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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

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

How Exposure to Parental Intimate Partner Violence Affects College Students' Dating Violence: A Structural Equation Model with Adult Attachment and Social Information Processing as Mediating Factors

Description: The effects of childhood exposure to parental intimate partner violence (EPIPV) on dating violence (DV) were examined through two layers of mediations. Based on attachment theory, individuals who are exposed to parental intimate partner violence are less likely to experience secure parent-child attachment, which in turn transfers to insecure adult attachment that is prone to perceive significant others as less trustworthy and less reliable as well as higher likelihood of over-reacting and/or staying in an unhealthy relationship. In the second layer of mediation, insecure adult attachment would lead to biased SIP which in turn, would result in an increase of DV. A total of 327 university students participated in the study by voluntarily completing the research questionnaires. Among them, 253 reported having experienced mild to severe DV and were included in the final data set. The data analyses procedures included examinations of the measurement models and structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses. Findings from the final models best supported by the data indicated that EPIPV predicted both dating violence perpetration and victimization and that EPIPV predicted adult attachment anxiety and avoidance, both of which are consistent with existing literature. However, findings revealed that EPIPV did not predict SIP and SIP was not predictive of DV perpetration. In addition, neither adult attachment anxiety nor attachment avoidance was predictive of DV perpetration and victimization. For DV victimization SEM model, adult attachment anxiety predicted SIP, however, SIP did not predict DV victimization. Findings are discussed based on DV literature and attachment theory. Limitations, clinical implications, and future research directions are also outlined.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Chong, Chu Chian

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

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

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

The Role of Cultural Self-Construal and Autonomy on Athlete Preference for Intervention

Description: Self-construal (SC) refers to the way people perceive their identities in relation to self and others (Markus & Kitayama, 1991b). It has been found in the literature to influence thinking, decision-making, and preferences (e.g., Sung, Choi, & Tinkham, 2012) which suggests that a person's SC may affect her/his preference on psychological interventions. However, no empirical studies can be located that examined this relationship. The study examined the effects of independent SC, interdependent SC, general autonomy (GA), and sport autonomy (SA) on athletes' preferences and desire to use the interventions in the future, especially how these relations might vary as a function of the type of intervention. It was hypothesized that the relationship between each of the predictors and preference for and desire to use intervention would be moderated by the type of intervention received. Four hundred and thirty-one current and former athletes were recruited to participate in this study. Participants completed a questionnaire that measured SC, GA, and SA and were then randomly assigned to receive one of two self-talk interventions, representing either a self- or other-focused intervention. Participants were asked to rate their preference for and desire to use the given intervention in the future. Results found positive significant relationships with all predictors and intervention preference, in both self- and other-focused groups. Initial hierarchical multiple and logistic regression analyses did not support a significant moderation effect of intervention type on the relationships between the independent and dependent variables. However, a post-hoc analysis that conducted a hierarchical multiple regression with participants separated by gender found a significant moderation effect of intervention type on the relationship between independent SC and preference for intervention for females only. Additional post-hoc analyses were conducted to replicate Sung et al.'s (2012) analysis procedures in which the SC continuous variables were transformed into categorical ones, and ...
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Yu, Alexander Brian

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trajectories of Treatment Change among Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: Predictors and Associations with Outcomes

Description: Previous research has revealed heterogeneity in outcome trajectories among individuals seeking psychotherapy. However, questions remain as to the number, nature, and predictors of these trajectories. Therefore, the present study had three aims: 1) to identify heterogeneous latent groups among treatment trajectories of 212 clients with major depressive disorder (MDD) seeking psychotherapy at a community mental health training clinic; 2) to identify significant associations between clinical and demographic variables and group membership; and 3) to identify correlations between trajectory shape and positive treatment outcome. Prior to treatment, participants provided demographic information and completed symptom severity ratings. Once in treatment, participants completed a self-report of distress via the Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45) at every session. Growth mixture modeling was utilized to identify distinct patient subgroups based on outcome trajectories among the sample. Three distinct latent classes of treatment trajectory were identified, providing evidence of heterogeneity in treatment trajectories among individuals with MDD. Baseline distress, pre-treatment work problems, and sleep difficulties were found to be predictive of an individual's membership in a specific trajectory group. Finally, specific shapes of change, namely early response and sudden gains, were associated with positive treatment outcome. Findings from this study can be used to identify patients at risk for treatment failure, allowing clinicians to intervene earlier to enhance mid-treatment feedback and prognosis.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Kilmer, Jared Newman

