• Optimal Experience in Relationships, Activities, and Beyond: Connecting Flow with Self-Expansion

      Dean, Brandy M. (2010-05-11)
      Flow is a state of optimal experience characterized by complete immersion in an enjoyable activity and has been associated with positive experience in activities. Self-expansion is a state of increase in the diversity and complexity of the self and has been linked with positive experience in relationships. Despite phenomenological similarities, the connection between these two states has not been examined. The current study used a correlational design to explore the degrees of overlap between these states by comparing them in general, situation-specific, and predictive contexts. It was expected that flow and self-expansion would occur at similar frequencies, be produced by similar situations, be positively correlated within given activities and relationships, similarly predict attraction to other within a given relationship, and be similarly predicted by a personality trait. Results indicated that these experiences do tend to cooccur. Among students reporting both experiences, the frequencies of the experiences were positively related, although flow experiences were reported as more frequent. Flow and selfexpansion experiences were produced by similar sources across activities and relationships, and students tended to specify the same type of activity or relationship as the source of both experiences. As expected, flow and self-expansion were positively related within a given activity and within a given relationship. Both flow and self-expansion experienced in a relationship were positively related to attraction to the other, although the relationship between self-expansion and attraction was stronger than the relationship between flow and attraction. Neither flow nor self expansion experienced in an activity was related to trait happiness, and there was no significant difference between these correlations. These results are reviewed in the context of previous research, and implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed. Finally, considerations for future research comparing these two theories, as well as other varieties of positive experience, are discussed.
    • Disorders of Extreme Stress, Not Otherwise Specified, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder: A Vignette Study Exploring Clinicians' Diagnostic Perceptions

      Knowles, Awen (2010-05-11)
      Research suggests that some individuals who suffer invasive, early childhood trauma develop significant character pathology, and may meet the criteria for both Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Trauma researchers have proposed a new diagnostic category for these individuals, called Disorders of Extreme Stress, Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS), also known as Complex PTSD. The present study compared clinicians’ symptom ratings for two case vignettes to determine if DESNOS was a better description of the cases than PTSD, BPD, or comorbid PTSD/BPD. Additionally, potential sex bias in diagnosis was examined by manipulating the sex of the client in the vignette, and examining effects of participant sex. A national sample of 123 licensed psychologists completed the study online. The participants read both vignettes, rated the symptoms in each case, and assigned a diagnosis. The hypothesis that DESNOS would receive higher mean symptom ratings than PTSD, BPD, or comorbid PTSD/BPD was not supported. PTSD and BPD each received higher mean symptom ratings than DESNOS in Vignette A, but in Vignette B there were no significant differences in the symptom ratings. The hypothesis that sex of the client in the vignette would influence the diagnosis of BPD was not supported in Vignette A, but was supported in Vignette B, in which all BPD diagnoses were assigned to the female case. The hypothesis that female participants would endorse higher PTSD diagnostic ratings than would male participants was not supported. However, female participants assigned higher PTSD symptom ratings, and endorsed more of the symptoms of PTSD for Vignette A than did male participants, suggesting that the women attended more to the trauma history in the case. Overall, the study provided limited support for the construct of DESNOS. Limitations of the methodology, implications of the findings, and directions for future research are discussed.
    • Professional Psychology Training Programs: Program Interventions and Prediction of Doctoral Student Stress and Life Satisfaction

      Montgomery, Crista (2010-05-11)
      A growing literature on professional training and practice of psychology advocates that psychologists must be educated on risks and effects of impairment and the importance of self-care. Despite the general recognition of the importance of these issues, they have not been incorporated into training standards such as the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines and Principles of Accreditation (2007). In order to assess the approaches that programs currently adopt to address impairment and self-care, this study extended and updated previous research. A large sample of students (n = 591) enrolled in APA accredited doctoral training programs in professional psychology completed surveys regarding their training in self-care and impairment. Trainee well-being was also measured using satisfaction and stress (both professional and personal) scales. How interventions vary by program type was examined. Results showed that psychology trainee reports of professional and personal well-being were consistent with those of similar populations, such as other doctoral students (Pavot & Diener, 1993) and medical students (Firth, 1986). The respondents’ relationship status was not significantly associated with ratings of professional well-being, but partnered individuals scored higher on personal well-being measures. Also, professional satisfaction was higher in younger students and second year students endorsed significantly higher professional stress than first years. The most common interventions students reported receiving were focused primarily on enhancing relational skills and providing of interpersonal support. Programs differed somewhat in the type of interventions they employ to address student well-being. The majority of students reported a desire for their program to increase the amount of interventions offered. Implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are explored.
    • Stressful Life Events and Interpersonal, Religious, and Spiritual Changes

