College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University Department of Psychology

Student/Faculty Research

Evelinn Borrayo

Borrayo, E.A., *Scott, K., *Drenne, A., *MacDonald, T., **Nguyen, J. (2016). Determinants of Treatment Delay among Underserved Hispanic Patients Diagnosed with Lung Cancer and Head-and-Neck Cancer. Cancer Control Journal, 23(4), 390-400. Epub 2016 Nov 1.

A mixed-methods design was used to explore determinants of treatment delays by analyzing data from medical charts of 40 patients and data from in-depth interviews with 29 patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and patient navigators from a safety-net hospital. Diagnosis to treatment initiation was significantly predicted by gender and co-occurring illnesses, with women significantly experiencing more delays and those with a lower number of co-occurring illness experiencing fewer delays by 16.53 days. Institutional determinants at publicly funded hospitals and patient factors such as fear appear to be the culprit of treatment delays for these patients.

Borrayo, E. A., *Rosales, M., & *Gonzales, P. (2016). Entertainment-Education Narrative versus Non-Narrative Interventions to Educate and Motivate Latinas to Engage in Mammography Screening. Health Education & Behavior. Epub: 2016 Aug 23.

A sample of 141 Spanish-speaking Latinas was randomly assigned to 1 of 3 arms: an entertainment-education (E-E) narrative video, a non-narrative educational video, and printed educational materials. Using a repeated measures design, the influence of the E-E narrative was compared to the other two interventions. The E-E narrative participants’ pretest to posttest difference in mammography self-efficacy was significantly higher when compared to the other interventions.  The effect of the E-E narrative on self-efficacy and behavioral norms was moderated by the participants’ absorption in the story and identification with the story characters. The effects on mammography self-efficacy, an important precursor to behavior change, can be more strongly influenced by E-E narratives.

Brad Connor

Conner B.T., Hellemann G.S., Demianczyk A.C., Ritchie T., & Noble E.P. (in press). Using a systems-based risk score approach to examine genetic predisposition to novelty seeking. Journal of Individual Differences

Previous research is mixed regarding the relation between dopamine and Novelty Seeking. The goals of the current study were to support the hypotheses that Novelty Seeking is associated with dopamine genes and that modeling genetic risk score increases the utility of genetic information in hypothesis driven research. The results showed that higher hypodopaminergic genetic risk score positively predicted higher Novelty Seeking score, F(1, 115)=5.76, p< 0.01, R2 =0.06. The findings support study hypotheses and, in combination with previous studies, shows the utility of empirically validated system-based risk scores as a means of modeling genetic predisposition in neurobiological systems. This approach provides a mechanism for incorporating genetic predisposition into theory-driven multivariate etiological models of psychological constructs such as personality and mental illness.

Pearson, M.R.., Bravo, A.D., Conner, B.T., & MOST (2017). Distinguishing subpopulations of marijuana users with latent profile analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, in press.

We examined typical marijuana use patterns and identified distinct subgroups of marijuana users in a sample of 2,129 college students who used marijuana in the past month across 11 universities. We also examined how distinct subgroups differ on putative risk and protective factors. Using the Lo-Mendell-Rubin Likelihood Ratio Test, we identified four latent classes of marijuana users, consisting of infrequent marijuana users (the largest class) and three other classes demonstrating increasing frequency of use and negative consequences (the most severe class was the smallest class). The largest between-class differences were on identification with being a marijuana user and use of protective behavioral strategies, such that heavier user classes showed higher identification with marijuana users and lower use of protective behavioral strategies. Overall, college student marijuana users are a heterogeneous group with different profiles of risk and protective factors. Further, those who use marijuana a few times per month are different from those who use daily or near-daily.

Mark Prince

Prince, M. A., Connors, G. J., Maisto, S. A., & Dearing, R. L. (2016). Within treatment therapeutic alliance ratings profiles predict posttreatment frequency of alcohol use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30(2), 184-193.

