College students in general, and men in particular, have been essentially ignored in the post-abortion emotional sequelae literature. Therefore, the current sample consisted of 63 college students (31 females and 32 males) with prior histories regarding abortion. The primary objective of the present investigation was to examine Various dimensions of abortion decisions (ambivalence, regret,and comfort) along with emotional connection to the fetus as possible predictors of self-reported anxiety and depression. A secondary objective was to assess the effectiveness of different components of abortion decisions and emotional connection to the fetus as predictors of abortion attitudes. The results indicated that a sizable proportion of college men and women do not take the abortion decision lightly. Furthermore, the quality of such decisions and emotional connection to the fetus may partially explain individual differences in post-abortion emotional sequelae. Implications of the findings are discussed.
The perpetual foreigner stereotype posits that members of ethnic minorities will always be seen as the "other" in the White Anglo-Saxon dominant society of the United States (Devos & Banaji, 2005), which may have negative implications for them. The goal of the present research was to determine whether awareness of this perpetual foreigner stereotype predicts identity and psychological adjustment. We conducted a series of studies with 231 Asian Americans and 211 Latino/as (Study 1), 89 African Americans (Study 2), and 56 Asian Americans and 165 Latino/as (Study 3). All participants completed measures of perceived discrimination, awareness of the perpetual foreigner stereotype, conflict between ethnic and national identities, sense of belonging to American culture, and demographics. In Study 3, participants also completed measures of psychological adjustment: depression, hope, and life satisfaction. All participants were students at a large, public university on the West Coast of the United States. Across studies, we found that even after controlling for perceived discrimination, awareness of the perpetual foreigner stereotype was a significant predictor of identity conflict and lower sense of belonging to American culture. From Study 3, we also found that, above and beyond perceived discrimination, awareness of the perpetual foreigner stereotype significantly predicted lower hope and life satisfaction for Asian Americans, and that it was a marginal predictor of greater depression for Latino/as. These results suggest that the perpetual foreigner stereotype may play a role in ethnic minority identity and adjustment.
Although youth with internalizing symptoms experience friendship difficulties, surprisingly little is known about their problematic interpersonal behaviors. The current observational study identifies a new construct, conversational self-focus, defined as the tendency to direct the focus of conversations to the self and away from others. Results indicated that youth with internalizing symptoms were especially likely to engage in self-focus when discussing problems with friends and that doing so was related to their friends perceiving the relationship as lower in quality, particularly helping. Content analyses further indicated that self-focused youth talked about themselves in ways that were distracting from their friends' problems and that they changed the subject abruptly. Last, conversational self-focus was not redundant with related constructs of rumination and self-disclosure. This research highlights the importance of intervention efforts aimed at teaching self-focused youth ways to cope with distress that are more effective and will not damage their friendships.
Given considerable overlap among individual difference predictors of stress generation, the current study sought to elucidate which individual factors are uniquely involved in the stress generation process for interpersonal and achievement events among adolescents. Further, we examined transactional processes between stressors and depressive symptoms and explored potential sex differences in the unique prediction of stress generation. At baseline, youth (6(th)-10(th) graders, n=350, 57% female; 53% White) reported on various individual differences hypothesized to predict prospective increases in stressors. Youth also reported on depressive symptoms and stressors for 4 waves over 5 months. Multi-level modeling showed that different individual difference factors uniquely prospectively predicted increases in dependent (interpersonal and achievement) stressors. Central to this process was interpersonal vulnerabilities and psychopathology. Some of these predictions differed for boys and girls. In addition and in support of a transactional relationship between stressors and depressive symptoms, increases in stressors predicted prospective elevations in depressive symptoms for both boys and girls. This study provides support for the transactional nature of stress and depression in a multi-wave study of adolescence. This study demonstrates that particular individual factors are uniquely associated with the generation of stress, with some associations moderated by gender.
