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Symposium Proceedings


Note: Presentations are grouped by the student’s area of research (based on the faculty mentor’s academic department), not the student’s academic major.


Poster Session B: 

9:15 - 10:15 am

Communication Sciences and Disorders; Human Development and Family Science; and Psychology (37 posters)



B-01     Abigail Eaton, Emily Pascale

Research Collaborators:  Rachelle Taylor

Research Presentation Title:  Transgender Voice Therapy: A Path to Self-Acceptance

Faculty Research Mentor:  Rachelle Taylor, Communication Sciences and Disorders


This presentation highlights a novel therapy practice of providing vocal treatment to transgender clients. Based on findings from therapy sessions, this presentation will showcase results of therapy, the client’s evolving perception of desired vocal traits, and education on effective diagnosis and treatment.  In the Fall of 2023, the client came to the Oklahoma State Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic with concerns regarding her voice not matching her gender identity. Upon evaluation, the client was diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia, a voice disturbance caused by abnormal muscle activity in the absence of structural or neurological abnormalities. Ultimately, the client sought to alter her vocal pitch, resonance, and inflection to complement her gender identity. In doing so, the clinicians hoped to guide the client towards greater acceptance of her voice. At the onset of therapy, the clinicians provided a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) survey to determine the client’s current perceptions of her habitual voice along with her ideal voice. Upon reviewing the results, the clinicians formulated structured activities to target various vocal parameters including decreasing the rate of speech, increasing the use of adjectives and adverbs, and increasing vocal pitch within utterances. Although the client understood what she hoped to achieve with her other goals, she struggled to vocalize her preferred tone. As a result, the clinicians provided the client with various examples such as modeling and vocal traits of female characters in film to assist the client in developing a better understanding of her ideal feminine voice. By the final session, the client exhibited ultimate success by having her ideal voice perspective align with her habitual voice perspective while her actual voice made little to no change. Essentially, two theories of thought served as the foundation for therapy. Namely, altering the actual voice to the measurement desired as well as educating the client and developing her vocal perception. In sharing our findings with other professionals, we hope to shed light on the importance of not only treating the voice but also perception of the voice which may yield better, quicker positive outcomes.


B-02     Mady Hedge, Lynnen Robinson, Mattie Ferguson, Lenna Avance

Research Collaborators:  Chelsea Olender, Rachel Glade, Valerie Freeman

Research Presentation Title:  The Deaf Experience, Deaf Expression project and how it is tied to the Social Determinants of Health Using Thematic Analysis

Faculty Research Mentor:  Valerie Freeman, Communication Sciences and Disorders


The Deaf Experience, Deaf Expression (DXDX) project is a large-scale research study that was launched to serve members of our community. Our purpose is to gather interviews documenting real-life experiences from deaf people across the lifespan. We aim to create a database for newly diagnosed individuals, parents, friends, and professionals to use as a community resource. This collection will serve as a convenient guide to support deaf people and their family members through major life decisions. In this presentation, we will focus on the thematic analysis we have been conducting to determine what factors contribute to decisions on an individual's preferred mode of hearing technology. Thematic analysis is a method that has allowed us to organize and analyze the data we have collected across interviews with different participants. Using a qualitative inquiry approach, we have identified twenty-seven different recurring themes across our participants. Themes were pinpointed based on direct quotes from our participants. Some of these themes include communication barriers, family support, acceptance, social interactions, and hearing technology experiences. Through this investigation, we recognized that the data we have collected thus far aligns with the five domains of the social determinants of health: economic stability, education access and quality, healthcare access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, and social community context. Our data set falls into each one of these domains. In this presentation, we will explore how the social determinants of health relate to the direct quotes from our participants. 


B-03     Addison Imler

Research Collaborators:  Roha Kaipa, Karen Copeland

Research Presentation Title:  How the COVID-19 Pandemic has Influenced Communication and Language Development in Preschool-Aged Children

Faculty Research Mentor:  Roha Kaipa, Communication Sciences and Disorders


Background: This research project seeks to investigate the impact of the unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the communication and language development of preschool-aged children. The pandemic, as a global health crisis, has induced significant changes in daily life, including lockdowns, remote learning, and diminished social interactions. These alterations have significantly influenced the developmental environment for children, particularly in their critical preschool years, potentially affecting various developmental aspects, notably communication and language skills. A previous study by the Language Learning Lab at Oklahoma State University highlighted discernible differences in children’s communication and language development due to the pandemic, prompting further research in this field. Our aim is to analyze the communication patterns of children born during and shortly after the pandemic by surveying parents of these children.

Methods: This project has received approval from the OSU Institutional Review Board (IRB). An online survey will be disseminated via email to parents in and around Oklahoma, with the collected data subject to both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The data collection for the project is in progress. 

Conclusion: The goal of this research is to delineate the nature and extent of any changes in children's communication behaviors, to comprehend the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic in the realm of language acquisition and communication for preschool-aged children, and to uncover the strategies parents have utilized to support their children’s communication needs during this unparalleled period. 



B-04     Chelsea Olender

Research Collaborators:  Peter Richtsmeier, Valerie Freeman 

Research Presentation Title:  Does semantic depth and learning modalities improve word-learning in 3-4-year-old children?

Faculty Research Mentor:  Peter Richtsmeier, Communication Sciences and Disorders


This project investigates word learning in preschool-aged children. Prior research indicates the benefit of semantic cues, perceptual, and production learning when used individually to teach new words. Perceptual and production learning are types of “learning modalities”. Production learning provides auditory feedback and the action of repeating speech sounds. Perceptual learning only provides auditory feedback. Semantic cues are also beneficial to word learning. In this study, these factors will be examined together to determine how they affect language development. Thirty-two participants between three and four years old will complete this study. They will meet the criteria for typical development based on standardized screenings. For this study, participants will engage in a game to meet and learn facts about four different alien families. The focus is for them to learn their names. Non-word forms were created and served as the alien names. Each alien is associated with a figure to provide a visual cue. The non-word forms are composed of a base and suffix. The base corresponds with the “alien family”, meaning their skin color and type of clothing. The suffix corresponds with the “alien type”: their age, weight, and head size. The alien type is also demonstrated with semantic cues such as, “This one has grandkids” or “This one is very smart”. To assess learning modalities, participants repeat non-word forms during a production task. They also will complete a perceptual task where they will only be provided with the auditory stimulus. These learning modalities are crossed with the presence or absence of semantic cues. After each familiarization task, the participant is assessed by having to produce the name of the alien, and by pointing to the correct alien when hearing the auditory stimuli. Two separate pointing tasks are done to analyze their ability to learn the base and suffix separately. During the second session, a post-test will examine the ability to retain words over time. This poster will show four participants and articulate how these factors interact to improve word learning in children. 


