Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children

Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children

Date: May 2012
Creator: Benson, Karen M.
Description: It has long been recognized that childhood bereavement is a risk factor for depression in adulthood. Research also has consistently demonstrated that parental depression is linked to poor parent-child relationship quality. The current study examined whether bereavement in childhood increases likelihood of current depressive symptoms among parents and explored whether this vulnerability in the parent then alters the quality of the parent-child relationship. Archival data for a sample of 86 families (N=176 parents) are drawn from the Family & Kid Connection project led by Dr. Shelley Riggs. Instruments utilized include the Background Information Questionnaire, the Symptom Assessment-45 Questionnaire, and the Parenting Relationship Questionnaire. Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model, Multilevel Modeling procedures explored the hypothesis that parental depression mediates the association between parents’ childhood bereavement and their perception of the parent-child relationship. Results show a significant relationship between parental (actor) depressive symptoms and parent-child attachment, indicating the need for therapeutic interventions targeting the parent-child relationship, and not just parents, for parents suffering from depression.
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Parent-adolescent Attachment, Bullying and Victimization, and Mental Health Outcomes

Parent-adolescent Attachment, Bullying and Victimization, and Mental Health Outcomes

Date: December 2015
Creator: Guinn, Megan D.
Description: Traditional and cyber bullying have been identified as universal problematic issues facing adolescents, and research is needed to understand correlates associated with these phenomena. Structural equation modeling analyses examined associations between attachment to parents, traditional and cyber bullying or victimization, and mental health outcomes among 257 high school students (Average age 15.9 years). Key patterns emerged, including associations between maternal attachment and mental health outcomes; victimization and mental health concerns; and bullying and victimization in both traditional and cyber contexts. The role of attachment to mothers and fathers varied by context. Findings extend the literature by identifying risk factors in adolescence associated with bullying and victimization, as well as suggesting appropriate prevention and intervention strategies to increase adolescent well-being.
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Role of Combat Exposure and Insomnia in Student Veterans' Adaptation to College

Role of Combat Exposure and Insomnia in Student Veterans' Adaptation to College

Access: Use of this item is restricted to the UNT Community.
Date: May 2016
Creator: McGuffin, James J
Description: Since 2002, the number of veterans enrolled in universities has nearly doubled, although 30-40% of veterans fail to complete their degree. While research efforts to understand the challenges veterans face transitioning from military life to college has increased in recent years, few studies have looked beyond the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Insomnia is the most frequently reported symptom of combat veterans and can have serious implications for college students. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of insomnia and student veteran adaptation to college relative to civilian students. College students (N = 588) were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, the Insomnia Severity Index, the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, and the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire. Results revealed that students with insomnia reported significantly lower adaptation to college than students without insomnia. Student veterans reported better academic and personal-emotional adaptation to college than civilian students, while civilians reported better social adjustment than veterans. Although combat veterans without insomnia scored consistently higher academic adjustment than non-combat veterans and civilian students, when present insomnia seemed to have a greater negative effect on combat veterans’ academic adjustment relative to civilian students. Furthermore, insomnia mediated the relationship between combat ...
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Early and Current Family Environment Among Inpatient Trauma Survivors: Associations with Multi-type Abuse and Sexual Orientation

Early and Current Family Environment Among Inpatient Trauma Survivors: Associations with Multi-type Abuse and Sexual Orientation

Date: May 2013
Creator: Williams, Jennifer S.
Description: The present study is an exploratory analysis of associations among sexual orientation, childhood abuse, and characteristics of both early and current family environment in a sample of 80 inpatient trauma survivors. Participants were administered a background information questionnaire, Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule, the Family Environment Scale and other instruments not analyzed in the current study. Multi-type abuse was significantly associated with low expressiveness and independence and high control in the early family, but no associations emerged with current family characteristics. Results suggest that the intergenerational transmission of family organization and moral-religious orientation occurred in the entire sample, and the transmission of family conflict patterns occurred only in the L/G/B group. Overall, participants perceived improvements in their current family environments compared to their early family environments. Findings yield support for the sexual minority stress model and mixed support for the intergenerational transmission of family characteristics.
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Sibling Relationship Quality: Associations with Marital and Coparenting Subsystems

Sibling Relationship Quality: Associations with Marital and Coparenting Subsystems

