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Coping Strategy as Mediator between Parental Attachment and the Parent-Child Relationship

Description: Previous research has shown that adult attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance are associated with both coping strategy use and the parent-child relationship. Additionally, research has shown that coping strategy is associated with aspects of the parent-child relationship. The current study aimed to further examine associations between parental romantic attachment, coping strategy use, and the parent-child relationship. It was hypothesized that coping strategy use would mediate the relationship between parental romantic attachment and aspects of the parent-child relationship. Participants included 86 heterosexual couples (N = 176 parents) from the Family and Kid Connection project archival dataset. Instruments included a demographic questionnaire, the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, a brief measure of coping, and the Attachment and Relational Frustration Subscales of the Parenting Relationship Questionnaire. An actor-partner independence model was proposed and tested via multilevel modeling. Higher levels of parental attachment anxiety predicted poorer parent-child relationships. Father's attachment avoidance also predicted poorer father-child relationships. Higher levels of both parental attachment dimensions predicted greater use of avoidant emotional coping. Finally, greater use of avoidant emotional coping predicted poorer parent-child relationships. Results partially supported proposed mediational hypotheses. Two mediational paths were supported by results: an actor-actor path in which fathers' avoidant emotional coping mediated the association between fathers' romantic attachment avoidance and father-child attachment, and an actor-actor path in which mothers' avoidant emotional coping mediated the association between mothers' romantic attachment anxiety and mother-child attachment.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Baxter, Lauren N

Using Relational Responding to Examine the Acquisition of Mindfulness and Meditation Material: An Analogue Study

Description: Mindfulness meditation is a growing area of interest for both mental health professionals and the general public alike. Beneficial outcomes are associated with these practices, although the variety of measurement techniques makes research difficult to interpret. Definitions of these constructs are varied, and anecdotal accounts point to the idea that many people hold misconceptions about mindfulness and meditation, even when meanings are made clear. Still, no formal research has been published on misconceptions of mindfulness – or, if they exist, how such misinformation affects acquisition of related skills. Furthermore, mindfulness has been incorporated into therapeutic modalities without much consideration for context, including the client's learning history. The current analogue study examined how the presentation of mindfulness meditations (i.e., inaccurate rationale/meditation and accurate rationale/meditation) affects an individual's practice. Specifically, self-reported mindfulness and meditation skills, mood questionnaires, a matching-to-sample task, and qualitative measurements were used to assess acquisition. Although primary hypotheses did not yield significant findings, results from both preliminary and exploratory analyses demonstrate significant findings with regard to teaching, learning, and measurement related to mindfulness meditation. The results, future directions, and limitations are discussed.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Lester, Ethan G

Adolescents' Social Networking Use and Its Relationship to Attachment and Mental Health

Description: Adolescents spend much of their time using the internet and electronic media. Since its inception, the use of online social networking (OSN) sites by adolescents continues to grow. With the proliferation of OSN, it is critical to examine how this activity affects psychological development, but better measurement tools are needed. As researchers struggle to keep up with this rapidly growing field, many gaps remain in the literature investigating the interrelations between adolescent's OSN use and mental health outcomes. Research examining the relationship between OSN and mental health outcomes, specifically depression and anxiety, has produced mixed results suggesting that other factors influence this association. A large research literature documents associations between attachment and mental health. Given that attachment also affects interpersonal communication, several studies have investigated links between attachment and OSN use in adult and college populations. Results indicated that even though attachment to father was independently related to anxiety and depression symptoms, it was not a significant moderator for mental health and OSN. Attachment to mother was a significant moderator for anxiety and depression and several OSN subscales. Based on this information, a greater focus on youth's interpersonal connection and social skills both online and offline may be beneficial when treating adolescents experiencing anxiety or depression.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Woolford, Brittany

The Relation of Perceived Motivational Climate, Mindset, and Achievement Goal Orientation to Grit in Male High School Soccer Players

