UNT Theses and Dissertations - 28 Matching Results

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Predicting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms During Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study of The Role of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysfunction

Description: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a trauma-related disorder that may develop in response to traumatic or stressful events. Dysfunction of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis has been implicated in the disorder. Studies support such dysfunction as being a consequence of PTSD, rather than a precursor. However, most studies of the HPA are either cross-sectional or have been carried out in adults. The aim of the present study was to identify whether HPA dysregulation interacts with stressful experiences to increase the likelihood of developing PTSD symptoms in a community-recruited sample of healthy adolescent girls. Adolescent girls (N = 550) and one of their parents participated. Adolescents’ clinical symptoms were assessed at baseline and at a nine month follow-up. Saliva samples were collected from all adolescent participants at waking, 30 minutes after waking, and 8 pm on 3 consecutive days. Flattened diurnal slope of cortisol at baseline was associated with increased PTSD symptoms nine months later. Baseline cortisol awakening response (CAR) per se was not prospectively related to developing PTSD symptoms, but its interactions with stressful experience was associated with elevated PTSD symptoms at follow-up. Effects were small and need to be replicated in samples with more severe stressors, as well as more clinical levels of PTSD. Nevertheless, findings suggest that dysregulated basal HPA functioning may be involved in the development of PTSD symptoms.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Liu, Keke
Partner: UNT Libraries

Psychological and Sociodemographic Predictors of Psychological Distress in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genetic Testing Participants within a Community Based Genetic Screening Program

Description: Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the first two breast cancer susceptibility genes identified, carry as much as an 85% lifetime risk of developing breast, ovarian or other cancers. Genetic testing for mutations in these two genes has recently become commercially available. There have been varying amounts of psychological distress noted among women with a family history of breast cancer. Distress has been observed to impact psychological functioning, activities of daily living, and the practice of breast cancer surveillance behaviors. Within the genetic screening process, psychological distress has been shown to impact the decision to undergo genetic screening, the comprehension and retention of risk assessment information, as well as affecting the subject following the receipt of the genetic test results. Little work has been done to examine predictors of distress within at risk subjects. This study examines psychological distress among 52 community women presenting for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutation testing. Predictors of distress included family cancer history, education, age, Ashkenazi ethnicity, and Internality and Powerful Others Health Locus of Control. Vulnerable sub-groups of patients include younger women, women with higher levels of education and women of Ashkenazi ethnicity.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Lesniak, Karen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Reactions of psychotherapists in training to religious questions

Description: This project investigated the spiritual well-being (SWB) of psychotherapists in training and their physiological reactions to religious questions posed by a mock client. Electrodermal activity served as an index of physiological arousal interpreted as anxiety. Thirteen psychotherapists in training at the University of North Texas were recruited. They participated in a simulated intake session with a mock client who asked the psychotherapist neutral questions, personal-other questions (POQs), and personal-religious questions (PRQs). It was discovered that the level of SWB did not affect subjects' anxiety responses to PRQs. There also was no difference in subjects' anxiety responses for POQs between high and low SWB therapists. However, psychotherapists did experience some anxiety associated with questions related to their counseling experience and expertise.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Hutchinson, Geoffrey
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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 exposure and veteran’s personal-emotional adjustment to college. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.
Date: May 2016
Creator: McGuffin, James J
Partner: UNT Libraries

The roles of intimacy motivation and mutuality in relation to depression and interpersonal problems.

Description: There is extensive research on depression and interpersonal problems, but research has not addressed these concepts in relation to mutuality and human motivation. Therefore, the purpose of the current study is to consider the associations between intimacy motivation and mutuality of closest relationships and how, when combined, the two connect to depressive experiences and the occurrence of interpersonal problems. Of the 7 original hypotheses suggested, 2 were supported while 5 were not. Perhaps the most interesting finding, and certainly the one with the most practical application, came from the two supported hypotheses. The analyses show that interpersonal problem subtypes are associated with specific depressive subtypes by operationalizing the demand/withdraw pattern of conflict. The exploratory findings also suggest a possible mediation of gender and depression by mutuality.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Hill, Mary Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sex and Gender Differences in Perceived and Actual Leadership Performance: Self- and Subordinate Views

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine how male and female leaders view their own effectiveness as compared to their objective performance. This study also examined sex and gender differences in subordinate's views of male and female leaders. Forty-two mixed-sex groups led by appointed male and female leaders were observed to assess objective and perceived leader effectiveness. Gender role of participants was assessed using the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI). No sex or gender differences were found in objective leadership effectiveness. An unexpected finding was that male and female leaders perceived themselves accurately as leaders. Significant differences were found in the way male subordinates rated men and women leaders when taking into account gender role. Results indicated that the study of gender bias in leadership is complex and should be examined in conjunction with gender role. Social role theory helps to explain this bias.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Rivero, Arlene Jean
Partner: UNT Libraries

Simulating Statistical Power Curves with the Bootstrap and Robust Estimation

Description: Power and effect size analysis are important methods in the psychological sciences. It is well known that classical statistical tests are not robust with respect to power and type II error. However, relatively little attention has been paid in the psychological literature to the effect that non-normality and outliers have on the power of a given statistical test (Wilcox, 1998). Robust measures of location exist that provide much more powerful tests of statistical hypotheses, but their usefulness in power estimation for sample size selection, with real data, is largely unknown. Furthermore, practical approaches to power planning (Cohen, 1988) usually focus on normal theory settings and in general do not make available nonparametric approaches to power and effect size estimation. Beran (1986) proved that it is possible to nonparametrically estimate power for a given statistical test using bootstrap methods (Efron, 1993). However, this method is not widely known or utilized in data analysis settings. This research study examined the practical importance of combining robust measures of location with nonparametric power analysis. Simulation and analysis of real world data sets are used. The present study found that: 1) bootstrap confidence intervals using Mestimators gave shorter confidence intervals than the normal theory counterpart whenever the data had heavy tailed distributions; 2) bootstrap empirical power is higher for Mestimators than the normal theory counterpart when the data had heavy tailed distributions; 3) the smoothed bootstrap controls type I error rate (less than 6%) under the null hypothesis for small sample sizes; and 4) Robust effect sizes can be used in conjuction with Cohen's (1988) power tables to get more realistic sample sizes given that the data distribution has heavy tails.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Herrington, Richard S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Social Anxiety and Non-Medical Prescription Stimulant Use among College Students

Description: Current evidence suggests that non-medical prescription stimulant (NMPS) use is on the rise, particularly among college students. Identifying individuals at risk for regular and problematic use is a critical step towards the development of effective intervention efforts. A growing body of work has noted that individuals with elevated levels of social anxiety (SA) or social anxiety disorder are at an enhanced risk for developing substance use problems, including NMPS use disorder. Despite the relevance of SA and NMPS use among college students, no studies have attempted to examine subclinical SA or the relation between SA and NMPS use among college students specifically. Thus, the present study sought to extend this area by testing the relation of SA symptoms and NMPS use frequency among college students. A large online study of college students was conducted (N=1604) to identify 252 NMPS users (18-25 years; 68.3% female). A hierarchical linear regression was used to test the moderation of positive prescription stimulant expectancies on SA symptoms in predicting past year NMPS use frequency. A subsample of 15 participants was also brought into the lab to assess subjective (State Anxiety) and physiological (salivary cortisol) responding to a social stressor task. Overall, the current study did not provide evidence that SA, via retrospective self-report or real-time responding was related to past year NMPS use frequency. Additional research is needed to resolve the discrepancies between the present findings and prior work.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Cloutier, Renee
Partner: UNT Libraries