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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Nicholas’ Article Presentation

Recently, third semester undergraduate member, Nicholas, presented his article presentation and MOM preparation on Academic Emergency 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 use to deal with these events. The researchers collected data from participants from four regions—mountain, south, southwest, and northwest—via surveys on measures of physical, emotional and life changing responses to patient deaths. They looked at the frequency of encountering death, training experiences, emotional responses and coping strategies of the physicians. Data was looked at through chi-square analysis to evaluate the relationships between responses and the independent variables. Results showed significant results among gender differences, years since residency when compared to physical symptoms after patient death. Results also showed significance with years since residency and frequency of witnessing death among server actions or changes among the physicians. Lastly, they found that participants reported rarely receiving debriefing after the deaths, and emergency physician coping mechanisms in response to patient deaths consisted mostly of talking with colleagues and friends/family. Great work Nicholas!  

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Megan’s Master’s Thesis Proposal Presentation

First year master’s student, Megan, recently presented an overview of her thesis proposal titled  Attitudes, Perceptions About Child Abuse and Neglect: Changes Between Generations. Megan is interested in the perceptions of potentially harmful parenting techniques. She would like to analyze the differences in perceptions on child punishment across four generations—Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial—and if the gender and age of the child has an impact on those perceptions. Megan predicts that people will be more accepting of various forms of punishment if the child is older. She also predicts that punishments will be more acceptable within male children. Finally, Megan believes people will find punishment more accepting if they have experienced various forms of punishment themselves or if they are from the older generations. Megan hopes to gather data that can help clarify acceptable and unacceptable forms of punishment for children in society. This will help the general population better understand when certain forms of punishment are acceptable. We are excited to see what Megan finds and wish her the best of luck!

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Brooklin’s Article Presentation

Second semester undergraduate member, Brooklin, recently gave her second article presentation. She guided the lab through Knowledge of diabetes among personnel in home-based care: how does it relate to medical mishaps? by Synnove Odegard and D.K.G. Andersson, published in 2001. This study aimed to assess the influence of deficiencies in knowledge about diabetes, diabetes care, and patient safety. The researchers administered a questionnaire to nurse’s aides and assistant nurses in both institutional care settings and home-based care settings. Results showed that majority of the participants, who hold responsibilities for giving insulin injections, expressed not having enough knowledge about diabetes. They also found that nurse’s aides were more likely to make errors in the field when treating their diabetic patients, due to a lack of adequate knowledge on the disease and its treatment methods, and the lack of colleague interaction in home based settings. The researchers hope their findings will help increase the requirements of nurse’s aides and assistants who work closely with elderly diabetic patients and help to create programs for those working in the field. Doing so would help decrease potentially serious mishaps in health care systems and increase overall patient care. Brooklin plans to continue working with the topic of medical mishaps throughout the rest of the semester in the lab. Great job on your article presentation, Brooklin, and good luck with future research!

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Qandeel’s Master’s Thesis Proposal Presentation

Recently, first year master’s student Qandeel presented an overview of her master’s thesis proposal, College Cohort of Gender & Sex Roles in Coping Due to Life Adversity: PTG Belief and Optimism. Qandeel is interested in exploring the concepts of sex and gender in relation to optimism, coping mechanisms after trauma, and posttraumatic growth (PTG). She plans to gather data from female college students because of the challenges they often face like sexual harassment, sexism, and major gender differences that can affect their professional and personal lives. Qandeel suggests that many females may identify themselves as different genders or sexual orientations that have not been studied as much as men. With growing attention on feminism, she thinks it is important to look at how this sample perceives various adversity issues involving feminism. She is also interested in how culture may play a role as well. Therefore, she plans to collect data from females in America and Pakistan. She suggests that doing so will help further cultural research of PTG and coping mechanisms to elucidate cultural differences. She hopes her research will draw attention to effects of adversities some females face, involving varying levels of femininity and gender identity. We are excited to hear about her findings. Good luck, Qandeel!

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Alvin’s Master’s Thesis Defense Presentation


Congrats to second-year masters student, Alvin, on his successful defense!

Study one examined the impact of achievement and resiliency on the relationship between failure experiences and positive and negative outcomes. Study two examines the predictability of resilience, amount of failure and achievement experiences, and racial discrimination on various psychological outcomes, such as fear of failure, wisdom, and depression. Overall, the two studies also look at the subjective impact of both failure and achievement experiences on the various psychological outcomes. Alvin found that the impact of any of the experiences examined might influence depression more than the experience itself.  He also found that racial discrimination might be influenced by cultural biases. Lastly, data suggests that the influence of discrimination on cultural biases may elicit a degree of illusory growth instead of authentic posttraumatic growth. He found that resiliency decreased the relationship between failure experiences and psychological outcomes like wisdom were consistent between both studies. Alvin suggests that these findings can encourage those who have experienced many failures by informing them of the positive outcomes that can result from those experiences. He also believes these findings can create a path for therapeutic interventions targeted around resilience, motivation, and racial discrimination. Moving forward, he would like to incorporate how various personality traits (e.g. avoidant and social anxiety) can influence the relationship between life experiences (e.g. failure and achievement) involving the use of technology. Great job Alvin!