Date: December 2012
Creator: Guinn, Megan D.
Description: Marital relationships play an important role in family functioning and in the development of sibling relationships. From a family systems perspective, other subsystems within the family, such as coparenting interactions, could explain the effects of the marital relationship on sibling bonds. Specifically, the quality of the coparenting relationship may mediate the association between marital functioning and sibling relationship quality. The current study examined relationships between these three subsystems (marital, coparenting, and sibling) as self-reported by mothers, fathers, and children with siblings. As part of a larger project, families with a child aged 8 to 11 and at least one sibling (N = 75) completed the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Coparenting Scale (both completed by mother and father), as well as the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (completed by target child). Results suggested that marital functioning is a significant predictor of functioning within the coparenting relationship. Predicted associations did not emerge between sibling relationship quality and marital or coparenting relationships, with minor exceptions, and the coparenting relationship did not mediate the association between marital and sibling relationship quality. Implications of the current findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
Family Variables in the Cultural and Psychological Adjustment of Third Culture Kids

Family Variables in the Cultural and Psychological Adjustment of Third Culture Kids

Date: August 2011
Creator: Wilson, Jennifer L.
Description: Third culture kids are children raised in globally mobile families who have left their culture of origin to reside in a host culture. As this relocation occurs during childhood, the child combines the values, traditions, and norms of both cultures thereby creating a third culture, a unique culture created by the parent’s integration of the home culture, the host culture, and the domains of the organizational culture. Emotional Stability was found to mediate the relationship between family of origin Expression and Composite distress. Though this was the only hypothesized model that was supported, other interesting findings include that when participants were categorized by industry, statistically significant differences were found between Military, Missions, and the Other group on all of the scales. These differences are likely due to a cohort effect, given that the military family mean age was as much as twenty years higher than the other groups.
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Psychological Maltreatment and Adult Attachment: The Protective Role of the Sibling Relationship

Psychological Maltreatment and Adult Attachment: The Protective Role of the Sibling Relationship

Date: August 2011
Creator: Collier, Laura C.
Description: A positive sibling relationship may protect individuals against poor developmental outcomes associated with psychological maltreatment. The current study assessed the moderating role of a positive sibling relationship in childhood and adulthood on associations between early psychological maltreatment and adult attachment anxiety and avoidance. College students (N = 270) completed self-report measures of psychological maltreatment, sibling relationship quality, and adult attachment. Psychological maltreatment in childhood was associated with an increase in attachment anxiety and avoidance, while a positive sibling relationship was related to a decrease in levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance. As predicted, a positive childhood sibling relationship mitigated the negative effects of psychological neglect in childhood on attachment. Similarly, a positive sibling relationship decreased the levels of attachment anxiety associated with isolation in childhood.
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The Role of Attachment in Perceptions of Interparental Conflict and Behavior Problems in Middle Childhood

The Role of Attachment in Perceptions of Interparental Conflict and Behavior Problems in Middle Childhood

Date: August 2013
Creator: Cusimano, Angela Marie
Description: The current study investigated the association of interparental conflict, parent-child attachment, and children's behavior problems in middle childhood. Although the effects of interparental conflict have been studied extensively, there has been little research done in the developmental period of middle childhood. This study examined the potential mediating role of the attachment relationship between parents and children in a community sample consisting of 86 two-parent families with at least one child between the ages of 8-11. Path modeling procedures indicated that attachment security serves as a mediator between interparental conflict and child behavior problems based on child reports. In particular, child-reported attachment security to the mother significantly mediated the association between children's perceptions of threat from interparental conflict and child-reported internalizing and inattentive/hyperactive symptoms. Child-reported attachment security to the father was not a significant mediator and mediation was not supported in parent-report models. The current findings have implications for families experiencing conflict and speak to the importance of attachment in the parent-child relationship when explaining the association between instances of interparental conflict and child behavioral outcomes. In particular, parents who engage in conflict can prevent the damaging effects of that conflict by making the conflict less overt, explaining to children the ...
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Factor Analysis of the Spouse Observation Checklist-revised Using Attachment Theory As an Organizational Framework

Factor Analysis of the Spouse Observation Checklist-revised Using Attachment Theory As an Organizational Framework