B-05     Anna Scheer

Research Collaborators:  Zeke Young

Research Presentation Title:  Comparing Speech Rates of Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and Healthy Controls

Faculty Research Mentor:  Ramesh Kaipa, Communication Sciences and Disorders


Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that presents with a range of motor and non-motor symptoms such as tremors, slow movement, muscle rigidity, sleep disturbances, and other neuropsychiatric symptoms. People with Parkinson's disease commonly present with a range of speech deficits and among them increased speech rate is a prominent feature. This increased speech rate results in decreased speech clarity in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. To this end, the research question I pose is – what is the speech rate in syllables/second in individuals with Parkinson’s disease in comparison to healthy controls? Through this project, I hope to gain a better understanding of how and why speech rates are affected in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as forming a better idea on how to treat this deficit. We will complete the following to advance the knowledge revolving speech rate and Parkinson’s Disease: We will work to collect and recruit a certain number of individuals, both individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and individuals without Parkinson’s Disease. We will gather a group and ask the individuals to perform tasks seen as the following: a spontaneous interview of answering multiple questions and responding to requests we make of them, reading of a paragraph and finally interpretation of a photo. All of the previous tasks mentioned above will be recorded, whether on zoom or in-person, in order for us to have the ability to gather their speech rates to perform an acoustic analysis. With these acoustic samples, we will calculate three parameters; total speech time, total pause time, net speech time. We will also calculate one report; total speech rate. After calculating these parameters and reports, we will be given multiple speech analyses that will serve great purpose in gaining a better understanding of speech rates in our experimental vs healthy control groups.


B-06     Grace Schneberger, Kim Marquise, Mady Hedge

Research Presentation Title:  Tongue Twister Study: A Look at Word Production Errors

Faculty Research Mentor:  Peter Richtsmeier, Communication Sciences and Disorders


In this study we look into how learned phonotactics play a role in word production errors in children with typical reading skills and children with dyslexia. Phonotactics are the constraints that define a language’s sound sequences. For example, /h/ only occurs in the initial position in English, so ‘hats’ is a word but not ‘stah’, which makes /h/ a restricted sound. Phonotactic help a reader understand what sounds are allowed to occur next, and they help with language processing and acquisition. In this study we intend to look at word production errors and their implications. Because this study is focused on measuring the number and types of errors, it is modeled in a way that is more likely to illicit production errors: through tongue twisters. Both the children with normal reading skills and those with dyslexia will produce 72 sets of 4 syllable sets over the course of two sessions. An example of these syllable sets would be /tek, heŋ, pem, fes/. The consonants /s/ and /f/ are always restricted to the same position in each syllable, meaning one is always the onset and the other is always the coda. Other consonants vary in word position throughout each set. There are two types of errors being recorded, same-position and different-position. A different-position errors would be on /k/ if someone says /tek, keŋ/ instead of /tek, heŋ/. A same-position error would be on /k/ if someone says /tek, hek/ instead of /tek, heŋ/. We predict more same-position errors for /s/ and /f/.  In previous similar studies conducted with adults, there have been more same position errors for restricted consonants like /s/ and /f/. Previous research has also shown that children with reading deficits made more errors overall. Based on these findings, our study is examining whether children with dyslexia show stronger learning effects due to them making more same-position errors.


B-07     Withdrawn


B-08     Lily Zagula

Research Presentation Title:  Literature Review: Inclusive Assessment Measures for Autistic Children and their Families: Reviewing Current Options and Research

Faculty Research Mentor:  Emily Abel, Human Development and Family Science


Research seeking to benefit individuals on the autism spectrum has not adequately been able to incorporate personal goal setting. Instead, many times these goals are derived from caregivers or a general idea of what success looks like for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Lee et al., 2022). In recent years, a feedback method called “goal attainment scaling” has gained popularity amongst researchers hoping to promote more individualized outcomes. Goal attainment scaling offers an opportunity to create personalized goals, develop a scoring system, and rating goal attainment later on. Research goals should be able to maintain standardization of results, which is one obstacle goal attainment scaling has worked to overcome. Other literature on goal setting will also be reviewed in order to gain a stronger understanding of the current options available to researchers. Specifically, studies that have helped children and families assess quality of life related goals will be reviewed more. This literature review will seek to inform the modification of goal setting strategies related to sleep goals amongst children with ASD. Additionally, this review will seek to provide better strategies for helping younger children with ASD communicate about their sleep in an accessible and age-appropriate manner. 


B-09     Bentley Parnell

Research Collaborators:  Emily Abel, Jade House, Taylor Esworthy

Research Presentation Title:  Literature Review: Assessing Communication Skills and Modalities Present in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder during Sleep and Sleep Routines

Faculty Research Mentor:  Emily Abel, Human Development and Family Science


1 in 36 children are currently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; CDC, 2023). Children with ASD communicate in diverse ways, such as verbal cues, gestures, or using assistive technology, and often require additional support to express their wants and needs. Sleep is an important context to assess children's communication because it is likely to influence interactions with their environment (e.g., caregivers) and ultimately the quality and quantity of their sleep. Assessing communication is especially relevant for children with ASD since they are known to experience sleep problems like difficulty falling asleep and night wakings (Botting, 2017). However, to our knowledge, there are no existing methods for assessing communication specifically within the context of sleep. In my literature review, I aim to analyze the assessment and observation methods used to measure communication skills and modalities for children, focusing on methods that can capture the communication diversity present in ASD. This literature review will inform how communication behaviors surrounding sleep can be assessed and ultimately guide my development of a coding scheme to assess communication during sleep for children with ASD. During sleep routines, children communicate in a variety of ways including vocalizations, gestures, movements, and sleep-talking. For example, these communicative behaviors may be used as strategies for self-soothing or requests for help. Assessing these communication outlets can help provide a picture of a child’s communication habits and capacities and can be used to identify additional factors that influence sleep. Researchers can use video recordings to assess children in a naturalistic environment, and code for specific behaviors to assess their skills and abilities (Delehanty, 2021). Based on my literature review, I will present information on types of communication assessments for children, focused on assessments specific to children with ASD. I will then present how these assessments can be implemented in examining communication behaviors during sleep routines that I will later code from videos of children’s sleep among children with ASD.  


B-10     Ella Hamby, Taylor Carson

Research Collaborators:  Research Collaborators:  Chloe Stephenson, Jordan Shuler, Braile Rust, Callie Scott, Dru Cochran, Katey Masri

Research Presentation Title:  Co-parenting programs: What works and what we need

Faculty Research Mentor:  Ronald Cox, Human Development and Family Science


Children often experience monumental difficulties during the early years of their parents’ transition from a partnered relationship to a separated parenting context. High conflict divorce is associated with a variety of negative consequences for child emotional, behavioral, and academic development. Furthermore, these relationships may strain the wellbeing of the parents involved. To aid these families, co-parenting courses are offered to many parents across multiple states to improve the post-divorce parenting relationship. Research on the effectiveness of co-parenting programs has established positive links between program participation and both child and parent wellbeing. On the other hand, psychoeducational programming in general often are associated with small effect sizes or contain gaps in meeting the needs of families with complex challenges. Our research is centered on understanding what benefits parents, and what programs may need more of. Data for the present analysis was gathered from participants of the Co-Parenting for Resilience program offered in many counties across Oklahoma. To understand this, we analyzed parent responses to two prompts, “What parts of the class did you find most useful/helpful as you move forward in your co-parenting relationship?” and “I want to learn more about.” Thematic analysis procedures were utilized to develop an understanding of common themes of participant experiences and opinions. Among the themes of what participants found the most beneficial from the course were the following: (a) General communication strategies, (b) parenting styles, (c) executive control and survival responses, (d) emotionally responsive parenting, (e) strategies to improve the co-parenting relationship between. When asked what they want to learn more about, the common themes were: (a) Being emotionally present for your child, (b) being attuned to children’s emotions, (c) effectively managing relationships with a co-parent, (d) collaborating successfully with co-parent, (e) how to approach co-parenting in a context where emotional abuse has been involved. Together, these themes illustrate some of what participants experience as particularly effective and can guide the development of future programs to better aid a broader range of families. 


