Theses and Dissertations

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    How a Threat to Women's Healthcare in the U.S. Could Lead to a Liberal Shift
    (2023-11-30) Swanson, Kelly; Johnston, Amanda M.; Moreno, Georgina L.
    Literature on traditional ideas of threat, such as terrorism, primarily shows increased support for political conservatism (Jost et al., 2003; 2007), while little research exists on how broader conceptualizations of threat may increase support for liberalism. The current research aims to extend findings from Eadeh and Chang (2020), exploring how threat may influence support for liberal ideology. Two between-subjects experiments were conducted focusing on healthcare threats at the group and individual level. The preliminary study (Experiment 1) explored perceptions of threat to women’s healthcare and found healthcare threats to be perceived as similarly threatening to terrorism. Using a pretest-posttest design, the primary study (Experiment 2) explored possible shifts in political attitudes after exposure to healthcare threats. Results show an increase in liberal healthcare beliefs after exposure to the “individual” healthcare threat, but not the “group” healthcare threat. Moral foundations of care/harm (Haidt & Graham, 2007) were also explored in addition to the importance and relevance of women’s healthcare. Implications for future research on threat and political ideology are discussed.
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    Child Emotion-Regulation and Parent Psychological Flexibility Following an Integrated ACT-PMT Intervention for ADHD
    (2023-05-11) Nguyen, Thu Anh; Elkins, Sara R; Short, Mary B; Walther, Christine A.P.
    Emotion dysregulation symptoms in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are common, and recent research suggests emotion dysregulation should be regarded as a central clinical feature of ADHD. Parent management training (PMT) is an empirically supported treatment and one of the most widely used behavioral interventions for ADHD. Although research supports its efficacy, child clinical characteristics, such as emotion regulation can influence PMT outcome. As emotion regulation is not a diagnostic criterion of ADHD, it is less often a primary treatment target in PMT for ADHD and is not directly measured in outcomes. Thus, PMT’s effects on emotion regulation have been under-evaluated. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third-wave behavioral therapy that addresses negative internal experiences which may interfere with effective implementation of parenting strategies. Recent studies examining ACT in a parenting context have shown parallels between ACT processes and PMT goals, which may specifically address parenting factors beneficial to child emotion regulation. The current study examined the effects of an integrated ACT-PMT intervention for ADHD on child emotion regulation and parent psychological flexibility. The intervention included a two-session ACT intervention for parents and an eight-session PMT program with integrated ACT components. Data were drawn from an existing dataset from a larger single-case experimental design study examining feasibility and acceptability of the ACT-PMT intervention. Participants included five families (six total parents) with children ages 9-12 with a primary diagnosis of ADHD. Study phases included in the analyses were baseline, intervention (ten sessions), and follow-up phase. Norm-based measures were collected at each phase, and daily measures were collected throughout the entire intervention from baseline to follow-up. Findings suggested that parents engaged in use of experiential acceptance and defusion, and half of children experienced significant improvement in emotion regulation during the intervention. Most changes unfolded in a linear pattern at the beginning of the intervention or showed delayed linear improvement after session four. This is consistent with prior research highlighting the benefit of education and therapeutic alliance in early sessions and delayed improvement in skills such as psychological flexibility. Results from sequencing of change also showed that changes in parental defusion and child emotion regulation occurred concurrently for most cases, while no clear sequence was observed between parental acceptance and child emotion regulation. Results provide preliminary support for the benefits of ACT-PMT on parental psychological flexibility and child emotion regulation in ADHD.
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    Conservative White Women: How Fear of Crime Perpetuates the Patriarchy
    (2021-12-07) Lansford, Haley; Johnston, Amanda; Lucas, Amy
    To understand White women’s political-ideological perspectives, two studies were conducted. I examined White women’s attitudes regarding fear of being a victim of crime, patriarchal beliefs, attitudes towards police discrimination, attributes in a presidential candidate, sexism, and trait preferences in a romantic partner. Through correlational analyses, I found that White women who believe the world is dangerous and fear being a victim of crime are more likely to endorse a conservative ideology. In addition, when White women endorse a conservative ideology, they are more likely to desire a president and romantic partner with dominant traits. Through both studies, I uncover a better understanding of why White women endorse and perpetuate patriarchal beliefs in exchange for protection.
