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Psi Chi Journal Spring 2015


Volume 20.1 | Spring 2015
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Development of the Test and Examination Anxiety Measure (TEAM)

Byron D. Brooks, Dania Alshafei, and Loyd A. Taylor, The Citadel

ABSTRACT: Test anxiety (TA) is a multifaceted domain defined as "the set of phenomenological, physiological, and behavioral responses that accompany concern about possible negative consequences or failure on an exam or similar evaluative situation” (Zeidner, 1998, p. 17). Despite TA being comprised of various components, current scales do not assess all aspects of TA because they were developed utilizing a theory stating that TA has only two components. Therefore, these scales lack content validity of this construct. The purpose of the present study was to create a scale that more comprehensively measured TA among students. The Test and Examination Anxiety Measure (TEAM) was developed and administered to undergraduate and graduate students (N = 362). The study examined convergent validity with measures of trait anxiety, TA, and academic performance. Results indicated that the TEAM produced optimal reliability (α = .90) and validity. The TEAM had significant positive correlations with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (r = .50, p < .001) and the Test Anxiety Inventory (r = .79, p < .001) as well as a significant negative correlation with grade point average. These outcomes showed that the TEAM has promise. Recommendations to further strengthen the scale are provided.

Effects of Gender and Type of Praise on Task Performance Among Undergraduates

Leah Lessard and Andrew Grossman, University of San Diego, Maggie L. Syme, San Diego State University

ABSTRACT: Research has suggested that receiving process praise (e.g., "You’re working hard”) increases children’s academic performance and that person praise (e.g., "You’re smart”) can have detrimental effects. However, few studies have examined how these findings relate to young adults. This experimental study examined the effects of type of praise (person vs. process) and gender on young adults’ task performance. Forty-eight undergraduates were introduced to hidden-item puzzles by the experimenter, who completed the first set with them. Participants were then given 1 min to work on a similar task. Upon completion, they were given either person praise or process praise from the experimenter. After receiving the praise, participants completed a final set of 6 puzzles, which served as the dependent measure. The results indicated that participants who received process praise (M = 8.08, SD = 3.04) significantly outperformed those who received person praise (M = 6.54, SD = 1.56), F(1, 44) = 5.00, p = .03, η2 = .10. However, there was no significant effect for gender and no interaction between type of praise and gender. These findings suggested that process praise may be an effective method of improving academic performance in undergraduate students. Implications for classroom practice and the need for further research that considers longitudinal designs and larger sample sizes are discussed.

Anxious Solitary Adolescents' Coping in Response to Peer Stress

Victor A. Scott and Madelynn D. Shell, The University of Virginia's College at Wise, Heidi Gazelle, The University of Melbourne

ABSTRACT: This investigation explored coping strategies in response to peer stress among anxious solitary (AS) adolescents who were shy but desired peer interaction. A total of 195 students (56% girls) completed surveys during the fall of 6th grade. Adolescents self-reported anxious solitude and identified how they coped in response to peer problems. Coping responses were coded along 2 dimensions (voluntary vs. involuntary and engaged vs. disengaged), which created 4 categories of coping. Results demonstrated that AS adolescents reported experiencing more peer-related stress than non-AS adolescents (p = .02). However, there were also group differences in responses to these stressors. AS as compared to non-AS adolescents were more likely to use both engaged (p = .01) and disengaged (p = .001) involuntary coping. Although voluntary engagement was the most common strategy for both groups, AS adolescents used voluntary engagement less than non-AS adolescents (p < .001). Results suggested that AS adolescents often have uncontrollable responses to their heightened peer stress, and these responses may contribute to further peer mistreatment and anxious solitude.

Attachment Moderates the Association Between Mother and Child Depressive Symptoms

