Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Relationship between College Students' Binge Eating and Basal Metabolic Index as Moderated by Personality Traits and Gender

Omar Kabha, Fielding's School of Psychology

The aim of this study is to determine whether personality traits, especially conscientiousness and emotional stability neuroticism, and gender are moderators of the observed association between binge eating and obesity. Within this study, there are three main hypotheses to examine: (1) What are the zero-order correlations between binge eating, gender, BMI, neuroticism, and conscientiousness? (2) How much variance in BMI scores can be accounted for by binge eating, gender, neuroticism, and conscientiousness? (3) Do gender and/or the personality traits of neuroticism/ emotional stability and conscientiousness moderate the relationship between binge eating and BMI? A sample of 700 students from the University of Texas at Austin volunteered to complete a survey in which 38% (n = 266) of the students self-identified as binge eaters. Of these students, 52% (n = 158) identified as female and 40% (n = 107) identified as male. The results of the data were based on zero correlation, and hierarchical regression analysis of the variables. The findings generally revealed that there is no interaction between variables but that there is a statistical significant relationship between emotional stability and binge eating and obesity.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Becoming a Part-of: A Classic Grounded Theory of the Role of Parents as Teachers Within the Public Education System

Robert McKenzie, Jr., Fielding's School for Educational Leadership for Change

This grounded theory study examines the role of parents as teachers within the public education system. Becoming a part-of emerged as the core variable that explains the conditions and consequences for parents that underscore the conflict between the home and the public school system. Likewise, it highlights the primary patterns of behavior and the stages that parents at all levels of involvement navigate as they seek to resolve their primary concerns in support of their children.

Becoming a part-of is a process consisting of four stages. The stages serve as a connecting link between the various sets of conditions, circumstances, and properties. They also allow for the theoretical tracing of and accounting for change over time; these stages may be generally perceivable by those persons involved, in this case parents and teachers.

The four stages of becoming a part-of are accessing, agreeing, actioning, and accounting. The accessing stage begins in the home where parents, as their children’s first and most influential teacher, prepare themselves and their children to enter the public education system. The agreeing stage begins in the classroom, where parents and teachers confirm their shared responsibility as educational leaders. The actioning stage involves the best efforts of both of them to engage in mutually inclusive strategies in order to accomplish their educational goals. Finally, the accounting stage comprises their mutual efforts to create a strong foundational connection, to become an accessible, viable, and sustainable part-of the shared parent-teacher educational leadership team.

Through this study I explain the need for further research into practical and meaningful ways to support the strategic positioning and systems integration of parents as teachers and educational leaders.

Key words: grounded theory, classic grounded theory, advocacy, educational leaders, public education, education system, accountability, parent involvement, parent as teacher

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Leadership Dynamic Analyzed and Assessed through an Autoethnographical Lens

Michael Patterson, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership for Change

Leadership is one of the most widely written about topics and has increasingly gained mainstream popularity. Countless leadership practitioners and academics often produce works that give advice on how to be an effective leader. Much of this information attempts to examine and typologize existing leadership theories as well as seeking to provide new insights on this complex and diverse area of inquiry (Northouse, 2012). In this dissertation, I explore the vast conceptual and theoretical landscape of leadership within mostly corporate settings through the lens of autoethnography. The overall aim is to present the frames of reference and variations of three distinct leadership models: autocratic, servant, and situational. These are articulated through three vignettes seeking to demonstrate how the culture of each organization played an integral role in the shaping of the leadership philosophies examined (Bergquist & Pawlak, 2008).

Implications of the results for future research and practice as well as the current study’s limitations are discussed. This dissertation seeks to make a contribution to leadership learning by exploring actual situations that occurred during my 30-year leadership tenure, which continues to evolve. This study reveals elements of the nature of leadership while sharing the actual development of an individual learned leadership practice. Names of people and organizations in the vignettes have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all parties.

Keywords: Autoethnography, Autocratic Leadership, Servant Leadership, Situational Leadership, Management, Leadership.

Has Social Media Begun to "Sponsor" Addiction Recovery?: A Study of Face-to-face Versus Online Sobriety Support

Donald S. Grant, Fielding's School of Psychology

Millennial technology offers previously unimaginable opportunities. For those struggling with a dependence to alcohol and/or other mind-altering substances, new computer-mediated platforms provide even the most reticent, introverted, shame-based, compromised, discomfited or isolated individual the option to connect with online sobriety support communities, including, but not limited to, Alcoholics Anonymous. The extent to which these platforms are being engaged (or even potentially supplanting traditional face-to-face sobriety support), as well as any possible differential in efficacy between traditional face-to-face meetings and computer-mediated recovery platforms, are questions which currently present themselves as epochal to both 12 Step program members and healthcare professionals alike. While research on this topic remains extremely limited in terms of scope and breadth, this dissertation includes a quasi-experimental study designed to investigate any potential migration from face-to-face to online recovery, and further test possible significant differences in sobriety support experience, modality preference and efficacy outcomes between face-to-face (F2F) and online-based recovery.