Description: Grit is defined as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals." Although studied in relation to various outcomes, such as retention and academic performance, few studies have examined variables that may contribute to grit's development. Further, few studies have examined this construct in relation to sport performance or within athletic environments, despite its clear connection to sport-related constructs like mental toughness and resilience. Thus, based in achievement motivation theory, this study examined the relations of the perceived motivational climate as defined by athletes' perceptions of the coaches' behaviors (task vs. ego), athletes' perceptions of their achievement goal orientation (task vs. ego), athletes' perceptions of their implicit theory (i.e., fundamental beliefs regarding whether or not ability can change; growth vs. fixed), and athletes' perception of their level of grit. Male varsity soccer players (N = 81; Mage = 15.80 ± .81) from a large metropolitan area in the south central U.S. completed questionnaires measuring these achievement motivation constructs. The full regression model was significant, accounting for 18% of the grit variance, F(6, 74) = 2.77, p = .017. Within the full model, having a growth mindset (β = .25, p = .035) and endorsing a task goal orientation (β = .36, p = .004) predicted higher levels of grit for the athletes. Neither the coach-created motivational climate, nor the athletes' ego orientation or fixed mindset, were significantly predicted their grit scores. Consistent with Dweck and Duckworth, components of achievement motivation theory, particularly related to a task or growth perspective, may play an important role in athletes' developing a perspective that allows them to work effectively and diligently toward long-term goals.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Albert, Erin

Family and Cultural Influences on Latino Emerging Adults' Career Development

Description: There is an extensive amount of research on career development, but most of the constructs studied have focused on content-oriented variables rather than process-oriented variables. While some of the studies have examined samples from ethnic minority populations, the majority of studies use ethnic minority populations as comparison groups, studying between-group differences as opposed to within-group differences. The literature is especially deficient in the are of Latino career development. The current study will examine how family and culture influence the career development of Latino emerging adults. This study will explore the influence of socioeconomic status and acculturation on the career salience and career maturity of Latino emerging adults. The quality of the parent-emerging adult relationship will also be explored for its influence on career development outcomes in this population. One hundred fifty Latino undergraduate students ages 18-24 will be recruited for participation in this study. The participants will complete questionnaires regarding demographic information, acculturation, the quality of the parent-emerging adult relationship, career salience, and career maturity.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Rodriguez, Kristina

Cognitive Engagement in Later Life: Descriptive and Explanatory Findings

Description: Findings on the relationship between engagement in lifestyle and cognitive functioning are not consistent; some authors report that engagement in lifestyle predicts an individual's cognitive functioning; while other report that an individual's cognitive functioning predicts the type and level of engagement an individual participates in. The current study will use longitudinal data (N = 235) to investigate the bidirectional relationship between engagement (engaged lifestyle activities) and cognition (crystallized & fluid intelligence). Despite inconsistent findings it is proposed that cognitive functioning may be better understood when examining how stimulation of activity, need for cognition, and openness to experience affect engagement in an active lifestyle. As such the current study will investigate if stimulation of activity, need for cognition, and openness to experience moderate the relationship between engaged lifestyles and cognitive functioning. The results, limitations and implications are discussed.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Abdullah, Bashir

Development of a Self-Report Measure of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) According to the Eleventh Edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11): The Complex Trauma Inventory

Description: The work group editing trauma disorders for the upcoming edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) made several changes. Specifically, they significantly simplified the guidelines for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and added a new trauma disorder called complex PTSD (CPTSD). The new domains for PTSD and the addition of CPTSD require new instruments to assess these novel constructs. We developed a measure of PTSD and CPTSD (Complex Trauma Inventory; CTI) according to the proposed ICD-11 domains, creating several items to assess each domain. We examined the factor structure of the CTI (using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses) in two separate samples of diverse college students (n1 = 501; n2 = 500), reducing the original 53 trauma items in the item pool to 21 items. Confirmatory factor analyses supported two highly-correlated second-order factors (PTSD and complex factors), with PTSD (i.e., re-experiencing, avoidance, hyper-arousal) and complex factors (i.e., affect dysregulation, alterations in self-perception and alterations in relationships with others) each loading on three of the six ICD-11-consistent first-order factors (RMSEA = .08, CFI = .92, GFI = .87, SRMR = .06). Internal consistency for PTSD (α = .92) and complex factors (α = .93) are excellent.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Litvin, Justin M