      Murdock, Paul (2010-05-11)
      Survivors of stressful life events and traumatic experiences often report positive psychological changes “...as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances” (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004, p. 1). Three often reported areas of growth include having a greater appreciation for life in general, new priorities, and an increased significance placed on interpersonal, spiritual or religious issues. Despite reports of positive changes, the literature on stress-related growth (SRG) is inconclusive as to whether SRG is an illusion or represents actual change. For example, no studies to date appear to use longitudinal data, objective indictors, or behavioral measures of change. Thus, the goal of the present study is to use longitudinal data to examine if individuals who report experiencing stressful events place a greater emphasis on interpersonal, religious and spiritual concerns. 556 students at Indiana State University responded to questionnaires at three different time periods (i.e. before entering college, and again in the spring of their freshman and sophomore years). Questionnaires related to stressful events, religious, spiritual, and interpersonal behaviors were selected and include Commitment Components Items (i.e. Altruistic Life Goals and Personal Growth Life Goals), the Organizational Religiousness Short Form, Brief Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale, FACIT-Sp Meaning & Peace Subscale, Life Attitude Profile Will to Meaning subscale, and Positive and Negative religious coping (RCOPE). Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to determine if they predict changes on the dependent variables.Results show that individuals who reported experiencing a variety of stressful life events showed few positive changes on a variety of interpersonal, religious, and spiritual measures. Results also suggested that females and African Americans reported more positive change when compared to males and Caucasians. Potential reasons for the lack of stress leading to growth are discussed as well as limitations of the study and future directions.
    • Attention-Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder and Sleep Disturbances: Consideration of Familial Influences

      Noble, Gretchen Stuckert (2010-05-11)
      The present study examined the extent to which parenting influences problems with sleep in children referred for an evaluation of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Data was collected from parents and/or legal guardians of sixty-three 4- to 12-year old children referred for assessment at an ADHD Evaluation Clinic located at a Midwestern university. Previous literature linking sleep problems to ADHD has typically derived from community and pediatric sleep clinic samples and has largely overlooked children with sub-clinical sleep impairments and/or those whose sleep problems stem from alternate etiologies. More than 60% of parents/caregivers in the current study reported significant child sleep difficulties. As hypothesized, parenting (as related to the implementation of daily routines) added to the explained variance in sleep problems above and beyond the variance explained by an ADHD diagnosis. However, neither parent use of routines nor parenting stress were significant individual predictors of child sleep problems. Parent report of child internalizing symptomology, but not externalizing symptomology, was significantly correlated with reported problems with sleep. The present results suggest that children who display behaviors associated with anxiety and depression may be particularly likely to exhibit sleep difficulties and that evaluation of sleep difficulties should include consideration of parenting practices (i.e., lack of consistent sleep routines). Given the high percentage of sleep problems reported, current results also suggest that screening for sleep disturbances should be a routine part of child assessment.
    • Impact of Leadership Program on Personality Characteristics of At-Risk Youth

      Bade, Aashia M. (2010-07-20)
      The use of leadership programs as interventions for at-risk youths has recently gained attention in popular media and psychology literature. This type of intervention presupposes that changes in personality style as well as developmental assets can be cultivated through leadership programming. Although current literature supports the benefits of mentoring and increased community involvement for at risk youths, there is limited research available about personality changes that may occur as a result of participation in leadership programs. The present study focuses on the C5 program, a five-year leadership program for at-risk youths from inner-city areas. A cross-sectional design sampling from participants in each of the five years of the program was used to assess potential personality changes that may occur while participating in the program. In the summer of 2008, participants from each class at the two sites (total N = 316) completed the Adolescent Personal Style Inventory (APSI) and the Developmental Assets Profile (DAP). The APSI is based on the five-factor model of personality style. The DAP questionnaire is based on a developmental assets model of protective factors for youth. It was hypothesized that increased length of participation in the program will lead to significant growth in Emotional Stability, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Extraversion relative to normative data. In addition, it was also predicted that developmental assets of personal, family, social, school and community contextual domains will significantly increase proportionate to length of participation in the program. Results of the present study revealed that although the mean scores of C5 participants are significantly higher than the normative sample in nine of ten variables, there was no significant growth relative to age/gender based norms for the C5 participants in either the APSI traits or the DAP contexts. This pattern of consistently higher scores in the C5 participants suggests there may be a selection bias in the C5 population.
    • Attitudes toward Transsexual People: Effects of Gender and Appearance

