Author Archives: katfraus

Kat’s Presentation

Senior undergraduate member, Kat, gave a presentation on The Impact of Multiple Events on Posttraumatic Growth in Adolescence. Based on previously collected data, Kat’s presentation examines the relationship between different measures of trauma severity and PTG within a sample of high school students. In addition, PTG is uniquely measured as a result of multiple events, rather than just one. Her analysis found that the number of events experienced linearly and positively correlated with PTG, as did reports of stressfulness at the time of the event(s). When filling out the PTGI, participants were more likely to experience specific aspects of PTG as a result of one event, rather than multiple events.

Interestingly, experiencing recent enduring symptoms of posttraumatic stress shared a curvilinear relationship with PTG and with specific items on the PTGI, indicating that severe symptoms of PTSS may hinder the ability to recognize or experience PTG.

Kat is currently working on adapting her results into a manuscript. Great work, Kat, we look forward to hearing more about your work!

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Kara’s Master’s Thesis Proposal Updates

Kara, second year Master’s student presented updates to her thesis proposal titled Identifying the tipping point of recognition of alcohol abuse symptoms in undergraduate students. Tipping points are typically defined as specific moments that elicit major change, or even perception of change. For her master’s thesis, Kara intends to identify tipping points for alcohol abuse symptomatology, examining undergraduate’s self-perceptions of alcohol consumption and perceptions of their peers’ consumption. Specifically, she is measuring alcohol use and subsequent symptomatology, parental alcohol use and permissiveness, and tipping points through an assessment in which participants identify how many drinks per day and duration of the behavior required to be considered problematic, as both a self-evaluation and evaluation of their peers. This spring, Kara began collecting data, which is still ongoing, but she has provided us with some preliminary data analysis. Her findings so far indicate that both self tipping points and peer tipping points are impacted by personal drinking habits. Interestingly, the averages of self tipping points were lower than peer tipping points.

Kara hopes her research will contribute to literature regarding tipping points in psychology, and the impact of exposure to alcohol on perceptions of developing a problem. Her work may have potential clinical applications in the discussion of alcohol abuse and creating interventions to reduce alcohol use disorder on college campuses. Great job, Kara! We look forward to hearing about your future findings!

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The FF-PTG Lab Welcomes New Members

This fall, the FF-PTG lab would like to welcome 4 new members!

Welcome to new graduate student lab member, Kayla! Kayla is a first year PhD student with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She became interested in PTG after doing research and working with hurricane victims from North Carolina. Her current research interests involve how communities respond to trauma and crisis, and she is excited to pursue these interests more as she begins her time at Oakland University. Kayla can be reached at kbenson@oakland.edu

The FF-PTG lab also welcomes new graduate student lab member, Joey! Joey is a first year Master’s student with three bachelor’s degrees in philosophy, sociology, and psychology from Arizona State University. His main interest in psychology concerns examining human behavior through a social and cultural lens, especially when faced with taxing stimuli. He joined the FF-PTG Lab due to its focus on human behavior and response to extremely taxing stimuli, as well as the opportunity to develop and hone his research skills. His long-term goal is to earn a PhD in Psychology so that he can teach as a university professor while simultaneously working on research to add to the current literature in social psychology.  Joey can be reached at josephrhodes@oakland.edu

The lab would also like to welcome graduate student lab member, Kolton! Kolton is a first year Master’s student, graduating from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in youth studies. He became interested in psychology due to his childhood fascination of the show Criminal Minds, which revealed how interesting the human mind can be. Kolton enjoys learning about psychology and how the mind works, specifically how it affects human behavior. After completing his Master’s, he plans to eventually obtain a PhD in counseling psychology. Kolton can be reached at koltonsmith@oakland.edu


In addition, the FF-PTG lab would like to welcome aboard new undergraduate member, Victoria! Victoria is currently a junior at Oakland University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Holistic Health. She joined the lab out of an interest to do research that contributes to clinical psychology. Her personal interests involve exploring how the outdoors interact therapeutically with mental health and if spending time in nature can influence PTG. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she hopes to pursue a graduate program in counseling psychology. Victoria can be contacted at vkaznowski@oakland.edu.

