Master of Arts in Psychological Science, in Educational Psychology, and in Counseling Psychology Plan B Project Papers

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This collection contains some of the final works (Plan B project papers) produced by master's degree students in the Master of Arts in Psychological Science graduate program, or in its predecessors, the Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology graduate programs.

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    Children's Wellbeing and ADHD among Rural and Urban Families
    (2024-05) Coleman, Callie Ann
    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between both positive parent-child relationships and community support to child ADHD symptom severity and child subjective wellbeing across rural and urban families. Past literature has found extensive barriers for accessing quality mental health services among rural families, however there is limited information on assets and strengths of rural families that may facilitate improved mental health. In particular, accessing high quality mental health services is important for assessment and treatment of mental health conditions such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Additionally, evaluating the relationships between parents and children would be beneficial, as ADHD is a concern of the entire family. The current study’s aim is to provide information on the unique experiences of rural families with children with ADHD that may ultimately inform community or school based services. The current study recruited children with ADHD and their families from urban and rural settings to complete surveys on the parent-child relationship, child wellbeing, and community support. Results showed a significant main effect of positive parent-child relationships on ADHD symptom severity. However, location and community support were not significant predictors of ADHD symptom severity. Community support and positive parent-child relationships were significantly associated with each other. Results showed there were no significant main effects of the predictors of location, community support, and positive parent-child relationships on child subjective wellbeing. Implications and limitations of the current study are discussed.
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    Trauma-Informed Weight Lifting as an Adjunctive Intervention for Posttraumatic Stress Among Adolescents in Residential Treatment
    (2024-05) Lee, Elizabeth Kathleen
    There is little research on the effects of weightlifting as an adjunctive embodiment-based intervention on posttraumatic stress symptoms among adolescents with complex trauma histories. Therefore, the present study sought to explore how a newly developed adjunctive embodiment-based intervention, Trauma-Informed Weight Lifting (TIWL), influenced participants’ self-reported posttraumatic stress and associated mental health symptoms. Twelve adolescents from two residential facilities participated in the current study. Seven participants engaged in a weekly, eight-week TIWL intervention. Following a participant preference approach, participants without a preference for engaging in TIWL were assigned to the treatment as usual (TAU) comparison condition (n = 5). Those who engaged in TIWL were compared to those in the TAU group. Posttraumatic stress and associated symptoms were measured with six validated self-report measures. Symptoms were assessed before participants started TIWL, mid-way through the intervention, at the end, at 4-week post-intervention follow-up. Posttraumatic stress symptoms and interoception were assessed weekly. Overall, TIWL appeared feasible and acceptable in an adolescent residential treatment setting based on participants’ attendance rate (87.5%) and ratings of helpfulness (Ms = 75.71–94.71). Although effects were not maintained at follow-up and demonstrated some mixed findings between the weekly and monthly outcomes, the present study provided overall evidence for the efficacy of TIWL in lowered posttraumatic stress (Mi-j = -3.39, t = -2.08, p = .04, dRM, pooled = 3.20), depression (F(4, 5.25) = 6.73, p = .03, dRM, pooled = 0.59), and stress symptoms (F(4, 5.04) = 9.76, p = .01, dRM, pooled = 0.05) and higher levels of interoception (Mi-j = 0.45, t = 0.73, p = .47, dRM, pooled = 0.18) at the last TIWL session compared to baseline. There was also a large difference (~1.32 SD) in arousal and reactivity symptom levels between the TIWL condition and the comparison condition, with greater differences in Week 1 to Week 8 scores for the TIWL condition. From baseline to the four-week post-intervention follow-up self-reported avoidance (Mi-j = 0.67, t = -0.50, p = .25, dRM, pooled = -0.39), arousal and reactivity (Mi-j = 3.21, t = 1.16, p = .15, dRM, pooled = -0.27) and derealization (Mi-j = 0.69, t = 1.01, p = .15, dRM, pooled = -0.30) posttraumatic stress symptoms were higher in the TIWL condition. Given that two of the seven TIWL participants dropped out after two sessions, posthoc exploratory analyses were conducted with them removed. These analyses showed lower posttraumatic stress (Mi-j = -11.28, t = -1.39, p = .11, dRM, pooled = 0.94), depression (Mi-j = -3.88, t = -1.27, p = .13, dRM, pooled = 0.64), anxiety (Mi-j = -2.24, t = -1.26, p = .12, dRM, pooled = 1.17) and stress (Mi-j = -4.45, t = -1.68, p = .08, dRM, pooled = 0.63) symptoms from baseline to follow-up. Therefore, the participants who received a minimum of seven sessions of TIWL reported improvements in their posttraumatic stress and associated mental health symptoms from baseline to follow-up with large effects. Researching the effects of TIWL and extending beyond the present pilot study (e.g., multiple trials starting at different time points, larger sample sizes, different doses, comparing TIWL to a standard weightlifting group) are warranted given the potential confounds that could not be controlled for here.