The Moderating Effect of Religiosity on the Relationship between Attachment and Psychological Wellbeing in a Muslim-American Sample

Description: Although research on attachment theory has grown exponentially in the field of psychology, few studies exist that examine this theory among young Muslim-American adults, despite the fact that Muslim-Americans represent a significant and growing segment of the U.S. population. The first goal of the current study was to replicate the results of previous studies demonstrating a strong relationship between attachment and the selected wellbeing indicators of psychological symptoms and life satisfaction. The second goal of the proposed study was to examine the relationships among maternal attachment, Islamic religiosity, and psychological wellbeing. Findings provided partial support to the direct effects of attachment and religiosity variables on particular outcome variables but did not support the moderating effect of religiosity. High maternal Control was found to be predictive of less psychological distress, whereas both maternal control and care were found to be negatively associated with an interpersonal behaviors aspect of religiosity. In addition, those who endorsed practicing Islamic rituals were found to report less life satisfaction, and individuals who viewed the world through an Islamic lens reported higher psychological distress. Discussion on the findings, limitations of the study, future research directions, and counseling implications are addressed.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Khan, Arubah

Social Anxiety and Non-Medical Prescription Stimulant Use among College Students

Description: Current evidence suggests that non-medical prescription stimulant (NMPS) use is on the rise, particularly among college students. Identifying individuals at risk for regular and problematic use is a critical step towards the development of effective intervention efforts. A growing body of work has noted that individuals with elevated levels of social anxiety (SA) or social anxiety disorder are at an enhanced risk for developing substance use problems, including NMPS use disorder. Despite the relevance of SA and NMPS use among college students, no studies have attempted to examine subclinical SA or the relation between SA and NMPS use among college students specifically. Thus, the present study sought to extend this area by testing the relation of SA symptoms and NMPS use frequency among college students. A large online study of college students was conducted (N=1604) to identify 252 NMPS users (18-25 years; 68.3% female). A hierarchical linear regression was used to test the moderation of positive prescription stimulant expectancies on SA symptoms in predicting past year NMPS use frequency. A subsample of 15 participants was also brought into the lab to assess subjective (State Anxiety) and physiological (salivary cortisol) responding to a social stressor task. Overall, the current study did not provide evidence that SA, via retrospective self-report or real-time responding was related to past year NMPS use frequency. Additional research is needed to resolve the discrepancies between the present findings and prior work.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Cloutier, Renee

Predicting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms During Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study of The Role of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysfunction

Description: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a trauma-related disorder that may develop in response to traumatic or stressful events. Dysfunction of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis has been implicated in the disorder. Studies support such dysfunction as being a consequence of PTSD, rather than a precursor. However, most studies of the HPA are either cross-sectional or have been carried out in adults. The aim of the present study was to identify whether HPA dysregulation interacts with stressful experiences to increase the likelihood of developing PTSD symptoms in a community-recruited sample of healthy adolescent girls. Adolescent girls (N = 550) and one of their parents participated. Adolescents’ clinical symptoms were assessed at baseline and at a nine month follow-up. Saliva samples were collected from all adolescent participants at waking, 30 minutes after waking, and 8 pm on 3 consecutive days. Flattened diurnal slope of cortisol at baseline was associated with increased PTSD symptoms nine months later. Baseline cortisol awakening response (CAR) per se was not prospectively related to developing PTSD symptoms, but its interactions with stressful experience was associated with elevated PTSD symptoms at follow-up. Effects were small and need to be replicated in samples with more severe stressors, as well as more clinical levels of PTSD. Nevertheless, findings suggest that dysregulated basal HPA functioning may be involved in the development of PTSD symptoms.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Liu, Keke