Date: August 2012
Creator: Heffel, Carly J.
Description: The purpose of the current study was to investigate the factor structure of the Spouse Observation Checklist-Revised using attachment theory as an organizational framework. The study used archival data from a community sample of 92 heterosexual childless couples married 1-5 years and 4 lesbian couples (N = 192). Separate exploratory factor analysis on the Perception of Self-Behavior and Perception of Partner-Behavior items revealed symmetrical 4-factor structures with factors reflecting emotional support, physical intimacy, instrumental support, and disengagement. Separate analyses examined associations of the four identified factors with the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale to begin to place the SOC-R within a nomological network.
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Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Date: December 2013
Creator: Campbell, Robyn
Description: Research has indicated that OEF/OIF veterans are experiencing mental health concerns following deployment. While there are increasing numbers of veterans returning to higher education institutions after discharging from the military, there is a scarcity of empirical research investigating student veterans’ experiences as they transition into college. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether social support moderates the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment among a sample of student veterans. Participants were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, measures of psychological distress (i.e., GAD-7, PHQ-9, IES-R), Multidimensional Scales of Perceived Social Support, and the Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire. Multiple regressions revealed significant main effects for the variables of interest, but analyses failed to support the hypothesis that perceived social support would moderate the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment.
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Adolescent Behavior Problems and Interparental Conflict: the Moderating Role of Parent-child Attachment

Adolescent Behavior Problems and Interparental Conflict: the Moderating Role of Parent-child Attachment

Date: December 2013
Creator: Daubs, Carlyn
Description: The current study examined the role that parent-child attachment plays in the relationship between marital conflict and the development of behavior problems in adolescents. To evaluate the hypothesis that attachment moderates this relationship, 57 families were recruited via e-mail invitation sent to families that participated in local church youth groups, school organizations, and a treatment program designed for adolescents with behavior problems. One custodial parent and his/her adolescent child completed an online or paper version of a survey consisting of the Achenbach’s Behavior Checklists, the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment, and the Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale. Hypotheses were evaluated using Baron and Kenny’s (1986) procedures to test moderating effects with multiple regression analyses. Mother attachment demonstrated a significant moderation effect between the intensity of interparental conflict and the parent’s report of externalizing behavior problems. Specifically, at low conflict intensity levels, relative to low attachment security, high attachment security was associated with fewer externalizing behavior problems, whereas at high intensities of interparental conflict high attachment security was associated with more externalizing behavior problems.
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Role Importance, Affectional Solidarity, and Depression Among Familial Caregivers for Older Adults

Role Importance, Affectional Solidarity, and Depression Among Familial Caregivers for Older Adults

Date: August 2014
Creator: Benson, Karen M.
Description: In the United States, familial caregivers provide approximately 80% of the long term elderly care and are at risk for mental health problems. As family members provide care, relationships shift from mutual support to increasing dependency on the caregivers, who in turn often experience a shift in self-concept from their prior relational role to include identification as caregiver for the care recipient. Affectional solidarity, or emotional relationship quality, can influence how caregivers experience their shifting role in relationship to a loved one. The study examined whether role importance is associated with caregiver depression over time, and tested the moderating role of affectional solidarity in this association. A subset of caregivers (N = 57) from the Longitudinal Study of Generations constituted the sample from which role importance, affectional solidarity, and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression reports were analyzed using longitudinal hierarchical regression. Findings did not support hypotheses. Results suggested that affectional solidarity may be important to consider among familial caregivers as a potential protective factor for depression. Implications for future research and practitioners are discussed.
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Back on the Home Front: Demand/withdraw Communication and Relationship Adjustment Among Student Veterans

Back on the Home Front: Demand/withdraw Communication and Relationship Adjustment Among Student Veterans

Date: August 2015
Creator: Carver, Kellye Diane Schiffner
Description: Today’s military encompasses a wide variety of families who are affected by deployments in multiple and complex ways. Following deployments, families must reconnect in their relationships and reestablish their way of life. Appropriate and effective communication during this time is critical, yet many military couples struggle with this process. Moreover, student service members/veterans and their families are in a unique position. In addition to coping with changes in their marital relationship, student veterans may feel isolated or unsupported on college campuses, often experiencing anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, or suicidality. The current study seeks to bridge the gap between the military family literature and the student service member/veteran literature by examining how deployment experiences, mental health issues, and communication patterns influence post-deployment relationship adjustment among student veterans. Analyses tested whether communication style and/or current mental health concerns mediate associations between combat experiences and couples’ relationship adjustment, as well as between experiences in the aftermath of battle and relationship adjustment. Results suggest that although posttraumatic stress is significantly related to deployment experiences among student veterans, participants report no significant negative effects of deployment on relationship adjustment. Communication style, however, was significantly associated with relationship adjustment, and a lack of positive communication was ...
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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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
UNT Speaks Out On Coming Home