The present study examined the prospective relation between two personality predispositions, self-criticism and dependency, and internalizing symptoms. Specifically, it was examined whether self-criticism and dependency predicted symptoms of depression and social anxiety, and if a moderation (e.g. diathesis-stress) or mediation model best explained the relation between the personality predispositions and emotional distress in Chinese adolescents. Participants included 1,150 adolescents (597 females and 553 males) from mainland China. Participants completed self-report measures of self-criticism, dependency, and neuroticism at baseline, and self-report measures of negative events, depressive symptoms, and social anxiety symptoms once a month for six months. Findings showed that self-criticism predicted depressive symptoms, while dependency predicted social anxiety symptoms. In addition, support was found for a mediation model, as opposed to a moderation model, with achievement stressors mediating the relation between self-criticism and depressive symptoms. Overall, these findings highlight new developmental pathways for the development of depression and social anxiety symptoms in mainland Chinese adolescents. Implications for cross-cultural developmental psychopathology research are discussed.
Racism is a significant psychosocial stressor that is hypothesized to have negative psychological and physical health consequences. The Reserve Capacity Model (Gallo & Matthews, 2003) suggests that low socioeconomic status may influence health through its effects on negative affect. We extend this model to study the effects of racism, examining the association of lifetime perceived racism to trait and daily negative affect. A multiethnic sample of 362 American-born Black and Latino adults completed the Perceived Ethnic Discrimination Questionnaire-Community Version (PEDQ-CV). Trait negative affect was assessed with the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and state negative affect was measured using ecological momentary assessments (EMA), in the form of an electronic diary. Analyses revealed a significant relationship of lifetime perceived racism to both daily negative affect and trait negative affect, even when controlling for trait hostility and socioeconomic status. The relationship of perceived racism to negative affect was moderated by education, such that the relationships were strongest for those with less than a high school education. The findings support aspects of the Reserve Capacity Model and identify pathways through which perceived racism may affect health status.
Failure to make progress toward personal goals can lead to negative affective states, such as depression and anxiety. Past research suggests that rumination in response to goal failure may prolong and intensify those acute emotional responses, but that process remains unclear. We examined ruminative thought processes following experimentally manipulated exposure to past failures to attain advancement (promotion) goals and safety (prevention) goals. We predicted that priming of past promotion and prevention goal failures would lead individuals to think repetitively about these failures and that negative affect would be evoked by their recognition of their failures. Further, we predicted that when people experience a sufficient magnitude of negative affect, ruminative thought would intensify and prolong the negative affect associated with that type of goal failure. Results yielded strong support for our predictions regarding promotion goal failure and modest support for those regarding prevention goal failure.
The stigma associated with HIV/AIDS poses a psychological challenge to people living with HIV/AIDS. We hypothesized that that the consequences of stigma-related stressors on psychological well-being would depend on how people cope with the stress of HIV/AIDS stigma. Two hundred participants with HIV/AIDS completed a self-report measure of enacted stigma and felt stigma, a measure of how they coped with HIV/AIDS stigma, and measures of depression and anxiety, and self-esteem. In general, increases in felt stigma (concerns with public attitudes, negative self-image, and disclosure concerns) coupled with how participants reported coping with stigma (by disengaging from or engaging with the stigma stressor) predicted self-reported depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. Increases in felt stigma were associated with increases in anxiety and depression among participants who reported relatively high levels of disengagement coping compared to participants who reported relatively low levels of disengagement coping. Increases in felt stigma were associated with decreased self-esteem, but this association was attenuated among participants who reported relatively high levels of engagement control coping. The data also suggested a trend that increases in enacted stigma predicted increases in anxiety, but not depression, among participants who reported using more disengagement coping. Mental health professionals working with people who are HIV positive should consider how their clients cope with HIV/AIDS stigma and consider tailoring current therapies to address the relationship between stigma, coping, and psychological well-being.
The goal of this study was to clarify mixed findings regarding the association between dispositional social anxiety and drinking among college students by using a daily diary method to examine whether a within-person social-contextual event moderated the relationship between social anxiety and alcohol use. College students (n = 476) completed a measure of dispositional social anxiety and then for 30 days reported whether they experienced an embarrassing event in public and the amount of alcohol they drank each day. We examined whether experiencing an embarrassing event moderated the relationship between dispositional social anxiety and alcohol use for same-day, same-evening, next-day, and next-evening drinking. While there was a positive relationship between dispositional social anxiety and alcohol use on evenings when an embarrassing event occurred earlier that day, this appeared to be driven by a reduction in drinking among those low in social anxiety. Individuals with high social anxiety drank in the evening regardless of embarrassing event occurrence. Results suggest that people with low social anxiety show an adaptive response to embarrassing events by lowering drinking on such evenings, while those with high social anxiety may drink to reduce their already high levels of anxiety independent of daily social events.
