Psychology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Risk Assessment with the HCR-20v3 across Genders, Subsamples, and Time-Frames

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-11-24
Abstract: 

One of the most well-established violence risk assessment schemes, the HCR-20: Assessing Risk for Violence Manual, Version 2 (HCR-20v2; Historical/Clinical/Risk Management-20), has recently been revised. The present study evaluated the performance of the new HCR-20v3 in a sample of 119 participants on probation or recently discharged into the community (i.e., from incarceration or short-term psychiatric hospitalization). The HCR-20v3 demonstrated concurrent validity with the HCR-20v2 and was predictive, prospectively, of whether, and how rapidly, participants engaged in violence. The SRRs added incrementally to the presence and relevance scores. Generally, no moderation effects of subsample type were noted, with the exception of the impact of subsample on the ability of the C subscale to predict the likelihood of verbal violence, as well as its impact on the SRRs, which might more strongly predict violence for the participants who were receiving short-term psychiatric inpatient care. As pertains to gender, some moderation effects were observed at 6 weeks for violence and physical violence, but this was no longer the case at 8 months. However, the H relevance rating may be more strongly predictive of time to physical violence in women, than it is in men.Moreover, the HCR-20v3 components generally demonstrated a relationship to violent victimization, whereas they did not do so for suicide. Some ratings might exhibit a relationship to self-harm. There was no moderation effect of subsample type on the ability of HCR-20v3 to forecast violent victimization. The HCR-20v3 components were not predictive of violent victimization, suicide, or self-harm in men at 6 weeks, but some demonstrated a relationship with violent victimization at 8 months. For women, some of HCR-20v3 components were predictive of violent victimization and self-harm for both time-frames. The H presence score was more predictive of violent victimization in women. Generally, the higher the scores on all HCR-20v3 presence ratings, the sooner participants were violently victimized and there was no moderation effect of subsample type. However, there was a moderation effect of gender on the ability of the C subscale to forecast the imminence of this outcome, and this may also the case for the total presence score.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kevin S. Douglas
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Predictors of Medication Adherence in Renal Transplant Recipients: Self-Efficacy, Depressive Symptomatology, and Neurocognitive Abilities.

Date created: 
2016-12-12
Abstract: 

Background: Estimates indicate 20-70% of renal transplant recipients (RTR) are medication non-adherent, significantly increasing the risk of organ rejection. Medication adherence decreases in relation to everyday problem solving (EPS), and associations between depressive symptoms, self-efficacy (SE), and adherence are reported in RTR. Nonetheless, to date, these individual associations have not been examined concurrently and comprehensively. To increase our understanding of adherence in RTR, we computed an omnibus model examining relationships among neurocognitive abilities, depressive symptoms, SE, and medication adherence. Methods: RTR (N= 211) underwent transplant at least 6-months prior to participation. Adherence was measured via self-report, medication possession ratio, and immunosuppressant blood-level. Traditionally-measured neurocognitive and everyday problem-solving abilities were assessed. Depressed and positive affect, somatic, and interpersonal symptoms of depression were measured via self-report, as were general and medication adherence related SE. Structural equation modeling was used to assess the fit of the model to available data. Results: For our final model, the fit indices examined indicated a good fit between the model and the data (CFI =.97; SRMR =.072; RMSEA =.031). EPS and SE had direct positive effects on adherence. Depressive symptoms were negatively associated with SE. Traditionally-measured neurocognitive abilities were positively associated with SE, and negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: This study presents a comprehensive investigation of relationships between neurocognitive and psychosocial factors and adherence in RTR. Findings confirm the importance of EPS and SE in predicting adherence within a causal model, and suggest that influences of depressive symptoms and neurocognitive abilities are indirect. Findings have important implications for future development of interventions to improve medication adherence in RTR.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Wendy Thornton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Self-report and performance-based measures of impulsivity in justice-involved youths: Predictive validity and dynamic change

Date created: 
2016-08-18
Abstract: 

Impulsivity is a multi-faceted construct comprised of lack of premeditation, urgency related to negative affect, sensation seeking and lack of perseverance with difficult tasks (Whiteside & Lynam, 2001). Impulsivity is also a key risk factor for recidivism (Andrews & Bonta, 2010), and particularly relevant to adolescent behaviour (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1983; Steinberg, 2007). An understanding of dynamic risk factors that are amenable to change, such as impulsivity, is important for risk management and intervention (Douglas & Skeem, 2005). Prior research has typically relied upon self-report questionnaires, but performance-based measures that focus on completing a specific task may provide unique information on impulse control (Reynolds, Penfold, & Patak, 2008), and conduct problems (Mathias, Marsh-Richard, & Dougherty, 2008). Minimal research has compared different measures of impulsivity in adolescent populations, or examined whether dynamic change relates to outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine whether self-report (Eysenck Junior Impulsiveness Scale; EJIS; Eysenck, Easting & Pearson, 1984) and performance-based (GoStop Impulsivity Paradigm; GoStop; Dougherty, Mathias, & Marsh, 2003b) measures of impulsivity related to each other, changed over time, and whether change differentially predicted reoffending and violence. Participants were 107 adolescents (35 females) between ages 12 and 18 who were supervised on community probation orders. Youths completed questionnaires during semi-structured interviews with a 6-month interval. Recidivism was measured through self-report and official records. Results indicated that the two impulsivity measures were not associated, but both predicted prospective outcomes of reoffending, aggression and violence. GoStop scores significantly contributed to the prediction of recidivism, even after controlling for EJIS and age of first arrest, supporting the notion that performance-based impulsivity measures provide complementary information to self-report. Group-level changes were non-significant, but intra-individual changes were observed for a small group of youths over the 6-month follow up period. Lower reported physical victimization, substance use, and negative affective states, including anger and depression/anxiety, were associated with gains in impulse control. Change scores predicted self-report and official records of general and violent reoffending at 6- and 12-month follow ups. Thus, both self-reported and performance-based impulsivity are relevant to outcomes of reoffending and violence among justice-involved youths.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jodi Viljoen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Perspective-taking and hindsight bias

