Fatima is a senior high school student, and this is her first year interning for the PTG lab. Recently, Fatima presented findings from her literature review, titled Relationship Between Social Isolation in Childhood and Health. Fatima sought to examine how active social disengagement affects physical health, mental health, and social attachment. Fatima presented articles addressing the relationship between child abuse and social isolation, age differences of social isolation perception, and to what extent childhood friendships can buffer social isolation. She also looked at how childhood isolation can predict future health by reviewing an article that assessed the effects of social isolation in early childhood on potential mental health problems in adolescence and another article that predicted increased adult inflammation. Fatima learned that there is variation in childhood social isolation and that it may lead to cascading mental and physical health issues. We are impressed with Fatima’s work and hope she continues to pursue her love for behavioral sciences into college!
Author Archives: acorille
Velinka recently gave her Senior’s Thesis presentation titled “Youth Perceptions of Intergenerational Discordance and Immigrant Well-being”. Velinka is interested in studying acculturation, the process of adapting to a new culture, and how differing rates of acculturation between immigrant youth and their parents can lead to family tension and potential youth distress and maladjustment. This explanation of immigrant youth distress is known as the Acculturation Gap Distress model and has been expanded to take into account intergenerational, contextual, and individual differences. Velinka plans to take a mixed methods approach to examine youth-perceived parent-child gaps and assess their relation to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic growth (PTG), and somatic symptoms in immigrant youth. This is an exploratory study designed to quantitatively and qualitatively examine the role of perceived gaps between immigrant parent and child in acculturation and emotion processing and awareness on youth distress and to explore if stress related to perceived parent-child discrepancies leads to PTG. Velinka hopes to contribute to the Acculturation Gap-Distress Model, clarify the relationship between gap-distress-related stress and PTG, and provide information to educators, clinicians and physicians to assist those who struggle with immigration. We are excited to see what Velinka finds!
Whitney recently presented her dissertation proposal entitles “Psychological Growth, Distress, and Educational Impact of Dolphins and Dolphin Assisted Therapy in Children”. Whitney’s research is divided into three studies. The first study will examine the effect of a Wild Swim-With-Dolphins program on several variables of children including posttraumatic growth, social support, emotion regulation, and more. For the second study, she plans to empirically examine the impact of wild DAT on psychological factors among children, document physiological change across program using heart rate, and assess participant & guardian perceptions of the program. For the third study, Whitney will collect data from a Captive-Swim-With-Dolphins programs. She plans to assess the impact of physical touch with dolphins, assess emotion regulation, social support, and empathy changes, and assess conservation behavior and attitudes in children from the dolphin interaction. Upon completing these three studies, Whitney will be able to address the relationship between posttraumatic growth and dolphin interactions, compare captive versus wild swim-with-dolphin programs, and determine the mechanisms of effective animal assisted therapies with the goal of developing clinical interventions. Whitney has been collecting data and plans to continue next spring and summer! Good luck Whitney!
Lab members Lauren, Jenna, Velinka, Jess, and Alvin attended the 90th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, from April 12-14 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. The purpose of the conference is for students and psychologists across the Midwest to share and discuss their research. The conference featured nearly a thousand research presentations across all branches of psychology, and included major addresses and methodology workshops. Additionally, the conference featured programs offered by Psi Chi, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, and the Society for Community Research and Action.
Lauren and Jess presented their poster titled Which Dimensions of Narcissism are Influential in Reporting Posttraumatic Growth? which they worked on with Dr. Taku. Particularly, their presentation explained how aspects of narcissism like grandiose fantasy and contingent self-esteem, respectively, influence PTG. Narcissism was a popular topic at the conference, and Jess and Lauren answered many questions from interested attendees.
Jess presented her and Velinka’s poster titled Examining the Relationship Between the Dark Triad and Posttraumatic Growth, which they worked on with Dr. Taku. This poster presentation examined the association between Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism, respectively, and PTG. Jess got a chance to inform many intrigued attendees about both the Dark Triad and PTG.