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    The Effects of Psychosocial Threat on Working Memory Performance in Anxious Individuals
    (2024-05-24) Anderson, Jillian C
    A large area of anxiety research assesses two key characteristics, state and trait anxiety. Scholars find that individuals with high trait anxiety have difficulty disengaging their attention away from threatening stimuli. When in a threatening situation, people may experience elevated heart rate, increased skin conductance, and ruminating thoughts. This can distract the individual during decision-making and further disturb their memory. Thus, the current experiment intended to examine specific variables that affect the relationship between stress and working memory performance in anxious and non-anxious individuals. Variables that were expected to influence working memory performance included levels of state and trait anxiety, and physiological arousal. Participants first completed a complex working memory task (OSPAN task) followed by undergoing a common psychosocial stressor (Trier Social Stress Test) and completed the OSPAN task again. Heart rate and skin conductance levels were also collected. Results showed that heart rate and skin conductance levels were significantly elevated during the Trier Social Stress Test compared to baseline measures. State anxiety also significantly increased from baseline to after the stress test. Furthermore, overall working memory performance was better on the second round of the working memory task. However, participants who experienced the greatest increases in state anxiety performed the worst on the second round. The current findings contribute to the growing body of literature on the individual’s cognitive and physiological responses as they experience anxiety and stress.
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    Contextual Predictors of BIPOC Students’ College Experience at a PWI: A S-BIT of Work Perspective
    (2024-05) Lindenfelser, Hope Elizabeth
    Objectives: Utilizing the theoretical framework of the Strengths-Based Inclusive Theory of Work (S-BIT of Work), the purpose of this study was to assess the relationships among contextual factors, the college setting, and positive individual characteristics amongst BIPOC college students. Specifically, discrimination, institutionalized classism (contextual variables), supportive university environment, cultural congruity (promotive work/educational context variables), hope, strengths use, and empowerment (individual positive characteristics) were examined. Participants: 98 adult college students from a predominately White 4-year institution in the Midwest (United States) who identified as BIPOC were recruited for this study. Method: Participants were recruited via three recruitment methods: emails to student clubs, organizations, and offices; extra credit offered by psychology faculty; and the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Psychology Research Pool (SONA). Participants completed validated measures for each variable previously noted. Participants were either entered into a drawing for one of 74 $25 gift cards, if desired, offered extra credit in a psychology course, or offered SONA credit depending on the recruitment method. Results: Path analysis was used to evaluate the theoretical model. Discrimination significantly and negatively predicted supportive university environment and cultural congruity. Also, results approached significance between institutionalized classism and hope, with a negative relationship. Results suggest that contextual barriers BIPOC students experience negatively relate to their perceptions of their environment, and these barriers may negatively relate to students’ goal-setting ability (i.e., hope).
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    The Impact of Identity Salience on Self-Reported Internalized Stigma among U.S. Sex Workers
    (2023-05) Gardner, Jacinda J
    Sex work is accompanied by a variety of negative consequences, one of which is the internalization of stigma. Although a small number of studies have assessed internalized stigma experienced by sex workers, fewer have assessed potential moderators between experienced stigma and internalized stigma. In fact, identity salience, the extent to which one identifies as a sex worker, has been entirely overlooked. Thus, the current study assessed the potential moderating role of identity salience as it related to experienced and internalized stigma. One hundred and sixty-five sex workers were recruited via the r/Ask_SexWorkers subreddit to participate and each were compensated with a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Each were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a condition meant to prime for a sex worker identity, another meant to prime for a family role identity, and a control condition. Participants then completed an internalized sex work stigma scale, an experienced sex work stigma scale, an identity salience scale, and a demographics questionnaire. The results revealed that there was no difference in rates of internalized stigma based on assigned prime, suggesting that the prime was ineffective. However, there was a positive correlation between experienced stigma and internalized stigma. Additionally, identity salience moderated this relationship between experienced and internalized stigma; in particular, the relationship was significant for those identifying strongly as a sex worker but not for those identifying less strongly. Future research should attempt to replicate with a revised prime.