Although past research has demonstrated a positive relationship between the therapeutic alliance (TA) and improved drinking outcomes, specific aspects of the alliance have received less attention. In this study, we examined the association between alliance characteristics during treatment and 4-month follow-up drinking reports. Sixty-five treatment-seeking alcohol dependent clients who participated in 12 weeks of individual outpatient treatment provided weekly TA ratings during treatment and reported on pretreatment, during treatment, and posttreatment alcohol use. Latent profile analysis was conducted to discern distinct profiles of client and therapist ratings of therapeutic alliance with similar alliance characteristics. TA profiles were based on clients’ and therapists’ mean alliance rating, minimum alliance rating, maximum alliance rating, the range of alliance ratings, and the difference in session number between maximum and minimum alliance ratings. One- through 4-class models were fit to the data. Model fit was judged by comparative fit indices, substantive interpretability, and parsimony. Wald tests of mean equality determined whether classes differed on follow-up percentage of days abstinent (PDA) at 4-months posttreatment. Three-profile solutions provided the best fit for both client and therapist ratings of the therapeutic alliance. Client alliance rating profiles predicted drinking in the follow-up period, but therapist rating profiles did not. These results suggest that distinct profiles of the therapeutic alliance can be identified and that client alliance rating profiles are associated with frequency of alcohol use following outpatient treatment.

Prince, M. A., Maisto, S. A., Rice, S. L., & Carey, K. B. (2015). Comparing descriptive and injunctive norms brief interventions for college drinkers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(4), 825-835.

Findings are presented from the first randomized clinical trial that compared changes in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences among college student drinkers from baseline to follow-up across 4 conditions: (a) a new single component injunctive norms brief motivational intervention (IN-BMI) condition; (b) a single component descriptive norms brief motivational intervention (DN-BMI); (c) a combined IN and DN brief motivational intervention (Combined-BMI); and (d) assessment-only control. DN-BMI focused on the juxtaposition of personal, perceived, and actual alcohol use by typical same-sex students at your university. IN-BMI focused on the juxtaposition of personal, perceived, and actual attitudes about alcohol-related consequences by the typical same-sex student at your university. Exploratory analyses assessed the effect of IN-BMI and DN-BMI on matched (e.g., the effect of DN-BMI on perceived DN) and mismatched norms (e.g., the effect of DN-BMI on perceived IN). IN-BMI resulted in greater decreases in alcohol use and consequences when delivered alone and in conjunction with DN-BMI compared with the control condition. Further, the Combined-BMI condition reported greater reductions in alcohol use but not consequences compared to the DN condition. Receiving IN-BMI either alone or in combination with DN-BMI produced greater changes in IN perceptions than were produced in the control group. Grounded in norms theory, this study examined how college student problem drinking is affected by both IN-BMI and DN-BMI alone and in combination. We conclude that IN-BMI alone or in combination with DN-BMI is able to modify alcohol use and reduce alcohol-related consequences.

Bryan Dik

Dik, B. J., Scholljegerdes, K. A., *Ahn, J., & *Shim, Y. (2015.) A randomized controlled trial of a religiously-tailored career intervention with Christian clients. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 34, 340-353.
This study examined the efficacy of a religiously-tailored career intervention, designed to assist Christian clients in the career development process, using a dismantling design in a randomized controlled trial. Participants recruited from a Midwestern Christian university were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (a) a “standard” 5-session, structured career development group designed to incorporate person-environment fit principles; (b) a 5-session, structured “religiously-tailored” career development group that added religious content to the same person-environment fit principles; and (c) a wait-list control condition. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires were completed, and participants in the intervention conditions were followed up at 3 and 6 months to assess career decision self-efficacy, sense of calling, and meaning in life. Results provide only mixed support for the efficacy of the religiously-tailored intervention, consistent with other research that has found religiously-tailored and standard psychological interventions to provide equivocal efficacy for many outcomes among Christian clients. Implications for ongoing research and career counseling practice with Christian clients are discussed.

