UNT Theses and Dissertations - Browse

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Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy
The accurate assessment of psychopathy constitutes a critical component of forensic assessments addressing offender populations. Among the core characteristics of psychopathy, the interpersonal component of deception and empathic deficits are prominently observed in offenders with psychopathic traits. Given the negative consequences of being classified as a psychopath, offenders may be likely to minimize their psychopathic traits. In particular, no research has investigated whether offenders with psychopathic traits are able to simulate empathy in an effort to mask their cognitive or affective empathy deficits (e.g., lack of remorse about offenses). The present study aims to contribute to the literature with regard to the simulation of empathy. Using a mixed between- and within-subjects design, 81 male detainees were placed into (a) a low psychopathy group, (b) a moderate psychopathy group, or (c) a high psychopathy group based on the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised. For the within-subjects component, all offenders answered empathy questionnaires under genuine and simulation conditions. Results indicate the sample possessed cognitive empathy, but did not display affective empathy under genuine instructions. Under simulation instructions, participants significantly increased their scores on several empathy measures. The implications of simulated empathy and comparisons between groups regarding simulation abilities are discussed.
Acculturation, Acculturative Stress, and Anxiety Among Hispanic Undergraduates
First generation college students face some unique challenges in the pursuit of higher education. Aside from academic stressors, there are stressors related to social and cultural transitions which may exacerbate pre-existing emotional or psychological distress. Research suggests that acculturation influences psychological well-being and development. The current study examined the relationships between acculturation, acculturative stress, socio-economic status, and symptoms of anxiety among first-generation college students of Hispanic origin. Participants (N = 125) included those who were first in their family to attend college and were primarily female, of traditional college age, and of Mexican heritage. All measures were self-report and were completed online. Overall, this study was inconclusive as most analyses were underpowered. The present study failed to support a relationship between style of acculturation and symptoms of anxiety, although, experiencing Anglo marginality was related to high levels of acculturative stress and anxiety. Finally, regression analysis revealed that acculturative stress, age, and Anglo marginalization were significant predictors of anxiety and accounted for 31% of variance in anxiety. Implications of the present study were discussed. Further study with adequate power is highly recommended.
Acculturation and Depression in Older Mexican American Adults: the Role of Social Support
Despite socioeconomic disadvantages, less acculturated Mexican Americans tend to exhibit better mental health than their more acculturated counterparts. However, in the case of older Mexican American adults, research has demonstrated the opposite to be true (Gonzalez, Haan, & Hinton, 2001). A variable of interest potentially responsible for this difference is social support. Thus, the current study proposed to investigate the mediation and moderation effects that social support has on the relationship between acculturation and depression in older Mexican American adults age 60 or older. Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) was analyzed. Results showed that the mediating effect of contact with one’s children (-.109*) and the moderating effect of total social support and contact with one’s children (-.127*; -.103*) were statistically significant in the relationship between acculturation and depression. Although these effects are small they may still hold important implications for better understanding this population.
Acculturation and Feminist Endorsement on Control of Health and Health Behaviors in Hispanic Females
Hispanic women are the fastest growing population in the United States. Thus, it is important to explore health disparities that affect this population and better understand potential causes. Several explanations have been proposed for disparities that exist including turning to cultural alternatives rather than conventional medicine, low numbers of health insurance enrollments among Hispanics, and acculturation. However, little attention has been given to explanations that take into account the unique experiences of Hispanic women. The present study explored these experiences through investigation of endorsement of feminist attitudes (e.g., gender role adherence and beliefs that men and women should be treated equally in society) and level of acculturation. Undergraduate Hispanic women (18-24 years of age, M = 20.25, SD = 1.51) at the University of North Texas completed measures including the Multidimensional Health Questionnaire, the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans-II, and the Liberal Feminist Attitude and Ideology Scale. Although results indicate that acculturation was not significant in the sample, feminist endorsement was found to be positively correlated with health-esteem, health-efficacy, and internal-health locus of control. Limitations and recommended directions for future research are explored.
Accuracy of Partner Perception and Relationship Satisfaction: Investigating Masturbatory Habits
An individual's perceptions of various aspects of one's romantic relationship (irrespective of whether or not the perceptions align with reality) often play a critical role in romantic relationship satisfaction. Research has demonstrated that the accuracy of an individual's perception of his or her partner is generally positively related to the individual's romantic relationship satisfaction. However, when perceiving negative or conflictual messages from a partner, an individual's accuracy of perception is negatively associated with his or her romantic relationship satisfaction. Researchers have suggested that poor accuracy in perceiving negative messages might diffuse the negative intention in a way that is less impactful to the relationship. The present study was designed to investigate accuracy in the perception of sexual topics, specifically masturbatory habits. A sample of 93 married couples (186 individuals) responded to questions about (a) their own masturbatory behaviors and (b) their perception of their partners' masturbatory behaviors to determine the accuracy of each partner's perception of his or her partner. The association between accuracy and romantic and sexual relationship satisfaction was explored, along with one potential moderating variable: attitudes toward masturbation. Perceived reason for masturbating, perceived target of arousal during masturbation, and partner's actual reason for masturbating all positively predicted an individual's relationship satisfaction. Partner's actual openness about masturbatory behaviors moderated the association between accuracy of partner perception of openness about masturbation and both relationship and sexual satisfaction. When partners were more open about masturbation, accuracy was a stronger positive predictor of relationship and sexual satisfaction than when partners were less open about masturbation. Results, limitations, areas for future research, and clinical implications are discussed.