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    Analysis of Mutations in the Pma1 Plasma Membrane Atpase Proton Pump That Suppress a Temperature Sensitive Growth Defect Phenotype Of Vacuolar Membrane Atpase Proton Pump Deficient Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
    (2022-05-12) Pylypchuk, Kateryna; Wasko, Brian; Stephens, Brian; Rashid, Bazlur
    The P-type proton pump, Pma1p and the vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) proton pump play significant roles in balancing pH homeostasis in eukaryotic cells. In budding yeast, the PMA1 gene is critical for yeast survival, whereas mutations compromising V-ATPase activity cause conditional lethality. The yeast VMA21 gene encodes for the chaperone protein Vma21 that is required for complete assembly of the multisubunit V-ATPase complex. The loss of vacuolar acidity due to deficiency of V-ATPase activity has been linked to disrupted growth phenotypes. Yeast vma21 deficient mutants exhibit sensitivity to cold temperatures, CaCl2 and acetic acid. This sensitivity can be suppressed by a Pma1-G158S mutation suggesting an interdependence between Pma1p and the V-ATPase. In this study, we address how Pma1-G158S mutation affects wildtype and V-ATPase deficient cells in response to changes in extracellular conditions. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, we performed site-directed mutagenesis of G158 in an attempt to analyze structure-function relationships at this amino acid position. Our observations suggest that mutations at this position may regulate aging phenotype and cellular dysfunctions in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and multicellular eukaryotes.  
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    Childhood Maltreatment and Academic Outcomes in College
    (2022-07-05) Turner, Jennalee; Strait, Gerald G; Strait, Julia E; Elkins, Sara
    Individuals face numerous challenges throughout their lifetimes, and for many this may lead to problematic academic outcomes. More specifically, a history of childhood maltreatment impacts biological and cognitive processes, which can affect levels of academic engagement, perceived academic stress, school connectedness, and overall academic performance. This study investigates the relationship between college students’ self-reported childhood maltreatment and GPA, and seeks to determine if academic engagement (AE), perceived academic stress (PAS), and school connectedness (SC) mediate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and GPA. It was hypothesized that there is a significant relationship between childhood maltreatment and GPA, and that separately, academic engagement, perceived academic stress, and school connectedness will partially mediate the relationship. To test the hypotheses, data was collected from online self-report surveys completed by college students to assess childhood maltreatment, perceived academic stress, school connectedness, and academic engagement (N = 309). The results found that the relationship between childhood maltreatment and GPA was not significant but childhood maltreatment was related to SC, AE, and PAS. Additionally, in models that did not control for the variance explained by the other hypothesized mediators, childhood maltreatment had significant indirect effects on GPA through AE and PAS, but not SC; however, when accounting for other mediators in the model, the individual indirect effects through each specific mediator were not significant. Finally, AE, PAS, and SC together mediated the relationship between childhood maltreatment and GPA. This study establishes that experiences of maltreatment during childhood can negatively impact academic performance in college by decreasing academic engagement and increasing perceived academic stress.
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    Parent and Evaluator Experiences Accessing Services for Children on the Autism Spectrum
    (2022-05-10) Sifford, Sarah; Beavers, Elizabeth; Orange, Amy; Lastrapes, Renee; Ellis, Pam
    The purpose of this study was to examine parent and special education evaluators’ experiences accessing services for children with ASD and gain insight into additionally needed services for children with ASD. This qualitative study interviewed four parents and five examiners about their experiences working with families of children with ASD. The researcher then analyzed the data by coding and categorizing to determine salient themes. The most prominent barriers across evaluators and parents were limited knowledge of ASD, service accessibility, and difficulties navigating the system. The findings are centered on the need to provide more extensive and individualized support for families, increasing and enhancing service availability for children diagnosed with ASD, and an intentional focus on meeting the unique needs of diverse families.
