Psychology Theses and Dissertations

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    (2022) Dunstan, Jade; Riggins, Tracy; Psychology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Pattern separation is a key component of episodic memory as it allows us to distinguish between similar events that share overlapping features. Therefore, understanding the development of pattern separation processes can help elucidate individual differences in memory development. Research in children and adults has shown relations between hippocampal structure and pattern separation, indexed behaviorally through a mnemonic discrimination task where participants distinguished between similar stimuli. However, there has been less research investigating relations between hippocampal function and pattern separation processes, all in adult samples. Thus, the current study sought to pilot a child-friendly mnemonic discrimination fMRI paradigm in adults before recruiting a child sample. Results provided some evidence of pattern separation processes as greater differences in activation for Targets relative to Lures predicted better memory performance. Future studies will recruit a child sample to assess group differences in pattern separation processes as well as go beyond mean activation for the conditions by using techniques such as representational similarity analysis to assess patterns of representations for Targets, Lures, and Foils across the voxels of the hippocampus.
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    School Climate and Teacher Use of Strategies Linked to Bullying Perpetration and Victimization
    (2022) Gliese, Sara; Wang, Cixin; Psychology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Bullying in school settings is a major concern with approximately 22% of children in the U.S. experiencing some form of bullying (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2019). However, there is little to no current research specific to how teachers may play a modeling role through the behavior management strategies they use in the classroom to impact the likelihood and rate of bullying perpetration and victimization occurring among diverse middle school students. Additionally, while school climate has been linked to bullying perpetration and victimization, almost no research has examined how teacher strategies may impact school climate, which in turn predict bullying. This study sought to examine whether student perceptions of teacher use of positive (i.e., praise and reward) and punitive (i.e., yelling and punishment) strategies and school climate are linked to the likelihood and rates of bullying perpetration and victimization. In addition, it also examined whether school climate may have mediated the relationship between student perceptions of teacher strategies and bullying perpetration and victimization and whether gender and grade moderated these relations. Data were collected from 545 middle school students (Age: M = 13.12, SD = 0.76) from a diverse middle school in Southern California, using a multi-measure online survey administered at school. Students/families could opt-out of the survey. Data were analyzed following a two-part model suited for semi-continuous variables containing large numbers of zeros, with the first step being binary logistic regression with the whole sample, and the second step being linear regressions for cases with non-zero values using a victim-only sample and a perpetrator-only sample. Results of this study indicated that perceptions of punitive teacher strategies were linked to the likelihood of victimization, as well as the rates of perpetration and victimization for those who endorsed involvement. Perceptions of positive strategies were associated with the likelihood of victimization for those in their first year of middle school, but not for older students. Additionally, school climate was linked to the likelihood of both perpetration and victimization, but not rates. Lastly, school climate created a significant indirect effect when added to the models for positive and punitive strategies predicting the likelihoods victimization and perpetration, and positive strategies predicting the rates, and should be investigated longitudinally as a possible mediator. Overall, results supported the hypotheses that the strategies teachers use to manage behavior in the classroom and school climate may be linked to students’ involvement in bullying. Implications for practitioners and future work were presented.
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    Sleep, Alcohol, and Cannabis Use in College Student Drinkers with and without ADHD
    (2022) Marsh, Nicholas Patrick; Chronis-Tuscano, Andrea; Psychology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Background: Heavy drinking college students are at risk for experiencing poor sleep and negative alcohol-and cannabis-related consequences. College students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are uniquely vulnerable to both poor sleep and negative consequences from alcohol and cannabis use. Thus, it is critical to consider relations between ADHD, sleep and alcohol-related negative consequences together in a single study. In the present study, we examined: (1) the associations among ADHD status, sleep and alcohol- and cannabis-related consequences; (2) the independent and interactive effects of sleep and ADHD on negative alcohol-related consequences. Finally, we explored the independent and interactive effects of sleep and ADHD on negative cannabis-related consequences. Method: College student drinkers with (n=51) and without (n=50) ADHD completed a 2-hour assessment that included measures of sleep quality, alcohol and cannabis use, and alcohol/cannabis-related negative consequences. Analyses utilized a series of hierarchical linear regression models to examine study aims. Results: College student drinkers with ADHD reported significantly worse sleep quality relative to non-ADHD student drinkers. Students with ADHD also experienced more negative alcohol-related consequences, relative to student drinkers without ADHD. When ADHD and sleep quality were included in the model together, ADHD—but not sleep quality—was independently associated with negative alcohol consequences, but not negative cannabis consequences. There were no moderating effects of ADHD on the associations among sleep and negative consequences resulting from either alcohol or cannabis use. Conclusion: This is the first study to examine sleep quality in college students with and without ADHD engaging in heavy drinking, as well as the first to examine the independent and interactive effects of sleep and ADHD on alcohol- and cannabis-related consequences. Results demonstrated that college drinkers with ADHD are particularly vulnerable to experiencing poor sleep and negative consequences from their alcohol and cannabis use, compared to their heavy drinking peers without ADHD. Future, larger scale studies should consider longitudinal effects as well as underlying mechanisms of risk.
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    Addressing Follower Motivation Within the Kelley Typology of Followership Using Significance Quest Theory
    (2022) Forgo, Emily Elizabeth; Hanges, Paul J; Psychology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This thesis sought to build upon the Kelley typology of followership by examining the motivational factors that affect follower behavior in follower-leader interactions that the original theory did not explore. The motivational mechanism I argued accounted for differences in follower behavior was Significance Quest theory. This thesis examined whether the interaction between the activation of an individual’s significance quest and the closeness to a network perceived as valuable to them would influence follower behavior. Additional factors, such as narratives valued by the network and regulatory focus orientation, are also explored. Partial support was found for two hypotheses. Implications and future directions of these findings are discussed.
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    The Way to Go: Considering Goals and Planned Behavior
    (2022) Factor, Adam; Kruglanski, Arie; Psychology; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The Theory of Planned Behavior offers a parsimonious and useful basis by which attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control predict behavioral intentions and behavior. Often employed in fields across the social sciences, this model is highly influential for its relatively strong predictions and simple parsimony. On the other hand, there remain many limitations to the theory and directions for future improvement. Based on emerging theoretical work arguing for a new integrative TPB framework, three studies tested the impact of goal context on the TPB’s predictions. The first study examined two hypothetical scenarios in which goals relevant to a particular behavior were manipulated, finding that goals did impact the relationship between attitudes and behavioral intentions in one vignette but not the other. A second study found evidence that goal activation (in the form of an upcoming deadline) affected some of the TPB’s predictions, and that accounting for goal activation improved the overall utility of the model. Finally, a third study assessed the TPB variables for participant-generated behaviors. There was some evidence that commitment to goals and conflict between them helps predict behavior over time and may affect the relationship between intentions and behavior.