Role of Combat Exposure and Insomnia in Student Veterans' Adaptation to College

Description: Since 2002, the number of veterans enrolled in universities has nearly doubled, although 30-40% of veterans fail to complete their degree. While research efforts to understand the challenges veterans face transitioning from military life to college has increased in recent years, few studies have looked beyond the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Insomnia is the most frequently reported symptom of combat veterans and can have serious implications for college students. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of insomnia and student veteran adaptation to college relative to civilian students. College students (N = 588) were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, the Insomnia Severity Index, the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, and the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire. Results revealed that students with insomnia reported significantly lower adaptation to college than students without insomnia. Student veterans reported better academic and personal-emotional adaptation to college than civilian students, while civilians reported better social adjustment than veterans. Although combat veterans without insomnia scored consistently higher academic adjustment than non-combat veterans and civilian students, when present insomnia seemed to have a greater negative effect on combat veterans’ academic adjustment relative to civilian students. Furthermore, insomnia mediated the relationship between combat exposure and veteran’s personal-emotional adjustment to college. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: McGuffin, James J

Stress, Spirituality and Self-Esteem: Correlates of Psychological Quality of Life in an LGB Sample

Description: In the current study, we aimed to explore the relationship between perceived stress, spirituality and self-esteem and how they are related to psychological QOL. We found that our overall model accounted for 58% of the total variance in psychological QOL (adj. R2 = .58, F(10, 136) = 21.79, p < .001) with stress (β = -.37, p < .01) and self-esteem (β = .45, p < .01) as the significant predictors. Additionally we found that spiritual beliefs and practices moderate the relationship between stress and QOL (adj. R2= .49, F(11, 135) = 13.88, p < .001). Lastly, we conducted a principle component analysis (PCA) on our three variables of interest and outcome variable to determine whether the proposed structure of our measures holds true for our sample (i.e., LGB populations).
Date: May 2016
Creator: Stephen, Krystal A

Impact of Grit on Performance After Mastery- or Performance-oriented Feedback

Description: Grit and achievement motivation have been predictors of behavior in academia and military settings (Duckworth, Matthews, Peterson, & Kelly, 2007), but to date, research on their effects on sport performance has been limited. Given grit's predictive role in other performance domains, grit may be influential in athletes' long-term goal attainment, interacting with their achievement motives and leading to better performances. Athletes' trait levels of grit may influence how they understand and respond to messages received within motivational climates from key personnel such as from coaches and teammates. We examined potential moderating effects of grit on the relationship between motivational feedback and high school soccer players (N = 71, Mage = 15.81) performance on a soccer task, their desire to persist in the task, and their choices of task difficulty. We used hierarchical multiple regression to test the main effects of feedback and grit and to determine if grit moderated the effects of feedback on performance. Grit was a significant moderator of the feedback-shooting performance relationship, accounting for 3.9% of variance. Simple slopes analysis revealed a significant effect for low (B = 13.32, SEb = 4.44, p = .004, t = 2.99), but not high, (B = 2.11, SEb = 4.31, p = .63, t = .49), grit on task success. Grit was not a significant moderator of task difficulty selection or task persistence. These results suggest that for those high in grit, feedback about natural ability or hard work is not particularly influential on performance. However, for low grit athletes, type of feedback matters.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Auerbach, Alex