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    Psychological Flexibility and Interconnected Transcendence: Associations with Well-Being and Prosocial Feelings and Behaviors
    (2023-05-09) Short, Rick; Reinbergs, Erik; Roberson, Anthony; Bistricky, Steven
    Psychological flexibility is the construct that underlies Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Hayes et al., 2012). Recent research has called for a greater understanding of psychological flexibility, suggesting that the intrapersonal nature of psychological flexibility may extend outward towards others as an interpersonal construct (Cherry et al., 2021; Doorley et a., 2020; Kashdan et al., 2020; Tyndall et al., 2019). Psychological flexibility appears to be associated with constructs such as quiet ego and self-transcendence, which posit a meta-awareness of the self, a reduction in the salience of the self, finding meaning in life, and resisting a pathological connection with the self (Ciarrochi et al., 2013; Wayment et al., 2014; Worth & Smith, 2021). Both theories of self-transcendence and quiet ego propose that an explicit focus on connectedness with others (e.g., people, animals, environment) while decreasing the salience of the self can lead to increased prosociality and well-being (Vago & Silbersweig, 2012; Wayment & Bauer, 2017). Given the proposed unique relationships among psychological flexibility, quiet ego, and self-transcendence, psychological flexibility may have distinct and underlying interconnectedness and interpersonal components that has been sparsely researched to this point. To investigate this, a correlational cross-sectional design was conducted to examine the relationships among psychological flexibility, quiet ego, and self-transcendence, as well as their relationship with measures of well-being and prosocial behavior. An analysis was conducted on data collected from three hundred and twelve adults through the Prolific survey service. We hypothesized that psychological flexibility would be moderately associated with constructs that promote reduced salience of self, an increased focus on connectedness with others, and prosocial feelings and behaviors. As hypothesized, psychological flexibility demonstrated moderate to strong relationships with constructs that have a significant interpersonal and interconnected component. This may suggest that psychological flexibility can extend beyond its intrapersonal focus and begin to be considered in the realm of interpersonal functioning. Lastly, these findings may suggest that psychological flexibility should be studied further in an interpersonal and interconnected context potentially leading to interpersonal treatment targets.
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    Mythmaking in the Borderlands: Visibility of Social and Physical Environments Through Visual Media in El Paso, 1910-1920
    (2024-05-09) Alvarado, Ignacio; R. S. de Sant'Ana, Thaís; Kovic, Christine; Cherry, Stephen M.
    This thesis examines the role of visual media (postcards, photographs, pamphlets) in shaping public perceptions of the different migrant and social groups that made El Paso, Texas their home both before and during the Mexican Revolution, between the years 1900 and 1920. In the latter half of this period, migration from several groups to the city reached a peak, thanks in part to the efforts of the city’s government to attract Caucasian migrants through various forms of visual media. This thesis demonstrates the intentional enforcement of racial and gendered stereotypes in El Paso by the comparative analysis of visual media dating to the relevant period, as well as through written accounts and secondary literature. The visual media published publicly and privately reflected the explicit intent of the city’s enforcement of acceptable social and racial norms during a period of increasing uncertainty due to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. Promotional materials, in the forms of visual and written media, presented an optimistic vision of the city’s landscapes in order to attract Caucasian American and European migrants.
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    Teachers Perceptions and Beliefs of Discipline in K-8 Charter Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans
    (2024-05-07) Thompson-Myers, Jade; Newsum, Janice; Lastrapes, Renee; Cooper, Jane; Divoll, Kent
    There has been a narrative that has circled the country that the charter school experiment of the entire New Orleans public school system has been a chided success. However, what has been glaringly absent has been the voices of the African American teachers who work or worked in this system post-Katrina in the lower levels of the school system. Though strong opinions and targeted initiatives have been pushed and implemented by the charter schools in New Orleans, one aspect that has been the source of dissension has been the discipline practices. The purpose of this qualitative research study is to explore the perceptions and beliefs of veteran African American teachers of discipline practices in post-Katrina K-8 charter schools. This study is one of the few endeavors to represent the viewpoints of the veteran African American teachers that worked in these charter schools in the first 10-12 years after the reopening of the schools post-Katrina. Data were collected from these veteran participants through semi-structured open-ended interviews. The study offers recommendations regarding professional development for teachers that are new to the city and diversity committees that include veteran African American teachers. Evaluation of the discipline practices that are used should be continuous and evaluated for improvements.
