2007-08 Allyn & Bacon Award Abstracts
Adolescents’ Reported Experiences of Living With a Sibling With Autism
Melissa Martin, University of Vermont
First Place: Allyn & Bacon Award
Faculty Sponsor: Lynne A. Bond, PhD
This study examined the experiences of adolescents in Vermont who have siblings with autism using interviews and questionnaires. Participants were 8 teens and 6 parents from 6 families who had at least 1 child with autism (ages 5–20). The research addressed the adolescents’ various relationships and support systems available to them.
Data analysis revealed diverse experiences individually and among the group, rather than a predominance of positive or negative experiences. Parents tended to underestimate the positive aspects of the teens’ experiences. Parents and teens agreed that the development of support systems for teens who have siblings with autism would be beneficial to the adolescents. Both groups specifically noted the importance of support groups for sharing experiences and giving advice.
Contextual Variations of Mindfulness Across Interpersonal and Task-Oriented Contexts: The Roles of Gender and Ethnicity
Jeremy Wing-Hei Luk, University of Washington
Second Place: Allyn & Bacon Award
Faculty Sponsor: Robert Kohlenberg, PhD
Mindfulness, defined as nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, is often measured as a trait that remains stable across contexts. This study used self-report questionnaires to evaluate potential variations of mindfulness across unspecified, interpersonal, and task-oriented contexts among 204 undergraduate students. A within-subject ANOVA showed significant context by gender interaction (p = .01). Differences in mindfulness across contexts were significant among females only (p < .01). Across all contexts, Caucasians reported higher mindfulness scores than Asians (p < .05). Multiple regression analyses showed that relationships between mindfulness and other psychological constructs such as attachment style and mood varied across contexts. Preliminary results suggest the existence of distinct context-specific mindfulness constructs. Findings are discussed in terms of gender role theory and potential cultural biases in mindfulness measures.
Learning Induces Heterogeneous Arc Expression in Hippocampal Subregions
Kartik Ramamoorthi, Rutgers University New Brunswick (NJ)
Faculty Sponsor: Tim Otto, PhD
Several lines of evidence suggest that dorsal (DH) and ventral (VH) hippocampus likely play differentiable roles in trace fear conditioning. Specifically, it appears that while VH is integral to acquisition, DH plays a less significant role. In order to examine this dissociation on a molecular level, the current study examined mRNA expression of the immediate early gene Arc (activity regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein) in DH and VH at various time points following training. Trace fear conditioning led to increased Arc expression in VH, followed by increased expression in DH. In contrast, shock exposures or tone exposures led to a different pattern of Arc expression. Collectively, these data support the notion that the contributions of VH and DH to various hippocampal dependent tasks are differentiable.