Medical Comorbidity in the Course of Bipolar Disorder

Description: Bipolar disorder is a serious illness affecting approximately 2-4% of the population and is one of the world’s leading causes of disability. In individuals with bipolar disorder, medical comorbidity associated with cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine disorders is related to increased rates of mortality. Recent updates to multi-system inflammatory related conceptualizations of bipolar disorder focus on the unique power that medical illness and biological processes may play as factors associated with course and outcome in bipolar disorder. The current study examined medical comorbidity and its associations with various demographic and psychological variables in individuals with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder with psychotic features followed for 10 years from their first hospital admission. When compared to an age, gender and race-matched control sample from the population, those with bipolar disorder had significantly higher medical comorbidity across a range of medical diagnoses both at 6 months and 10 years after first hospital admission. Ten years following initial hospitalization, individuals in all three diagnostic groups reported increased rates of diabetes (OR: 2.0 – 3.7), stroke (OR: 4.6 – 7.0) and asthma (OR: 1.9 - 3.1), and individuals with bipolar disorder reported increased rates of cancer (OR = 2.1). A number of psychological and demographic symptoms were examined for their ability to predict the development of medical illness across the assessment interval. Overall rates of medical illness were elevated both early in illness course and 10 years after diagnosis, suggesting that broad sequelae of multi-system inflammation are present early and progress over time.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Smith, Patrick M

Longitudinal Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Weight Control Behaviors in Female Collegiate Athletes

Description: Female collegiate athletes have been established as a high-risk group for the development of eating disorders due to the high prevalence rates of clinical and subclinical eating disorders, which have ranged from 1.9% to 16.6% and 4.0% to 26.1%, respectively. Collegiate athletes appear to meet criteria for ED-NOS more often than anorexia or bulimia nervosa, and frequently engage in pathogenic weight control behaviors (e.g., dieting, excessive exercise). To date, only a few studies have examined the long-term stability of eating disorders in collegiate female athletes. The current study investigated the prevalence of eating disorders (i.e., eating disordered, symptomatic, and asymptomatic) and pathogenic weight control behaviors (e.g, binging, vomiting, laxative use) in 325 NCAA-DI female collegiate gymnasts and swimmers/divers across two time points – the beginning of their competitive seasons (Time 1) and during the final two weeks of their competitive seasons (Time 2). By Time 2, 90% of the athletes classified as eating disordered at Time 1 (n = 20) maintained clinical or subclinical eating disturbances. Of the 83 athletes originally symptomatic, 37.3% remained so and 10.8% became eating disordered. Significantly more athletes became satisfied with their bodies over the course of the season than became dissatisfied. The athletes reported using exercise and dieting/fasting as the most frequent forms of weight control behaviors, each of which were used less frequently at Time 2 than at Time 1. The results support overall stability of eating disorder behaviors and classification over the course of a competitive season. Limitations and implications are discussed.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Thompson, Alexandra J.

Shame Due to Heterosexism, Self-esteem and Perceived Stress: Correlates of Psychological Quality of Life in a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Sample

Description: Sexual minorities experience higher levels of stress than heterosexuals, which in turn affects coping and psychological quality of life (PQOL). Although many sexual minorities remain mentally healthy, a higher prevalence of mental disorders among members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities exists; thus, LGB PQOL becomes an important area to examine. Several key factors are related to PQOL: shame due to heterosexism, self-esteem and perceived stress. Using minority stress model, I hypothesized that shame due to heterosexism and perceived stress are negatively correlated with PQOL, while self-esteem is positively correlated with PQOL. I hypothesized that collectively shame due to heterosexism, self-esteem and perceived stress account for a significant proportion of the variance in PQOL, that self-esteem moderates the relationship between perceived stress and PQOL and that age moderates the relationship between shame due to heterosexism and PQOL. I calculated Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and found shame due to heterosexism was negatively correlated with PQOL (r(146) = -.21, p = .009), perceived stress was negatively correlated with PQOL (r (146) = -.69, p < .001) and self-esteem was positively correlated with PQOL (r(146) = .72, p < .001). I conducted a regression analysis and found our model accounted for 59% of the variance in PQOL (adj. R2 = .59, F(3, 144) = 68.88, p < .001). Self-esteem did moderate the relationship between perceived stress and PQOL (p = .029), but age did not moderate the relationship between shame due to heterosexism and PQOL. Results suggest perceived stress and self-esteem play key roles in sexual minorities’ PQOL. Implications are discussed.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Bonds,Stacy E.