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    Reactions Toward Anonymized Reviews in Selection
    (2023) Banuelos, Sebastian
    Race, gender, and age biases are prevalent when decision-making processes in the workplace are subjective and lack job-relevant criteria. Decision-maker reactions can influence decision quality, willingness to support, confidence in, and preference to use selection tools. The anonymized review (AR) is a hiring process that minimizes bias in selection by redacting identifying information (e.g., name, age, gender) from applicant materials (e.g., applications, resumes, etc.). This study was a two-part investigation that examined decision-maker reactions toward ARs. Justification for using ARs was expected to positively influence decision-maker reactions toward ARs. Additionally, diversity attitudes were expected to have a moderating effect on the relationship between justification and decision-maker reactions. Results from Study 1 showed insignificant main effects for ARs and justification. Study 1 results also showed that individuals with low diversity attitudes will react negatively to ARs when justification is not provided. Lastly, qualitative responses from Study 2 revealed perceptions of accuracy and practicality toward ARs as significant themes. Practical implications of the study are discussed and recommendations provided.
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    Antidepressant Effects of TRH Analogue EEP in Female and Male Rats Assessed with the Forced Swim Test and BDNF Assay
    (2023-05) Schulz, Emily N
    The endogenous peptide pGLU-GLU-PRO-NH2 (EEP) has antidepressant effects in male rats demonstrated by decreased immobility in the forced swim test (FST). EEP is a chemical analog of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which has short-term antidepressant effects by intrathecal administration in humans. In people with depression, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is decreased in the hippocampus and frontal cortex which leads to decreased volume in both. When people are successfully treated for depression, irrespective of the treatment type, BDNF and volume increase in the hippocampus and frontal cortex, which can indicate recovery. Sex differences are present in the occurrence and symptoms of depression; however, female animals are not always represented in depression research. Female sex hormones are thought to be a reason for sex differences related to depression, and BDNF is known to fluctuate over the estrous cycle of female rats. This study sought to determine if the antidepressant effects of EEP are related to BDNF levels in rats. This study found no significant effects with the forced swim test (FST) and immobility but had a large effect size. A minor sex difference was present in the FST (p = 0.03). Rats that received EEP were not found to have significantly increased levels of BDNF in the hippocampus and frontal cortex, but the results had a large effect size with the frontal cortex. No sex difference was found with BDNF concentrations. Results related to the estrous cycle were insignificant and considered exploratory. The results suggest that continued testing of EEP is needed to gain a greater understanding.
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    Self-Blame and Rape Myth Acceptance: A Moderated Mediation Analysis of the Tonic Immobility and PTSD Relationship
    (2023-05) Clifton, Claire
    Tonic immobility is a phenomenon that causes an inability to move or react during a survival event that is perceived as inescapable. This phenomenon is particularly noted during sexual assault. Past research has also established a relationship between tonic immobility and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially in those who have experienced sexual assault. Various theories explain how the inability to resist the rape caused by tonic immobility might contribute to development and maintenance of PTSD. One possibility pertains to the rape myth that survivors are responsible for physically resisting rape. The cognitive model posits that the inability to resist the rape caused by tonic immobility might contribute to development and maintenance of PTSD via self-blame cognitions. The aim of this study was to examine the role that self-blame and rape myths play in the relationship between tonic immobility and PTSD. Sexual assault survivors completed measures online assessing demographic and assault characteristics, tonic immobility, self-blame, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and rape myth acceptance. Using a moderated mediation analysis, this study examined the role of self-blame as a mediating variable in the development of PTSD after tonic immobility and rape myth acceptance as a moderator of that mediation. Findings indicated mediation of the tonic immobility and PTSD relationship by self-blame. The role of resistance-related rape myths as a moderator was not supported, suggesting that other mechanisms better explain the development of self-blame after tonic immobility.
