Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Adolescent GPA and Anger Expression

Ashlee Orozco, Student, School of Psychology; Mindy Stutzman-Moore, Student, School of Psychology; Anthony Greene, Faculty, School of Psychology

Research shows there is a correlation between emotional intelligence and academic achievement (Fernandez, Salamonson, and Griffiths, 2012; Parker, Creque, Barnhart, Harris, Majeski, Wood, Bond and Hogen, 2004). However, are adolescents with higher emotional intelligence and higher GPAs better at healthier expressions of anger than those with lower emotional intelligence and GPAs? Presently, no studies have looked at this relationship. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a correlation between GPAs and anger expression. This was done by using a demographic questionnaire, the Structured Anger Assessment Interview (SAAI), an 18-30 minute interview used to assess the duration, frequency, expression, and intensity of anger feelings. The State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), a self-reported assessment of anger and anger expression, was also used to identify the nature and content of anger expressed in adolescent. It is hypothesized that adolescents with higher GPAs will have more healthy anger expression. It is also hypothesized that female adolescents will be higher in their emotional intelligence and their GPA, having healthier anger expressions than male adolescents.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The World Café: Research Explorations through Conversations That Matter

Flavio Mesquita da Silva, Student, School of Human & Organizational Development

My purpose is to explore the World Café, a very effective conversation process, as a mode of inquiry because of its virtue of enabling more participation of the subjects in the research process. The questions I am playing with are: a) would the World Café be itself an adequate research methodology? b) to what extent would it support other research methodologies to become more effective?

The field of application of the World Café has been a project that I have designed and am both coordinating (as the leading consultant) and exploring (as an HOD graduate student), which aims at intervening in a statewide, thus complex situation that comprises the state school system of Ceara, Brazil. This project has the objective to build networks of culture of peace between almost 700 schools and their respective communities.

The broad scope of this project will also serve to challenge the living principles of the World Café in the context of macro social architecture processes. By doing so, it will be verified if or when other research methodologies should be necessary to support the research process.

Monday, July 29, 2013

An Exploration of Mitigating Vicarious Traumatization by Use of Reference Points: Psychotherapists Working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse

Shanna Dawn Jackson, Alumna, Fielding's School of Psychology (2013)

Therapists providing psychotherapy to adult survivors of childhood abuse may be at risk for vicarious traumatization (VT) because of the empathic attunement needed to support therapeutic effectiveness. Therapists with a personal trauma history must be able to make use of their experience to facilitate positive empathic attunement in service of helping their clients. If they are mired in negative countertransference and/or VT, their therapeutic effectiveness may decrease. This study investigated the relationships among reference points, empathic attunement, and VT with psychotherapists who have a history of trauma and work with adult abuse survivors. Seventy therapists with a personal trauma history completed a vignette questionnaire assessing empathic attunement and reference points, the Trauma and Attachment Belief Scale (Pearlman, 2003), and a combined demographic, professional, and personal history questionnaire. Results indicated no statistically significant relationships among the variables (reference points, empathic attunement, and VT) and no mediating effect of empathic attunement on the relationship between reference points and VT. Thus, hypotheses were not supported. However, post-hoc analyses found a statistically significant relationship between the use of reference points and empathic attunement for therapists without a trauma history and for the total sample. Further, it was shown that as reference points increased, VT increased in the total sample. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for therapeutic practice as well as future research investigating the relationships among these variables. Further, it appears there might be a difference in usefulness of reference points as connected with empathy between the sample of therapists not reporting a trauma history versus those reporting a trauma history. The conscious utilization of reference points in a sample of therapists with a trauma history could be potentially re-traumatizing. Therefore, examining therapists who experience adequate resolution, or a lack thereof, of their personal trauma histories and the potential influence of this on their use of reference points and re-traumatization is important information in better knowing how to encourage protection of therapists of this sample.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Long Term Consequences of a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Ten-Year Follow Up Study in Cognition, Behavior, and Encephalomacia

Kimberly Hutchinson, Student, School of Psychology; Thomas DuVall, Student, School of Psychology; Burton Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology; Lawrence Dilks, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Counseling Services of SWLA; Lisa Hubbard, Student, School of Psychology; Jacqueline Bourassa, Student, McNeese State University