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

Cardiovascular Response to a Behavioral Restraint Challenge: Urge Magnitude Influence in Men and Women

Description: Agtarap, Wright, Mlynski, Hammad, and Blackledge took an initial step in providing support for the predictive validity of a new conceptual analysis concerned with behavioral restraint, defined as active resistance against a behavioral impulse or urge. The current study was designed to partially replicate and extend findings from their study, employing a common film protocol and a procedure for inducing low- and high levels of fatigue. Analyses on key data indicated that the fatigue manipulation was ineffective. On the other hand, they supported the suggestion that behavioral restraint should be proportional to the strength of an urge being resisted so long as success is perceived as possible and worthwhile. Analyses also provided evidence of gender differences for this behavioral restraint task. Women showed relatively enhanced CV responses to my manipulation of urge magnitude, performed less well, rated the behavioral restraint challenge as harder, and rated success on the more difficult behavioral restraint task as more important. A broad indication is that men and women can differ in the strength of impulses they experience in response to stimulus presentations as well as in the importance they place on resisting the impulses.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Mlynski, Christopher

Development of an Outcome Measure for Use in Psychology Training Clinics

Description: The ability to monitor client change in psychotherapy over time is vital to quality assurance in service delivery as well as the continuing improvement of psychotherapy research. Unfortunately, there is not currently a comprehensive, affordable, and easily utilized outcome measure for psychotherapy specifically normed and standardized for use in psychology training clinics. The current study took the first steps in creating such an outcome measure. Following development of an item bank, factor analysis and item-response theory analyses were applied to data gathered from a stratified sample of university (n = 101) and community (n = 261) participants. The factor structure did not support a phase model conceptualization, but did reveal a structure consistent with the theoretical framework of the research domain criteria (RDoC). Suggestions for next steps in the measure development process are provided and implications discussed.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Davis, Elizabeth C.

The Effects of Defensiveness and Social Desirability on the Reporting of Personality Traits

Description: Psychological assessment relies on accurate and forthright reporting to determine valid clinical presentations. However, it has long been recognized that examinees may be motivated to present a "better picture" through Positive Impression Management (PIM). Within the PIM domain, two distinct motivations (i.e., defensiveness and social desirability) emerge that have not been clearly differentiated in empirical literature. This thesis addressed the research gap for detecting PIM distortion of personality pathology, utilizing the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). In this investigation, 106 psychiatric inpatients were recruited from the adult Co-Occurring Disorders and Trauma Programs at University Behavioral Health. Using a mixed within- and between-subjects design, participants engaged in simulation via scenarios to be considered for a highly valued rehabilitation program (defensiveness) or employment (social desirability). As expected, inpatients showed elevated levels of problematic personality traits when reporting genuinely, but suppressed them under PIM conditions. These findings highlight that the PID-5, like all multiscale inventories, is highly vulnerable to intentional PIM distortion. Interestingly, respondents in the social desirability condition generally engaged in more total denial than those in the defensiveness condition. Empirically- and theoretically-based validity scales were developed to identify simulators and differentiate between conditions. Besides PIM, higher levels of experienced stigma were associated with more personality pathology, particularly the domain of Detachment. In addition, ancillary analyses showed strong convergence of the PID-5 with its hierarchical trait model to the DSM-IV categorical model. Continued research to detect PIM distortion, and more importantly to differentiate between PIM motivations, is essential for accurate clinical assessment of personality disorder traits and effective treatment planning.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Williams, Margot Maryanne

The Effects of Resilience and Self-Compassion on Symptoms of Stress and Growth Resulting from Combat Exposure in Service Members

