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Attachment, Coping, and Psychiatric Symptoms among Military Veterans and Active Duty Personnel: A Path Analysis Study

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine the role of attachment processes and coping strategies in the development of psychiatric symptoms among military veterans and active duty personnel. Data were obtained from 268 male and female military veterans and active duty personnel. A path analysis was conducted to estimate the relationships between attachment processes, coping strategies, and psychiatric symptoms. Findings demonstrated that greater levels of attachment anxiety were related to increased levels of avoidant coping and psychiatric symptoms, while higher levels of attachment avoidance were related to avoidant coping and PTSD symptoms, as well as decreased levels of problem-focused coping. Alcohol use was associated with psychiatric symptoms. Avoidant coping, but not problem-focused coping, was associated with psychiatric symptoms and partially mediated the relationship between anxious attachment and psychiatric symptoms. Avoidant coping also fully or partially mediated the relationships of avoidant attachment to depression and PTSD symptoms. The findings of this study increase our knowledge of mechanisms that contribute to psychiatric symptoms among military populations, which in turn can guide treatment planning and interventions.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Romero, Daniel Hugo

The Effects of Multicultural Discussions and Supervisory Working Alliance on Multicultural Counseling Competence

Description: This study examined the influence of multicultural training, multicultural discussions in supervision, and the supervisory working alliance on multicultural counseling competence. The sample consisted of 57 doctoral counseling interns, doctoral graduate students and post-doctoral students in counseling and clinical psychology. Participants completed several instruments including a demographic questionnaire, the Supervisory Working Alliance Inventory - Trainee, and the Multicultural Counseling Inventory. They filled out two questionnaires created for this study, one assessing multicultural discussions in supervision and another quantifying their multicultural training experience. Data analyses included multiple hierarchical regression, utilizing the Hayes PROCESS macro. Multicultural discussions in supervision moderated the relationship between the supervisory working alliance and multicultural counseling competence, but did not significantly moderate the relationship between multicultural training and multicultural counseling competence. Findings suggest that when multicultural discussions in supervision are positive, they significantly increases the strength of the relationship between good supervisory working alliance and multicultural counseling competence in psychology trainees. The findings may inform supervision practices and improve multicultural counseling competence in psychology graduate student trainees.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Carr, Jarice N

Psychopathy in Male and Female Offenders: Validating the CAPP-IRS and Investigating the Impact of Gender Role Conformity

Description: Recent conceptualizations of psychopathy are moving toward more inclusive, purely trait-based models. However, researchers continue to heavily rely on assessments of psychopathy that include categorical behavioral elements. The newly developed Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality – Institutional Rating Scale appears to be a promising interview-based measure of psychopathy, but research on its reliability and validity is in its infancy. As a second issue, the vast majority of research on psychopathy, particularly in offender populations, is conducted with male participants. Nonetheless, the growing body of literature involving incarcerated females suggests gender differences in the prevalence and manifestation of psychopathic traits. Reasons for these differences are unclear, but some have proposed socialized gender roles as a contributing factor. With a sample of 52 female 49 male offenders recruited from a large, metropolitan jail, this dissertation evaluated the construct validity of the CAPP-IRS and examined the effect of gender role conformity on the manifestation of psychopathic traits. Results indicated that a three-factor model of psychopathy represented by antagonistic interpersonal relations, restricted emotions, and disinhibited behavior best fit the data. Findings further suggested convergent and discriminant validity for the CAPP-IRS. Additionally, masculine and feminine gender role conformity differentially related to psychopathy, but generally accounted for a small proportion of the variance in psychopathic traits. Recommendations for future research on the CAPP model and its assessment as well as implications for the clinical assessment of psychopathy in women are discussed.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Carter, Rachel Marjann

Facets of Positive Affect and Risk for Bipolar Disorder: Role of the Behavioral Activation System