DB is a 27-year-old male who was struck by an eighteen-wheeled tractor-trailer while riding his bicycle in 2002. He was comatose for three weeks post-accident and later placed in a physical rehabilitation facility for a period of two months. A 2002 neuropsychological evaluation concluded the client possessed a moderate cognitive impairment. After his discharge home he experienced personality change, left hemiparesis, limited mobility, acid reflux, depression, anxiety, difficulty with anger management, chronic pain, disinhibit ion, and an impairment in executive functions. Over the last ten years the client became involved with substance abuse, was arrested for petty crimes, had unstable social relationships and experienced financial hardship as a consequence of an inability to maintain employment. Ten years post injury a follow-up neuropsychological evaluation was ordered to assess the client’s overall condition.

DB presented as a right handed, overweight, below average height individual who offered a mild left hemiparesis, inconsistent dysfluency, a shuffling gait and limited fine motor abilities. Speech was pressured with poor prosity. The client’s mother denied any premorbid handicaps. The client was administered 24 standardized tests over an seven hour period assessing skills in cognitive ability, executive functions, memory, language, adaptive behavior, sensory/perceptual, motor, personality and effort. After completing the appropriate releases the client was escorted to an assessment room and evaluated by two psychologists. Scoring was according to standardized methods. There were no unusual events that might have invalidated the assessment.

The results were consistent with an individual who possesses a global impairment with specific limitations in executive functions, impulse control and language ability. Sensory abilities were well preserved. As a consequence of the evaluation the DB acquired the following diagnosis: Cognitive Disorder, Pain Disorder, Personality Change (secondary to TBI), Major Depressive Disorder, Sleep Disorder, and Polysubstance Dependence. His GAF was 45 at the time of assessment. The client’s impairments were evident immediately following the accident without any periods of remission. Though the cognitive impairments were regarded as significant it was recommended that management of chronic pain and addressing the sleep disorder be give highest priority as it was felt interventions for functional recovery would make little progress until insomnia and pain were brought under control. It was further recommended the client be admitted to a long-term care facility for cognitively impaired individuals and a guardian be appointed for medical and financial matters.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Neuropsychological Consequences of Acute Paraffin Solvent Exposure

Kimberly Hutchinson, Student, School of Psychology; Lawrence Dilks, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Counseling Services of SWLA; Thomas DuVall, Student, School of Psychology; Burton Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology; Lisa Hubbard, Student, School of Psychology; Jacqueline Bourassa, Student, McNeese State University

Paraffin Solvents are used to dissolve the paraffin molecules in crude oil, which would otherwise crystallize into solids and clog processing pipes and equipment. Caution must be used in its storage and use as its primary components include Benzene, Toluene and Xylene, each of which are toxic. TB was a production manager on an off shore production platform who was exposed to toxic vapors and liquid when a storage container ruptured. He attempted to clean the spill without the use of a protective mask. TB and another individual were exposed for 10-18 hours until relieved. The purpose of this presentation is to review his condition and test data for future reference.

TB is a 31-year-old male with a 12th grade education and 10 years of experience in offshore fluid production. His premorbid health and neuropsychological status was unremarkable. 26 Neuropsychological instruments with support equipment. The patient was evaluated in a professional assessment environment by a licensed neuropsychologist over a period of three days. Sessions were limited to reduce fatigue effects. The patient was debriefed and results were forwarded to his treating physician. The test results suggest a decrement in overall neuropsychological functioning. Losses appear in cognitive functions, executive ability, memory, language skill, and psychomotor speed.

The results are suggestive of diminished capacity with executive functions such as; judgment, insight, reasoning, attention, concentration and abstraction. Limitations were apparent in both auditory and visual immediate and recent memory but long term memory appeared unencumbered. Minor limitations were noted in language processing. Sensory skills appear well preserved. Given the time since exposure further progress appears improbable and the patient may be at maximum benefit. Future research should strive to delineate further details of executive limitations.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Neuropsychological Study of an Individual with West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease

Kimberly Hutchinson, Student, School of Psychology; Lawrence Dilks, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Counseling Services of SWLA; Thomas DuVall, Student, School of Psychology; Burton Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology; Lisa Hubbard, Student, School of Psychology; Jacqueline Bourassa, Student, McNeese State University

