Recently, second semester lab member Velinka presented an article and her related hypotheses to the lab. The study she presented examined the relationship between acculturation and personal growth in a sample of Korean immigrants. Acculturation is a complex process encompassing the behavioral and cultural value changes experienced by individuals and groups after prolonged exposure to two or more cultures. This process can span across an individual’s life, generations, and even centuries. The results of this exploratory study revealed that while behavioral acculturation was not related to personal growth, cultural value acculturation was. This finding has direct connections to Korean culture which emphasizes the establishment of group interests. Velinka has also been hard at work this semester on an extensive literature review regarding these variables of interest and hopes to use this information toward the establishment of an honors independent research project. The PTG lab is eager to assist Velinka as she continues to work toward these goals, and looks forward to seeing what she comes up with. Great job, Velinka!
Article presentations are an important opportunity for lab members to share their research interests with the lab, as well as to being working toward literature reviews and research studies regarding those variables of interest. Recently, first semester lab member Kayla presented an article to the lab about posttraumatic growth among men with histories of sexual abuse. The purpose of this study by Easton, Coohey, Rhodes, and Moothy (2013) was to explore the factors that are related to posttraumatic growth in a sample of adult males who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. The results revealed that the understanding of the abuse as well as experiencing a turning point toward healing was related to higher levels of reported growth. The results also demonstrated a significant, negative relation between conformity to masculine norms and growth. Future research of interest to Kayla includes the identification of the time, nature, and causes of turning points toward healing form childhood sexual abuse. A better understanding of this phenomena has the potential to help individual recover from sexual abuse. Kayla will continue to be a part of the PTG lab this coming Winter 2018 semester as a volunteer, and we are all looking forward to witnessing her continued success. Great job, Kayla!
Recently, first year graduate lab member Alvin presented his Masters thesis proposal. Alvin is interested in examining the impact of failure and achievement experiences, and how such experiences related to both positive and negative outcomes. Positive outcomes of interest include growth and wisdom, while negative outcomes include learned helplessness and fear of failure. He is also interested in examining if variables such as resiliency and rumination might influence the relationship between experiences and outcomes. Alvin hopes to test his hypotheses in a sample of undergraduate students as this research may be particularly beneficial to them. He hopes to use this information to help individuals who have experienced failure by motivating them to improve their goal setting strategies, while also demonstrating that outcomes of failure are not always negative, and may involve positive changes as well. In the future, Alvin would like to expand his research to broader samples in order to increase the generalizability of the findings. This research has the potential to impact intervention and therapy programs, and Alvin hopes to translate this research to his own practice in the future as a clinical psychologist.
Congratulations to Whitney Dominick who received the Provost Student Research Award!
She designed her study for her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Psychological Growth, distress, and educational impact of dolphins and dolphin-assisted therapy in children”. The purpose of Whitney’s study is to examine the efficacy of dolphin assisted therapy by interviewing children. Data collection for this study will begin in 2018 in Hawaii and Florida!
Congratulations to Jenna Duronio who received the Provost Student Research Award!
She designed her study for her honors independent research project, entitled “Exploring Military Experiences: Clarifying the Relation Between Resiliency and Posttraumatic Growth”. The purpose of Jenna’s study is primarily to examine the relation between resiliency and posttraumatic growth, as well as many related variables such as coping and social support in a sample of military personnel. An additional key purpose of the study is to compare two resiliency assessments in order to add clarity to the understanding of this construct and promote consistency in measurement. Data collection for this study has begun, and we are all eager to see the results!
Congratulations to Jess Kopitz who received the Provost Student Research Award! Her project title is “Redefining negative personality traits and coping techniques after impacts of stress and trauma in veterans.”