      Gerhardstein, Kelly R. (2010-07-20)
      The transgendered community, like other gender non-conforming communities, is the subject of stigmatization, discrimination, and violence. However, there is a notable lack of research investigating the specific attitudes toward various manifestations of transgenderism, and the factors that may be contributing to these attitudes. The goal of this study was to investigate factors that contribute to negative attitudes toward, and discrimination against, this consistently marginalized group of people. The present study explored the relationship between attitudes toward transsexuals and several gender-related variables, including gender of the rater, sex and apparent gender of the transsexual, as well as gender role beliefs, personal gender-role identification, and general attitudes toward transgenderism and homosexuality. The sample population for the main analyses consisted of 251 heterosexual undergraduate students, including 131 men and 120 women. Participants rated one of two vignettes, which were paired with one of four different pictures. The vignettes described either a male-to-female or female-to-male transsexual, and the corresponding picture depicted an individual whose appearance was stereotypically consistent with either the vignette character’s post-operative sex or his or her biological sex. Additionally, participants completed the Genderism and Transphobia Scale, the Kite Homosexuality Attitudes Scale, the Hypergender Ideology Scale, and the Personal Attributes Questionnaire to determine whether a relationship existed between these scales and ratings of the target vignette characters. There were significant main effects for appearance of the transsexual, gender of the participant, and sex of the transsexual. Participants reported more positive general perceptions and more positive evaluations of the transsexual character’s attractiveness as a friend or romantic partner when his/her appearance was congruent with the desired sex. Compared to women, men rated the transsexual character more negatively. There was also a significant interaction for gender of the participant and sex of the transsexual, such that females rated the attractiveness of the FTM transsexual significantly more positively than the MTF transsexual, whereas men’s attractiveness ratings for the FTM and MTF transsexuals were not significantly different. More negative attitudes toward gender non-conformists in general were associated with more negative general perceptions and more negative evaluations of the transsexual character’s attractiveness. Results of the present study suggest that gender-related variables, including appearance, are associated with attitudes toward transsexuals. In addition, there are both similarities and differences in the patterns of the relationships between gender and attitudes toward transsexuals and the patterns observed in attitudes toward gay and lesbian people.
    • Diagnosis of Depersonalization Disorder

      DeHoff, Margaret R. (2010-09-22)
      Depersonalization Disorder (DPD) is considered both under-researched and underdiagnosed. A variety of reasons have been proposed for the under-diagnosis of DPD, including the high frequency of depersonalization as a symptom and comorbidity of DPD with other disorders. Under-diagnosis of DPD has also been attributed to inadequate diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV-TR, as it lists only four criteria and only one specifically addresses the phenomenon of depersonalization. Several groups of researchers have proposed more comprehensive and in-depth conceptualizations of DPD. Further, common biases in clinical decision-making, such as an over-reliance on cognitive heuristics and the use of prototypes, can contribute to inaccurate diagnosis and under-diagnosis. A national sample of licensed psychologists was randomly selected and recruited from the membership of the American Psychological Association. The study was conducted on-line and participants were asked to read one of two DPD cases, assign a diagnosis, and rate the representativeness of a series of diagnoses for the case. They were also asked to rate the presence of a list of symptoms, including the DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 criteria for DPD, and the symptoms and dimensions of DPD and depersonalization from the literature. Half of the participants were asked to assign a diagnosis and then rate symptoms (simulated prototype approach) while the others rated the symptoms before assigning a diagnosis (simulated DSM-IV approach). The study found that clinicians under-diagnosed DPD and that the DSM-IV depersonalization criterion had high sensitivity but not adequate specificity. Results indicated that a simulated DSM-IV approach improved accuracy of diagnosing DPD. Finally, results indicated that the symptoms of DPD and depersonalization proposed by researchers had better predictive value for DPD representativeness ratings than the current DSM-IV criteria, but not for a diagnosis of DPD. The results of this study have implications for the diagnostic criteria for DPD, clinical decisionmaking strategies, clinical training, and future research on DPD.
    • Stay at Home Fathers: the New Gender Benders

