First year graduate student Alvin recently presented his proposal for his master’s thesis research entitled “Achievement Moderating the Relationship Between Failure and Positive and Negative Outcomes.” According to his review of the literature, while many researchers have examined positive and negative impacts of failure, little to no work has been done to examine how the combination of failure and achievement experiences impacts individuals. In order to address this gap in the literature, Alvin plans to conduct two online research studies exploring various achievement and failure experiences. More specifically, Alvin is interested in examining how resiliency, deliberate rumination, and achievement might moderate the relationship between failure and both positive and negative outcomes. Positive outcomes of interest include wisdom, posttraumatic growth, and intrinsic motivation while negative outcomes of interest include depression, fear of failure, and intrusive rumination. Alvin hopes to implement his research findings by working to help individuals who have experienced failure by motivating them to improve their goal setting strategies, and teaching them healthy ways to examine failure experiences.
Author Archives: jennaduronio
Jess presented her Master’s Thesis proposal entitled, “Redefining Negative Personality Traits and Coping Techniques After Impacts of Stress and Trauma”. The purposes of this research are to 1) determine links between negative personality traits, maladaptive coping, and trauma, 2) explore potential positive implications of maladaptive coping strategies and negative personality traits, 3) work toward the redefinition of negative personality traits and coping in light of trauma, and 4) build a framework for new interventions for trauma survivors. Jess’ thesis research will consist of two studies. The first study will involve semi-structured interviews with combat veterans, followed by a brief online survey, and the second will consist of a week-long series of inventories regarding daily stress with undergraduate students. More specifically, daily stress is defined as minor life stressors that occur consistently in an individual’s life, and is linked to greater susceptibility to negative outcomes such as anxiety and depression. Not only does Jess plan to use the findings from her research to work toward the development of interventions, but she also hopes to expand her research to individuals dealing with personality disorders, as well as individuals facing different forms of trauma.
Recently, Whitney presented her dissertation proposal entitled “Psychological Growth, Distress, and Educational Impact of Dolphins and Dolphin Assisted Therapy in Children”. This summer, Whitney will be conducting her dissertation research through Dolphin Assisted Therapy and Swim-With-Dolphin programs in Florida and Hawaii. The main goal of this research is to provide efficacy data for such programs for children by examining variables such as posttraumatic growth, emotion regulation, social support, and more. In doing so, Whitney’s study will be the first to examine the impact of wild Dolphin Assisted Therapy on human psychology, the first to address posttraumatic growth in relation to interactions with dolphin, and the first to compare captive versus wild swim with dolphin programs. Moreover, this research aims to highlight the mechanisms behind animal assisted therapy for the ultimate purpose of the development of clinical interventions. We are all excited to see what she finds!
The PTG Lab is pleased to introduce our two new undergraduate members!
Alex is a junior at Oakland University majoring in psychology with a minor in biology. He decided to join the lab in order to gain rigorous lab work experience and deepen his understanding of PTG. More specifically, Alex is interested in the biological effects of PTG and how it relates to physiological changes in the brain. Upon graduation, Alex plans to pursue a PhD in behavioral neuroscience or neurobiology. Alex can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicholas is a junior at Oakland University working toward a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in biology. He joined the lab because of his interest in how individuals change following a traumatic event. Specifically, he is interested in seeing how those dealing with severe medical diagnoses, as well as those closest to them, change following the diagnoses. He plans to begin the application process to medical school next year in order to work toward his goal of becoming a physician. Nicholas can be reached at email@example.com.
Welcome, Alex and Nicholas!
Every month psychology graduate students and faculty meet for presentations on current psychology research at Oakland University. These meetings are referred to as Lunch Bunch Research Colloquium, and are held from 12:00-1:00 pm in the Oakland Center. Recently, Lauren gave a Lunch Bunch talk about her honors thesis research entitled, “Modern versus Traditional Depression, Posttraumatic Growth versus Illusory Growth.” After her successful presentation Lauren answered questions. Many faculty members reached out after the presentation to express how impressed they were with Lauren and her work. Way to go, Lauren!
Recently, second semester lab member Velinka presented an article and her related hypotheses to the lab. The study she presented examined the relationship between acculturation and personal growth in a sample of Korean immigrants. Acculturation is a complex process encompassing the behavioral and cultural value changes experienced by individuals and groups after prolonged exposure to two or more cultures. This process can span across an individual’s life, generations, and even centuries. The results of this exploratory study revealed that while behavioral acculturation was not related to personal growth, cultural value acculturation was. This finding has direct connections to Korean culture which emphasizes the establishment of group interests. Velinka has also been hard at work this semester on an extensive literature review regarding these variables of interest and hopes to use this information toward the establishment of an honors independent research project. The PTG lab is eager to assist Velinka as she continues to work toward these goals, and looks forward to seeing what she comes up with. Great job, Velinka!
