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

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

Logic, Emotion and Closure: Motivations for Choices of Faith

Description: Spirituality and religiosity can play key roles in individual lives through influencing health, social relationships, political views, as well as many other facets (Newberg, D'Aquili & Rause, 2001; Milevsky & Levitt, 2004; Hirsh, Walberg & Peterson, 2013). As important as religious and spiritual beliefs are to societies, cultures, and individuals, little is known about which psychological factors determine choices of faith. Although there are likely many determinants of religious, spiritual, atheist or agnostic beliefs, this study explored four possible factors: critical thinking skills, need for cognition, need for emotional comfort/security, and need for closure. Participants included an undergraduate sample and a community sample. It was hypothesized that religious and spiritual individuals will have lower critical thinking skills, lower needs for cognition, higher needs for emotional comfort/security and higher needs for closure than agnostic and atheist individuals. Hypotheses also included potential interactions between these variables in predicting each faith path. Religiosity was measured using the I/E Religious Orientation Scale - Revised (Gorsuch & McPherson, 1989) and Spirituality was measured utilizing the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) (Fetzer Institute, 1999). These two faith paths were also self -reported by participants after definitions of each were provided. Atheist and Agnostic beliefs were only measured through self-report. Results indicated that both measures of logic (critical thinking skills and need for cognition) and emotional comfort/security (Need to Belong and Religious Motivations) predicted various faith paths. Limitations included sample characteristics and small numbers of Atheist and Agnostic individuals. A better understanding of the motivations for choosing either spiritual or non-spiritual paths may assist in further explanation of the multiple roles each faith choice plays in individual lives.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Jenkins, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mental Toughness: An Analysis of Sex, Race, and Mood

Description: Mental toughness has become a focus for researchers as coaches, athletes, and others extol its influence in performance success. In this study I examined mental toughness among collegiate athletes, focusing on its potential relationship to different demographic variables and to the athletes’ mood. Two hundred seventy-two student-athletes representing 12 different sports from a southwestern NCAA Division I university, participated by completing the Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ), the Brief Assessment of Mood (BAM), and providing demographic information. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) assessed differences in mental toughness scores by sex, race, scholarship status, and starting status. Significant differences in mental toughness emerged between Black – White, male – female, and full – partial – zero scholarship athletes. Pearson correlations showed mental toughness was significantly related to lower levels of anxiety, sadness, anger, confusion, fatigue, and total mood disturbance, and higher levels of vigor.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Beck, Nicholas M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mutual Influences in Romantic Attachment, Religious Coping, and Marital Adjustment

Description: This study examined associations among romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance, positive and negative religious coping, and marital adjustment in a community sample of 81 heterosexual couples. Both spouses completed the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (ECR), a brief measure of religious coping (Brief RCOPE), the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS), and a demographic questionnaire as part of a larger study. Multilevel modeling (MLM) for the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) was used. Attachment avoidance was inversely related to positive religious coping. In contrast, attachment anxiety was directly related to negative religious coping. Positive religious coping buffered the relationship between attachment avoidance and marital adjustment. In contrast, attachment anxiety was detrimental to marital adjustment regardless of positive religious coping, and positive religious coping was related to higher marital adjustment only in the context of low attachment anxiety. Surprisingly, the spouse's attachment anxiety was inversely related to the respondent's marital adjustment only when the respondent reported low levels of negative religious coping, whereas in the context of high negative religious coping, the partner's attachment anxiety was related to higher marital adjustment. Results support using attachment theory to conceptualize religious coping and the consideration of both attachment and religious coping constructs in counseling.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Pollard, Sara E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Marital Status and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Health Outcomes

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

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Self-Forgiveness, Self-Acceptance, and Self-Compassion on Subclinical Disordered Eating: The Role of Shame