      Fischer, Jessica (2010-09-22)
      This study compared the gender roles and attitudes toward women‟s and men‟s social roles of stay at home fathers and employed fathers recruited on the Internet. The relationship between gender roles and attitudes toward women‟s and men‟s social roles on reasons for becoming a stay at home father were also investigated. It was predicted that stay at home fathers would endorse more traditionally feminine characteristics for themselves and would have more nontraditional attitudes toward men‟s and women‟s social roles than employed fathers. In addition, it was predicted that fathers who choose to stay at home for practical reasons (i.e. lost job) would be more traditional in their gender role attitudes than fathers who choose to stay at home for other reasons (i.e. really wanted to care for the children). Although stay at home and employed fathers reported having similar feminine and masculine characteristics, stay at home fathers reported having less traditional gender role attitudes than employed fathers. Biosocial theory (Eagly & Wood, 1999) suggests that stay at home fathers may have less traditional attitudes about gender roles because the gender role they are acting out is a non-traditional role for men. Stay at home fathers reported that they really wanted to stay home with their children more than any other reason, whereas the least reported reason for choosing to stay home was having a child with special needs. Contrary to a prediction based on evolutionary psychology, stay at home and employed fathers also reported that their children resembled them to the same degree. The results of this study will contribute further information about a group of fathers that have been under-studied and may also provide helpful information to support groups for stay at home and employed fathers.
    • A Comparison of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide, Psychopathy Checklist, and child and Adolescent Taxon Scale: Predictive Utility And Cross Cultural Generalizable

      Lister, Michael Bruce (2010-09-22)
      The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) is a widely utilized measure for estimating the risk of violent reoffending among forensic populations. However, completing the VRAG can be a lengthy process as it requires entering scores from a second test, the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R), which must be administered separately and requires hours to complete. In order to reduce scoring time, the authors of the VRAG have developed a brief checklist, the Child and Adolescent Taxon Scale (CATS), which can be used in place of the PCL-R as a more efficient method of assessing psychopathy (Quinsey et al., 2004). Previous research has shown the CATS can identify antisocial individuals and yields similar VRAG risk estimates when substituted for the PCL-R (Glover et al., 2002; Quinsey et al., 1998). However, these investigations employed predominantly Caucasian samples, and evidence supporting the validity of the CATS with ethnically diverse populations is presently lacking. This dissertation research addressed these concerns by examining the predictive utility and cross-cultural generalizability of VRAG scores calculated using the CATS with a more racially diverse sample of forensic psychiatric patients. In addition, the utility of the CATS as a stand-alone measure of psychopathy was examined. The relationship between CATS, VRAG, and PCL-R scores was assessed, and the instruments were compared in terms of their ability to predict the length of time African American and Caucasian patients were treated in a maximum security hospital before being approved for a transfer to a less restrictive setting. As expected VRAG probability estimates for recidivism did not differ depending on whether the CATS or the PCL-R was used as the index of psychopathy. In addition, the CATS showed good concurrent validity with the PCL-R, and no significant race related scoring differences were observed. Finally, the CATS was the only risk assessment measure able to predict the length of time before participants were approved for transfer to a less restrictive setting. Findings are discussed in terms of the implications for clinical-forsensic practice.
    • Parenting a Child with Behavior Problems: Dimensions of Religiousness that Influence Parental Stress and Sense of Competence

      Weyand, Chelsea (2010-09-22)
      Parenting a child with behavior problems has been associated with an increase in parental stress and a decrease in parental sense of competence. While parental religiosity has generally been associated with greater child and parent functioning, it has been suggested that when parenting a child with behavior problems, some aspects of parental religiousness (e.g., negative religious coping, biblical conservatism) might decrease functioning. One hundred and thirty-nine parents of children between the ages of three and twelve completed a questionnaire in order to examine the influence of religious variables (sanctification of parenting, negative religious coping, positive religious coping, biblical conservatism) on the relationship between child behavior problems and parental stress and sense of competence. Sanctification of parenting was found to moderate the relationship between child behavior problems and parental stress, such that parents high in sanctification showed little change in parenting stress as severity of behavior problems increased. Similarly, positive religious coping was found to play a protective role in the relationship between behavior problems and parental sense of competence. Overall, positive religious coping was related to increased stress in parents of children with few behavior problems while not decreasing stress for parents of children with more difficult behavior. Parents of children with greater perceived behavior problems reported significantly higher sanctification of parenting and parenting stress, as well as lesser use of positive religious coping and lower sense of competence. Negative religious coping and biblical conservatism did not moderate the relationship between child behavior problems and parental stress, nor sense of competence. This study provides further clarification of the dimensions of religiousness that are relevant to the parenting experience. It also provides evidence to suggest that parental religiousness can have either a positive or negative influence on parental functioning, depending on parenting circumstances and personal perceptions of God and religion.
    • Perception of Control: Accuracy among Optimists and Pessimists on Noncontingency and Contingengy Tasks

