Brooklin’s Michigan Academy Proposal

Recently, second year undergraduate lab member, Brooklin, presented her exploratory analysis on one of the lab’s current studies as a preparation for an upcoming psychology conference known as Michigan Academy. Her presentation titled, Optimism & Resilience. An Exploratory Look at the Survey using Vignette Data, looked at the relationships of the two traits among undergraduate college students in hopes of finding aids for student’s chances of scoring jobs after graduating. Based on previously conducted research regarding the relationships between optimism and resilience, Brooklin choose to examine the relationships between the two while looking at different scales of comparative and adjusted optimism. With the data collected thus far, she found significant relationships between the scales and she plans to continue examining them with a larger sample size as research continues to be collected. Great job, Brooklin, we can’t wait to see what more you find!

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Kara’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

First year master’s student, Kara, recently presented her master’s thesis proposal titled Identifying the Tipping Point of Recognition of Depressive Symptoms in Undergraduate Students based on Self-efficacy. Based on previous research conducted, Kara is interested in looking at depressive symptomology and how it impacts college student’s perceptions of tipping points and self-efficacy. Kara aims for her research to help aid in determining self-efficacy at early ages and to better understand tipping points among younger populations for implementable courses of action. Kara has expanded and refined her idea (based on her presentation) and will also be looking at various disorders that are prevalent among college students such as alcohol abuse. She mentions that there is a high prevalence of alcohol abuse and binge drinking in the undergraduate population which can be predictive of future problems with alcohol abuse disorder. She is excited to focus on other metal and psychological disorders while maintaining her main idea of determining where people perceive tipping points of these disorders to be. Great work Kara, we cannot wait to learn more!

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Taylor’s Article + Hypotheses Presentation

Recently, second semester undergraduate lab member, Taylor, gave her article and hypotheses presentation titled Trauma and Negative Underlying Assumptions in Feelings of Shame: An Exploratory Study that was published by Melissa Platt and Jennifer Freyd in 2012. The researchers of this study wanted to examine the association between trauma history and negative cognitive styles such as exhibiting negative underlying assumptions (NUAs). They also wanted to examine the effects of trauma history and NUAs on shame in response to negative feedback. In addition, the researchers wanted to provide further evidence for a recently created shame posture measure (SPM). The results showed that individuals with a trauma history and high NUAs were most likely to experience an increase in shame after receiving negative feedback which suggests that individuals who are high in NUAs and have a trauma history may be more prone to feeling flawed after receiving minor criticism. The results also provided further validation for that the SPM. Based on this study, Taylor expressed that it would be interesting to examine the relationship between moral injury (MI) and NUAs under the assumption that individuals who express high levels of moral injury will also exhibit high levels of NUAs and vice versa. She also thinks it would be interesting to examine the relationships between personality characteristics such as optimism and resiliency in connection to NUAs, under the assumption that optimism and resiliency will be negatively correlated with NUAs. Good job on your presentation, Taylor!

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Melissa’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

First year PhD student, Melissa, recently presented her master’s thesis proposal titled The Relationship Between Perceptions of Moral Injury and Posttraumatic Growth in Veterans. Melissa is interested in examining the relationship between moral injury (MI), posttraumatic growth (PTG), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans. Research has found that traumatic events causing PTSD are also likely to cause MI, meaning they often occur together. Research has also found that PTG and PTSD share a curvilinear relationship. Due to this, she predicts that perceptions of MI are correlated to PTG and likely follow a curvilinear relationship as well. She also predicts that different subtypes of MI will have different impacts on PTG levels. Melissa plans to critically examine the nature of the relationship between MI and PTG in order to push for the development of effective intervention programs for military and veteran populations. She believes that if the findings of MI and PTG are significant, research can begin to propose moral healing and moral repair intervention programs for veterans, and potentially, the general public. We are excited to see what Melissa finds and wish her the best of luck!  

