Author Archives: jennaduronio

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

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

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


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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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APA Presentation Dedicated to Shelby Seyburn

The PTG Lab recently attended the 125th meeting of the American Psychological Association in Washington D.C. from August 3-6. Together, members of the PTG Lab at Oakland University as well as members of the Posttraumatic Growth lab from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte under Dr. Richard Tedeschi presented recent findings at the symposium on August 5th. This symposium was dedicated to the life and memory of Shelby Jane Seyburn.

shelby_web-025Shelby tragically passed on June 3rd of this year. Shelby was a beloved lab manager, colleague, and friend to all of us and has been missed beyond measure. The PTG Lab is determined to keep Shelby’s work and memory going. Dr. Richard Tedeschi began the symposium with a touching dedication to Shelby and her incredible work in the lab. This presentation at APA served as a reminder of the impact Shelby has had, and continues to have on so many people. She will remain as our eternal lab manager.


Kanako Taku, Lawrence Calhoun, Jenna Duronio, Aundreah Walenski, Velinka Marton, Lauren Harrison, Takaharu Nakamura, Leah McDiarmid, Whitney Dominick, Richard Tedeschi, Hitomi-san, Shuhei Iimura, Olivia Riffle, and Cara Blevins (from left to right)

Leah began the session, presenting her research titled “The Role of Family Values: Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescents.” (Presented by Leah McDiarmid). The main finding was that family valued PTG more strongly related to adolescent self-esteem than personally important PTG.

Whitney close the symposium with her presentation titled “Can Pets Help Us Experience Growth After Trauma?”(Presented by Whitney Dominick), which was a project she worked on with Aundreah Walenski and Jenna Duronio. A major finding was that the amount of time spent with pets predicts PTG in the relating to others domain.

Lauren presented her poster titled “A Cross-Cultural Study of Narcissim and Posttraumatic Growth” (Presented by Lauren Harrison) for which she received the “best poster” award for the Division 1, General Psychology. Way to go, Lauren! Lauren and Dr. Taku also presented a poster titled “Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Death in Japanese and American Undergraduates (Presented by Lauren Harrison).

Aundreah Presented her poster titled “The Importance of Attributing Events to Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescents (Presented by Aundreah Walenski).” In addition, Dr. Taku presented four papers with her colleagues in Japan, Atsushi Oshio, Shuhei Iimura, and Takaharu Nakamura.

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25th Meeting of Minds Undergraduate Research Conference

MOMLab members Lauren, Jenna, Velinka, Kyle, and Shelby attended the 25th annual session of the Meeting of Minds Undergraduate Research Conference in the Oakland Center at Oakland University on May 12th. This conference gives undergraduate students of all disciplines and majors from Oakland University, the University of Michigan – Dearborn, and the University of Michigan – Flint, the opportunity to share their scholarly and creative works through presentations. MOM Lauren & Jenna

Lauren and Jenna presented their project titled, Does Childhood Trauma Inhibit the Ability to Perceive Growth in Adulthood? The results of this project found no significant differences between adults who experience trauma in childhood and adulthood, and adults who experience trauma only in adulthood. This suggests that, while experiencing childhood trauma may not inhibit growth, it may provide more time to undergo important processes associated with posttraumatic growth.

MOM Shelby & Kyle

Shelby and Kyle presented their project titled, Which source of social support is more predictive of growth over time? The results of this project suggest that receiving social support from a special person significantly predicts posttraumatic MOM Jenna & Velinkagrowth in the relating to other domain in adolescents. This highlights that clinicians should understand the importance of support from a special person for adolescents.

Jenna and Velinka presented their project titled, One Construct, Two Measures: Exploring the Relationship Between the CD-RISC and the BRS. The results of this project suggest a large overlap between two measures of resilience, developed from the same definition of resilience. For more details on these projects, be sure to keep an eye out for the PTG Lab members’ work in the 2017 Meeting of Minds Journal!

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89th Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association

mpa-group-photo.jpgLab members Shelby, Jenna, Lauren, Geena, and Kyle attended the 89th annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association from April 20-22 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. The purpose of this program is to share research across all areas of psychology, featuring lectures, poster presentations, discussion groups, and social events where psychologists and students can discuss their research and interests. MPA Lauren Photo

The program consisted of almost a thousand research presentations, as well as workshops and programs offered by Psi Chi, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, and the Society for Community Research and Action. Lauren presented her poster titled, Are Narcissism and Posttraumatic Growth Correlated in College Students? which she worked on with Matt, Shelby, and Dr. Taku. MPA Geena Kyle Photo


Geena and Kyle presented their poster titled, Is Religious Value Associated with Resilience in a Sample of Christian Adolescence? which they worked on with Whitney and Dr. Taku. Religion was a popular topic at the conference and many people came to talk to them about their work!

MPA Shelby Jenna Photo

Shelby and Jenna also presented their poster titled, Social Support and Resilience: Predictors of Self Esteem in Adolescents, which they worked on with Geena, and Dr. Taku. The conference was quite successful with over 2,700 people in attendance.

The PTG Lab looks forward to attending the 90th meeting next year!

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