Article presentations are an important opportunity for lab members to share their research interests with the lab, as well as to being working toward literature reviews and research studies regarding those variables of interest. Recently, first semester lab member Kayla presented an article to the lab about posttraumatic growth among men with histories of sexual abuse. The purpose of this study by Easton, Coohey, Rhodes, and Moothy (2013) was to explore the factors that are related to posttraumatic growth in a sample of adult males who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. The results revealed that the understanding of the abuse as well as experiencing a turning point toward healing was related to higher levels of reported growth. The results also demonstrated a significant, negative relation between conformity to masculine norms and growth. Future research of interest to Kayla includes the identification of the time, nature, and causes of turning points toward healing form childhood sexual abuse. A better understanding of this phenomena has the potential to help individual recover from sexual abuse. Kayla will continue to be a part of the PTG lab this coming Winter 2018 semester as a volunteer, and we are all looking forward to witnessing her continued success. Great job, Kayla!
Recently, first year graduate lab member Alvin presented his Masters thesis proposal. Alvin is interested in examining the impact of failure and achievement experiences, and how such experiences related to both positive and negative outcomes. Positive outcomes of interest include growth and wisdom, while negative outcomes include learned helplessness and fear of failure. He is also interested in examining if variables such as resiliency and rumination might influence the relationship between experiences and outcomes. Alvin hopes to test his hypotheses in a sample of undergraduate students as this research may be particularly beneficial to them. He hopes to use this information to help individuals who have experienced failure by motivating them to improve their goal setting strategies, while also demonstrating that outcomes of failure are not always negative, and may involve positive changes as well. In the future, Alvin would like to expand his research to broader samples in order to increase the generalizability of the findings. This research has the potential to impact intervention and therapy programs, and Alvin hopes to translate this research to his own practice in the future as a clinical psychologist.
Congratulations to Jess Kopitz who received the Provost Student Research Award! Her project title is “Redefining negative personality traits and coping techniques after impacts of stress and trauma in veterans.”
First year graduate lab member, Jess, recently presented her master’s thesis proposal. In her research, Jess is focusing on redefining negative personality traits and behaviors as helpful in coping with trauma. In her review of the literature she discussed the link between maladaptive coping and negative personality traits following trauma, and demonstrated that traditionally deemed negative personality traits occur on a spectrum, and thus should not necessarily be classified as positive or negative. Therefore, the overarching purposes of Jess’s master’s thesis research are to demonstrate links between “negative” personality traits, maladaptive coping, and trauma, as well as to uncover positive implications of such occurrences in order to work toward redefining and de-pathologizing negative personality traits and maladaptive coping. Currently, she is working on conducting interviews with veterans who have been exposed to combat while on deployment because veterans in particular have the potential to benefit greatly from this research. If you know of someone who fits this description, and who may be interested in participating in this valuable research, please have them contact Jess Kopitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, November 3rd Dr. Taku, Jenna, and Lauren attended a fundraiser event at the ZiFiT Birmingham Executive Club to kick-off The Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation. The mission of this foundation is to fund travel to psychology conferences for undergraduate and graduate students, support the PTG Lab’s Teen Parent Initiative, as well as to provide grants to further research regarding Posttraumatic Growth.
All who attended this event received T-shirts, wrist bands, and towels and were able to participate in multiple 20-minute fitness classes including boxing, cycling, yoga and more. This was a great way to start the program as Shelby was very passionate about fitness and health. In addition to psychology, Shelby studied nutrition and was known to wake up extremely early every morning to participate in rigorous workouts–sometimes even twice a day! ZiFiT had many workout videos of Shelby that were displayed on monitors throughout the facility, which served as a great motivator and example.
Shelby was an incredible individual with a great passion for helping others, and her research in the PTG Lab aimed to do just that. Shelby conducted many research projects in the lab examining PTG, resiliency, and social support, attended many conferences, published articles, and began the Teen Parent Initiative in order to assist teen parents in Pontiac, Michigan. Shelby’s family, friends, and the PTG lab are working hard to keep Shelby’s work and passions alive by continuing her projects and promoting this foundation in her honor and memory.
Donations may be made to the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation by following this link.
On November 3rd, together, we raised $4,605.00 for the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation! Shelby has been and always will be here to help OU students successful and help us conduct important research!