Relatively recently, West Nile Virus (WNV) has reached the point of seasonal outbreaks in the United States. Most cases of WNV are asymptomatic. Approximately 20% of patients will develop West Nile fever, a flu-like illness that is a self-limited, benign condition. However, approximately one percent of patients will develop a neuroinvasive form of the disease resulting in meningitis, encephalitis, or acute flaccid paralysis (Carson et al., 2006). Risk factors for developing the most severe form of the disease include: compromised immune system due to medications (e.g., posttransplant) or other illnesses, older age, and male gender (Arciniegas & Anderson, 2004). To date, little neuropsychological data is available. This purpose of this case study is to examine the neuropsychological sequelae of West Nile encephalopathy.

“AZ,” is a 52-year-old married woman with 12 years of education who was working as an administrative assistant when she contracted WNV. Following an extended hospital stay of three months, which included time on the intensive care unit and an extended care unit, she was seen for neuropsychiatric evaluation in an inpatient medical rehabilitation unit. Medical history was positive for epilepsy and eight separate treatments for cervical cancer with full recovery. Treatment for anal cancer was interrupted by the WNV encephalopathy and was scheduled to resume post discharge. The client also reported a history of mild depression that is well controlled with medication.

AZ completed a neuropsychological battery that included: intelligence testing, measures of executive function, memory, language, adaptive behavior, motor function, perceptual-motor skills, and mood inventories. Testing was administered in multiple sessions due to fatigue and to accommodate her treatment regimen. There were no unusual occurrences during the procedure to limit the validity of the evaluation.

Her performance demonstrated impairments in verbal comprehension and processing speed, planning and problem solving, memory, language, and motor function. Adaptive behavior was in the very limited range. Depression was mild and anxiety was significant. Her performance was suggestive of Cognitive Disorder, NOS secondary to Epilepsy and sequelae of West Nile Meningioencephalitis. AZ falls into the one percent of individuals who experience a neuroinvasive form of the disease. Her complex medical history provides support for the risk factors proposed by Arciniegas and Anderson (2004). A follow-up evaluation in six months to one year would be valuable to monitor continued improvements or deterioration in functioning. While this case study contributes to accumulating knowledge of the sequelae of WNV, further study and additional data are needed to understand how neuropsychiatric functioning is impacted long term.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anti-androgenic Pharmacological Treatments in Paraphilia Disorders and Sexual Offenders

Sara Holland, Student, School of Psychology; Joan Read, Faculty, School or Psychology

Androgen is the nonspecific word for any compound that promotes or regulates the development of male characteristics in vertebrates. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a treatment used to subdue the production or action of male hormones, predominantly testosterone. ADT is considered an effective strategy with paraphilia disorder and in sexual offender treatment.

Though the aetiology of paraphilia disorders is still not entirely appreciated, pharmacological treatments have been recommended for some of these disorders. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been used in the treatment of various types of paraphilia disorders and with sexual offenders. Anti-libidinal hormonal treatments or anti-androgen drugs, such as medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), cyproterone acetate (CPA), and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues (also known as luteinizing hormone releasing hormone agonists - LHRH agonists), have also been reviewed and deemed effective in paraphilic disorders and with some sexual offenders. All of these pharmacological treatments have been observed to decrease or diminish sexual interest or libido, sexual fantasies, sexual urges/behaviours, sexual arousal, and sexual performance. Additional research is essential to demonstrate treatment efficacy and to improve our knowledge of long-term tolerance. Available data on the use of SSRI’s, steroidal anti-androgens and GnRH analogues currently suggest the efficacy of these treatments for paraphilic disorders.

Much debate is taking place regarding the ethics and legality of ADT with sex offenders. Unfortunately, the empirical studies of sex offender treatment have mostly been methodologically weak. It could be comfortable to presume that if treatment is accessible on a voluntary and consensual basis that there are no ethical issues implicated; there remain concerns over the issue of the offender's consent. Additionally, ethical concerns have been introduced due to the use of “off label” medication with sexual offenders. It is obvious that further research is essential to assess the precise efficacy of pharmacological ADT.

