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Differential Associations between Psychopathy Factors and Shooter Bias in the Police Officer's Dilemma

Description: The current study assessed abnormal attention in 71 undergraduate men, approximately half of which displayed elevated psychopathic traits, as they attended to cues on the Police Officer's Dilemma. In the computerized task, participants are instructed to shoot men holding guns and not shoot men holding neutral objects. However, research has shown that irrelevant racial cues in the task can influence participants to shoot unarmed Black men more frequently than unarmed White men; a phenomenon termed shooter bias. Contrary to expectations, individuals with elevated psychopathic traits tended to erroneously shoot unarmed Black men more frequently compared to those with low psychopathy scores. Additional analyses indicated that the interpersonal and lifestyle facets were associated with more interference in determining unarmed Black men as not threatening relative to unarmed White men and the affective domain was associated with faster responses to shooting armed Black men relative to armed White men. Additionally, prejudicial attitudes (i.e., social dominance orientation) moderated the relationship between the affective psychopathic traits and shooting armed Black men by increasing the number of armed Black men identified as threatening relative to armed White targets. These findings are discussed in the context of the relationship between psychopathic traits and prejudicial attitudes and recent refinements to etiological theories of psychopathy.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Roy, Sandeep

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

Marital Satisfaction and Parental Mental Health in Associations with Secure-Base Provision to School-Age Children

Description: The current study examines interrelations among family factors in a sample of married couples with children in middle childhood. Specifically, this study tested the associations between parents' mental health, marital satisfaction, and provision of a secure base through emotional sensitivity to the child. We further explored bidirectional and moderation effects between spouses. Participants included 86 heterosexual couples residing in the North Texas community. Using the actor-partner interdependence model, multilevel modeling results indicated that both spouse's mental health symptomology and relationship satisfaction are linked to parent's self-perceived ability to provide a secure base; several gender effects were also found. Additionally, actor relationship satisfaction significantly moderated the association between actor mental health symptomology and secure-base provision. In the context of low actor satisfaction, as the actor's mental health symptomology increases, secure-base provision also increases; however, in the context of high actor satisfaction, as actor's mental health symptomology increases, secure-base provision decreases. Additionally, partner relationship satisfaction significantly moderated the association between partner mental health symptomology and actor secure-base provision. In the context of low partner satisfaction, as partner mental health symptomology increases, actor secure-base provision increases; however, in the context of high partner satisfaction, as partner mental health symptomology increases, actor secure-base provision decreases. Spill-over, compensatory, and cross-over hypotheses, strengths, limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Oosterhouse, Kendra

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

The Relationship of Appearance Pressures, Exercise Behaviors, and Reasons for Exercise to the Psychological Well-Being of Retired Female Athletes

Description: Retirement from sport can be difficult for athletes. Physically, retirement is associated with challenges such as weight gain, muscle loss, and degradation of physical skills. Psychologically, retirement has been linked to increased identity confusion, depression, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating. Research shows that exercise is a way athletes cope with stressors such as psychosocial pressure and retirement. However, exercise is positively correlated with psychological well-being for some individuals, whereas for others exercise is associated with increased levels of depression, anxiety, and body dissatisfaction. Reasons for exercise behavior, as well as the type of exercise in which someone engages, may explain the contrasting psychological outcomes of exercise. I examined perceived societal pressures, exercise, and reasons for exercise in relation to the psychological well-being (i.e., depression, satisfaction with life, body satisfaction) of 218 college female athletes who had been retired from 2-6 years. Through regression analysis, I examined the extent to which the predictors were related to each measure of psychological well-being, controlling for BMI and years since retirement. For life satisfaction (Adj. R2 = .08), exercising to meet potential romantic partner was significant (β = -.158). Higher levels of depressive symptoms (Adj. R2 = .15) were predicted by exercising to improve appearance (β = .198) and feeling pressure to exercise (β = .212). For body satisfaction (Adj. R2 = .42), exercising to prevent illness/injury (β = .197) and to prepare to compete in sport competitions (β = .141) were associated with the increased body satisfaction, whereas a higher BMI (β = -.193) and exercising to improve appearance (β = -.167) were related to decreased body satisfaction. Future research might address psychological predictors immediately post retirement, as this is when retirement may be more stressful.
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Date: August 2018
Creator: Mikesell, Matthew

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

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

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

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.

