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 Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
 Degree Discipline: Psychology
Self-definition and College Adaptation in Students From the Ronald E Mcnair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Self-definition and College Adaptation in Students From the Ronald E Mcnair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Date: December 2015
Creator: Vance, Jeffrey Michael
Description: While a great deal of psychological research is conducted on college students, less has been done on their adaptation to college. These young adults, as they develop ego identity and differentiate themselves from parents and families, must adjust to the social and academic environment of college. Psychosocial adjustment predicts college retention better than academic predictors do. First generation college students face greater than typical challenges adapting to college. The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program exists to aid first generation, lower income undergraduate student who wish to pursue a doctoral degree. Self-definition scored from thematic apperceptive technique stories reflects an individual’s relative freedom from social role constraint. This study examined the role of self-definition and familial understanding and acceptance in this population as predictors of successful adaptation to college. While neither was found to be a significant predictor, family understanding and acceptance was found to be a more defining characteristic of this sample than was self-definition. This suggests that when social support is sufficient, individuals do not need to rely on self-definition.
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Longitudinal Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Weight Control Behaviors in Female Collegiate Athletes

Longitudinal Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Weight Control Behaviors in Female Collegiate Athletes

Date: December 2015
Creator: Thompson, Alexandra J.
Description: Female collegiate athletes have been established as a high-risk group for the development of eating disorders due to the high prevalence rates of clinical and subclinical eating disorders, which have ranged from 1.9% to 16.6% and 4.0% to 26.1%, respectively. Collegiate athletes appear to meet criteria for ED-NOS more often than anorexia or bulimia nervosa, and frequently engage in pathogenic weight control behaviors (e.g., dieting, excessive exercise). To date, only a few studies have examined the long-term stability of eating disorders in collegiate female athletes. The current study investigated the prevalence of eating disorders (i.e., eating disordered, symptomatic, and asymptomatic) and pathogenic weight control behaviors (e.g, binging, vomiting, laxative use) in 325 NCAA-DI female collegiate gymnasts and swimmers/divers across two time points – the beginning of their competitive seasons (Time 1) and during the final two weeks of their competitive seasons (Time 2). By Time 2, 90% of the athletes classified as eating disordered at Time 1 (n = 20) maintained clinical or subclinical eating disturbances. Of the 83 athletes originally symptomatic, 37.3% remained so and 10.8% became eating disordered. Significantly more athletes became satisfied with their bodies over the course of the season than became dissatisfied. The athletes reported ...
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Shame Due to Heterosexism, Self-esteem and Perceived Stress: Correlates of Psychological Quality of Life in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample

Shame Due to Heterosexism, Self-esteem and Perceived Stress: Correlates of Psychological Quality of Life in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample

Date: December 2015
Creator: Bonds,Stacy E.
Description: Sexual minorities experience higher levels of stress than heterosexuals, which in turn affects coping and psychological quality of life (PQOL). Although many sexual minorities remain mentally healthy, a higher prevalence of mental disorders among members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities exists; thus, LGB PQOL becomes an important area to examine. Several key factors are related to PQOL: shame due to heterosexism, self-esteem and perceived stress. Using minority stress model, I hypothesized that shame due to heterosexism and perceived stress are negatively correlated with PQOL, while self-esteem is positively correlated with PQOL. I hypothesized that collectively shame due to heterosexism, self-esteem and perceived stress account for a significant proportion of the variance in PQOL, that self-esteem moderates the relationship between perceived stress and PQOL and that age moderates the relationship between shame due to heterosexism and PQOL. I calculated Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and found shame due to heterosexism was negatively correlated with PQOL (r(146) = -.21, p = .009), perceived stress was negatively correlated with PQOL (r (146) = -.69, p < .001) and self-esteem was positively correlated with PQOL (r(146) = .72, p < .001). I conducted a regression analysis and found our model accounted for ...
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Relationship Centrality and Expressive Writing: Understanding Post-breakup Distress

Relationship Centrality and Expressive Writing: Understanding Post-breakup Distress

