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Differential Effects of Mental Health Histories, Diagnoses, and Gender on Internalized and Externalized Stigma

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Ava Harkness Psychology
Advisor(s): Amanda Wiese Psychology

The purpose of this study is to evaluate how mental health history, gender, and age influence the amount of stigma a person experiences. A total of 59 participants completed surveys relating to psychological and behavioral diagnoses surrounding mental health, the stigma they may feel from others as well as the stigma they feel towards others, and other factors (such as gender and mental health history). Independent samples t-tests showed that individuals with a history of mental health struggles (compared to those without) reported higher internalized shame, t(52) = 2.20, p = .033, and mental health treatability, t(36.39) = 2.15, p = .046, and visibility, t(48) = 2.86, p = .006. Further, participants who reported having received a formal mental health diagnosis also had marginally higher treatability scores, t(26) = 1.97, p = .060, than those without a formal diagnosis. Compared to males, females reported more internalized shame, t(52) = 2.02, p = .049, and visibility, t(48) = 2.09, p = .042. Finally, age was positively correlated with relationship disruption scores, r = .31, p = .027. These findings highlight important considerations for combatting stigma around mental health, which may serve as barriers to seeking treatment.


A Visualization of Tarrant County Public Transportation and Medical Services

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Vinisha Inaganti Psychology Isabella Hopkins Psychology Porter Maggiore Psychology Stephanie Villaire Psychology
Advisor(s): Amanda Wiese Psychology Kevin Knight Psychology

One known barrier to treatment initiation and retention is access to transportation. If an individual does not have public transportation, and they do not live nearby accessible clinics, this problem can become exacerbated. The current study aims to overlay maps of the Tarrant County public transportation system with maps of clinics across Tarrant County. The clinics examined include mental health clinics, HIV treatment clinics, and substance use treatment clinics. Results will be interpreted to determine the overlap between service deserts and transportation deserts. Findings will be discussed as they pertain to the impact of public transportation on medical service access, as well as directions for future research.


Healing Adopted Children’s Trauma Manifestations and Self-Efficacy Through TBRI

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jacey Insani Psychology
Advisor(s): Danica Knight Psychology

This presentation will explore the differences in trauma symptoms and self-efficacy ratings before and after participating in Hope Connection Camp 2.0. Current literature suggests that children who experience early life trauma are at a higher risk of developing emotional and behavioral challenges and can manifest in a child's physical, mental, and social wellbeing throughout their lifespan. While many therapeutic approaches focus on the individual aspects of a child to help children overcome early life trauma, TBRI is an attachment-based and trauma-informed approach that focuses on the whole child and their needs. Hope Connection Camp 2.0 is a therapeutic camp for adopted children and their families that utilizes TBRI to support each family's journey. The goal of the camp is for children and their families to build better relationships with each other, understand and meet each other's needs, and teach them how to regulate their behavior. This presentation will analyze the relationship between TBRI and adopted children's trauma symptoms and self-efficacy ratings prior to and after participating in the Hope Connection Camp 2.0.


Media menstrual attitude and self-compassion affected menstrual suppression willingness

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sophie Kemp Psychology Sarah Smith Psychology Jieming Xiao Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology

Menstrual suppression has been used as a treatment for 20 years and it’s also been an increasingly common choice of lifestyle. Past research revealed that different attitudes towards menstruation may have different impact on willingness to choose menstrual suppression (Johnston-Robledo et al., 2003; Rose et al., 2008). Media content such as commercials and magazine articles has been influential in shaping people’s attitudes towards menstruation, especially enhancing negative attitudes and stigma (e.g., Coutts and Berg, 1993). Thus, it’s important to investigate how media content may influence menstrual suppression tendency. Additionally, people differ widely in their responses to adverse experiences such as negative aspects of menstruation. For example, people with higher self-compassion tend to be more nonjudgmental and kinder to themselves in hard times, and they are less likely to be affected by social influences such as objectification and sexual stigma (e.g., Liss & Erchull, 2015). Building on these, the current research aims at examining the effect of media attitudes on menstrual suppression willingness and how self-compassion may buffer the effect. 250 female students with menstrual experiences from TCU participated in the study. A two-way moderated regression revealed that at low level of self-compassion, participants showed significantly higher tendency to suppress their menstruation after being primed with an online media passage depicting menstruation as a healthy and creative event, whereas they had lower menstrual suppression willingness following reading a negatively toned passage describing menstruation as messy and debilitating. Participants with medium or high self-compassion were not affected by either type of passage. More research is needed to further elucidate the role of menstrual suppression in low-self-compassion people’s response to media depiction of menstruation.


