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Psi Chi Journal Winter 2014


Volume 19.4 | Winter 2014
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Relationships Between Academic Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Academic Procrastination

Eric S. Cerino, Eastern Connecticut State University

ABSTRACT: Academic procrastination can be a substantive problem for some students (Steel, 2007), and the reasons for and functions of task postponement have gained a great deal of research attention over the last 10 years. However, little research has examined academic motivation and self-efficacy as unique predictors of procrastination. We hypothesized that academic motivation and self-efficacy together would have a strong negative relationship to academic procrastination among college students, with academic motivation having a stronger relationship than self-efficacy. A sample of 101 undergraduate students (36.6% men, 63.4% women; M = 20.76, SD = 2.54, years of age) at a Northeastern public liberal arts university participated in the present study. Significant negative correlations of medium to large effect sizes between academic procrastination and 3 types of intrinsic, 1 type of extrinsic academic motivation, and general self-efficacy were shown. In a hierarchical regression model, academic motivation predicted academic procrastination, R2change = .33, F(7, 93) = 6.54, p < .001, but self-efficacy did not make a unique contribution to the model beyond the variance accounted for by academic motivation, R2change = .022, F(1, 92) = 3.09, p = .082.

Obstacles to Success for the Nontraditional Student in Higher Education

Sally Ann Goncalves and Dunja Trunk, Bloomfield College

ABSTRACT: Retention and success rates for college and university students at 2- and 4-year institutions have been positively correlated with level of student engagement in their academic environment. For the nontraditional cohort of students, or those students who are 25 years of age and older and who may have family and/or employment obligations in addition to their educational pursuits, attrition rates are at higher levels than for traditional college students. This exploratory research sought to identify the obstacles identified by nontraditional students that prohibit successful academic outcomes. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 10 nontraditional students at a small private college in New Jersey. Feelings of isolation, inattention to nontraditional student needs, administrative inflexibility in special circumstances, and the lack of a nontraditional student organization and liaison were identified as obstacles that continue to persist for nontraditional students’ academic success and engagement in their academic environment.

The Relationship Between Childhood Family Environment and Adult Sexual Offending in a Sample of Sexual Offenders

Megan J. O'Toole and Elizabeth L. Jeglic, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY Graduate Center

ABSTRACT: Although much is understood about the connection between childhood abuse and adult sex offending, less is known about the possible relationship between childhood family environments and adult sexual offending. Using archival data collected from the files of 2,771 convicted sexual offenders, this study examined the relationship between family composition, abuse-related removal from the home, the number and type of sexual offenses, and recidivism risk scores. Results suggested that individual family structure factors uniquely relate to sexual offending behaviors. Whether offenders were raised in two-parent homes significantly predicted differences in index offense natures, use of violence, offenders’ relationships to their victims, total previous sexual offense convictions, and actuarial risk assessment scores including Static-99 risk levels, and Static-99 and MnSOST-R total scores (p < .05). Other childhood family factors including who the offender was raised by, the total number of biological siblings, and whether the offender was removed from his home due to abuse or neglect were also significantly related to adult sexual offending behaviors (p < .05). Findings from this study were discussed as they pertain to early detection of at-risk populations and potential ways to support law-abiding behaviors among them.

Who's Texting in Class? A Look at Behavioral and Psychological Predictors

Nicole M. Olmsted and Christopher P. Terry, Elmira College

ABSTRACT: Today, most college students own cell phones, and texting has become a preferred form of communication. Texting behavior has become so ubiquitous that it has carried over into the classroom, which has become a major concern among both students and instructors. Although some research has suggested that cell phones can be incorporated into lesson plans and therefore promote learning in the classroom, most cell phone use during class is unrelated to the class content and serves as a potential disruption to learning. The present study sought to explore the use of cell phones in the classroom among a large sample of undergraduate students to (a) describe general patterns of text messaging among college students, (b) compare texting behavior in different contexts, and (c) examine behavioral and psychological predictors of texting during class. The vast majority of participants reported having sent or read text messages in class (97.5%), and students reported doing so more frequently than texting while driving, but less frequently than texting while studying. A multiple regression analysis indicated that several factors uniquely predicted texting in class including the size of one’s social network (β = .18), one’s frequency of texting in other contexts such as while studying (β = .24) or driving (β = .14), and the experience of intrusive thoughts when cell phone access is limited (β = .25). The findings suggested that regulating texting behavior, as well as intrusive thoughts about accessing one’s phone, may be important for improving the quality of the classroom experience for college students who text regularly.

