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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

Childhood Bereavement and Parents’ Relationship With Children

Description: It has long been recognized that childhood bereavement is a risk factor for depression in adulthood. Research also has consistently demonstrated that parental depression is linked to poor parent-child relationship quality. The current study examined whether bereavement in childhood increases likelihood of current depressive symptoms among parents and explored whether this vulnerability in the parent then alters the quality of the parent-child relationship. Archival data for a sample of 86 families (N=176 parents) are drawn from the Family & Kid Connection project led by Dr. Shelley Riggs. Instruments utilized include the Background Information Questionnaire, the Symptom Assessment-45 Questionnaire, and the Parenting Relationship Questionnaire. Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model, Multilevel Modeling procedures explored the hypothesis that parental depression mediates the association between parents’ childhood bereavement and their perception of the parent-child relationship. Results show a significant relationship between parental (actor) depressive symptoms and parent-child attachment, indicating the need for therapeutic interventions targeting the parent-child relationship, and not just parents, for parents suffering from depression.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Benson, Karen M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Family Variables in the Cultural and Psychological Adjustment of Third Culture Kids

Description: Third culture kids are children raised in globally mobile families who have left their culture of origin to reside in a host culture. As this relocation occurs during childhood, the child combines the values, traditions, and norms of both cultures thereby creating a third culture, a unique culture created by the parent’s integration of the home culture, the host culture, and the domains of the organizational culture. Emotional Stability was found to mediate the relationship between family of origin Expression and Composite distress. Though this was the only hypothesized model that was supported, other interesting findings include that when participants were categorized by industry, statistically significant differences were found between Military, Missions, and the Other group on all of the scales. These differences are likely due to a cohort effect, given that the military family mean age was as much as twenty years higher than the other groups.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Wilson, Jennifer L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Psychological Maltreatment and Adult Attachment: The Protective Role of the Sibling Relationship

Description: A positive sibling relationship may protect individuals against poor developmental outcomes associated with psychological maltreatment. The current study assessed the moderating role of a positive sibling relationship in childhood and adulthood on associations between early psychological maltreatment and adult attachment anxiety and avoidance. College students (N = 270) completed self-report measures of psychological maltreatment, sibling relationship quality, and adult attachment. Psychological maltreatment in childhood was associated with an increase in attachment anxiety and avoidance, while a positive sibling relationship was related to a decrease in levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance. As predicted, a positive childhood sibling relationship mitigated the negative effects of psychological neglect in childhood on attachment. Similarly, a positive sibling relationship decreased the levels of attachment anxiety associated with isolation in childhood.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Collier, Laura C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Adolescent Behavior Problems and Interparental Conflict: the Moderating Role of Parent-child Attachment

Description: The current study examined the role that parent-child attachment plays in the relationship between marital conflict and the development of behavior problems in adolescents. To evaluate the hypothesis that attachment moderates this relationship, 57 families were recruited via e-mail invitation sent to families that participated in local church youth groups, school organizations, and a treatment program designed for adolescents with behavior problems. One custodial parent and his/her adolescent child completed an online or paper version of a survey consisting of the Achenbach’s Behavior Checklists, the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment, and the Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale. Hypotheses were evaluated using Baron and Kenny’s (1986) procedures to test moderating effects with multiple regression analyses. Mother attachment demonstrated a significant moderation effect between the intensity of interparental conflict and the parent’s report of externalizing behavior problems. Specifically, at low conflict intensity levels, relative to low attachment security, high attachment security was associated with fewer externalizing behavior problems, whereas at high intensities of interparental conflict high attachment security was associated with more externalizing behavior problems.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Daubs, Carlyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Early and Current Family Environment Among Inpatient Trauma Survivors: Associations with Multi-type Abuse and Sexual Orientation