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    One-on-one Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga sessions: A longitudinal examination study
    (2023-05) Dietrich, Kelsey Madison
    Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is an evidence-based adjunctive somatic treatment for complex trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that can be used as a stand-alone session or integrated during psychotherapy in group or one-on-one contexts. Research on TCTSY delivered in group settings has found that this protocolized yoga intervention improves mental health outcomes in clinical samples. Although designed to be used in group or individual contexts, previous studies have focused only on TCTSY practiced in groups. This study examined the impacts of one-on-one TCTSY (i.e., one participant receiving TCTSY services not in a group TCTSY context) on anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress, and interoception over time. The Center for Trauma and Embodiment, the certifying body for TCTSY, emailed the study invitation to the TCTSY-Facilitator listserv monthly from April-November 2022. Facilitators currently offering one-on-one TCTSY shared the study opportunity with their clients. Ten clients (women n = 8; men n = 2; Mage = 44.80 years, SD = 11.91; PTSD diagnosis n = 9) who were currently participating in one-on-one TCTSY in the contexts of TCTSY only (n = 4) and TCTSY with psychotherapy (n = 6) completed Qualtrics surveys prior to each TCTSY session attended from June-December 2022. Results from linear mixed model analyses found statistically significant effects of time on improvements in the psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress and the interoceptive domains of attention regulation, self-regulation, and body listening. No statistically significant interaction effects of group by time were observed for any outcomes. Implications and future directions are discussed.
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    The Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Childhood Mental Health and Mental Health Service Utilization in a Clinical Sample
    (2023-05) Marsolek, Marissa Kate
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young children’s mental health and their engagement in mental health services. Previous research investigating the impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health and their utilization of mental health services has rarely included children under 5 years of age thus far, and studies that have included this age range have not made this age group the main focus. Children, especially young children, rely on their caregivers to know how to cope and how they should feel during stressful events (Silverman & La Greca, 2002). Therefore, the first aim of this study was to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic and the caregiver-child relationship impacted children’s mental health symptoms. The second aim of the study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 and the child’s symptom presentation on families’ engagement and attendance in mental health treatment. Data were collected on children aged 0 to 5 years old (N = 343) from January 2017 to April 2022 by using archival medical records in collaboration with a local community mental health organization. Results found that the caregiver-child relationship had a significant impact on clinically significant mental health symptoms in children, regardless of whether the data was collected before or after COVID-19 began. It also found that both caregivers and children were rated as less engaged after the pandemic began if the child was experiencing externalizing symptoms. Further, the results displayed that children received less therapy sessions after the pandemic began, and that families received a similar number of overall services in both time periods regardless of symptom presentation.
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    Job Decision Latitude and Job Burnout: A Moderated Mediation Model of Work Ability and Job Crafting
    (2023-04) Cole, Jessica L
    Job burnout is an occupational syndrome that has been widely researched; however, research considering employees’ varied work ability levels is sparse (Bakker & Demerouti, 2017). Job demands-resources (JD-R) theory (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007) was used as a framework to evaluate whether work ability moderated the mediating effect of job crafting on the relationship between job decision latitude and job burnout among a sample of working U.S. adults with varied levels of work ability. A convenience sample of 2,056 adults who responded to a recruitment message participated in this study. Participants completed an online survey that included sociodemographic and job-related items, as well as measures to evaluate levels of job decision latitude, work ability, job crafting, and job burnout. Results showed that job decision latitude had a significant predictive effect on job crafting and job burnout; job crafting played a mediating role in the relationship between job decision latitude and job burnout; work ability played a moderating role in the relationship between job decision latitude and job crafting, as well as the relationship between job decision latitude and job burnout. These findings add to research on the relationship between job decision latitude and job burnout and provide ideas for organizational members to better support employees with lowered work ability due to chronic disease and health conditions to reduce job burnout.
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    Work Ability and Job Burnout: A Moderated Mediation Model of Health-Related Organizational Climate and Work-Health Management Interference
    (2023-05) McDonough, Mariah
    The purpose of this study was to determine how work ability, health-related organizational climate, and work health management interference (WHMI) contributed to burnout, with a particular interest in those with lower levels of work ability as a result of chronic illness/disease. The overall research objective was to examine whether healthrelated organizational climate moderated the mediating effect of work-health management interference on the relationship between work ability and job burnout. A convenience sample of 2,056 adults living and working in the United States who responded to a recruitment message participated in this study. Participants accessed a survey in Qualtrics via a link provided in an email or accessible via electronic posting and completed a survey that included sociodemographic and job-related items, as well as measures to evaluate levels of work ability, burnout, WHMI, and health-oriented organizational climate. Results showed that work ability had a significant predictive effect on burnout, WHMI played a mediating role in the relationship between work ability and burnout, and organizational health-related climate was found to play a moderating role in the relationship between work ability and WHMI. These findings add to research on the relationship between work ability and burnout and serve as a foundation for organizations to adapt and develop strategies to better support employees with lowered work ability due to chronic disease/health conditions in order to reduce job burnout and improve well-being and productivity.