Developing a Measure of Criminal Thinking for the General Population

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Students of Applied Research Criminal Thinking Group Psychology Kevin Knight Psychology Thomas Sease Psychology Amanda Wiese Psychology
Advisor(s): Amanda Wiese Psychology

Criminal thinking patterns are a set of processes that predispose someone to engage in criminal behavior. Various theories of criminal thinking posit that people showing criminal thinking patterns have a proclivity towards hostility, verbal and physical aggression, and antisocial behavior. Correspondingly, there needs to be more research with general populations, in contrast to justice populations, to create better assessments of criminal thinking patterns. The objective of this study was to create a measure of criminal thinking in the general population, test the survey for validity, and create normative scores. To do this, the Texas Christian University Criminal Thinking Scales 3.0 (TCU CTS 3.0) was modified to better assess the general population and demonstrate its validity. Results showed the TCU CTS 3.0 measured five areas: 1) Justification, 2) Grandiosity, 3) Power Orientation, 4) Response Disinhibition, and 5) Insensitivity to Others. Measures of criminal thinking had acceptable internal reliability scores (alphas ≥ 0.70) and were moderately correlated with measures of verbal and physical aggression, state-based anger, and hostility. The modified TCU CTS for the general population will provide an important comparison of criminal thinking levels in individuals who do not have histories of criminality or involvement with the justice system.


Physiological and Family-Level Predictors of Autistic Children’s Sleep Quality

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Kate Lindig Psychology Naomi Ekas Psychology Chrystyna Kouros Psychology Sarah Madison Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs social communication and causes restricted and repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities. Autistic children also have a variety of co-occurring difficulties, including elevated levels of internalizing and externalizing behaviors and sleep problems. Research with neurotypical children highlights the importance of considering physiological and family-level predictors of child sleep quality (El-Sheikh & Kelly, 2017). The current study had three objectives: to examine the extent to which children’s baseline respiratory sinus arrythmia (RSA), RSA reactivity (RSA-R) in response to a family stressor, and their interaction were related to children’s self-reported daytime sleepiness (a potential marker of sleep problems); to examine the extent to which a stressful family environment predicts daytime sleepiness, over and above children’s parasympathetic nervous system functioning; and to examine the extent to which a stressful family environment moderates associations between children’s parasympathetic nervous symptom functioning (i.e., baseline RSA, RSA-R, and their interaction) and daytime sleepiness. The RSA-Baseline was measured while children sat still, and measures of sleep quality and family risk were competed by children.


Contextual Changes do not cause the Reduction of Habituation of Wheel Running in Rats

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Simon Mendoza Psychology Sara Bond Psychology Jordan Nerz Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology

Contextual Changes do not cause the Reduction of Habituation of Wheel Running in Rats
Author Suggestions: Simon Mendoza, Sara Bond, Macy Lasater, Jordan Nerz, Kenneth Leising

Habituation is a reduced behavioral response to a stimulus due to prolonged exposure or repeated presentations of that stimulus. Current research shows that wheel running in rats habituates within daily sessions as a result of decreased motivation in wheel running performance (Aoyama & McSweeney, 2001). We investigated whether we could attenuate the habituation effect in rats using context changes across sessions of wheel running. All rats received 12 daily sessions of access to the wheel for 30-minutes in a specific context. The control group encountered the wheel in the same context (olfactory, visual, and tactile), whereas the experimental group encountered two types of running wheels in two different contexts (four possible contexts). It was hypothesized that rats that received context changes would exhibit more wheel rotations within and across sessions than the control group. Contrary to what we had predicted, the total number of rotations did not decrease for either group, and we found that within-session habituation occurred in both groups. These results are discussed with respect to the type of response made.


Do rats have a sweet tooth and can it interfere with learning? Examining the differential outcomes effect in visual discrimination with rats.