Ackerman and Hilsenroth (2001, 2003) suggested that therapist personality may be meaningfully associated with the psychotherapy working alliance. We extended this line of research by examining the association between Five Factor Model (Costa & McCrae, 1997b) personality traits Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, and ratings of the working alliance made by clients and psychotherapy trainees. Higher trainee Neuroticism was associated with better client ratings of the alliance, but with worse trainee ratings of the alliance. Higher trainee Openness was associated with lower client ratings of the alliance, and higher trainee Agreeableness with lower trainee ratings of the alliance. Because levels of Neuroticism were low and levels of Openness high among therapist trainees, the results suggest that average rather than low Neuroticism, and average rather than high Openness facilitate better client perceptions of the alliance. Implications are discussed in terms of monitoring and training therapists who evidence these dispositions, in order to assist them in developing maximally effective alliances with clients.
Psychopathy is characterized by a lack of concern for other people and social norms. In contrast, individuals with high social anxiety are overly concerned about the approval of others and violating social norms. Therefore, we hypothesized that social anxiety is negatively associated with psychopathic attributes, with males being more psychopathic than females. In order to test this hypothesis, we administered self-report measures of social anxiety, psychopathic attributes, and academic misconduct as an index of adherence to social norms to a sample of 349 undergraduate college students (244 females and 105 males). Males had more psychopathic attributes than females. Social anxiety and psychopathic attributes showed a weak but significant negative correlation in the total sample and also in the subgroup of males and females. Psychopathic attributes were further positively associated with academic misconduct behaviors among females, but not among males. These findings are consistent with the notion that social anxiety and psychopathic attributes are negatively associated.
This study was undertaken to examine the relationship between mindfulness and alcohol consumption among college students, with enhancement and coping motives evaluated as potential mediators. Differences between men and women in drinking and mindfulness (mind/body awareness specifically) were also considered. Undergraduate students (n = 212, 51% male) completed a survey that included measures of mindfulness, drinking motives, and drinking. Results indicated that greater mind/body awareness was associated with more alcohol use in men and women, and non-attachment to thoughts was associated with less drinking in men. Furthermore, enhancement but not coping motives were found to mediate these associations for men only. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical implications for understanding the relationship between mindfulness and alcohol consumption.
This study used balance theory to illuminate the relations of eating-related attitudinal consistency between self and friends to psychological well-being and eating behaviors. It was hypothesized that attitudinal inconsistency, relative to consistency, would predict lower well-being and poorer eating habits. A population-based sample of 2287 young adults participating in Project EAT-III (Eating Among Teens and Young Adults) completed measures of psychological well-being, eating behaviors, and eating-related attitudes from the standpoint of self and friends. Of participants who cared about healthy eating, those who perceived that their friends did not care about healthy eating had lower well-being and less-healthy eating behaviors (fewer fruits and vegetables and more sugary beverages per day) than those who perceived that their friends cared about healthy eating. Conversely, among participants who did not care about healthy eating, those who perceived that their friends cared about healthy eating had lower well-being and less-healthy eating behaviors (more snacks per day) than those who perceived that their friends did not care about healthy eating. In accord with balance theory, young adults who perceived inconsistent eating attitudes between themselves and their friends had lower psychological well-being and generally less-healthy eating behaviors than people who perceived consistent eating attitudes.
Without a doubt, people can feel simultaneously connected to multiple communities (e.g., Deaux, 1993; Roccas & Brewer, 2002). But, to what degree can people feel simultaneously connected to communities with opposing beliefs and values? And, more importantly, what are the psychological implications of being dually connected to these communities? Capitalizing on a sample of individuals positioned to potentially feel connected to two very distinct communities, we examined jail inmates' (N = 256) sense of connectedness to the criminal community and to the community at large. Results indicated that (a) connectedness to the community at large is orthogonal to connectedness to the criminal community, supporting the supposition that it is possible to be dually connected to opposing communities; and (b) connectedness to the community at large moderated the relationship between criminal connectedness and indicators of psychological distress, suggesting that connectedness to the criminal community is especially problematic when it occurs in tandem with connectedness to the community at large. These findings are consistent with predictions from the self-expansion model.