Effects of Immaturity on Juveniles’ Miranda Comprehension and Reasoning

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

Interpersonal Decentering in Relationship Breakups: Social Cognitive Maturity and Distress Recovery in Young Adults

Description: The termination of a romantic relationship, be it by breakup or divorce, is a fairly ubiquitous experience. Most individuals will recover from a traumatic experience of this nature; some however, experience substantial difficulties in recuperating that persist over time. For these individuals, relationship termination can invoke a variety of negative physical and psychological health outcomes. This project examines the role of social cognitive maturity, operationalized as Interpersonal Decentering, in recovery following a relational loss. Participants in this study were assigned to a pre/post control or measurement intensive (four visits) condition over the course of nine weeks. Individuals in the latter condition completed a Stream of Consciousness (SOC) task in which they discussed their breakup experience out loud for four minutes. These narratives were then transcribed and scored using the Interpersonal Decentering manual as adapted for Expressive Writing. Results indicate that – for women only – mature social cognition is inversely related to depressive mood at the initial visit. However, it is not related to initial PSTD symptomatology for men or women, nor does it predict decreases in depression and trauma symptomatology from the initial visit to the nine-week follow-up. Implications, limitations, and future directions for research of this nature are discussed.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Tucker, Molly S.

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.

Apology and Forgiveness in Couples

Description: Following a transgression, interpersonal forgiveness is one strategy used to restore harmony between the victim and offender. Research also suggests that forgiveness can promote psychological and physical health. Research has shown that an apology from the offender may facilitate the forgiveness process. The majority of studies suggest that when a victim receives an apology, they experience higher levels of forgiveness toward their offender. The purpose of this thesis was to explore the association between apology and forgiveness in a sample of adults and undergraduate students (N = 803). The results are organized in three sections. First, I found a positive relationship between apology and forgiveness, replicating prior research. Second, I created a new measure of transgression severity, and provided evidence of internal consistency, construct validity, and criterion-related validity for this measure. Third, I tested two variables hypothesized to moderate the association between apology and forgiveness. First, there was some evidence that perceived offender humility moderated the association between simple apology and forgiveness. Offenders who were perceived as being more humble when providing a simple apology were granted more forgiveness than their less humble counterparts. Second, there was some evidence that transgression severity moderated the association between a complete apology and forgiveness, but the effect was in the opposite direction as hypothesized. For individuals who reported a transgression of high severity, there was a stronger association between the completeness of an apology and forgiveness than for individuals who reported a transgression of low severity. I conclude by discussing limitations, areas for future research, and implications for counseling.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Reyna, Samuel H.

Discrimination and Perceived Stress in Sexual and Gender Minorities: Self-esteem As a Moderating Factor

Description: Sexual and gender minorities are subjected to discrimination and stigmatization which increase vulnerability to psychological co-morbidities (Mays & Cochran, 2001). The mechanisms through which discrimination contributes to distress in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) communities can be partially elucidated through the minority stress model. The minority stress model argues that minorities are subjected to negative societal attitudes and discrimination that results in excessive psychosocial stress related to their minority position, which is distinct from daily stress. Meyer’s minority stress model is supported by social stress theoriesand data linking discrimination to stress in lgb samples. Researchers suggest that self-esteem buffers the negative effects of adverse experiences but tests of the moderating effect of self-esteem on the discrimination-distress relationship in ethnic and gender minorities yielded mixed results. Szymanski found that self-esteem moderates the relationship between discrimination and psychological distress in a male sexual minority sample, but this has never been tested in a gender-balanced sexual minority sample. We hypothesized that higher levels of self-esteem are associated with lower overall perceived stress in lgbt adults, and that self-esteem acts differentially in lgbt populations to moderate perceived discrimination. We found that discrimination, self-esteem and the interaction effect between discrimination and self-esteem accounted for 53 percent of the total variance in perceived stress scores, ∆R2 = .38; adj. R2 = .53, F(12, 133) = 14.47, p < .001.When we tested whether self-esteem moderated the relationship between discrimination and stress, discrimination was positively related to stress, β = .13, t(144) = 2.14, p < .05, and self-esteem was negatively related to stress, β = -.63, t(144) = -10.26, p < .001. The interaction between self-esteem and discrimination positively correlated with stress, β = .14, t(144) = 2.29, p < .05. Our findings suggest that self-esteem may alleviate the impact of discrimination on perceived stress, which ...
Date: August 2014
Creator: Wike, Alexandra Elizabeth

Effects of Religious Attendance on Suicidal Ideation: Examining Potential Mediators of Social Support, Locus of Control, and Substance Abuse

