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Six posters, one prize-winning, and a paper at Scholarship Sewanee

Six posters at Scholarship Sewanee on April 15, 2010 presented research conducted by psychology majors.  As is traditional, the researchers remained close to their posters to discuss their project with those attending.

Chetna Chandrasekaran '11, and Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology.  Lifetime exposure to violence prevention programs in a college sample.  This poster was awarded Third Place in the Scholarship Sewanee Poster Competition.

  • There have been numerous evaluations of violence prevention programs, but little research has looked at the long-term cumulative effects of youths’ exposure to violence prevention. This project assessed the lifetime prevention experiences of undergraduates attending a southeastern college using items from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (Finkelhor et al., 2010). Respondents were asked about their exposure to different prevention programs, including bullying, gang violence, and dating violence. Preliminary analyses on data collected to date indicate that sexual assault prevention was the most commonly reported program (75% of respondents), followed by bullying and conflict resolution (63% each). Instructing youth to disclose incidents to an adult was the most common curricular element (90%). No respondent indicated that the most recent program taught them things they didn’t know, but 55% said the program included both things they knew and didn’t know. Only 1 in 5 rated the most recent program as clearly helpful. Still, about half said they had used the information either to help themselves (18%), a friend (26%), or both (8%). Further analyses will explore differences in victimization. Insufficient attention has been paid to the number, overlap, and cumulative impact of these increasingly popular prevention programs.

Chetna Chandrasekaran '11, Sarah Clark '11, Lauren Croasdale '11, Hadley Mates '11, Caroline McNair '11, Leigh Anne Pickett '11, and C. Albert Bardi, Associate Professor of Psychology.  Latino/a conceptions of assertiveness:  preliminary results from a qualitative study.

  • Assertiveness has been defined as the verbal and nonverbal, direct expression of feelings (Gay, Hollandsworth & Galassi, 1975) and the positive, productive expression of one’s needs, feelings, preferences or opinions (Rathus, 1973). Extant conceptions and measures of assertiveness have largely been developed with predominantly white samples. Four focus groups were conducted with community members who self-identify as being of Latino/a or Hispanic heritage. Groups were given a simple model of the intersection of active vs passive modes and assertive vs aggressive behavior, and were asked to discuss their perceptions of the concepts. Transcriptions of the focus groups were created and themes were identified. Themes include “assertiveness as a product of immigrant struggle”, “increasing assertiveness with newer generations”, “acceptance of authority” and “the ideal of passive assertion”.

Chris Hague '11.  Differences between male and female Division III athletes in eating attitudes, body perception, and reason for exercise.  Advisor Bethany Lohr, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology.  Also a 20-minute oral presentation.

  • With the continual focus on performance, emphasis on achievement, large training volumes, restricted calorie diets, and pressure to be lean from coaches, peers, and parents, researchers have labeled collegiate athletes as a high risk group for eating disorders. However, athletes may display eating disorder behavior without exhibiting the core psychological pathology associated with eating disorders. It is, therefore, important to find the etiological, psychological symptoms of eating disorders in athletes. Most research to date, however, has centered solely on female athletes from Division I schools, neglecting other levels of competition and males. Since both of these factors may influence eating disordered psychopathology and behaviors, the purpose of this study is to see if eating disorder pathology does occur in Division III athletes and whether there is a difference between males and females in these etiological factors. 78 male and 88 female (n=166) D-III athletes completed a survey evaluating psychological predictors of eating disorders (ATHLETE questionnaire), personality types associated with eating disorders, and reasons for exercises (REI scale). Results show that there was a significant difference between males and females; similar correlations were also found between ATHLETE scores, personality, and REI scores. Psychological, etiological factors of eating disorders do seem to appear in Division III athletes with males and females differing in how they show them. Social, cultural, and psychological reasons are discussed as possible explanations for these findings.

Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology, Kaki Nix '10, Jacqueline De Puy, Université de Lausanne (Suisse), & Sylvie Monnier, Haute École de Travail Social de Genève (Suisse).  Does culture matter in extending dating violence prevention to stable, Western democracies? Adapting a U.S. program to Francophone Switzerland.