ADHD Symptomology and Overweight Among College Men
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a childhood disorder that often persists into adulthood. Among adults, ADHD is highly comorbid with addictive behaviors (e.g., substance abuse and dependence), and depressive disorders. Recently, an association between ADHD and obesity has been reported in the literature; emotional and binge eating may be “addictive behaviors” that contribute to weight gain in this population. The purpose of this study was to test competing models of the hypothesized link between ADHD symptomology and overweight. Specifically, in Model 1, symptoms of depression are expected to mediate the relationship between symptoms of impulsivity and inattention and emotional and binge eating which, in turn, leads to weight gain (i.e., increased BMI). In Model 2, however, the impulsive symptoms have direct relationships with emotional and binge eating in addition to being mediated by depressive symptoms. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed to test how the models fit the data of 790 college men. Both models fit the data well, with Model 2 being preferred because of its greater connection to theory. All paths were significant indicating that increased impulsive and inattentive symptoms predicted increased symptoms of depression that, in turn, predicted increased emotional/binge eating, which has a direct and positive relationship with increased BMI. Moreover, impulsive symptoms were also directly related to emotional/binge eating, suggesting different paths to overweight across ADHD subtypes. The findings of the current study elucidate the links between ADHD symptoms and overweight (i.e., increased BMI).
Adolescent Behavior Problems and Interparental Conflict: the Moderating Role of Parent-child Attachment
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.
Adolescents' Social Networking Use and Its Relationship to Attachment and Mental Health
Adolescents spend much of their time using the internet and electronic media. Since its inception, the use of online social networking (OSN) sites by adolescents continues to grow. With the proliferation of OSN, it is critical to examine how this activity affects psychological development, but better measurement tools are needed. As researchers struggle to keep up with this rapidly growing field, many gaps remain in the literature investigating the interrelations between adolescent's OSN use and mental health outcomes. Research examining the relationship between OSN and mental health outcomes, specifically depression and anxiety, has produced mixed results suggesting that other factors influence this association. A large research literature documents associations between attachment and mental health. Given that attachment also affects interpersonal communication, several studies have investigated links between attachment and OSN use in adult and college populations. Results indicated that even though attachment to father was independently related to anxiety and depression symptoms, it was not a significant moderator for mental health and OSN. Attachment to mother was a significant moderator for anxiety and depression and several OSN subscales. Based on this information, a greater focus on youth's interpersonal connection and social skills both online and offline may be beneficial when treating adolescents experiencing anxiety or depression.
Adult Attachment, Acculturation, and Help-seeking Attitudes of Latino College Students
Based on theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence, the present study examined the unique and shared effects of attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, and acculturation on attitudes toward seeking professional help among Latino college students. The research participants included 149 bilingual Latino college students from a large, public southwestern university. Results of a multiple regression analysis indicated that attachment avoidance was positively associated with both the recognition of need for psychological help and stigma of seeking professional help. Acculturation to American society was found to be statistically insignificant in predicting help-seeking attitudes in this sample of the population. Findings from exploratory questions suggested that Latino individuals would most likely seek help from parents, close friends, and then professionals. This study suggested that Latino individuals with high attachment avoidance acknowledge the potential benefit of professional help-seeking but distrust the process of approaching others for help. Limitations, implications, and future research directions will be discussed.
Adult Attachment Patterns, Mental Representation of Self, and Faith: Mediators of Childhood Trauma and Affect-Behavior Regulations in Adulthood
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 childhood trauma and disordered eating behaviors; and (3) for the mode for substance abuse, anxious attachment and poor religious faith, but not avoidant attachment and negative self-images, fully mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and substance abuse. The findings of the present study have noteworthy implications for treatment. When clients who suffer from symptoms of depression, disordered eating behaviors, and/or substance abuse report a history of repetitive abuse and neglect by primary caregivers in childhood, clinicians need to assist clients in: (a) understanding an association of childhood maltreatment with affect-behavior regulation problems; (b) being aware of an impact of abuse ...
Affective Forecasting: the Effects of Immune Neglect and Surrogation
Studies of affective forecasting examine people’s ability to predict (forecast) their emotional (affective) responses to future events. Affective forecasts underlie nearly all decisions people make and the actions they take. However, people engage in systematic cognitive errors when making affective forecasts and most often overestimate the intensity and duration of their emotional responses. Understanding the mechanisms that lead to affective forecasting errors (e.g., immune neglect) and examining the utility of methods for improving affective forecasting errors (e.g., surrogation) can provide highly valuable information for clinicians as they assist clients in determining their goals both for therapy and for life. The first purpose of the current study was to determine if affective forecasting errors due to immune neglect lead to misjudgments about the relative emotional impact of minor versus moderate negative experiences (i.e., trauma severity). The second purpose was to examine the utility of surrogation for improving affective forecasts. Potential interaction effects between these two variables were also examined. The current study utilized a 2 (Trauma Severity: minor, moderate) X 3 (Prediction Information: surrogation information only, simulation information only, both types of information) experimental design. Undergraduates were recruited via the SONA system and randomly assigned to one of the six experimental conditions. A preliminary study was conducted to obtain surrogation information for use in the main study. All participants in the main study predicted how they would feel 10 minutes after receiving negative personality feedback, using a 10-point scale ranging from (1) very unhappy to (10) very happy. These predictions constitute their affective forecasts. All participants then actually received the negative personality feedback (ostensibly from another participant, a peer, in a nearby room) and reported their actual affective states ten minutes later, using the same scale. These ratings constitute their affective reports. Affective forecasting error was calculated as the difference between ...
