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Structural Equation Model of Variables Associated with Family Functioning among a Nationally Representative Sample of Families with a Child with Autism

Description: Previous research indicates that stressors experienced by a family, the perceived level of burden assigned by the family to the stressor, and the utilization of resources predict family functioning. The current study utilized a nationally representative sample of families of children with autistic disorder to determine if previously proposed models of family functioning accurately conceptualized family functioning within a representative sample. Structural equation modeling was utilized to test the double ABCX and the linear ACBX models of family functioning. With slight modifications, the double ABCX model was supported, thus indicating that pileup of stressors, perception of burden, and utilization of resources each have unique predictive ability for family functioning, with perception of burden demonstrating the highest amount of predictive ability. Results, implications, and limitations of the study are discussed.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Bezner, Stephanie K.

The structure of insight in patients with psychosis.

Description: Failure to acknowledge their mental illness occurs in approximately half of all psychotic patients. Interest has been recently been refocused on insight (i.e., awareness of mental illness), and its associations with treatment compliance and better prognosis. Researchers have called into question the traditional factor structure of insight, instead viewing and defining it as a multidimensional and continuous construct. While factor analytic research has suggested that insight is an independent feature of psychotic disorders rather than a secondary manifestation of psychotic symptoms, several factor analytic studies have identified only one higher-order factor. Furthermore, a significant amount of the research literature has assessed insight or analyzed its relationships using only a single insight score. The current study evaluated the structural model of insight and assessed the associations between the different proposed dimensions of insight and psychotic symptoms. One hundred and six participants recruited from both inpatient and outpatient settings with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic disorder NOS, or bipolar disorder with psychotic features were rated on David's Schedule for Assessing Insight-Expanded Version (SAI-E), Birchwood's Insight Scale (IS), and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) or the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to provide stringent, confirmatory statistical tests of the hypothetical factor models while accounting for measurement error. Principal findings from the current study were that the three factor model of insight was supported and that the insight factors were meaningfully correlated to the two symptom factors. Moreover, the three factor insight model provided significantly better fit than a single factor model of insight.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Gonterman, Andrea R.

Targeting dimensions of psychopathy in at-risk youth: Assessment and utility of a focused cognitive behavioral therapy program.

Description: Individuals presenting with high levels of psychopathy demonstrate chronic and severe antisocial behavior and poor treatment outcomes in response to generalized rehabilitative programs. Recent research has examined the relationship between delinquency in child/adolescent populations and subsequent psychopathy. Focusing on community based/referred population of at-risk youth, this study developed and examined the effectiveness of an 18-session, psychopathy-focused, group CBT treatment program. The study incorporated treatment (n = 34) and usual-care comparison (n = 30) groups and a brief follow up period. Treatment outcomes examined measures of psychopathy, anger, impulsivity, motivation for treatment, self-reported problems, and indices of behavior. The treatment program demonstrated reductions in psychopathy on the Interpersonal (d = .55) and Affective facets (d = .24) of the PCL:YV. It also reduced overall impulsivity and improved anger suppression and treatment motivation, particularly among youth presenting with higher levels (relative to this study) of psychopathy. As a result of treatment, decreased incidents with the juvenile justice system were also observed, both during the treatment period and at six weeks follow-up. This study provides an initial empirical foundation for the ongoing development of targeted interventions for youth demonstrating psychopathic traits.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Norlander, Bradley J.

Totality of the circumstances: Factors affecting competence to waive Miranda rights.

Description: Within the discipline of sociology human olfaction is rich with social significance yet remains a poorly charted frontier. Therefore, the following discourse is aimed toward the development of a foundation for the sociological study of olfaction. It is formed by the dual goals of unearthing the social history of olfaction and of providing a viable sociological account of the manner in which smells affect human ontology. From these goals arise the following research questions: (1) Have the meaning and social relevance of odors and the olfactory sensorium changed throughout different periods of history?; (2) How have those in the lineage of eminent sociological thinkers addressed the phenomenon of human olfaction during these periods?; and (3) What is the process by which aromatic stimuli are transformed from simple chemical compounds, drifting in the atmosphere, into sensations in a sensory field and then on to perceived objects, to subjects of judgment and interpretation, and finally to bases of knowledge which form and continually reform individuals in the world? The weaving of the sociohistorical tapestry of smell is undertaken to provide examples from thousands of years lived experiences as to the fluid and sociologically complex nature of individuals' olfactory senses. This historical information is presented in a narrative format and is synthesized from data gleaned from books, advertisements, articles in popular non-scientific magazines, as well as from the findings of studies published in medical/neurological, psychological, anthropological, and sociological scholarly journals. Regarding theoretical aim of this discourse, insights are drawn from Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological theory of human perception for the generation of a framework for the sociological study of olfaction. Merleau-Ponty's theoretical notions are modified, modernized, and refitted to more specifically fit the subject of human olfaction and to include all that has been discovered about the biological specifics of olfactory perception since the ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Harrison, Kimberly S.