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Kat’s Presentation

Second semester undergraduate lab member, Kat, gave a presentation titled Examining Curvilinear Relationships within PTG. Her presentation addressed the literature that has found quadratic relationships between trauma and PTG. This relationship suggests that moderate amounts of trauma may support greater PTG, while events perceived as less traumatic may not shake one’s core beliefs enough to facilitate PTG, and very severe traumatic events may be too debilitating to experience growth. In contrast, other studies have found only a linear relationship between trauma and PTG, so no consensus has been made when defining the relationship. For her presentation, Kat aimed to test for these relationships using data from one of our lab’s previous studies. Uniquely, the data is from a sample of high school students, and measures for PTG based on multiple events, both of which are less prevalent in the literature. Kat analyzed the data to examine if there is a curvilinear relationship between PTG and different measures of trauma severity, such as the stressfulness or number of traumatic events reported. The results were mixed, which indicates finding curvilinear relationships may be due to statistics or a combination of many different variables, and therefore needs to be further studied. Kat plans to continue working with this dateset and investigating the relationship between trauma and PTG. Nice job on your presentation, Kat!

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OUGSRC 2020

Members of the lab attended the Graduate Student Research Colloquium on campus in March and presented their posters. We also had the opportunity to listen to presentations and view other OU graduate students’ posters from a variety of subjects, ranging from evolutionary psychology to engineering and biological sciences!

Olivia and CJ presented their poster: The Association Between a Caregiver’s Education and Their Child’s Levels of Openness and Personal Growth. They hypothesized that parents with higher levels of education would have children with higher levels of openness and more personal growth. Their results found that children whose parents had a master’s degree or higher reported both greater levels of personal growth and openness than those with parents who had a bachelor’s degree or less. The higher level of openness in children with highly educated primary caregivers could be due to the fact that the caregivers are often from a higher social class, which may allow parents to provide children with more opportunities for new experiences, therefore increasing their openness, and indirectly encouraging personal growth.

Kara Presented her poster Perfectionism in medical professionals increasing deliberate rumination and PTG. She investigated how perfectionism may increase rumination following a medical mishap, leading to PTG. Perfectionist behaviors have been found to increase rumination, which is known to be positively related to PTG. Her results found that perfectionism, overall, positively correlated with the frequency of thinking about the mishap. In turn, the frequency of thinking about the mishap also positively correlated with PTG. Rumination forces individuals to work through the event that causes psychological struggle, while perfectionism increases the desire to understand why things went awry. Future research may help training medical professionals to ruminate on their mistakes to facilitate growth.

Olivia and Kat presented their poster A Sense of Personal Growth and Creative Behaviors among Children, in which the number of creative behaviors children have engaged in outside of school was positively related to their sense of personal growth. Interestingly, the relationship was consistent when controlling for other variables and demographics, except for gender. They found that the relationship between creativity and personal growth was much stronger in girls than in boys, which reflects gender differences in perceiving or reporting growth.

Dr. Taku had a good time serving as a poster judge with Drs. Jennifer Vonk and Lisa Welling!

Everyone worked hard and did a great job presenting their posters!

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Brooklin’s Michigan Academy & MOM Presentation

Second year undergraduate lab member, Brooklin, recently gave her last presentation in the lab, as she will be graduating this semester. Brooklin presented her analyses for one of the lab’s current studies, Survey using Vignettes, in preparation for the Michigan Academy and the Meetings of Minds conferences. Her presentation for Michigan Academy examined the relationship between resilience and optimism among college students, by utilizing different measures of optimism. Uniquely, one of the optimism scales measured how participants rated and adjusted their probabilities of experiencing various life events. The results confirmed the positive correlation between resilience and optimism measures, but indicate that controllable events show greater correlation to resilience in comparison to events that happen at random. For Meetings of Minds, Brooklin further explored these scales, measuring if resilience correlates with optimism and having the perception of control over events in life. Her presentation highlighted the overlap between traits of resilience and optimism, and she plans to analyze the events to see, of those participants, who did not change their scores and determine whether they are low or high in optimism. Great Job Brooklin, you worked hard this semester! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish at University of Detroit Mercy next year, good luck!!

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