Relationship Centrality and Expressive Writing: Understanding Post-breakup Distress

Description: When a romantic relationship ends in dissolution, the ex-partners may experience distress similar to post-traumatic stress or complex grief (i.e., dysphoric mood, feelings of loss, intrusive memories, negative rumination regarding the relationship, and a loss of self-esteem). Interventions designed to reduce post-breakup distress have historically attempted to foster integration of the breakup into the self-narrative through techniques such as expressive writing. Recent research indicates centrality, or heightened integration of an event or concept into an individual’s identity, predicts heightened levels of distress in the case of negative life events, including romantic relationship dissolution. Given the role romantic relationships themselves play in identity formation, exploration is warranted of the potential distress resulting from over-identification with a romantic relationship itself, or relationship centrality, after a breakup has occurred. Furthermore, if an individual has overly-integrated a relationship into their identity, the effectiveness of interventions focusing on further integration of the breakup is called into question. This study explored the centrality of participants’ previous romantic relationships, the distress resulting from the dissolution of those relationships, and the role of expressive writing as a distress reduction tool when centrality is taken into account.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Nowlin, Rachel B.

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

Weigh-in Environment and Weight Intentionality and Management of Female Collegiate Athletes

Description: Research suggests that female athletes, in particular, experience “sport-environment” pressures such as: weight, performance, and body image demands from their coaches, teammates, and judges. These influences in tandem with society’s portrayal of the thin ideal are thought to considerably increase the risk of developing disordered eating problems in this population. Although numerous studies have been conducted over the past decade on the prevalence of eating disorders and pathogenic weight control behaviors among female athletes, few have examined in detail the weight pressures that exist within the sport environment, such as whether or not (and how often) athletes are weighed by their coaches, and how athletes respond to those pressures in terms of weight management practices. In the proposed study, we will examine the weigh-in environment, weight satisfaction, weight management practices, menstrual health, and reported source of nutritional guidance. The sample includes 414 NCAA Division I female collegiate swimmers/divers and gymnasts drawn from 26 universities across the U.S. Participants anonymously completed a series of questionnaires as part of a larger study on student-athlete health and well-being. This study found that 41% of athletes were weighed, and most often by an athletic trainer in private. Despite most weigh-ins were reportedly conducted in a positive manner, the majority of the athletes who were weighed (75%) reported using at least one strategy to manage their weight prior to weigh-ins (e.g. restrict food, increase exercise). Athletes desire to lose weight, caloric intake, and menstrual cycles were not related to whether athletes were or were not weighed. The majority of athletes received qualified nutritional guidance about how to healthfully manage their weight. Overall, weighing is occurring in a more positive manner than expected; however, athletes are continuing to report using unhealthy weight management strategies at a high rate. It seems important for athletic departments to set ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Tackett, Bailey

Assessment of Hot and Cool Executive Functioning Following Trauma Using the Traditional Stroop Task, Emotional Stroop Task, and a Novel Implicit Association Test

Description: Individuals who have experienced a traumatic event and develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) frequently show deficits in both primarily “cool” and “hot” cognitive executive functions (e.g., traditional & emotional Stroop tasks, respectively) that can be impacted by high affective salience. Given the dimensional nature of psychopathology, questions remain about individuals within the general population who have experienced trauma but do not meet full criteria for PTSD and yet may manifest problems in these areas, especially areas of hot and cool executive functioning (EF). Thus, the current project was designed to assess hot and cool EF in a relatively large sample of individuals from the general population who have experienced trauma and currently demonstrate sub-clinical levels of post-traumatic symptoms. The Stroop task, Emotional Stroop task, and a novel modified Implicit Association Test were utilized to assess EF across a spectrum of individuals with varying traumatic histories and level of post-traumatic symptoms. Results suggest that a greater frequency of trauma experiences was moderately associated with worse performance on both hot and cool executive functioning measures. Specifically, females within the sample evidenced a close relationship between traumatic experiences, post-trauma symptoms, and executive functioning. Clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Sullivan, Erin

