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Academic, Social and Emotional Functioning of College Students with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is frequently associated with negative occupational, social and psychological outcomes among community samples of adults; as such, it is expected that college students with ADHD face similar struggles. The research targeting this group of individuals, however, is sparse and tempered by significant limitations. The current study aimed to address methodological limitations in the current literature by including instruments to formally diagnosis ADHD and comorbid disorders, utilizing psychometrically sound instruments and comparing functioning of college students with ADHD across gender and subtype. It was hypothesized that participants with ADHD would report lower GPAs, higher levels of emotional distress and negative relationship characteristics than participants without ADHD. It was also hypothesized that participants with ADHD-combined type (ADHD-C) would report higher levels of substance and alcohol use than participants with ADHD-predominately inattentive type (ADHD-I), and that participants with ADHD-I would report higher levels of anxiety and depression than participants with ADHD-C. Women diagnosed with ADHD were expected to report higher levels of anxiety and depression than men diagnosed with ADHD; whereas, men diagnosed with ADHD were expected to report higher levels of substance and alcohol use than women. MANOVA, ANOVA and Mann-Whitney U tests were conducted to test hypotheses. Results revealed no significant differences between the ADHD and comparison group on GPA and relationship characteristics. Participants diagnosed with ADHD did report significantly higher emotional distress than participants in the comparison group. No differences in GPA or relationship characteristics were found across ADHD subtype or gender. Overall, these findings provide evidence to suggest that college students with ADHD are functioning relatively well compared to their non-ADHD peers.
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.
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.
Intuitive Eating in Adolescents: Testing a Psychosocial Model
Intuitive eating is defined as an adaptive eating process that involves focusing on internal hunger and satiety to guide eating behavior, using those physiological cues rather than emotions to determine when to eat, and choosing what to eat based upon preference and not external rules and expectations. The purpose of this study was to examine intuitive eating within the context of contemporary sociocultural models of eating in 701 early adolescent boys and 769 early adolescent girls. Support was found for the model and suggested that pressures to lose weight or gain muscle, restrictive messages about food from caregivers, and internalization of the thin ideal were related to the early adolescents’ intuitive eating behaviors, suggesting that many of the sociocultural variables that have been found to impact disordered eating are salient for understanding healthy eating behaviors. However, the relations among many of the variables, as well as the model’s ability to explain intuitive eating overall, were stronger in girls than in boys. These findings can be used to help parents and schools begin to teach early adolescents about intuitive eating and how they can resist external pressures that may negatively influence their eating behaviors.
Parent-adolescent Attachment, Bullying and Victimization, and Mental Health Outcomes
Traditional and cyber bullying have been identified as universal problematic issues facing adolescents, and research is needed to understand correlates associated with these phenomena. Structural equation modeling analyses examined associations between attachment to parents, traditional and cyber bullying or victimization, and mental health outcomes among 257 high school students (Average age 15.9 years). Key patterns emerged, including associations between maternal attachment and mental health outcomes; victimization and mental health concerns; and bullying and victimization in both traditional and cyber contexts. The role of attachment to mothers and fathers varied by context. Findings extend the literature by identifying risk factors in adolescence associated with bullying and victimization, as well as suggesting appropriate prevention and intervention strategies to increase adolescent well-being.
Predictors of the Relationship Between Childhood Maltreatment and Career Decision Self-efficacy Among Undergraduate Students
Vocational disruption for survivors of interpersonal trauma has been noted by both practitioners and researchers. While limited empirical support exists, a firm theoretical framework and a full range of outcomes have not been explored. Guided by the framework of social cognitive career theory (SCCT), a promising framework recommended in the previous literature, the aim of the current study was to explore the function of contextual barriers and supports as predictors of career decision self-efficacy (CDSE). Due to the lack of consistency in previous research and absent theoretical specification of the particular mode of intervening variables, both mediation and moderation were explored using multiple regression. The results indicate the relationship between background factors (i.e., childhood maltreatment) and CDSE was fully mediated by an indirect pathway via personal factors (i.e., trauma-related symptoms) and learning experiences (i.e., anxious and avoidant attachment with a career-related mentor) in the prediction of CDSE. The results also indicate that personal factors (i.e., trauma-related symptoms) function as a moderator between background factors (i.e., childhood maltreatment) and learning experiences as anxious attachment with a career-related mentor. Finally, learning experiences as anxious attachment with a career-related mentor moderated the relationship between personal factors (i.e., trauma-related symptoms) and CDSE. Overall, within the SCCT model, the proposed predictors help explain differences in CDSE as related to childhood maltreatment through mediation and moderation. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.
Social Cognitive Career Theory, Academic Choice Behavior, and Academic Performance in African American College Students
The current study examined the impact that components of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) have on choice behavior and academic performance in African American or Black, undergraduate students. SCCT is a highly valued and researched theory, but few studies examine the impact that SCCT components have on choice behavior and academic performance in Black college students. This study focused on evaluating SCCT components’ relevance to variables that have been shown to predict later objective career success. This is important because African Americans tend to have significantly lower paying and less prestigious jobs, as well as attain lower levels of education than most other racial populations in the United States. However, there is a paucity of current career development and attainment literature specific to the African American undergraduate population. In an effort to promote understanding of within group differences in SCCT variables that can contribute to educational and career success, 247 African American undergraduates were recruited to participate in this study. The participants completed online questionnaires regarding demographic information, self-efficacy, contextual barriers, contextual supports, choice goals, and choice behavior. Participants also gave permission for researchers to access grades. Findings indicate that academic coping self-efficacy, contextual barriers, and contextual supports may be particularly important to academic choice behavior in African American college students. Further, choice behavior appears to be important to grade point average. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research associated with this study’s findings are discussed.
A Test of an Etiological Model: Disordered Eating in Male Collegiate Athletes
Athletes may be at increased risk for developing disordered eating and pathogenic weight control behaviors due to pressure for their bodies to look a certain way and perform at a high level (Sundgot-Borgen & Torstveit, 2004). Petrie and Greenleaf (2013) proposed a psychosocial model to explain the development of athletes’ disordered eating behaviors. Specifically, they suggested that unique weight/body pressures of the sport environment, general societal pressures about attractiveness, internalization of societal appearance ideals, body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, negative affect, and dietary restraint combine and contribute to the development of bulimic symptomatology. The aim of the current study is to test the Petrie and Greenleaf model in a large, nation-wide, diverse sample of male collegiate athletes. Participants were male collegiate athletes (N = 731; Mage = 19.91, SD = 1.50) representing 17 sports and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Divisions I, II, and III. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and measures designed to assess their experiences of the above constructs. Structural equation modeling was used to test the pathways proposed in the Petrie and Greenleaf (2013) etiological model. Results suggest that sport pressures, such as those from coaches and teammates about weight, the importance of appearance, and looking good in a uniform, are significant factors in understanding disordered eating among male collegiate athletes. These pressures were related directly to all other variables in the model, including increased body dissatisfaction, experiencing more negative emotions, restricting caloric intake, and engaging in behaviors to increase muscularity. In the end, it was these variables – negative affect, drive for muscularity, dietary restraint, and body dissatisfaction– that explained over 30% of the variance in the athletes’ bulimic symptomatology.