The purposed poster will review the use of anti-androgenic drugs in paraphilia disorders and with sexual offenders, and will review the literature regarding efficacy, side effects, and ethics.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Study of the Impact of Nonphysical Aggression in Organizations: A Contribution to the Taxonomy of Nonphysical Aggression

Loretta M. Hobbs, Student, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

Curiosity about nonphysical aggression among adults, who were doing well professionally in their in workplaces and other kinds of organizations, resulted in the following research question and ten findings. From 18 of 20 interviews, respondents reported experiences of various types of injuries that had the impact of pulling them downward in spirit, emotional and physical well-being, reputation, and assets. The findings support a type of nonphysical aggression that is active among adults that are doing well professionally in a variety or organizational types. Findings also characterize the behaviors of this type of aggression, so that it is recognizable in adult organizations and not mistaken for office politics or peer disagreements. Thematic analysis was the analytical tool used to code and theme research data. The research question is: “How do adults describe their experience of nonphysical aggression from others toward them in U.S. organizations?”

Findings: (1) Sixty-one percent (61%) of respondents characterized their experience of diminishment as aggression. Another Eighty-nine percent (89%) reported it as being put down and seventy-two percent (72%) reported being taken down (2) Nonphysical aggression occurs among adults over 30 years old in all kinds of organizational settings including workplaces, academia, churches, hospitals, member meetings, schools, partnership meetings, and business conferences. (3) Abandonment of the aggressed by their organizational friends and colleagues was reported as a common occurrence that contributed to their isolation within the organization. (4) Lack of support for the aggressed often emboldened the aggressor and impeded the ability of the aggressed to fairly address their issue. (5) Power dynamics in systems created a force that often silenced the aggressed and created pressure for others to directly or indirectly collude with both the aggressor and the aggression. (6) Nonphysical aggression occurred within and between social identity groups, such as groups identified by race, ethnicity, culture, and gender. Aggressors emerged from any social identity group, as did the aggressed. (7) People suffered extensive losses of varying kinds from nonphysical aggression that negatively impacted their well-being, emotions, status, job security/income, health, support, reputation, self-image, self-confidence and peace of mind. (8) Confusion and disorientation in the moment about what had just happened or if something had really happened was a frequent comment of respondents. (9) Support of the aggressed by friends and colleagues helped their overall well-being and recovery from injury to their psyche, spirit, reputation, position, status or job loss. (10) Recovery takes time and the pace is highly individualized.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Test Driving Gender in Virtual Worlds

Patricia Hendrickson, Alumna, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change (2013)

The purpose of this classic grounded theory study is to offer an understanding of one aspect of the increasing digitization of contemporary life in which a male may adopt a female persona or vice-versa. The researcher explains how individuals consciously test drive gender in Massively Multiplayer Online Virtual Worlds (MMOVWs). Test driving gender occurs because the person creating a virtual identity has a preference or inclination to represent the identity as a gender other than that designated at birth. By creating a new depiction for the online environment, the person realizes the preference or inclination. This study began with an interview of an adult who engages in MMOVWs as a leisure-time activity. Subsequent interviews commenced with other adults who socialized in MMOVWs. The core variable of test driving gender emerged after coding and comparing interview data. Significant to the experiences of the participants in this study is the complex nature of new and emerging technologies, the blending of real and online worlds, and certain levels of anonymity that the Internet allows. The behaviors of individuals within MMOVWs form in response to the interrelated and inseparable issues of identity and adaptive strategies that straddle both worlds. People who test drive gender are unique because of the ease in which they engage in virtual worlds unrestricted by the real-world gender designated at birth. Gender switching for them is significant and, at once, problematic because others in their virtual communities cannot easily identify them by one persistent identity in one persistent milieu. When people test drive gender in a virtual world, the choice results in one of five possible paths of engagement which participants termed roleplaying, acting, representing, ogling, and defaulting. People chose the paths based upon various motivations, conditions, and perceived benefits. The consequence of researching the substantive area of virtual worlds, is that new motivations and conditions are presented that explain the behavior of gender switching. Gender can be learned, managed, and used to manipulate others. This new information may provide enhanced considerations and options in gender identity education.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Millennial Voters and News Consumption

Jennifer Elizabeth Frank, Alumna, School of Educational Leadership & Change (2013)

American Millennials grew up with 24-hour access to news, but have not established consistent news habits—reading the morning newspaper or watching the nightly news—that are needed for membership in the informed electorate on which our democracy depends. Since voting is a pillar of American democracy, the major research question in this dissertation is: What role will news play in preserving and advancing American democracy in the digital generation? Technology enables Millennials to filter out information that does not interest them, which could have implications for both news and the American political system.

