significant differences between the schizotypy group and the nonschizotypy group and the measures of a more molar nature did not better predict social adjustment. Further research might consider increasing the sample size, applying more stringent cut-off criteria for the schizotypy group, and verifying the validity of using PER-MAG, COGLAB, and PAS with this population. Further research also needs to clarify the ways in which those identified as psychosis-prone process information like (or unlike) nonschizotypes and how their current social functioning might be related to their deficiencies.
Maternal Stress and Cystic Fibrosis
The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship between parent and child factors for mothers of children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis to predict mother's psychological distress. Mothers were surveyed to identify measurement models in areas of Child and Parental characteristics and a Full Causal Model of Maternal distress. Factors related to Child Characteristics include general parental stressors and cystic fibrosis specific parental stressors. Factors related to Parental Characteristics include the mother's sense of parental competence and self-esteem. Additional factors related to the Full Causal Model include social support, major and minor life events, and demographics. Results were analyzed using LISREL IV structural equation modeling. Measurement model analysis found a good fit for the Child Characteristics model (Chi Square = 6.85, df = 4, JD = .144, Goodness of Fit Indices = .972) and Parental Characteristics model (Chi Square = 5.89, df = 3, p = .117, Goodness of Fit Indices = .971), but not for the full causal model of maternal distress (Chi Square = 114.98, df = 66, E = .000, Goodness of Fit Indices = .853)
A Longitudinal Investigation of Different Exercise Modalities on Social Physique Anxiety
The current study examined if students' levels of social physique anxiety vary depending on the type of exercise setting they select. The study determined the degree to which social physique anxiety changed over the course of semester-long involvements in different exercise settings.
Explanatory Style and College Performance in Students with Physical Disabilities
Seventy students (38 with physical disabilities and 32 without physical disabilities) were matched on age (a criterion of ± 4 years was used) and sex. Members of both groups, Persons With Physical Disabilities (PWPD) and those Persons Not Physically Disabled (PNPD), were asked to complete the University Services Inventory, Academic Goals Questionnaire, Academic Attributional Style Questionnaire (AASQ), and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to determine how these variables were related to explanatory style (ES, as determined by AASQ scores). ES has its origins in the reformulated learned helplessness model (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978). According to this model, individuals who made attributions that were internal-stable-global (pessimistic ES) were more likely to experience mood and behavior deficits in the wake of bad events. The present study examined college achievement (GPA), utilization of university services, goal specificity, goal efficacy, and responses to academic setbacks, as these variables were related to ES. Additionally, ES scores were examined with regards to differences in gender and disability status (both between different disability groups and between individuals with and without physical disabilities).
The Effects of an Experimentally-Induced Bodily Focus Experience on a Psychotherapist during a Psychotherapy Session
The purpose of this study is to contribute to the current process research by investigating a psychotherapist's experience during psychotherapy. Massage therapy and relaxation therapy were used to manipulate psychotherapist's bodily focus, physiology, and affective state. Topics discussed include: the bodily focus of the therapist, neurobiological models of experience, mind-body boundary issues, and a present-time focus. Doctoral level Counseling and Clinical graduate students were used as participants.
Comparing Quality of Life: American and Portuguese Cancer Patients with Hematological Malignancies
The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences and similarities of quality of life (QoL) in American and Portuguese cancer patients with hematological malignancies as well as the robustness of the measures cross-culturally. Portuguese participants were 98 patients and 49 accompanying persons and the American participants were 55 patients and 22 accompanying persons. Fifty (Portuguese sample) to 40% (American sample) of the patients came with an accompanying person who answered the questionnaire concerning the patient's QoL. The two cultural groups were characterized in terms of QoL (measured by the SF-36 and the FLIC), social support (Social Support Scale), socio-demographic and clinical variables. Portuguese patients reported a higher QoL. However, this result could be attributable to the fact that the two cultural samples differ in socio-economic status. The measures seem to be comparable for the Portuguese and American samples, at least in what concerns reliability and concurrent validity.
Ego Mechanisms of Defense among Child Victims of Sexual Abuse: a TAT Analysis
Using the Defense Mechanism Manual (Cramer, 1991), Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) stories of 29 sexually abused female subjects and 28 non-abused female clinical control subjects were rated for the frequency of use of denial, projection, and identification.
Elaboration and Content Analysis of Conceptual Structure in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Three recent studies attempted to substantiate Sewell and Cromwell's (1990) theory of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) based on personal construct theory (Kelly, 1955). One crucial aspect of the model that was tested in each of the studies is "elaboration," which is the process of bringing more of a person's repertoire of understanding (constructions) to a certain experience to give it meaning. Elaboration is representative of whether or not the individual is using an integrated set of constructs to deal with a traumatic event. A two-part study (1) reanalyzed existing data to assist in understanding discrepancies in past findings, and (2) content analyzed constructs given by subjects in all three studies. Findings concerning elaboration remained somewhat discrepant but suggested possible differences when investigating the emergent versus submerged poles of constructs.
The Effects of Reduced Challenge at the Conclusion of Cognitive and Exercise Tasks
Research has suggested that memories for difficult or painful experiences seem related to a combination of the worst and most recent moments. This peak-end theory was tested in relation to an exercise task (eccentric quadriceps using a BIODEX machine) as well as a cognitive task (standardized quantitative test questions). For each type of task there were two trials: short and happy endings. The happy endings trial included the same task as the short trial with an additional 25% duration at a lesser intensity (80% of short task intensity). A 2 (task type) by 2 (trial type) repeated measures design was used. Participants made global ratings of difficulty immediately after each component, thus generating four ratings, and later indicated their preferences for hypothetical future trials. Results indicated support for the theory that the shorter trials are evaluated as more difficult, with the cognitive task being evaluated as more difficult overall than the exercise task. Preference scores, however, revealed a preference only for the happy endings cognitive task, with no preference indicated on the exercise task. Results confirm previous research in suggesting differences between judgements of tasks and future choices. However, confounds complicated interpretations, especially for the cognitive task. The most conservative interpretation of data suggests that in circumstances where "more is better," happy endings will result in more work with no higher level of discomfort. Implications for future research and applications of the theory are discussed.