First year graduate lab member, Jess, recently presented her master’s thesis proposal. In her research, Jess is focusing on redefining negative personality traits and behaviors as helpful in coping with trauma. In her review of the literature she discussed the link between maladaptive coping and negative personality traits following trauma, and demonstrated that traditionally deemed negative personality traits occur on a spectrum, and thus should not necessarily be classified as positive or negative. Therefore, the overarching purposes of Jess’s master’s thesis research are to demonstrate links between “negative” personality traits, maladaptive coping, and trauma, as well as to uncover positive implications of such occurrences in order to work toward redefining and de-pathologizing negative personality traits and maladaptive coping. Currently, she is working on conducting interviews with veterans who have been exposed to combat while on deployment because veterans in particular have the potential to benefit greatly from this research. If you know of someone who fits this description, and who may be interested in participating in this valuable research, please have them contact Jess Kopitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, November 3rd Dr. Taku, Jenna, and Lauren attended a fundraiser event at the ZiFiT Birmingham Executive Club to kick-off The Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation. The mission of this foundation is to fund travel to psychology conferences for undergraduate and graduate students, support the PTG Lab’s Teen Parent Initiative, as well as to provide grants to further research regarding Posttraumatic Growth.
All who attended this event received T-shirts, wrist bands, and towels and were able to participate in multiple 20-minute fitness classes including boxing, cycling, yoga and more. This was a great way to start the program as Shelby was very passionate about fitness and health. In addition to psychology, Shelby studied nutrition and was known to wake up extremely early every morning to participate in rigorous workouts–sometimes even twice a day! ZiFiT had many workout videos of Shelby that were displayed on monitors throughout the facility, which served as a great motivator and example.
Shelby was an incredible individual with a great passion for helping others, and her research in the PTG Lab aimed to do just that. Shelby conducted many research projects in the lab examining PTG, resiliency, and social support, attended many conferences, published articles, and began the Teen Parent Initiative in order to assist teen parents in Pontiac, Michigan. Shelby’s family, friends, and the PTG lab are working hard to keep Shelby’s work and passions alive by continuing her projects and promoting this foundation in her honor and memory.
Donations may be made to the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation by following this link.
On November 3rd, together, we raised $4,605.00 for the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation! Shelby has been and always will be here to help OU students successful and help us conduct important research!
Reema Gowda is an ambitious student at Stoney Creek High School who has been participating in a research internship through the PTG lab since September, 2016. Reema’s interests in psychology and medicine have been simultaneously explored through her literature reviews regarding posttraumatic growth in individuals facing medical stressors. Recently, Reema used data from research that was conducted in the PTG lab to examine mean levels of PTG in high school students who indicated that medical trauma was the most stressful event they experienced in the past five years. The results revealed that individuals experiencing medical stressors reported the highest levels of growth in the Personal Strength domain, followed by the Appreciation of Life domain of PTG. The PTG lab looks forward to continuing to support Reema’s interests and seeing what she continues to accomplish.
Third year PhD student Whitney as well as former lab member Leah recently participated in a televised interview about posttraumatic growth. In the interview Whitney and Leah answer questions about trauma, stress, posttraumatic growth (PTG), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resiliency, and more. Whitney begins by defining PTG and explains each of the five domains. Leah adds that it is not necessary to experience a very serious trauma in order to experience growth, and explains that many people experience growth from highly stressful, but not necessarily traumatic, life events. Current research being done in the PTG lab regarding PTG, resiliency, and PTSD is also discussed. Please follow the attached link to view the full interview. Managing Problems of Daily Living Posttraumatic Growth Interview
Dr. Taku, Kyle, and Lauren recently conducted a workshop with parents from Pontiac, Michigan about posttraumatic growth. The workshop began with a brief discussion about expectations for the workshop where the parents shared their desire to learn about the work being done in the PTG lab and how they can apply this work to their own lives. Kyle and Lauren then presented information about posttraumatic growth and provided examples while encouraging the parents to follow along by answering questions in a personal workbook which was provided to them. The parents had the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding how they might be able to view stress in their lives as an opportunity for growth. This workshop was highly successful as the parents look forward to future psycho-educational programs to be conducted by the PTG lab.