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Ana Miranda Psychology Sara Bond Psychology Sophie Jones Psychology Kenneth Leising Psychology Simon Mendoza Psychology Jordan Nerz Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology Kenneth Leising Psychology

In nature, animals must learn to respond differently to different stimuli. Research using differential outcomes procedures have demonstrated that learning is facilitated when one response (e.g., pressing a right lever [RL]) is reinforced with one outcome (e.g., food) and another response (e.g., pressing the left lever [LL]) is reinforced with another outcome (e.g., sucrose). Previous research has found that highly valued reinforcers (e.g., chocolate-flavored pellets) can disrupt learning and might interfere with the emergence of the differential outcomes effect (DOE). The current research aims to extend the DOE to rats performing a visual discrimination and to compare the effects of a high valued reward (i.e., chocolate pellets) to a less valued reward (i.e., chow pellets) on learning. Rats will be trained to press a left lever during one visual stimulus (e.g., flashing light), and a right lever during another visual stimulus (e.g., solid light). The experimental group will receive a different outcome for each correct response (e.g., flashing light --> LL --> sucrose; solid light --> RL --> pellets). For half of the experimental group, correct responses will be reinforced with chow pellets and an 18% (v/v) sucrose solution, and the other half will receive chocolate pellets and a 30% (v/v) sucrose solution as reinforcement. In the control group, correct responses on both levers will result in both chow pellets and an 18% sucrose or in chocolate pellets and a 30% sucrose solution. We hypothesize that rats in the experimental groups will acquire the discrimination faster than those in the control groups, regardless of reinforcer type. If chocolate pellets disrupt learning, then animals in the chow conditions should acquire faster than chocolate pellet groups.


An Exploratory Assessment of the Impact of Public Transportation on Medical Service Access

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Faith Moore-Thomas Psychology Madisen DeVries Psychology Alicia Fugate Psychology Claudia Urbina Psychology Stephanie Villaire Psychology
Advisor(s): Amanda Wiese Psychology Kevin Knight Psychology

Retention in medical treatment is one important factor in medication adherence and overall recovery. Transportation, however, can be one barrier that impacts a person’s ability to access treatment consistently. The current study aims to understand how Tarrant County’s public transportation system affects treatment access. Patrons at Fort Worth Central bus station (N = 32) were surveyed on their experiences related to utilization of public transportation for medical appointments. Results show that most patrons did not miss appointments due to transportation access; however, those that relied on public transportation reported missing appointments with some regularity. Results also demonstrate that many patrons were unaware of alternate transportation options, such as ZipZone or faith-based transportation services. Findings highlight the need to raise public awareness of alternative transportation options, especially among those who rely on public transit systems to access necessary medical care. Future research can examine these questions in a population of clinic patrons, or aim to spread awareness of public transportation alternatives.


When Does Song Begin? Exploring Preparatory Features of Song Respiration

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Mariana Nhi Nguyen Psychology Rachel Lee Arnold Psychology Andrew Magee Psychology Ana Marie Williams Psychology Faith Zacharias Psychology
Advisor(s): Brenton Cooper Psychology

Indirect evidence for motor preparation and planning comes from neural activity preceding neural commands to activate the effectors. Preparatory neural activity is observed in pallial areas controlling learned motor behaviors. Vocal learning in songbirds is an example of a learned, sequential motor behavior. Sound generation requires airflow past vibratory membranes. Therefore, neural control of respiration is essential for motor preparation and production. Prior to singing in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) birds sing a series of repeated introductory notes. One view is that introductory notes are preparatory in nature for the upcoming song. An alternative view is that introductory notes are part of song and not preparatory in nature. To begin to unravel this mystery, we investigated respiratory patterns of introductory notes to determine whether they show features that are indicative or preparing to sing. Respiration is composed of cycles of inspiratory and expiratory airflow. During singing, birds accelerate inspiratory phases of respiration and generate higher amplitude pressure patterns, called mini-breaths that are characterized by an absence of phonation. If the introductory notes are preparatory in nature, we postulate that the mini-breaths during successive introductory notes would most closely match the mini-breaths during song. Similarly, during expiration birds produce shorter duration, higher amplitude pressure patterns that are vocal in nature. We hypothesized that the as the birds produce successive introductory notes, they should more closely approach the motor patterns generating the first song syllable. These results will provide evidence of whether introductory notes are a feature of motor preparation for singing or are an act of song production. This information can be used to further our understanding of the neural control of song motor planning, preparation, and production.