B-11     Carlee Smith

Research Collaborators:  Viktoria Papp, Michael Fitzgerald

Research Presentation Title:  Implications of Sibling Perpetrated Abuse in Childhood on Adult Mental Health among Dizygotic Twins: Contemporary Family Strain as a Moderator

Faculty Research Mentor:  Michael Fitzgerald, Human Development and Family Science


Why the most common form of childhood abuse is also the most understudied remains puzzling. Sibling abuse is characterized by physical, emotional, and sexual aggression towards another child in the home. Sibling abuse remains overlooked and understudied due to caregivers viewing sibling abuse as sibling rivalry (Philips et al., 2018). Sibling abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse in families (Rypi, 2023) with research indicating that over 22 million children are abused by a sibling each year (Finkelhor et al., 2005). Sibling relationships are the longest and most enduring relationship and sibling abuse in childhood may contribute to familial relationships across the lifespan. Of consequence, greater sibling abuse and more negative contemporary familial can help explain the higher mental health problems among those who experienced child abuse. Research has shown that social relationships both mediate and moderate the association between childhood abuse and adult mental health (Fitzgerald et al., 2020; Whiffen et al., 2000), but few have compared findings. We tested family support and strain as mediators and moderators of the relationship between sibling abuse and negative affect. The sample contained dizygotic twins (n = 221), to ascertain gender differences and used two waves of data from Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) spaced approximately 9 years apart. Using the actor-partner interdependence model, we first tested moderation. Results indicated that regarding female twins, brother perpetrated abuse in childhood was not a significant predictor in negative affect (b = .16, SE = .09, p = .06) and neither were female perceptions of familial strain (b = .58, SE = .37, p = .11), but the interaction between them was significant (b = .59, SE = .27, p = .03) in the prediction of the female twin’s negative affect. No other main effects or interactions were significant. We found no evidence of support or strain meditating sibling abuse, and negative affect. Results indicate that women’s mental health is negatively impacted by their male twin’s experience of sister abuse in childhood and greater family strain according to males. Women may play a more central family role during times of family stress, which may increase negative affect. Discussion of family boundaries and women’s roles may be particularly helpful in working with family strain.


B-12     Claire Anderson, Bella Panganiban 

Research Collaborators:  Elizabeth Hinckley, Kristen Fields Creech, Karina Sheffler, Lucia Ciciolla

Research Presentation Title:  Differences in Postpartum Depressive Symptoms Among Women with a History of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Faculty Research Mentor:  Lucia Ciciolla, Psychology


BACKGROUND: Literature suggests that exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increases the risk of developing mental health disorders (Merrick et al., 2017). Biological and environmental changes that occur during the perinatal period also contribute to increased vulnerability of experiencing mental health problems (O’Hara, 2014), especially postpartum depression (Toohey, 2012). Research has shown that experiencing ACEs also increases pregnant people’s likelihood of developing postpartum depression (McDonnell & Valentino, 2016), and prolongs the time postpartum depressive symptoms persist (Racine et al., 2021). The current study examines the relationship between postpartum depressive symptoms and high, medium, and low ACEs. 

 METHODS: Participants included 125 pregnant individuals (39.5% white) recruited during pregnancy. During their first trimester, mothers completed the Adverse Childhood Experiences Short-Form Questionnaire (Felitti et al., 1998) and provided demographic information. At 6-weeks postpartum, they also completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (Radloff, 1977).  RESULTS: Preliminary analyses revealed a positive correlation between ACEs and postpartum depressive symptoms (r = .25). A one-way ANOVA was then conducted to examine mean level differences in depressive symptoms among participants with low, medium, and high ACEs. Results indicated a significant effect of ACEs on postpartum depressive symptoms [F(2, 124) = 5.24, p = .007]; mothers who reported low ACEs in childhood reported fewer depressive symptoms postpartum (M = 11.89) compared to participants with moderate (M = 17.41) or high (M = 16.90) ACEs.  CONCLUSION: These results suggest that pregnant people with more ACEs are at greater risk of experiencing depressive symptoms postpartum. Findings also suggest that there may be a threshold number of ACEs that significantly influence postpartum depressive symptoms given there was no significant difference in depressive scores between women with moderate and high ACEs. Given postpartum depression is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorder during the postpartum period (Rai et al., 2015), a better understanding of risk factors is imperative. Clinically, these findings suggest that screening for ACEs may help identify pregnant people who might benefit from early interventions aiming to prevent or treat postpartum depression. Future research might explore whether certain types of ACEs are more salient predictors of postpartum depression than others. 


B-13     Gabby Baker

Research Collaborators:  Julia Hurwitz

Research Presentation Title:  Everybody Talks: Co-rumination in Romantic Relationships

Faculty Research Mentor:  Jennifer Byrd-Craven, Psychology


Previous literature on co-rumination, the discussion or revisitation of problems or negative feelings with another person, has shown a higher prevalence amongst women in same-sex friendships than men in same-sex friendships, with women also reporting higher relationship satisfaction as well. However, it is not known whether these same patterns of co-rumination would emerge within romantic relationships. The current research examines possible correlates of co-rumination such as age, relationship length, and sexual orientation, as well as any sex differences in the perceived prevalence of co-rumination within romantic relationships. Results showed a higher reported prevalence of co-rumination among men than women, conflicting with previous literature on the subject. These findings might suggest that men are over-estimating the amount of co-rumination they experience within their romantic relationships.  


B-14     Anna Denson

Research Presentation Title:  Artificial Intelligence: Friend or Foe?

