Author Archives: jennaduronio

Alvin’s Masters Thesis Proposal Presentation

Alvin presentation photoRecently, 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.

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Congratulations to Jessica Kopitz for Provost Student Research Award.

Jess master's thesis proposal website picCongratulations 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 jkopitz@oakland.edu.

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The Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation Fundraiser Event

Shelby Jane Seyburn FoundationOn 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!

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Reema’s Research Internship Presentation

Reema's presentationReema Gowda is an ambitious student at Stoney Creek High School who has been participating in a research internship through the PTG lab since September, 2016. Reema’s interests in psychology and medicine have been simultaneously explored through her literature reviews regarding posttraumatic growth in individuals facing medical stressors. Recently, Reema used data from research that was conducted in the PTG lab to examine mean levels of PTG in high school students who indicated that medical trauma was the most stressful event they experienced in the past five years. The results revealed that individuals experiencing medical stressors reported the highest levels of growth in the Personal Strength domain, followed by the Appreciation of Life domain of PTG. The PTG lab looks forward to continuing to support Reema’s interests and seeing what she continues to accomplish.

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Managing Problems of Daily Living Televised Interview

whitney-tv-interview.jpgThird year PhD student Whitney as well as former lab member Leah recently participated in a televised interview about posttraumatic growth. In the interview Whitney and Leah answer questions about trauma, stress, posttraumatic growth (PTG), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resiliency, and more. Whitney begins by defining PTG and explains each of the five domains. Leah adds that it is not necessary to experience a very serious trauma in order to experience growth, and explains that many people experience growth from highly stressful, but not necessarily traumatic, life events. Current research being done in the PTG lab regarding PTG, resiliency, and PTSD is also discussed. Please follow the attached link to view the full interview. Managing Problems of Daily Living Posttraumatic Growth Interview

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Parent University

parent-university.jpgDr. Taku, Kyle, and Lauren recently conducted a workshop with parents from Pontiac, Michigan about posttraumatic growth. The workshop began with a brief discussion about expectations for the workshop where the parents shared their desire to learn about the work being done in the PTG lab and how they can apply this work to their own lives. Kyle and Lauren then presented information about posttraumatic growth and provided examples while encouraging the parents to follow along by answering questions in a personal workbook which was provided to them. The parents had the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding  how they might be able to view stress in their lives as an opportunity for growth. This workshop was highly successful as the parents look forward to future psycho-educational programs to be conducted by the PTG lab.

 

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Lauren’s Honors Independent Study

Lauren's PesentationLauren recently presented preliminary findings from her honors independent  project entitled, “Survey about Images of Psychosomatic Disorder or Posttraumatic Growth.” This research was primarily inspired by the work of Sakamoto, Yamakawa, and Muranaka (2016) and was designed to examine the differences in perceptions of authentic and illusory posttraumatic growth, as well as the influences of narcissistic personality characteristics on these perceptions. The PTG lab has been collecting data for this research study with undergraduate students since February and is getting very close to completing this phase of the study. Thus far, the preliminary results have revealed that perceptions of authentic growth are more positive than perceptions of illusory growth. Additionally, some narcissistic personality characteristics may aid in the identification of authentic growth. Lauren hopes to present the findings of this research at the Midwestern Psychological Association and American Psychological Association conferences next year. The PTG lab looks forward to seeing the final results of this study!

The PTG lab would also like to announce that Dr. Taku has been asked to serve as a guest editor for the journal Behavioral Sciences. For more information please click here and consider submitting a paper! Congratulations Dr. Taku!

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Whitney’s Teen Mom Program Presentation in Honor of Shelby Seyburn

Whitney PresentationLab member, Whitney recently presented information about the Teen Mom Program to be conducted at Pontiac High School. This project began as Shelby Seyburn’s independent research project in the lab and has been continued in her honor and memory by Whitney, Dr. Taku, Velinka, Aundreah, and Leah. The purpose of this psychoeducational program is primarily to teach pregnant teenagers, and teenage mothers about posttraumatic growth and the importance of social support when dealing with stress. This program also aims to provide these mothers with resources, and help them to form connections with each other. The program consists of three sessions over the course of four weeks. The lab also plans to use information gathered at these sessions in order to assess the effectiveness of the program. The future goals for this program include continued revision of the program based on feedback from participants as well as current research, and to incorporate nutrition education by partnering with the department of health and human services. We look forward to seeing all of the positive outcomes of Shelby’s program.

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PTG Lab Welcomes New Members

Jess BioThe PTG Lab would like to welcome new graduate lab member, Jess. Jess is a first year masters student with a bachelor’s degree in communications, advertising, and public relations from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is interested in the relationship between trauma and personality and looking at the positive aspects of classically deemed negative personality traits. She became interested in looking at the potential positive outcomes of classically deemed negative trauma through growth, which got her interested in PTG and inspired her to want to work in the PTG lab. She hopes to be able to redefine negative personality traits in an adaptive sense by showing the positive uses and features of them, especially in the aftermath of trauma or high stress situations, and work toward de-pathologizing personality disorders in light of trauma. She plans to continue her education to obtain a PhD in clinical pathology to be able to implement her research findings in clinical settings. Jess can be reached at jkopitz@oakland.edu.

Alvin BioThe PTG lab would also like to welcome new graduate lab member Alvin. Alvin graduated with a bachelors degree in psychology from Oakland University this past April. He is interested in research involving achievement, stress, motivation, and resiliency. For his masters thesis he would like to study how motivation can impact stress levels to enhance or promote efforts of success. He would also like to examine if failure to achieve could lead to an increased sense of wisdom or positive perception of gained experience. The work that the PTG lab does got Alvin interested in joining and he is excited to begin contributing. Alvin hopes to use what he learns in the lab to work toward his long-term goal of becoming a clinical psychologist, and working with individuals with psychopathology. Alvin can be reached at aenicholas@oakland.edu.

Kayla BioThe PTG lab welcomes Kayla, out newest undergraduate research assistant. Kayla is currently at junior at Oakland University and is majoring in psychology. She became interested in joining the lab because she finds the construct of posttraumatic growth interesting and relevant to many people. During her time in the lab, she hopes to study many different aspects of PTG. More specifically, she is interested in how children of abuse and neglect experience PTG. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology with a focus in forensics. Kayla can be reached at kstrunk@oakland.edu.

 

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New Student Convocation in 2017 at OU

New Student Convocation

Lab members Velinka and Lauren presented at the New Student Convocation on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017. A convocation is traditionally defined as a formal assembly of new members of a group. The New Student Convocation at Oakland University is a special event that kicks-off each new student’s academic career at OU and serves as an official welcome to the university. Part of this event involves grouping new students and transfer students based on their academic majors for a specific orientation based on their official program.

Dr. Lewis began this orientation by presenting information about the Department of Psychology, advising, as well as tips for what to expect as an undergraduate student. Velinka and Lauren then presented a PowerPoint presentation about the PTG lab, informing these new psychology students about what PTG is, what we do in the lab, why research and participation in research is important, as well as information regarding how to become a research assistant.

The event ended with an official introduction to Psi Chi, and then the students were sent off to the Involvement Fair. The PTG lab is looking forward to seeing all of these new faces and getting to know more of the department’s undergraduate students!

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