Activating Different Attributional Patterns in Chinese Bicultural Individuals With Language Cues

Sijia Li and Carrie M. Brown, Agnes Scott College

ABSTRACT: It has been well-documented that individuals from collectivistic cultures make more situational attributions than those from individualistic cultures when explaining the causes of events. Recently, researchers have paid attention to the attributional patterns of bicultural individuals and how they vary in response to different cultural primes. The current study aimed to investigate the role of language on activating cultural mindsets and influencing attributional patterns as a result among Chinese-Western bicultural individuals. The sample included 85 participants (21 men, 64 women) recruited via snowball sampling. Each participant was asked to divide up 100% responsibility between a dispositional cause and a situational cause for a series of events in an online survey in either English or Chinese. Results showed that Chinese-primed bicultural individuals made less situational attributions for positive events than English-primed bicultural individuals (d = .51) and that there was no difference in the amount of situational attributions for negative events made by participants in the two conditions. The total length of stay in Western countries did not correlate with the amount of situational attributions a bicultural individual made. The automatic thinking associated with the native language (Chinese) might have cancelled out the effect of cultural priming on the attributional patterns.

Predicting Empathy and Prosocial Behavior: Who Cares and When?

Kate A. Barford, J. Brian Pope, Thomas F. Harlow, and Emily P. Hudson, Tusculum College

ABSTRACT: Mechanisms motivating prosocialness were investigated across two studies. Study 1 considered individual differences associated with empathy. Empathy was investigated within tend-and-befriend theory context (Taylor, 2006) in 90 undergraduate women. Prosocialness, situational-anger, behavioral approach system reward-responsiveness (BAS-RR), and rewarddrive jointly predicted 70.3% of empathy variance. Empathic women are more reward-responsive and may associate prosocialness with reward, but are less driven to pursue rewards and have less situational anger. Study 2 investigated how individual empathy differences, BAS-RR, and sex influenced prosocialness. Undergraduate men and women were randomly assigned to an exclusion condition, potentially arousing desire for a new social contact, then responded to a story of a crying or not crying woman. Participants responded with more anger after exclusion, regardless of the woman’s crying, F(1, 102) = 7.45, p = .007. Regression analyses on helping response suggested that empathy, β = .43, p = .02, and BAS-RR, β = .45, p = .05, significantly moderated exclusion’s effect. High empathy and reward-responsive individuals desired to help more after exclusion and, thus, may respond to exclusion stress by befriending, and others may respond with withdrawal or anger.

Further Evidence That Individuals With a High Preference for Consistency Are More Susceptible to Cognitive Dissonance

Jon Nolan and Paul Nail, University of Central Arkansas

ABSTRACT: Dissonance affect and behavioral intention measures were added to a dissonance-inducing, role-playing paradigm to examine the tendency of individuals with a high preference for consistency (PFC) to experience dissonance more intensely. In the present study, high- and low-PFC individuals imagined being stood up by a friend, Chris, with either sufficient justification (Chris missed dinner because of a car accident) or insufficient justification (Chris went out with another friend). Dissonance was measured by subsequent ratings of Chris as a friend. As expected, high- PFC individuals were more susceptible to dissonance effects than low-PFC individuals on the friend, F(1, 71) = 132.52, p < .001, η2 = .65, and behavioral intention measures, F(1, 71) = 6.68, p < .02, η2 = .09, F(1, 71) = 3.03, p < .09, η2 = .04, but not on the dissonance affect measures. Responses to the behavioral intention measures indicated that dissonance is practically rather than emotionally motivated. Overall, these findings strengthened the growing consensus that cognitive dissonance theory applies more strongly to highthan low-PFC individuals.

EDITORIAL: Another Year of Great Strides

Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez , Editor, Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research

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