The Journal of Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences - 2015

Volume 24

Table of Contents:

Preferred Mate Characteristics in Young Adults 
Michael J. Mucci and Susan E. Mason
Pages 1-5 | Abstract

Perfectionism and Intimate Relationships: A Review of the Literature
Sara Bird
Pages 6-11 | Abstract

Survey of Siblings: Perceptions of Individuals with Siblings with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Kimberlee Waite, Teresa Cardon, and Russell T. Warne
Pages 12-21 | Abstract

‘It’s Not Illegal to be Bizarre’: Police Decision-Making Process when Coming in Contact with Persons with a Mental Illness
Katlyn Speary and Rita Shah
Pages 22-32 | Abstract

What is More Likely to Predict Prejudicial Attitudes Towards Overweight Individuals: Gender, Locus of Control, or Social Dominance Orientation? 
Joanna Kelly and Peta Stapleton
Pages 33-42 | Abstract

Sleep Quality, Depressive Symptoms, and Altered Stress Reactivity in Perimenopausal Women
Nicole L. Eskenasi, Susan S. Girdler, and Jennifer L. Gordon
Pages 43-48 | Abstract

Anxiety, Stress, and Self-Esteem across Genders in a University Sample: Exploring the Role of Body Avoidance
Richelle M. Murphy and Peta Stapleton
Pages 49-56 | Abstract

 

Abstracts:

Preferred Mate Characteristics in Young Adults 
Michael J. Mucci and Susan E. Mason
Pages 1-5

The possible sex difference in preferred mate characteristics is a domain that is receiving more attention as of late, due to the increases in new forms of dating and new conceptualizations of attraction. Evolutionary theory posits that men are attracted to cues signaling reproductive value and women are attracted to resources and personality traits, while more social-based theories rely on societal pressures explaining the way men and women behave when it comes to attraction. The present study found that men and women may not differ in terms of how important they rate general physical attractiveness and shared values. However, women did value long-term relationships more and monetary potential more, while men rated characteristics like eye color, hair color, and weight as more important. Further, relationship longevity was only predicted partially by certain aspects of real-life relationships, but not ideal mate preferences. These findings suggest that a simple evolutionary approach to mate preferences research may not be completely sufficient in today’s society.  Back to Top


Perfectionism and Intimate Relationships: A Review of the Literature
Sara Bird
Pages 6-11

Recent studies have shown a correlation between the different aspects of perfectionism and the effect it has on an intimate relationship. However, there has not been a synthesis of the data. The purpose of this article is to explore literature measuring the adaptive and maladaptive aspects of perfectionism and the resulting impact on relationships. With the results indicating that maladaptive perfectionism can have a negative effect on intimate relationships and adaptive perfectionism having a more positive influence on intimate relationships. Categories of perfectionism are discussed, particularly as they are expressed within the context of intimate relationships. Suggestions for further research are made as well as for clinicians within a couples counseling setting.  Back to Top


Survey of Siblings: Perceptions of Individuals with Siblings with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Kimberlee Waite, Teresa Cardon, and Russell T. Warne
Pages 12-21

This research was aimed at discovering if participants had different relationship satisfaction based on the diagnosis of their sibling. A survey was used to gather perceptions about sibling satisfaction of individuals who have a sibling with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a typically developing sibling (TDS). The results showed differences in relationship satisfaction between the sibling pairs in areas such as communication and social interaction. These results can be used to inform future researchers about the negative and positive effects of having a sibling with ASD. The implications are to inform families of individuals with ASD to be better prepared to prevent the negative effects between sibling pairs.  Back to Top


‘It’s Not Illegal to be Bizarre’: Police Decision-Making Process when Coming in Contact with Persons with a Mental Illness
Katlyn Speary and Rita Shah
Pages 22-32

