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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