Date: December 2015
Creator: Nowlin, Rachel B.
Description: When a romantic relationship ends in dissolution, the ex-partners may experience distress similar to post-traumatic stress or complex grief (i.e., dysphoric mood, feelings of loss, intrusive memories, negative rumination regarding the relationship, and a loss of self-esteem). Interventions designed to reduce post-breakup distress have historically attempted to foster integration of the breakup into the self-narrative through techniques such as expressive writing. Recent research indicates centrality, or heightened integration of an event or concept into an individual’s identity, predicts heightened levels of distress in the case of negative life events, including romantic relationship dissolution. Given the role romantic relationships themselves play in identity formation, exploration is warranted of the potential distress resulting from over-identification with a romantic relationship itself, or relationship centrality, after a breakup has occurred. Furthermore, if an individual has overly-integrated a relationship into their identity, the effectiveness of interventions focusing on further integration of the breakup is called into question. This study explored the centrality of participants’ previous romantic relationships, the distress resulting from the dissolution of those relationships, and the role of expressive writing as a distress reduction tool when centrality is taken into account.
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Assessment of Hot and Cool Executive Functioning Following Trauma Using the Traditional Stroop Task, Emotional Stroop Task, and a Novel Implicit Association Test

Assessment of Hot and Cool Executive Functioning Following Trauma Using the Traditional Stroop Task, Emotional Stroop Task, and a Novel Implicit Association Test

Date: December 2015
Creator: Sullivan, Erin
Description: Individuals who have experienced a traumatic event and develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) frequently show deficits in both primarily “cool” and “hot” cognitive executive functions (e.g., traditional & emotional Stroop tasks, respectively) that can be impacted by high affective salience. Given the dimensional nature of psychopathology, questions remain about individuals within the general population who have experienced trauma but do not meet full criteria for PTSD and yet may manifest problems in these areas, especially areas of hot and cool executive functioning (EF). Thus, the current project was designed to assess hot and cool EF in a relatively large sample of individuals from the general population who have experienced trauma and currently demonstrate sub-clinical levels of post-traumatic symptoms. The Stroop task, Emotional Stroop task, and a novel modified Implicit Association Test were utilized to assess EF across a spectrum of individuals with varying traumatic histories and level of post-traumatic symptoms. Results suggest that a greater frequency of trauma experiences was moderately associated with worse performance on both hot and cool executive functioning measures. Specifically, females within the sample evidenced a close relationship between traumatic experiences, post-trauma symptoms, and executive functioning. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.
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Determinants of Effort and Associated Cardiovascular Response to a Behavioral Restraint Challenge

Determinants of Effort and Associated Cardiovascular Response to a Behavioral Restraint Challenge

Date: December 2015
Creator: Agtarap, Stephanie
Description: This study directly tested implications of motivation intensity theory on effort to restrain against a behavioral urge or impulse (i.e. restraint intensity). Two factors were manipulated—magnitude of an urge and the importance of successfully resisting it—with cardiovascular (CV) responses related to active coping measured. Male and female undergraduate students were presented with a mildly- or strongly evocative film clip with instructions to refrain from showing any facial response. Success was made more or less important through coordinated manipulations of outcome expectancy, ego-involvement, and performance assessment. As expected, systolic blood pressure responses assessed during the performance period were proportional to the evocativeness of the clip when importance was high, but low regardless of evocativeness when importance was low. These findings support a new conceptual analysis concerned with the determinants and CV correlates of restraint intensity. Implications of the study and associations with current self-regulatory literature are discussed.
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Anger, Forgiveness and Mindfulness: Correlates of Perceived Stress in an Lgb Sample

Anger, Forgiveness and Mindfulness: Correlates of Perceived Stress in an Lgb Sample

Date: December 2015
Creator: Schumacher, Matthew Robert
Description: A sexual minority is someone who identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). According to the Minority Stress Model (Meyer, 2003), sexual minorities encounter significant levels of stress due to their minority group status, thus they are more likely to experience perceived stress. Our cross-sectional, correlational study aimed to explore the relationships between forgiveness, mindfulness and anger and how they are related to perceived stress in a convenience sample of ethnically diverse LGB adults. We hypothesized that: 1) anger is positively associated with perceived stress; 2) forgiveness is negatively associated with perceived stress; 3) mindfulness is negatively associated with perceived stress; and 4) anger, forgiveness and mindfulness account for a significant proportion of the variance in perceived stress. 5) The relationship between anger and perceived stress is moderated by forgiveness. 6) The relationship between anger and perceived stress is moderated by mindfulness. Among LGB adults, the extant literature does not address these four variables in conjunction and the relationships between anger, forgiveness, mindfulness and stress has yet to be explored. Various statistical analyses were conducted, including a hierarchical linear regression to test our model. We found that our overall model accounted for 36% of the total variance in perceived stress ...
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Weigh-in Environment and Weight Intentionality and Management of Female Collegiate Athletes

