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An Examination of the Language of Psychopaths: Differences in Prosodic Channels of Communication in Psychopathic and Non-Psychopathic Offenders

Description: Natural speech contains a wealth of information relevant to understanding cognitive and affective psychological processes, which are reflected in both prosodic and semantic channels of communication. While differences in semantic channels have been demonstrated among psychopathic versus non-psychopathic individuals, research on the role of prosody in psychopathy is scant. The Computerized Assessment of Natural Speech protocol provides adetailed assessment of macroscopic-level prosody variables related to underlying psychological processes that have been linked to psychopathological conditions. Psychopathy is a condition that involves a number of disruptions in cognitive and affective processes, which theoretically can be tied to various aspects of speech. The present study provides a novel contribution by examining natural speech output in an offender sample in the context of a clinical interview (Psychopathy Checklist – Revised). More specifically, the present study examined variance in prosody across segments of the PCL-R interview designed to elicit both positively and negatively valenced emotional content, across high and low levels of subjective arousal, in psychopathic (n = 49) and non-psychopathic (n = 44) male offenders who were similar in terms of age, education, race/ethnicity, and IQ. Three-factor mixed MANOVAs (Group x Valence x Arousal) were conducted to evaluate differences in prosodic speech displayed by the offenders. Results indicated significant interactions between psychopathic and non-psychopathic offenders across valence and arousal conditions in terms of percentage of silence, average pause length, longest pause length, average within-utterance variation in subjectively defined pitch and articulation variables, and average rate of change in articulation across speech sample. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Walsh, Hannah C

Mental Illness Stigma, Parent-Child Communication, and Help-Seeking of Young American Adults with Immigrant Parents

Description: This study examined a mediational model of mental illness stigma, parent-child communication about mental health concerns, and help seeking attitudes/behaviors among young adults with at least one immigrant parent while considering the possible moderating effect of acculturation gap. The primary goal of this study was to examine whether the acculturation gap changed the relation between mental illness stigma and communication about personal mental health concerns with immigrant parents, which in turn could become a significant predictor of their help-seeking attitudes, as well as a barrier to seeking professional mental health services. Findings provided support to the direct and indirect effects of mental illness stigma through communication about mental health concerns on attitudes about help-seeking. The acculturation gap hypothesized to be a possible moderator for the stigma-communication about mental health concerns relationship among young adult ABCI was found to be significant for ABCI with a low mainstream culture acculturation gap. Discussion on the findings, limitations of the study, future research directions, and counseling implications are addressed.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Bismar, Danna

Pathways to Prolonged Grief and Posttraumatic Growth: Examining the Roles of Attachment, Identity Distress, and Shattered Assumptions

Description: The sudden or violent death of a loved one (e.g., suicide, homicide, accident, etc.) poses unique challenges for the bereaved. Research has found such losses to be associated with higher levels of chronic psychological distress, now termed Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder in the DSM-5 and Prolonged Grief Disorder in the forthcoming ICD-11. The present study, developed through the lens of Multidimensional Grief Theory (MGT; Kaplow et al., 2013), explored underlying mechanisms and risk and protective factors for both prolonged grief and posttraumatic growth. With a mixed college and community sample of 374 traumatically bereaved adults, results of a path analysis suggest that insecure attachment strategies play a significant role in prolonged grief symptoms through the mediators of identity distress and shattered assumptions. Faced with the traumatic loss of a loved one, the ability and desire to effectively access relationships facilitating intentional processing that promotes cognitive reorganization is predicated on the bereaved's internal working model of attachment. Specifically, attachment anxiety in relation to close others and God, and attachment avoidance in relation to close others, were indirectly associated with prolonged grief. However, attachment avoidance in relation to God was negatively associated with both prolonged grief and posttraumatic growth, and there was no evidence for mediation. One explanation for this could be that individuals endorsing divine attachment avoidance are less likely to make negative religious attributions about the death, which have been associated with chronic psychological distress, but are also less likely to be able to utilize the sacred as a context for growth. By considering traumatically bereaved individuals' internal working model of attachment, level of identity distress, and potentially shattered assumptions, our model accounted for each of MGT's three domains of distress thought to impact post-lost adjustment. That these domains were both inter-related and associated with differential outcomes speaks to the ...
Date: August 2018
Creator: Captari, Laura E

Transitioning from Sport: Retirement and Former Female Collegiate Athletes' Satisfaction with Life, Depressive Symptomatology, and Body Satisfaction

Description: Retirement from elite sport can be highly distressing for athletes, and many athletes report elevated depression and anxiety or body dissatisfaction when going through this transition. Factors that may be important in determining a higher level of adjustment in retirement include feeling in control of when and how retirement occurs, planning occupationally for after sport, and having achieved sport goals. Thus, we examined how such factors related to former female collegiate athletes (N = 218) satisfaction with life, depression, and body satisfaction. Two to six years post retirement, athletes completed an online questionnaire that measured their satisfaction with life, depressive symptomatology, and body satisfaction; retirement factors were measured by the 12-items from the BALANCE scale. Through regression analyses, we examined the extent to which each of the 12 retirement factors is related to life satisfaction, depression, and body satisfaction; time since retirement was unrelated to these outcomes. Future research might address the transition immediately following retirement utilizing these factors that appear most influential.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Wartalowicz, Karolina Maria