Determinants of Effort and Associated Cardiovascular Response to a Behavioral Restraint Challenge

Description: This study directly tested implications of motivation intensity theory on effort to restrain against a behavioral urge or impulse (i.e. restraint intensity). Two factors were manipulated—magnitude of an urge and the importance of successfully resisting it—with cardiovascular (CV) responses related to active coping measured. Male and female undergraduate students were presented with a mildly- or strongly evocative film clip with instructions to refrain from showing any facial response. Success was made more or less important through coordinated manipulations of outcome expectancy, ego-involvement, and performance assessment. As expected, systolic blood pressure responses assessed during the performance period were proportional to the evocativeness of the clip when importance was high, but low regardless of evocativeness when importance was low. These findings support a new conceptual analysis concerned with the determinants and CV correlates of restraint intensity. Implications of the study and associations with current self-regulatory literature are discussed.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Agtarap, Stephanie

Anger, Forgiveness and Mindfulness: Correlates of Perceived Stress in an Lgb Sample

Description: A sexual minority is someone who identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). According to the Minority Stress Model (Meyer, 2003), sexual minorities encounter significant levels of stress due to their minority group status, thus they are more likely to experience perceived stress. Our cross-sectional, correlational study aimed to explore the relationships between forgiveness, mindfulness and anger and how they are related to perceived stress in a convenience sample of ethnically diverse LGB adults. We hypothesized that: 1) anger is positively associated with perceived stress; 2) forgiveness is negatively associated with perceived stress; 3) mindfulness is negatively associated with perceived stress; and 4) anger, forgiveness and mindfulness account for a significant proportion of the variance in perceived stress. 5) The relationship between anger and perceived stress is moderated by forgiveness. 6) The relationship between anger and perceived stress is moderated by mindfulness. Among LGB adults, the extant literature does not address these four variables in conjunction and the relationships between anger, forgiveness, mindfulness and stress has yet to be explored. Various statistical analyses were conducted, including a hierarchical linear regression to test our model. We found that our overall model accounted for 36% of the total variance in perceived stress (F(5, 142) = 17.31, p <.01) with anger (β = .31, t = 3.55, p = .001) and forgiveness (β = -.21, t = -2.56, p < .05) as the significant predictors. Contrary to prediction, forgiveness and mindfulness did not moderate the relationship between anger and perceived stress in our LGB sample. Limitations, strengths, future research and implications are discussed.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Schumacher, Matthew Robert

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.

The Virtual Classroom As a Tool for the Assessment of Automatic and Controlled Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Description: Assessment of executive functioning in neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism) is a crucial aspect of neuropsychological evaluations. The executive functions are accomplished by the supervisory attentional system (SAS) and include such processes as inhibition, switching, and planning. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tends to present similarly to other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD). For example, ASD and ADHD may share similar etiological underpinnings in the frontostriatal system of the frontal lobe. Research on executive functioning in ASD has been mixed, thus the precise nature of executive functioning deficits in ASD remains equivocal. In recent years, simulation technologies have emerged as an avenue to assess neurocognitive functioning in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders impacting frontostriatal function. Simulation technology enables neuropsychologists to assess neurocognitive functioning within a testing environment that replicates environments in which the subject is likely to be in everyday life, as well as present controlled, real-world distractions, which may be better able to tap “hot” executive functions. A Virtual Classroom Continuous Performance Test (CPT) has been used successfully to assess attention in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders impacting frontostriatal function. The current study aimed to investigate executive functioning in individuals with high functioning ASD using a new construct driven Stroop assessment embedded into the Virtual Classroom. Group differences were found in the Virtual Classroom with distractions condition, indicating individuals with ASD may be more vulnerable to external interference control than neurotypical individuals.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Carlew, Anne R.