Monthly Archives: March 2022

Danielle’s Article Presentation

First-semester undergraduate lab member, Danielle McDonald, recently gave an insightful presentation on an article titled “Eating disorder diagnosis and the female athlete: A longitudinal analysis from college sport to retirement“.

Eating disorders (EDs) are mental disorders defined by abnormal eating behaviors that negatively affect a person’s mental or physical health and typically include misperceptions about one’s body shape or weight. Additionally, they may cause disruptions in healthy eating behaviors. Female athletes are a group that is considered high-risk for EDs, especially showing Hugh rates of clinical and subclinical EDs, which may be facilitated by high-pressure sports environments. Research, using longitudinal designs, has also shown that EDs can change over time. The purpose of the study was to examine the long-term stability of eating disorders in female athletes into retirement.

The sample comprised of 193 NCAA Division 1 female athletes from 26 different U.S. universities, 122 of which were artistic gymnasts and 71 of which were swimmers. 41 athletes were six years into retirement, 57 athletes were five years into retirement, 50 athletes were four years into retirement, 43 athletes three years into retirement, and 2 athletes were two years into retirement. Results indicated that the retired athletes’ overall prevalence rates were 3.1% for clinical EDs, 26.9% for subclinical Eds, and 69.9% remained healthy.

Results also showed, between the two times, that athletes spent less time exercising, fasting times, laxative use, and intentional vomiting remained similar, and binge eating decreased. Furthermore, the overall number of athletes classified with clinical EDs decreased from 13 to 6, and only one athlete maintained a clinical ED between the two times, whereas the other 12 athletes were classified as subclinical or healthy. The results seem to support the trends consistent with past research that clinical EDs decrease from college to adulthood which is similar with non-athlete research. Disordered eating was also food to peak during late adolescence, during which a college social environment could be considered a risk for the development of an ED.

Danielle had very insightful takeaways about athletes and EDs. She stressed that athletes were a very vulnerable population at risk of developing eating disorders and that they can develop at a young age. A major point Danielle alluded to was the need for coaches to undergo training to understand the importance of eating disorders amongst their athletes so that they may better communicate, educate, and help support the athletes instead of pressuring them.

Awesome work, Danielle!

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Congratulations, Victoria!

Congratulations to senior lab member, Victoria Kaznowski, on successfully defending her independent senior thesis titled “Mechanisms Driving the Nature and Psychological Well-Being Relationship: Mindfulness and Connection to Nature Intervention.”

During the Fall 2021 semester, Victoria had first presented her senior thesis which detailed the plans of her study to investigate the nature well-being relationship (NWBR) by examining changes in psychological well-being and emotional perceptions through nature exposure.

Victoria’s first hypothesis was that the heightened group will increase positive affect and decrease negative affect and stress after the intervention and that the distraction group will decrease positive affect and increase negative affect and stress after the intervention. The second hypothesis stated that mindfulness and connection to nature will differ amongst the three groups. The third hypothesis examined correlational relationships between mindfulness and psychological well-being. Lastly, the fourth hypothesis stated emotion perceptions would change from the beginning of the intervention to the end.

Data was collected and analyzed by 109 participants who completed both the pre-and post-tests. She found that her first hypothesis was partially supported with the heightened group increasing in positive emotions and decreasing negative emotions after the intervention with the other two groups similarly changing. Although her second hypothesis was not supported, her third hypothesis was supported, showing that mechanism would correlate positively with positive affect and negatively with stress and negative affect after the intervention, reflecting a significant relationship between better psychological outcomes and higher levels of mindfulness and connectedness to nature. Although her fourth hypothesis was also partially supported, it demonstrated exploratory use of a modified PANAS-scale which hadn’t been used before and can be modified upon future studies to further develop the idea. Nice work Victoria!

There were a few limitations presented within this study. It would beneficial to run the study in a controlled lab setting to ensure that participants are following instructions, despite the checkpoints for study participation being in place, there could have been variation. The modified PANAS measure was created by Dr. Taku and Victoria, so it would be helpful to test the validity and reliability for future studies.

Victoria has also been awarded the Psychology Departmental Honors which required her to have a 3.2 and 3.5 or higher in her psychology courses, complete various upper-division psychology research classes, and receive written recommendations from a mentor. So congratulations on your departmental honors and your successful defense of your independent thesis Victoria!

In other exciting news, Victoria has decided to join the Clinical Psychology Master’s program at Minnesota State University – Mankato in the fall. It is a unique program that prepares students for doctoral study in clinical psychology by offering training under the scientist-practitioner model at the Master’s level. We can’t wait to see what awaits you after graduation and look forward to more of your accomplishments!

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Congratulations, Kolton!

Congratulations to second-year Master’s student, Kolton Smith, on successfully defending his Master’s Thesis titled “Victim-Perpetrator Overlap and Posttraumatic Growth“. Given the limited research in this field that is often constrained to intimate partner and sexual violence, Kolton’s study set out to explore Victim-Perpetrator Overlap (VPO), Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in relation to VPO, and if perpetrators experience or report PTG concurrently with offending.

Kolton hypothesized that (1) people who experience PTG as a victim will be less likely to become a perpetrator, (2) people who are asked to reflect on their victim experiences first will be less likely to report instances of being a perpetrator than those who are asked to reflect on their perpetration experiences first, and (3) PTG as a victim will be greater than that of PTG as a perpetrator regardless of condition.

Kolton’s study design consisted of randomly separating participants into two conditions in questions based on either victim or perpetrator experiences would appear first. The independent variables consisted of the condition that the participant was placed in as well as their experiences as a victim and perpetrator. The dependent variables were the amount of PTG that was being reported, both as a victim and as a perpetrator, and the amount of offending that was being reported.

Data was collected from 397 participants, 300 from an OU sample, who received .5 SONA credits for completing the survey, and 97 participants from the community sample, who received entry into a raffle for completing the survey. of the 397 participants, only 248 participants completed all four attention checks, thus serving as the basis for the analysis.

After analyses were ran, data revealed Kolton’s first hypothesis was not supported as PTG as a victim had very low correlation with the total for perpetration experiences.

His second hypothesis was also not supported after initial composite scores for perpetration found no significant difference between groups. Kolton’s third hypothesis was not supported either, however, there was a significant interaction between conditions, for condition one in which participants encountered perpetrator experiences before victim experiences, they reported higher PTG scores for perpetration rather than for victimization.

Lack of support for Kolton’s hypotheses can be attributed to massive skews that were found during data analyses, partially due to the OU sample used, which differs in composition in relation to other communities. However, this finding can be used to adjust the design for future studies, and can be addressed through expanding community samples.

Even though there is limited research regarding Victim-Perpetrator Overlap, Kolton has made great headway. Congratulations on defending your thesis Kolton! We can’t wait to see what else you accomplish!

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