African American Father Influences on the Career Development of Emerging Adults
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 ethnic identity. Well-being was a significant predictor of career maturity. Explanations, implications, and future directions are discussed.
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.
Anticipating Work and Family: Experience, Conflict, and Planning in the Transition to Adulthood
The purpose of this study was to examine the development of work and family plans in young adults, and to clarify the long-term stability, prevalence, and consequences of anticipated work-family conflict. The study utilizes Super’s model of career development and social cognitive career theory, as well as research on current work-family interface, as a framework for understanding the period of anticipating and planning for multiple role integration that occurs between adolescence and adulthood. A sample of 48 male and 52 female college students assessed two years prior completed self-report questionnaires measuring work, marriage, and parenting experience; anticipated work-family conflict; and multiple-role planning. Results of this study suggest that students desire both a career and a family, and recognize potential challenges of a multiple-role lifestyle. Such recognition of anticipated work-family conflict varies by conflict domains and measurement methods, but remains stable over two years. Results also suggest that anticipated work-family conflict does not mediate the relationship between experience and planning; instead, marriage experience predicts planning directly. Implications for the findings are discussed as are suggestions for directions of new research concerning anticipated work-family conflict and planning for multiple roles.
Anxiety, Depression, and Sleep Disorders: Their Relationship and Reduction with Neurotherapy
This study investigated the relationship among anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances and the treatment of these three disorders through neurotherapy. Research suggests that these conditions commonly co-occur in the general population and that central nervous system (CNS) arousal may play a primary role in the development and maintenance of these disorders. Several recent studies suggested that neurotherapy, a biofeedback-based treatment for CNS dysregulation, might be an effective treatment for comorbid conditions, particularly the ones of interest here, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. This investigation used a clinical case-series design to assess pre/post neurotherapy changes on objective measures of anxiety, depression, and sleep and to determine whether changes in anxiety and depression then predict improvements in sleep quality. Data for 23 participants (10 males) were obtained from files of adults (Mage = 40.22 years, SD = 16.20) who received at least 15 neurotherapy sessions (M = 47.83 sessions, SD = 22.23) the University of North Texas Neurotherapy Lab. Matched pair t-tests revealed that symptoms of sleep disturbance, depression, and anxiety showed significant improvements following neurotherapy. Neurotherapy treatment effect sizes generally ranged from moderate to large (d = .414 - .849). Multiple regression analysis found that changes in self-reported anxiety symptoms, but not depressive symptoms, predicted observed improvements in sleep quality (adjusted R2 = .26). Last, the implications and limitations were discussed in relation to neurotherapy practice and the associated research.
Apology and Forgiveness in Couples
Following a transgression, interpersonal forgiveness is one strategy used to restore harmony between the victim and offender. Research also suggests that forgiveness can promote psychological and physical health. Research has shown that an apology from the offender may facilitate the forgiveness process. The majority of studies suggest that when a victim receives an apology, they experience higher levels of forgiveness toward their offender. The purpose of this thesis was to explore the association between apology and forgiveness in a sample of adults and undergraduate students (N = 803). The results are organized in three sections. First, I found a positive relationship between apology and forgiveness, replicating prior research. Second, I created a new measure of transgression severity, and provided evidence of internal consistency, construct validity, and criterion-related validity for this measure. Third, I tested two variables hypothesized to moderate the association between apology and forgiveness. First, there was some evidence that perceived offender humility moderated the association between simple apology and forgiveness. Offenders who were perceived as being more humble when providing a simple apology were granted more forgiveness than their less humble counterparts. Second, there was some evidence that transgression severity moderated the association between a complete apology and forgiveness, but the effect was in the opposite direction as hypothesized. For individuals who reported a transgression of high severity, there was a stronger association between the completeness of an apology and forgiveness than for individuals who reported a transgression of low severity. I conclude by discussing limitations, areas for future research, and implications for counseling.
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.
Assessment of Feigning with the Trauma Symptom Inventory: Development and Validation of new Validity Scales with Severely Traumatized Patients
Currently, only the TSI assesses complex traumatic reactions and patient response styles. However, its feigning scale, ATR, uses a flawed detection strategy and is potentially confounded by experiences of complex PTSD. As a consequence, clinicians using the TSI to evaluate severely traumatized patients have no useful method for discriminating genuine and feigned responding. Several detection strategies have demonstrated utility within evaluations of feigned trauma including the assessment of rare symptoms, symptom combinations, symptom selectivity, and symptom severity. The current study created scales on the TSI according to these strategies using a development sample of 107 severely traumatized patients. Validation of all TSI feigning scales was then performed with a second independent sample of 71 severely traumatized patients using a mixed simulation design. Results found support for each scale's convergent validity with SIRS primary scales (M rs = .52) and discriminant validity with measures of defensiveness on the SIRS (M rs = -.07) and TSI (M rs = -.19). Each scale also produced expectedly mild to moderate relationships with SADS-C clinical scales (M rs = .32) and the SCID-IV PTSD module (M rs = -.02). Support for their criterion validity was only moderate (M ds = .69) when comparing the scores of genuine patients to those simulating disability. Potential explanations for this trend were reviewed, including (a) the impact of comorbidity, (b) the restrictions associated with creating embedded feigning scales, and (c) the influence of simulator knowledge in analogue designs. Limitations of the study and future avenues of research were discussed.