Description: Bipolar disorder is characterized by disruptions in mood and affect that occur not only during mood episodes, but during euthymic periods as well. At the same time, sensitivity of the behavioral activation system (BAS) has been implicated in the disorder and is a risk marker for it. Less clear is the relationship between BAS sensitivity and positive affect, particularly lower level facets of positive affect. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between positive affect and vulnerability for mania as assessed using BAS sensitivity. Specifically, the link between daily levels and fluctuations of positive affect and baseline BAS sensitivity was examined. Following the hierarchical model of affect, this study also assessed the relationship between BAS sensitivity and the distinct facets of positive affect. Finally, this study examined whether BAS sensitivity moderates associations between daily rewards and positive affect. Undergraduates (N = 265) from a large university in the South were recruited to complete measures of BAS sensitivity, affect, and mood symptoms at baseline. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), participants completed daily surveys assessing affect and engagement with rewarding situations. An exploratory factory analysis revealed a four factor structure of positive affect, consisting of Serenity, Joviality, Attentiveness, and Self-Assurance. Greater daily levels of overall positive affect, as well as the lower order facets of Joviality, Self-Assurance, and Attentiveness, were predicted by heightened BAS sensitivity. In contrast, the facet of Serenity demonstrated minimal associations with BAS sensitivity. The study findings support a multi-faceted structure of positive affect and suggest that certain facets may be more closely related to risk for bipolar disorder. Specifically, Joviality and Self-Assurance may represent maladaptive forms of positive affect, whereas Serenity may function as a protective element against bipolar disorder.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Dornbach-Bender, Allison

Examination of a Bi-Directional Relationship between Urgency and Alcohol Use

Description: The proposed study examined whether negative urgency and positive urgency are dynamic traits that hold bi-directional relationships with binge and prolonged alcohol use across time. Individuals between the ages of 18-30 were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk; n = 179) and university student (n = 66) pools. Participants completed three batteries of self-report assessments approximately 30 days apart, each containing measures assessing negative and positive urgency, as well as drinking frequency and binge behavior during the prior month. Latent variable cross-lagged panel models examined the effects of alcohol use from the previous month on negative and positive urgency while controlling for concurrent and autoregressive effects. Results of the current study indicated that for the full sample, there was not an effect for the influence of binge/prolonged drinking on either negative or positive urgency during the subsequent month. However, when examined separately by sample (Turkers vs. university) and gender (male vs. female), significant effects were found more for individuals who were Turkers, male, and/or heavy drinkers, suggesting that increases in positive and negative urgency at Time 2 could be partially explained by variance in drinking patterns at Time 1 for these individuals. However, these relationships were not replicated again between Time 2 and Time 3 due to a decrease in all drinking behaviors during these times. Lastly, the study found that while urgency scores were related to psychosocial problems and dependence symptoms associated with drinking, there was no evidence to support that urgency scores had substantial relationships to specific frequency and/or bingeing behavior across the overall sample, although positive urgency had support for a relationship with bingeing, particularly among heavily drinking men. Thus, while the primary findings did not indicate any effects for a general sample of young adults, the effects observed among heavy male drinkers in the present study ...
Date: December 2017
Creator: Blackledge, Sabrina M.

Idiographic Temporal Dynamics of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptom Dimensions in Daily Life

Description: Understanding temporal relations among posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom dimensions has received increasing attention in research. However, current findings in this area are limited by group-level approaches, which are based on inter-individual variation. PTSD is a heterogeneous syndrome and symptoms are likely to vary across individuals and time. Thus, it is important to examine temporal relations among PTSD symptom dimensions as dynamic processes and at the level of intra-individual variation. The aim of the present study was to capture temporal dynamics among PTSD symptom dimensions at an individual level using unified structural equation modeling (uSEM). World Trade Center (WTC) 9/11 responders (N = 202) oversampled for current PTSD (18.3% met criteria in past month) were recruited from the Long Island site of the WTC health program. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), PTSD symptoms were assessed three times a day over seven consecutive days. The person-specific temporal relations among PTSD symptom dimensions were estimated with individual-level uSEM. For the sample as a whole, hyperarousal played a key role in driving the other three symptom dimensions longitudinally, with the strongest effect in intrusive symptoms. However, daily temporal relations among PTSD symptoms were idiosyncratic. Although hyperarousal was a strong predictor of subsequent symptom severity, only 33.95% of the sample showed this predictive effect while others showed more evident temporal relations between intrusion and avoidance. Implications for personalized health care and recommendations for future research using individual-level uSEM in psychopathology are discussed.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Schuler, Keke