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    Telecommuting Intensity’s Impact on Job Satisfaction and Burnout: A Moderated Mediation Model of Work-Family Conflict and Emotional Intelligence
    (2023-05) Sanchez, Katherine
    The purpose of this study was to examine whether emotional intelligence moderated the mediating effect of work-family conflict on the relationship between telecommuting intensity and job satisfaction and burnout. This study used a non-experimental, crosssectional research design. A convenience sample of 369 faculty in higher education who lived and worked in the United States and responded to a recruitment message participated in this study. Participants accessed a survey in Qualtrics via a link provided in an email or accessible via electronic posting. We collected sociodemographic and jobrelated information in addition to information about telecommuting, work-family conflict, emotional intelligence, job satisfaction, and burnout. Results showed that telecommuting intensity had a significant predictive effect on work-family conflict and job satisfaction, exhaustion, and disengagement; work-family conflict played a mediating role in the relationship between telecommuting intensity and job satisfaction, exhaustion, and disengagement; emotional intelligence played a moderating role in the relationship between work-family conflict and disengagement, as well as the indirect negative relationship (via work-family conflict) between telecommuting intensity and disengagement. Findings from this study add to the research on the relationship between telecommuting intensity and job satisfaction, exhaustion, and disengagement. This study informs future research on the effects of telecommuting and provide ideas for workplace interventions to increase job satisfaction and reduce burnout among faculty in higher education.
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    The Role of Leader Health Orientation on the Relationship Between Employee Self-Care and Job Burnout Among Applied Behavior Analysis Practitioners
    (2023-01) Kleive, Kalei M
    Professionals within the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are at a high risk of feeling exhausted and disengaged, both of which are components of burnout (e.g., Slowiak & DeLongchamp, 2022). Franke and colleagues (2014) introduced the concepts of self- and follower-directed health-oriented leadership; each were said to be an effective personal and job resource, respectively. Understanding that resources may be used to mitigate the strain of high job demands, this study examined the relationship between Employee Self-Care and burnout among ABA practitioners and how having a healthoriented leader (Leader Staff Care) influences that relationship. In a sample of 137 ABA practitioners, 87.25% reported moderate to high levels of burnout, and burnout was negatively associated with Employee Self-Care. While Employee Self-Care values, awareness, and behaviors were predictors of burnout, Leader Staff Care did not moderate the effect of Employee Self-Care on burnout. Though Leader Staff Care was not a significant moderator with all three components (i.e., value, awareness, behavior), Leader Staff Care behavior was the most influential moderator between Employee Self-Care and employee disengagement. The results of this study contribute to the literature by providing new knowledge on the role of health-oriented leadership and how it can be used as an organizational job resource by those in leadership roles to mitigate job demands and reduce burnout among ABA practitioners. Leaders should consider how they can best support employees self-care awareness, values, and behaviors as findings illustrate the importance of employee self-care as a personal resource.
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    Implicit and Explicit Attitudes Toward Those with Intellectual Disabilities in Romantic Relationships: Impacts of Personhood Perception
    (2023-02-27) Record, Julia M
    Recent mixed reports of positive and negative explicit attitudes toward those with intellectual disabilities (ID) have researchers questioning the impacts of socially desirable responding. This justifies the importance of studying implicit attitudes, generally reported as more negative than explicit attitudes. Despite existing literature on implicit attitudes toward those with ID, no studies have assessed implicit attitudes toward mixed-sex couples with ID due to the absence of physical markers that would otherwise aid ID detection. One exception, however, are the distinct facial features existent in people with Down Syndrome (DS), with which implicit attitudes were explored. Personhood perception (i.e., whether those with DS are just as ‘human’ as those without), was also measured, as personhood perception has been suggested to lower as a function of greater ID severity. Thus, the current study investigated differences in implicit and explicit attitudes toward mixed-sex couples with and without DS, impacts of socially desirable responding, and how perceptions of personhood can account for variations in these attitudes. Young adults (N = 261) were recruited and instructed to Implicit Association Test (IAT) that assessed implicit attitudes. Meanwhile, measures of explicit attitudes, socially desirable responding, and personhood perception were assessed through online questionnaires. Results revealed a slight implicit preference for those without DS over those with DS (DIAT = -0.20) and implicit measures depicted more bias than did explicit measures. However, social desirability did not significantly moderate the relationship between explicit and implicit attitudes. Nevertheless, perceptions of personhood were positively correlated with both implicit and explicit attitudes. Results from this study can have important implications for personhood-centered interventions that could aim to empower, reduce stigma, and promote increased autonomy for those with any ID (including DS) wanting to engage in a romantic relationship.