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sarah Hollingsworth, Psychology


As a member of the human race, today’s technological advancements are astounding. The reach in which we can connect with one another, the simplification of complex tasks, the facilitation of learning about the great wide world around us - what a time to be alive! While there are many benefits to these great strides, a few notable issues arise to meet them. One being our comfort in relying on artificial intelligence to determine vital aspects of our lives and the formulation of public policy is becoming more concerning. The more neutralized society becomes in accepting artificial intelligence assistance in place of effort, the closer it gets to losing sight of garnering the fruits of their labor. The research presented within this document begins by inspecting the concept of artificial intelligence, diverting focus upon answering how artificial intelligence influences the American public through means of persuasive speech and presentation - cognitive dissonance theory and with the help of media frameworks found in agenda setting theory. Next, it examines how ethical and moral the use of artificial intelligence is and what this means in the grand scheme of allowing it to develop a conscience. Additionally, a data analysis of current awareness as to the degree to which society is knowledgeable of artificial intelligence’s updated grasp on day-to-day operations is included within the text. The presented argument is against the morality of utilizing artificial intelligence in regards to policy formation directed towards the American people. Ignorance is bliss until you have given fundamental rights of life and liberty to apathetic technological machines with both of your hands, losing everything you have and everything you are.   


B-15     Withdrawn


B-16     Emma Enlow

Research Presentation Title:  The Letter to Mrs. Bixby Used for Agenda Setting?

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sarah Hollingsworth, Psychology


Have you ever received a handwritten letter from the U.S. President? If you did, would you have it published? Or even put it on your Facebook? If you are on the fence, think about the implications of having something like this, put it in the media. My research on whether the Letter to Mrs. Bixby was used to achieve agenda setting and may give insight to the outcomes of publishing letters. One of the main reasons being the conspiracy that has become of this letter, some believe it was not written by Lincoln himself despite being signed by him. This conspiracy is what has driven me to research it via the lens of agenda setting because if it were to have been written by a secretary, was it written with the knowledge the widow would have it published? This is one of the two conspiracy questions that are driving my research for this paper. I also have a personal tie to this research as Lincoln has always intrigued me as he held office during a turbulent time in American history. The research questions this paper answers are whether Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby was used for agenda setting during the Civil War. The topic of my paper is centered around The Letter to Mrs. Bixby and how it was or was not used for agenda setting. This paper determines if the letter to Mrs. Bixby was written for agenda setting and if so, how it was used to agenda set. In this paper, I argue that the letter to Mrs. Bixby was not written for agenda setting. I answer these questions via a literature analysis looking at both the letter and publishing of the letter within newspapers. As well as supplementing with historical accounts from that period. 


B-17     Emily Files, Harley Handle

Research Collaborators:  Katherine Hein, Shakur Dennis, Logan Folger, Neil Meyer, Stephanie Mullins-Sweatt

Research Presentation Title:  Navigating the Self: A Correlational Analysis of Identity Integration, Lack of Meaning, Purpose, Direction, and General Personality Traits.

Faculty Research Mentor:  Stephanie Mullins-Sweatt, Psychology


Purpose / Background: Finding meaning, purpose, and direction are key factors in the development of one's identity. Identity is commonly described as a collection of beliefs individuals hold about themselves, their perspectives on those around them, and their perceptions of the world (Van der Hallen et al., 2023). Previous research (Bogaerts et al., 2021) has found that lack of identity is negatively associated with traits of extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness and positively associated with neuroticism. The goal of this study is to examine how identity integration and lack of meaning, purpose, and direction are related to the general personality traits of conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, openness, and neuroticism.   

Methods: Participants in the current study (n = 358) were part of a larger study and were over-sampled for individuals with borderline personality disorder. Participants had a mean age of 19.28 (SD = 1.86) and were predominantly female (78.6%) and White (80.7%). Measures include a measure of the five factor model of personality (IPIP-120; Maples, Guan, Carter, & Miller, 2014), a personality pathology measure (GAPD; Livesly, 2006), and a maladaptive personality measure (SIPP-118; Verheul et al., 2008). Results:   

We will examine the correlations of the five higher-order factors in the IPIP-NEO-120 (e.g., conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, openness, and neuroticism), the identity integration domain of the SIPP-118, with the lack of meaning, purpose, and direction facet of the GAPD self-pathology scale. We hypothesize there will be a positive correlation between neuroticism with the lack of meaning, purpose, and direction facet. We also predict positive correlations between identity integration and extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.  Implications: This research may provide more information on understanding the intricate connections between identity integration, existential factors, and general personality. Additionally, these results may be helpful in clinical settings for those who feel a lack of meaning, purpose, and direction and struggle with identity integration.  


B-18     Bailey Holcomb

Research Collaborators:  Alexandra Blair, Cassidy Armstrong, Katherina Arteaga, Ashley Cole

Research Presentation Title:  Caregivers' perceptions of their child's financial concerns predict caregiver stress during COVID-19

Faculty Research Mentor:  Ashley Cole, Ph.D, Psychology


Background: The global COVID-19 pandemic introduced high levels of uncertainty and instability (e.g., employment, finances, health) for many individuals, particularly among Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). Many BIPOC individuals have continued to experience disproportionately high risks for contracting COVID-19, poorer health outcomes, and greater resource losses (e.g., income, employment, and food security). These COVID-19 stressors have also contributed to many mental health concerns among caregivers overall, particularly when regarding their children and financial concerns to adequately provide for their children. The aim of this study is to examines caregivers’ perceptions of their child’s financial concerns during COVID-19, how these concerns may relate to caregiver stress, and whether this relation differs depending on caregivers’ biological sex. Method: The sample was drawn from a larger study, “Impact of Coronavirus on Parenting Experiences (I-COPE).” The sub-sample includes 219 caregivers who completed online questionnaires through Prolific, an online participant pool. Caregivers answered questions about stress and COVID-19 impacts on employment/income and access to food and health care. Results: The overall moderation model examining the main effects of caregivers’ perceptions of their child’s financial concerns on caregivers’ stress was statistically significant (R2=.1799, p <.001). Perceptions of their child’s financial concerns on caregivers’ stress were also significant (B = .391, p< .001, CI: .206-.576). However, the interaction between perceived stress and caregiver sex was not statistically significant, indicating perceptions of their child’s financial concerns on caregivers’ stress did not change by caregiver sex. Conclusions: While the interaction between perceived stress and caregiver sex was not statistically significant, it is still important to understand how caregivers’ perceptions of their child’s financial concerns play a role in caregivers’ mental health during COVID-19. Current findings, along with other recent findings, indicate interventions are needed for caregivers who have experienced resource losses (e.g., employment/income) and negative mental health outcomes during COVID-19. Having social support and open communication with their children seem necessary to improve mental health and relationships. 


B-19     Molly Humes

Research Collaborators:  Kayla Wagler

Research Presentation Title:  Impact of Stressful and Discriminatory Experiences in Healthcare on Health-Seeking Attitudes and Behaviors

Faculty Research Mentor:  Tony Wells, Psychology


The purpose of this study is to examine how discrimination toward LGBTQ+ college students occurring in healthcare settings impacts help-seeking behaviors and attitudes toward psychological and physical healthcare, treatment and medication adherence, and mental health outcomes in college students. We will recruit participants using the SONA system and have participants complete a survey through Qualtrics. Currently, there is a lack of research on how discriminatory experiences in healthcare impact an LGBTQ+ individuals' help-seeking behaviors and attitudes. This study will examine the behaviors and attitudes towards both psychological and physical healthcare. This study hopes to provide a framework for continued research in this context. Additionally, this study hopes to continue to explore relationships between discrimination in healthcare and treatment, medication adherence, and medical mistrust. 