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-26
Abstract: 

Participants read a vignette about a woman and man from a self (first-person) or other (third-person) perspective and predicted the likelihood of several outcomes. Later, they learned positive (marriage proposal), negative (rape), or no outcome information before recalling their original predictions and completing a memory questionnaire designed to investigate whether they misremembered details stereotypical of the outcome they learned. Perspective did not affect memory. Alternatively, outcome information did affect memory; however, only participants who learned negative outcome information exhibited hindsight bias, misremembering their initial likelihood ratings as being more consistent with the outcome than their original ratings actually were. Furthermore, performance on the vignette task did not correlate with performance on a standard paradigm for measuring hindsight bias. While taking another’s perspective rather than one’s own perspective may not make an outcome seem more or less predictable, learning negative outcome information likely makes an outcome seem more predictable in hindsight.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Deborah Connolly
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Impact of Traumatic Brain injury and Aggregate Comorbidities on Cognitive Functioning in a Marginally Housed Sample

Date created: 
2016-06-28
Abstract: 

Individuals living in marginal urban housing face numerous health risks that impair cognition and produce burden in these individuals that may differentially attenuate capacity to tolerate further brain insult. We investigated the effect of self-reported traumatic brain injury (TBI) on cognition in persons with differential levels of neurocognitive burden. Two hundred and twenty participants (age: 23-68; 170 M, 50 F), recruited from single-room occupancy hotels underwent neurocognitive testing. A statistically weighted neurocognitive burden index was created reflecting the aggregate extent to which non-TBI comorbidities (vascular health, mental health, substance use, viral infection, neurological illness) and demographics (age, education, premorbid IQ) were associated with overall cognition. This index was investigated for its moderating influence on the relationship between self-reported TBI history (loss of consciousness of 30 minutes or more) and neurocognition. Hierarchical linear regression revealed that the burden index accounted for 31.4% of the total variance in cognition (F(1, 212) = 97.052, p < .001). TBI itself did not account for additional variance in cognition; nor did burden moderate the effect of TBI. Self-reported TBI history, as defined in the present study, has minimal value in signifying cognitive dysfunction in multimorbid marginally housed individuals.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Allen Thornton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Predictors of one-year cognitive decline in a marginally housed, multimorbid sample

Date created: 
2016-08-25
Abstract: 

Marginal housing is associated with high prevalence of several morbidities, including viral infection, psychiatric diagnosis and substance use, each of which is known to compromise cognition. The nature or course of cognition in marginally housed persons is understudied, and the impact of comorbidity on cognition is often unaddressed in the literature. Over a period of one year, participants recruited from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver evidenced generally stable cognitive performance, except for a slight improvement in sustained attention and a slight decline in cognitive flexibility. HIV seropositive individuals showed declines in memory and response inhibition, while cannabis dependence was marginally associated with decline in memory. Given the negative impact of cognitive impairment on functioning, these results can inform prioritization of treatment targets in multimorbid populations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Allen Thornton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Validation of the Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol in Adult Sexual Offenders

Date created: 
2016-08-10
Abstract: 

