Olivia’s Master’s Thesis Defense Presentation

Second year master’s student, Olivia, presented updates on her master’s thesis proposal titled Pushing Through the Hard Times: Is Growth After Trauma an Influence on Children’s Creativity. Olivia is conducting a study that analyzes the relationships between PTG and Creativity and whether or not the relationship can be affected by the environment and/or personality types. She has predicted that 1) children who experience PTG will be more creative than those who have experienced trauma but show no growth and children who have not experienced trauma at all. With both the trauma experienced group who shows no growth and the no trauma experienced group having the same level of creativity. 2) Environments that foster creativity will affect the level of creativity in children, in addition to the impacts of both trauma and PTG, meaning children with all three will have the highest levels of creativity. 3) Children who’s parents have high levels of extraversion and openness to experiences will be more creative and report more PTG than parents who do not; children who have high levels of both will report more creativity than children who do not, regardless of the parents levels; children with high levels of both and have parents with high levels of both will report the highest PTG. With more data coming in Olivia is able to see many significant findings but is still collecting data and gaining more insight and results. Great work thus far Olivia, we can’t wait to hear more about your findings!

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Shannon’s Article Presentation

Summer undergraduate lab member, Shannon, recently gave her article presentation, reflecting her research interests in Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and social support. Shannon chose the article Emotional Regulation’s Effects on Social Support, PTSD, and PTG by Xiao Zhou, Xinchu Wu, and Rui Zhen. This study aimed to explore the relationship between social support and emotional regulation in regard to PTG and PTSD in adolescent survivors following the Ya’an earthquake in China. They hypothesized that emotional regulation would mediate the relationship between social support and PTG and the relationship between social support and PTSD. Results showed that social support was positively correlated with PTG and was a positive predictor of PTG. Results also showed that social support was a negative predictor of PTSD. The researchers concluded that the information found in the results shows how emotional regulation and social support influence adolescents in their potential development of PTG or PTSD. Shannon plans to continue researching social support, PTSD, and PTG as she finishes her senior year at Kalamazoo College and then to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Great job on your article presentation, Shannon, and good luck with future research!

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Shelby Fitness Event

Members and friends of the PTG Lab participated (and ended up soaking wet!) in another Fitness Fundraising Event hosted by the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation on Saturday, September 7th. We enjoyed boxing and supporting our favorite foundation!

The goal of the Foundation is to support Shelby’s passion of research on PTG and resiliency. The Foundation also honors Shelby’s memory by supporting Psychology Students’ research activities by awarding travel grant for professional conferences.

More information can be found at https://shelbystrong.life/news-events/

Shelby Strong!

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Topics We Study

Dr. Taku recently discussed the five major topics of study in our PTG Lab over on her Youtube channel. Check out the video here below and click here to visit Dr. Taku’s Youtube page where you can see all of her other videos!

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The PTG Lab Welcomes New Members

The PTG Lab would like to welcome five new members!

Welcome to new graduate student lab member, Melissa! Melissa is a first-year PhD student with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wayne State University and a Masters of Counseling from Oakland University. She is interested in pursuing the relationship between PTG, trauma, and moral injury, particularly as it pertains to military and veteran populations. Her ultimate goal is to identify ways that PTG can be applied in clinical applications for individuals with PTS and a history of trauma. Currently she is assisting in a variety of studies in the lab. Melissa can be reached at mengle@oakland.edu.

The PTG Lab also welcomes new graduate student lab member, Colin! Colin is a first-year master’s student with a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor. His long-term interests lie in clinical psychology, in which he plans to eventually obtain a PhD. He was attracted to the PTG lab because of the excellent opportunities for stimulating research that will help him work towards this goal. His master’s thesis will deal with anxiety and perceived risk of the general public in relation to mass shootings. After completing his PhD he hopes to continue working in academia, preferably as a professor. Colin can be reached at colinobrien@oakland.edu.

The PTG Lab would also like to welcome new graduate student lab member, Kara! Kara is a first-year master’s student with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a depth study in biomedical psychological sciences from the University of Alabama. She is interested in the relationship between PTG and the physiology of growth and looking at how the body demonstrates growth following trauma. She became interested in this correlation and how growth physically manifests, which got her interested in PTG and inspired her to want to work in the PTG lab. She hopes to be able to best understand ways to physically measure PTG and identify physical markers of what PTG can look like from a physiological standpoint, especially in the aftermath of trauma or high-stress situations, and work toward finding a way to create a best practice for physicians and medical professionals to use when treating patients following trauma. She plans to continue her education to obtain a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in biological and basic processes, eventually moving on to earn an MD and become a pediatric neurologist. Kara can be reached at kapado@oakland.edu 