The Emotional Perception of Parental Drinking during Middle Childhood on Alcohol Consumption of Young Adults

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Anastasiia Pavlova Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology

Alcohol consumption has increased in the general adult population, with an estimated 72% of Americans consuming at least one alcoholic beverage per year measured in 2012-2013 compared to 65.4% measured in 2001-2002 (Dawson et al., 2015). Previous research has identified parents as a significant factor in forming attitudes toward alcohol use. For example, children who are regularly exposed to their parents' drinking tend to drink more themselves and have an early onset of drinking behavior (Coombs et al., 1991), while negative attitudes to alcohol at home are associated with less drinking behavior in underaged drinkers (Yu, 1998). Although previous studies explored the effect of parental drinking behavior and parents' attitudes toward alcohol during the early years of life on alcohol consumption in young adulthood, little research has examined the emotional perception of memories of parental drinking in this relationship. Thus, the current research investigates the retrospective childhood stories of parental drinking and the emotional perception of the drinking situations in middle childhood on the current drinking behavior of young adults. In addition, I explored whether parent and child gender were related to this relationship. I hypothesized that more positively perceived alcohol-related memory of parental drinking in middle childhood would be associated with a higher level of alcohol use in young adulthood. Finally, according to previous research, I expected to find that the negative emotions about maternal drinking would be associated with less alcohol use in males (Haugland et al., 2013) and negative memories of paternal drinking will be linked with more drinking in females and males (Chassin et al., 1999). Positive memories of drinking for both females and males were expected to be associated with more alcohol consumption, regardless of a parental gender.
Method:Participants provided information regarding age and gender, ethnicity, GPA, relationship status, and their parents’ household income in demographic questionnaire. Participants’ alcohol consumption was measured using the self-reported, 10-item version of The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT; Saunders et al., 1993). The Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI; White & Labouvie, 1989) was used to measure alcohol misuse among the participants. Alcohol use of parents was measured through the 30-item Children of Alcoholics Screening Test (CAST; Jones, 1983). Participants also retrospectively reported parental alcohol consumption by recalling a memorable or a typical episode from middle childhood (6-12 years) when one of the parents was consuming alcohol, as well as what they were feeling at that time. Each participant recalled an episode for a mother and a father separately.


How Should Students Engage in Self-Testing to Promote Memory for Course Material?

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Amy Pham Psychology Paige Northern Psychology Michelle Rivers Psychology
Advisor(s): Uma Tauber Psychology

Background and Research Question:
One strategy that typically improves students’ memory is to test themselves on information that they need to learn (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006). Students may do so by writing or typing their answers (i.e., overt retrieval) or by mentally answering questions (e.g., covert retrieval). We evaluated whether these different types of responses (typed retrieval vs. mental retrieval) influence the effectiveness of self-testing for memory when learning key terms and definitions.
In prior research, overt retrieval resulted in better learning compared to covert retrieval for learning complex material (e.g., definitions to key terms; Tauber et al., 2018), whereas covert and overt retrieval were equally effective for simple material (e.g., single words; Smith et al., 2013). Can differences in the dynamics of retrieval explain the discrepancies in the literature between overt and covert retrieval?

Hypothesis and Predictions:
According to the retrieval dynamics hypothesis, full retrieval attempts are more challenging and are better for memory than are retrieval attempts that are easy and that are terminated prematurely. Simple materials (e.g., key terms) are more easily retrieved than are complex materials (e.g., definitions). We predicted minimal differences between overt and covert retrieval with simple materials because the retrieval attempt is easy – only a word or two needs to be retrieved. However, we predicted overt retrieval to outperform covert retrieval with more complex materials because the retrieval attempt is more demanding – multiple units must be retrieved accurately, and students may stop prematurely when retrieving covertly.

Over 300 undergraduate students at TCU studied key terms and definitions from cognitive psychology (e.g., heuristic: a general rule or problem-solving strategy that usually produces a correct solution). Then, students underwent four rounds of self-paced retrieval practice with feedback. Some material was retrieved overtly, whereas other material was retrieved covertly. And, some students practiced retrieving definitions, whereas other students practiced retrieving key terms. Two days later, students completed a final test in which they were asked to either (a) recall the definitions when presented with the terms, or (b) recall the terms when presented with the definitions.