Description: The current study examined the impact of resilience and self-compassion on the relationship between combat exposure and psychological outcomes, specifically post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth. Service members and veterans with combat exposure (N = 143) completed an online survey, through which they were administered a Background Questionnaire, the Combat Exposure Scale, the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the Self-Compassion Scale. Results of a path analysis revealed a positive direct effect of combat exposure on post-traumatic stress symptoms and post-traumatic growth and a negative direct effect of self-compassion on post-traumatic stress symptoms. Furthermore, self-compassion moderated the relationship between combat exposure and post-traumatic growth. Implications of these findings and future directions for research are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Raiche, Emily

Emerging Adults Delay Mental Illness Treatment: Another Manifestation of Experiential Avoidance?

Description: Emerging adulthood is a term coined to recognize 18 to 25 year-olds who engage in self-exploration while not yet fully identifying as adults. Many emerging adult college students experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Although many colleges provide affordable and available mental health resources for students, many students who need help appear to not utilize these services. Gaining greater understanding of underlying processes that influence psychological treatment-seeking behavior is imperative. The current study sought to explore the role experiential avoidance (EA) plays as a treatment-seeking barrier in the context of emerging adulthood. Undergraduate students completed online measures of emerging adulthood dimensions, psychological symptoms, EA, self-stigma of, perceived public stigma of, intentions to, and attitudes and beliefs towards seeking treatment, treatment seeking behavior, and a demographics questionnaire. Binomial hierarchical logistic regressions and correlational analyses examined the relationship of EA and treatment-seeking behaviors, accounting for known barriers and emerging adult characteristics. After controlling for demographic variables, results indicated that EA was significantly positively correlated with self-stigma (r = .187), p < .001), perceived public stigma (r = .178, p < .001), intentions (r - .207, p < .001), psychological symptoms (r = .713, p < .001), and attitudes and beliefs (r = .009, p = .003). These and other findings are discussed further, along with the study limitations and implications, as well as possible future directions for work in this area.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Hulsey, Teresa

The Impact of Causative Genes on Neuropsychological Functioning in Familial Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease: A Meta-Analysis

Description: Mutations of three genes encoding amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin-1 (PSEN1), and presenilin-2 (PSEN2) have been shown to reliably result in familial early-onset Alzheimer's disease (FAD); a rare, but catastrophic, subtype of Alzheimer's disease (AD) marked by symptom emergence before age 65 as well as accelerated cognitive deterioration. The current study represents the first known meta-analysis on the association of APP, PSEN1 or PSEN2 on neurocognitive variables. A total of 278 FAD mutation-carriers (FAD-MC) and 284 cognitively healthy non-mutation-carriers (NC) across 10 independent investigations meeting inclusion criteria were chosen for the current meta-analysis (random effects design). Findings revealed an overarching trend of poorer performance by FAD-MC individuals compared to NC individuals across the majority of cognitive domains identified. Significant differences in effect sizes suggested FAD-MC individuals exhibited worse performance on measures of attention, explicit memory, fluency, primary memory, verbal, and visuospatial functioning. Findings indicative of differential sensitivity to cognitive domain impairments across FAD-MC and NC groups inform neuropsychological descriptions of individuals in preclinical phases of FAD.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Smotherman, Jesse M

Miranda Comprehension and Reasoning: An Investigation of Miranda Abilities in Adult Inpatients

Description: Nearly 700,000 suspects with mental disorders are arrested and Mirandized each year. The current study systematically examined the effects of cognitive deficits and psychological symptoms on both Miranda comprehension and reasoning. The current sample was comprised of 85 adult psychiatric inpatients recruited from University Behavioral Health (UBH), a private psychiatric hospital in North Texas. Unexpectedly, most inpatients demonstrated pervasive deficits in their immediate recall of a representative Miranda warning, omitting approximately four-fifths of its content. In addition, the majority of inpatients evidenced damaging errors in their reasoning about waiver decisions. As a result, 64.7% waived and subsequently confessed after only a 3-5 minute interrogation. Interestingly, impaired verbal ability but not the severity of their symptoms predicted greater deficits in Miranda comprehension.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Winningham, Darby B.