Description: Disordered eating is a general term that describes a wide range of behaviors from diagnosable eating disorders to subclinical patterns of behavior that do not meet criteria for diagnosis (e.g., problematic weight loss behaviors, excessive dieting, bingeing, purging). Disordered eating is prevalent and has a wide range of physical and psychological consequences. Negative self-conscious emotions such as shame and guilt have been implicated in the development and maintenance of disordered eating. Positive attitudes toward the self (i.e., self-forgiveness, self-compassion, self-acceptance) may be helpful in reducing shame, guilt, and disordered eating symptoms. In this dissertation, I explored the associations between positive attitudes toward the self, negative self-conscious emotions, and disordered eating in a sample of college students and adults (N = 477). Positive attitudes toward the self were associated with lower levels of disordered eating symptoms, and this relationship was partially mediated by lower levels of negative self-conscious emotions. I concluded by discussing areas for future research and implications for clinical practice.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Womack, Stephanie Dianne
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Description: Today’s military encompasses a wide variety of families who are affected by deployments in multiple and complex ways. Following deployments, families must reconnect in their relationships and reestablish their way of life. Appropriate and effective communication during this time is critical, yet many military couples struggle with this process. Moreover, student service members/veterans and their families are in a unique position. In addition to coping with changes in their marital relationship, student veterans may feel isolated or unsupported on college campuses, often experiencing anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, or suicidality. The current study seeks to bridge the gap between the military family literature and the student service member/veteran literature by examining how deployment experiences, mental health issues, and communication patterns influence post-deployment relationship adjustment among student veterans. Analyses tested whether communication style and/or current mental health concerns mediate associations between combat experiences and couples’ relationship adjustment, as well as between experiences in the aftermath of battle and relationship adjustment. Results suggest that although posttraumatic stress is significantly related to deployment experiences among student veterans, participants report no significant negative effects of deployment on relationship adjustment. Communication style, however, was significantly associated with relationship adjustment, and a lack of positive communication was found to correlate with PTSD diagnosis. Research and clinical implications are discussed.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Carver, Kellye Diane Schiffner
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Test of an Etiological Model: Disordered Eating in Male Collegiate Athletes

Description: Athletes may be at increased risk for developing disordered eating and pathogenic weight control behaviors due to pressure for their bodies to look a certain way and perform at a high level (Sundgot-Borgen & Torstveit, 2004). Petrie and Greenleaf (2013) proposed a psychosocial model to explain the development of athletes’ disordered eating behaviors. Specifically, they suggested that unique weight/body pressures of the sport environment, general societal pressures about attractiveness, internalization of societal appearance ideals, body dissatisfaction, drive for muscularity, negative affect, and dietary restraint combine and contribute to the development of bulimic symptomatology. The aim of the current study is to test the Petrie and Greenleaf model in a large, nation-wide, diverse sample of male collegiate athletes. Participants were male collegiate athletes (N = 731; Mage = 19.91, SD = 1.50) representing 17 sports and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Divisions I, II, and III. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and measures designed to assess their experiences of the above constructs. Structural equation modeling was used to test the pathways proposed in the Petrie and Greenleaf (2013) etiological model. Results suggest that sport pressures, such as those from coaches and teammates about weight, the importance of appearance, and looking good in a uniform, are significant factors in understanding disordered eating among male collegiate athletes. These pressures were related directly to all other variables in the model, including increased body dissatisfaction, experiencing more negative emotions, restricting caloric intake, and engaging in behaviors to increase muscularity. In the end, it was these variables – negative affect, drive for muscularity, dietary restraint, and body dissatisfaction– that explained over 30% of the variance in the athletes’ bulimic symptomatology.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Chatterton, Justine M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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

Parent-adolescent Attachment, Bullying and Victimization, and Mental Health Outcomes

Description: Traditional and cyber bullying have been identified as universal problematic issues facing adolescents, and research is needed to understand correlates associated with these phenomena. Structural equation modeling analyses examined associations between attachment to parents, traditional and cyber bullying or victimization, and mental health outcomes among 257 high school students (Average age 15.9 years). Key patterns emerged, including associations between maternal attachment and mental health outcomes; victimization and mental health concerns; and bullying and victimization in both traditional and cyber contexts. The role of attachment to mothers and fathers varied by context. Findings extend the literature by identifying risk factors in adolescence associated with bullying and victimization, as well as suggesting appropriate prevention and intervention strategies to increase adolescent well-being.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Guinn, Megan D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Accuracy of Partner Perception and Relationship Satisfaction: Investigating Masturbatory Habits