Description: Religion has a well-documented relationship with mental health benefits and has consistently demonstrated an impact on several specific mental health concerns, including suicide, generally finding various religious facets to be inversely associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors. More specifically, religion has been found to be associated with suicide in a number of ways, including decreased acceptance of suicide, decreased likelihood of suicidal thoughts, decreased likelihood of suicidal attempts, fewer suicide attempts, lower relative risk of suicide, lower suicide rate, and increased reasons for living. Several studies have proposed potential mediators (e.g., social support, locus of control, and substance abuse) of the relationship between religion and mental health, usually in non-clinical samples. The current study sought to examine the association between religious attendance and suicidal ideation using archival data of a clinical sample collected from the University of North Texas Psychology Clinic. Results from this sample revealed no evidence of mediation, instead suggesting a direct effect of religious attendance on suicidal ideation. Two mediation models demonstrated the effects of external locus of control and social support on suicidal ideation. These models are discussed in terms of their directionality, considering the extant research on these associations. Findings of the current study have implications for welcoming the incorporation of salient religious topics throughout treatment in mental health settings, including discussion of religious attendance among those clients who have identified religion as a personal value.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Price, Samantha Danielle

An Exploration of the Criterion and Construct Validity of the Self-Compassion Scale

Description: Past research indicates that self-compassion has positive implications for psychological health and functioning. However, as a newly specified construct, the literature regarding self-compassion could benefit from a more thorough validation of the primary scale used in this area of research, the Self-Compassion Scale. In the present study, structural path analysis (using Amos) was used to explore the criterion validity of the SCS with four variables which have been theorized to be relevant to self-compassion (caregiver emotional responsiveness, fear of emotion, internalized spirituality, and achievement goal orientation). Initial hypothesis testing indicated support for the path model, with the exception of achievement goals which were not significantly associated with self-compassion. Trimming these paths in a subsequent analysis improved model fit. Interestingly, further analyses of the model indicated that the pairing of participant and parent gender produced substantial differences in path coefficients. Next, correlational and factor analytic methods were used to test the construct validity of the SCS. Correlational analyses found adequate convergent construct validity but some lack of divergent validity between SCS dimensions and conceptually similar constructs (i.e., fear of emotion, social connectedness and self-criticism). Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a two-factor model fit the data better than the one-factor model proposed by the author of the SCS. The incremental validity of the two-factor model was supported by incorporating a two-factor SCS in the path analysis. In sum, these findings generally support the criterion validity of the SCS through meaningful associations with theoretically relevant variables but cautions that these associations are strongly influenced by gender. It is also strongly recommended that a two-factor model of the SCS be explored in further research to ascertain its incremental utility for understanding self-compassion’s positive effects on psychological health.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Farnsworth, Jacob K.

Factors That Influence Athletic Trainers’ Ability to Recognize, Diagnose, and Intervene: Depression in Athletes

Description: Athletic trainers (ATs) are professionals who are most directly responsible for athletes’ health care in a sport environment. ATs work with athletes on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of athletic injury; it is through these interactions that put ATs in an ideal position to recognize the psychological and emotional distress that athletes may suffer. Consequently, the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) has called for ATs to be competent in implementing psychosocial strategies and techniques (e.g., goal-setting, imagery, positive self-talk), recognizing basic symptoms of mental disorders, and identifying and referring athletes in need of psychological help. I explored ATs’ ability to recognize, diagnose, and provide a referral for collegiate athletes who were presenting with symptoms of depression across three different scenarios. The study examined factors that may impact ATs’ abilities in these areas, including AT gender, athlete gender, and type of presenting problem (e.g., athletic injury, romantic relationship, or sport performance issue). Overall, female ATs were better at recognizing depressive symptoms than male ATs, though both were equally proficient at diagnosing depression. Regardless of gender of the AT, gender of the athlete, and presenting problem, ATs were most likely to refer the athletes to a counselor/psychologist, and to a lesser extent sport psychology consultant (SPC). ATs viewed referrals to an SPC as most appropriate for presenting problems related to sport (i.e., performance problem or injury). The results highlight a possible bias in referrals to an SPC, in that SPCs may not be considered an appropriate referral source for romantic relationship problems. Implications for ATs and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Nguyen, Thomas TN

The Influence of Perceived Stress on Insulin Resistance in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

Description: Objective: To identify whether perceived stress is a risk-factor for higher cortisol levels and greater insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic patients, using data from participants with and without diabetes in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), specifically MIDUS II, Project 4. The following hypotheses were tested: (H1a) greater perceived stress would be associated with higher cortisol for Type 2 diabetic participants, (H1b) the perceived stress/cortisol relationship would be stronger for people with Type 2 diabetes than for those without it, (H2) greater perceived stress would be associated with higher Homeostatic Model Assessment-Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR, insulin-resistance) for Type 2 diabetic participants, (H3a) subjective well-being would moderate the perceived stress/insulin resistance relationship for Type 2 diabetic participants, and (H3b) depression would moderate the perceived stress/insulin resistance relationship for Type 2 diabetic participants. Method: MIDUS, a longitudinal study of over 7,000 American adults, explores biopsychosocial factors that could contribute to variance in mental/physical health. Only complete data were utilized. Type 2 participants (n=115) consisted of 54 males and 62 females ranging in age from 36 to 81 years. Non-diabetic participants (n=1097) consisted of 470 males and 627 females ranging in age from 34 to 84 years. Results: None of the predicted relationships were statistically significant. Waist to hip ratio was significantly related to insulin resistance (r = .31, p = .001). Conclusions: Future studies should collect information about the type and duration of stressors in addition to perceptions about stress for those with Type 2 diabetes.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Phillips, Amanda S.