  • A U.S. dating violence prevention program, Safe Dates (Foshee et al., 1966) was translated and adapted to the sociocultural context of Francophone Switzerland. This is the first dating violence prevention program to be offered in Switzerland and one of the first to be offered anywhere in Europe. Although there are many cultural similarities between the United States and the industrial democracies of Western Europe, there are also cultural differences that need to be considered before offering any program. To evaluate this adaptation, 19 youth focus groups were held in three community centers in Geneva and Fribourg, and reviewed by 4 focus groups of professionals. Grounded theory analysis was used to evaluate the results of the focus group and guide a revision of the program. Numerous cultural adaptations were necessary even for this European context. Even the most fundamental concepts of the program—”dating” and “violence”—are not the same in Switzerland. Regarding dating, Swiss teenagers are much less focused on establishing monogamous romantic relationships in adolescence in comparison to U.S. teenagers, and there is no ready translation for “dating.” After consultation with the youth, the phrase “sortir ensemble” was chosen, which roughly translates into “going together” or “hanging out.” Regarding violence, although there are of course French words for various acts of violence, violence has not become the focus of a social movement in Switzerland to the same extent that it has in the U.S., and distinctions among terms such as “dating violence,” “spouse abuse,” and “domestic violence” are not well known. Dating violence has received much less attention than spouse abuse. Many U.S. questionnaires, such as the Conflict Tactics Scales (Straus, Hamby, Boney-McCoy, & Sugarman, 1996), include literally dozens of questions on different types of assault, and it can be challenging to craft translations of these that sound like unique forms of assault in other languages, most of which have fewer words for aggression than American English. Other common U.S. cultural references are also inappropriate for a Swiss context, such as assumptions that teenagers would be likely to drive a car. We also found that a high percentage of the youth were immigrants to Switzerland and many of these spoke French as a second or even third language. Although they were comfortable with spoken exercises, some of these youth were reluctant to do written exercises. The program was revised to reflect these concerns and is the first violence prevention program specifically adapted for a European culture.

Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology, Lucy Taylor '10, David Finkelhor, UNH Professor of Sociology, & Heather Turner, UNH Associate Professor of Sociology.  Perpetrator gender patterns for 22 forms of youth victimization.

  • There has been keen interest in the gender patterns of violence perpetration, particularly concerning whether women’s participation in violence deserves clinical and policy attention. The current data are from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), which is a nationally representative sample of 4,549 children ages 0-17 living in the continental Untied States obtained through a telephone survey of caregivers and youth. The sample was 50% male, 50% female, 53% White, non-Hispanic, 20% Black, non-Hispanic, 5% other race, non-Hispanic and 21% Hispanic, any race. For 19 of 22 victimization types, males perpetrated more violence than females, including all sexual assault, most physical assault, and bullying. Females perpetrated more neglect, custodial interference, and dating violence (60% to 64%). Perpetrator-victim patterns revealed that many forms of violence (13 of 22) showed a predominantly male-on-male pattern, especially most forms of physical assault. All forms of sexual assault, plus kidnapping, showed a predominantly male-on-female pattern. Many acts of violence appeared to be more severe when perpetrated by males versus females, as indicated by higher injury rates and greater reported fear by victims. These patterns for youth violence are similar in many respects to patterns observed for adult victimization, as indicated both by survey and law enforcement data. An understanding of the overall patterns in violence perpetration is important to crafting appropriate policy and interventions.

Elizabeth Macgrath '10. Depression and cognition in the normal elderly. (Summer Internship)

  • Symptoms of depression are common in normal aging. Because depression can impact cognitive performance, its effects can be mistakenly interpreted as early dementia. However, the pattern of cognitive impairment in depression may differ from that of early Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI is a relatively new construct defined as a focal memory impairment with little if any other cognitive deficits. Early AD has its greatest impact on new learning, recall and recognition memory, but also includes deficits in other cognitive domains, usually language skills. This study examined the relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive performance in healthy community to determine if cognitive impairment in depression differed from that typically observed in MCI or AD.

Rebecca Fowler '10.  Doran's Cove:  cultural landscape in the Upland South.  (a 20-minute oral presentation)  Rebecca also presented her research at the Southern Anthropological Society Annual Meeting in Savannah GA, February 19-21, 2010.

  • This paper explores the vernacular architecture, genealogical landscapes, and community memories of Doran’s Cove, a small rural settlement of southern Appalachia riding the state line between Alabama and Tennessee. Residents have maintained “the antiquity of the cove” despite changes in nearby communities. They have a rich oral tradition, lengthy family ties to the land, and the small collection of folk architecture in the area provides one of the best surviving records of regional building styles from the time of European-American settlement. This paper derives from a project to create a catalogue of local vernacular buildings constructed from the second decade of the 1800s to the early 20th century. Considering building style, techniques and materials, the project identified how the settlement and material cultural legacy of Doran’s Cove fits with regional patterns. Oral histories of community members were collected, transcribed and compiled into a cross-generational account of the area to relate key events and figures in the folk history of the area. In the tradition of Barbara Allen’s The Genealogical Landscape and the Southern Sense of Place (1990), interviews for the collection of place lore and toponymy, and cognitive mapping exercises, helped create a picture of the Cove’s “genealogical landscape.”

Scholarship Sewanee is supported by Walter and Mayna Nance;  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation;  The Office of the Dean of the College;  Physical Plant Services