We conducted a 2 (overt vs. covert retrieval) x 2 (term vs. definition) mixed analysis of variance on both final tests. In both the test of terms and the test of definitions, performance was higher for material that was overtly retrieved compared to material that was covertly retrieved. And, the benefit of overt retrieval was larger for those were learned complex material (i.e., definitions).
Our results are consistent with the retrieval dynamics hypothesis. Future research should explore methods to increase the effectiveness of covert retrieval practice, especially because students may engage in this strategy when studying in public spaces (e.g., a library). Until then, we recommend that students engage in overt retrieval practice, particularly when learning complex material for their courses.


Comparing Rats’ Intrinsic Motivation to Lever Press in the Presence or Absence of Extrinsic Rewards

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Taryn Pittman Psychology Sara Bond Psychology Jordan Nerz Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology

Animals can either be extrinsically motivated, where an external reward drives their behavior, or intrinsically motivated, where they are driven to engage in the behavior simply for the act itself. The overjustification hypothesis states that if an intrinsically motivated behavior is followed by the delivery of an external reward, the intrinsic motivation to engage in that same behavior is reduced. Lepper et al. (1973) found that children who expected to receive a certificate for drawing freely spent less time drawing (i.e., were less intrinsically motivated to draw) compared to children that unexpectedly received a certificate or did not receive one at all. The current study observed if the overjustification effect could occur in rats when using lever pressing as a measure of intrinsic motivation. For all rats, intrinsic motivation was measured in Phases 1 and 3 by the number of lever presses made by each rat in the absence of an extrinsic reward (chocolate food pellet). In Phase 2, Group Expected Reward (ER) received a reward for each lever press, Group Unexpected Reward (UR) received a reward based on a pseudorandom reinforcement schedule and Group No Reward (NR) received no reward. The overjustification hypothesis was not observed in this study; rather, both expected and unexpected reinforcement had no effect on intrinsic motivation on lever pressing behavior in rats.


Hope Connection 2.0: Evaluating the efficacy of sensory interventions to improve sensory processing in adopted children

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Lauren Ponce de Leon Psychology
Advisor(s): Casey Call Psychology

In October and November of 2022, TCU’s Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development hosted the Hope Connection 2.0 camp which is a trauma-informed, therapeutic intervention for adoptive families. Children in adoptive families often have histories of trauma which impacts many aspects of their lives. Sensory processing is the mechanism in the brain that manages incoming sensory information and is known to be affected by early experiences with trauma. The Hope Connection 2.0 camp is designed to address many of the effects of trauma, including sensory processing. This study evaluated the efficacy of the Hope Connection 2.0 camp at reducing sensory processing deficits and improving children’s ability to process sensory input. Ten families participated in the camp which took place over two weekends. Parents completed surveys providing information on their children’s capacity for sensory processing prior to attending camp and after attending the final session in November. The information gathered at each time point was then analyzed to determine the change in the child’s ability to process sensory information over time.


The Impact of Stress on Women's Mating Psychology

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Aliza Porter Psychology Katja Cunningham Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology

Much research finds that low socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood has a lasting impact on women’s psychosexual development and later sexual behavior. Women from harsh environments have been found to begin puberty earlier, have an earlier sexual debut, and have more sexual partners than women from less stressful, higher SES environments. However, little research has examined the psychological changes within individuals who grew up in low SES communities which would facilitate an accelerated mating strategy in response to stress. Do stressed women from low SES backgrounds show more sexual fluidity and have less restricted sexual attitudes than women who are not stressed out? The current work addresses this gap by first measuring participants’ baseline sexual fluidity and sexual restrictedness through an online survey. Stress was then experimentally manipulated in single, undergraduate women. Participants were randomly assigned to either the stress condition or the control condition of the Trier Social Stress Test, before reporting their sexual fluidity and restrictedness again. Psychological shifts in mating psychology were examined by assessing the changes in sexual fluidity and sexual restrictedness before and after the stressor. Results revealed a relationship between experimentally manipulated stress exposure and shifts in mating psychology in women.

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The Relationship Between Stigma Surrounding Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders and Motivation for Treatment

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Brooke Preston Psychology Francesca Gentea Psychology Liliana Guadagno Psychology Christopher Gutierrez Psychology Ava Harkness Psychology Kevin Knight Psychology Emily Watts Psychology
Advisor(s): Amanda Wiese Psychology

Stigma, or the negative social attitude towards an attribute of a perceived individual (American Psychological Association, 2023), could contribute to treatment avoidance among people experiencing problems related to their mental health. In a previous study, stigma towards mental health treatment had a negative impact on college students' willingness to see psychologists or psychiatrists (Komiya et al., 2000). The current study collected surveys from 59 college undergraduates to describe the internalized stigma felt by those with mental health disorders (MHDs) compared to the level of stigma reported by individuals without a MHD. Results indicated that participants with a diagnosed MHD were more likely ready for treatment than those with an undiagnosed MHD. Treatment readiness and social support were positively correlated, as was problem recognition and MHD stigma (n = 23; ps < .05). These results provide knowledge on how internalized and externalized stigma affects the willingness of individuals who are struggling with MHDs to receive treatment, which can be used to better inform the development of interventions and awareness programs.