This mixed-methods study used an online survey and interviews to measure the interest of a sample of 18- to 30-year-olds in news: how they define it; their exposure to it growing up; their current consumption habits; the role they think news plays in society; their civic knowledge and understanding of American democracy; and their engagement in political activities.

The major finding is that Millennials do pay attention to news and politics, but not according to a set schedule or loyalty to any one source. They favor newspaper websites over other sources, which is consistent with Mitchell and Rosenstiel’s (2012) finding that newspapers are not dead. Millennials customize their news on aggregator sites like Google News and Reddit, where they can also engage in discussion about serious or political issues that they would not post on Facebook, which is clearly a social space. They care about serious issues, think critically about their world, and believe they have some power to change it. Their news habits differ from those of the adults they grew up with, but they want the information they need to participate in democracy and will make an effort to get it. Millennials are highly critical of the two-party system, participate in political activities, and value their right to vote.

The study results have implications for news organizations and politicians who rely on traditional methods to reach Millennials, many of whom do not have televisions or cable subscriptions. Young people scrutinize everything politicians say, often verifying voting records and other claims via news and non-news sources. They are paying attention, but there is no one place—even Facebook—to reach Millennials because they customize their media. These findings affirm the Millennial traits that Tapscott (2008) identified, especially in how they customize their news and scrutinize the politicians and the news media. Millennials want to maintain American democracy through dialogue in online democratic spaces like Reddit that mirror the traditional places where the exchange of news and ideas elevated the public and gave them political strength (Carey, 1993).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How Massage Therapists Execute a Whole Session with Established Clients

Luann Drolc Fortune, Alumna, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development (2012)

Despite recent scientific contributions that evaluate massage therapy's clinical efficacy, there is limited research that explores how massage therapists (MTs) construct their work and exercise clinical reasoning. This study explicates how some MTs understood their work process. This foundational understanding can contribute to improved translational research design in massage therapy studies. To identify fundamental assumptions, this exploratory, in-depth study examined how 10 MTs executed a whole treatment with established clients. Ethnomethodology and phenomenology principles framed this qualitative study. Data collection occurred by videotaping sessions, replaying videos to prompt stimulated recall, audio recording participant interviews, and analyzing researcher fieldwork journal entries. Computer assisted analysis identified patterns for thematic interpretation.

Analysis identified shared tacit understandings that were fundamental to the MTs executing their work: a) therapeutic massage is primarily biomechanical, b) safe touch was prerequisite, c) multitasking was not allowed, d) the work was physically risky for the MTs, and e) massage affects multiple systems. Shared basic commonsense knowledge also guided the work of these MTs: a) the MT imagined the intended point of contact, b) the client controlled the physiological release, and c) the work was inherently educational. Within with these commonalities, the findings further demonstrated that the MTs operationalized their work in highly individualized ways. In addition, the individual client relationship was critical to designing and evaluating the session’s effectiveness.

While massage is often viewed as a biomechanical intervention, the MTs studied understood their work in multiple ways in addition to muscular-skeletal parameters. One interpretation for the complex findings is that work of these MTs gravitated towards two dimensions: the physical and the symbolic. Both dimensions interacted synergistically, resulting in increasingly sophisticated constructions of the work. When both dimensions intersected, the MTs and their clients believed that the work expressed its full potential.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Analysis of the Match Crisis in Clinical Psychology Internships: A 15 Year Perspective

Thomas DuVall, Student, School of Psychology; Kimberly Hutchinson, Student, School of Psychology; Lawrence Dilks, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Counseling Services of SWLA; Burton Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology; Lisa Hubbard, Student, School of Psychology; Sattaria Dilks, Associate Professor/Director ICMSN, McNeese State University; Jacqueline Bourassa, Student, McNeese State University

As this year’s cohort of graduate students search for an internship, they face a daunting task. The number of applicants has risen steadily over the years, but the number of internship positions has not kept pace with the need. Despite years of training and preparation, a significant number of applicants will face the disappointment of not “matching” to an internship site. This imbalance has been identified as a crisis in the field of psychology that affects not only students, but also the profession as a whole. The purpose of this poster is to increase awareness of both the critical nature of the intern-internship imbalance and to acknowledge the long-term occurrence of this issue.