Assessment of Hot and Cool Executive Functioning Following Trauma Using the Traditional Stroop Task, Emotional Stroop Task, and a Novel Implicit Association Test
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.
Associations Between Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement: A Meditational Analysis
Research has illustrated the interrelatedness of childhood physical fitness and psychological wellbeing, psychological wellbeing and academic achievement, as well as physical fitness and academic achievement. In this study, we proposed that psychological wellbeing (self-esteem and depression) serves as a mediator between physical fitness and academic achievement during adolescence. In a sample of middle school children (N = 1,530), significant correlations were found between all three variables (p.0001). A hierarchical regression analysis was performed to assess the associations between physical fitness, psychological wellbeing, and academic achievement. The regression analysis reported a significant partial mediation effect. The results of this study supported the proposed hypotheses, including a mechanism of psychological wellbeing partially mediating the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement. The findings of this study support the importance of encouraging activities to promote both physical fitness and psychological wellbeing in schools.
Associations Between Witnessing the Abuse of a Sibling in Childhood and Experiencing Trauma Related Symptoms in Adulthood
Currently sibling research is burgeoning, yet there is virtually no literature regarding outcomes associated with witnessing the abuse of a sibling. The present study aimed to address this gap in the literature. A sample of 284 university students were surveyed regarding traumatic experiences in childhood and adulthood, the quality of childhood sibling relationships, and the experience of trauma symptoms in adulthood. Regression and moderation analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between witnessing the abuse of a sibling in childhood and trauma symptoms in adulthood and to assess whether sibling relationship quality moderates the association between sibling abuse and trauma symptomology. Results showed that witnessing the abuse of a sibling was associated with depression symptoms in the overall sample and for females reporting about a brother. Also, sibling conflict moderated the relationship between witnessed sibling abuse and externalization in sister-sister dyads. These associations should be considered in terms of the systemic abuse to which participants were exposed. Implications for clinical practice working with sibling-related victimization are discussed.
Attachment Insecurity, Emotion Regulation Difficulties, and Mindfulness Deficits in Personality Pathology
A growing body of research has documented associations between personality disorders (PDs) and attachment disturbance, and yet, attachment disturbance does not necessarily guarantee the development of PD pathology. Thus, understanding the mechanisms mediating the relationship between attachment disturbance and PD pathology remains an open area of research. One area with sound theoretical and empirical evidence has shown that attachment disturbances are associated with emotion regulation difficulties, as well as maladaptive interpersonal patterns of behavior. However, the research conducted thus far has predominately focused on borderline personality disorder, at the exclusion of other PD domains, and also has not broadened the scope of research to include other relevant psychological processes that may clarify how personality pathology and attachment disturbance are interrelated. Using a large independent sample of college (n = 946) and community-based individuals (n = 271), the current study aimed to (1) examine how the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5) PD trait domains would be differentially associated with maladaptive attachment processes and emotion regulation problems, and (2) explore whether deficits in mindfulness and emotion regulation mediated the relationship between disturbed attachment and PD trait domains. Findings suggested that the PID-5 PD trait domains have general and specific relations to attachment insecurity, impairments in emotion regulation, and decreased mindfulness. Overall, the current study suggests that improving emotion regulation skills and increasing dispositional mindfulness may limit the expression of pathological personality traits. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
Attachment Theory Within Clinical Supervision: Application of the Conceptual to the Empirical
Attachment theory has established itself as applicable to many types of relationships, encompassing caregiver-child, romantic, interpersonal, and psychotherapeutic interactions. This project sought to investigate the application of attachment theory to clinical supervision. Using suggestions put forth in previous work by Watkins and Riggs, this study examined the dyadic interactions inherent in both supervision and attachment. Using the working alliance as determination of the quality of supervision, attachment styles, leader-follower attachment, and attachment-based expectations were explored as predictors for supervisor-trainee dyad outcome in a training clinic for doctoral psychology students. The study design is longitudinal and prospective. Findings indicate the necessity of measurement of supervisory-specific attachment rather than general attachment, the stability of working alliance over time, and the large contribution of the leader-member attachment framework to the understanding of supervisory attachment. Implications include the importance of maintaining hierarchical, evaluative boundaries within supervisory relationship, consistent with a leader-follower dynamic.
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.
Attention Biases Associated with Vulnerability to Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is associated with significant social and occupational impairments, as well as increased risk for substance abuse and suicide. More research is needed to identify potential mechanisms associated with vulnerability to the disorder. Previous research has identified altered processing of emotional information in bipolar and bipolar-prone individuals, including attentional biases which appear to differ based on the current affective state of the individual. The current study applied a sensitive measure of attention (i.e., eye-tracking) to assess whether vulnerability to bipolar disorder, as indexed by hypomanic personality traits, would be correlated with biases in attention to emotional facial stimuli, independent of mood state. Hypomanic personality traits were hypothesized to be associated with greater attention to happy and angry faces, as indexed by faster initial orientation, more frequent gazes, and longer gaze duration for these stimuli. Participants completed self-report measures assessing current mood symptoms, positive and negative affect, and hypomanic personality traits. They then completed two tasks assessing attention for emotional faces. The first was an eye-tracking task, which measured latency to first fixation, total gaze duration and total number of gazes for each emotional face category. The second was a spatial cueing task which assessed both attentional engagement with emotional faces, and ability to disengage attention from this material. Hypomanic personality traits were significantly negatively correlated with latency to orient attention to happy faces. A trend toward decreased latency to orient to angry faces with higher hypomanic personality traits was also demonstrated. Hypomanic traits were not correlated with attention to sad faces. Furthermore, hypomanic traits were associated only with differences in initial orientation of attention, not with continued engagement or disengagement. The results of this study suggest that individuals with higher levels of hypomanic personality traits, who are hypothesized to be at greater risk of developing bipolar disorder, are characterized ...