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Taylor’s Article Presentation

First semester undergraduate student, Taylor, recently gave her first article presentation, reflecting her research interests: emotions, deception detection, and behavioral psychology. Taylor chose the article Pathways to Posttraumatic Growth Versus Posttraumatic Stress: Coping and Emotional Reactions Following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks by Crystal L. Park, Carolyn M. Aldwin, Juliane R. Fenster, and Leslie B. Snyder, published in 2008. This study aimed to explore common reports from the American population of both distress and positive outcomes after television exposure of the attacks. The researchers hypothesized that there would be a relationship between coping, emotions, posttraumatic growth (PTG), and posttraumatic stress (PTS). They also hypothesized that positive coping would be more expressive through anger and would, therefore, lead to PTG while negative emotions would be more expressive through depression, leading to PTS following the terrorist attacks. Results showed that the relationship goes both ways. Meaning, emotions influence coping and coping influences emotions. They also found that although anger is often perceived as a negative emotion, it could prompt an individual to seek positive coping skills and potentially lead to PTG. The researchers concluded that the information found in the results shows how growth may be achieved by practicing positive coping skills because of arousal or motivation from anger. Taylor plans to continue researching emotions and behaviors in relation to PTG throughout her time in the lab as well as in her future career goals within behavioral psychology. Great job on your article presentation, Taylor, and good luck with future research!

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Congrats to Velinka!

Congratulations to Velinka! Her paper, “Youth perceptions of intergenerational discordance and immigrant well-being” was selected as the second place winner of the Kresge Library’s Frank Lepkowski Undergraduate Research in Writing Award!

Also, she recently successfully defended her senior’s thesis. Velinka’s presentation was an update of her honors independent study. She is interested in exploring youth perceptions of acculturation, the process of adapting to a new culture, and individual factors between immigrant youth and their parents after coming to the United States. Velinka has taken a mixed methods approach, using qualitative and quantitative methods, to examine youth-perceived parent-child gaps in acculturation and emotion processing. She is interested in exploring how those gaps affect immigrant youth with varying outcomes, such as acculturative stress, somatic symptoms, depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms, as well as post-traumatic growth (PTG). Findings will contribute to the expanded Acculturation Gap-Distress Model and help clarify the effects of adapting to a new culture at differing rates. This will help provide information for people of all ages who may struggle with acculturating, as well as educators, clinicians and physicians who may assist those individuals. Wonderful job Velinka, and good luck with further research!

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Olivia’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

Congrats to first-year masters student, Olivia, on her successful proposal presentation, which has been approved by the committee. Recently, Olivia presented an overview of her masters thesis proposal titled Pushing Through The Hard Times: Does Growth After Trauma Enhance Creativity in Children. Olivia is interested in analyzing a new topic of creativities’ impacts on children’s abilities to move past trauma’s and experience posttraumatic growth (PTG). She is also interested in seeing if there are environmental and personality factors that play a role in the relationship. Stemming from the Kilmer’s Model, which suggests that creativity plays a indirect role in the push towards growth, Olivia will be looking at direct correlations between PTG and its impact on creativity. As there are only two major studies that examine the relationship between creativity and PTG, both with adult populations, Olivia plans to gather data that will show the need for fostering and encouraging creativity among children and support her prediction that PTG can spark creativity among those who experience it. We are very excited about Olivia’s work and wish her the best of luck!

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She presented two studies at the 4th Annual OU Graduate Student Research Conference on March 15th, 2019.

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Dr. Kanako Taku’s Videos

To start off the new year, Dr. Taku has started a YouTube page! In her first video post, she defines posttraumatic growth (PTG).

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Moving forward, she plans to elaborate on various topics related to PTG and our research. Some of these topics include: what we have found so far by using the PTGI-X, how PTG may be different from resiliency, how we define PTG and illusory growth in our research, how PTG is related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and much more!

You can access her first video by clicking the picture below or under our new tab titled Video in the Menu bar at the top right corner. You can also stay up-to-date with her videos by subscribing to her YouTube page, under “Kanako Taku”. We hope you enjoy it!

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