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    Teaching Mands for Competing Stimuli as a Strategy to Mitigate Satiation
    (2024-05-03) Whitford, Carson; Fritz, Jennifer N; Lerman, Dorothea C; Lechago, Sarah A
    A common intervention for problem behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement is the noncontingent delivery of high-competition stimuli (i.e., NCR) identified in a competing stimulus assessment (CSA). For some treatment-resistant behaviors, free access to these stimuli does not yield substantial reductions in problem behavior. For these individuals, augmenting the procedures with response promotion and disruption tactics may come to establish competing stimuli. These items are then used in a subsequent treatment package based on NCR. A limitation to NCR alone is the impact satiation may have on treatment effects. The purpose of the present study was to address this limitation by teaching individuals to recruit access to new competing stimuli to mitigate satiation effects. Experiment 1 replicated the augmented competing stimulus assessment (A-CSA) for seven participants with behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. Only three participants required procedures beyond free access and at least five competing stimuli were identified for all participants. Experiment 2 evaluated the long-term efficacy of competing stimuli during NCR with four participants. They were then taught an omnibus mand for competing stimuli as a way to counteract satiation and maintain therapeutic effects. For three participants, reductions in the target behavior were sustained for at least the last nine consecutive treatment sessions, and two out of three participants acquired functional mands for competing stimuli. Experiment 3 sought to demonstrate the utility of mands at the point in which satiation previously occurred during NCR for two participants. For both participants, mands were effective in mitigating the effects of satiation and increasing the duration in which access to competing stimuli remained an effective intervention.
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    Resilience and Adaptability: A Phenomenological Study Examining Principal Retention Prior to, Amid, and Post The Covid-19 Pandemic
    (2024-05-09) Cisneros, Sandra; Grace, Jennifer; Cooper, Jane; Martinez, Bobby; Miller, Queinnise
    The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of principals prior to, amid, and post the COVID-19 pandemic and the contextual factors that they described as being supportive or constraining for principal retention. This study collected data from semi structured interviews of a purposive sample of 10 principals with five years or more of principal experience from a large urban school district located in Southeast Texas. An inductive coding process was utilized to reveal a total of 21 themes for principals’ challenges and supports received prior to, amid, and post the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings parallel to the literature on challenges principals encounter that contribute to principal burnout. Results regarding the lived experiences of principals prior to, amid, and post the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the principal role, challenges principals encountered, and what aided principals to overcome challenges changed over time. Participants shared that there were already challenges prior to the pandemic, but the pandemic exacerbated existing challenges making the role of a principal much more difficult even after the pandemic was over. While participants didn’t share as much support that was provided to them prior to the pandemic, they revealed a sense of unity during and in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic from their colleagues, immediate supervisors, and the school community. The findings further revealed that while a principal’s sense of purpose is a major driving force to overcome challenges and to remain in the role, district leaders can supplement their drive by providing a variety of supports that they value such as coaching and developing from their immediate supervisors along with effective two-way communication, autonomy from district leaders, and a platform for principals to collaborate.