A study examining the effects of terrorism on a national sample of 1,136 Jewish adults was conducted in Israel via telephone surveys, during the Second Intifada. The relationship between reports of positive changes occurring subsequent to terrorism exposure (i.e., Benefit finding), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity, and negative outgroup attitudes toward Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCI) was examined. Benefit finding was related to greater PTSD symptom severity. Further, Benefit finding was related to greater threat perception of PCI and ethnic exclusionism of PCI. Findings were consistent with hypotheses derived from theories of outgroup bias and support the anxiety buffering role of social affiliation posited by terror management theory. This study suggests that benefit finding may be a defensive coping strategy when expressed under the conditions of ongoing terrorism and external threat.
Although trait hope is thought to motivate goal directed actions in the face of impediments, few studies have examined directly hope's role in overcoming obstacles, and none have done so while accounting for related goal constructs. We describe a study of 127 pediatric primary care providers who over the course of a year were asked to identify new cases of asthma and confirm previously diagnosed active disease by completing for each of their patients a brief survey validated for this purpose. These clinicians also completed measures of hope, self-efficacy, conscientiousness, and perceived obstacles to implementing a pediatric asthma management program. As predicted by hope theory, the agency component of hope buffered clinicians from perceived obstacles by facilitating the identification of asthma cases among high hope clinicians in the face of obstacles. This buffering effect remained after controlling for self-efficacy and conscientiousness. We discuss the study findings in terms of current theories of goal directed behavior and implications for delivering hope-related interventions, and we offer a testable hypothesis regarding when agency and pathways thinking facilitate goal-related behavior.
We examined the link between social norms and active social influences occurring during natural social drinking contexts. Across 4 yearly measurement-bursts, college students (N = 523) reported daily for 30-day periods on drinking norms, drinking offers, how many drinks they accepted, and personal drinking levels during social drinking events. In contexts where drinking norms were higher, students were more likely to both receive and comply with drinking offers. These acute social influences were highly stable throughout college, but affected men and women differently across time: Women received more drinking offers than men, especially at the beginning of college and when norms were higher, but men complied with more drinking offers per occasion. These effects were not attributable to between-person differences in social drinking motives or drinking levels, nor to within-person patterns of situation-selection. The present work suggests that context-specific drinking norms catalyze active social influence attempts, and further promote compliance drinking.
Sexual self-schemas have been defined as cognitive representations about sexual aspects of the self (Andersen & Cyranowski, 1994). Women's sexual self-views include both positive and negative dimensions, and are associated with systematic patterns of sexual-romantic affects and behaviors (Cyranowski & Andersen, 1998a). The current research explores cognitive components of the sexual self-schema construct. Specifically, we examine how women with Positive, Co-Schematic, Aschematic, and Negative sexual self-views cognitively process sexual-romantic information about the self. Results indicate that these groups exhibit consistent differences in their retrieval of sexual-romantic personal experience, prediction of future sexual-romantic responses, and the manner and speed with which they make sexually-relevant self-judgments.
Researchers have long been interested in the relationship between marital distress and depression. Empirical findings from investigations into the relative contributions of marital distress and depression to marital communication have been inconsistent, and some communication behaviors, such as the demand/withdraw interaction pattern, have yet to be examined. The ability of depression to predict major types of communication (positive communication, negative communication, problem-solving, and demand/withdraw) was analyzed after controlling for the shared variance between marital distress and depression. Across two studies of couples beginning therapy and one study of couples beginning an enhancement program, results failed to provide support for a unique contribution of depression to couples' communication behaviors.
This paper describes our attempt to import social-personality theory and research on moral emotions and moral cognitions to applied problems of crime, substance abuse, and HIV risk behavior. Thus far, in an inmate sample, we have evidence that criminogenic beliefs and proneness to guilt are each predictive of re-offense after release from jail. In addition, we have evidence that jail programs and services may reduce criminogenic beliefs and enhance adaptive feelings of guilt. As our sample size increases, our next step is to test the full mediational model, examining the degree to which programs and services impact post-release desistance via their effect on moral emotions and cognitions. In addition to highlighting some of the key findings from our longitudinal study of jail inmates over the period of incarceration and post-release, we describe the origins and development of this interdisciplinary project, highlighting the challenges and rewards of such endeavors.