APPIC/APA data was reviewed related to APPIC applicants and available psychology internship placements. Relevant literature on the history of the match imbalance was reviewed. Data was summarized and compared across cohorts. APPIC match statistics from 1999 – 2013; APPIC applicant post-match survey; APA report; APA internship development toolkit. Over the last 15 years the mean shortfall between available positions and number of applicants seeking internship was 18.6%. However, this number masks the disparity between the steadily increasing number of applications compared to the slower growth of positions to accommodate the clinical training component required for doctoral degree completion. The average shortfall of internship positions from 1999 through 2003 was 13.78%. This is a marked difference from the most recent 5 year period from 2009 through 2013 of 23.2%.

The internship imbalance has reached crisis proportions. Although there are no easy solutions, application of creative approaches and involvement of the psychological community could potentially alleviate the shortage. As a profession, we have an ethical obligation to collegial cooperation and advocating for the care and development of our own. We have long known about the internship imbalance crisis. We have identified areas to be addressed, as well as the challenges to addressing the shortage. Perhaps by shifting the focus to the local level, we will continue to creatively implement solutions in the present as the debate continues on the growth management issues of our profession’s future.

Friday, July 19, 2013

In Search of the Ecuadorian Bottle Dancers

Frank S. Czarny, Alumnus, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development (2001)

A few small communities in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador are exclusively populated with people of African descent. Inhabitants of these communities practice a folk dance where a bottle is balanced on the top of the head. This qualitative case study involves an empirical investigation into the possible symbolic significance of the bottle dance. The research trajectory branches in two directions. The first research trajectory involves an investigation into the historic and cultural origins of the Andean Afro-Ecuadorian people of the Chota-Mira River Valley. The second research trajectory involves an exploration into the contemporary forces influencing the Andean Afro-Ecuadorian communities of the Chota-Mira River Valley. This community case study (Robson, 1993) contains a description and analysis of conditions surrounding the villages and people who originated the dance form, La Bomba del Chota.

Multiple sources of evidence inform the case study. Qualitative tools of data collection and analysis facilitate an understanding of La Bomba del Chota by way of documents and records examination (Robson, 1993). These written materials relate to general Ecuadorian history and the Chota-Mira River Valley. The approach of passive observer (Robson, 1993) enabled observation of the actual dance form. An application of a description matrix structured the generation of the study problem statement. Fishbone techniques identified symptoms and causes of problems faced by the Afro-Choteno community. Vertical box listing sequenced the method or case study strategy practiced this account. Fishbone diagramming illuminated the analysis of socio-economic factors. An economic stimulus solutions matrix enabled evaluation of proposed study interventions. A ranking matrix illustrates the most appropriate economic stimulus interventions. Results suggest the performance of the dance form, La Bomba del Chota, exists and responds to a tightly-wound Ecuadorian system of racial and socio-economic oppression grounded in Colonial, Post-Colonial, and Neo Colonial practices. Recommendation: Enlargement of an existing community-development intervention program, originally introduced by World-Cup soccer players who were born and raised in the region. The community development intervention program includes the involvement of an institution of higher learning which sends a clarion call and reminder of social responsibility to scholar-practitioners and the academic community in addressing the needs of the oppressed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis: Disease Presentation, Progression, and Treatment

Lisa Bolshin, Student, School of Psychology; Joan Read, Faculty, School of Psychology