Co-Occurrence of Rape Myth Acceptance and Intolerant Attitudes in a Military Sample

Description: Sexual trauma within the military is a widespread issue, and rape myth acceptance has been shown to contribute to its prevalence. Given that the military culture has been shown to lend itself to hypermasculinity and traditional gender role adherence, both of which facilitate aggression toward women, this effect warrants investigation within a military sample. The present study replicated and expanded upon Aosved and Long's (2006) study examining 85 veteran and active duty military members' responses on the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale, Attitudes Toward Women Scale (short form), Neosexism Scale, Male Role Norms Inventory (short form), Modern and Old Fashioned Racism Scale, Modern Homophobia Scale, a modified version of the Economic Belief Scale, Fraboni Scale of Ageism, Religious Intolerance Scale, and the Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability Scale (short form). Findings provide support for the co-occurrence of rape myth acceptance with intolerant attitudes, including sexism, hypermasculine gender role ideology, racism, sexual prejudice, classism, ageism, and religious intolerance, both individually and collectively. These results provide insight into the functioning of intolerant attitudes within a military sample, and provide important insight for future research addressing the association between rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity and the perpetration of military sexual assault.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Holtz, Pamela M

Academic and Social Functioning of College Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Description: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complicated psychiatric disorder that is typically first diagnosed in childhood and associated with negative outcomes in adulthood such as poor academic performance and difficulties with social relationships. ADHD can be difficult to accurately diagnose in adulthood, given the absence of clear, agreed upon ADHD symptomology in adults. In the current study, two raters used psychometrically sound instruments and diagnostically valid assessment techniques on an archival dataset to create three distinct groups: ADHD [2/3 with other mental health diagnosis (OMH)], OMH only, and no diagnosis. Findings support the value of comprehensive assessment, combined with a thorough evaluation of the material by a trained clinician, for the accurate diagnosis of ADHD for research purposes. Comparisons were made across groups to infer that college students with ADHD have lower grade point averages and academic self-concept than students without mental health diagnoses. Yet, contrary to much of the current literature, college students with ADHD seem to create as strong, deep, supportive and harmonious relationships with loved ones and close friends as their non-diagnosed peers. Clinicians working with college students with ADHD may use the results of the current study to better inform conceptualization, better recognize the innate resilience college students with ADHD likely have, and inform treatment interventions.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Calmenson, Nina

Return to Sport: Improving Athletes' Confidence and Mindset Post-ACL Surgery

Description: This study explored the impact of three psychological interventions over seven weeks - goal setting (GS), GS and imagery (IM), and GS and mindful self-compassion (MSC) - on 20 athletes' (Mage = 16.75 years) pain, cognitive appraisal, depression reinjury anxiety, psychological readiness to return to sport, and range of motion (ROM). IM and GS interventions have demonstrated initial effectiveness; however, no study has examined MSC in relation to post-ACL recovery. All athletes experienced significant decrease in pain (F(2) = 97.30, p = .000) from Week 1 to Week 7 and a significant increase in ROM from Week 2 to Week 7 (F(1) = 77.93, p = .000). All athletes experienced significantly higher depression at Week 1 compared to both Week 2 and Week 7 (F(2) = 9.01, p = .001), and significantly higher difficulty coping with their injury at Weeks 1 and 2 compared to Week 7 (F(2) = 6.32, p = .005). There were no statistically significant effects found between the intervention groups at Weeks 1, 2, and 7. However there were moderate effect sizes between interventions which suggest MSC and IM could help athletes cope with their injury during the first few weeks after surgery, and GS may contribute towards less depression at seven weeks post-surgery. Limitations include small sample size, low power, and use of self-report measures. Results have implications for orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and health professionals working with athletes recovering from serious sport injury.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Sheinbein, Shelly Thurlo