A Child’s Journey: Pregnancy to Adulthood in Four Countries

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Samantha Ritz Psychology
Advisor(s): Casey Call Psychology

The purpose of this study is to describe and compare the culturally perceived aspects of childhood, from pregnancy to adulthood, of four different countries. The elements of childhood included in this research relate to different attitudes towards and aspects of childhood events (e.g., childbirth, education, puberty), childhood milestones, rites of passage, and reaching adulthood. The four focus countries include France, the United States of America, India, and Kenya. To obtain data, 4-5 participants from each country were interviewed via Zoom, in-person, or by email. The objective of the research is to explore how childhood experiences vary in different communities and uncover common themes that appear in this period of life. Through these interviews, we (1) gain knowledge on how each country values children and childhood events, (2) step out of the expectations of the western world to evaluate how children globally are raised, and (3) discover common themes amongst various cultures in child rearing.


Effects of learner behavior on derived stimulus relations

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Ethan Rohm Psychology
Advisor(s): Anna Petursdottir Psychology


Adverse Childhood Environments and Salivary Habituation to Food Stimuli

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Gabriella Schock Psychology Matthew Espinosa Psychology Sarah Hill Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology

Previous research on life history theory has suggested that childhood environments characterized by low socioeconomic status (SES) and exposure to high levels of unpredictability reliably predict unhealthy eating and greater risk of obesity. While perhaps evolutionarily advantageous in adverse environments, disordered eating behaviors can contribute to obesity risk. For example, higher levels of environmental unpredictability and lower childhood SES predict less mindful eating and more eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) through its impact on body awareness. Furthermore, slower salivary habituation (i.e., decreasing salivation over time) to new foods has been displayed in obese individuals. These previous findings highlight a largely unexplored area addressing the biological mechanisms linking childhood environment and obesity. The current research aimed to explore whether childhood environment leads to EAH due to changes in salivary habituation. We hypothesized that individuals from low SES and highly unpredictable childhood environments would exhibit less salivary habituation to food stimuli. We tested this hypothesis using a sample of 116 female undergraduates. We began by measuring participants’ blood glucose levels to control for physiological hunger levels. Then, we measured participants’ saliva responses to baseline stimuli (0.5 ml water), habituating stimuli (lemon lollipops), and novel stimuli (green lollipops) over the course of 14 trials using the Strongin-Hinsie-Peck technique. In addition to measuring saliva production and blood glucose levels, participants also completed surveys assessing their childhood SES and childhood unpredictability. Consistent with our prediction, the results demonstrated that childhood SES significantly predicted levels of salivary habituation, such that higher levels of childhood SES were associated with greater salivary habituation. Overall, this suggests that women from lower childhood SES environments habituated to the food stimuli less than women from higher childhood SES environments. This relationship may explain why individuals from low childhood SES environments exhibit greater eating in the absence of hunger, and therefore, greater risk for obesity. We discuss the implications of these results in understanding how interactions between early life environments and evolutionary biology influence the development and progression of disordered eating behaviors.


Child and Adolescent Wellbeing Scale (CAWS)

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Rayisa Shelashska Psychology Logan Hackney Psychology Danica Knight Psychology
Advisor(s): Danica Knight Psychology