      Baum, Spencer (2011-03-15)
      The learned helplessness theory asserts that depressed individuals unrealistically believe that they have little to no control over aversive outcomes in their lives. Paradoxically, research on judgment of control has demonstrated that depressed individuals are not necessarily pessimistic, but rather more realistic than non-depressed individuals. Most of the research on depressive realism has investigated individual’s perceived control in situations in which they have no actual control. Few studies have investigated perception of control in situations where control is possible. Considering that many circumstances in life are controllable, it is important to examine how different personality variables contribute to accurate judgments of control in controllable situations. In addition, many studies have found a negative correlation between optimism and depression and the positive correlation between depression and pessimism, yet the research on control lacks information on optimistic and pessimistic individuals’ perception of control. Using a computerized judgment of control task, the current study examined perception of control in both no-control and control situations among participants classified as either optimistic or pessimistic and as dysphoric or non-dysphoric. Measures of optimism and pessimism used in this study were the Attributional Style Questionnaire and the Life Orientation Test-Revised and the Beck Depression Inventory-II was used to assess depressogenic symptoms. Participants were 88 undergraduate students. It was hypothesized that optimistic participants would exhibit illusory control in both contingent and non-contingent situations, while the pessimistic participants would provide accurate judgments of control in the no-control situation and underestimate control in the iv control situations. Additionally, it was hypothesized that dysphoric participants would provide accurate control judgments in the no-control situation and underestimate control in the control conditions. The results provided mixed support for the study’s hypotheses. Participants with optimistic explanatory styles provided accurate control judgments in the high contingency task and overestimated control in noncontingent and low contingent tasks. Participants with pessimistic explanatory styles underestimated control in the high contingency task and overestimated in noncontingent and low contingent tasks. Contrary to the depressive realism hypothesis, dysphoric participants did not provide accurate judgments of control regardless of the contingency situation. Dysphoric participants underestimated control in the high contingency situation and overestimated control in noncontingent and low contingent tasks.
    • An Examination of Chronic Pain Coping Strategies and Health Locus of Control among Prison Inmates

      Mitrovich, Joseph M. (2011-03-16)
      The present study evaluated the types of coping strategies for chronic pain implemented by 88 inmates, and the degree to which these inmates possessed an internal versus external locus of control. Based on the findings of previous research, it was expected that inmates would report utilizing passive coping strategies more often than active coping strategies, and that passive strategies would be associated with poorer adjustment to pain in terms of depression, pain intensity, and pain interference with daily activities. It was also expected that inmates would report higher levels of external locus of control beliefs than internal locus of control beliefs, and that an external locus of control beliefs would be associated with the use of passive coping strategies. Lastly, it was hypothesized that external locus of control beliefs would be associated with poorer adjustment to pain in terms of depression, pain intensity, and pain interference with daily activities. Contrary to hypotheses, inmates in this sample utilized active pain coping strategies significantly more often than passive pain coping strategies, and reported a significantly higher level of internal locus of control beliefs than external locus of control beliefs. As expected, passive pain coping strategies and external locus of control beliefs were significantly associated with depression, higher rated pain intensity, and increased interference with daily activities. Finally, ratings of use of passive pain coping strategies were significantly related to external locus of control beliefs.
    • Self-Discrepancies, Symbolic Self-Completion, and the Role of Possessions in the Transition from High School to College