Ethnic and Sexual Minority Differences in the Prediction of Disordered Eating and Exercise Behaviors in College Men

Description: Despite growing evidence of their prevalence, clinical and subclinical disordered eating behaviors among men continue to be understudied phenomena. When compared to females, predictors of male disordered eating vary across ethnic groups, suggesting cultural influences on disordered eating. Moreover, gay and bisexual men experience pronounced levels of body dissatisfaction, sensitivity to societal body image standards, and subsequent disordered eating when compared to straight men and gay women. This study investigated possible differences in prediction of disordered eating among intersections of male ethnicity and sexuality. We approached this question through a transtheoretical lens that integrated intersectionality and minority stress theories. Archival data from a sample of African American, Latino, and White college men were analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression. Predictors of emotional and binge eating behaviors differed across ethnicity, in that body dissatisfaction and media internalization for African American and Latino males exhibit the strongest unique associations with emotional and binge eating behaviors, while the strongest unique predictors of emotional and binge eating behaviors among White males are depressive symptoms and low self-esteem. Moreover, African American sexual identity and depressive symptoms interact, as gay or bisexual men report stronger unique associations between depression symptoms and emotional and binge eating. All predictors (i.e., body dissatisfaction, depression symptoms, low self-esteem, media internalization, and sexual minority identity) were unable to explain sufficient variance in over exercise behaviors in African American men. Results suggest ethnicity and sexual orientation are meaningful to the experience of disordered eating in men, and that underlying mechanisms may exhibit differing associative patterns across ethnic identity. Clinicians working with ethnically and sexually diverse male disordered eating populations may use the results to better inform treatment interventions and conceptualization. These findings also support the value of intersectional quantitative methodology and the limits of relying on single-axis identity as a predictive element.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Pereira, Andrew

Assessment of Competencies among Doctoral Trainees in Psychology

Description: The recent shift to a culture of competence has permeated several areas of professional psychology, including competency identification, competency-based education training, and competency assessment. A competency framework has also been applied to various programs and specialty areas within psychology, such as clinical, counseling, clinical health, school, cultural diversity, neuro-, gero-, child, and pediatric psychology. Despite the spread of competency focus throughout psychology, few standardized measures of competency assessment have been developed. To the authors' knowledge, only four published studies on measures of competency assessment in psychology currently exist. While these measures demonstrate significant steps in progressing the assessment of confidence, three of these measures were designed for use with individual programs, two of these international (i.e., UK and Taiwan). The current study applied the seminal Competency Benchmarks, via a recently adapted benchmarks form (i.e., Practicum Evaluation form; PEF), to practicum students at the University of North Texas. In addition to traditional supervisor ratings, the present study also involved self-, peer supervisor, and peer supervisee ratings to provide 360-degree evaluations. Item-response theory (IRT) was used to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PEF and inform potential revisions of this form. Supervisor ratings of competency were found to fit the Rasch model specified, lending support to use of the benchmarks framework as assessed by this form. Self- and peer-ratings were significantly correlated with supervisor ratings, indicating that there may be some utility to 360-degree evaluations. Finally, as predicted, foundational competencies were rated as significantly higher than functional competencies, and competencies improved significantly with training. Results of the current study provide clarity about the utility of the PEF and inform our understanding of practicum-level competencies.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Price, Samantha

A Systemic Model for Family Functioning: Mutual Influences of Spousal Attachment, Marital Adjustment, and Coparenting