Aim. This study aims to explore the feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, and reliability of a new observational assessment tool - the Child and Adolescent Wellbeing Scale (CAWS), designed to evaluate socio-emotional health and attachment patterns in children and adolescents.
Background. There is significant interest in child trauma and interventions, and therefore a need for an assessment tool to assess child-level outcomes of trauma-informed interventions, care, and services. The CAWS was created to address this gap, providing a measure rooted in child-caregiver attachment and relational trauma. The CAWS is a 25-item scale with three subscales: Connection, Regulation, and Felt-Safety, which align with Bath’s Three Pillars of Trauma-Informed Care.
Method. Twenty mental health clinicians were trained to use the CAWS during two virtual sessions. Following training, each participant independently observed and rated 15 pre-recorded video interactions between children and their caregivers (totaling 300 independent ratings). Clinicians provided feedback on the CAWS instrument content and format after rating the videotaped interactions; validated measures were used to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of the instrument. Reliability estimates were calculated using the generalizability theory.
Results. Ninety-four percent of participants (95% white, 85% female, median age 40.5 years, 100% Master’s degree) reported that administering the CAWS was feasible (i.e., implementable, doable), 100% indicated it was acceptable (i.e., appealing, meets approval), and 100% indicated it was appropriate (i.e., suitable, applicable). Additionally, 100% of participants reported that they would likely use the CAWS in their practice. The CAWS demonstrated excellent inter-rater reliability overall (R1F = .82), was a reliable measurement of systematic change in children (Rc = .94), and reliability emphasized the stable individual difference between children (RKF = .98).
Conclusion. The current study demonstrates the CAWS as a promising evaluation tool with excellent reliability, feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness. Additional studies should investigate the CAWS instrument's validity further, focusing on its applicability in field settings and its utility in measuring change over time.

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The Relationship between Childhood Environment, Inflammation, and Immune Function

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sam Smith Smith Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology Katja Cunningham Psychology

Previous research finds that childhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with chronic inflammation and exaggerated inflammatory responses to stress in adulthood. Some researchers have hypothesized that elevated inflammation may function to promote better immune function in environments with greater pathogen and injury stressors, like low SES environments. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between stress, inflammation, and immune function among adults from different childhood environments. Participants reported their childhood SES, completed a baseline measure of their perceived immune function, and provided an intravenous blood sample to measure baseline inflammation. Then, participants were randomly assigned to either the stress of control condition of the Trier Social Stress Test before reporting their perceived immune function and providing another blood sample. Inflammatory response was measured by examining the changes in participants’ levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines taken before and after the stressor. Perceived immune function was measured by examining the changes in participants’ perceived immune function from baseline to after the stressor. A measure of actual immune function was obtained by examining the ability of participants’ white blood cells to destroy E. coli particles, in vitro. The results reveal no relationship between stress-induced inflammation and immune function among those with low childhood SES. These findings suggest that although individuals with low childhood SES have elevated levels of inflammation, it does not benefit their immune function later in life.


Does Recall Improve Delayed Feedback for Correcting Older Adults’ Health-related Misconceptions?

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Emily Smith Psychology Addison Babineau Psychology Uma Tauber Psychology
Advisor(s): Uma Tauber Psychology

Many believe that the flu shot can result in the flu. This a common health-related misconception; the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu, as it does not contain the whole live flu virus. Health-related misconceptions such as this can have a significant impact on the choices people make. Thus, correcting health-related misconceptions is essential, especially for older adults (typically 65+ years of age) who are more vulnerable to illness than are younger adults. Sitzman et al. (2022) found that when provided with immediate feedback and detailed explanations, both older adults and younger adults can correct many of their health-related misconceptions. However, there are instances in which feedback on a misconception can only be delivered after a delay, rather than immediately. For example, one may encounter health-related misconceptions online, but not receive feedback on their misconceptions until their next doctor’s appointment, months later. The aim of the current research was to explore how delayed feedback impacts the correction of health-related misconceptions in older adults and younger adults. Further, we explored how recalling prior answers to health-related questions may improve the effectiveness of delayed feedback. To explore these factors, we manipulated feedback timing (immediate feedback versus delayed feedback) and answer recall (recall initial answer versus no recall) between-participants for both younger adult and older adult participants. To begin the experiment, participants completed a true/false test on health-related knowledge and common health-related misconceptions (e.g., “Memories after a drinking “blackout” can be recovered with the correct method”). After answering each question, some participants were provided immediate and detailed feedback (e.g., “You are correct! This statement is false. Memory functioning is impaired when there is too much alcohol in the body and thus, a “blackout” occurs because a full memory was never made. However, people can build false memories based on what they are told or believe happened”). Other participants received delayed feedback; they received detailed feedback after they finished the entire test. Prior to receiving feedback, some participants were asked to recall their initial answer and some participants were not. Several days later, participants completed a true/false test on the same health-related misconceptions to determine the proportion of corrected misconceptions. We predicted that when participants did not recall their initial answer, immediate feedback would result in more corrected health-related misconceptions as compared to delayed feedback. However, when participants recalled their initial answer, delayed feedback would result in more corrected health-related misconceptions as compared to immediate feedback. Further, we predicted that both older adults and younger adults would benefit from recalling their initial answer when receiving delayed feedback. The results of the present research provide insight into the effect of delayed feedback on correcting health-related misconceptions for older and younger adults, as well as interventions that improve delayed feedback. These findings contribute to the development of effective strategies for correcting health-related misconceptions, particularly for older adults. By improving health-related knowledge through delayed feedback, older and younger adults can make more well-informed health decisions.


