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Assessment of Psychopathy in Incarcerated Females

Description: Psychopaths constitute only an estimated 1% of the population, yet they are responsible for a disproportionately large number of violent and nonviolent crimes. The literature addressing this syndrome among male offenders is quite extensive. In contrast, psychopathy and its underlying factor structure remains understudied among female offenders. Research has suggested marked gender differences in the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and underlying dimensions of psychopathy. This study examined the dimensions of psychopathy in a female offender sample. The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and the Self Report Psychopathy-II (SRP-II) were administered to 119 female inmates at Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, TX. Confirmatory factor analyses of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) did not support the use of the traditional two factor male model or a recently proposed two- factor female model. This thesis also addressed females' self-appraisal of PCL-R Factor 1 characteristics as well as the usefulness of the self-administered Self-Report Psychopathy-II as a screen for psychopathy.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Jackson, Rebecca L.

Differentiating Connectedness and Neediness as Two Forms of Dependency

Description: The Depressive Experiences Questionnaire Dependency scale has been used extensively by researchers to measure a personality style vulnerable to depression. However, subsequent studies have demonstrated that the DEQ-Dependency is composed of two distinct forms of dependency, "Connectedness" and "Neediness", which may have different implications for mental health. While Connectedness may represent a more mature form of dependency than Neediness, it may not represent an entirely "healthy" form of relatedness as previously suggested. Although these scales are being used in current research, it is not yet clear what they represent. One goal of the present study was to further examine the construct validity of Connectedness and Neediness in order to differentiate these constructs. Gender, self-efficacy, relationship quality, and interpersonal behavior were chosen because of their proposed significance in differentiating forms of dependency. 265 undergraduates completed the DEQ, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Mutual Psychological Development Questionnaire (MPDQ), and the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP). Overall, results supported the importance of distinguishing between these two factors of dependency. Neediness was associated with more maladaptive correlates for both genders. The picture is more complex for Connectedness, however, and it appears that Connectedness is less healthy for women than for men.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Niemeyer, Kristin M.

The Effect of Punishment Threat on Children's Ability to Resist Temptation to Transgress and Lie

Description: Children's response to a resistance-to-temptation (RTT) task was investigated under three punishment threat conditions: negative consequence, removing an anticipated reward, and no explicit punishment. Ninety first and second graders participated in the RTT task and seventy-three parents completed the Behavior Assessment System for Children and the Psychopathy Screening Device. As only 4% of children transgressed, results are unclear. Hypotheses tested using approximations of transgression showed no differences in RTT. Children with temperaments characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, attention problems, and conduct problems (HIA-CP) had the highest levels of psychopathic traits compared to all others. In addition, spanked children were rated as having significantly more behavioral problems than non-spanked children. Limitations of the current study and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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Date: December 2001
Creator: Collins, Michelle

Guilt and Shame as They Relate to Combat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): An Analysis of Trauma Content And Resulting Symptomatology

Description: This study began testing the Sewell and Williams (in press) model that differing trauma types yield differing presentations in social versus event processing domains. Other hypotheses explored trauma type with levels of guilt, and shame-proneness with anxiety. Volunteers were 44 male combat veterans being treated for PTSD. Data analyses determined whether trauma type related to guilt and perceived social support and whether shame-proneness related to levels of anxiety. High shame persons may process anxiety and social support differently than low shame persons. Results can assist professionals understand how a person's functioning is affected by certain types of trauma. Future research should focus on increasing social support for persons who have experienced trauma.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Taber, Iris

Historical Changes in Elderly Cohorts' Attitudes toward Mental Health Services

Description: Older adults' attitudes toward mental health services have received little research attention. Overall, older adults are thought to hold relatively negative attitudes. In this study, Analysis 1 investigated historical shifts in attitudes toward mental health services among three independent samples of older adults, separated by 14-year and 9-year intervals (1977 sample, N = 90; 1991 sample, N = 101; 2000 sample, N = 99). Analysis 2 compared two samples of older and younger adults, each separated by a 9-year interval (Older Adults: 1991 sample, N = 93; 2000 sample, N = 91 and Younger Adults: 1991 sample, N = 131; 2000 sample, N = 147). Participants completed a questionnaire containing five, internally consistent scales assessing multiple dimensions of mental health attitudes (Openness, Biases, Range of Knowledge, Breadth, Help Seeking Attitudes). Analyses suggested that the 1991 and 2000 samples of older adults had more positive attitudes than did the 1977 sample. However, a sustained trend for more positive attitudes beyond 1991 was not seen. In fact, no differences existed between 1991 and 2000 samples with exception of two. Older and younger adults together had lower Biases and Breadth scores in 2000 than in 1991. Age effects, gender effects, and interactions were also examined. Possible historical influences were discussed along with implications for the delivery of mental health care to future cohorts of older adults.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Currin, James B.

