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Self-definition and College Adaptation in Students From the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program

Description: While a great deal of psychological research is conducted on college students, less has been done on their adaptation to college. These young adults, as they develop ego identity and differentiate themselves from parents and families, must adjust to the social and academic environment of college. Psychosocial adjustment predicts college retention better than academic predictors do. First generation college students face greater than typical challenges adapting to college. The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program exists to aid first generation, lower income undergraduate student who wish to pursue a doctoral degree. Self-definition scored from thematic apperceptive technique stories reflects an individual’s relative freedom from social role constraint. This study examined the role of self-definition and familial understanding and acceptance in this population as predictors of successful adaptation to college. While neither was found to be a significant predictor, family understanding and acceptance was found to be a more defining characteristic of this sample than was self-definition. This suggests that when social support is sufficient, individuals do not need to rely on self-definition.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Vance, Jeffrey Michael

Effects of Immaturity on Juveniles’ Miranda Comprehension and Reasoning

Description: Over the last several decades, researchers have documented how impaired reasoning by adult offenders impeded the intelligent waiver of Miranda rights. Logically, it stands to reason that juveniles – who are developmentally less mature and have less life experience than their adult counterparts – would possess even greater impairment, thereby heightening their risk for invalid Miranda waivers. Juvenile Miranda research supports this notion; with some researchers finding that psychosocial maturity, among other factors, affect a juvenile’s understanding of their rights. Yet, relatively few studies have examined its relation to Miranda reasoning and decision-making. Thus, the current study investigated the specific role of maturity in juveniles’ Miranda comprehension and reasoning. Participants included 236 legally-involved juveniles recruited from either a juvenile detention center or a juvenile justice alternative education program. The effects of psychosocial maturity were examined on a variety of Miranda-related measures and assessed a broad range of Miranda abilities. It was found that, in general, immature juveniles performed more poorly on all Miranda measures as compared to their mature counterparts. However, the impact of maturity varied considerably depending on the ability. Specifically, maturity was most important in the context of Miranda reasoning. As a novel addition to the literature, the current study also investigated the effects of developmental timing on maturity (i.e., immaturity-delayed versus immaturity-expected) on Miranda abilities.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Sharf, Allyson J.

Community Gardening: a Novel Intervention for Bhutanese Refugees Living in the USA

Description: Since 2008, the United States (USA) has resettled thousands of Bhutanese refugees, providing brief financial support and pathways to citizenship. Despite the efforts of governing bodies and voluntary agencies which facilitate resettlement, many refugees struggle with adapting to the vastly different lifestyle, economy, language and social structures. In particular, effectively addressing psychological needs of this population is a challenge for service providers operating within an expensive health care system based on Western constructs of mental health. In response to this challenge, refugee resettlement agencies throughout the country use community gardens to promote psychological healing, self-sufficiency, community engagement, and a return of human dignity. Though success of these programs is being shared in the media, there has yet to be empirical data examining their impact. The current study tested whether Bhutanese refugee engagement in a community garden impacts symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and somatic complaints. The study also investigated whether community gardening is associated with perceptions of social support and adjustment to life in the United States. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from 50 adult Bhutanese refugees in Fort Worth, Texas. Gardening was significantly related to increased social support overall, a key factor in overall functionality within communal cultures; and specifically perceived tangible support was increased. A significant effect of gardening was also found for adjustment. Although a significant effect was not found for psychological and somatic symptoms, there is still evidence of effects on somatic complaints. Varying results from quantitative and qualitative data warrant further investigation into the nuanced work of clinical research and advocacy with refugee populations.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Gerber, Monica M.

Back on the Home Front: Demand/Withdraw Communication and Relationship Adjustment Among Student Veterans

Description: 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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Carver, Kellye Diane Schiffner

Community-based Participatory Research: HIV in African American Men Who Have Sex with Men

Description: To date, traditional behavioral interventions have done little to reduce the prevalence and transmission of HIV among African American men who have sex with men (AAMSM), a highly at risk group. Some researchers theorize that the lack of success may be because these interventions do not address contextual factors among AAMSM. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is one approach to research with the potential to lead to effective interventions in the future. CBPR is a collaborative, mixed-methods and multidisciplinary, approach to scientific inquiry, which is conducted with, and within, the community. The current study follows the CBPR approach to engage and develop a relationship with the African American communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Contextual issues were discussed in order to identify emerging themes regarding HIV health related issues among AAMSM to provide the groundwork for continued CBPR research and future interventions with AAMSM in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. To accomplish this goal, researchers began the CBPR process by conducting interviews and focus groups with a sample of approximately 62 (34 from key informant interviews, 28 from focus groups [gender balanced]) AIDS service organization leaders and workers, advocates, medical doctors and community members with first-hand knowledge of HIV health issues in the AAMSM community. Transcripts of these interviews and focus groups were analyzed to identify emerging themes at the societal (religious doctrine, African American Culture, age-related norms and stigma), community (education, religious views/policy and community norms) and individual (disclosure, personal identity, sexual behavior/risk, accessing care and communication) levels. This data was used to create a holistic narrative report that will be used to direct the community advisory board (CAB) and guide future research and interventions.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Miller, James MS