Attitudes about Caregiving: An Ethnicity by Generation Approach
The goal of this project was to understand ethnic and generational differences in attitudes towards caregiving and expected burden while taking into consideration factors such as gender, generation, familism, and acculturation. One hundred and sixteen young adults (ages 18-25) and 93 middle-age adults (ages 38-62) were enrolled in the study. Participants included European Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics. Using moderation analysis, two hypotheses were investigated: 1) Ethnicity relates to attitudes towards caregiving, moderated by gender, generation, familism, and acculturation. 2) Ethnicity and expected burden relate to each other, moderated by gender, generation, familism, and acculturation. Familism emerged as a moderator in the relationship between ethnicity and expected burden. Results suggested that the strength of the relationship between being African American and expecting burden was less for those with moderate familism (R =.078), slightly higher for low familism (R = .176), and the highest for high familism (R= .261). Additional results indicated that the strength of the relationship between being Hispanic, as opposed to being European American, and expected burden, was higher for middle-aged adults (R =.23) when compared to young adults (R =.19). The current findings lend support to the recently established idea that familism is not protective against burden as it increases one's sense of obligation towards family (Knight & Sayegh, 2010).
Back in My Hands: The Role of Self-Forgiveness and Stigma in HIV-Positive Adults
While advancements in treatment have made HIV a more manageable disease, only recently have psychosocial variables associated with the health of persons living with HIV (PLH) began to receive increased scrutiny. HIV-related stigma, considered by some researchers to be a “second epidemic,” is one such psychosocial variable and is associated with negative physiological and psychological health outcomes. In an effort to alleviate the effects of stress, increased research attention has focused on forgiveness as a teachable coping strategy. Current forgiveness interventions demonstrate encouraging results in decreasing anger and neutralizing stress but have not been applied to HIV-positive populations. In this study, Lazarus and Folkman’s transactional model of stress and coping (1984) and Prochaska and Velicer’s transtheoretical model of health behavior (1997) were utilized as theoretical frameworks to inform a randomized clinical trial that examines coping skills, particularly forgiveness, in PLH and perceived HIV-related stigma. An ethnically diverse sample of HIV-positive adults (n = 57) was randomized into a treatment or control group. The treatment group participated in six weeks of cognitive-behavioral group therapy that focused on the teaching of forgiveness as an effective coping tool while the control group was psychoeducational in nature and did not involve mention of forgiveness. Data was obtained on a variety of medical and psychosocial variables, including types of forgiveness (dispositional forgiveness, forgiveness of self, forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of situations) and perceived HIV-related stigma. Data were collected at three time points: at baseline (Time 1) prior to randomization of participants to the treatment or control group, immediately post intervention (Time 2), and at six-month follow-up (Time 3). Importantly, forgiveness was shown to be a teachable skill that PLH can use to potentially improve mental health. Men in the treatment group reported significantly higher levels of dispositional forgiveness and self-forgiveness than men in the ...
Back on the Home Front: Demand/withdraw Communication and Relationship Adjustment Among Student Veterans
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 found to correlate with PTSD diagnosis. Research and clinical implications are discussed.
Benefits and Costs of Social Interactions Among Firefighters
Despite high levels of exposure, firefighter posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates are unclear. Likewise, questions remain regarding how social interactions and beliefs about emotion might interact to influence PTSD in firefighters. In this study, U.S. urban firefighters (N = 225) completed measures of social support, negative social interactions, and fear of emotion which were then used via regression analyses to predict PTSD symptoms. Each independent variable predicted PTSD beyond variance accounted for by demographic variables. Additionally, fear of emotion emerged as the strongest individual predictor of PTSD and a moderator of the relation between social interactions and PTSD symptoms. These findings emphasize the importance of beliefs about emotion; both in how these beliefs might influence the expression of PTSD symptoms, and in how the social networks of trauma survivors might buffer distress.
The Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding, Subtyping, and Treating Depression: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication.
The most effective and useful way to diagnose and subtype depression has been a long debated topic which even now does not have a definite answer. The biopsychosocial approach to diagnosis may be a solution to this problem by linking various etiologies to symptom presentation. The biopsychosocial model, in regard to depression, takes into account biological risk factors/contributors, psychological or cognitive risk factors/contributors, and social risk factors/contributors to depression when making diagnosis and subtyping determinations. However, the most effective way to use this model in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of depression is not yet clear. In this study, the utility of the biopsychosocial model as an effective approach to conceptualizing and treating depression was assessed by testing hypotheses that showed that etiological contributors are related to the presence and differential presentation of depression, and that these etiologically-based subtypes of depression respond differently to different forms of treatment. These hypotheses were tested using data from the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication (NCS-R). Results showed that the biopsychosocial model can effectively predict the presence, severity and chronicity of depression, and may inform specific biopsychosocially-based subtypes. No conclusions could be drawn regarding success in treatment based on the biopsychosocial model. Future directions for research based on the current study are discussed.