Description: The present study is an exploratory analysis of associations among sexual orientation, childhood abuse, and characteristics of both early and current family environment in a sample of 80 inpatient trauma survivors. Participants were administered a background information questionnaire, Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule, the Family Environment Scale and other instruments not analyzed in the current study. Multi-type abuse was significantly associated with low expressiveness and independence and high control in the early family, but no associations emerged with current family characteristics. Results suggest that the intergenerational transmission of family organization and moral-religious orientation occurred in the entire sample, and the transmission of family conflict patterns occurred only in the L/G/B group. Overall, participants perceived improvements in their current family environments compared to their early family environments. Findings yield support for the sexual minority stress model and mixed support for the intergenerational transmission of family characteristics.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Williams, Jennifer S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Social Support As a Moderating Factor Between Mental Health Disruption and College Adjustment in Student Veterans

Description: Research has indicated that OEF/OIF veterans are experiencing mental health concerns following deployment. While there are increasing numbers of veterans returning to higher education institutions after discharging from the military, there is a scarcity of empirical research investigating student veterans’ experiences as they transition into college. The purpose of the current study was to examine whether social support moderates the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment among a sample of student veterans. Participants were administered a Background Information Questionnaire, measures of psychological distress (i.e., GAD-7, PHQ-9, IES-R), Multidimensional Scales of Perceived Social Support, and the Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire. Multiple regressions revealed significant main effects for the variables of interest, but analyses failed to support the hypothesis that perceived social support would moderate the effects of psychological distress on college adjustment.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Campbell, Robyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Factor Analysis of the Spouse Observation Checklist-revised Using Attachment Theory As an Organizational Framework

Description: The purpose of the current study was to investigate the factor structure of the Spouse Observation Checklist-Revised using attachment theory as an organizational framework. The study used archival data from a community sample of 92 heterosexual childless couples married 1-5 years and 4 lesbian couples (N = 192). Separate exploratory factor analysis on the Perception of Self-Behavior and Perception of Partner-Behavior items revealed symmetrical 4-factor structures with factors reflecting emotional support, physical intimacy, instrumental support, and disengagement. Separate analyses examined associations of the four identified factors with the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale to begin to place the SOC-R within a nomological network.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Heffel, Carly J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sibling Relationship Quality: Associations with Marital and Coparenting Subsystems

Description: Marital relationships play an important role in family functioning and in the development of sibling relationships. From a family systems perspective, other subsystems within the family, such as coparenting interactions, could explain the effects of the marital relationship on sibling bonds. Specifically, the quality of the coparenting relationship may mediate the association between marital functioning and sibling relationship quality. The current study examined relationships between these three subsystems (marital, coparenting, and sibling) as self-reported by mothers, fathers, and children with siblings. As part of a larger project, families with a child aged 8 to 11 and at least one sibling (N = 75) completed the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Coparenting Scale (both completed by mother and father), as well as the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (completed by target child). Results suggested that marital functioning is a significant predictor of functioning within the coparenting relationship. Predicted associations did not emerge between sibling relationship quality and marital or coparenting relationships, with minor exceptions, and the coparenting relationship did not mediate the association between marital and sibling relationship quality. Implications of the current findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Guinn, Megan D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Role of Attachment in Perceptions of Interparental Conflict and Behavior Problems in Middle Childhood

Description: The current study investigated the association of interparental conflict, parent-child attachment, and children's behavior problems in middle childhood. Although the effects of interparental conflict have been studied extensively, there has been little research done in the developmental period of middle childhood. This study examined the potential mediating role of the attachment relationship between parents and children in a community sample consisting of 86 two-parent families with at least one child between the ages of 8-11. Path modeling procedures indicated that attachment security serves as a mediator between interparental conflict and child behavior problems based on child reports. In particular, child-reported attachment security to the mother significantly mediated the association between children's perceptions of threat from interparental conflict and child-reported internalizing and inattentive/hyperactive symptoms. Child-reported attachment security to the father was not a significant mediator and mediation was not supported in parent-report models. The current findings have implications for families experiencing conflict and speak to the importance of attachment in the parent-child relationship when explaining the association between instances of interparental conflict and child behavioral outcomes. In particular, parents who engage in conflict can prevent the damaging effects of that conflict by making the conflict less overt, explaining to children the reasons for the conflict, and providing children with some assurance that a secure parent-child and interparental relationship is still present, despite the conflict.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Cusimano, Angela Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Observed Parenting Aspects of Child Compliance in Custodial Grandfamilies