An Initial Validation of the Virtual Reality Stroop Task (VRST) in a Sample of OEF/OIF Veterans

Description: Currently, neuropsychologists rely on assessment instruments rooted in century old theory and technology to make evaluations of military personnel’s readiness to return-to-duty or return to their community. The present study sought to explore an alternative by evaluating the validity of a neuropsychological assessment presented within a virtual reality platform. The integration of a neuropsychological assessment into a cognitively and emotionally demanding virtual environment – reminiscent of a combat experience in Iraq – offers a more ecologically valid manner in which to evaluate the cognitive skills required in theater. U.S. military veterans’ (N = 50) performance on the Virtual Reality Stroop Task (VRST) was compared with performance on a paper-and-pencil, a computer adapted version of the Stroop task, and the subtests included in the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics-4 (ANAM4) TBI-MIL test battery. Results supported the validity of the VRST, indicating it demonstrates the typical Stroop effect pattern. The emotional salience of the VRST resulted in slowed reaction time compared to the ANAM Stroop. Further, the complex interference condition of the VRST offers opportunities for evaluation of exogenous and endogenous attentional processing. In the evaluation of threat, participants were noted to perform more accurately and more quickly in low threat versus high threat zones. Ancillary inquiries found no clinically meaningful findings regarding the role of deployment or post-concussive symptoms, and mixed findings regarding the effect of posttraumatic stress symptoms on neuropsychological performance among the three tested modalities.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Feil Johnson, Stephanie

Marital Status and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Health Outcomes

Description: Substantial evidence demonstrates that marriage is associated with better health outcomes and lower mortality risk. Some evidence suggests that there are gender and race/ethnicity differences between the marriage-health benefits association. However, previous studies on marriage and health have mainly focused on non-Hispanic White-Black differences. Limited information is available regarding the roles of Hispanics. The present study examined marital status, gender, and the differences between non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, and Hispanics, in health outcomes. A retrospective cohort analysis of 24,119 Hispanic, NH White, and NH Black adults admitted to a large hospital was conducted. A total of 16,661 patients identified as either married or single was included in the final analyses. Consistent with the broader literature, marriage was associated with beneficial hospital utilization outcomes. With respect to differences in these benefits, results suggest that married patients, Hispanic patients, and women, were less likely to experience in-hospital mortality. Similar effects were observed in aggregated length of stay with married Hispanic women hospitalized nearly 2 days less than their single counterparts (6.83 days and 8.66 days, respectively). These findings support existing literature that marriage is associated with health benefits, add to the emerging research of a Hispanic survival advantage, and broaden the understanding of marriage and health in terms of differences by racial/ethnicity.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Villarreal, Cesar

Cross-cultural Differences in the Presentation of Depressive Symptoms

Description: Epidemiological studies show that China has a lower prevalence rate of major depression than that of Western countries. The disparity in prevalence is commonly attributed to the tendency of Chinese to somatize depression. Empirical evidence of Chinese somatization has yielded mixed results. The present study thus aimed to 1) examine differences in somatic and psychological symptom reporting between Chinese from Macau and Americans in America and 2) identify cultural and psychological variables that would predict somatization. Independent and interdependent self-construals, sociotropy, and emotional approach coping were hypothesized to predict somatization of depression. Participants included 353 Chinese and 491 American college students who completed self-report measures online. Contrary to prediction, results indicated that Americans endorsed a higher proportion of somatic symptoms than Chinese did. Sociotropy predicted both relative endorsement and severity of somatic symptoms for the American sample, whereas emotional expression coping was related to somatization in the Chinese sample. The findings challenge the common assumption of greater Chinese somatization and highlight the importance of context in understanding the relationships between somatization and cultural and psychological variables. Implications of the present study and future directions are discussed.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Tse, Pui San