Description: The current study examined direct and indirect influences of romantic attachment processes, marital adjustment, and the coparenting relationship on family functioning. Data was collected from a community sample of 86 heterosexual couples with a child aged eight to eleven living in the home. Both spouses completed a demographic questionnaire, the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the Coparenting Scale, and the Self-Report Family Inventory as part of a larger study on family processes in middle childhood. Data analysis included multilevel modeling, utilizing the actor-partner interdependence model. Results indicated that marital adjustment mediated the association between attachment processes and family functioning, suggesting that a healthy marital relationship is an important variable that helps explain links between attachment security and the family functioning. Findings also highlighted the benefit of conceptualizing adult romantic attachment, marital, and coparental subsystems within a systemic framework.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Young, Anne Michelle

A Mixed Methods Approach to Exploring Social Support and Resilience in Coping with Stigma and Psychological Distress among HIV-Positive Adults

Description: Since its emergence in the U.S., HIV has been a stigmatized illness. People living with HIV (PLH) are a minority and prone to psychological distress and poor mental health outcomes due to HIV-related stigma. PLH who identify with another minority group in addition to being HIV-positive (e.g., gay, African-American) experience multiple forms of oppression or layered stigma. Affirmative social support and resilience are negatively associated with HIV-stigma and are important coping resources for PLH. We used an explanatory sequential mixed methods design study involving a quantitative survey phase and a qualitative interview phase. We explored whether social support and resilience (Positive Psychological Resources) mediate or moderate the relationship between HIV Stigma and Psychological Distress among HIV-positive adults using partial least squares (PLS) path modeling and multiple regressions. Via PLS, we found Positive Psychological Resources partially mediated the relationship between HIV Stigma and Psychological Distress: the path between HIV Stigma and Psychological distress reduced (from t = 5.49, p = .000 to t = 2.39, p = .000) but remained statistically significant. Similarly, via regression, the Sobel test was significant (Sobel = .26, SE = .07, z = 3.63, p = .000). However, moderation was not found (HIV Stigma x Positive Psychological Resources β = .05, t = .66, p = .508). Overall, our quantitative survey and qualitative interview data were consistent. We anticipate that our findings will inform strengths-based therapeutic interventions to mitigate stress and stigma among PLH.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Fritz, Sarah-mee

Social Support as a Moderator of Racial/Ethnic Differences in Subclinical Atherosclerosis: The North Texas Heart Study

Description: This study examined racial/ethnic differences in pre-clinical disease, social support, and tested whether social support was a moderator of racial/ethnic differences in subclinical atherosclerosis. Participants were NHWs, NHBs, and Latinos (n = 283) from the baseline and cross-sectional sample of the North Texas Heart Study. Results from unadjusted models showed no significant racial/ethnic differences for common or bifurcation intima-media thickness (cIMT). However, unadjusted models for cIMT showed a main effect for race/ethnicity F(2, 229) = 3.12, p = .046, partial η2 = .027, with Latinos demonstrating significantly greater internal cIMT compared to NHB but not NHWs. In minimally adjusted models, there was a main effect for race/ethnicity, F(2, 227) = 3.10, p = .047, partial η2 = .027, with significantly greater internal cIMT in Latinos compared to NHBs but not NHWs. In fully adjusted models, racial/ethnic differences in cIMT were attenuated. Contrary to study hypotheses, no racial/ethnic differences in social support were found and social support was not a moderator of racial/ethnic differences in subclinical disease. In the North Texas Heart Study, few racial/ethnic differences emerged, with fully adjusted risk factor models accounting for these differences.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Garcia, James Jonathan

Using Possible Selves to Examine the Impact of Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness on the Career Development of College Students with Hidden Disability