Personality and Mental Health Attitudes Among US Army ROTC Cadets

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

Psychopathic Traits and Insecure Attachment Patterns in Community-based Subgroups

Description: There is a growing body of research on psychopathic traits in non-clinical populations. This emerging research has documented the prevalence of psychopathic traits in the general population and demonstrated that psychopathy has a similar latent structure as well as similar correlates (e.g., violent behavior, alcohol abuse, and lower intelligence) to forensic/offender samples. Relatedly, there is strong evidence insecure attachment patterns in adulthood are associated with many personality disorders, including psychopathy, but only a few studies have examined the relationship between attachment and psychopathic traits in non-clinical samples (albeit, convenience samples of college students). Thus, two aims of the current study are to: 1) describe and explore the manifestation and expression of psychopathic traits in a large, community-based sample and 2) examine associations between adult attachment disturbances and psychopathic traits in diverse sociodemographic subgroups. Using a cross-sectional design, results showed mean-level psychopathy factor score differences existed only when considering single sociodemographic factors (e.g., age), not an interaction of those factors. Psychopathy factor profiles were also consistent across groups, with higher levels of lifestyle followed by interpersonal, affective, and antisocial traits reported. Regarding the second aim, findings indicated support for the positive association between disturbed attachment patterns in adult relationships and psychopathic traits, although these associations differed in males and females of different age groups. Finally, there was some support for attachment processes acting as a social development pathway toward psychopathy, as insecure attachments in adulthood partially mediated the relationships between age and interpersonal, affective, and lifestyle traits of psychopathy.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Carter, Rachel M.

Psychosocial Mediators of the Fitness-depression Relationship Within Adolescents

Description: Adolescence is a developmental period during which boys and girls are at high risk of developing major or minor depression. Increases in fitness have been associated with lower levels of depressive symptomatology and improvements in psychological well-being, yet the mechanisms that underlie this relationship have not been thoroughly examined. Three such psychosocial variables (i.e. body satisfaction, social physique anxiety, and physical activity self-efficacy) have been identified as possible mechanisms and although they have theoretical support, additional research is needed to demonstrate empirically the potential effects of these variables. Self-report measures were used to assess the psychosocial variables and the Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) in conjunction with age, Body Mass Index [BMI], and sex was used to determine an estimate of aerobic capacity (VO2max). Path analyses were used to test the proposed model using version 6.2 EQS Multivariate Software. Results of study revealed that the boys’ and girls’ depressive scores were determined based on the extent that their fitness levels improved their satisfaction with their bodies and lowered the anxiety they experience in relation to real or imagined judgments of their physique. Although all pathways in the model were significant, with the exception of physical activity self-efficacy to depression, differences emerged between the boys and girls in terms of the strength of some of the relations amongst the variables. Limitations include restricted generalizability, self-report measures, and cross-sectional design. Results have implications for individuals in a context intended to improve physical and psychosocial well-being of adolescents.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Sheinbein, Shelly T.

Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Description: The accurate assessment of psychopathy constitutes a critical component of forensic assessments addressing offender populations. Among the core characteristics of psychopathy, the interpersonal component of deception and empathic deficits are prominently observed in offenders with psychopathic traits. Given the negative consequences of being classified as a psychopath, offenders may be likely to minimize their psychopathic traits. In particular, no research has investigated whether offenders with psychopathic traits are able to simulate empathy in an effort to mask their cognitive or affective empathy deficits (e.g., lack of remorse about offenses). The present study aims to contribute to the literature with regard to the simulation of empathy. Using a mixed between- and within-subjects design, 81 male detainees were placed into (a) a low psychopathy group, (b) a moderate psychopathy group, or (c) a high psychopathy group based on the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised. For the within-subjects component, all offenders answered empathy questionnaires under genuine and simulation conditions. Results indicate the sample possessed cognitive empathy, but did not display affective empathy under genuine instructions. Under simulation instructions, participants significantly increased their scores on several empathy measures. The implications of simulated empathy and comparisons between groups regarding simulation abilities are discussed.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Robinson, Emily V.