B-20     Mason Lee

Research Collaborators:  Funke Benson, Vanessa Oliphant, LaRicka Wingate

Research Presentation Title:  Examining Black Women's Use of Culturally Unique Coping Strategies

Faculty Research Mentor:  LaRicka Wingate, Psychology


Further research is needed to investigate African Americans' mental health from a purposefully African-centered approach. As a result, the current study used an African centered assessment to examine the extent to which Black women use unique coping methods. The Africultural Coping Systems Inventory (ACSI) was used to assess Black women's usage of collective coping, spiritual coping, ritual coping, and cognitive emotional debriefing. The ACSI measure was completed by 282 cisgender women who identified as African American or Black. Following the survey, the results revealed that Black women in the sample were less likely to use ritual-centered coping (M = 1.54, SD = 2.07), and more likely to use cognitive emotional debriefing (M = 12.04, SD = 8.46), and more likely to use spiritual-centered (M = 7.40, SD = 6.07) and collective coping (M = 7.39, SD = 5.83). Finally, this study has implications for African American women's health and well-being since it indicates how effective coping strategies can benefit Black women's mental health and well-being. 


B-21     Haizhen Li

Research Collaborators:  Maria Andrea Hurtado Morales

Research Presentation Title:  Roles of Mental Imagery Quality and Inner Speech Frequency in L2 Proficiency

Faculty Research Mentor:  Shelia Kennison, Psychology


This research examined whether individual differences in mental imagery and inner speech would be related to self-reported L1 and L2 ability. Few studies have investigated this relationship between mental imagery and L2 proficiency. We tested the hypothesis that those reporting higher levels of mental imagery quality would report higher levels of second language proficiency. We also tested the hypothesis that those with more frequent inner speech experiences would report higher levels of proficiency in L2. Prior studies indicate that bilinguals experience less vivid mental imagery in their second language (L2) compared to their first language (L1), potentially influencing decision-making processes (Hawakaya & Keysar, 2018). Our study aimed to further investigate this phenomenon by examining if individual variations in mental imagery and inner speech correlate with self-reported L1 and L2 abilities. We assessed mental imagery vividness using the VIVQ-2 (Marks, 1995) and inner speech frequency with the VISQ-R (Alderson-Day et al., 2018) in a sample of 297 undergraduates (208 women, 82 men, 7 other who had studied an L2 for at least one semester. Participants self-reported their L1 and L2 proficiencies across four domains: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Our findings reveal that higher mental imagery quality is associated with better self-reported proficiency in L1 across all domains and in L2 speaking, listening, and writing, after accounting for Reynolds (1982) social desirability and L2 study duration. Conversely, more frequent inner speech, particularly in dialogues and involving others, correlates with enhanced L2 proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing, but less frequent inner speech is linked to higher L1 speaking and listening abilities. These results suggest that cognitive processing differences, such as mental imagery and inner speech, play a significant role in language acquisition and proficiency. Future research should delve into how these cognitive factors influence language learning and the potential mechanisms behind the observed relationships. 


B-22     Sage Murry

Research Collaborators:  Jennifer Watrous

Research Presentation Title:  Maternal Stress and Toddler Outcomes

Faculty Research Mentor:  Amanda Morris, Psychology


Introduction: Parents are known to have a large influence on their child’s outcomes, such as behaviors, cognitions, and emotions. Researchers have studied the effects of parenting stress on these outcomes. Previous studies show that higher levels of parenting stress lead to negative outcomes for the child. This investigation focuses on the relationship of maternal stress and early child development. Aims: The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between maternal stress and toddler social and emotional outcomes. 

Methods: Mothers participating in a parenting program were asked to complete measures of parenting stress and infant-toddler social emotional status. Seventy-six welfare eligible mothers of toddlers (56.6% female, Mage =14.7 months, SD=2.4) completed the Parenting Stress Index (PSI; Abidin, 2012), which was used to measure parenting stress, and the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSE; Briggs-Gowan et al., 2004), which was used to assess the toddlers’ problems and social competence. Lower scores on the PSI indicate the parent feels more competent and less stress. Higher scores on the BITSE indicate more problems and greater competence in their respective scales.

Results: Parenting stress was significantly associated with toddler total problems (r=.194, p=.047) and toddler total competence (r=-.215, p=.031) in expected directions. Linear regressions were performed to examine the relationship between parenting stress and toddler’s socioemotional problems and competence. The first model revealed no significant findings (F (7, 68) =1.81, p=.100) between parenting stress and the BITSE problems scale. Parenting stress, along with covariates of child gender, age, and parental education, was a significant predictor of toddlers’ competence (F (7, 68) =2.17, p=.048). A one unit increase in parent stress is associated with a decrease in toddler competence (b=-.110, p=.083), holding other variables constant. 

Conclusion: These results show that as maternal stress increases toddler social emotional competence decreases. This highlights the impact that parental stress has on children and shows how early these effects can occur. These findings are useful to help better understand the development of children in high stress environments. 


B-23     Colton Payne, William Salts, Brendon Blake, Rachel Justice

Research Collaborators:  Charles Abramson

Research Presentation Title:  Habituation of Bioluminescent Algae

Faculty Research Mentor:  Charles Abramson, Psychology


Some species of algae are capable of emitting light through a process called bioluminescence. There exists very minimal research into how these bioluminescent algae habituate, if any. What is even more interesting is the significant lack of data detailing the amount of bioluminescent light they emit. They do not require extensive survival capabilities as they tend to be stagnant in nature, depending heavily on outer forces to influence their illuminance; their simplicity makes the idea of habituation especially compelling as it would show that even the most primitive creatures are capable of learning. Motivated by a desire to fill this void in academic literature, we conducted a basic habituation experiment by applying a stimulus to the algae in the form of short bursts from an air pump into their water. This stimulus was applied until the algae displayed habituation by consistently showing no responses to the air pump.  We also tested algae’s ability to learn through alpha conditioning, a process through which the algae is conditioned to respond to a weak air puff followed by a strong air puff, and vice versa. Results revealed that bioluminescent algae are capable of learning through habituation. However, results from alpha conditioning were inconclusive. 