Description: The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of internalized stigma of mental illness on the career development of college students with hidden disabilities. The availability of research investigating career variables within this population is limited and is primarily focused within the vocational rehabilitation arena. Therefore, one of the goals of the current study was to link separate bodies of literature on college students with disabilities, career development, and internalized stigma of mental illness. The second goal was to examine the interaction of internalized stigma of mental illness between career decision self-efficacy and career exploration on the perceived likelihood of achieving hoped for occupational possible selves (OPS). The study included college students with hidden disabilities and investigated variables related to mental illness and career. Participants were administered a background information questionnaire, the Career Decision Self-Efficacy scale (CDSE-SF), selected subscales of the Career Exploration Survey (CES), and the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness scale (ISMI). Contrary to hypotheses, career decision making self-efficacy, career self-exploration, and internalized stigma of mental illness did not have a direct effect on the perceived likelihood of achieving hoped for OPS. However, career environment exploration did have a direct and positive association with perceived likelihood of achieving hoped for OPS. Results further indicated internalized stigma of mental illness did not moderate the effect of career decision self-efficacy and career exploration on the perceived likelihood of achieving one's hoped for occupational self. Study implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Campbell, Robyn

The Impact of Observational Learning on Physical Activity Appraisal and Exertion Following Experimental Back Injury and the Role of Pain-Related Fear

Description: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is one of the most prevalent and disabling health conditions in the US and worldwide. Biomedical explanations of acute injury fail to account for why some individuals experience remission of pain and restoration of physical function while others do not. Pain-related fear, accompanied by elevated appraisals of physical exertion and avoidance of physical activity, has emerged as a central psychosocial risk factor for transition from acute injury to chronic pain and disability. Research has indicated that these pain-related factors may be maintained through observational learning mechanisms. To date, no studies have experimentally examined the role of observational learning and pain-related fear in the context of actual musculoskeletal injury. Accordingly, the present study examined the impact of observational learning and pain-related fear on activity appraisals and exertion following experimentally- induced acute low back injury. Healthy participants' appraisal of standardized movement tasks along with measures of physical exertion were collected prior to and following a procedure designed to induce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to the lower back. Following induction of DOMS, participants observed a video prime depicting CLBP patients exhibiting either high or low pain behavior during similar standardized movements. In line with hypothesized effects, participants assigned to the high pain behavior prime demonstrated greater elevation in pain and harm appraisals as well as greater decrement in physical exertion. Further in line with hypotheses, significant changes in appraisal and physical performance following the high pain behavior prime were only observed among participants endorsing high pain-related fear during baseline assessment. Discussion of findings addresses potential mechanisms of action as well as study limitations and direction for future research.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Guck, Adam

Neurocognitive Effects of Gist Reasoning Training in Student-Athletes with Concussions, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities

Description: Concussions, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities can adversely impact learning and academic achievement, particularly with respect to attention, memory, and executive functioning; fortunately, cognitive training can be beneficial and remediating these weaknesses. One such program, strategic memory advanced reasoning training (SMART), utilizes a top-down approach to train individuals in executive, higher-ordered thinking strategies including strategic attention, integration, and innovation to facilitate information synthesis and enhance cognitive efficiency. Thus, the purpose of the study is to examine whether SMART improved performances on various neuropsychological measures tapping into attention, processing speed, memory, and executive functioning for college student-athletes with neurological conditions (e.g., concussions, ADHD, LD). Student-athletes were randomly assigned to the SMART program or a "wait-list" control group and were administered a neuropsychological battery at baseline, immediately following the intervention, and after a four-month delay. Results showed that participants benefited from SMART with respect to working memory immediately following the intervention after controlling for baseline scores. The benefits of working memory also persisted after four months. Additionally, SMART was beneficial for improving attention, but only after four months after the intervention. The findings of the current study were consistent with previous studies which showed positive effects of SMART on working memory with a variety of populations (e.g., children, adolescents, older adults, Veterans, brain-injured patients); however, the current study did not see improved performance on other aspects of executive functioning which contradict prior research. Statistical differences between the present study and prior research regarding SMART may be explained in methodology, participant characteristics, research setting, and/or limitations. Future studies may include combining cognitive training as the intervention and utilizing neuroimaging alongside cognitive training to examine the relationship between structural/functional change with neuropsychological performance.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Nguyen, Thomas

