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

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Self-Expansion and Knowledge Sharing in Cross-Group Interactions

Date created: 
2016-07-14
Abstract: 

This research considers the role of self-expansion motivation and knowledge sharing orientation on the effects of cross-ethnic interactions. Study 1, a correlational study, showed that a higher level of self-expansion motivation prior to an actual cross-group interaction was associated with higher levels of the more specific desire to acquire knowledge from a cross-group partner, which in turn was associated with more positive cross-group interaction experiences, which were associated with higher levels of reported self-change as well as more support for multiculturalism and support for action for intergroup equality. Study 2, using an imagined contact scenario, partially replicated these findings, showing that a high knowledge-sharing orientation (knowledge acquisition and knowledge provision orientation) during an imagined cross-group interaction was associated with a more positive imaged cross-group experience and this was associated with more reported self-change, and more positive intergroup feelings and a greater interest in future contact with the target outgroup.

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

The psychological benefits of risk taking in individuals with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A phenomenological case study of skydiving

Date created: 
2016-05-26
Abstract: 

This study explored the psychological experience of risk taking among experienced skydivers, with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A novel multi-perspectival (2-group), multi-case qualitative design was employed using a 3-interview series model of semi-structured interviews. Interviews explored the participants’ personal history leading up to their experience in skydiving, their experience of skydiving, and the meanings that skydiving had in the participants’ lives. Themes were analyzed and compared between sample groups from a critical phenomenological perspective using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Achievement, Self-Esteem, Thrill and Adventure Seeking, and Status were emergent themes common to both the ADHD and non-ADHD group participants. ADHD group participants more heavily endorsed themes of Identity, Social Context, Risk Taking, Boredom Susceptibility, Disinhibition, Experience Seeking, Sense of Well-Being, Experience and Management of Stress, and Psychological Dialectic, which refer to simultaneous but opposing psychological experiences. Non-ADHD group participants more heavily endorsed themes of Risk Management and Control. The constellations of emergent themes suggest that ADHD group participants are motivated by the experience of a sense of well-being that results from the integration of risk taking into identity while non-ADHD group participants are motivated more by a sense of achievement. The findings in this study offer a rich exploration of the subjective lived experience of risk taking in the sport of skydiving.

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

Cross-cultural Generalizability of Psychopathic Personality Disorder: Differences Between Individualistic Versus Collectivistic Cultures

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-04
Abstract: 

Research on Psychopathic Personality Disorder (PPD) has hitherto focused predominantly on White North Americans. The extent to which the current conceptualization of PPD can be extrapolated to other cultures remains a question. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the generalizability of the construct of PPD, as defined using the Comprehensive Assessment of Psychopathic Personality (CAPP; see Cooke, Hart, Logan, & Michie, 2013), across individualistic versus collectivistic (IND-COL) cultures. Specifically, the measurement equivalence of CAPP self-ratings across IND-COL cultures was examined using Means and Covariance Structure (MACS) analysis in a sample of 775 undergraduates. IND-COL was measured four ways at three levels: the individual cultural orientation level, the perceived cultural context, and the syndromal levels of nationality and ethnicity. Results showed general configural invariance for a 3-factor solution for the CAPP, indicating the construct of PPD was conceptually similar across IND-COL groups. There was, however, some indication of a lack of metric and scalar invariance, depending on how IND-COL was operationalized. Implications for understanding the pan-cultural core of PPD and future cross-cultural research on PPD are discussed.

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

Elucidating the neural mechanisms underlying the contingent attention cueing paradigm

Date created: 
2016-03-03
Abstract: 

Researchers have studied contingent attentional capture for over two decades, and have characterized the behavioural effects; but a complete understanding of the neural mechanisms involved has yet to be developed. This thesis investigated the neural underpinnings of the cue-validity effect in the contingent capture paradigm. Recent research purported to show that observers inadvertently attend to irrelevant cue items that possess a task relevant feature (indexed by the ERP component, the N2pc), and then suppress the location of that cue item in order to respond to the target (indicated by the ERP component the PD, believed to index suppression). Experiment 1 determined whether the attended cue was in actuality suppressed; whereas, Experiment 2 determined how selection of the cue item affects higher stages of visual processing. Results showed that reaction time costs were due to extraneously cued nontarget information entering working memory, thus delaying target processing on invalid trials.

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

Visual Speed of Processing and Publically Observable Feedback in Video-Game Players

Date created: 
2016-01-29
Abstract: 

Time spent playing action-oriented video-games has been proposed to improve the functioning of visual attention and perception in a number of areas. These benefits are not always consistently reported, however. It was hypothesized that an improvement to visual Speed of Processing (SOP) in action-oriented Video-Game Players (VGPs) underlies many of the benefits of action video-game play, and furthermore the expression of this improvement was modulated by a Hawthorne effect (individuals behaving differently when they believe they are under observation), resulting in the inconsistent results in the extant literature. This hypothesis was tested in three experiments which measured SOP in VGPs and controls in no feedback, public feedback, and private feedback conditions. Analyses showed that VGPs differed from controls only in the publically observable feedback condition, where VGPs demonstrated a superior SOP to the other two conditions, whereas controls did not differ significantly between experiments.

