Psychology - Student Works

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    Criminogenic needs based on sexual assault typologies
    (2022) Thomas, Mackenzie; Jung, Sandy
    People have an intrinsic desire to understand other people’s behaviour, especially when considered socially deviant or abnormal. This fascination has led to several theoretical and empirically-based typologies for criminal behaviour, including sexual assault. These are typically based on the premise that those who commit sexual assault have different individual characteristics. The greater knowledge we gain to identify diverse groups of these individuals may help us understand the characteristics associated with their sexual offending. The current study examines the typology proposed by Knight and Prentky (1990). The Massachusetts Treatment Center Rapist Typology, Version 3 (MTC: R3) identifies five general categories of rapists, four of which are examined in the current study. These categories include opportunistic, pervasively angry, vindictive, and sexual types. Using a sample of 300 individuals who have been investigated for sexual assault, the present study categorizes these individuals into one of these typologies. This research identifies potentially unique attributes for each subtype, and it is hypothesized that these subtypes will present with different individual characteristics, including criminogenic needs, depending on the type of motivation that reflects a particular individual who sexually offends. The practical implications of this study for criminal justice professionals, such as police, will be discussed, and it is hoped that our findings will increase our understanding of individuals who have committed sexual offences.
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    It’s a burden but… having a sibling with Prader Willi syndrome: stress, growth, and perceived burden
    (2022) French, Darcy; Rogers, Sean
    Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder affecting approximately 1 in 15000 live births worldwide that presents a spectrum of physiological and neurological-related health challenges. PWS has been extensively studied as it affects parents, however, research on sibling interaction is limited. This study examined to what extent neurotypical siblings with a brother or sister with PWS experience stress in daily life, is there a feeling of growth as a result, and are feelings of burden higher when compared to the general population. Using the Perceived Stress Scale 10, the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory, and the Zarit Burden Interview questionnaires, a comparison between families with a neurotypical -PWS sibling dynamic and non-PWS – sibling dynamic was conducted. The findings between the control and experimental groups indicated similar stress levels, and both groups indicated a moderately high level of stress. No statistically significant difference in personal growth was present. The perception of burden was significantly higher for the neurotypical-PWS group versus the control group. The details of the results indicated that the relationship dynamic between PWS-neurotypical siblings requires further research, and the use of different survey tools may be warranted to better explore this population.
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    Transdiagnostic and unique mechanisms of health anxiety, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
    (2022) Byam, Layton; Penney, Alexander
    The present study examined the transdiagnostic and unique mechanisms that may be associated with health anxiety (HA), panic disorder (PD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. A non-clinical university sample (N = 549) completed measures of HA, PD, and OCD symptoms. Participants also completed measures of anxiety sensitivity, disgust propensity and sensitivity, intolerance of uncertainty, metacognitions related to health, and body vigilance. Each of these mechanisms moderately to strongly correlated with the symptom scales. A multiple regression analysis was conducted for each symptom scale. Anxiety sensitivity was found to be a transdiagnostic predictor of HA, PD, and OCD. The metacognitive belief that thinking positively about one's health will lead to negative outcomes was associated with both PD and OCD. Additionally, body vigilance was associated with both HA and PD. Unique factors associated with HA were HA-specific intolerance of uncertainty and the metacognitive belief that thoughts are uncontrollable. PD was associated with PD-specific intolerance of uncertainty. Lastly, OCD was associated with OCD-specific intolerance of uncertainty, depression-specific intolerance of uncertainty, and disgust sensitivity. The findings demonstrate that while HA, PD, and OCD share transdiagnostic mechanisms, each can be distinguished by disorder-specific mechanisms. Therapists may wish to target both transdiagnostic and disorder-specific mechanisms in their treatment plan when working with clients presenting HA, PD, or OCD symptoms.
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    A study of mindset: better understanding the structure of mindset and how growth mindset interventions are delivered
    (2022) Kyler, Nathan; Moscicki, Michele
    Mindsets (MS) (i.e., beliefs about the malleability of traits) exist in many diverse domains, such as intelligence, creativity, emotions, and anxiety. With such a diversity of mindset domains, it is reasonable to question whether a general underlying factor influences all mindsets similarly. For example, if one believes intelligence is malleable, does one also believe creativity, musical ability, and athletic ability are malleable? In study 1, we conducted factor analysis on nine self- report mindset measures to determine if a general mindset factor exists. The nine mindsets studied clustered into three underlying factors: 1) Skills (intelligence, creativity, musical and athletic ability); 2) Personality (personality and morality); and 3) Emotions (emotions and anxiety). Stress did not load onto any of the three factors. In addition, we investigated ways to improve the efficacy of growth mindset interventions. Though growth mindset interventions show positive outcomes, the effect sizes are generally small. Actively engaging in material by applying the information to one’s life, or teaching others, improves retention of that material over passively listening to the material being taught. In study 2, we sought to determine whether an active vs. passive growth mindset intervention is more effective for improving exam scores. We found no significant difference in exam score improvement between the control, active, or passive groups. It is possible that the active intervention was not engaging enough to alter one’s mindset beliefs in only one exposure. Targeting general mindset factors rather than individual mindset domains may improve intervention efficacy.
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    What maintains generalized anxiety disorder? Examining intolerance of uncertainty and negative beliefs about worry
    (2022) Parkinson, Sydney; Penney, Alexander
    Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience excessive and chronic worry over a variety of daily events. If left untreated, GAD tends to be chronic and cause difficulties in daily functioning. Therefore, understanding the factors that cause and maintain GAD is important to allow for the effective treatment of the disorder. The Metacognitive Model, Intolerance of Uncertainty Model, and Emotional Dysregulation Model each implicate specific mechanisms as the casual and maintaining factor in GAD. Existing research has shown negative beliefs about worry (NBW), intolerance of uncertainty (IU), and fear of emotions to be associated with GAD. However, the existing research is primarily cross-sectional, which does not allow researchers to determine whether these beliefs cause and maintain GAD. The present longitudinal study examined whether NBW, IU, fear of emotions, negative problem orientation, and cognitive avoidance predict worry severity and GAD symptoms at follow-up. Undergraduate psychology students, pre-screened for high levels of worry, completed a series of online self-report measures assessing levels of worry, GAD symptoms, NBW, IU fear of emotions, negative problem orientation, and cognitive avoidance. Participants (N = 372) returned 4-months later to complete the same series of questionnaires. Multiple regression analyses revealed that NBW was the only mechanism to consistently emerge as a predictor of pathological worry and GAD symptoms cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Exploratory analyses revealed that changes in NBW and IU were the only mechanisms to predict changes in GAD at follow-up. These findings have implications for the understanding and treatment of GAD.