Discomfort with the integration of spiritual activities into marital interventions may be a response by practitioners to the weakness of available conceptual frameworks. We offer a framework that allows for integration of prayer into marital interventions (educational or therapeutic), and argue that when culturally appropriate, prayer can serve multiple functions in interventions that are consistent with traditional goals of skill-based approaches. Several specific ways in which prayer can be either an alternative or an addition to existing intervention strategies are outlined. The potential negative effects of prayer for couples and the dangers of integrating prayer into programs are also discussed. We conclude that effective skill-based family intervention and prevention with some traditionally underserved groups may require increased attention to integration of spiritual practices that are common in those groups.
Stress in close relationships can have significant negative consequences for mental health, physical health, and long-term relationship functioning. Dysregulated physiological responses to stress are potential pathways through which relationship stress may lead to these kinds of outcomes, and the ways in which individuals attempt to cope with relationship stress are likely to impact their physiological responses. However, our understanding of the specific coping strategies that predict physiological reactivity and recovery in these contexts is rather limited. This study explored relations between young adult college students' self-reported methods of coping with stress in their romantic relationships and their physiological reactivity to and recovery from negotiating conflict with their romantic partners. Partners' coping styles were also examined as predictors of physiological stress responses. One hundred and ninety opposite-sex couples (N = 380; modal length of relationship = 1-2 years) participated in an experimental conflict discussion task. Physiological stress reactivity to the task was assessed using salivary cortisol, a primary hormonal product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. Growth modeling of the cortisol levels before, during, and after the conflict task indicated that men who typically coped with relationship stress by seeking social support showed greater physiological reactivity to the conflict task. Partners' need for social support predicted stronger stress responses for both men and women, as well. While seeking social support is generally thought to be an adaptive coping strategy for couples, the results suggest that within the context of conflict negotiation in which receiving and providing support may be more difficult, seeking support from a partner is associated with greater phyisological stress.
Although severe life stress frequently precipitates the onset of major depression, little is known about the basic nature of stressors in this general category of adversity and how exposure to different life events might be related to clinical aspects of the disorder. We addressed this issue by introducing, and examining the effects of, targeted rejection (TR), which involves the exclusive, active, and intentional social rejection of an individual by others. Twenty-seven adults with major depressive disorder were administered an interview-based measure of life stress. Severe life events that occurred prior to the onset of depression were subsequently coded as TR or as non-TR. Participants who experienced a pre-onset severe TR event became depressed approximately three times faster than did their non-TR counterparts. These findings highlight the potential importance of TR as a marker of hastened depression onset and demonstrate how refining characterizations of stress may advance our understanding of depression.
The present study examines a transactional, interpersonal model of depression in which stress generation (Hammen, 1991) in romantic relationships mediates the association between aspects of interpersonal style (i.e., attachment, dependency, and reassurance seeking) and depressive symptoms. It also examines an alternative, diathesis-stress model in which interpersonal style interacts with romantic stressors in predicting depressive symptoms. These models were tested in a sample of college women, both prospectively over a four-week period, as well as on a day-today basis using a daily diary methodology. Overall, there was strong evidence for a transactional, mediation model in which interpersonal style predicted romantic conflict stress, and in turn depressive symptoms. The alternative diathesis-stress model of depression was not supported. These results are interpreted in relation to previous research, and key limitations that should be addressed by future research are discussed.
This study examined whether deficits in dealing with daily problems emerge before a depressive episode (i.e., pre-existing vulnerability) or after a depressive episode (i.e., psychosocial scar). Participants completed a 30-day daily diary in which they reported their most negative event of the day, their appraisals of that event, and their mood. Three years later, they completed a structured depression interview. The sample consisted of 350 college students, 24 of whom had a past history of depression and 54 of whom experienced a depressive episode subsequent to dairy completion. Multilevel modeling revealed that students with past depression blamed others more than the never-depressed and those with subsequent depression, which supported the scar hypothesis. In support of the vulnerability hypothesis, as compared to the never-depressed group, participants with past depression demonstrated steeper declines in positive mood on more stressful days but did not significantly differ from the subsequent depression group. Overall, our findings do not provide clear support for either hypothesis; however, this study is the first to use a daily diary design to directly compare individuals with past depression to individuals who would subsequently experience depression.