Description: An individual's perceptions of various aspects of one's romantic relationship (irrespective of whether or not the perceptions align with reality) often play a critical role in romantic relationship satisfaction. Research has demonstrated that the accuracy of an individual's perception of his or her partner is generally positively related to the individual's romantic relationship satisfaction. However, when perceiving negative or conflictual messages from a partner, an individual's accuracy of perception is negatively associated with his or her romantic relationship satisfaction. Researchers have suggested that poor accuracy in perceiving negative messages might diffuse the negative intention in a way that is less impactful to the relationship. The present study was designed to investigate accuracy in the perception of sexual topics, specifically masturbatory habits. A sample of 93 married couples (186 individuals) responded to questions about (a) their own masturbatory behaviors and (b) their perception of their partners' masturbatory behaviors to determine the accuracy of each partner's perception of his or her partner. The association between accuracy and romantic and sexual relationship satisfaction was explored, along with one potential moderating variable: attitudes toward masturbation. Perceived reason for masturbating, perceived target of arousal during masturbation, and partner's actual reason for masturbating all positively predicted an individual's relationship satisfaction. Partner's actual openness about masturbatory behaviors moderated the association between accuracy of partner perception of openness about masturbation and both relationship and sexual satisfaction. When partners were more open about masturbation, accuracy was a stronger positive predictor of relationship and sexual satisfaction than when partners were less open about masturbation. Results, limitations, areas for future research, and clinical implications are discussed.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ramos, Marciana Julia
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sleep Loss and Risk-taking Behavior

Description: While sleep loss has been shown to have detrimental effects on cognitive, physiological, and psychological processes, it has only recently been investigated as a possible causal factor of risk-taking behavior (i.e., a conscious choice to engage in dangerous behavior despite knowledge of possible loss or harm). Among the few studies that have been conducted in this field, the majority found that as individuals become sleepier, their propensity to engage in risk-taking behavior increased. The results of the current study indicated a positive relationship between increased sleep loss and two measures of specific risk-taking behavior (i.e., substance use, sexual compulsivity), but no significant relationship between sleep loss and measures of general risk-taking behavior. There was some evidence for temporal stability of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), though scores on the IGT were not related to scores on other measures of risk-taking, nor to measures of sleep loss. Negative mood was found to partially mediate the relationship between sleep loss and substance use, as well as the relationship between sleep loss and sexual compulsivity.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Womack, Stephanie D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Role of Experiential Avoidance in Trauma, Substance Abuse, and Other Experiences

Description: Experiential avoidance (EA) is a process in which a person attempts to avoid, dismiss, or change experiences such as emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. EA is associated with a number of psychological disorders and is generally harmful to psychological well-being. Various studies have explored the role of EA as a mediator, while others have studied EA as a moderator. The current study aimed to further understand and broaden the knowledge of the role of EA in regard to trauma, substance abuse, aggression, and impulsivity by examining relationships between these variables with EA as a mediator and as a moderator. Experientially avoidant behaviors (i.e., substance abuse, aggression, and impulsivity) were related to higher levels of EA. EA was found to partially mediate the relationship between the number of traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as well as the relationship between substance abuse and PTSD. EA was also found to moderate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and aggression. Findings from the present study as well as its limitations and future directions for research are discussed.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Pepper, Sarah E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Racial/ethnic Differences in Hospital Utilization for Cardiovascular-related Events: Evidence of a Survival and Recovery Advantage for Latinos?

Description: Evidence continues to demonstrate that racial/ethnic minority groups experience a disproportionate burden of disease and mortality in cardiovascular-related diseases (CVDs). However, emerging evidence suggests a health advantage for Latinos despite a high risk profile. The current study explored the hospital utilization trends of Latino and non-Latino patients and examined the possibility of an advantage for Latinos within the context of CVD-related events with retrospective data collected over a 12-month period from a local safety-net hospital. Contrary to my hypotheses, there was no advantage for in-hospital mortality, length of stay or re-admission in Latinos compared to non-Latinos; rather, Latinos hospitalized for a CVD-related event had a significantly longer length of stay and had greater odds for re-admission when compared to non-Latinos. Despite data suggesting a general health advantage, Latinos may experience a relative disparity within the context of hospital utilization for CVD-related events. Findings have implications for understanding the hospital utilization trends of Latinos following a CVD-related event and suggest a call for action to advance understanding of Latino cardiovascular health.
Date: May 2014
Creator: García, James J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Athletic Trainers and Sport Psychology: Knowledge, Experience and Attitudes

