Monthly Archives: April 2023

The Lab’s Instagram Debut

The FF-PTG lab has taken over Instagram! Follow our lab along with fun content @FFPTGLABatOU! We will be posting lab updates and more information that you will NOT want to miss.

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Congratulations and Lab Member Updates!

The FF-PTG has some exciting news to share about some of the members of the lab.

Kaylie, a masters student was accepted into a clinical Ph. D. program through Bowling Green State University! She will be pursuing her research passions with Dr. Carolyn Tompsett. Dr. Tompsett is partnered with the local juvenile court and researches substance abuse and juvenile delinquency using a community framework. Kaylie is planning to research the role of trauma within the context of juvenile delinquency as well as the effect of trauma on the development and maintenance of antisocial behaviors. We are so proud of your achievements and are excited to see what your future project entail Kaylie!

Paxton, an undergraduate student and current lab manager, has been accepted into Oakland University’s BA/MS program. This means that along with getting his bachelors degree he will immediately begin working towards getting his Master’s. Paxton will be staying with the FF-PTG lab as a graduate student! He will continue to pursue his topics of interest when it comes to researching tipping points while working on his thesis. The current study has just been awarded the Provost Research grant! This means he now has funding to further investigate these topics meaning more research is possible! During the summer he will be continuing his study on tipping points as well as working on other projects!

Isabelle, the former lab manager, research assistant, and Honor’s College student, is graduating. She will be leaving the lab and pursuing a career within the medical field. Isabelle aspires to earn an MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion to become a CCP. She currently is observing various perfusionists in the state of Michigan through Trinity Health, Corewell Health Beaumont, and Comprehensive Care Services. Since 2018, Isabelle has worked in healthcare for Corewell Health Beaumont. She will be continuing to work with the organization as a Nuclear Medicine Assistant along with Rochester General Surgery as a medical scribe to further develop her professional skills for her future career.

We are so proud of the outcomes of our lab members. We know that wherever each of them go success will follow them! The FF-PTG is a place to facilitate individuals passions for research and psychology. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for each of our assistant; for those who are leaving the lab for future pursuits and those staying alike!

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Many of the lab members are currently attending MPA, Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, in Chicago!

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Isabelle’s Honor’s College Thesis Defense Preparations

Isabelle, the former lab manager of the FF-PTG lab, presented her Honor’s College thesis on the paradoxical nature of resilience, optimism, and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resilience is a familiar topic in the PTG lab being a person’s ability to easily return to a normal state after experiencing trauma. Instead of experiencing negative or positive outcomes, resilient individuals return to a typical baseline easily. Resilience can be positive, but having too much resilience can have several consequences, including being overconfident, an unhealthy tolerance of adversity, and unhealthy optimism. Previous research has also linked high resilience to learned helplessness. Optimism operates in a similar vein to resilience; having the right amount can be beneficial. Having too high or low levels of optimism can lead to negative outcomes with high optimism having impractical expectations, and low optimism leading to increased stress. Some research even suggests that lacking pessimism rather than having some optimism can be more beneficial to positive health outcomes.

Due to how recent the COVID-19 pandemic is, many of these variables have been unexplored in this specific context. Especially when considering potential paradoxes, which can be described as a seemingly contradictory relationship, between optimism, resilience, and anxiety. For example, individuals who have high optimism should not be experiencing high anxiety because of the fact that they are optimistic. Isabelle’s thesis data hope to observe these relationships and clarify some of these paradoxes. The study suffered some limitations which include high attrition; many respondents did not complete part 2 of the survey which removed the possibility of observing the relationships longitudinally. The sample also suffers from a lack of diversity. Isabelle hopes to rerun the study to gather longitudinal data after 2 years to see if these paradoxes still exist in the behaviors of those affected. She also hopes to examine whether differing experiences, such as those who had COVID or those who are and are not vaccinated could show differences in these relationships.

Isabelle was able to share her presentation at the ICE festival hosted by the Honor’s College at Oakland University. This was a chance for her to present her topic in front of many of her peers. We are proud of your accomplishments and cannot wait to see your next steps, Isabelle!

Recently, Isabelle successfully defended her thesis in front of friends, family, and faculty advisors. She demonstrated several paradoxes in the relationships between the core concepts and behaviors and attitudes during the COVID-19 pandemic. One example includes the significant association with precautionary behaviors (i.e., wearing a mask) and health anxiety with some individuals expressing high health anxiety but low post behaviors. What made this project especially difficult was the lack of a scientific consensus on the definition of a “paradox” and only use of qualitative data in previous research. Isabelle hopes that future research can enlighten on what paradoxes in attitudes and behaviors can look like in the fields of psychopathology and healthcare and then into society through the use of empirical data. Excellent work Isabelle!

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