      Lochbaum, Ashlee (2011-03-16)
      The purpose of the current study was to explore some of the ways that possessions may be used symbolically to aid adjustment in first-semester freshmen who are transitioning to college. Based on prior literature, the transition to college is often accompanied by self-discrepancies which may be alleviated through symbolic self-completion using possessions. Overall, 219 students participated in this study. Results indicate that first-semester freshmen, as well as upperclassmen students, rely on the symbolic use of possessions in both managing negative affect and symbolizing the ideal college student identity. Furthermore, managing affect through the use of feeling regulators was found to best aid adjustment early in the transition, while symbolizing the college identity through the use of identity claims was found to better aid adjustment later in the transition. In addition, the importance of the college student identity was found to moderate this relationship. The results of this study add to the current literature on self-discrepancies and symbolic self-completion, as well as pointing to the importance of personal possessions in symbolizing the identity and facilitating adjustment in self-relevant domains.
    • Characteristics of Difficult Patients in Prisons Compared to Difficult Patients in Primary Care Settings

      Kistler, Emily (2011-07-19)
      Research has found that patients perceived as being difficult by their physicians share a number of characteristics. These "difficult" characteristics include Axis I disorders, personality disorders, somatization, complex health problems, and aggression. Current research has focused on defining "difficult patients" in community populations, while other populations have gone overlooked. One population that has prevalence rates of the "difficult" characteristics identified in community samples is offenders. As a group, offenders tend to have high rates of mental illness, chronic health problems, and behavioral issues such as aggression. While difficult patients in prison may resemble difficult patients in the community, research has not examined patient characteristics among offenders. It may be that offenders present with additional "difficult" characteristics, such as malingering, due to the uniqueness of the prison environment. This study examined nurses perceptions to difficult patients in prison and in primary care settings. It was hypothesized that difficult offender patients would be perceived as having more psychopathology, malingering more frequently, seeking medication more frequently, making more frequent requests to see the doctor, and that there would be a higher rate of difficult patients in correctional settings as compared to difficult patients in primary care settings. Results show that correctional nurses perceived difficult patients exaggerating their medical symptoms more, being less truthful about their symptoms, being more drug-seeking, and being less reasonable in their requests for medication than difficult patients in the community. There were no significant results in ratings of mental health, manipulative behavior, or requests to see the physician. Additionally, correctional nurses indicated that there are a higher percentage of difficult patients in their setting as compared to community nurses. Results from this study will help generate techniques or suggestions that may alleviate some of the problems nurses experience while treating offenders as well as improving the overall quality of the interaction between offenders and health professionals. This may, in turn, improve offender patient medication compliance, reduce the number of unnecessary doctor appointments, and reduce health-care provider burn-out. Other possible implications include improving the overall health of offender patients and reducing the amount of unnecessary spending to treat patients (e.g.improving patient compliance).
    • Disclosure Involving a Third-Party: Reciprocity and Liking Outcomes

      Cotterell, Keith (2011-09-19)
      This investigation examines the function of third-party disclosures on reciprocal self-disclosures and liking. Sixty-eight college students engaged in a social interaction with one or two computers. In the experiment, one computer would “disclose” information either about itself or about another computer (third-party). Each disclosure was followed by a question to the participant. Questions were asked either by the discloser or by third-party to assess reciprocation of disclosures. Afterwards, participants rated liking for the two computers-as-social-actors. Participants showed a tendency to disclose more (i.e., give longer responses) to an actor who disclosed to them, regardless of whether the disclosure was about the self- or about a third-party (though intimacy of the disclosures was not different). Participants did not disclose more to the third-party whom they heard disclosures about. Liking was unaffected by the disclosures. These results suggest that positive social benefits may be gained by disclosing about another in the place of oneself. Having another individual disclose about oneself, did not elicit of the same social benefits. Implications are discussed about the nature of disclosures and relationship formation.
    • Self-Expansion and Couple Possessions: The Representation of The Self and Other in Valued Possessions

      Paniccia, Lindsey (2011-09-20)
      The current study seeks to understand the influence of romantic relationships on identity symbolism, specifically the use of personal possessions as a means of achieving social validation. According to self expansion theory (Aron & Aron, 1986), engaging in a romantic relationship alters one’s sense of self; romantic partners take on the qualities and characteristics of a partner and integrate them into the self. To understand the process of identity symbolism due to one’s newly expanded sense of self, this study investigated the link between the amount of reported self-expansion and couple representativeness as well as the function of one’s possessions (other-direct identity claim, self-directed identity claim, feeling regulator, and utility). Participants were asked to read a vignette in which they were told their home had been destroyed by a tornado and were then asked to list three possessions which they wished to find among the rubble. Results indicated that reported self-expansion is associated with the tendency to choose couple representative possessions as indicators of the self. As hypothesized, couple representativeness was significantly correlated with tendency to use possession as other-directed identity claims (as evidenced in both reported function and placement) and feeling regulators. Additionally, reported couple representativeness was significantly correlated with the tendency to use possessions as self-directed identity claims and for utility. This study provides support for the relationship between self-expansion and the tendency to communicate one’s expanded self to others by means of material possessions as well as the emotional significance tied to such possessions.
    • Racial Identity and Religiousness: Role of Religion and Racial Identity on Substance Use In African American College Students