A Biopsychosocial Model of Dietary Restraint in Early Adolescent Boys
The current study replicated and extended previous research by examining empirically the direct and indirect influence of social pressure (to lose weight and diet), social body comparisons, internalization of the thin ideal, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and cardiorespiratory fitness on self-reported dietary restraint in a diverse sample of middle school boys (n = 663); Mage was 12.49 years (SD = .99). With IRB approval, parental consent, and child assent, during annual FITNESSGRAM testing, participants completed questionnaires that measured the study’s constructs. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) was determined by the boys’ performance on the PACER running test. The proposed model was examined using structural equation modeling (SEM). Because measures demonstrated univariate and multivariate normality, the maximum likelihood procedure within EQS to examine the measurement and structural models was used. Fit was determined using a two-index procedure. Participants were randomly split into exploratory (Sample A - 331) and confirmatory (Sample B - 332) samples. For Sample A, the measurement and structural models fit the data well. The structural model was confirmed in Sample B, with the same paths being significant and nonsignficant. For both Sample A and Sample B, 35% of the Dietary Restraint variance was explained. These findings support a multifactorial approach to understanding boys’ self-reported dietary restraint, and illuminate the negative influence of sociocultural weight pressures and salutary effects of CRF on early adolescents’ psychosocial well-being and dietary behaviors.
Bipolar Disorder in the Family: Impact on Functioning and Adjustment to College
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 potential mediators. Caregiving burden was identified as a partial mediator. Implications for families and educational institutions are discussed.
Body Dissatisfaction, Disordered Eating Behaviors and Body Image Quality of Life in African American Women with Hiv
The purpose of the current study was to further our understanding of the subjective experience of middle-age African American women who are HIV+ and on highly active antiretroviral therapy, particularly how self-reported lipodystrophy (LD), levels of body dissatisfaction, body image quality of life, and engagement in disordered eating behaviors are related. Multiple regression, MANOVA, MANCOVA, ANOVA, and chi-square were utilized to test hypotheses. Results revealed that HIV+ and HIV- women did not differ significantly on their levels of body dissatisfaction or drive for thinness. When HIV+ women were examined in more detail a pattern emerged: women who self-reported fat hypertrophy had significantly higher levels of body dissatisfaction, bingeing, but not purging, and dietary restriction and fear of weight gain compared to women who did not self-report LD. About 75% of the sample was overweight or obese, and when BMI was controlled for, these differences persisted for body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors for fat hypertrophy, but not fat atrophy. Overall, the findings indicate that the type of LD, specifically hypertrophy, is more related to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors, than LD in general. Clinical implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.
Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children
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.
Chronic Insomnia and Healthcare Utilization in Young Adults
Chronic insomnia is a highly prevalent disorder in general and young adult populations, and contributes a significant economic burden on society. Previous studies have shown healthcare utilization (HCU) is significantly higher for people with insomnia than people without insomnia. One limitation with previous research is accurate measurement of HCU in people with insomnia is difficult due to a high co-morbidity of medical and mental health problems as well as varying operational definitions of insomnia. Assessing HCU in people with insomnia can be improved by applying research diagnostic criteria (RDC) for insomnia, using a population with low rates of co-morbid medical/mental health problems, and measuring HCU with subjective, objective, and predictive methods. The current study found young adults with chronic insomnia had greater HCU than normal sleepers, specifically on number of medications, and chronic disease score (CDS) estimates of total healthcare costs, outpatient costs, and predicted number of primary care visits. The presence of a medical and/or mental health problem acted as a moderating variable between chronic insomnia and HCU. Simple effects testing found young adults with chronic insomnia and a medical/mental health problem had the greatest HCU followed by normal sleepers with a medical/mental health problem, chronic insomnia, and normal sleepers. Exploratory analyses found young adults with chronic insomnia had a greater likelihood of emergency room visits and overnight hospital admissions. More efforts for early identification and intervention of insomnia are necessary to help reduce costs associated with chronic insomnia co-morbid with medical and/or mental health problems.
Coaches’ Influence on Male Adolescents’ Achievement Motivation, Psychological Factors, and Sport Participation
The motivational climate, as created by coaches, and athletes’ goal orientations are key constructs in understanding children’s experiences with sport. In this study, the relationship between the perceived motivational climates, male adolescents’ goal orientation, and their experiences of self-esteem, sport competence, enjoyment, and ultimately, intention to continue participating in sport was examined. Participants were 405 male adolescents (Sample A: n = 200; Sample B: n = 205) aged 13-15 years old. Structural equation modeling indicated an overall good fit to the structural model for both data sets. A task goal orientation was predicted by higher levels of coach-created task climate. Participants with higher task goal orientation had greater sport competence, self-esteem, and more enjoyment in sport; enjoyment was the only significant predictor of their intention to continue playing the sport they believe is most important over the next three years.
Cognitive Engagement in Later Life: Descriptive and Explanatory Findings
Findings on the relationship between engagement in lifestyle and cognitive functioning are not consistent; some authors report that engagement in lifestyle predicts an individual's cognitive functioning; while other report that an individual's cognitive functioning predicts the type and level of engagement an individual participates in. The current study will use longitudinal data (N = 235) to investigate the bidirectional relationship between engagement (engaged lifestyle activities) and cognition (crystallized & fluid intelligence). Despite inconsistent findings it is proposed that cognitive functioning may be better understood when examining how stimulation of activity, need for cognition, and openness to experience affect engagement in an active lifestyle. As such the current study will investigate if stimulation of activity, need for cognition, and openness to experience moderate the relationship between engaged lifestyles and cognitive functioning. The results, limitations and implications are discussed.