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Kat’s Article Presentation

Recently, first semester undergraduate member, Kat, presented her first article presentation to the lab. The article is titled The Impact of Protective Factors on Posttraumatic Growth for College Student Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment. Authors Danielle Mohr and Lee Rosen aimed to identify if there are any protective factors associated with resiliency that are mediated by childhood trauma and posttraumatic growth (PTG), as well as, if there was a relationship between maltreatment and PTG. Data was collected from University students across the Western United States with a survey compiled of the authors own measure for maltreatment history, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), the Social and Emotional Resources Inventory (SERI), the Brief COPE inventory, and the Life Orientation Test Revised  (LOT-R) and found that out of the 501 participants, 260 reported childhood maltreatment (51.8%) with 91% reporting some level of PTG (based on scores of 1 or higher on the PTGI inventory. They found the presence of prosocial adults moderated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and PTG (prosocial adults accounted for 7.3% of the variance in PTG, R=0.073, p < 0.01). They also found that the number of social emotional resources (based on SERI scores) moderated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and PTG (predictors of this model accounted for 7.9% of the variance in PTG, R= 0.079, p < 0.01). Overall, it was found that childhood maltreatment significantly predicted PTG alongside acceptance, emotional support, and positive reframing, meaning with this sample the more social and emotional support and resources reported the greater the levels of reported PTG. Great work Kat! 

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Colin’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

First year master’s student, Colin, recently presented his master’s thesis proposal titled Non-linear Change in Perceived Risk of Mass Shootings in Response to New Information. Colin is interested in examining the types of changes individuals may undergo when impacted by traumatic events such as mass shootings, in order to better understand how the public feels when these events occur and how anxieties may be affected by them. The types of changes he plans to analyze are known as: linear (alpha) change, non-linear recalibration (beta) change, non-linear reprioritization (beta) change, and non-linear reconceptualization (gamma) change. Colin predicts that when participants are shown statistics, regarding the probability of being involved in a mass shooting, they will adjust their perceived risk ratings but not actually have a change in anxiety. He also predicts that when participants are exposed to news articles about a mass shooting, their anxieties will truly increase. Colin believes that if the findings of alpha/beta/gamma changes are shown to be significant for measuring perceived risks of traumatic events such as mass shootings, it can be applied to psychotherapy related constructs. We are excited to see what Colin finds and wish him the best of luck!

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Olivia’s Master’s Thesis Defense Presentation

Second year master’s student, Olivia, presented updates on her master’s thesis proposal titled Pushing Through the Hard Times: Is Growth After Trauma an Influence on Children’s Creativity. Olivia is conducting a study that analyzes the relationships between PTG and Creativity and whether or not the relationship can be affected by the environment and/or personality types. She has predicted that 1) children who experience PTG will be more creative than those who have experienced trauma but show no growth and children who have not experienced trauma at all. With both the trauma experienced group who shows no growth and the no trauma experienced group having the same level of creativity. 2) Environments that foster creativity will affect the level of creativity in children, in addition to the impacts of both trauma and PTG, meaning children with all three will have the highest levels of creativity. 3) Children who’s parents have high levels of extraversion and openness to experiences will be more creative and report more PTG than parents who do not; children who have high levels of both will report more creativity than children who do not, regardless of the parents levels; children with high levels of both and have parents with high levels of both will report the highest PTG. With more data coming in Olivia is able to see many significant findings but is still collecting data and gaining more insight and results. Great work thus far Olivia, we can’t wait to hear more about your findings!

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Shannon’s Article Presentation

Summer undergraduate lab member, Shannon, recently gave her article presentation, reflecting her research interests in Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and social support. Shannon chose the article Emotional Regulation’s Effects on Social Support, PTSD, and PTG by Xiao Zhou, Xinchu Wu, and Rui Zhen. This study aimed to explore the relationship between social support and emotional regulation in regard to PTG and PTSD in adolescent survivors following the Ya’an earthquake in China. They hypothesized that emotional regulation would mediate the relationship between social support and PTG and the relationship between social support and PTSD. Results showed that social support was positively correlated with PTG and was a positive predictor of PTG. Results also showed that social support was a negative predictor of PTSD. The researchers concluded that the information found in the results shows how emotional regulation and social support influence adolescents in their potential development of PTG or PTSD. Shannon plans to continue researching social support, PTSD, and PTG as she finishes her senior year at Kalamazoo College and then to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Great job on your article presentation, Shannon, and good luck with future research!

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Shelby Fitness Event

Members and friends of the PTG Lab participated (and ended up soaking wet!) in another Fitness Fundraising Event hosted by the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation on Saturday, September 7th. We enjoyed boxing and supporting our favorite foundation!

The goal of the Foundation is to support Shelby’s passion of research on PTG and resiliency. The Foundation also honors Shelby’s memory by supporting Psychology Students’ research activities by awarding travel grant for professional conferences.

More information can be found at

Shelby Strong!

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Topics We Study

Dr. Taku recently discussed the five major topics of study in our PTG Lab over on her Youtube channel. Check out the video here below and click here to visit Dr. Taku’s Youtube page where you can see all of her other videos!

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