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Social Support

Description: Despite a substantially greater risk factor profile, Hispanics in the United States (US) consistently demonstrate better health outcomes compared to their non-Hispanic White counterparts, an epidemiologic phenomenon termed the Hispanic Mortality Paradox. Emerging hypotheses suggest cultural values regarding relational interconnectedness and social support may help to explain these surprising health outcomes. The present study sought to inform these hypotheses via two aims: the first was to examine racial/ethnic differences in perceived social support, and the second was to examine the relationship between acculturation and perceived social support among Hispanic college students. Non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic college students (N = 330) completed an online survey for course credit. Contrary to expectations, no racial/ethnic differences in perceived social support were observed, nor was an association between acculturation and perceived social support evident among the sampled Hispanic students. The limited sample size, homogeneity in social support levels across groups, and the restricted range of age and acculturation may have obscured relationships that may exist outside the college environment. Future work should consider a more heterogeneous sampling strategy to better assess these associations.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Goans, Christian R. R.

The Influence of Family and Cultural Values on the Career Development of Asian Americans

Description: Factors influencing the career development of Asian Americans have included family influences, including parental expectations and parent-young adult relationship, and adherence to Asian cultural values. Variables such as interests and values have been shown to be important factors in the career-related decisions of western, European American culture individuals, although interests have been found to be less important for Asian Americans. Research suggests that parental expectations and adherence to traditional Asian values have more influence on career development among this population. Sandhu found in 2011 that parental expectations are highly linked with career choice of a specific Asian subgroup. The current study examined the relationship between parental expectations, acculturation, career values, adherence to Asian cultural values, the parent-young adult relationship, and career choice in the Asian American population. The values gap between the parents’ and young adults’ cultural values as well as the gap’s effects on the parent-child relationship were assessed. A sample of 173 self-identified Asian Americans aged 18 to 25 were recruited from across the US to complete an Internet survey consisting of demographic questions, career choice questions, a measure of acculturation, an assessment of career-related values, an assessment of adherence to Asian cultural values, and an assessment of the parent-young adult relationship. Results from hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that the prestige of parents’ career expectations was a significant predictor of the prestige of young adults’ expected career choices. Although other family and process variables were not found to be significant predictors of young adults’ career choices, interesting correlations were noted among many of these variables.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Sandhu, Gurminder

Ethnic Differences in Caregiving Style

Description: This study explored the caregiving styles of 306 grandparents raising grandchild across three ethnic groups (164 European Americans, 65 Latinos, and 77 African Americans). Significant differences were found in caregiving styles between European Americans and African Americans. Caregiver appraisal (burden, satisfaction, and Mastery) was found to be predictive of caregiving style across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Caregiver style was predictive of grandchild functioning across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Lastly, caregiver style was found to be predictive of grandparent well-being across the entire sample, and differentially by ethnic group. Implications are discussed in terms of the complex, multidimensional and culturally embedded nature of the caregiving experience and the importance of considering culture for optimal outcomes.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Rodriguez, R. Mishelle

Personality and Mental Health Attitudes Among US Army ROTC Cadets

Description: With the current military mental health crisis, it is important to understand the role of the leader in military mental health. First, the impact of military leader behaviors on the well-being of military personnel is reviewed. Next, the role of leader attitudes as a precursor to leader behaviors is discussed. The relation of leader behaviors to leader personality using the NEO Five Factor Model (FFM) is reviewed, as well as the relation of prejudicial attitudes to the NEO FFM personality factors. A research project is described that attempted to draw these concepts together, assessing the NEO FFM personality dimensions and mental health attitudes of US Army ROTC cadets, the future leaders of the US Army. No significant relations were observed between NEO FFM personality traits and mental health attitudes, even after controlling for Impression Management. Also, the predicted positive correlation between positive mental health attitudes and Impression Management was not found. These results suggest that more research and more refined measures are needed in the area of leader attitudes toward soldier mental health problems, and how those attitudes might impact the soldiers.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Holtz, Pamela M.

Diabetes Status of Mexican Americans: Impact of Country of Birth

Description: In order to better tailor treatment to specific populations, factors which contribute to health disparities among different racial/ethnic groups must be examined. Among Mexican American individuals, the high rate of diabetes represents a significant contributor to overall health. The present study focuses on factors affecting diabetes status among Mexican Americans born in either Mexico or the United States using the 2007 – 2008 NHANES data set. Comparisons were made between diabetes status based on self-report and clinical classification using HbA1c. Results indicated that within the diabetic subsample, Mexican Americans born in Mexico were twice as likely to be incorrectly classified as non-diabetic, when they actually were diabetic, when using a self-report method. In contrast, nativity did not result in differences in diabetes incidence using the HbA1c clinical cut-score diagnostic classification. Age, BMI, gender, nativity, and health insurance coverage were found to have varying relationships to diabetes prevalence and HbA1c levels, but time in the U.S. for Mexico-born individuals was not found to uniquely predict diabetes incidence. Analyses also demonstrated that Mexico-born males, as compared to the other groups, had significantly higher HbA1c levels. Further research is necessary to better understand the relationships among these factors. However, findings do demonstrate a need for more objective disease classification, particularly when examining immigration status and diabetes. Additionally, the complexity of these interactions establishes a need for specific health intervention for foreign-born populations which might be missed by self-report screening asking about presence of disease and exacerbated by an oversimplification of the “healthy immigrant effect”.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Douglas, Megan E.

