Reema Gowda is a junior in high school who is also completing her second year interning with the PTG lab. Recently, Reema shared a presentation of her individual exploratory study using data from research previously conducted in the PTG lab. Reema’s presentation, entitled “Types of Medical Trauma Affecting PTG,” is an extension of the research she presented last semester to the lab. During the summer of 2017, Reema began examining the effects of illness, injury, and family issues on PTG and presented her findings to the lab in October. Since then, Reema has narrowed her focus and compared PTG levels between individuals who experienced medical trauma and/or accidents. She accomplished this by calculating and comparing mean PTG total scores as well as mean scores of the five PTG domains to identify potential differences. The findings provide insight into the effects of experiencing multiple traumas and highlight the importance of further exploration of the effects of specific types of traumas on PTG. Reema plans to continue her work by examining differences between PTG and PTSD, exploring how PTG may vary by age, and the possibility of illusory growth after medical trauma. Great job, Reema! The PTG lab is behind you as you move toward your next goal!
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!
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.
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!