Analyzing of respondent survey results from the Sobriety Support Preference Scale (SSPS) created for this study demonstrated a significant preference of respondents for the F2F (M=7.7, SD=1.54) modality over online sobriety support. Further ANOVA testing revealed that study participants self-report lying more about their sober time while participating in F2F sobriety recovery (M=2.81, SD=3.24) than they do during online engagement. They are also significantly more likely to be drunk or high while participating in F2F sobriety support (M=2.57, SD=3.05) than when doing so online. Further results revealed that participants have not significantly decreased their F2F attendance since engaging with online sobriety support. Finally, additional testing results suggested that greater participation in F2F sobriety support predicts better sobriety success, while greater participation in online sobriety support predicts less.

Keywords: Alcoholics Anonymous, face-to-face, 12 Step meetings, self-help groups, Facebook, online recovery, computer-mediated communication, social media, social networking, online communities, alcoholism, sobriety support, Media Psychology

Personality Change and Virtual Trauma Exposure: The Effects of Viewing Online Child Sexual Exploitation Images on Global Personality Factors of Law Enforcement Investigators

Deborah A. Richardson, Fielding's School of Psychology

This study was conducted to determine whether personality changes in federal investigators as the result of repeatedly viewing digital child sexual exploitation (CSE) images to investigate Internet crimes. The question of whether the nature of digital child sexual exploitation investigation constitutes an abnormal and traumatic event, resulting in changes in stable personality traits and profiles, was investigated. The subjects were 134 Innocent Images investigators assigned to a federal task force to identify children being sexually exploited online. The investigators’16PF 5th edition global factor sten scores changed significantly across all factors, with the most change occurring in Anxiety, Extraversion and Tough-Mindedness. Females were 18% more likely to experience a sten score change in Extraversion than men, and 14% more likely to experience a sten score change in Anxiety than their male counterparts. The most personality change occurred 24-months after the viewing experience began. This study helped to show through the measurement of global personality factor sten score change that investigators who viewed CSE images over a two-year period were impacted by their viewing experience. The Investigator samples’ perceptions about their personality characteristics changed during the time they viewed CSE images. The findings of this research have implications for how individuals working in such assignments should be supported as well as how their employers can develop programs to assist them.

Key words: Child Sexual Exploitation, Virtual Trauma, Personality Change

Attitudes toward Environmental Activism and Conservation: Independence and Norms as Moderators of Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

Kevin Joseph LeGrand, Fielding's School of Human and Organizational Development

This study addresses a central existential question humanity faces: Can we provoke adequate lifestyle change to avert ecological collapse? Prior research asserts the central role of context in shaping behaviors and suggests social contexts supportive of pro-environmental choices may reduce future environmental damage. The question that remains is why do some people act to produce such contexts (i.e., engage in environmental activism) while others, who may be as concerned about the environment, do not?

To help answer this question, this study investigated whether certain individual values (conformity and self-direction assessed by the Portrait Values Questionnaire; Schwartz, Cieciuch, Vecchione, Davidov, Fischer, Beierlein, … Konty, 2012) and perceived social norms moderate relationships between environmental concern and select environmental attitudes. Study results affirm a positive relationship between environmental concern and private-sphere pro-environmental attitudes. Level of independence (calculated as self-direction minus conformity) did not affect this relationship; norm perception (a proxy for context) had a main effect rather than interacting with environmental concern. Turning to public-sphere pro-environmental attitudes, environmental concern was a significant predictor but explained less variance here than for private-sphere attitudes. Independence was associated with greater environmental activism propensity when environmental concern was high. Perceptions of environmental activism as a social norm predicted higher environmental activism propensity across various levels of environmental concern.

This study required the development of a new instrument, the Environmental Activism Propensity (EAP) scale, which measures willingness to act to change social institutions and norms so social contexts encourage pro-environmental behavior. In addition to the study results and the EAP scale, this manuscript presents knowledge and approaches that can be put to practical use by environmental and ecological justice advocates.

Key Words: Environmental Activism, Values, Social Norms, Environmental Attitudes, Pro-Environmental Behaviors