Trauma Responses, Abuse History, and Exposure to Violence as Risk Factors in Adolescent Sex and Non-Sex Offenders

Description: Several risk factors have been identified for adolescent sex offenders and non-sex offenders. Such risk factors include physical and/or sexual abuse, and exposure to community and/or domestic violence. Additionally, the presence of disinhibitive factors, such as substance use and exposure to violent or pornographic media are also commonly reported in the backgrounds of both sex and non-sex offenders. Similarly, adolescent offenders have reported traumatic reactions to environmental factors such as abuse and violence. Similarities in exposure to the risk and disinhibitive factors described above between adolescent sex and non-sex offenders do not provide an explanation for why some adolescents commit sex offenses, whereas other adolescent offenders do not. This study investigated the discriminative ability of traumatic reactions as a risk factor between male adolescent sex and non-sex offenders. The inclusion of traumatic reactions increased the accuracy of risk factors distinguishing between sex and non-sex offenders. Thus, not only the presence of risk factors, but also the adolescent's reaction to the risk factors, are important predictors of whether he will commit a sexual offense.
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Briley, Joshua Paul

Traumatic Brain Injury in Children and Adolescents: An Evaluation of the WISC-III Four Factor Model and Individual Cluster Profiles

Description: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability among children and adolescents in the US. Children and adolescents who sustain moderate and severe head injuries are much more likely to evidence significant deficits in neuropsychological functioning when compared with children with mild head injuries. Information about the recovery process and functional sequelae associated with moderate and severe head injuries remains limited, despite clear indications that children who experience such injuries typically exhibit notable deficits in intellectual functioning, particularly during the acute phase of recovery. Thus, the present study was conducted to augment research on intellectual functioning in children with moderate or severe head injuries. To accomplish this, the study first examined the proposed factor model of the WISC-III in children with moderate and severe TBI. Given high prevalence rates and similar trends in cognitive impairment, particularly within the frontal lobe structures (e.g., disrupted cognitive flexibility and divided attention), the study also examined this same factor model for a group of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and compared it with the model fit from the TBI group. In the second phase of the study, both the TBI and AHDH groups were evaluated to determine if distinct WISC-III index score cluster profiles could be identified. Lastly, the cluster groups for both the TBI and ADHD samples were validated using important demographic and clinical variables, as well as scores from independent neuropsychological measures of attention, executive functioning, and working memory. Parent reports of psychological and behavioral functioning were also used in an attempt to further distinguish the cluster groups. Study limitations and future research implications were also discussed.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Shafer, Micheal E.

Violence and depression among ethnically diverse, low income women: Mediating and moderating factors

Description: This longitudinal study examined factors influencing the relationship between sustained partner violence and depression/suicidality among ethnically diverse, low income, community women. The sample at Wave 1 consisted of 303 African American, 273 Euro-American, and 260 Mexican American women in long term relationships with a household income less that twice the poverty threshold. There were no ethnic differences on frequency of partner violence, depression, or suicidality. The moderate relationship between partner violence and women's depression, confirmed previous findings. Frequency, but not recency, of violence predicted depression and suicidal ideation for African Americans and Mexican Americans, even after controlling for earlier depression or ideation. Recent violence did not predict Euro-American's depression or suicidality after controlling for initial scores. Causal and responsibility attributions for partners' violence did not mediate the relationship between violence and depression or suicidality in any ethnic group. However, African American women's attributions of global effects for violence mediated the relationship of violence on depression and suicidal ideation. Poverty level and marital status moderated the relationship between violence and the number of times women seriously considered and actually attempted suicide. Frequent violence was most lethal among the poorest women and marriage provided the least protection for women in the most violent relationships. Specifically, poverty status moderated violence on consideration of suicide for African Americans and Euro-Americans and suicide attempts among Mexican Americans. Marital status moderated partners' violence on suicidal ideation and attempts for Mexican Americans and consideration of suicide for Euro-Americans, but was not a moderator for African Americans' depression or suicidality. Women with different ethnic backgrounds appear to differ in the ways partner violence contributes to their depression and suicidality. Policy implications include the need to offer suicide intervention, particularly for low income women seeking services for violence. Mental health professionals should routinely inquire about partner violence when women ...
Date: August 2000
Creator: VanHorn, Barbara