Melanie K. Fox and Jessica L. Borelli, Pomona College

ABSTRACT: Children of depressed mothers are more likely to develop depression than their counterparts whose mothers are not depressed. However, not every depressed mother raises a depressed child. Therefore, other factors likely moderate the probability that a child of a depressed mother will develop depression. Child attachment security to their mothers may be one factor that moderates the association between mother and child depression. Specifically, insecure attachments may place children of depressed mothers at a heightened risk for developing depression, and secure attachments may serve as a buffer against the onset of depression by promoting children’s emotion regulation and effective coping strategies during times of stress. In the current study, we investigated this possibility among a subsample of mother-child dyads in which the mother scored above the clinical cutoff for mild depression on the Beck Depression Inventory (n = 30, derived from a larger sample of N = 107) Child participants (ages 8–12 years old) completed the Child Attachment Interview and the Children’s Depression Inventory, and mothers completed the Beck Depression Inventory. Results indicated that attachment security moderated the association between mother and child depressive symptoms such that higher levels of maternal depressive symptoms were associated with higher levels of child depressive symptoms for children with lower attachment security (β = .93, p = .02), but not for children with higher attachment security (β = .09, p = .65). Results are discussed in terms of their contribution to the understanding of risk factors for child depression.

Effects of Stimulus Mode and Mode Congruency on Degraded Image Identification for the Picture Superiority Effect

Thomaesa Brundage and Ami L. Barile-Spears, Mercer University

ABSTRACT: The present experiment looked at how encoding and retrieval influences the picture superiority effect, a phenomenon that is demonstrated when pictorial stimuli are remembered better than verbal stimuli. The purpose of this experiment was to test a systematic approach for developing stimuli to be used in the recognition test. In this experiment, participants studied a list of words and a list of pictures. They were then given an implicit memory test in which they were presented with the degraded form of all the pictures and words they had studied before, creating conditions whereby items studied would either be congruent or noncongruent. A significant main effect for congruency was realized for both reaction time, F(1, 26) = 49.05, p < .001, η2p = .65, and correct identifications, F(1, 26) = 18.00, p < .001, η2p = .41. The results also revealed an interaction for both the reaction time, F(1, 26) = 30.12, p < .001, η2p = .54, and proportion of correct identifications, F(1, 26) = 38.94, p < .001, η2p = .60. The word-congruent condition had the highest proportion of correct identifications and the shortest reaction times, and the word-noncongruent condition had the longest reaction times and the lowest proportion of correct identifications. These results indicated that picture memory is not influenced by congruency, but word memory is affected greatly by congruency. Further research in this area could lead to evidence to support a better theory of human memory.

The Interaction of Semantic Relatedness and Emotion: Why Emotion May Not Lead to Better Memory

Christopher Hunt, Janet Trammel, and Elizabeth J. Krumrei-Mancuso, Pepperdine University

ABSTRACT: The present study examined what effect the combination of semantic relatedness and emotion had on the free recall of words. We hypothesized that emotion-induced priority-binding mechanisms (Mackay et al., 2004) could impair relational processing of gist traces (Brainerd & Reyna, 2002), thus leading to reduced recall of a semantically related emotional list compared to a semantically related neutral list. Seventy-two undergraduate participants viewed and recalled four 20-item pure word lists: a semantically related neutral list, a semantically related emotional list, an unrelated neutral list, and an unrelated emotional list. An Analysis of Variance revealed a significant interaction between emotion and semantic relatedness, F(1, 71) = 6.75, p = .01, η2 = .087, such that emotion impaired recall in semantically related but not unrelated lists. There was also a main effect of semantic relatedness, F(1, 71) = 263.56, p < .001, η2 = .79, such that semantically related lists were recalled better than unrelated lists, and a main effect of emotion, F(1, 71) = 7.49, p = .008, η2 = .09, such that neutral lists were overall recalled better than emotional lists. These findings indicated that emotion may impair memory for overall meaning, which may be relevant to fields like education and advertising.

Personality, Social Stress, and Drug Use Among College Students

Jennifer Coleman, Kent State University, Joseph Trunzo, Bryant University

ABSTRACT: The present study identified significant predictors of substance use behavior among university students and investigated differences among types of drug users. We examined personality factors and stress in 202 college students (110 women and 92 men, ages 18 to 24) by use of the College Life Stress Inventory, the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, and the Drug Use Screening Inventory. Regression analyses showed that stress and neuroticism, F(3, 190) = 54.53, p < .001, R2 = .46, were significant predictors of drug use. Participants were also grouped into major and minor drug user categories. Analyses of variance showed that the group of major drug users scored significantly higher on neuroticism, F(1, 197) = 54.33, p < .001, η2 = .21, and stress level than the group of minor drug users. Although several genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors play a role in the development of substance abuse, it is critical to identify predictors to create more effective interventions and treatment methods.

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