A Prospective Methodology for Examining the Effect of Helicopter Parenting on Adult Child Outcomes

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Stephanie Villaire Psychology Sarah Madison Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology

The phenomenon of helicopter parenting, or a parent’s overinvolvement in their children’s lives, has been previously studied in populations of college students. Helicopter parenting is associated with negative effects on child well-being and parental closeness in this population. Current research is sparse, however, with very little research examining helicopter parenting in non-college student populations. The current study aims to (1) replicate previous findings on the effects of helicopter parenting in a non-student population; (2) explore the relationship between helicopter parenting and wellbeing substance use, and justice involvement; and (3) examine associations between demographic variables and helicopter parenting. This poster focuses on the methodology being implemented in the current study, as well as an examination of current literature surrounding helicopter parenting.


The Relationship between Stress, Inflammation, and Impulsivity

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Owen Wilson Psychology Katja Cunningham Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology

Previous research has found an inflammatory response to stress which reflects a physiological present focus. Despite the negative impacts of inflammation, our bodies favor immediate survival under stressful conditions at the expense of long-term health. Additionally, higher baseline inflammation levels have been shown to predict more impulsive decision making, suggesting a relationship between the activities of the immune system and psychological present focus. However, no work has experimentally examined the link between inflammation and impulsive decision making. The current study aims to address that gap by experimentally manipulating inflammation levels in undergraduate participants. Participants completed baseline measurements of impulsivity and provided an intravenous blood sample to measure baseline inflammation. Participants were then randomly assigned to either the stress or control condition of the Trier Social Stress Test, before completing the impulsivity measurements again and providing a final blood sample. Inflammatory responses were measured by comparing baseline and post-stress levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Psychological present focus was measured by comparing baseline and post-stress levels of impulsivity. The results indicate a relationship between stress-induced inflammatory responses and impulsive decision making.


The influence of social exclusion on women's short term mating motives

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Catherine Wise Psychology Matthew Espinosa Psychology Sarah Hill Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology

Social connection, and the protection it provides, was a determining factor for our ancient ancestors’ ability to achieve their evolutionary goals of survival and reproduction. In turn, social exclusion, the loss of this connection, posed a serious threat to these goals, spurring the development of several cognitive and behavioral recovery strategies to combat its harmful effects. One potential strategy for women following experiences of social exclusion is increased motivation to engage in short-term sexual relationships that may quickly alleviate the safety and affiliative concerns associated with social exclusion. However, the relationship between social exclusion and women’s short-term mating (STM) motives remains relatively unexamined. The present research investigated the influence of social exclusion on women’s STM motives, and how individual differences in chronic concerns about exclusion influence this relationship. I predicted that being socially excluded, compared to included, would lead women to have increased STM motives. Furthermore, I predicted that individuals’ differences in chronic concerns about exclusion would moderate this relationship. To test these hypotheses, I primed feelings of social exclusion and inclusion using the future alone paradigm, and then measured several dimensions of unpartnered women’s self-reported STM motives (including sexual unrestrictedness, openness to sexual intercourse, and desired mate investment). Results did not support the hypothesized relationship. Instead, they indicated that excluded women exhibited lower STM motives, specifically less sexual unrestrictedness, than included women. However, this relationship was moderated by chronic exclusion concerns, such that, for socially excluded women, the more chronically concerned with social exclusion they were, the greater their expressed sexual unrestrictedness. For social included women, their trait exclusion concerns were unrelated to their expressed sexual unrestrictedness. Thus, for women that have chronically high exclusion concerns, increased sexual unrestrictedness following social exclusion may be a compensatory mechanism to mitigate the negative effects of being excluded. The implications of these findings for women’s interpersonal and intimate relationships will be discussed.