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    A 5HT2A Inverse Agonist Reverses Nicotine Withdrawal Effects on Sleep Stages
    (2024-05-03) James, Jerilyn; Moreno, Georgina; Ward, Chris; Malin, David
    Sleep disturbances are common in nicotine withdrawal, increasing risk for relapse to smoking. This study determined if the selective 5-HT2A serotonin receptor inverse agonist MDL 100907 (volinanserin) can increase time spent in restorative NREM sleep and reduce sleep fragmentation. All surgery was conducted under isoflurane anesthesia. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 34) were implanted with EEG and EMG electrodes and with osmotic minipumps continuously infusing either 9 mg/kg/day s.c. nicotine bitartrate in saline or saline alone. After 7 days, pumps were removed to induce spontaneous nicotine withdrawal syndrome. Seventeen hours post-pump removal the rats were injected i.p. with 1 mg/kg MDL 100907 (volinanserin) in a vehicle of saline/DMSO/Tween80 or with a vehicle alone, 17 hours post-pump removal. The three treatment groups were: Saline infusion-Vehicle injection (n = 14), Nicotine infusion-Vehicle injection (n = 11) and Nicotine infusion-MDL injection 100907 (n = 9). Rats were monitored during peak withdrawal (18 to 22 hours post-pump removal) within the sleep-intensive, lights-on cycle. The EEG and EMG waves were scored by SleepSign software for the time spent in and number of separate bouts of Wake, NREM and REM. For accuracy, the resulting tracings were also scored manually under blind conditions. A one-way ANOVA revealed that nicotine withdrawal in the absence of volinanserin or (MDL100907) increased the average number of sleep bouts, decreased the percent time spent in NREM sleep, and increased EEG spectral band power across the spectrum. These findings are consistent with existing research on the effects of nicotine withdrawal on sleep. The nicotine withdrawal effect on average number of bouts, percent time spent in NREM sleep, and EEG spectral band power, was reduced by the injection of MDL100907. Inactivating 5HT2A receptors may favor NREM sleep and reduce sleep fragmentation, reversing the disruptive effects of nicotine withdrawal.
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    A Job Analysis and Performance Appraisal System for Virtual, Clinical Positions at a Start-Up Mental Health Agency
    (2024-05-07) De La Rosa, Luis; Sublett, Lisa; Kayaalp, Alper
    The purpose of this project was to do a job analysis and performance appraisal system for clinical positions in a start-up virtual mental health agency in Houston, Texas. Five subject matter experts were interviewed, and the information gathered was used to create tasks for virtual clinicians. These tasks were then turned into a Qualtrics survey that measured the criticality of each task. This Qualtrics survey was given to five different subject matter experts who gave scores ranging from most important to least important tasks. The resulting task scores were combined with O*net(i.e., work information and the Association of Social Work Board's knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to create a job description, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other attributes (KSAOs) for the clinical position, and a structured interview for the clinical position. The job analysis information was then used to create a developmental performance appraisal system to appraise the clinician's work in the agency.
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    "Once I Felt I had a Choice, I Didn't Choose Religion": A Qualitative Analysis of Meaning in Religious Dones
    (2024-05-03) Rollwitz, Cameron; Shaman, Nicholas J; Arney-Cuevas, Jennifer; Pegoda, Andrew J
    ‘Religious dones’ are a significantly growing group of people who have left their religion (Streib, 2021). The current study examines the process individuals go through while leaving their religion and how it relates to their religious identity, community, and meaning system. Religious meaning systems are the ways in which religious things, events, and relationships connect mentally (Park, 2013). Fourteen participants between 18 and 54 Years-Old, all formerly Christian, and all with some college education were interviewed in a qualitative existential phenomenological study. Participants were asked eleven questions in a semi-structured interview. Transcripts of the interviews were divided into meaning units, with transformative analysis occurring using intentional analysis and empathetic dwelling to identify shifts in meaning that occurred. This analysis uncovered a cycle of meaning making in which individuals engage. The cycle begins with a major stressor which is processed by the individual’s meaning system. If the stressor is processed by the meaning system, stability is achieved and the meaning system does not change. However, if the meaning system cannot process the stressor, this becomes a stressor itself and the cycle begins again. With each cycle, the person modifies their meaning system. This cycle can challenge the person’s meaning system, identity, and/or community, leading to a person leaving religion. The participants who were interviewed not only challenged their meaning systems, but also their values and core beliefs. ‘Religious dones’ were unable to engage with this meaning cycle until moving into adulthood and into a career or college study. Once a stressor manifests in this period, the cognitive dissonance and trauma returns and overwhelms the individual, resulting in mental health struggles and a loss of identity, community, and meaning. With this model, further efforts can be made to develop a clinical framework to assist those transitioning between religious meaning systems. Further research can examine how the inability to engage with this meaning cycle may contribute to Complex PTSD.