Nightmare Disorder Prevalence as Defined by the DSM-5 in a College Sample

Description: The nightmare prevalence literature to date has largely focused on nightmare episode severity (i.e. frequency), with 8%-87% of individuals reporting these events in the past week to year. While this has helped to determine the prevalence of these events, focus on the episode severity alone is problematic because it means little is known about the actual prevalence of nightmare disorder. Moreover, focus on episode severity likely overestimates the actual prevalence of clinically significant nightmares while also obscuring clinically significant consequences of the disorder. Understanding the prevalence of nightmare disorder can help guide treatment planning and interventions. The present study recruited UNT undergraduates (N = 372; 351 analyzed) and managed all participant data using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of nightmare disorder, as stated in the DSM-5, to facilitate accurate characterization of the disorder. Additionally, as part of the secondary aim the influence of gender on nightmare disorder status and psychological wellbeing as measured by psychological and sleep outcome variables was examined. Finally, comparisons of individuals with DSM-5-defined nightmare disorder to those without the disorder were conducted on previously examined correlates (e.g., trauma symptoms, depression).
Date: August 2017
Creator: Estevez, Rosemary

Trajectories of Burden and Depression in Caregivers Following Traumatic Injury: The Role of Resilience

Description: As part of an effort to understand psychological consequences among family members of patients sustaining a traumatic injury, medical research has turned to the role of resilience – or the ability to bounce back from and maintain psychological well-being in the wake of an adverse event— in mitigating the potential distress (i.e., depression and burden) of caregiving (Bonanno, 2004; Roberson et al., under review). This study sought to examine the ability for trait-resilience to predict trajectories of distress over the course of a year among 124 family members and loved ones of patients admitted to a Level I Trauma Center. A cross-lagged path model examining resilience, burden, and depression at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months after injury showed that, while depression strongly predicted later burden, resilience was not a significant predictor of either outcome in the model. When depression and burden were subjected to a person-centered analysis (i.e., latent growth curve analysis), two major classes were identified: caregivers with high, chronic distress (33% of the sample) and low-moderate distress that declined over time. A three-class solution for caregiver burden further identified a moderate, increasing trajectory class. Predictive discriminant analyses revealed that trait-resilience was a major differentiating trait between class membership (rs = .23 for depression; rs = .32 for burden); further, presence of PTSD symptoms at baseline, gender, and history of depression were shown to be strong factors in distinguishing class membership across both outcomes. This study helps shed insight into the well-being of caregivers in the wake of a loved one's traumatic injury, in addition to possible identifying risk factors while patients are still admitted in the ICU. Lastly, the study provides alternatives for analyses that focus on longitudinal outcomes, particularly person- vs. variable-centered solutions.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Agtarap, Stephanie D

The Role of Self-Compassion in Posttraumatic Growth

Description: Although the experience of trauma is associated with a great deal of psychological distress, it may also lead to meaningful positive change, known as posttraumatic growth (PTG), evidenced as progression in areas of life appreciation, intimacy in relationships, sense of personal strength, new possibilities, and spiritual development. Utilizing an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) perspective, the current study explored whether self-compassion helped to explain the willingness to approach and make sense of a trauma, leading to growth. A sample of 758 undergraduate students completed online self-report questionnaires, and results suggested that self-compassion does partially predict PTG and support for how self-compassion may be understood in relation to PTG is provided. Implications of the current study's findings, as well as suggestions for future research related to trauma within a college population, are discussed.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Connally, Melissa Londoño

Combining Select Blood-Based Biomarkers with Neuropsychological Assessment to Detect Mild Cognitive Impairment among Mexican Americans: A Molecular Neuropsychology Approach