Role Importance, Affectional Solidarity, and Depression Among Familial Caregivers for Older Adults

Description: In the United States, familial caregivers provide approximately 80% of the long term elderly care and are at risk for mental health problems. As family members provide care, relationships shift from mutual support to increasing dependency on the caregivers, who in turn often experience a shift in self-concept from their prior relational role to include identification as caregiver for the care recipient. Affectional solidarity, or emotional relationship quality, can influence how caregivers experience their shifting role in relationship to a loved one. The study examined whether role importance is associated with caregiver depression over time, and tested the moderating role of affectional solidarity in this association. A subset of caregivers (N = 57) from the Longitudinal Study of Generations constituted the sample from which role importance, affectional solidarity, and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression reports were analyzed using longitudinal hierarchical regression. Findings did not support hypotheses. Results suggested that affectional solidarity may be important to consider among familial caregivers as a potential protective factor for depression. Implications for future research and practitioners are discussed.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Benson, Karen M.

Evaluating the Role of C-reactive Protein on Cognition and Depressive Symptoms Among Women by Mexican American Ethnicity

Description: C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein found in the blood that is synthesized by the liver and has been extensively studied due to its role in inflammatory and atherosclerotic processes. The importance of this biomarker in its role in vascular risk factors is increased with several lines of evidence pointing to its association with cognitive decline. The association between CRP and depression has been increasingly analyzed by various cross-sectional studies. The research between CRP and depressive symptoms in older women has yet to generate consistent trends. In the present study, a series of regression analyses was used to explore the association between CRP and both cognitive function and depressive symptomatology among a group of rural-dwelling women. Associations were evaluated through the use of data from Project FRONTIER, a rural-based research looking at both physical and cognitive aspects of health in rural-dwelling adults and elders. Comparisons were made between Mexican American women and a group of non-Hispanic Caucasian women. CRP was a significant independent predictor of total depression (beta = -.11, t = -1.99, p =.048). CRP was also a significant independent predictor of symptoms associated with meaningless within depression (beta = -.16, t = -2.94, p =.004). Contrary to prediction, CRP was not a significant independent predictor of overall cognitive function or performance in five specific cognitive domains. There is still needed evaluation on racial/ethnic differences present in regard to the impact of varied health factors on mental health within a culturally rich, rural cohort. It is recommended that future studies utilize standardized measurement of cognitive function to facilitate a more thorough understanding and comparison of change in this particular population.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Huerta, Serina

A Study of the Relationship Between Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Scores and Koppitz's Human Figure Drawing Test Scores for Mentally Retarded Adults

Description: The present study explored the possibility of applying Koppitz's developmental scoring techniques of mental maturity to retarded adults. The following hypotheses were tested: 1) that there is a significant correlation between the Koppitz HFD Test scores and the WAIS Full Scale scores; 2) that the correlation between the Koppitz HFD Test scores and the WAIS Performance Scale scores is also significant. Statistical computations did confirm the latter hypothesis but not the former one.
Date: May 1974
Creator: Carlisle, Joseph Frank

Sex Differences in Extreme Response Style

Description: The main objective of this investigation was to study the influence of sex on extreme response style as measured by a semantic differential. The previous studies led to a general hypothesis formulated as follows. Normal males and females differ from each other with regard to their mean extreme response style scores with females having the greater extreme response scores on the semantic differential.
Date: December 1973
Creator: Gossie, Michael

Prediction of Susceptibility to Learned Helplessness

Description: A fifty-item questionnaire, representing personality attributes related to behaviors used to index the phenomenon of learned helplessness, was administered to 152 undergraduate students. Based upon factor analysis of the results, six subscales were developed to predict latency of response, failures to solve, and trials to task criterion of anagram solving, this being used to index the phenomenon of learned helplessness. The subscales comprised a ninety-item questionnaire given to seventy-seven undergraduate students three days before participation in the experiment proper. The subjects attempted to solve Levine (1971) discrimination problems (designed to be insolvable) and then attempted to solve patterned anagrams. Contrary to the learned helpless model of depression (Miller and Seligman, 1973), depression was curvilinearly related to latency of response and failures to solve in the anagram task. In addition, internal locus of control was linearly related to trials to criterion.
Date: December 1975
Creator: Foelker, George A.