Velinka presented her poster titled Personality Traits and Importance of Nationality: Indicators of Cultural Adaptation? which she worked on with Kyle and Dr. Taku. This poster presentation shared results about how extraversion, openness to experience, and agreeableness relate to the importance one places on nationality. Many attendees stopped to ask questions and found Velinka’s poster regarding immigration research extremely engaging!
On the final day of the conference, Jenna and Alvin presented their poster titled, Counter-Intuitive Impact of Academic Stressors on Posttraumatic Growth in Bereaved College Students, which they worked on with Dr. Taku. Specifically, their poster presentation shared results regarding how experiencing both academic stressors and the death of someone close, respectively, affect PTG. They did a fantastic job communicating their research and ended the MPA conference on the right note!
The conference was a huge success with over 3,300 in attendance, and the PTG lab looks forward to presenting at the 91st MPA conference next year. Next year’s conference is set to be held at the Palmer House Hilton again, from April 11-13, 2019.
Great job Jess, Lauren, Velinka, Alvin, and Jenna for representing the lab well!
Congratulations to both Whitney Dominick and Alvin Nicholas for each being awarded a Provost Graduate Student Research Award! In order to be considered for the award, students are required submit an application, which includes a detailed research proposal, to OU’s Research Office. Both Whitney and Alvin submitted applications for their respective studies and both were offered the award! Whitney received the award for her study entitled “The Impact of Dolphin Interactions on Emotion Regulation and Perceptions of Social Support,” which will be a part of her doctoral dissertation. The purpose of her research is to compare the effects of various types of dolphin interactions on personal growth, distress, and psycho-education in children. In order to implement her study, Whitney plans to travel to Florida and Hawaii this summer where she will begin data collection! Alvin received the award for his study entitled “Achievement, Resiliency, and Deliberate Rumination Moderating the Relationship Between Failure and Positive and Negative Outcomes,” which will be a part of his Master’s Thesis. The purpose of his research is to test the relationship between amount of achievement and failure experiences and outcomes that are identified after either experience, such as posttraumatic growth or depression. He is currently preparing his online survey and is scheduled to begin collecting data with university students shortly. We are excited that Whitney and Alvin both have an opportunity to implement their respective studies and we look forward to seeing how their studies unfold! Good luck, Whitney and Alvin!
Velinka recently presented her Honors Independent Study Proposal, entitled “Immigrant Youth Well-being and the Role of Perceived Parent-Child Gaps of Acculturation, Family Obligations, and Emotion Processing Tendencies”. Velinka is interested in the acculturation gap-distress between immigrant parents and their children. Acculturation is the process of adapting to a new culture. The acculturation gap-distress model states that differing rates of acculturation occur between parents and their children, cause tension, stress, and may result in youth maladjustment. Velinka would like to quantitatively and qualitatively examine the role of perceived gaps between parents and children experiencing acculturation, attitude towards family obligation, and emotion processing tendencies on youth distress. In addition, she would like to explore if stress related to perceived parent-child discrepancies leads to personal growth. She plans to accomplish this by reaching out to high-schools, community centers, libraries, and Oakland University to locate participants and administer surveys. Overall, she would like to make a contribution to the acculturation gap-distress model, and she hopes to identify the relation between perceived parent-child differences and PTG. We are very excited about her work! Good luck Velinka!
First semester lab member, Nicholas, recently gave his first article presentation on a study entitled “Meaning Making and Psychological Adjustment Following Cancer: The Mediating Roles of Growth, Life Meaning, and Restored Just-World Beliefs” by Crystal L. Park, Donald Edmondson, Juliane R. Fenster, and Thomas O. Blank. The purpose of this study was to clarify the meaning making, the process of how persons understand or make sense of life events, relationships, and the self, and how it influences psychological well-being. The results showed that the meaning making process, including positive re-framing of negative thoughts and experiences, relates to better adjustment after experiences with cancer. The researchers also developed a pathway model of the meaning making process that illustrated multiple relationships, including the positive relations between life meaningfulness and psychological well-being. The researchers indicated that future research should account for different stages of cancer, severity of the cancer, and whether patients have had re-occurrences of the disease. Nicholas believes that it is important to examine the meaning making model over a longer period and that additional variables should be assessed that may assist in meaning making. Nicholas continues to pursue his passion with how posttraumatic growth impacts the lives of cancer patients, and we are excited to see how his interests grow in the lab! Well done, Nicholas!