      Mailey, Chaz D (2011-09-20)
      The present study sought to explore the relationships between Black racial identity, religiosity, and substance use in African American college students. Religiosity has commonly been identified as a protective factor against substance use for many ethnic groups, and historically religion has played a significant role in the lives of African Americans. Surprisingly, some research suggests that while important, religiosity may not be as strong of a protective factor against abuse or excessive consumption of substances for African Americans as it is for other ethnicities (Amey, Albrect, & Miller, 1996). It has been suggested that for African Americans, a strong ethnic identity can help moderate drinking (Klonoff & Landrine, 1999; Pugh & Bry, 2007). One hundred and eighty-four African American students recruited from three Midwestern predominantly White universities, one Midwestern predominantly Black university and one Historically Black Southern university completed an online questionnaire consisting of the Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS); the Religious Involvement subscale from the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religion and Spirituality (BMMRS), measures of alcohol and marijuana use, and the Young Adult Alcohol Problems Screening Test (YAAPST). As hypothesized, racial identity and religiousness/spirituality were related with substance use in African American college students. The secondary hypothesis that black racial identity would be a better predictor of substance use than would religiousness/spirituality was not supported. For African American students in the current sample, religiosity was a better predictor of substance use than was Black racial identity. However, several differential relationships were observed between males and females. Overall, the study contributes support to the literature regarding how Black racial identity and religiosity influence substance use in African Americans. Limitations, significant findings, and possible directions for future research are presented.
    • An Examination of the Influence of Religion on the Forgiveness Process

      Johnson, Gregory J. (2011-09-20)
      This study sought to examine the religion-forgiveness hypothesis in the context of the forgiveness process in an attempt to better understand the basis of the relationship. Data was collected from 140 participants in an online survey that contained measures of religious behaviors, religious beliefs, religious fundamentalism, empathy, emotional intelligence, forgiveness, and social desirability. A hypothesized model specified that religious variables of religious belief, behavioral religiosity, religious fundamentalism would be predictive of forgiveness when mediated by emotional intelligence and fully mediated by empathy. Using structural equation modeling, it was found that religiosity was predictive of greater levels forgiveness when mediated by empathy; however, religious fundamentalism was found predict lower empathy and lower levels of forgiveness. Examination of alternative models indicated that religiosity did not predict forgiveness unless mediated by empathy and although social desirability was predictive of empathy, its influence on the religiosity-empathy relationship was minimal. Implications and limitations are discussed.
    • Family functioning and temperament as predictors of preschoolers coping with daily stressors.

      Jones, Pamela.D (2012-04-12)
      Understanding how preschool children cope is a first step toward identifying adaptive ways of coping which reduce stress and ultimately can decrease the risk of dysfunctional behavior. However, the literature on preschooler's coping is minimal, in part due to the lack of assessment tools. This research examined preschoolers coping with daily stress in an attempt to assess what coping styles would be used across different situations.I hypothesized that family environment and temperament would affect the coping style used and that temperament would moderate the effects of the family environment.A secondary question concerned the efficiency of the coping. In order to accomplish this, a scale was developed to assess coping across four situational domains.Using mothers as the primary reporter,the preschooler's temperament,family functioning and coping behaviors were assessed and the relationships were examined.I investigated the ability of family control and cohesiveness,child temperament and an interaction of cohesiveness and temperament to predict coping styles. This model was very good at predicting coping in situations where a child was trying to master a task; adequate for predicting coping in emotional situations; and has limited predictive ability in parent-child or peer situations. There was some support for the moderating effects of temperament. Temperament was a robust predictor of coping style, whereas family cohesion was not.Other findings suggest that children who have emotional temperaments used emotional types of coping.Children in families with more interfamily cohesion, or whose parents have higher levels of education, used more cognitive behavioral-problem solving.Ratings of coping efficacy resulted in cognitive-behavioral problem solving being most effective in Mastery situations,moderate emotional coping being most effective in Parent-child domain and highly emotional coping was rated as most effective in Emotional situations.