B-24     Audrey Ramm

Research Collaborators:  Kristin Fields Creech 

Research Presentation Title:  Differences in Empathy Among College Students with Varying Levels of Protective and Compensatory Experiences

Faculty Research Mentor:  Lucia Ciciolla, Psychology


Background. Protective and Compensatory Experiences (PACEs) are positive aspects of childhood such as unconditional love from a caregiver, social support outside of the family, having enough resources to live comfortably, and participating in social groups/sports (Morris et al., 2018). PACEs are related to long-term well-being, including reducing the risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes (Huang et al., 2023) and promoting adult relational health (Bethell et al., 2019). Similarly, empathy has also been shown to play an important role in promoting positive relationships and prosocial behaviors (Yin & Wang, 2023). In turn, prosocial behaviors have been associated with better health outcomes and health behaviors (Peacock, 2020). As both positive early childhood experiences and empathy have been linked to better overall functioning in young adults, it is important to explore how these two variables may be related. The present study examines the association between PACEs and empathy in a sample of young adult college students.  Methods. Seven hundred and thirty-three undergraduate students from a large university were recruited using an online research system (SONA). Participants completed the Protective and Compensatory Experiences measure to assess for early positive childhood experiences (PACEs; Morris et al., 2018). Number of PACEs were categorized into low (0-6 PACEs), moderate (7-8 PACEs), and high (9-10 PACEs) groups based on sample average. Participants also completed the Empathy Quotient Measure to assess levels of empathy (EQ; Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004).  Results. The study results suggest a positive association between PACEs and empathy (r=.31, p<.001).  Moreover, results of an ANOVA showed mean differences in empathy level among students with low, moderate, and high PACEs, F(2, 730) = 32.12, p<.001. Participants with low PACEs reported lower levels of empathy (M=38.6) compared to participants with moderate (M=42.98) and high PACEs (M=46.2). Conclusion. Results suggest a positive relationship between protective and compensatory childhood experiences and empathy, such that participants with more PACEs reported higher levels of empathy. This study supports previous reports that PACEs and early relationships with caregivers may play an important role in how children develop empathy (Yoo, Feng, & Day, 2013). Future work should explore the impact of different types of PACEs on empathy as well as the importance of developmental timing for promoting the development of empathy. Additionally, interventions aiming to promote empathy within college students may be particularly important for those with fewer protective experiences in childhood and may help promote prosocial behaviors (Weisz, 2021). 


B-25     Laney Sims

Research Presentation Title:  Marijuana Use Among College Students: Personality Traits, Motives, and Consequences

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sheila Kennison, Psychology


Marijuana legalization in the United States has led to a surge in usage, raising concerns about potential harms. Oklahoma saw the legalization of medical marijuana in 2018 yet rejected broader legalization 2022. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicate a large prevalence of marijuana use in individuals aged 18-25 in Oklahoma, surpassing neighboring states (SAMHSA, 2023). Traditional college students aged 18-24 contribute significantly to this trend. High marijuana use can potentially lead to Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) with previous studies indicating that coping motives increase risk for CUD (Naegele et al., 2022). Our research examines marijuana use among college students, focusing on motives, consequences, and personality traits and their correlation with usage frequency and CUD risk. We recruited students through the department of psychology SONA system to participate with our self-report questionnaire. Our analysis revealed a positive correlation between frequency of use and CAGE-AID scores. CAGE-AID scores ≥ 2 indicate risk for CUD. Additionally, higher consequences, assessed by the Marijuana Consequences Questionnaire (MACQ), correlated with increased CAGE-AID scores and usage frequency. Coping (mood) motives were also associated with higher CAGE-AID scores. Personality traits examined were the Big Five (i.e., openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) and sensation-seeking. Prior research has shown that higher rates of substance use are related to higher levels of sensation seeking personality traits (Parnes et al., 2024) and mood instability (Dash et al., 2023). In our sample of 83 participants (64 women, 18 men, 1 other), the results showed that 1/3 were using marijuana daily with 21% using multiple times a day. The results also indicated a negative correlation between extraversion and social coping strategies. Introverted participants were more likely to use marijuana to improve social interaction. Participants scoring high on sensation seeking scored higher on “activity” motives. Our study shows the complex relationship between motives, consequences, personality traits, and marijuana use among college students. These insights are critical for informing targeted interventions aimed at mitigating problematic marijuana use and reducing associated risks of CUD. 


B-26     Izabella Skinner

Research Collaborators:  Angela Andrade

Research Presentation Title:  Racial Ambiguity: Preferences, Perceptions, and Prejudice Towards Those Who are Beyond Racial Group Boundaries.

Faculty Research Mentor:  Angela Andrade, Psychology


The United States of America has had a long history of discrimination against people of color. With past legislation such as the “one drop rule,” mixed race individuals have also faced similar levels of prejudice and discrimination to their monoracial minority counterparts. Currently, biracial and multiracial populations have been growing at an exponential rate since the U.S. Census began allowing respondents to select multiple races. This research attempts to add to the current literature by investigating how the majority group (Caucasian) perceives and judges racially ambiguous individuals of a multitude of different racial makeups to provide more generalizable evidence of the treatment of multiracial individuals in America by asking 1) Does the majority group judge racially ambiguous/multiracial individuals based on racial stereotypes/ on a rule of hypodescent? 2) Does the majority group have better perceptions/ judgments of other majority group members than racially ambiguous/ multiracial individuals? To answer these questions, participants will complete an online survey consisting of various cognitive tasks and questionnaires to determine their perceptions of racially ambiguous individuals and see how the results compare to their judgments of Caucasians. It is predicted that the results will signify more positive perceptions of Caucasians than those whose racial makeup is not easily identifiable. The findings of this study will provide a more generalizable insight to the nuanced experiences of prejudice and discrimination that multiracial individuals of all backgrounds face, potentially leading to maladjustment and identity struggles.


B-27     Makiah Torres

Research Collaborators:  Cassidy Armstrong, Scarlett Dyer, Pao Moua, Adrianna Williams, River Riddle, Katherina Arteaga, Bee Ramezani, Ashley Cole

Research Presentation Title:  Trait Mindfulness as a Potential Protective Factor Against Depression Associated with Adverse Childhood Experiences among American Indian/Alaska Native Adults

Faculty Research Mentor:  Ashley Cole, Psychology


Background: American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Peoples experience the highest rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; e.g., abuse, neglect, household dysfunction) compared to all other racial/ethnic groups. ACEs are associated with many negative health outcomes in adulthood, including an increased likelihood of depression symptoms. ACEs may also reduce present-moment awareness, an important component of trait mindfulness, which can hinder optimal coping skills in adulthood. Previous research has indicated that incorporating mindfulness practices may help to mitigate negative effects of depression and depression-related symptoms resulting from contemporary trauma (e.g., ACEs) experienced by AI/AN Peoples. The present study investigates relations between trait mindfulness, ACEs, and depression symptoms, and it examines trait mindfulness as a potential moderator between ACEs and depression symptoms among AI/AN adults.  Method: Participants who self-identified as AI/AN and at least 18 years old (n = 216) were recruited from a large, Midwestern university and surrounding community. Participants completed an online survey to assess trait mindfulness, current depression symptoms, and ACEs. Pearson bivariate correlations and moderation analyses were used to examine the study aims. Results: Results indicated that trait mindfulness was significantly negatively associated with ACEs (r=-.27, p<.01) and significantly positively associated with depression symptoms (r=.45, p<.01). ACEs and depression symptoms were also significantly negatively associated (r= -.24, p<.01). Trait mindfulness was not found to be a significant moderator of the relation between ACEs and current depression symptoms; however, results of the moderation analysis indicated that the overall model was significant, F(3, 212)=19.73, p<.001, and explained 21.8% of the variance in predicting current depression symptoms.  Conclusions: This study examined the relations between trait mindfulness, ACEs, and depression symptoms among AI/AN adults. A potential explanation for null findings is that neither measure for ACEs nor depression symptoms was developed with an AI/AN sample. Improved measure development is necessary for AI/AN Peoples. Future research should separately examine the five subscales of trait mindfulness (i.e., observe, describe, aware, nonreactivity, non-judgment) as potential moderators, as well as examine specific ACEs domains, to further elucidate relations between these variables and inform future prevention and intervention efforts.