Weigh-in Environment and Weight Intentionality and Management of Female Collegiate Athletes

Date: December 2015
Creator: Tackett, Bailey
Description: Research suggests that female athletes, in particular, experience “sport-environment” pressures such as: weight, performance, and body image demands from their coaches, teammates, and judges. These influences in tandem with society’s portrayal of the thin ideal are thought to considerably increase the risk of developing disordered eating problems in this population. Although numerous studies have been conducted over the past decade on the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors among female athletes, few have examined in detail the weight pressures that exist within the sport environment, such as whether or not (and how often) athletes are weighed by their coaches, and how athletes respond to those pressures in terms of weight management practices. In the proposed study, we will examine the weigh-in environment, weight satisfaction, weight management practices, menstrual health, and reported source of nutritional guidance. The sample includes 414 NCAA Division I female collegiate swimmers/divers and gymnasts drawn from 26 universities across the U.S. Participants anonymously completed a series of questionnaires as part of a larger study on student-athlete health and well-being. This study found that 41% of athletes were weighed, and most often by an athletic trainer in private. Despite most weigh-ins were reportedly conducted in ...
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Effects of Immaturity on Juveniles’ Miranda Comprehension and Reasoning

Effects of Immaturity on Juveniles’ Miranda Comprehension and Reasoning

Date: August 2015
Creator: Sharf, Allyson J
Description: Over the last several decades, researchers have documented how impaired reasoning by adult offenders impeded the intelligent waiver of Miranda rights. Logically, it stands to reason that juveniles – who are developmentally less mature and have less life experience than their adult counterparts – would possess even greater impairment, thereby heightening their risk for invalid Miranda waivers. Juvenile Miranda research supports this notion; with some researchers finding that psychosocial maturity, among other factors, affect a juvenile’s understanding of their rights. Yet, relatively few studies have examined its relation to Miranda reasoning and decision-making. Thus, the current study investigated the specific role of maturity in juveniles’ Miranda comprehension and reasoning. Participants included 236 legally-involved juveniles recruited from either a juvenile detention center or a juvenile justice alternative education program. The effects of psychosocial maturity were examined on a variety of Miranda-related measures and assessed a broad range of Miranda abilities. It was found that, in general, immature juveniles performed more poorly on all Miranda measures as compared to their mature counterparts. However, the impact of maturity varied considerably depending on the ability. Specifically, maturity was most important in the context of Miranda reasoning. As a novel addition to the literature, the ...
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Community Gardening: a Novel Intervention for Bhutanese Refugees Living in the Usa

Community Gardening: a Novel Intervention for Bhutanese Refugees Living in the Usa

Date: August 2015
Creator: Gerber, Monica M.
Description: Since 2008, the United States (USA) has resettled thousands of Bhutanese refugees, providing brief financial support and pathways to citizenship. Despite the efforts of governing bodies and voluntary agencies which facilitate resettlement, many refugees struggle with adapting to the vastly different lifestyle, economy, language and social structures. In particular, effectively addressing psychological needs of this population is a challenge for service providers operating within an expensive health care system based on Western constructs of mental health. In response to this challenge, refugee resettlement agencies throughout the country use community gardens to promote psychological healing, self-sufficiency, community engagement, and a return of human dignity. Though success of these programs is being shared in the media, there has yet to be empirical data examining their impact. The current study tested whether Bhutanese refugee engagement in a community garden impacts symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and somatic complaints. The study also investigated whether community gardening is associated with perceptions of social support and adjustment to life in the United States. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from 50 adult Bhutanese refugees in Fort Worth, Texas. Gardening was significantly related to increased social support overall, a key factor in overall functionality within communal cultures; ...
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