The PTG also welcomes new undergraduate research assistant, Kat! Kat is a junior at Oakland University majoring in psychology with a minor in Chinese language. She decided to join the lab to gain in-depth research experience, receive mentorship from other members, and investigate how children experience PTG and trauma. In the future, Kat would like to study psychoeducational approaches for dealing with trauma, specifically for children and young adolescents. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend graduate school and use what she has learned in the lab to specialize in developmental science. 
Kat can be reached at kfraus@oakland.edu

Finally, the PTG Lab would like to welcome new undergraduate research assistant, Josealyn! Josealyn is a junior at Oakland University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Theatre. She joined the lab due to her interest in research and statistics within psychology and wanted to learn more about posttraumatic growth. During her time in the lab, Josealyn plans to work with the Deaf community, specifically how relationships may change after experiencing PTG and how these changes may differ from people outside of the Deaf community. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology followed by studying Clinical Neuropsychology. Josealyn can be reached at jlpontius@oakland.edu

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APA 2019 in Chicago

The PTG Lab recently attended the 127th meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Chicago, IL, from August 8-11th. Members of the lab were given the opportunity to present research project, as well as learn from other researchers in the field.

Olivia and Velinka were first to present their research poster titled Does Disclosure Moderate the Impact of Rumination on Posttraumatic Growth in Firefighters? They were able to share their findings after examining the relation between intrusive and deliberate rumination, problem-solving, and posttraumatic growth. They found that deliberately thinking through and talking about traumatic experiences may affect one’s outlook about future interests and opportunities. The project originated from a study in Japan and involved collaboration with researchers Satoshi Kibi, Rei Oshiro, Dr. Takafumi Soejima, Dr. Kiyoko Kamibeppu, and Koichi Hiraki from Japan, many of whom traveled to Chicago from the convention.

Olivia also presented a research poster authored by Alvin and herself titled Resiliency Moderating the Relationship Between Failure and Wisdom. This research, which originated from Alvin’s Master’s Thesis, examined the way failure experiences predict fear of failure and wisdom as well as the moderating effects of resiliency on them. Findings revealed that both fear of failure and wisdom increased as individuals experienced more failures. However, resiliency only moderated wisdom especially in individuals who started with high resiliency.

Brooklin Adams presented a research poster authored by Whitney and herself titled Impact of Dolphins on Children’s Social Support and Dolphin Welfare Knowledge, stemming from Whitney Doctoral Dissertation. The study looked at the impacts of wild dolphin programs on participants’ perceptions of support from parents, pets, and the dolphins, as well as dolphin welfare knowledge. The main finding was that participants from both Florida and Hawaii were able to gain more knowledge of dolphins welfare, from how they like their food to if they enjoy being alone or with other more, as well as increase their perceived support. In addition, Brooklin presented research conducted by Jessica titled Dichotomous Thinking and Self-Esteem in Adolescents which examined participants levels of self-esteem, resilience, and dichotomous thinking. It was found that those with higher levels of dichotomous thinking also had higher levels of self-esteem and resilience, which could lead to the use of dichotomous thinking as a mechanism for traumatic events, and maintaining levels of self-esteem in adolescent youth.

Alex presented research titled PTG and Illusory Growth: Gender Perceptions of Different growth Types, which examined how participants perceived a posttraumatic growth and a illusory growth vignette scenario regarding a fictional individual “X”. He found that participants perceived the PTG vignette to be more female and the Illusory growth vignette as more male. He also presented his research poster on Relating to others’ Trauma: Does Relatability Affect Posttraumatic Growth? which examined how people related not only to events of trauma but also the experience of trauma. Clinical efforts or support groups would benefit from being guided by people who have not only grown themselves but also experienced the same events.

Dr. Taku also presented a research poster authored by Whitney and herself titled Posttraumatic growth and Pets-Does Species Matter?, stemming from Whitney Doctoral thesis. This study looked at what type of animals participants percieved to be the most helpful after traumatic events. It was found that for participants dogs are the most helpful in aiding in growth after traumatic life events, when compared to cats, and other animals such as reptiles or birds.

In addition, our collaborators from Japan, Koichi and Satoshi presented their studies on PTG. Satoshi received the award! Congratulations!

Great work, PTG LAB!

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The PTG Lab Welcomes Summer Research Assistants

The PTG Lab would like to welcome two summer research assistants!

Welcome to undergraduate student research assistant, Shannon! Shannon Carley is a senior at Kalamazoo college, majoring in Psychology. She joined the lab because of her interest in developmental psychology and desire to gain research experience. During her time in the lab she is interested in learning more about PTG, its relationship with PTSD, and social support. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Shannon plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Shannon can be reached at shannon.carley16@kzoo.edu

The PTG Lab also welcomes undergraduate student research assistant, Jenny! Jennifer Greenlee is currently a senior at Oakland University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in History. She became interested in the lab because she was curious about research and wanted to learn more. During her time in the lab she will be assisting Olivia with her thesis research study titled Pushing Through The Hard Times: Does Growth After Trauma Enhance Creativity in Children? Over the summer, Jenny hopes to gain a better understanding of how the research process works and learn about posttraumatic growth in children. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend graduate school for School Psychology. Jenny can be reached at jgreenlee@oakland.edu.