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    The effects of TELPAS in the reclassification of long-term English learners
    (2024-05-02) Ornelas, Ahime; Márquez, Judith; Weaver, Laurie; McIntosh Cooper, Jane; Smith, Amanda
    The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) on the reclassification of long-term English Learners (LTELs). Through a mixed-methods approach, the research design consisted of a quantitative and qualitative section. The quantitative component of this study utilized archival data, including test scores and student demographic data from a purposeful sample of high school students in grades 9-11 who are identified as English learners (ELs) with more than six years in U.S. schools. The data were analyzed by the researcher using frequencies, percentages, Pearson’s Product Moment Correlations (r), and linear regression. The descriptive statistics revealed that of the 30 students that attained Meets or Masters on the STAAR English I or II End of Course (EOC), 0% met the reclassification status based on the student’s less than Advanced High proficiency levels on TELPAS. The quantitative findings also revealed a statistically significant relationship between TELPAS reading and STAAR English I or II EOC and that TELPAS reading scores effectively predict STAAR reading achievement. The qualitative component of the study purposefully selected students identified as LTELs to participate in the interviews. The participants’ responses were analyzed using a constant comparative approach and an inductive coding process. Eight themes emerged from the qualitative analysis of this study: (a) student perceptions of the TELPAS, (b) student self-efficacy on language proficiency, (c) student perceptions of STAAR EOC and TELPAS, (d) attitudes towards TELPAS, (e) student experiences learning English, (f) student perceptions of program effectiveness, and (g) student self-efficacy on TELPAS readiness. This study highlights significant implications for ESL teachers, curriculum and instruction departments, campus administrators, and policymakers in identifying effective teaching practices and programming to improve performance on TELPAS and increase the number of LTELs meeting reclassification.
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    Sabes Quién Soy y De Dónde Vengo: Latino Newcomer Perspectives on Their Migration Journey and Perceived Impact on Their Learning Experiences and Acculturation to U.S. High Schools
    (2024-05-02) Castillo, Claudia; Márquez, Judith; Tello, Angelica; Cooper, Jane; Gauna, Leslie
    The purpose of this study was to examine Latino newcomer student perspectives on their migration experiences and their perceptions of the impact migration has on their learning and acculturation to U.S. high schools. The participants for this study were three Latino adults who attended high school as newcomers: enrolling within three years of arriving in the United States. A qualitative narrative inquiry design was utilized for this study. A narrative research inquiry design focuses on learning about people’s experiences through individual accounts of stories from their own perspectives, memories, and social interactions (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). Participant narratives demonstrate that our immigrant students continue to have high educational aspirations despite their legal status and the educational inequities they experience when they enroll in U.S. schools. Their willingness to share their journey and experiences demonstrates that our newcomers' stories are worth retelling, not only to share their culture, memories, and traditions, but as a form of healing, growth, and survival. Their accounts stress the importance of establishing support systems to navigate social networks, lack of connection to a nurturing family and community. Above all, participant narratives indicate the desire and need for newcomers to feel seen and heard, so they have a sense of belonging.
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    The Relationship Between the Sources of Mathematics Self-Efficacy and Mathematics Achievement of African American Males in Eighth Grade Algebra I
    (2024-06-04) Edwards, D'Andrea; Brown, Suzanne; Lastrapes, Renee; Anderson, Kelly; Divoll, Kent
    African American males are underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). More African American male students need to be placed in Algebra I in eighth grade, which allows for students to take Calculus by their senior year. Taking higher-level mathematics courses in high school better prepares students for degrees in STEM. This mixed method study explored the relationship between sources of mathematics self-efficacy and mathematics achievement of 12 African American males taking eighth grade Algebra I. The quantitative results showed no statistical difference; however, the qualitative results of interviews with four students identified mastery experiences as the major source of self-efficacy in students with high and low mathematics self-efficacy. Educators should ensure that African American male students are given opportunities to participate in activities that foster mastery experiences and build trust with their teachers and peers. They should also receive feedback from their teachers on their progress and performance and have access to resources, materials, and support that will allow them to succeed.  