Dik, B. J., Duffy, R. D., Allen, B. A., *O’Donnell, M., *Shim, Y., & Steger, M. F. (2015). Purpose and meaning in career development applications. The Counseling Psychologist, 43, 558-585.

Purpose and meaning in career development is a rapidly growing, cross-disciplinary area of research and practice in which counseling and vocational psychology aligns with positive psychology to yield promising applications to career counseling. We provide a brief overview of theory related to purpose and meaning in work, then review six specific areas of application: strengths, positive emotions and flow, gratitude, work hope, job crafting, and perceiving and living a calling. The links of these applications to theory and research are emphasized, and recommendations are offered for how counseling and vocational psychologists might leverage these applications in their work with clients engaged in the career development process.

Mike Steger

Martela, F., & Steger, M. F. (2016). The three meanings of meaning in life: Distinguishing coherence, purpose, and significance. The Journal Of Positive Psychology, 11(5), 531-545.  

Despite growing interest in meaning in life, many have voiced their concern over the conceptual refinement of the construct itself. Researchers seem to have two main ways to understand what meaning in life means: coherence and purpose, with a third way, significance, gaining increasing attention. Coherence means a sense of comprehensibility and one’s life making sense. Purpose means a sense of core goals, aims, and direction in life. Significance is about a sense of life’s inherent value and having a life worth living. Although some researchers have already noted this trichotomy, the present article provides the first comprehensible theoretical overview that aims to define and pinpoint the differences and connections between these three facets of meaning. By arguing that the time is ripe to move from indiscriminate understanding of meaning into looking at these three facets separately, the article points toward a new future for research on meaning in life.

Steger, M. F., Fitch-Martin, A. R., Donnelly, J., & Rickard, K. M. (2015). Meaning in life and health: Proactive health orientation links meaning in life to health variables among American undergraduates. Journal Of Happiness Studies, 16(3), 583-597.

Mounting research has demonstrated relationships between meaning in life (MIL) and a wide range of health-relevant outcomes, including health symptoms, healthpromoting behaviors, health-risking behaviors, cognitive decline, and mortality. Despite these provocative results, there have been few efforts to explain why meaning and health should be linked. It is proposed that meaning supports a more positive health orientation among people, which in turn is related to more positive health behaviors and health. This model was tested using structural path analysis in a healthy, but health-risk-prone, sample of 571 undergraduate students, focusing on health criterion variables of health symptoms, attitudes toward condom use, and substance abuse. Two aspects of health orientation, proactive health orientation and health information discounting, were assessed. Direct relationships were observed between MIL and health criterion variables, as well as indirect relationships carried by combinations of both health orientations. In a generally healthy, health-risk-prone sample, MIL was beneficially related to health symptoms, risky condom attitudes, and substance use. Proactive health orientation and health information discounting statistically explained some of these relationships, suggesting new avenues for intervening to promote healthy lifestyle factors and prevent adverse health outcomes.

Kathy Rickard

Shepherd, C., & Rickard, K. (2012) Drive For Muscularity and Help-Seeking: The Mediational Role of Gender Role Conflict, Self-Stigma, & Attitudes. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 13, (4), 379-392.

Steger, M.F., Fitch-Martin, A.R. Donnelly, J. & Rickard, K.M. (2015) Meaning in Life and Health: Proactive Health Orientation Links Meaning in Life to Health Variables Among American Undergraduates. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, (3), 583-597.

Silvia Canetto

*Winterrowd, E., Canetto, S. S., & *Benoit, K. (2017).  Permissive beliefs and attitudes about older adult suicide: A suicide enabling script? Aging & Mental Health.