Lauren recently gave her Honors Thesis Defense Prep Presentation entitled “Posttraumatic Growth and Illusory Growth: Attitudes Toward Growth Types and the Impact of Individual Differences.” Lauren’s presentation outlined the purposes, hypotheses, and results of her three studies. Study 1 was meant to assess if participants could distinguish between posttraumatic growth and illusory growth and to identify attitudes toward each of the growth types. Lauren clarified the differences and similarities between posttraumatic growth (PTG) and illusory growth. For example, she explained that PTG requires shaken core beliefs and the social support of others to make meaning from stressful life experiences. Lauren contrasted this by explaining that illusory growth occurs without these variables and that the motive of reporting growth is to reinforce the ego. These differences were illustrated, but not identified, in short fictional stories called vignettes that were read aloud to the participants. Study 2 involved determining how the presentation order of the two vignettes affected attitudes toward the respective growth types. She answered this question by administering a survey condition that introduced the PTG vignette first, and one that introduced the illusory growth vignette first. Study 3 investigated the influence that narcissism has on attitudes toward PTG and illusory growth. Specifically, Lauren found that narcissism made an impact on attitudes toward PTG. She recommends that future directions should further assess other narcissistic traits in terms of attitudes toward growth types. She will be incorporating feedback to further improve her outstanding presentation for her Honors Thesis Defense. Good luck Lauren!
Jenna recently presented her Honor’s Thesis Defense Prep Presentation entitled “Exploring Military Experiences: Clarifying the Relationship Between Resiliency and Posttraumatic Growth.” The purposes of her research are to clarify the relation(s) between resiliency and posttraumatic growth (PTG), to examine respective relations among related variables, and to compare two measures of resiliency: The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) and Workplace Resiliency Inventory (WRI). Jenna assessed growth motivation, altruistic attitudes, and several other variables to clarify the relationship between resiliency and PTG. Among many significant results, she found that growth motivation positively correlates with PTG and both measures of resiliency. She addressed issues surrounding the literature’s differing conceptualizations of resiliency by analyzing the similarities and differences between the CD-RISC and WRI, as well as their respective relations to other variables of interest. More specifically, she found key areas of differentiation between the two measures when comparing against other variables such as social support and coping. Jenna plans to use the results from this study to guide her future research. She hopes to replicate her results in other populations and incorporate longitudinal research designs in her field of research. Jenna is conducting her research with the ultimate goal of developing and implementing a Resiliency/Posttraumatic Growth Training Program. Good luck Jenna!
Lauren recently gave a presentation entitled “Improving the Review Process and its Integrity.” The purpose of her presentation was to share lab member feedback regarding the current revision process and to open discussion about the process of revising fellow lab members’ work in efforts to improve efficiency. Lauren accomplished this by gathering all of the lab members’ perspectives on the current review process and compiling it to propose changes to improve the process going forward. These overarching changes include focusing on content-related revisions, being clear and concise with suggestions, and creating a timeline for the review process. The presentation also included suggestions to improve the integrity of responding to revisions. In particular, Lauren stressed the importance of helping the reviewer to understand how their comments were received by being clear with responses to revisions by avoiding ambiguous responses comments such as “It’s strange/ I’m confused” and providing clear suggestions in order to improve the work overall. She used examples of revisions from empirical journals to demonstrate a professional model of the revision process. This included thoroughly acknowledging each comment, explaining how the comment was addressed, and providing rationale for why the comment was accepted or rejected. Using this, she was able to make applications to the PTG lab’s process. The ultimate product was a structured paper revision rubric on which lab members can organize constructive criticisms in addition to positive feedback. The lab plans to implement this rubric into all revisions processes throughout the lab. Thank you, Lauren!