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    Work-Family Conflict and Work Engagement During the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Role of Autonomy, Family Supportive Supervisor Behaviors and Family Hours
    (2022-11) Clairmont, James
    In the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, there were widespread concerns about the remote work phenomenon and its impact on work-family conflict. Hays Companies, an insurance brokerage in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area, expressed concern about the work-family conflict and engagement levels of its employees. The goal of the current study was to help Hays Companies to decide whether or not to bring employees back to the office by investigating work-family conflict and engagement differences between employees while isolating variables that would explain why some workers were doing better than others. Using a multiple regression with moderation analysis, I found that workers higher in autonomy and family supportive supervisor behaviors showed lower levels of engagement and higher levels of work-family conflict. These results contradict the vast majority of studies that have shown that autonomy and family supportive supervisor behaviors have a positive effect on work-family conflict. Additionally, the results showed that employees had above average levels of engagement and below average levels of work-family conflict, leading me to conclude that the Hays Companies workforce is doing well working from home and that bringing them back to the office is not needed.
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    Jersey cows or jersey shirts? The influence of prior knowledge and context on ambiguity resolution
    (2022-09) Pannell, Hannah Victoria
    Ambiguous words within text can slow down the comprehension process as readers need more time to determine their appropriate meaning. According to the reordered access model of ambiguity resolution, both context and frequency of usage influence the speed at which a reader selects the appropriate meaning. Additionally, prior knowledge related to one meaning of an ambiguous word can slow the speed of access if it does not align with the context of the sentence containing the ambiguous word. Such difficulties in meaning selection typically manifest as longer reading times in certain parts of a sentence (i.e., the ambiguous word, text appearing after the ambiguous word). This study expands upon previous works by comparing the effects of prior knowledge (i.e., baseball knowledge) and context on readers’ ability to determine the appropriate meaning of ambiguous words via monitoring their eye movements. A quasi-experimental design was used in which participants read 12 passages containing baseball-related ambiguous and unambiguous words presented in one of two types of prior context (i.e., context biased towards the less frequently used meaning or context biased towards the more frequently used meaning). Reading times were longer after reading dominant-biasing context and for those high in baseball knowledge. Results from this emphasize the importance of frequency of usage and context on ambiguity resolution as well as the impact of prior knowledge on comprehension overall.
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    Self-Determination Theory as a Framework for an Early Model of Internalized Weight Bias
    (2022-08) Leget, Dakota L
    Devaluing oneself based on weight-based stereotypes is known as internalized weight bias (Durso & Latner, 2008) and is associated with adverse health outcomes, like depression, anxiety, and disordered eating behaviors (Pearl & Puhl, 2018). This study examined self-determination theory (SDT) constructs as mechanisms explaining differential vulnerability to internalizing weight stigma. Women ages 18-40 years (N = 480) completed a survey measuring enacted weight stigma, psychological need satisfaction, need frustration, autonomous weight regulation, controlled weight regulation, internalized weight bias, body dissatisfaction, psychological distress, and dysfunctional eating. An exploratory approach to structural equation modeling yielded a model with an acceptable, moderate fit for the data (χ2 = 2520.71, df = 720, p < .001, CMIN/DF = 3.50, RMSEA = .07, SRMR = .10, CFI = .87) and supported the impact of enacted weight stigma on psychological need levels. Enacted weight stigma related to greater need frustration, which then, related to more controlled reasons for engaging in weight-related behaviors. Controlled weight motivation was strongly related to internalized weight bias rather than body satisfaction. The findings supported that distress and dysfunctional eating behavior directly related to internalized weight bias, unlike body satisfaction. Future research should confirm the structural model as SDT constructs may be impactful as targets of prevention and treatment strategies to reduce internalized weight bias and its negative health correlates.