B-28     Ava Unruh-Dawes, Audrey Garner

Research Collaborators:  Shelia Kennison

Research Presentation Title:  Talking to Yourself: The Effects of Inner Speech on Academic Performance

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sheila Kennison, Psychology


Talking to Yourself: The Effects of Inner Speech on Academic Performance

Inner speech is defined as covert speech, verbal thinking, or “talking to yourself in your head”. For many people inner speech is a day-to-day experience. Some people may not experience it all and others may experience inner speech in certain situations. Different types of inner speech are prevalent including dialogically (back-and-forth conversation) evaluative/motivational, other people in speech, and condensation (abbreviations); the frequency or prevalence of the type of speech depends on individual differences (Tekalign et al., 2023). Previous research displays the impact of inner speech on cognitive and behavioral self-regulation, and research continues to study the influences of verbal thinking. There is no present research on the influences of inner speech on academic ability, but studies show the importance of self-talk in correlation with mental processes. The present study hypothesizes that different levels of inner speech affect academic performance and memorization, meaning the spectrum of inner speech ranging from high to low the better or worse academic performance is. Participants will be recruited from the Department of Psychology SONA system. Participants will be asked to answer a self-report survey from the “Varieties of Inner Speech Questionnaire” (VISQ) (Alderdon-day et al., 2018) containing questions figuring out their levels of inner speech. Participants will self-report GPA, current grades, how they feel about different school subjects, and how their classes are going. To further test academics a survey will be given to participants to report academic performance, any noted learning disabilities, neurodivergency, and any university educational accommodations. To test memorization we will give participants either a task or a survey. If the present study finds that higher levels of inner speech correlate with higher academic performance then it shows that verbal thinking improves mental processes and learning. If lower levels of inner speech correlate with lower academic performance then the study shows that verbal thinking and mental processes are a vital part of learning. In the instance there is no correlation between inner speech and academic performance it shows that inner speech is not related and that another factor is vital to academic performance. 


B-29     Corbin Woosley

Research Collaborators:  Kara Kerr

Research Presentation Title:  Does cannabis usage have a persistent effect on cognition?

Faculty Research Mentor:  Kara Kerr, Psychology


Cannabis use is becoming more common due to changing laws allowing for recreational and medicinal use. It is well-known that cannabis use can cause an immediate impairment in cognition. Research findings regarding persistent effects following acute intoxication are mixed, however, and often focus on individuals with chronic cannabis use disorder. The current study sought to examine in a community sample whether there are lasting effects of cannabis use that could influence neurocognition. Participants (78.6% female, 17.9% male, 3.6% non-binary, from ages: 22-59), as part of a separate and larger study, completed the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (Weintraub et al., 2013) and a urine drug screen. A two-tailed independent t-test was performed to determine whether individuals who tested positive for cannabis at the time of testing (n=26, M=55.38, SD=10.90) scored better or worse on the Total Cognition Composite score than individuals who did not test positive for cannabis at the time of testing (n=30, M=52.13, SD=10.63). Results revealed that there was no statistically significant difference in cognitive performance between groups (t(54)= -1.128, p=0.264). An advantage of this method is that drug usage was not self-reported but rather determined via a urine screen. While the results of the t-test were not significant, we plan to conduct exploratory analyses examining subscale scores to reveal if there may be impairments to specific aspects of cognition, as well as examining self-reported drug use via a timeline follow-back method to look at recency of use. These exploratory analyses may provide more insight into this issue. 


B-30     Abigail Emerson

Research Collaborators:  Sarah Hollingsworth

Research Presentation Title:  The American Illusion of Justice: A Critical Examination of False Confessions and Compliance

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sarah Hollingsworth, Psychology


In Oklahoma, 993 per 100,000 people are incarcerated; this rate is higher than that of any democracy in the world.1 What these statistics do not communicate are the unique stories of victims and accused, which better illuminate the fallibility of our criminal justice system. Systemic failures from within the system are perhaps best emphasized by wrongful convictions, which the U.S. Supreme Court all “the leading causes of wrongful convictions.”2 The shockingly high rates of incarceration in the U.S. may be augmented by the induced false confessions that lead to guaranteed convictions. Broadly, I will review the psychological approaches of interrogatories used in the United States, particularly those that lend themselves to false confessions. These will be highlighted with a case study, which may provide further context of individual factors and susceptibility. Examining a specific false confession case will clarify how certain susceptible groups are at risk. More specifically, I intend to review psychological theories, studies, and frameworks, like the theory of cognitive dissonance, compliance framework, cumulative-disadvantage framework, and the reality monitoring framework, all of which compound the likelihood of compelling vulnerable individuals and groups to confess.3 Within this, I will analyze how the investigators acquired the confession and how this affects a suspect psychologically (i.e. increased cognitive dissonance). I plan to highlight Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot's false confessions and analyze their case within the context of compliance and confessions. Finally, I will discuss the broader implications and conclusions to be drawn from the injustices of wrongful incarceration based on false confessions. 


B-31     Lj Johnson

Research Collaborators:  Vanessa Oliphant, Funke Benson, LaRicka Wingate

Research Presentation Title:  Interpersonal Theory of Suicide and the Moderating Effects of Coping Among Black Women

Faculty Research Mentor:  LaRicka Wingate, Psychology


There is a need for greater emphasis to be placed on the lived experiences of Black women in psychological research, more specifically Black women’s experiences with suicide ideation. Prior research indicates an increase in suicide ideation among Black women and girls. The current study aims to evaluate Black women’s implementation of culturally specific ways of coping (i.e., Africultrual coping skills) to pinpoint protective strategies against the interpersonal suicide risk factors (i.e., thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness).  Ninety-nine (Mage = 23) cisgender African American/Black women were surveyed, and results indicated that spiritual centered coping both significantly and negatively moderated the relationship between perceived burdensomeness and suicide ideation (B = -0.0046, t = -2.29, p = 02., 95% CI [-.0085, -.0006]). Additionally, ritual centered coping significantly and negatively moderated the relationship between perceived burdensomeness and suicide ideation (B = -.009, t = -2.05, p = .04, 95% CI 

[-.0179, -.0003]). Findings suggest that spiritual and ritual centered coping can be protective strategies for Black women by weakening the relationship between suicide ideation and the interpersonal suicide risk factor; perceived burdensomeness.


