The Journal of Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences - 2013

Volume 23

Table of Contents:

The Efficacy of Online Support Groups in Alleviating Symptoms of Anxiety in College Students: A Pilot Study
Kelly L. Lindsay
Pages 1-6 | Abstract

Social Activity, Negative Affect, and Argument Severity: Their Relationship as a Function of Age
Berta J. Summers and Shevaun D. Neupert
Pages 7-11 | Abstract

Assessing Physical Aggression and Physiological Arousal While Playing Violent Video Games
Tom Ford, Jonathan Catling, and Colin Price
Pages 12-16 | Abstract

Poly-Drug Substance Abuse Among Adolescent and College-Age Individuals: A Literature Review Examining Role of Trauma, Family Dynamics and Experience, and the Efficacy of Family Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment
Andrew L. Summerer
Pages 17-26 | Abstract

Validity of the Negative Self-Portrayal Scale
LuRita Boggs and Cynthia L. Turk
Pages 27-29 | Abstract

Personality and Social Interactions Among Online Gamers Versus Non-Gamers in Adolescence
Maureen Mahoney and Erin Leary
Pages 30-39 | Abstract

Affect and Cognitive Flexibility: Reversing Global-Local Processing Preferences
Allison Sleeman, Holly H. Schiffrin, Eric Zupko, Caitlyn Yantis, Elinor Tuhy, and Rebecca Groman
Pages 40-47 | Abstract

Do Positive and Negative Emotion Have a Symmetrical Effect on Creativity?
Caitlyn Yantis and Holly H. Schiffrin
Pages 48-54 | Abstract

The Emotional Self-Efficacy in Children with Autism and Comorbid Anxiety Disorders
Eric Chang and Sharon Hui
Pages 55-60 | Abstract

 


Abstracts:

The Efficacy of Online Support Groups in Alleviating Symptoms of Anxiety in College Students: A Pilot Study
Kelly L. Lindsay
Pages 1-6

The researcher conducted an experiment evaluating the efficacy of online support groups in alleviating the symptoms of stress in college students. Participants (n = 21) were divided into control (n = 12) and treatment (n = 9) groups. Students in the treatment group were asked to attend at least one of four online support group sessions. Findings regarding the time and treatment, F(1, 19) = .119, were not significant (p = .734), but the research revealed an influence of gender in that females reported experiencing significantly higher levels of anxiety when measured at a later time in the semester. Recommendations for future research include a larger sample size, a longer treatment time, and greater incentives for participants.  Back to Top


Social Activity, Negative Affect, and Argument Severity: Their Relationship as a Function of Age
Berta J. Summers and Shevaun D. Neupert
Pages 7-11

The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of social activities on affect as a function of age, and to ascertain the amount and direction of age differences in affect fluctuation and its role in perceived argument severity. Younger (M = 18.50 years) and older (M = 74.63 years) adults completed questionnaires assessing these variables over eight consecutive days. Results revealed a positive relationship between social activity and negative affect for younger adults but a negative relationship for older adults. Individuals with more social activity reported higher levels of argument severity. Younger adults reported higher levels of argument severity when they experienced high levels of negative affect while there was no relationship between these variables for older adults.  Back to Top


Assessing Physical Aggression and Physiological Arousal While Playing Violent Video Games
Tom Ford, Jonathan Catling, and Colin Price
Pages 12-16

The relationship between gender, behavioral traits, stress responses and aggression during computer game-play behavior was examined. Participants were assessed for aggressive traits using the Aggression Questionnaire. During game-play, stress responses were measured using galvanic skin response (GSR). Results indicated a significant difference between the measures of verbal and physical aggression for male and female participants. Female participants displayed lower levels of verbal and physical aggression than male participants. Further analysis showed that aggressive interaction, physical arousal, hostility, and both verbal and physical aggression were significantly positively correlated with anger. A significant correlation between verbal aggression and physical aggression was also observed. These results are discussed in relation to the use of trait measures as potential predictors of violent video game play.  Back to Top


Poly-Drug Substance Abuse Among Adolescent and College-Age Individuals: A Literature Review Examining Role of Trauma, Family Dynamics and Experience, and the Efficacy of Family Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment
Andrew L. Summerer
Pages 17-26

This literature review examines adolescent substance abuse and its relationship with the family system. The effects of childhood trauma are explored as it relates to the epidemiology of subsequent substance abuse. Family functioning patterns, the general effects substance-abusing adolescents have on parents and families, and coping methods of parents are also investigated. Finally, several adolescent intervention and treatment models are evaluated, and the efficacy of family systems-based treatment for adolescent substance abuse is assessed.  Back to Top