In the United States, suicide rates are highest among European American older adults. This phenomenon calls attention to cultural factors, specifically, the suicide beliefs and attitudes of European Americans. Beliefs and attitudes matter in the vulnerability to suicide. As predicted by cultural scripts of suicide theory, suicide is most likely among individuals and in communities where it is expected and is most acceptable. This study examined beliefs about the precipitants of, and protectors against older adult suicide, as well as suicide attitudes, in a predominantly European American community. Two hundred and fifty-five older adults (86% European American) and 281 younger adults (81% European American) indicated what they thought were the most likely older adult suicide precipitants and protectors, and their opinion about older adult suicide, depending on precipitant. Health problems were the most endorsed older adult suicide precipitants. Suicide precipitated by health problems was also rated most positively (e.g., rational, courageous). Men viewed older adult suicide as more admissible, and women, with more sympathy. Perceived suicide protectors included religiosity among older adults, and supportive relationships among younger adults. The belief that older adult suicide is triggered by health problems, together with favorable attitudes about older adult suicide, suggest an enabling older adult suicide script, with implications for suicide risk and prevention.

Canetto, S. S., *Trott, C. D., *Thomas, J., & *Wynstra, C. A. (2012). Making sense of the Atmospheric Science gender gap: Do female and male graduate students have different career motives, goals, and challenges? Journal of Geoscience Education, 60, 408-416. doi:10.5408/12-296.1

There is a persisting gap in the participation of women in the physical sciences, particularly at the higher levels of education and occupations.  This gap raises questions about women’s career motives, plans, and challenges, relative to men’s.  To explore these questions, interviews were conducted with Atmospheric Science (ATS) graduate students.  Both women and men described their ATS choice as the result of accidental events and commented on the positive impact of research experiences, as well as the positive influence of models and mentors on their educational choice and persistence.  However, for women, experiences with mentors included instances of undermining behavior.  Women and men also differed with regard to career goals, with women emphasizing service and social impact, and men employability.  Finally, women and men anticipated different career obstacles, with women focusing on family, and men on financial responsibilities.  These findings suggest that ATS women and men may have similar early motives for ATS career choice but different experiences once they enter the field.  ATS women and men may also differ in terms of career goals and perceived obstacles.  Many themes surrounding ATS women’s experiences in this study are similar to themes that have emerged in studies of women in other science and engineering disciplines.
*Former students

Ernie Chavez

Bessler, C.A, & Chavez E.L. (2015).  Impact of living/learning  communities on college algebra. Learning Community Journal, 7, 5-24
Alcohol Consumption among Rural African American and White Adolescents: The Role of Religion, Parents, and Peers. (2016) Dickens D. D., Jackman D. M., Stanley L. R., Swaim R. C.,and Chavez E.L. Journal of Ethnicity and Substance Abuse

Lee Rosén

*Mapes, A.R. & Rosén, L.A.  (2016). Equine-Assisted Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comprehensive Literature Review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. (Published online before print September, 27, 2016) doi:10.1007/s40489-016-0090-0

Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) is a therapeutic technique that has been examined for improving physical, emotional, social, cognitive, educational, and behavioral skills in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This literature review examines the usefulness of the approach for children diagnosed with ASD. The goal of the search strategy used was to include relevant scientific articles published examining EAT for children diagnosed with ASD. Of the 12 studies examined, 11 researchers demonstrated efficacy for increased physical and social functioning, communication, sensory sensitivity, sensory motivation, self-regulation, adaptive skills, motor skills, improved volition, as well as decreased aberrant behavior and severity of symptoms. The majority of the research documented improvements in functioning; however, these conclusions were qualified by numerous factors that limit the interpretation of the results.

*Maples, L. A., *Park, S. S., *Nolen, J. P., & Rosén, L. A. (2014). Resilience to Childhood Abuse and Neglect in College Students.  Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 23:10, 1001-1019, DOI: 10.1080/10926771.2014.964435

This study examined the prevalence of a history of childhood maltreatment in a college sample and identified the relationship between being maltreated as a child and later college adjustment in men and women. Results indicate that men who had been maltreated in childhood had more resilient outcomes in college than women who had been maltreated in childhood. Negative life events and protective factors acted as mediators in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and college adjustment for women, and protective factors acted as a moderator in the relationship between childhood maltreatment and college adjustment for men.


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