Description: Custodial grandmothers and grandchild (aged 4 to 12) dyads (N = 170) completed self-report, other-report, and an observational task that captured child HI, expressive social support, and custodial grandmother-grandchild compliance variables. A multivariate analysis of covariance tested differences between high and low hyperactivity-inattention on observed parenting variables while controlling for child age. While overall results were not significant, there were significant differences between child age and observed parenting variables. A hierarchical regression model revealed that, when controlling for age, child hyperactivity-inattention does not moderate the relationship between commands given by a custodial grandmother and child compliance, but revealed that direct commands from the grandmother predicted compliance. A second hierarchical regression model suggested that encouragement and praise (versus criticism and discouragement) from a grandmother moderated the relationship between grandmother commands and child compliance, when controlling for child age. It appeared that when grandmothers gave indirect commands more frequently, encouragement and praise instead of criticism was associated with greater compliance. In dyads with frequent direct commands given, compliance was high, however dyads who scored high in direct commands with criticism and discouragement were most likely to comply. This study adds to the literature by providing insight into the challenges and strengths for this unique, growing population.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Portner, Laura Collier
Partner: UNT Libraries

UNT Speaks Out On Coming Home

Description: This video recording is of the faculty lecture series UNT Speaks Out on Coming Home. This series features presentations by Dr. Shelley Riggs, Dr. Adriel Boals, and Doctoral Student Cindy Hasio. Dr. Shelley Riggs is a professor of psychology, director of the Family Attachment Lab, and is conducting the Student Veteran Research Project at the University of North Texas (UNT). She discusses the family relationships of veterans after deployment. Dr. Adriel Boals is professor of psychology and has a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study innovative approaches to understanding and treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other responses to trauma and stress. He discusses what PTSD is and what causes it. Cindy Hasio is a doctoral student in the College of Visual Arts and Design. She discusses methods and findings from a project she participated in related to how veterans narrated their experiences through art. Her component of the study evaluated participants and described what they gained through creating arts and crafts. Stuart Presley, Domingo Rodriguez, and James Rumor are a panel of three student veterans who describe their experiences after deployment.
Date: November 15, 2012
Creator: University of North Texas. Libraries.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bipolar Disorder in the Family: Impact on Functioning and Adjustment to College

Description: Bipolar disorder is a serious mental disorder, affecting anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of Americans. Though research has indicated that this disorder can be devastating for patients, less is known about how the disorder impacts family members. There is no research that has considered impacts on family members adjusting to college. The purpose of the current study was to determine the extent to which having a family member with bipolar disorder impacts adjustment to college, as well as factors that might account for worse functioning. Two groups were recruited: students with a bipolar family member (n = 25) and students with no family history of the disorder (n = 50). Participants were interviewed regarding their own histories of a mood disorder, as well as mood disorder histories in their immediate families. They then completed surveys assessing adjustment to college, functioning, caregiving burden, parental relationship, and attachment style. Students with a family history of bipolar disorder had significantly lower social adjustment scores, lower personal-emotional adjustment scores, and lower financial functioning scores than students without this history. Lower scores were found even after controlling for psychopathology. Avoidant attachment behaviors, anxious attachment behaviors, and aspects of the paternal relationship were identified as potential mediators. Caregiving burden was identified as a partial mediator. Implications for families and educational institutions are discussed.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Crandall, Erin
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Determinants and Consequences of Empathic Parenting: Testing an Expansion of Belsky's Model of Parenting Using SEM