Cognitive Performance As a Function of Sleep Disturbance in the Postpartum Period
New mothers often complain of impaired cognitive functioning, and it is well documented that women experience a significant increase in sleep disturbance after the birth of a child. Sleep disturbance has been linked to impaired cognitive performance in several populations, including commercial truck drivers, airline pilots, and medical residents, though this relationship has rarely been studied in postpartum women. In the present study 13 pregnant women and a group of 22 non-pregnant controls completed one week of actigraphy followed by a battery of neuropsychological tests and questionnaires in the last month of pregnancy (Time 1) and again at four weeks postpartum (Time 2). Pregnant women experienced significantly more objective and subjective sleep disturbance than the control group at both time points. They also demonstrated more impairment in objective, but not subjective cognitive functioning. Preliminary analyses indicated increased objective sleep fragmentation from Time 1 to Time 2 predicted decreased objective cognitive performance from Time 1 to Time 2, though small sample size limited the power of these findings. Implications for perinatal women and need for future research were discussed.
Community-based Participatory Research: Hiv in African American Men Who Have Sex with Men
To date, traditional behavioral interventions have done little to reduce the prevalence and transmission of HIV among African American men who have sex with men (AAMSM), a highly at risk group. Some researchers theorize that the lack of success may be because these interventions do not address contextual factors among AAMSM. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is one approach to research with the potential to lead to effective interventions in the future. CBPR is a collaborative, mixed-methods and multidisciplinary, approach to scientific inquiry, which is conducted with, and within, the community. The current study follows the CBPR approach to engage and develop a relationship with the African American communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Contextual issues were discussed in order to identify emerging themes regarding HIV health related issues among AAMSM to provide the groundwork for continued CBPR research and future interventions with AAMSM in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. To accomplish this goal, researchers began the CBPR process by conducting interviews and focus groups with a sample of approximately 62 (34 from key informant interviews, 28 from focus groups [gender balanced]) AIDS service organization leaders and workers, advocates, medical doctors and community members with first-hand knowledge of HIV health issues in the AAMSM community. Transcripts of these interviews and focus groups were analyzed to identify emerging themes at the societal (religious doctrine, African American Culture, age-related norms and stigma), community (education, religious views/policy and community norms) and individual (disclosure, personal identity, sexual behavior/risk, accessing care and communication) levels. This data was used to create a holistic narrative report that will be used to direct the community advisory board (CAB) and guide future research and interventions.
Community Gardening: a Novel Intervention for Bhutanese Refugees Living in the USA
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; and specifically perceived tangible support was increased. A significant effect of gardening was also found for adjustment. Although a significant effect was not found for psychological and somatic symptoms, there is still evidence of effects on somatic complaints. Varying results from quantitative and qualitative data warrant further investigation into the nuanced work of clinical research and advocacy with refugee populations.
Comparing the 2010 and 2011 Appic Match: Applicant Characteristics and Unmatched Applicant Distress
The internship is one of the most important components of doctoral training in professional psychology. Given the serious problem of the internship imbalance, applicant and program characteristics that constitute a good “fit” with internship training programs have become of greater interest as securing an internship becomes a more competitive process. This study surveyed internship applicants from programs part of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP), before and after the 2010 and 2011 match days. Number of interview offers was found to be the factor most consistently associated with successfully matching, and several other applicant characteristics salient to matching and obtaining interview offers were identified, including applicant personality. Additionally, personal accounts, but not empirical evidence, of going unmatched have attested to the psychological distress associated with this event. in the current study, while going unmatched was not found to be equitable to a traumatic stressor, evidence was found to support significant decrease in subjective well-being with respect to immediate distress. Findings are discussed in terms of the predictability of and implications for the match process and internship imbalance, and recommendations are made for future research directions.
A Comparison of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a New Sleep Questionnaire, and Sleep Diaries
Self-report retrospective estimates of sleep behaviors are not as accurate as prospective estimates from sleep diaries, but are more practical for epidemiological studies. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the validity of retrospective measures and improve upon them. The current study compared sleep diaries to two self-report retrospective measures of sleep, the commonly used Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and a newly developed sleep questionnaire (SQ), which assessed weekday and weekend sleep separately. It was hypothesized that the new measure would be more accurate than the PSQI because it accounts for variability in sleep throughout the week. The relative accuracy of the PSQI and SQ in obtaining estimates of total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), and sleep onset latency (SOL) was examined by comparing their mean differences from, and correlations with, estimates obtained by the sleep diaries. Correlations of the PSQI and SQ with the sleep diaries were moderate, with the SQ having significantly stronger correlations on the parameters of TST, SE, and sleep quality ratings. The SQ also had significantly smaller mean differences from sleep diaries on SOL and SE. The overall pattern of results indicated that the SQ performs better than the PSQI when compared to sleep diaries.