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27th Annual Meeting of Minds Conference

The Meeting of Minds conference provides a yearly opportunity for undergraduate students from Oakland University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and University of Michigan-Flint to share research accomplishments through oral and poster presentations. On May 10th, U of M-Flint hosted this year’s event, and lab members Velinka, Brooklin, and Taylor attended and shared their projects. These studies have also been published in Meeting of Minds online Journal.

Velinka and Brooklin presented their project titled How do Immigrant Parent-Child Adaptation Differences Affect Psychological Distress and Personal Growth in Immigrant Youth? They examined the psychological effects of youth-perceived parent-child adaptation differences and potential posttraumatic growth (PTG). They predicted that smaller-perceived adaptation differences will yield lower levels of psychological distress. The findings suggest that the degree of parent-child adaptation differences may affect distress and growth in youth.

Brooklin presented her and Nico’s project titled Medical Mishaps: Does a Physicians Specialty Determine Severity? They examined the relationship between physician’s specialties and the severity of medical mishaps that have been reported. They predicted that physicians who specialize in surgical units would be more likely to report involvement with serious medical mishaps and physicians who specialize in non-surgical units would be more likely to report involvement with minor medical mishaps. They found that both hypotheses were supported when looking at serious and minor medical mishaps among each group. They believe understanding the psychological changes physicians may go through when mishaps are committed can aid in clarifying the impact of medical mishaps, as well as, creating teaching aids.

Brooklin also presented her and Nico’s research project titled Varying Effects of Experience has on the Kinds of Medical Mishaps Occurring During a Physician’s Practice. They examined how years in-practice can influence the severity of medical mishaps a physician made within the past five years. They predicted that physicians who have been practicing in their specialty for less than 10 years would be involved in medical mishaps considered “missed information” while those practicing for 11 years or more would make medical mishaps considered “potentially harmful.” Even though the research did not yield significant results, it helps in understanding the importance of medical mishaps, and how they are committed. It also furthers the discussion of creating training programs that teach physicians how to avoid medical mishaps, and what to do if they do happen.

Taylor presented her and Nico’s research project titled Thoughts of Dropping out of High School and Posttraumatic Growth: Examining the Influence of a Negative Neighborhood Environment. They examined the influence of negative neighborhood characteristics on an adolescent’s thoughts of dropping out of high school and the likelihood they will experience PTG. They predicted that students with negative neighborhood characteristics would be more likely to have thoughts of dropping out of high school and due to stress, would be more likely to report higher levels of PTG. Although the research did not produce significant results, it helps to understand the sociocultural elements that may influence academic achievement and growth.

Josealyn Pontius, an incoming research assistant for the fall semester, came to show her support for the lab members that presented, and learn of other undergraduate research.

Overall, the conference was a success and another great opportunity to share the hard work of many!

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Whitney’s Dissertation Update

Fourth-year PhD student, Whitney, recently presented the second part of her dissertation on Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT). She conducted a study that analyzed the impact of a 3-day wild dolphin assisted therapy program on children. She gathered data from children with various physiological and psychological disorders. Whitney predicted that the children’s heart rate would decrease over the span of the 3 days by being in the water with the wild dolphins. She also predicted that the stress levels will decrease in the children and they will perceive the program as enjoyable and helpful. Her results showed that the heart rate in children decreased for the majority of the time and there were perceived decreases in stress/anxiety levels in most of the children as well. Overall, the participants found the program to be both enjoyable and helpful based on the personalized nature of the program and how it was specifically catered towards helping them and their special needs. Whitney plans to continue to gather data that measures the impact of DAT on children. Wonderful job Whitney and good luck with future research!

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Nicos’ Article Presentation

 

Recently, third semester undergraduate member, Nicholas, presented his article presentation and MOM preparation on Physicians’ Experiences with Patient Death by Jared Strote, Erika Schroeder, John Lemos, Ryan Paganelli, Jonathan Solberg, and Range Huston. This study aimed to identify the effects of patient death on emergency physicians (emergency medicine) and the coping mechanisms they us to deal with these events. The researches collected data from participants from four regions- mountain, south, southwest, and northwest-via surveys o measures of physical, emotional, and life encountering death, training experiences, emotional responses and coping strategies of the physicians. Data as looked at through chi-square analysis to evaluate the relationship between responses and the independent variables. Results showed significant results among gender differences, yeas since residency when compared to physical symptoms after patient death. Results also showed significance with years since residency and frequency of witnessing death among sever actions or changes among the physicians. Lastly, they found that participants reported rarely receive debriefing after the deaths, and emergency physicians coping mechanisms in response to patient deaths consisted mostly of talking with colleagues and friends/family. Great wok Nicholas!

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