Description: An understanding of factors that enhance empathic parenting behaviors is of considerable importance to the study of child development and to the development of parenting interventions to promote child adjustment. Moreover, gaining a better understanding of the factors that predict empathic parenting with older children is of interest since most research examining parental empathy focuses on infants. These were the goals of the current study. Guided by Belsky's 1984 process model of the determinants of parenting that impact child development, an expanded model of the determinants of parenting is proposed that includes various parent, child, and contextual factors of influence. Using data from a community sample, a partial least squares path analysis approach was employed to test the model's strength in predicting empathically attuned parenting with children ages 5 to 10 years and, ultimately, the child's psychoemotional functioning. Results support the expanded model; however, a reduced model was found to be superior and revealed unique relationships between the determinants of parenting. Specifically, a parent's psychoemotional functioning and childrearing beliefs and attitudes were found to be critical to the parent's ability to engage in empathic parenting behaviors. Other parent factors such as the parent's developmental history of abuse, maladaptive personality traits, and age, along with contextual factors and child characteristics, were found to influence parenting only indirectly through their impact on the parent's level of psychoemotional distress or childrearing beliefs and attitudes. Ultimately, the current findings support Belsky's claim that parent factors are the strongest predictors of empathic parenting. Implications of these findings are many. The results highlight the importance of assessing a parent's childrearing beliefs and attitudes and level of distress in conjunction with characteristics of the child when a family comes in for treatment. Moreover, the results identify many points of intervention to stopping the cycle of abuse.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Morse, Margaret K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Adult Attachment Patterns, Mental Representation of Self, and Faith: Mediators of Childhood Trauma and Affect-Behavior Regulations in Adulthood

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate psychological mechanism by which four intra- and inter-personal characteristics of an individual (anxious and avoidant adult attachment patterns, images of self, and religious faith) mediate the relationship between childhood trauma and each of three affect-behavior regulation problems in adulthood (symptoms of depression, disordered eating behaviors, and substance abuse). A total of 401 college student participants completed a packet of 18 surveys including 10 surveys used in the present study. Structural equation modeling was used to test each of three hypothesized structural models (Depression, Eating Disturbances, and Substance Abuse). A series of multi-group analyses conducted to test if each of three hypothesized models is invariant across gender indicated no significant difference between females and males. Thus, the data were combined across gender to test for mediated effects in each of three hypothesized models. The results indicated: (a) for the hypothesized model for depression, anxious attachment patterns, avoidant attachment patterns, and negative self-images, but not religious faith, fully mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and symptoms of depression; (b) for the model for eating disturbances, anxious attachment and negative images of self, but not avoidant attachment and religious faith, fully mediated the association between childhood trauma and disordered eating behaviors; and (3) for the mode for substance abuse, anxious attachment and poor religious faith, but not avoidant attachment and negative self-images, fully mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and substance abuse. The findings of the present study have noteworthy implications for treatment. When clients who suffer from symptoms of depression, disordered eating behaviors, and/or substance abuse report a history of repetitive abuse and neglect by primary caregivers in childhood, clinicians need to assist clients in: (a) understanding an association of childhood maltreatment with affect-behavior regulation problems; (b) being aware of an impact of abuse ...
Date: December 2010
Creator: Han, GiBaeg
Partner: UNT Libraries

Associations Between Witnessing the Abuse of a Sibling in Childhood and Experiencing Trauma Related Symptoms in Adulthood

Description: Currently sibling research is burgeoning, yet there is virtually no literature regarding outcomes associated with witnessing the abuse of a sibling. The present study aimed to address this gap in the literature. A sample of 284 university students were surveyed regarding traumatic experiences in childhood and adulthood, the quality of childhood sibling relationships, and the experience of trauma symptoms in adulthood. Regression and moderation analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between witnessing the abuse of a sibling in childhood and trauma symptoms in adulthood and to assess whether sibling relationship quality moderates the association between sibling abuse and trauma symptomology. Results showed that witnessing the abuse of a sibling was associated with depression symptoms in the overall sample and for females reporting about a brother. Also, sibling conflict moderated the relationship between witnessed sibling abuse and externalization in sister-sister dyads. These associations should be considered in terms of the systemic abuse to which participants were exposed. Implications for clinical practice working with sibling-related victimization are discussed.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Williams, Jennifer S
Partner: UNT Libraries