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is a rare paraneoplastic disease that has been gaining much attention in research due to the varied clinical presentation and nonstandardized treatment regimen. The disease's clinical characteristic presentation progresses through three critical phases from a flu-like malaise, to psychiatric symptomology, to unresponsiveness. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is primarily found in young adult women with a median age of 22, but can occur in a wide range of ages as well as in the male gender. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis most commonly presents with an underlying ovarian teratoma although this may take years to be identified. Neurological discrepancies are rare but have been identified. The NMDA receptor, which binds to both glycine and glutamate is implicated in the onset, progression, and treatment response of this disease. The NMDA receptor plays a crucial role in many synaptic processes and is the core mechanism underlying this dysfunctional autoimmune antibody-induced neurological disease. The neurological basis of the disease guides the appropriate treatment regimen. The regulation of the NMDA receptor is the heart of the cellular pathway involved in the pathophysiological modification of excitatory synapse transmission and thus response to proposed interventions. Treatment options focus primarily on tumor removal and intravenous immunoglobulin as a first line response. Treatment also focuses on ameliorating symptomology at various stages of the disease via corticosteroids and antipsychotics. However, recommended effective dosage ranges have yet to be established. The majority of individuals recover fully or have limited improvement, although many report long-term neuropsychological deficits. A small number of cases have resulted in death. There is a significant correlation between time of treatment and cognitive outcome. With early tumor removal and first-line approach treatments, prognosis and recovery is superior.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Democracy Education and the Promotion of Collectivist Pedagogy

Karen L Bohlke, Student, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change

Collectivism and individualism are widely recognized as the most important aspect of culture and communication impacting the highly human relational fields of psychology, social work, and education. In the field of education, collectivism is attracting recognition as a determinate consideration impacting educational outcomes, classroom management, and the purpose of teaching and learning, particularly relevant in light of increasing economic inequity, institutional racism, and the decline of social cohesion. Collectivism affirms interdependence, other-interestedness, mutuality, equity, and care for holism and sustainability, which includes ecological sustainability and embraces communitarian values (Hofsted 1980, Triandis 1989, Lodge, 2009).

The purpose of this study was to contribute to the development and promulgation of pedagogy promoting collectivist world-view. It examined the impact of Democracy Education pedagogy, a self-transformation through social participation approach to teaching and learning developed at the Institute for Community Leadership (ICL). The research draws on 16 years of programming provided by the ICL, in 62 predominately low-income, racially diverse, urban, rural, and tribal school districts of Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida. Former student and teacher participant survey data was collected and analyzed for transformative and emancipatory relevance. A mixed method, quantitative and qualitative research approach provided a complementary, iterative-analytic assessment, optimizing elaboration, illustration, and clarification. A survey measuring collectivism and individualism (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, & Gelfand, 1995) was included in the student survey.

The research findings support the hypothesis that collectivist worldview can be taught and learned. Evidence of increased collectivism was found in correlation to increased length of time student participants were in the Democracy Education program. Above average collectivist scores were registered by 86.4% of the student respondents. This indicated a high associational value favoring teachability and learnability of collectivism. The study illuminates conduct, character, and consciousness affiliated with collectivist worldview and documents the impact of their acquisition. Analysis of impact was organized around four themes: significance for the individual learner; educational method and practice; educational philosophy and worldview; and the relationship between collectivism and individualism. Collectivism is weighed as an essential consideration for the sustainability and advancement of democracy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Using Suppressor-Enhancer Subscales to Increase Statistical Mediation Effects: Improving Path Analytic Model Fit of the Social Stress-Depression Relationship, Mediated by Social Self-Efficacy and Sense of Belonging

Charles Blonstein, Alumnus, Fielding's School of Psychology (2004)

My dissertation study (Blonstein, 2004) supported original hypotheses that the Social Stress-Depression Relationship is moderated by Social Anxiety and jointly mediated by Sense of Belonging, as well as Social Self-Efficacy. In a high Social Anxiety subgroup (n=60), Belonging relative to Efficacy transmitted nearly eight times as much of the variance between predictors and criterion (i.e., ratio of the variables' squared Beta weights). An integrative reformulation of statistical suppression processes (see Friedman and Wall, 2005) holds implications for explaining this enigmatic differential.