Leadership, Ascendancy, and Gender

Description: By the year 2000 women will constitute more than 50 percent of the workforce in the United States, yet their representation in top management and executive-level positions continues to hover in the single digits. This “glass ceiling,” which is conceptualized as limiting women's advancement into these roles, has been the subject of much debate and research over the last fifteen years. As both an equal rights and key competitive issue, the topic of women and leadership is gaining ever-increasing emphasis and momentum in American corporations. Although leadership skills have been advocated as a key human capital/person-centered variable leading to managerial ascendancy for women, the empirical research directly investigating this link is virtually non-existent. This longitudinal study proposed to measure the strength of this relationship using a matched sample of male and female managers. Eighty-five subjects, from the same U.S. based health-care products corporation, had previously participated in a multirater assessment process where seven different facets of their leadership skills were evaluated. Time two data were collected on four objective measures of ascendancy: percent change in salary, number of promotions (job moves) either offered or accepted, change in number of direct reports, and change in number of indirect reports. Multivariate analysis of covariance indicated that perceived leadership ability did lead to increased ascendancy, specifically in terms of percent salary change, for the female managers, but not for the males. Multiple regressions indicated that the female managers were not rewarded, necessarily, for gender congruent behavior in this organization, while male managers did appear to be rewarded more so on that particular dimension. Implications of these findings for female managers in the workplace were discussed.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Hale, John P.

Masculine Gender Role Conflict and Psychological Well- Being: A Comparative Study of Heterosexual and Gay Men

Description: Masculine gender role conflict (MGRC) occurs when externally-imposed male gender role expectations have a negative impact on and consequences for men. The purpose of this study was to examine how men in a homogeneous setting (i.e., a college campus) compare on MGRC and psychological well-being, based on their self-identified sexual orientation. Utilizing canonical correlation analysis, 96 heterosexual men and 102 gay men were compared on four factors of MGRC (conflict between work and family, restrictive emotionality, restrictive affectionate behavior between men, and success, power, and competition) and five factors of psychological well-being (anger, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and attitudes toward seeking psychological help). Findings for the heterosexual men were highly consistent with previous studies on MGRC and psychological well-being in a college-age population. Findings for the gay men indicated they had more problems with MGRC and psychological well-being than college-age and older gay men surveyed in the one published study on gay men and MGRC. Gay men who were single also reported more problems with restrictive emotionality, anger, anxiety, and depression, and had lower self-esteem, than gay men who were in a relationship. Between group differences were few, with gay men reporting significantly less restrictive affectionate behavior between men than heterosexual men. There were no significant differences between the two groups on any of the psychological well-being variables, indicating that the gay men were no more pathological than the heterosexual men with respect to their psychological well-being. Overall, the psychological well-being of both populations was seen to suffer as a result of increased MGRC. Implications are discussed for psychological interventions with men who are bound by traditional male gender role stereotypes.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Shepard, William D.

The mediating and moderating effects of women's attachment style on interrelationships among emotional abuse, physical aggression and relational stability.

Description: This purpose of this study was to combine two bodies of literature on relationships, attachment and violence. Given the impact of men's physical aggression and emotional abuse on women, it is likely that these behaviors would also affect attachment. A model proposing that women's attachment style mediated and moderated the relationship between partners' physical and emotional abuse and the stability of women's relationships was tested. Archival data were used from two waves of interviews with a sample of lowincome, ethnically diverse community women. Most (89%) of the initial 835 participants of Project HOW: Health Outcomes of Women completed at least one additional interview providing information on the status of their initial relationships. Of these women, 39% were African American, 30% were Euro-American, and 31% were Mexican American. The effects of men's psychological abuse and physical violence on women's attachment style were tested with regression analyses. The interrelationships between partners' abuse, attachment and relational stability were tested with SEM. Attachment style was expected to moderate the associations among variables and mediate the impact of partners' negative behavior on relational stability. In regression analyses, partners' psychological abuse predicted avoidant and anxious, but not secure attachment ratings. Violence, although significant, explained less variance than psychological abuse for insecure attachment ratings. SEM indicated Physical Aggression was not a significant predictor of Attachment Rating in any group. Moderation was not found. There were no differences between attachment groups. Therefore, attachment was tested in the sample as a mediator. As in analyses for each group, the path from Physical Aggression to Attachment Rating was not significant. In the final model, Emotional Abuse predicted Physical Aggression and Attachment Rating mediated the effect of Emotional Abuse on Relational Stability. Specifically, Emotional Abuse increased (insecure) Attachment Rating, which decreased Relational Stability. Overall, previous research in the violence literature was ...
Date: December 2001
Creator: Weston, Rebecca

Multiple Predictors of College Adjustment and Academic Performance for Undergraduates in Their First Semester

Description: College success, as defined by adjustment to college and academic performance, is a multidetermined with a number of contributing influences, including academic factors, personality variables, family characteristics, and environmental factors. This study attempted to provide an organizing model of the college success literature that was based on previous research (e.g., Aspinwall & Taylor, 1994) and current stress-coping theory (Moos & Swindle, 1990). Structural equation modeling analyses indicated that the hypothesized model did not fit the data well. However, subsequent regression analyses did validate the view that college success is multidetermined. Specifically, academic performance was predicted by a combination of academic factors (SAT score and class rank) and academic adjustment. In turn, academic adjustment was predicted by locus of control, perceived social support, and high school class rank. Personal adjustment was predicted by coping strategies employed, parents who fostered autonomy, locus of control, self-esteem, and high school class rank. Finally, social adjustment was predicted by optimism, coping strategies employed, and locus of control. Treatment implications as well as directions for future research were discussed.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Stoever, Shawn