UNT Speaks Out On Coming Home

Date: November 15, 2012
Creator: University of North Texas. Libraries.
Description: This video recording is of the faculty lecture series UNT Speaks Out on Coming Home. This series features presentations by Dr. Shelley Riggs, Dr. Adriel Boals, and Doctoral Student Cindy Hasio. Dr. Shelley Riggs is a professor of psychology, director of the Family Attachment Lab, and is conducting the Student Veteran Research Project at the University of North Texas (UNT). She discusses the family relationships of veterans after deployment. Dr. Adriel Boals is professor of psychology and has a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study innovative approaches to understanding and treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other responses to trauma and stress. He discusses what PTSD is and what causes it. Cindy Hasio is a doctoral student in the College of Visual Arts and Design. She discusses methods and findings from a project she participated in related to how veterans narrated their experiences through art. Her component of the study evaluated participants and described what they gained through creating arts and crafts. Stuart Presley, Domingo Rodriguez, and James Rumor are a panel of three student veterans who describe their experiences after deployment.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
Bipolar Disorder in the Family: Impact on Functioning and Adjustment to College

Bipolar Disorder in the Family: Impact on Functioning and Adjustment to College

Date: August 2011
Creator: Crandall, Erin
Description: Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder, affecting anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of Americans. Though research has indicated that this disorder can be devastating for patients, less is known about how the disorder impacts family members. There is no research that has considered impacts on family members adjusting to college. The purpose of the current study was to determine the extent to which having a family member with bipolar disorder impacts adjustment to college, as well as factors that might account for worse functioning. Two groups were recruited: students with a bipolar family member (n = 25) and students with no family history of the disorder (n = 50). Participants were interviewed regarding their own histories of a mood disorder, as well as mood disorder histories in their immediate families. They then completed surveys assessing adjustment to college, functioning, caregiving burden, parental relationship, and attachment style. Students with a family history of bipolar disorder had significantly lower social adjustment scores, lower personal-emotional adjustment scores, and lower financial functioning scores than students without this history. Lower scores were found even after controlling for psychopathology. Avoidant attachment behaviors, anxious attachment behaviors, and aspects of the paternal relationship were identified as ...
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The Determinants and Consequences of Empathic Parenting: Testing an Expansion of Belsky's Model of Parenting Using SEM

The Determinants and Consequences of Empathic Parenting: Testing an Expansion of Belsky's Model of Parenting Using SEM

Date: May 2010
Creator: Morse, Margaret K.
Description: An understanding of factors that enhance empathic parenting behaviors is of considerable importance to the study of child development and to the development of parenting interventions to promote child adjustment. Moreover, gaining a better understanding of the factors that predict empathic parenting with older children is of interest since most research examining parental empathy focuses on infants. These were the goals of the current study. Guided by Belsky's 1984 process model of the determinants of parenting that impact child development, an expanded model of the determinants of parenting is proposed that includes various parent, child, and contextual factors of influence. Using data from a community sample, a partial least squares path analysis approach was employed to test the model's strength in predicting empathically attuned parenting with children ages 5 to 10 years and, ultimately, the child's psychoemotional functioning. Results support the expanded model; however, a reduced model was found to be superior and revealed unique relationships between the determinants of parenting. Specifically, a parent's psychoemotional functioning and childrearing beliefs and attitudes were found to be critical to the parent's ability to engage in empathic parenting behaviors. Other parent factors such as the parent's developmental history of abuse, maladaptive personality traits, ...
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Adult Attachment Patterns, Mental Representation of Self, and Faith: Mediators of Childhood Trauma and Affect-Behavior Regulations in Adulthood

Adult Attachment Patterns, Mental Representation of Self, and Faith: Mediators of Childhood Trauma and Affect-Behavior Regulations in Adulthood

Date: December 2010
Creator: Han, GiBaeg
Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate psychological mechanism by which four intra- and inter-personal characteristics of an individual (anxious and avoidant adult attachment patterns, images of self, and religious faith) mediate the relationship between childhood trauma and each of three affect-behavior regulation problems in adulthood (symptoms of depression, disordered eating behaviors, and substance abuse). A total of 401 college student participants completed a packet of 18 surveys including 10 surveys used in the present study. Structural equation modeling was used to test each of three hypothesized structural models (Depression, Eating Disturbances, and Substance Abuse). A series of multi-group analyses conducted to test if each of three hypothesized models is invariant across gender indicated no significant difference between females and males. Thus, the data were combined across gender to test for mediated effects in each of three hypothesized models. The results indicated: (a) for the hypothesized model for depression, anxious attachment patterns, avoidant attachment patterns, and negative self-images, but not religious faith, fully mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and symptoms of depression; (b) for the model for eating disturbances, anxious attachment and negative images of self, but not avoidant attachment and religious faith, fully mediated the association between ...
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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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