The objective of this study was to address the factors that influence an officer’s decision-making process when responding to calls that include persons with a mental illness. This paper presents specific factors that influence the decision-making process. In order to discover the interaction of the factors, five officers from Pennsylvania were interviewed between February and March of 2013. The findings suggest that call related, organizational, treatment availability, and personal factors impact the decision-making process of an officer in varying ways. Call related factors seem to be the most salient factor that officers must consider before proceeding with their decision-making process. Another theme that emerged was the importance of helping persons with a mental illness while maintaining job security for each officer. Implications about these findings can be found in police standard operating procedures and access to community resources.  Back to Top


What is More Likely to Predict Prejudicial Attitudes Towards Overweight Individuals: Gender, Locus of Control, or Social Dominance Orientation? 
Joanna Kelly and Peta Stapleton
Pages 33-42

As obesity has become an important healthcare issue, more research has revealed a pervasive bias against overweight individuals. Individuals are often perceived to be in control of their own weight, and therefore, if one is overweight they are considered lazy, lacking in self-control, and non-compliant (Rukavina & Li, 2011; Stapleton, 2013). Although obesity rates are rising across countries, there has been no reduction in the negative attitudes and prejudices expressed towards the overweight (Stapleton, 2013). This study was conducted to assess the effects that Health Locus of Control (HLOC), Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth & Malle, 1994), and gender had on obesity bias among 144 participants (62 male and 82 female adults). The results from the Hierarchical Multiple Regression (HMR) analyses in this study indicated significant contributions to the variance for SDO (6.8%) and HLOC (5.3%) on an Anti-Fat Attitudes measure. HLOC significantly contributed to the variance for the Attitudes Towards Obese People measure (2.6%) however, gender and SDO did not. None of the three variables of interest (SDO, HLOC and gender) were significant when Beliefs About Obese People scale was used to measure obesity bias. This study aimed to explore the gap in the literature relating specifically to potential predictors of weight bias and prejudice. The findings and limitations are discussed in light of clinical intervention to reduce weight bias and directions for future research.  Back to Top


Sleep Quality, Depressive Symptoms, and Altered Stress Reactivity in Perimenopausal Women
Nicole L. Eskenasi, Susan S. Girdler, and Jennifer L. Gordon
Pages 43-48

The menopause transition is a time when women experience an increase in depressive symptoms. This study examines the role that sleep disturbances and physiological stress reactivity may play in increasing the risk of depressive symptoms during perimenopause. Standardized scales were used to assess functional impairment in sleep quality and depressive symptoms of 101 perimenopausal women between 45-55 years of age. Participants were also exposed to the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), a laboratory stress protocol, while blood levels of stress hormones were measured. Furthermore, Baron and Kenny’s (1986) steps for mediation were used to assess the potential mediating role of stress hormone responses to the TSST in the relationship between depressive symptoms and sleep disturbance. Results revealed that women endorsing excessive sleepiness and fatigue also reported greater depressive symptoms. Furthermore, ratings of daytime sleepiness and endorsing an alertness complaint were associated with greater increases in stress hormones in response to the TSST. However, since the relationship between stress reactivity and depressive symptoms was not significant, it could not be concluded that stress reactivity mediates the relationship between sleep problems and depressive symptoms. We conclude that in perimenopausal women, complaints of sleepiness and fatigue are associated with both depressive symptoms and increased physiological reactivity to stress. Given that sleep difficulties are so common during perimenopause and that increased physiological responses to stress are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension, these findings have important implications for perimenopausal women’s mental and physical health.  Back to Top


Anxiety, Stress, and Self-Esteem across Genders in a University Sample: Exploring the Role of Body Avoidance
Richelle M. Murphy and Peta Stapleton
Pages 49-56

The present study aimed to investigate whether university students’ body avoidance behaviors could be predicted by their level of self-esteem, anxiety, and stress, as well as their BMI and gender. University students (n = 86) completed a self-report package and results indicated that anxiety was the most important predictor of body avoidance for university students. Gender was also predictive of avoidance for university students. Post Hoc analyses indicated that body avoidance, anxiety, stress, and BMI, were higher for female university students, yet no difference was found for self-esteem between genders. These results suggest preliminary evidence for the importance of elevated body avoidance behaviors and anxiety among university students as well as the influence of gender on body avoidance and psychosocial variables among university students.  Back to Top