Validity of the Negative Self-Portrayal Scale
LuRita Boggs and Cynthia L. Turk 
Pages 27-29

The current study examined the validity of the subscales of the Negative Self-Portrayal Scale (NSPS; Moscovitch & Huyder, 2011). The NSPS Physical Appearance, Social Competence, and Signs of Anxiety subscales were significantly related to fear of negative evaluation and state social anxiety elicited during a public speaking task. The correlations among the individual NSPS subscales were large and the subscales did not differentially relate to participants’ perceptions arising from the public speaking task. Additionally, a regression analysis revealed that the NSPS subscales did not predict anxiety during the speech above and beyond what was captured by a general measure of fear of negative evaluation.  Back to Top


Personality and Social Interactions Among Online Gamers Versus Non-Gamers in Adolescence
Maureen Mahoney and Erin Leary
Pages 30-39

Online gaming has been widely viewed as negatively affecting personality and social development. This study examined online game play in relation to personality characteristics and social interaction. Students between the ages of 18 and 21 participated in the study by completing a questionnaire measuring personality traits, social attributes, and the frequency and type of online game play. Gamers were found to score lower in neuroticism, conscientiousness, and reciprocity than non-gamers. Significant correlations were found among the types of game play and specific traits. Although the results of the study only provide support for the second proposed hypothesis, the findings refute several preconceptions of gamers and provide insight to the interaction between the type of game play and personality traits.  Back to Top


Affect and Cognitive Flexibility: Reversing Global-Local Processing Preferences
Allison Sleeman, Holly H. Schiffrin, Eric Zupko, Caitlyn Yantis, Elinor Tuhy, and Rebecca Groman
Pages 40-47

Negative affect is widely accepted as a cause of narrowing focus and behavioral actions in human beings while the effect of positive affect is not as clear. There is evidence of negative affect narrowing the breadth of attention when completing a global-local paradigm. There are two common hypotheses to describe how emotion and cognition interact: the level-of-focus hypothesis (Gasper & Clore, 2002) and the cognitive flexibility hypothesis (Baumann & Kuhl, 2005; Tan, Watson, & Jones, 2009). This study’s aim was to test the plausibility of each thesis via a global-local compound letter task. Participants were presented with ambiguous stimuli (i.e., compound letters) and allowed to select either the global form of a letter or local elements comprising a letter. Film was used to induce affective states (positive, negative, and neutral). Participants who demonstrated an initial preference for the global form were more likely to select the local elements after the emotion induction procedure and vise versa. The results did not support the level-of-focus hypothesis and are discussed in the context of cognitive flexibility and its association with low approach motivation emotions such as those used in this study.  Back to Top


Do Positive and Negative Emotion Have a Symmetrical Effect on Creativity?
Caitlyn Yantis and Holly H. Schiffrin
Pages 48-54

Previous research suggests that negative affect is associated with distinct physiological responses that result in cognitive narrowing and specific behavioral responses (i.e., fight-or-flight). In contrast, positive affect tends to broaden both potential cognitive and behavioral responses (Fredrickson, 1998). While the relationship between negative affect and creativity is equivocal, there is considerable research demonstrating that positive affect and its broadening effect on cognition increase creativity. The current study examines the effect of film-induced positive, negative, and neutral emotions on creative problem solving, as measured by a Remote Associates Test (RAT). Participants induced into a positive affective state performed significantly better on the RAT than those induced into neutral or negative affective states. The findings are discussed in terms of the implications for the symmetrical nature of emotions as well as more recent research on the impact of an emotion’s approach motivation on the broadening and narrowing of cognition.  Back to Top


The Emotional Self-Efficacy in Children with Autism and Comorbid Anxiety Disorders
Eric Chang and Sharon Hui
Pages 55-60

Previous research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective in improving emotional regulation and reducing anxiety in typically developing children with anxiety disorders (Suveg et al., 2009). This study examines if changes in emotional self-efficacy (ESE) of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) comorbid Anxiety Disorders can predict reduction in anxiety. We hypothesize that a modified version of CBT would be effective in increasing ESE, and there would be a predictive relationship between ESE and anxiety. Forty-four children (aged 7-11) were randomly assigned to Immediate Treatment (IT) or Waitlist (WL) conditions. Measures of anxiety and ESE were collected at pre- and post-assessments. Results show significant differences in ESE between the IT and WL conditions at post assessments, with the IT condition scoring significantly higher on ESE than the WL (t(42) = 2.507, p < .05). Additionally, ESE was negatively correlated with anxiety (R = -.622, p < .05). CBT is effective in improving ESE. The correlation of ESE and anxiety found in children with ASD comorbid anxiety disorders is similar to that of previous research in typically developing children with anxiety disorders.  Back to Top