Psychological Hardiness and Biochemical Markers of Acute Stress

Description: The establishment of physiological norms for psychologically hardy vs. non-hardy individuals was attempted by examination of levels of salivary cortisol and urinary norepinephrine before and after a mid-term examination stressor. Normative data was collected on the reported frequency of stressors and their severity one week prior to the examination, and self-reported ratings of stress immediately prior to the examination. Performance on the examination as a function of hardiness was explored. Associations between demographic variables and psychological hardiness were also studied. Results from this study were inconclusive in establishing physiological norms for psychologically hardy individuals. Associations were found between: 1) hardiness and frequency of stressors; 2) hardiness and age; and 3) self-reported ratings of stress and anxiety as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).
Date: August 2001
Creator: McCoy, Paula K.

Reactions of psychotherapists in training to religious questions

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

Relations between Child Molesters' Self-Perceptions and Treatment Engagement

Description: Researchers emphasize the role of cognitions in sex offenders' molesting behaviors. Although cognitions are important, little research has examined child molesters' thoughts about themselves in relation to their engagement in treatment. In this study, the NEO-Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) was administered to 67 child molesters. Child sexual offenders rated themselves and their view of a typical child molester using two NEO-PI-R versions. The degree to which child sex offenders identify themselves with their view of a typical child molester, and this agreement's relation with engagement in treatment, were investigated. The view that child sex offenders hold about themselves in relation to a typical child molester showed no relation to treatment engagement or length of time in treatment. However, this self-perception was related to the number of children abused.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Altman, Adrianne

The relationships between insight, psychopathological symptoms, and neurocognitive function in psychotic disorders.

Description: Many psychotic patients fail to admit they are mentally ill. The current study evaluated the associations between insight, specific symptoms, and neurocognitive impairments. Thirty-three acute inpatients with a schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or psychotic disorder NOS diagnosis were rated on the SAIE, Birchwood's IS, and the BPRS. Neurocognitive assessments of attention and frontal lobe functioning were also conducted. Stepwise multiple regression analyses found composites representing delusions, disorganization, and anxiety/depression, as well as CPT-IP shapes hit rate, served as significant predictors of total insight or the specific insight dimensions. At least for acute patients, symptoms tended to have stronger relationships with and were more regularly predictive of insight than neurocognitive measures, though the attentional task associated with right hemisphere functioning, contributed significantly.
Date: December 2001
Creator: Gonterman, Andrea R.

Response Guided Errorless Learning with Normal Elderly

Description: This study investigates the use of response guidance for errorless learning of a perceptual motor task in normal elderly. It provides normative data for a study with stroke patients using this technique for cognitive rehabilitation. While errorless learning has been shown to be more effective on most tasks than trial and error learning for people with memory impairments, its use with normal individuals has received limited attention. The questions of interest were whether errorless training of the perceptual motor task was more effective for improving and retaining accuracy; and whether both accuracy and response speed were more resistant to the effects of increased cognitive demands. A sample of 43 normal elderly in the United Kingdom, ranging in age from 60 to 77, completed an assessment of intelligence, memory, and attention. They then received training, over two sessions one week apart, to mark the midpoint of Judd Arrows presented on a computer screen using a cross cursor moved by an active force feedback joystick (AFF). During training the errorless group received AFF guidance to the correct midpoint, while the errorful group received none, and both received auditory and visual knowledge of results. There was no AFF during baseline or post test measures. Training was to criterion in each session with a discontinue rule if accuracy did not improve. At the end of session two both groups were given a cognitively challenging task concurrent with the arrow bisection. Results revealed that both groups improved their accuracy through training with the errorless group being significantly more accurate and tending to be faster in the final post tests of both sessions. The errorless group was significantly faster than the errorful group under the cognitive challenge, without sacrificing accuracy. These results suggest not only that AFF is an effective means of implementing errorless perceptual motor ...
Date: May 2001
Creator: Connor, Bonnie B.

Simulating Statistical Power Curves with the Bootstrap and Robust Estimation

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

The uninvestigated factors: Dimensions of personality and psychopathology in sex offenders

Description: Understanding the relation between personality characteristics, psychopathology, and sexual offenses can contribute to developing more effective treatment interventions. Previous research with sex offenders has focused on general personality traits or inconsistently classified sex offenders based on psychopathology. It was hypothesized that combining personality and psychopathological traits can assist in understanding sex offenders. The current study evaluated 88 male sex offenders in a court-mandated outpatient treatment program utilizing the NEO-PI-R and the MMPI-2. Three clusters of child molesters were examined for differences in personality characteristics and number of offenses. A second-order principle axis factor (PAF) analysis of personality and psychopathology traits revealed three factors: Psychological Distress, Excitement-Seeking, and Social Desirability. The potential clinical utility of these dimensions in predicting treatment compliance is examined.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Briley, Josh