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

Guiding clinical judgment and management: An evaluation of a screening tool for short-term inpatient violence

Date created: 
2015-11-19
Abstract: 

Historically, the focus on inpatient units has not been the prevention or management of violence risk, but reacting to the violence after an incident. Violence on these units leads to physical, emotional, and economic consequences for perpetrators, victims, and the mental health system. Although short-term risk assessments have been developed to specifically address the risk for inpatient violence, these measures have only been implemented on the inpatient units and not in the Emergency Department (ED), which is often the first point of contact for the mentally ill. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a framework that uses structured professional judgment (SPJ) principles in the Emergency Department (ED) could predict violence within an inpatient unit. The Inpatient Violence Screening Tool (IPVST) SPJ framework was comprised of several pre-existing measures and four additional items culled from a literature review. These measures include the Brøset Violence Checklist (BVC; Almvik & Woods, 1998) and the Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression (DASA-IV; Ogloff & Daffern, 2006a). A third short-term risk assessment, the McNiel Violence Checklist Revised (VSC and VSC-R; McNiel & Binder 1994), was coded based on files. Participants were 697 individuals who presented to the psychiatric ED at a general hospital and were interviewed by the Psychiatric Triage Nurses (PTNs). The follow-up sample was 207 patients who were subsequently admitted to an inpatient unit. The IPVST was completed by the PTNs after their interview; the VSC, VSC-R and outcome data were collected from files of the follow-up sample. The results of this study partially supported the use of the IPVST as a risk assessment framework in the ED to prevent inpatient violence. There was consistency in SPJ ratings amongst the majority of the PTNs. The IPVST total score and SPJ rating were significantly related to management strategies as well as significantly related to inpatient violence. The AUCs of the total scores of the IPVST and the individual measures were between .62-.65, except for the BVC, which was not a significant predictor of inpatient violence. The AUCs for the categorical risk rating of the BVC, DASA, VSC, and VSC-R were between .54-.64. Implications for risk assessment and management are discussed.

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

History of foster care as a risk factor for recidivism in justice involved youth

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-24
Abstract: 

Although prior research suggests that history of foster care is linked to an increased risk for recidivism, few studies have examined this relationship. The current study examined the association between foster care and reoffending at a 3.94-year follow-up in a sample of Canadian juvenile offenders on probation (n = 156). Findings indicate that among youth with a history of foster care, number of placements and age of first placement did not predict any or violent recidivism. Hierarchical logistic regression models revealed that over and above gender, Aboriginal ethnicity, well-established risk factors and abuse, having a history of foster care significantly increased risk for any recidivism, but not for violent recidivism. Also, survival analysis revealed that youth with a history of foster care reoffend faster. Thus, although many believe that removing children from unsafe environments will reduce recidivism, this assumption appears incorrect. Implications for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.

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

Maternal Predictors of 5- to 8-year-old Children’s Understanding of Interpretation and Mixed Emotions

Date created: 
2015-09-15
Abstract: 

The current study examined the concurrent relations between various maternal parenting variables and 5-to 8-year-old children’s understanding of interpretation and mixed emotions. Mothers’ self-reported parenting styles, use of mental state words, parent-interaction quality (engagement, responsiveness and sensitivity of control) and complexity of epistemological beliefs were assessed. Regression analyses were used to test the hypothesis that higher quality maternal parenting practices would explain significant variability in children’s social understanding. Results found that the maternal variables were associated with each other in a theoretically consistent manner but did not explain significant variability in either children’s understanding of interpretation or mixed emotions. The only significant predictor of children’s social understanding was child age, such that older children performed better on both social cognitive tasks. Results are discussed in light of previous research linking various parenting practices and social understanding abilities in children.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy I.M. Carpendale
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Body Satisfaction During Pregnancy: The Role of Health-Related Habit Strength

Date created: 
2015-07-16
Abstract: 

Body satisfaction during pregnancy is an important determinant of maternal and fetal health outcomes. It is therefore critical to investigate factors related to changes in body satisfaction and to elucidate how body satisfaction changes over time in pregnant women. I examined the relation between two novel factors (i.e., healthy eating and physical activity habit strength) and body satisfaction in 67 pregnant North American women from the beginning of their second trimester (T1) until the end of pregnancy. Strength of healthy eating and physical activity habits remained stable over time, body satisfaction decreased over time, and healthy eating habit strength at T1 predicted increases in body satisfaction from the second trimester to the end of pregnancy, even when controlling for gestational weight gain. Results highlight how increasing health-related habit strength in women of reproductive age may offer protection against low levels of body satisfaction during pregnancy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Shannon Zaitsoff
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Treatment outcomes of an attachment-based parenting program for biological mothers versus fathers

Date created: 
2015-07-13
Abstract: 

Mothers rather than fathers typically attend parenting interventions. Consequently, research investigating outcomes of parenting programs generally reflect outcomes for mothers only and relatively little is known about engagement of and outcomes for fathers. The present study focused on investigating outcomes of an attachment-based parenting intervention for biological mothers (n = 630) and fathers (n = 149). Outcomes for parents attending together were also investigated. Findings suggest that mothers and fathers, regardless of whether they attended together or alone, benefited similarly from participating in the intervention. These included benefits in youth affect regulation, parental satisfaction and efficacy, and reductions of parental-child aggressive behaviour. In contrast to these three consistent findings for fathers and mothers, participating biological mothers benefited more frequently than biological fathers across all other youth and parental outcomes investigated. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marlene M. Moretti
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.