Effects of Bodily Arousal on Desire to Drink Alcohol among Trauma-Exposed Emerging Adult College Students

Description: Alcohol consumption on college campuses is a major public health concern, particularly among emerging adults. Extant literature has identified trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress as robust risk factors for problematic alcohol use. However, the mechanisms underlying this association are less well-studied. Research indicates that bodily arousal is a fundamental feature of trauma exposure and posits that internal stimuli (e.g., heart pounding) at the time of trauma may manifest into conditioned cues that can trigger posttraumatic responding and related symptomatology, including alcohol use. However, past work supporting these assertions have used paradigms purposefully designed to evoke memories of the trauma, making it difficult to conclude whether the subsequent alcohol craving was due more to the explicit memory cue or the associated bodily arousal. The current study examined whether an implicit, trauma-relevant cue of bodily arousal (via hyperventilation) – independent of any explicit memory cue – would elicit increased desire to drink among 80 (Mage = 20.34; 63.8% female) trauma-exposed, emerging adult students. Results found no statistically significant difference in change in alcohol craving between the hyperventilation and control tasks. However, exploratory analyses indicated that trauma type (i.e., interpersonal/non-interpersonal) may moderate this relationship; more specifically, individuals reporting interpersonal trauma as their most traumatic event evidenced a significantly greater increase in desire to drink following hyperventilation compared to the non-interpersonal index trauma group. Generally, results suggest that bodily arousal, without an explicit trauma reminder, is not a specific and/or powerful enough trauma-relevant cue to reliably influence alcohol cravings across all trauma exposed emerging adult students. Suggestions for future directions to help in identifying at-risk subgroups, as well as methodological and procedural improvements, are discussed.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Kearns, Nathan T

Examining the Clinical Utility of Research Domain Criteria in an Outpatient Sample

Description: This study examined the clinical utility of the recently released National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) research domain criteria (RDoC) by replicating and extending earlier work by using a demographically novel sample. Information retrieval and natural language processing of archival clinical records was used to achieve two main objectives: (1) estimate how well the RDoC domains match language used by clinicians by creating domain scores and (2) examine the differences between the DSM's and RDoC's ability to predict treatment outcome using these domain scores and DSM diagnoses. The social systems RDoC category was found to be the strongest predictor of treatment outcome across all diagnostic measures.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Love, Patrick K

Feeling Fat and Depressed: Positive Dimensions of Self-Concept Lessen that Relationship for College Men

Description: The purpose of the current study was to examine if positive family, social, and/or academic dimensions of SC weaken (i.e., moderate) the direct relationship between physical SC (i.e., a person's evaluation of their physique, adiposity, and weight) and depressive symptoms in a sample of adult men. A convenience sample of 239 college men completed self-report measures including the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale-2 (TSCS-2) and Symptom Checklist-90 Revised. Hierarchical regressions revealed that family and social SC were significant moderators of the relationship between physical SC and depressive symptoms, suggesting how men see themselves in their family and social systems affects the aforementioned relationship. Academic SC, however, was not a significant moderator; it was negatively related to depressive symptoms no matter how men felt about their physical selves. Our findings suggest that feeling positively about one's relationships may protect men with poor physical SC from experiencing symptoms of depression at the rates or intensity of their similarly body dissatisfied peers who do not report positive family or social SC. An additional simultaneous regression assessed the contribution of various dimensions of SC to the prediction of depressive symptoms, physical (7.76%), social (8.02%) and academic (6.62%) self-concept accounted for significant amount of variance in symptoms of depression which family SC (2.61%) did not. College counselors who assist men presenting with poor physical SC or depressive symptoms should assess for the other problem, as they commonly co-occur. In addition, they may consider helping them to improve the quality of their relationships in family and social systems as reasonable interventions for both depression and poor physical SC. Importantly, men who experience their academic SC as deficient should be considered at-risk for depression, although more research is needed to help identify the types of students who report low academic SC. In addition, men with symptoms of depression would ...
Date: May 2018
Creator: McGregor, Carlie C

Larks and Hearts: Circadian Mismatch and Effort Intensity

Description: My experiment concerned the influence of chronobiological (circadian) rhythm on fatigue, effort, and cardiovascular (CV) response. It evaluated responses of morning people (Larks) presented an easy or difficult recognition memory task at a time congruent or incongruent with their rhythm. Based on an extension of a conceptual analysis of fatigue influence, my central prediction was that circadian rhythm would combine interactionally with task difficulty to determine effort and associated CV responses. Specifically, effort and associated CV responses were expected to be (1) positively correspondent to task difficulty in the morning (stronger where difficulty is high), but (2) negatively correspondent to difficulty in the evening (stronger where difficulty is low). Preliminary results showed concerning gender effects on difficulty appraisal of the task, thus we examined women and men's data separately. CV findings for women were broadly, but not completely, consistent with predictions. Analyses revealed no group differences in CV response for Lark men.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Carbajal, Ivan

