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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

Trajectories of Burden and Depression in Caregivers Following Traumatic Injury: The Role of Resilience

Description: As part of an effort to understand psychological consequences among family members of patients sustaining a traumatic injury, medical research has turned to the role of resilience – or the ability to bounce back from and maintain psychological well-being in the wake of an adverse event— in mitigating the potential distress (i.e., depression and burden) of caregiving (Bonanno, 2004; Roberson et al., under review). This study sought to examine the ability for trait-resilience to predict trajectories of distress over the course of a year among 124 family members and loved ones of patients admitted to a Level I Trauma Center. A cross-lagged path model examining resilience, burden, and depression at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months after injury showed that, while depression strongly predicted later burden, resilience was not a significant predictor of either outcome in the model. When depression and burden were subjected to a person-centered analysis (i.e., latent growth curve analysis), two major classes were identified: caregivers with high, chronic distress (33% of the sample) and low-moderate distress that declined over time. A three-class solution for caregiver burden further identified a moderate, increasing trajectory class. Predictive discriminant analyses revealed that trait-resilience was a major differentiating trait between class membership (rs = .23 for depression; rs = .32 for burden); further, presence of PTSD symptoms at baseline, gender, and history of depression were shown to be strong factors in distinguishing class membership across both outcomes. This study helps shed insight into the well-being of caregivers in the wake of a loved one's traumatic injury, in addition to possible identifying risk factors while patients are still admitted in the ICU. Lastly, the study provides alternatives for analyses that focus on longitudinal outcomes, particularly person- vs. variable-centered solutions.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Agtarap, Stephanie D
Partner: UNT Libraries

Idiographic Temporal Dynamics of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptom Dimensions in Daily Life

Description: Understanding temporal relations among posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom dimensions has received increasing attention in research. However, current findings in this area are limited by group-level approaches, which are based on inter-individual variation. PTSD is a heterogeneous syndrome and symptoms are likely to vary across individuals and time. Thus, it is important to examine temporal relations among PTSD symptom dimensions as dynamic processes and at the level of intra-individual variation. The aim of the present study was to capture temporal dynamics among PTSD symptom dimensions at an individual level using unified structural equation modeling (uSEM). World Trade Center (WTC) 9/11 responders (N = 202) oversampled for current PTSD (18.3% met criteria in past month) were recruited from the Long Island site of the WTC health program. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), PTSD symptoms were assessed three times a day over seven consecutive days. The person-specific temporal relations among PTSD symptom dimensions were estimated with individual-level uSEM. For the sample as a whole, hyperarousal played a key role in driving the other three symptom dimensions longitudinally, with the strongest effect in intrusive symptoms. However, daily temporal relations among PTSD symptoms were idiosyncratic. Although hyperarousal was a strong predictor of subsequent symptom severity, only 33.95% of the sample showed this predictive effect while others showed more evident temporal relations between intrusion and avoidance. Implications for personalized health care and recommendations for future research using individual-level uSEM in psychopathology are discussed.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Schuler, Keke
Partner: UNT Libraries