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 Department: Department of Psychology
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Finding Out on Facebook: a Qualitative Analysis of Adolescents’ Experiences Following a Suicide Cluster

Finding Out on Facebook: a Qualitative Analysis of Adolescents’ Experiences Following a Suicide Cluster

Date: August 2014
Creator: Heffel, Carly
Description: 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.
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Life Beyond Betrayal: the Influence of Self-as-context on Self-complexity and Posttraumatic Stress

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

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

Psychosocial Mediators of the Fitness-depression Relationship Within Adolescents

Date: August 2014
Creator: Sheinbein, Shelly T.
Description: 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, ...
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Conceptualizing Quality of College Life

Conceptualizing Quality of College Life

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

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

Date: August 2014
Creator: Miller, Susannah
Description: Clinicians’ attitudes and behaviors toward patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are affected by the label’s stigma. Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) was proposed as a comprehensive and less stigmatizing diagnostic category for clients with BPD and a history of complex trauma. Given considerable similarities across both disorders’ diagnostic criteria, the CPTSD framework holds promise as a means to improve therapists’ attitudes towards clients with BPD and a history of complex trauma. However, this quality of CPTSD had not yet been examined empirically. Using vignettes in a between-subjects experimental design, this study investigated whether CPTSD is a less stigmatizing label than BPD for trauma survivors. Participants were 322 practicing psychotherapists. Evidence of BPD stigma was found, as was an affinity for CPTSD. Results generally supported CPTSD as a less stigmatizing label than BPD; therapists presented with a CPTSD-labeled vignette were somewhat less likely to blame the client for her symptomatic behavior and expected slightly stronger working alliance with the client than therapists presented with the BPD-labeled vignette. However, therapists’ agreement with the BPD diagnosis and theoretical orientation were found to be more salient than diagnostic label in affecting concepts related to the stigmatization of BPD clients. Additionally, familiarity with CPTSD ...
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The Influence of Perceived Stress on Insulin Resistance in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

The Influence of Perceived Stress on Insulin Resistance in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

Date: August 2014
Creator: Phillips, Amanda S.
Description: 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: ...
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Pathways From Adhd Symptoms to Obesity in a College Population

Pathways From Adhd Symptoms to Obesity in a College Population

Date: August 2014
Creator: Marcom, Leslee Johnson
Description: 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.
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African American Father Influences on the Career Development of Emerging Adults

African American Father Influences on the Career Development of Emerging Adults

Date: August 2014
Creator: Perry, QuaVaundra A.
Description: 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 ...
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Evaluating Preventative Interventions for Depression and Related Outcomes: a Meta-analysis

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

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

Evaluating the Role of C-reactive Protein on Cognition and Depressive Symptoms Among Women by Mexican American Ethnicity

Date: August 2014
Creator: Huerta, Serina
Description: 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, ...
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