The Revised Stress-Related Growth Scale: Improving the Measurement of Posttraumatic Growth

Description: This study evaluated a revised version of the Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS-R). The SRGS-R has two major differences from the Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS). It uses neutral wording of items instead of the original positively worded items, and it uses positive and negative scaling choices. This study included participants (N = 764) recruited through Amazon MTurk. There were three versions of the SRGS-R tested - the SRGS with neutral wording of items only (SRGS-R-N), the SRGS with positive and negative scaling only (SRGS-R-S), and the SRGS-R, with both changes. We randomly assigned participants to complete one of four PTG measures - the SRGS-R-N, SRGS-R-S, SRGS-R, or the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI). The PTGI elicited the largest levels of reported PTG, while the SRGS-R elicited the smallest levels. The two modified versions displayed scores between the SRGS-R and the PTGI in the small and moderate growth groups. In the current study the SRGS-R was negatively related to PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety (negative, but not statistically significant), global distress (negative, but not statistically significant), and avoidance-focused coping (negative, but not statistically significant), and positively related to positive well-being, quality of life, problem-focused coping, and emotion-focused coping. In comparison, the PTGI was unrelated to depression, anxiety, and global distress, and positively related to PTSD symptoms, positive well-being, quality of life, and all three coping styles. These findings provide further evidence that the SRGS-R is an improvement over the PTGI in measuring actual growth, while limiting illusory growth. We found the combination of these changes yields the greatest improvements in measurement. By improving the measurement of PTG, we can reduce the variation in reported PTG following traumatic events found throughout the literature. This will allow researchers and clinicians to better identify which factors contribute to growth following traumatic events, and aid them in designing ...
Date: May 2018
Creator: Bedford, Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Relation of Sport Involvement and Gender to Fitness, Self-Efficacy, and Self-Concept in Middle School Students

Description: In the current study, the relation of the frequency of sport participation and gender to CRF, muscular strength and flexibility, body composition, physical activity self-efficacy, and physical self-concept in a sample of 629 sixth graders were examined. Because both physical activity and sport participation have been related to similar outcomes, activity through physical education was controlled by including only 6th graders who were part of a required school class. MANCOVA analyses demonstrated that sport involvement was significantly related to improvements in physical fitness (i.e., CRF and muscular strength), physical activity self-efficacy, and physical self-concept (CRF and muscular strength). The interaction between sport involvement and gender was not significant, suggesting these relationships existed equally for the boys and girls.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Clevinger, Kristina J

Relations among Parental Responding to Offspring Emotion, Emotion Approach Coping, and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms among Trauma-Exposed College Students

Description: The present investigation evaluated whether dispositional use of emotional approach coping partially accounts for the association between parental response to emotional expression and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in a sample of 252 trauma-exposed individuals drawn from a pool of college students and college-age members of the community at-large. An online survey assessed parental reactions to participants' negative emotions during childhood (i.e., offspring retrospective report), as well as participant trauma history, PTSS, and use of emotional approach coping. Findings complement literature illustrating the long-lasting implications of the parent-child relationship, such that both supportive and unsupportive parenting were related to PTSS. Supportive parental reactions also were related to emotional expression, but not emotional processing, and unsupportive reactions did not significantly relate to either aspect of emotional approach coping. Notably, emotional approach coping strategies were unrelated to PTSS in the full sample, and thus the indirect effects models were not supported. Post hoc analyses indicated preliminary support for the indirect effect of emotional expression on the relation between supportive parenting and PTSS in the local college student sample (n = 117). Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Dziurzynski, Kristan E.

Sexual Identity and Social Anxiety in Emerging Adulthood

Description: Elevated social anxiety (SA) is linked to issues with emotional distress, substance use, and social anxiety disorder (SAD). Notwithstanding concerns of how sexuality has been defined in the extant literature, emerging evidence suggests that the prevalence of SA and related challenges may be disproportionately present among sexual minorities, including lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGBs). This trend may be especially relevant within the developmental context of emerging adulthood, an important period for development of sexual identity, and a time when individuals are already predisposed to heightened feelings of SA. The present study examined the relationship between sexual orientation (measured using sexual identity, sexual attraction, and past romantic and sexual behavior) and social anxiety (related to social interaction and social performance) among emerging adults. minority sexual identities [Welch's F(5,48.08) = 5.56, p = .002, ηp2 = .02.], same-sex attraction [Welch's F(4,108.06) = 11.27, p < .001, ηp2 = .04], and same-sex romantic [Welch's F(5,85.91) = 6.88, p < .001, ηp2 = .03] and sexual experiences[F(5,61.95) = 8.88, p < .001, ηp2 = .04], particularly among those who indicated attraction to multiple sexes. Findings support research that indicates that sexual minority adults experience higher levels of SA than majority (i.e., heterosexual, opposite-sex oriented) adults, and that assessment of sexuality may reflect number of sexual minorities identified. Future directions including intersections of race/ethnicity and gender are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Akibar, Alvin

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

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

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

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

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