This poster describes a statistical transformation of the Efficacy variable using my original dissertation data. Efficacy scale items were assigned to either of two subscales, based on their partial correlations with the criterion variable. By varying cut points anywhere along the continuum of partial values (r= -1.0 to +1.0), suppressor-enhancer dyads were constructed. Ultimately, I dichotomized the 24 full-scale items into 14- and 10-item, mutually exclusive subsets. Respectively, this combination reflected a ratio of 14 more negatively valenced partial values vis-a-vis 10 more positively valenced counterparts. This 14-10 variant was designed to optimize predictor-criterion mediation effects via reciprocal: (1) suppression (or statistical control) of variance that is irrelevant to Depression, and conversely (2) enhancement of variance that is relevant to this criterion. Hypotheses evaluated were that the above procedures would: (1) identify variance previously obfuscated by collinearity; (2) explain the magnitude differential between Efficacy versus Belonging effects; as well as (3) generate improvements in model fit indices.

In sum, numerous path analyses and other multivariate procedures yielded convergent findings. Relative to the original Efficacy variable, its transformed counterpart yielded stronger support for prior mediation hypotheses. Improved outcomes were evidenced by indices including: (1) R-Square for the criterion variable; (2) percent mediation between predictors and criterion; as well as (3) model fit criteria. Consistent with recent methodological trends (e.g., Kraha et al.; 2012), I discuss the interpretive value of identifying the multiple sources of variance in a data set.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Employee Well-being through Generative Growth: A Human Development Perspective

Ana M. Barrio, Alumna, School of Human & Organizational Development (2013)

An increased interest in corporate social responsibility has raised questions about the impact organizations have on employee well-being. The study focused on generative employee well-being, a concept grounded in three areas of literature: a eudaimonic philosophical perspective that views well-being in terms of personal growth, Erikson’s (1959) psychosocial life-span development theory that associates growth with caring for others, and research that associates well-being and social-oriented goals. The purpose of the study was to increase understanding of what managers do to inspire, facilitate, or support employee caring activities, defined as actions taken within or outside the workplace to improve the lives of others.

The unique contextualized experiences and perspectives of 25 managers and non-managers were collected using a questionnaire, one-on-one interviews, and a group conference call. Given that employee growth is a central tenet of servant-leadership, the study was conducted in three organizations that practice a philosophy of servant-leadership.

The study identified interrelated manager behaviors that fell into four themes: Build Relationship, Cultivate, Provide Resources, and Follow Up. The study drew attention to the significance of building a manager/employee relationship as a foundation for the other behaviors whereby managers inspire and develop employees to engage in caring activities, provide tangible and intangible resources, and provide reinforcement. Behaviors that build a relationship enable managers to get to know the activities employees are engaged in, and open the door for managers to offer support and employees to seek support. The concept of a manager caring for an employee as a person permeated each theme.

The study findings were captured in a model of Inspiration and Support of Caring Activities which includes structural influences such as values, policies, and practices. The study findings suggested managers need to know themselves, their employees, and the organization to determine what behaviors best fit a particular employee, at a particular point in time, and in a particular context. Practical implications for managers, employees, and organizations were presented along with recommendations for future research.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"The Evaluation of an Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Program: an Action Research Project"

Kerry Sullivan Ragno, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change

The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate the effectiveness of an Early Childhood Development Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program at one community college as part of an ongoing action research project. Prior to this dissertation study, external and internal barriers prevented the associate degree program stakeholders from completing the evaluation phase. Those internal and external barriers were reflective of the historical marginalization of the early childhood education field in the United States, and were similar to those found in other higher education teacher preparation programs. Qualitative data were gathered from stakeholder participants during interviews and focus group sessions in order to answer three research questions: (1) What are the strengths of the Early Childhood Development AAS degree program? (2) What are the challenges of the Early Childhood Development AAS degree program? and (3) What are your suggestions for program improvements? A number of program strengths were identified: program curriculum, student observation and practical participation experiences, workforce preparation, and faculty collaboration. Program challenges included poor academic advising of students, lack of centralized program leadership, inefficient use of faculty, difficulty serving diverse learner needs, and difficulty placing students at observation and practical participation sites. Four suggestions for program improvements were made, including providing a dedicated academic advisor for early childhood students, coordinating student observation and practical participation placements, centralizing coordination of the Early Childhood Development AAS degree program and increasing program cohesion. Implications for practice, public policy, and future research on authentic program evaluation of teacher preparation programs are also presented.

Key words: authentic program evaluation, action research, early childhood, associate degree programs, higher education, teacher preparation