Sexual violence is a serious societal issue that is associated with victims experiencing a wide range of psychological difficulties. The proper assessment of risk for future sexual violence is critical to the treatment and management of sexual offenders. The Risk for Sexual Violence Protocol (RSVP; Hart et al., 2003) is a set of structured professional guidelines for assessing risk for sexual violence that provides a framework for estimating future risk as well as clinical formulation for treatment and management needs. To date, there has been very little research published on the RSVP even though it is currently being used by forensic professionals (Judge, Quayle, O'Rourke, Russell, & Darjee, 2014). This study examined the psychometric properties of the RSVP vis-à-vis the Sexual Violence Risk-20 (SVR-20; Boer, Hart, Kropp, & Webster, 1997), which is considered a parallel form of the RSVP given the similarity in content between these two sets of structured professional judgement guidelines. This study also examined the psychometric properties of the RSVP vis-à-vis a number of actuarial risk assessment instruments: the Static-99R (Helmus, Thornton, Hanson, & Babchishin, 2012), the Static- 2002R (Helmus et al., 2012), and the Sexual Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG; Quinsey, Harris, Rice, & Cormier, 1998, 2006; Harris, Rice, Quinsey, & Cormier, 2015). The sample consisted of 100 adult male sexual offenders who had participated in a sex offender treatment program. Sexual recidivism was coded over the follow-up period of approximately 10 years. Overall, the RSVP performed well in terms of interrater reliability, concurrent validity, and predictive validity. The interrater reliability of RSVP total scores and Summary Risk ratings was excellent (ICC2 range = .85 to .96) and was comparable with the interrater reliability of the SVR-20 and actuarial instruments. The RSVP total scores and Case Prioritization ratings demonstrated good concurrent validity with respect to SVR-20 total and domain scores and with the actuarial instruments’ total scores and risk categories, correlations all significant at p < .001. The RSVP total scores and Case Prioritization ratings were moderately and significantly associated with sexual recidivism, as were the SVR-20 total scores and the actuarial instruments’ total scores and risk categories.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen D. Hart
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Perceptions of credibility for a memory report of a single versus repeated event

Date created: 
2016-07-21
Abstract: 

When a person experiences an event that has multiple similar instances (i.e., a repeated event), memories for details that change across instances can be challenging to recall (e.g., Fivush, 1984). We expected that third parties would perceive memory reports of instances of repeated events as less credible than unique (i.e., single) events. Undergraduates participated in a single or repeated event, during which critical details were presented. Participants were asked to recall the session 2-days later, and memory reports were video recorded. New participants then viewed one video and evaluated the credibility of the speaker’s memory report. Despite the reports being equally accurate, repeated-event reports were seen as less credible than single-event reports. Although credibility research in the context of repeated events has focused exclusively on child populations, a range of applications exists for adults (e.g., criminal and industrial eyewitnesses, asylum-seekers); we discussed our findings in these areas.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Deborah Connolly
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Clarifying the NAP Effect and the Role of Dispositional Factors: Behavioural and Electrophysiological Investigations

Date created: 
2016-05-05
Abstract: 

Researchers using the negative affective priming (NAP) paradigm favour a dispositional argument for the negative ruminatory cycle in depression despite some evidence supporting an affect-based explanation. Additionally, the cognitive mechanisms underlying the task are poorly understood. To examine these questions directly, a modified version of the NAP task, that dissociates the priming effects of positive and negative words, was implemented in two experiments. The first experiment tests the contribution of disposition (as measured by the NEO-PI-R depression subscale) versus symptom severity (as measured by the BDI-II) to NAP scores. Compared to low BDI-II scorers, high BDI-II scorers showed a larger NAP effect for negative words, and a smaller NAP effect for positive words. However, there were no significant differences between high and low scorers on the NEO-PI-R depression subscale. This suggests that current severity of symptoms and not dispositional factors influence the NAP effect more strongly. The second experiment used event related potentials (ERPs) to determine the cognitive processes involved in the NAP task prior to a participant’s response. The results showed that prior presentation of irrelevant emotion words significantly affected the brain response to subsequent task-relevant emotion words. Thus, on ignored repetition (IgnRep) trials positive voltage modulations were observed both early, over frontal scalp (between 190-260ms) and late, primarily over posterior scalp (between 500-700ms). Interestingly, IgnRep trials for negative words were associated with the early frontal effects, suggesting an early, implicit attentional bias to negative material, while IgnRep trials for positive words were associated with the later positivity, indicating more conscious processing of positive material. Results are discussed in terms of current theories of the processes involved in the NAP effect.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mario Liotti
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Component processes of decision making in persons with substance use disorders

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-15
Abstract: 

The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is a widely used measure of decision making ability, but its ecological utility in signifying behaviours associated with adverse, “real world” consequences has not been reliably demonstrated in persons with substance use disorders. Past studies evaluating the ecological validity of the IGT have primarily relied on traditional IGT scores; however, the underlying component processes of decision making derived from computational modeling might be more closely related to engagement in behaviours associated with adverse consequences, especially in more vulnerable populations. This study employed the Prospect Valence Learning (PVL) model to decompose IGT performance into component processes in 294 marginally housed persons with substance use disorders (MHP-SUD). Additionally, we modeled performance of 136 healthy participants to ensure parameter robustness. Application of the PVL model revealed an exclusive focus on gains and a universal lack of sensitivity to losses among MHP-SUD. Further, select associations were detected between component processes and self-reported behaviours that have a high likelihood for adverse outcomes in the MHP-SUD. Specifically, lower attention to losses was modestly associated with more behaviours that are apt to adversely impact health, and lower attention to the magnitude of outcomes was modestly associated with more behaviours that are apt to adversely impact others. Delineation of specific processes that underlie decision making and their ecological associations contributes to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of some of the neurocognitive contributors to decision making in a vulnerable population that faces many personal, social, and economic challenges.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Allen Thornton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.