Description: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) play a unique role in sport environments as the primary medical staff available to athletes. Thus, ATCs are well positioned to oversee athletes’ physical and psychological well-being. Although sport psychologists (SPs) have been identified as a potential resource for ATCs, previous studies have reported a lack of collaboration between SPs and ATCs. This study aimed to (a) examine ATCs’ views regarding professional roles for both ATCs and SPs, (b) explore ATCs’ referral behaviors, (c) evaluate ATCs belief in the credibility of sport psychology across demographic (i.e., gender, age) and experiential variables (i.e., access to SPs), and (d) examine ATCs’ involvement in sport psychology. Four hundred ninety-six ATCs (265 men, 231 women) completed and returned the questionnaire. ATCs viewed assisting in the psychological recovery of athletes as the most acceptable professional role for fellow ATCs; aiding in the psychological recovery of injured athletes and teach mental skills were identified by ATCs as the most appropriate roles for SPs. In considering an athlete experiencing interpersonal difficulties (e.g., relationship problems), a mixed design ANOVA revealed a ATC sex by referral option interaction; female and male ATCs indicated they would likely refer the athlete to a counselor/therapist, followed by a SP, however, female ATCs reported a greater likelihood of referring to a counselor/therapist than male ATCs whereas male ATCs indicated a greater likelihood of referring to a SP. Further, ATCs’ regular access to SPs and completion of formal sport psychology coursework were identified as variables associated with greater belief in the credibility of sport psychology. These results suggest that access and previous experience with SPs remain significant variables associated with ATCs views about, and belief in, the work of SPs. Implications for sport psychology professionals and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Ramaeker, Joseph P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Development and Validation of a Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility

Description: Religion and spirituality are vital aspects of many people’s lives both in the United States and across the globe. Although many constructs and measures exist to describe and assess the experience of pursuing the sacred, the complexity of religious and spiritual experience leads to mixed results in relation to well-being and psychopathological traits. However, in broad terms, the relationship appears positive. Over the past 30 years the need for more refined and useful approaches to the study of religious and spiritual behavior has been repeatedly acknowledged. Although authors wisely caution development of further measures without due cause, extant constructs and measures do not provide clear and consistent results for understanding the influence of one’s relationships to religion and spirituality upon behaviors of clinical interest. The present project drew from the functional contextual concept of psychological flexibility, which provides clarity to understanding the encouragement and maintenance of psychological well-being. A new construct of religious and psychological flexibility is explicated as a functional approach to understanding religious and spiritual behavior in a manner that is useful in research and clinical settings alike. The development and evaluation of the Measure of Religious and Spiritual Flexibility (MRSF) is described. The MRSF evidenced adequate internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Confirmatory factor analysis results were positive, but indicate further refinement. Analyses suggested good construct validity of the MRSF in relation to psychological well-being and psychopathology; construct validity in relation to extant constructs in the psychology of religion was varied. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Schmalz, Jonathan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Religiosity As a Coping Resource for Depression and Disease Management Among Older Diabetic Patients

Description: Compared to the general population, diabetic patients experience a higher prevalence of depression, which can often exacerbate diabetic symptoms and complicate treatment. Studies show that religion is associated with both better physical health and better psychological functioning; however, studies incorporating religion and depression among diabetic individuals are scarce. The present study addressed this gap in the literature by examining archival data from the 2008 and 2010 data waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Cross-sectional findings confirmed that stronger religiosity was positively correlated with perceived diabetes control and positive diabetes change, and negatively correlated with total number of depressive symptoms and total number of weeks depressed. Longitudinal findings confirmed that stronger religiosity in 2008 was positively correlated with perceived diabetes change in 2010 and negatively correlated with total number of depressive symptoms in 2010. Logistic regression and multiple regression analyses were performed to test four moderation models. Results showed that religiosity significantly moderated the relationship between perceived diabetes control and total number of weeks depressed. More specifically, for diabetics with low levels of religiosity, whether they believed their diabetes was under control or not did not make a significant difference in the total number of weeks depressed. However, high levels of religiosity served as a buffer against the duration of depressive symptoms but only for diabetics who perceived to have their diabetes under control. Understanding how these constructs jointly influence diabetes management and psychological functioning is critical in that medical professionals may utilize such knowledge to enhance treatment outcomes.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Dzivakwe, Vanessa G.
Partner: UNT Libraries