Taylor’s Article + Hypotheses Presentation

Recently, second semester undergraduate lab member, Taylor, gave her article and hypotheses presentation titled Trauma and Negative Underlying Assumptions in Feelings of Shame: An Exploratory Study that was published by Melissa Platt and Jennifer Freyd in 2012. The researchers of this study wanted to examine the association between trauma history and negative cognitive styles such as exhibiting negative underlying assumptions (NUAs). They also wanted to examine the effects of trauma history and NUAs on shame in response to negative feedback. In addition, the researchers wanted to provide further evidence for a recently created shame posture measure (SPM). The results showed that individuals with a trauma history and high NUAs were most likely to experience an increase in shame after receiving negative feedback which suggests that individuals who are high in NUAs and have a trauma history may be more prone to feeling flawed after receiving minor criticism. The results also provided further validation for that the SPM. Based on this study, Taylor expressed that it would be interesting to examine the relationship between moral injury (MI) and NUAs under the assumption that individuals who express high levels of moral injury will also exhibit high levels of NUAs and vice versa. She also thinks it would be interesting to examine the relationships between personality characteristics such as optimism and resiliency in connection to NUAs, under the assumption that optimism and resiliency will be negatively correlated with NUAs. Good job on your presentation, Taylor!

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Melissa’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

First year PhD student, Melissa, recently presented her master’s thesis proposal titled The Relationship Between Perceptions of Moral Injury and Posttraumatic Growth in Veterans. Melissa is interested in examining the relationship between moral injury (MI), posttraumatic growth (PTG), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans. Research has found that traumatic events causing PTSD are also likely to cause MI, meaning they often occur together. Research has also found that PTG and PTSD share a curvilinear relationship. Due to this, she predicts that perceptions of MI are correlated to PTG and likely follow a curvilinear relationship as well. She also predicts that different subtypes of MI will have different impacts on PTG levels. Melissa plans to critically examine the nature of the relationship between MI and PTG in order to push for the development of effective intervention programs for military and veteran populations. She believes that if the findings of MI and PTG are significant, research can begin to propose moral healing and moral repair intervention programs for veterans, and potentially, the general public. We are excited to see what Melissa finds and wish her the best of luck!  

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Kat’s Article Presentation

Recently, first semester undergraduate member, Kat, presented her first article presentation to the lab. The article is titled The Impact of Protective Factors on Posttraumatic Growth for College Student Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment. Authors Danielle Mohr and Lee Rosen aimed to identify if there are any protective factors associated with resiliency that are mediated by childhood trauma and posttraumatic growth (PTG), as well as, if there was a relationship between maltreatment and PTG. Data was collected from University students across the Western United States with a survey compiled of the authors own measure for maltreatment history, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), the Social and Emotional Resources Inventory (SERI), the Brief COPE inventory, and the Life Orientation Test Revised  (LOT-R) and found that out of the 501 participants, 260 reported childhood maltreatment (51.8%) with 91% reporting some level of PTG (based on scores of 1 or higher on the PTGI inventory. They found the presence of prosocial adults moderated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and PTG (prosocial adults accounted for 7.3% of the variance in PTG, R=0.073, p < 0.01). They also found that the number of social emotional resources (based on SERI scores) moderated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and PTG (predictors of this model accounted for 7.9% of the variance in PTG, R= 0.079, p < 0.01). Overall, it was found that childhood maltreatment significantly predicted PTG alongside acceptance, emotional support, and positive reframing, meaning with this sample the more social and emotional support and resources reported the greater the levels of reported PTG. Great work Kat! 

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Colin’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

First year master’s student, Colin, recently presented his master’s thesis proposal titled Non-linear Change in Perceived Risk of Mass Shootings in Response to New Information. Colin is interested in examining the types of changes individuals may undergo when impacted by traumatic events such as mass shootings, in order to better understand how the public feels when these events occur and how anxieties may be affected by them. The types of changes he plans to analyze are known as: linear (alpha) change, non-linear recalibration (beta) change, non-linear reprioritization (beta) change, and non-linear reconceptualization (gamma) change. Colin predicts that when participants are shown statistics, regarding the probability of being involved in a mass shooting, they will adjust their perceived risk ratings but not actually have a change in anxiety. He also predicts that when participants are exposed to news articles about a mass shooting, their anxieties will truly increase. Colin believes that if the findings of alpha/beta/gamma changes are shown to be significant for measuring perceived risks of traumatic events such as mass shootings, it can be applied to psychotherapy related constructs. We are excited to see what Colin finds and wish him the best of luck!

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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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