A Comparison of Treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: Memory Specificity Training (MeST) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
The effectiveness of memory specificity training (MeST) was compared with standard cognitive processing therapy (CPT) in treatment of individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder. Eighteen adults aged 18-36 were randomly assigned to the MeST intervention (n = 9) or to the active control group (n = 9) of CPT. Both treatments were administered in group format across 6 weeks. MeST consisted of 6 weekly sessions, while CPT consisted of 12 biweekly sessions. The trial was undertaken in the Psychology Clinic of the University of North Texas, with randomization to conditions accomplished via computer random number generator. The primary outcome measure was change in PTSD symptoms post-treatment from baseline. Sixteen individuals (13 women and 3 men; MeST n = 8 and CPT n = 8) completed treatment and their data was analyzed. MeST significantly decreased PTSD symptomology at post-treatment and these results were maintained at 3 months post-treatment. MeST was found to be as effective as the established CPT intervention at reducing PTSD symptomology. Both MeST and CPT significantly increased participants' ability to specify memories upon retrieval at post-treatment, with results maintained at follow-up. There were no significant effects of MeST or CPT in ability to increase overall controlled cognitive processing at post-treatment or follow-up. No individual in either group reported any adverse effects during treatment or at 3 months follow-up. MeST appears to hold promise as an efficacious treatment option for PTSD. MeST was as effective as CPT in reducing symptoms of PTSD, but required only half the number of treatment sessions to accomplish these gains. Replication of these findings in larger samples is encouraged.
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.
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.
Consistency, Consolidation, and Cognition in Autobiographical Memories: a Flashbulb Memory Approach
Flashbulb memories are highly vivid and long-lasting memories for events that are emotionally significant and personally important. These memories are held in very high confidence in accuracy over an extended period. In particular, individuals believe that they can remember the personal details surrounding the event such as where they were and what they were doing at the time the event occurred. Evidence from research, however, indicates that this may not be the case. The study of flashbulb memories has typically been confined to negative events such as September 11, 2001. In the current study, we employ the methods of Talarico and Rubin (2003) to investigate flashbulb memory formation to a positive event. The event is the assassination of Osama bin Laden, which resonated as a highly positive event for many Americans evidenced by the thousands of people flooding the streets of Washington, D.C. and New York City to celebrate. We examined various memory properties over a one-year period, including vividness, rehearsal, belief in accuracy, and consistency. Results confirm the formation of flashbulb memories to the assassination event, but results did not support many of the proposed hypotheses. Some differences were found for different testing groups (i.e., immediate versus one week delay), but these were not replicated at the one year follow-up. Overall, however, it is believed that the current event, while still a flashbulb memory, was not a strong enough event to stir strong emotions and form memories on par with 9/11.
Contributing Factors in the Development of Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Among Survivors of Interpersonal Violence
An understanding of factors that contribute to Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) is of considerable importance to inform the prevention and treatment of the disorder. Moreover, gaining a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the etiology of CPTSD is of interest since most research to date focuses on the etiology of PTSD. Therefore, the purpose of the current study is to test the hypothesized prediction between childhood exposure to violence, childhood attachment, current interpersonal factors, and CPTSD symptoms. Using data from a community clinic and shelter serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, a partial least squares path analysis approach was employed to test the model’s strength in predicting contributing factors of CPTSD. Results support the proposed model, however, an alternative and more parsimonious model was found to be superior and revealed relationships between interpersonal variables and CPTSD. Specifically, women who reported child abuse and poor attachment with either parent, a perceived lack of current emotional and tangible support, and recent intimate partner violence (IPV) also reported symptoms of CPTSD. However, other variables, such as adult attachment avoidance and anxiety did not influence IPV or CPTSD as expected. Ultimately, the current findings lend support for Herman’s (1992) original conceptualization of CPTSD symptoms observed in survivors of prolonged and repeated trauma. Implications of these findings are discussed and results highlight the importance of assessing the contextual factors (e.g., social support, family environment) when a victim of prolonged trauma comes for treatment. Lastly, treatment implications and specific points of intervention are presented.
Coping Strategy as Mediator between Parental Attachment and the Parent-Child Relationship
Previous research has shown that adult attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance are associated with both coping strategy use and the parent-child relationship. Additionally, research has shown that coping strategy is associated with aspects of the parent-child relationship. The current study aimed to further examine associations between parental romantic attachment, coping strategy use, and the parent-child relationship. It was hypothesized that coping strategy use would mediate the relationship between parental romantic attachment and aspects of the parent-child relationship. Participants included 86 heterosexual couples (N = 176 parents) from the Family and Kid Connection project archival dataset. Instruments included a demographic questionnaire, the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, a brief measure of coping, and the Attachment and Relational Frustration Subscales of the Parenting Relationship Questionnaire. An actor-partner independence model was proposed and tested via multilevel modeling. Higher levels of parental attachment anxiety predicted poorer parent-child relationships. Father's attachment avoidance also predicted poorer father-child relationships. Higher levels of both parental attachment dimensions predicted greater use of avoidant emotional coping. Finally, greater use of avoidant emotional coping predicted poorer parent-child relationships. Results partially supported proposed mediational hypotheses. Two mediational paths were supported by results: an actor-actor path in which fathers' avoidant emotional coping mediated the association between fathers' romantic attachment avoidance and father-child attachment, and an actor-actor path in which mothers' avoidant emotional coping mediated the association between mothers' romantic attachment anxiety and mother-child attachment.
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.
Correlates of Video Game Addiction
Video game addiction often leads to a tremendous burden on those afflicted with the condition, draining their time, resources, and life away until they have nothing left. To further elucidate the problem of video game addiction, the current research examines the level of video game addiction of 111 participants, along with their motivation for their addictive behaviors, the quality of life of addicted individuals, and possible relations between video game addiction and other forms of addiction. Results of the current research indicate a correlation between addictive video game use and depression, alcohol use, a desire for escapism, a need for social interaction, and lack of self-control. The results of a multiple regression indicate that, amongst the various research factors, depression is the factor with the most significant link to addictive video game use, implying a dangerous correlation between mental health and an addictive behavior that some erroneously disqualify as a true addiction.