B-32     Yana Jones

Research Collaborators:  Funke Benson, Vanessa Oliphant, Laricka Wingate

Research Presentation Title:  Hope as a Protective Factor Against Defeat and Entrapment among Black Women

Faculty Research Mentor:  Laricka Wingate, Psychology


Due to previous racial constraints within the mental health field, there is insubstantial research on mental health disparities within the Black community, specifically Black women. Statistics have shown that despite the disparities Black women face that affect their mental health, suicide death rates among this demographic are much lower compared to counterparts of differing racial backgrounds. This study examined the feelings of defeat and entrapment and aimed to investigate how hope alters the connection between defeat and entrapment in Black women. A sample of 266 (Mage = 33.4) cisgender African American/Black women were observed. The study’s findings indicated that hope weakened the relationship between defeat and entrapment. These findings indicate that hope functions as a line of defense by weakening the connection between defeat and entrapment.  


B-33     Colin McSperitt

Research Collaborators:  Krystal Duarte

Research Presentation Title:  Are Opposite-Sex Friends a Mating Threat?

Faculty Research Mentor:  Jennifer Byrd-Craven, Psychology


Opposite-sex friends can offer great insights for potential partners, but they can also spark jealousy for those already in committed relationships. Research indicates that opposite-sex friends often share traits that make them attractive candidates for mate switching, as they can also be seen in preferred mates (Buss et al., 2016). However, the extent to which this causes distress remains under-explored. In the current study, we examined 249 participants (M: 205 F: 44) to assess: a.) the perceived desirability of potential partners with opposite-sex best friends, and b.) whether jealousy levels in men and women correlate with the degree of alignment between the mate preferences of their opposite-sex best friends. 


B-34     Rachel Miller

Research Collaborators:  Shelia Kennison

Research Presentation Title:  A Study of Resilience and College Satisfaction for Students with Concussion History

Faculty Research Mentor:  Shelia Kennison, Psychology


The Research will investigate the factors related to resilience among college students who have experienced at least one concussion in the past (i.e., mild traumatic brain injury or mTBI). As the rates of concussion increase, we reasoned that increasing numbers of college students will have a concussion history. These students may experience difficulty during college, including taking longer to graduate (O’Brien et al., 2023). Other research by Wright et al. (2023) found that less than half of college students who sustained a traumatic brain injury had completed their education within the following five-year period. We plan to investigate individual differences in college satisfaction, life satisfaction, academic behaviors (e.g., time management behaviors, academic risk-taking, and course performance) and protective factors of resilience, which may help offset the negative outcomes related to experiencing mTBI. Resilience research suggests there are individual differences in how people persevere in the face of adversity (Masten, 2015). Greater resilience has been found to be related to protective factors (Ponce-Garcia et al., 2015), including social skills, social support, self/goal efficacy, and planning and prioritizing behaviors. Self/goal efficacy and planning/prioritizing behaviors relate to the cognitive demands associated with successful completion of college.  Social skills and social supports relate to the unique social demands during late adolescence. Most individuals begin college during adolescence, a period particularly associated with identity formation and peer relationships that foster a sense of belonging. We will also examine individual differences in variables related to resilience (e.g., emotional regulation and early childhood variables, such as relationships with parents during childhood) and variables related to trust in medical professionals and attitudes about their condition. In the planned study, we will test the hypothesis that for college students, the number of concussions in their past will be related to academic and personal challenges, making them vulnerable to not being satisfied with college, taking longer to complete their degrees or not completing their degrees. We will recruit approximately 200 participants from the SONA research pool in the Department of Psychology. 


B-35     Katie Nelson

Research Collaborators:  Shelia Kennison 

Research Presentation Title:  Emojis and the dark triad

Faculty Research Mentor:  Shelia Kennison, Psychology


The present study investigated how emoji usage relates to personalities, and specifically the Dark triad personality traits. The personalities of the dark triad possess characteristics that are considered socially aversive. The study aimed to measure emoji usage and categorize how reactions to stimuli (emoji usage) reflected the participants' motives and therefore reflected aspects they possess of the Dark Triad. The participants included men, women, and non-binary people.


B-36     Laila Ruf

Research Collaborators:  Ashley Quigley

Research Presentation Title:  The Association Between Maternal Prenatal Stress and Birth Satisfaction

Faculty Research Mentor:  Lucia Ciciolla, Psychology


Introduction: Birth satisfaction, or one’s satisfaction with the entire birthing experience, has been found to be associated with higher levels of postpartum depression (Kempe et al., 2020) and lower levels of bonding in the postpartum period (Seefeld et al., 2022). Much of the literature on birth satisfaction has focused on concurrent aspects of the birthing experiences, such as the care of the medical team and the birthing environment (Khalife-Ghaderi et al., 2021). However, few studies have examined other prenatal predictors not directly associated with the birthing experience, such as stress during pregnancy. Thus, the current study aims to examine the relationship between maternal prenatal stress and birth satisfaction.  Methods: Participants included 21 pregnant mothers assessed during their third trimester of pregnancy and again at 6-weeks postpartum. During pregnancy, mothers reported on experiences of stress over the past month (Perceived Stress Scale; Cohen et al., 1994). At 6 weeks postpartum, mothers again reported on their experienced of stress and reported their perceptions on the birthing experience (Birth Satisfaction Scale; Martin et al., 2011). Results: Preliminary correlational analysis suggested a positive correlation between mother-reported prenatal stress and birth satisfaction at 6-weeks postpartum (r= -.603, p < .001). Linear regression was used to further evaluate the relationship between prenatal perceived stress and maternal birth satisfaction while controlling for maternal education, race, and perceived stress at 6-weeks postpartum. The overall regression model accounted for 27.8% of the variability in birth satisfaction F(4,17) = 3.02, p < .05 and results indicated that lower levels of perceived stress during pregnancy were associated with higher levels of maternal birth satisfaction at 6 weeks postpartum, even when controlling for maternal education, race, and perceived stress at 6-weeks postpartum.  Conclusion: These results suggest the need to identify when pregnant women have high levels of stress, as perceived stress may contribute to complications in postpartum well-being in mothers (Seefield et al., 2024). By identifying expecting mothers with high levels of perceived stress, providers could give greater assistance and offer resources, including help to manage psychological stress and emotional support, which may help to reduce stress levels and associated postpartum risks.


B-37     Luke Whatley

Research Collaborators:  Krystal Durante

Research Presentation Title:  Self-Esteem and Romantic Jealousy

Faculty Research Mentor:  Jennifer Byrd Craven, Psychology


Jealousy between romantic partners can lead to insecurity in relationships. One source of jealousy may come from partners engaging in opposite sex friendships. The purpose of this study is to examine whether opposite-sex friendships are a source of jealousy and whether this is dependent on a partner’s self-esteem. A survey was done with participants from a Midwestern University with a sample size 249 participants (M: 205, W: 44 women). These participants answered questions regarding self-esteem and whether they would be jealous of their partner or potential partner having an opposite-sex friend.

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