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    Psychophysiological correlates of Morbid Curiosity
    (2024-04-30) Martinez, Esmeralda; Moreno, Georgina L; Johnston, Amanda
    Morbid curiosity is the interest or attentiveness to uncomfortable content (Scrivner, 2021). Very little research has investigated the psychological and physiological underpinnings of morbid curiosity. The current study investigated the psychophysiological correlates of morbid curiosity with the use of heart rate variability (HRV), self-reported morbid curiosity, and a morbid curiosity induction. Aim 1A investigated if there was a relationship between HRV and self-reported morbid curiosity. It was hypothesized that morbid curiosity would be correlated with HRV at rest and HRV during the completion of a self-reported morbid curiosity assessment (i.e., Morbid Curiosity Scale). Aim 1B assessed the relationship between heart rate variability and induced morbid curiosity using the morbid curiosity induction task. It was hypothesized that HRV would increase when participants engaged in a morbid curiosity task (i.e., watching a true crime documentary), as compared to a neutral condition (i.e., watching a neutral documentary) or at baseline (i.e., rest). Aim 2 investigated the relationship between the induced morbid curiosity, participants' curiosity ratings, and learning. It was hypothesized that HRV and participant's curiosity ratings during the morbid curiosity condition would be a significant predictor of learning, as measured immediately after the morbid curiosity induction and approximately one week later (Aim 2). No significant correlations were found between self-reported morbid curiosity and HRV (Aim 1A). For the Morbid Curiosity Induction Task, there was a significant increase in HRV during the neutral condition (i.e., watching neutral documentary) as compared to baseline (i.e., at rest), but no difference between the morbid curiosity condition (i.e., watching true crime documentary) and the other conditions (Aim 1B). HRV and participant's curiosity ratings were not found to be significant predictors of learning in either the in-lab learning assessment or in the learning assessment (memory recall task) that was administered a week later (Aim 2). The results of this study suggest that there is no significant relationship between HRV and self-reported morbid curiosity, and no relationship between induced morbid curiosity and learning. This works highlights the importance of better understanding the concept morbid curiosity and to better understand the relationship between morbid curiosity and psychophysiological processing.
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    Perceptions of Literacy Interventionists as Literacy Leaders
    (2024-06-24) Marshall, Randi; Gauna, Leslie; Cooper, Jane; Raymond, Roberta; Pule, Heather
    This exploratory narrative inquiry investigated the perceptions and experiences of 11 elementary literacy interventionists, focusing on their interactions with students with reading difficulties and support for classroom teachers. The study took place in one large suburban school district in the Texas Gulf Coast that served over 80,000 students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. This inquiry aimed to uncover unique challenges, successes, and insights of literacy interventionists by looking at how they supported students, teachers, and the systems that were in place to support them in their job roles. Analysis of the data collected uncovered six themes that accentuated the intricate landscape of literacy interventionists: school and home collaboration, teacher coaching, administrator support, intervention fidelity and preparation, data informed decision making, and setting the foundation of early literacy skills. Overall, the literacy interventionists’ experiences highlighted the dedication, challenges, and aspirations to improve their students' reading abilities. They called for flexibility, stronger Tier 1 connections, and continued support for literacy intervention programs. The collective experiences of these interventionists offer valuable insights into literacy education and the evolving landscape of their roles within the educational system.
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    Navigating Challenges with Tenacity: Examination of Early Childhood Teachers’ Perseverance for At-Risk Student Populations
    (2024-05-01) Thompson, Monica; Grace, Jennifer; Cooper, Jane M; Brown, Amber; Riordan, Deidre
    The purpose of this study was to explore the unique and lived experiences of early childhood educators, in the context of their perseverance and dedication to the teaching profession amidst diverse challenges. This study sought to delve deeply into the theme of tenacity, focusing on the motivating experiences and characteristics that drove these educators to persist and demonstrate commitment in their roles. This study includes a review of data collected from interviews of early childhood elementary teachers who teach at-risk student populations. A purposive sample of 10 early childhood teachers was interviewed. The interviews provided an in-depth understanding of the teachers’ lived experience in teaching and the motivators behind their resilience and persistence. The findings of this study are expected to contribute knowledge about experiences of early childhood educators, offering a deeper understanding of what drives and sustains educators in challenging teaching environments. The recommendations should serve as valuable contributions to the field of early childhood education, offering both academic and practical insights that can inform policy, practice, and future research.