Effects of a Preschool Program on Intellectual Functioning and Sensory Motor Abilities of Disadvantaged Children

Description: Research points out the many complex problems of the disadvantaged child. The purpose of establishing many preschool programs throughout this country has been to seek the most effective ways of educating the culturally deprived and to utilize the standardized measurements to assess various programs. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the intellectual functioning and sensory-motor abilities of the disadvantaged child at the preschool level, to determine his growth in these areas during his participation in the program, and to determine whether or not four different teaching models are instrumental in bringing about intellectual and sensory-motor improvements.
Date: December 1973
Creator: Chambers, Jean Irvin

The Repression-Sensitization Dimension and Leisure Preferences

Description: The Purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of the repression-sensitization dimension and leisure preferences, specifically threatening versus nonthreatening physical activity and television program preferences. The hypotheses were that sensitizers would prefer threatening (violent) television programs and threatening (competitive) physical activities to a significantly greater degree than repressors. Sixty college undergraduates were designated repressors, sensitizers, or middle group by their scores on Byrne's Repression-Sensitization Scale. Preference sheets determined subjects' preferences for threatening and nonthreatening television programs and physical activities. Simple analyses of variance revealed no significant differences in repressors', sensitizers', or middle group's preferences for threatening television programs or physical activities, and thus the hypotheses were rejected. Non-significant tendencies in the data, in hypothesized directions, suggest further research.
Date: May 1975
Creator: Wilcox, Gary A. (Gary Alden)

Accelerated EMG Biofeedback Relaxation Training and Tension Headache: The Effects of Home Practice and Headache Presence During Training

Description: This study investigated the value of headache presence during elecromyographic (EMG) feedback relaxation training and the contribution made by home relaxation practice in the elimination of tension headache. Eighteen participants, mainly coeds in their twenties, recorded headache and medication data for two baseline weeks, and were assigned to one of three training groups. Group A received EMG feedback training with headache presence during the session and home relaxation practice. Group B received EMG feedback without headache Presence and home practice. Group C received only home relaxation practice. Statistically significant treatment differences were not found, but declining trends of headache activity and medication use tend to support the efficacy of EMG training with headache presence.
Date: August 1975
Creator: Christianson, James D. L.

Sexual Preferences in Play Among Infants in a Day-Care Setting

Description: This study investigates (1) whether infants in a day-care setting exhibit sexual preferences in the choice of a playmate, and (2) whether males exhibit more overt acts in play than do females. Eight male and eight female infants, attending a day-care center, paired by age (ages twelve to twenty-four months), were selected as subjects. Each of the sixteen children was observed for a ten-minute period on four separate days, over a two-week period, a total of forty minutes' observation time per child. No significant differences were found between male and female infants involving the preference of the sex of a playmate, or between male and female overt behaviors.
Date: August 1975
Creator: Bulino, Andrew W.

An Investigation of the Validity and Predictive Value of the NPSDE, a Preschool Assessment Device

Description: The problem under investigation was the predictive value of a preschool screen. The subjects were 111 kindergartners. First, the need for a preschool screen was established. Second, the literature concerning other preschool devices was reviewed. Third, a specific screen was assessed in terms of validity. Fourth, a consideration of the predictive value of this screen in relation to scholastic achievement as indicated by the Metropolitan Readiness Test was made. A multiple regression analysis was performed, and the cross-validation of a number of prediction equations and cutoff scores was significant. Although statistical significance was achieved, high-risk youngsters could not be accurately identified. This research indicated that the instrument evaluated shows promise if refined by additional research.
Date: August 1974
Creator: Moore, Glenn F.

Sex Dimension of the Dogmatism Scale: A Factor Analysis

Description: The problem of this study was to factor-analyze Rokeach's Dogmatism Scale and examine the factor structures of the scale for differences in the solutions obtained for the male and female groups. It was hypothesized that the Dogmatism Scale consists of several discriminable dimensions of the construct dogmatism and that these dimensions differ significantly for males and females. The dogmatism scale was administered to 186 male and 115 female college students. The male and female solutions yielded thirteen and sixteen orthogonal factors, respectively. Six male factors and eleven female factors were unique to their respective sex groups, indicating that the Dogmatism Scale is multidimensional and that significant sex differences are found when these dimensions are examined.
Date: May 1974
Creator: Gordon, William Knox