Description: Mexican Americans face a significant health disparity related to the development of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) when compared to other ethnic groups. Recent work has documented the utility of utilizing blood-based biomarkers in the detection of amnestic MCI among this population. Efforts to enhance the utility of biomarkers in detecting disease through the inclusion of select neuropsychological measures, an approach termed Molecular Neuropsychology, has shown promise. The present study sought to utilize the molecular neuropsychology approach and examine biobanked serum samples as well as neuropsychological assessments from the Health and Aging Brain among Latino Elders (HABLE) study. Random Forest analyses were conducted to determine the proteomic profile of MCI. Then separate linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the variance accounted for by the biomarkers within the select neuropsychological measures. Trail Making Test Part B was identified as having the least amount of variance and was combined with top five biomarkers within the MCI proteomic profile to create a biomarker-cognitive profile for detecting disease presence. This same method was applied to the amnestic and non-amnestic forms of MCI. The overall biomarker-cognitive profile was shown to be 90% accurate in the detection of MCI, with no significant increase when demographic variables were included into the model. Among amnestic MCI cases, the detection accuracy of the biomarker-cognitive profile was 92% and increased to 94% upon inclusion of demographic variables.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Edwards, Melissa

Cultural Humility, Religion, and Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) Populations

Description: The purpose of this study was to explore the religion – health link in a sample of adults and undergraduate students (N = 555) that identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB), and to explore how perceptions of cultural humility of religious individuals and groups toward LGB individuals affect the relationship between religion and health. First, I found religious commitment among LGB individuals was positively correlated with satisfaction in life, but it was negatively correlated with physical health. Second, I found that cultural humility moderated the relationship between religious commitment and satisfaction in life for LGB individuals involved in a religious community. The lowest levels of satisfaction with life were found for individuals with low religious commitment and perceived the cultural humility of their religious community to be low. However, cultural humility did not moderate the relationship between religious commitment and mental and physical health outcomes. Third, I found cultural humility did not moderate the relationship between religious commitment and minority stress (i.e., internalized homophobia). Fourth, I found that cultural humility was a significant positive predictor of motivations to forgive a hurt caused by a religious individual. I conclude by discussing limitations, areas for future research, and implications for counseling.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Mosher, David Keith

Stigma and Psychological Quality of Life in People Living with HIV: Self-Esteem as a Mediating Factor

Description: Although the negative impact of HIV stigma is well documented, a gap exists in exploration of constructs that mediate the relationship between HIV stigma and psychological QOL (PQOL). Self-esteem is often conceptualized as a protective factor. We used PLS-SEM to explore the relationships between HIV stigma, PQOL and self-esteem, where PQOL and self-esteem are latent constructs represented by direct observations. Our hypotheses were supported - stigma is negatively related to self-esteem (as measured by self-blame, forgiveness of self, acceptance without judgment and self-esteem), self-esteem is positively related to PQOL (as measured by depression, mental health, QOL and perceived stress) and when the two aforementioned relationships are controlled for, a previously significant relation between stigma and PQOL changes its value significantly. These findings have implications for interventions designed to mitigate the negative psychosocial effects of stigma in PLH.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Wike, Alexandra

Self-Enhancement Processes in Couples

Description: Self-enhancement is a process by which individuals misperceive themselves by viewing themselves in a positively biased manner. Past research indicates that self-enhancement can have both positive and negative effects on romantic relationships. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the role of self-enhancement in unmarried dating couples (N = 124 couples; 248 individuals) with respect to conflict, dyadic adjustment, causal and responsibility attributions, and possible moderators between self-enhancement and dyadic adjustment. The results are organized in four sections. First, I found a curvilinear relationship between participant self-enhancement and conflict. At very low and very high levels of self-enhancement there were increased levels of conflict. Second, participant self-enhancement was positively associated with positively associated with increased participant dyadic adjustment, but there was no relationship between participant self-enhancement and partner dyadic adjustment. Third, there was no relationship between participant self-enhancement and causal and responsibility attributions. Fourth, forgiveness and commitment did not moderate the relationship between self-enhancement and dyadic adjustment; however, there were main effects for both forgiveness and commitment - both forgiveness and commitment were positively associated with dyadic adjustment. I conclude by discussing limitations, areas of future research, and implications for counseling.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Reyna, Samuel H