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Psi Chi Journal Spring 2018


Volume 23.1 | Spring 2018
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INVITED EDITORIAL: The GRE Psychology Subject Test: Advising Implications of a Faded Criterion for Graduate Admissions

Betsy L. Morgan, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

ABSTRACT: Less than 1% of psychology graduate programs listed in the American Psychological Association’s (2013) Graduate Studies in Psychology require the Graduate Record Exam Psychology Subject Test (GRE-PSY). In this editorial, I encourage students to take the GRE-PSY only if required by the graduate program(s) to which they are applying. International students and/or students for whom psychology or a closely related field was not their undergraduate major may wish to consider taking the exam as a general indicator of psychological knowledge. However, I would recommend taking the exam as a general indicator of psychological knowledge only if encouraged by a specific graduate program. Furthermore, I hope this editorial and the strikingly low number of programs that require the test decreases the misguided generic advice for graduate-school bound students to take the GRE-PSY as a matter of course. I report on a qualitative analysis of the type and geographic placement of programs that require the GRE-PSY. In the analysis of the more than 1,700 U.S. programs listed in the Graduate Studies in Psychology book, only 17 universities in the United States required the GRE-PSY (representing 24 psychology-related graduate programs). Most of the programs were doctoral, in counseling, clinical, or school psychology and located in the northeastern United States. In addition, none of the 25 Master’s in Social Work programs analyzed required the GRE-PSY.

/ Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Food Flavors, Attraction, and Romantic Interest

Jenni Miska, Amanda R. Hemmesch, and Brenda N. Buswell, St. Cloud State University

ABSTRACT: Embodied cognition states that sensory experiences such as temperature, body orientation, or other physical characteristics often influence how the world is thought about, helping to solidify more abstract ideas such as affection, feelings, and morality (IJzerman & Semin, 2009; Ren, Tan, Arriaga, & Chan, 2015). Because words such as spicy or hot tend to be associated with physical attractiveness, spicy flavor was examined in relation to embodied cognition. Similarly, words such as honey or sweetie tend to be associated with romantic relationships; therefore sweet taste was also examined in relation to embodied cognition. Eighty-seven women were given 1 of 3 snacks: a sweet, spicy, or a nonsweet/nonspicy snack. As they consumed the snack, they were instructed to look at 3 male faces of high, moderate, and low attractiveness and respond to questions asking about the physical attractiveness and their romantic interest in the men. Two 1-way Analyses of Variance were performed separately on the dependent variables of physical attraction and romantic interest. A significant main effect was found for flavor on both dependent variables. Women in the spicy condition rated the men as significantly more attractive than those in the sweet condition, F(2, 84) = 3.59, p = .03, ηp2 = .08. Additionally, the women in the spicy condition also rated their romantic interest in the men higher than those in the sweet condition F(2, 84) = 3.84, p = .03, ηp2 = .08. This work extends the breadth and application of embodied cognition, specifically in regard to relationship and attractiveness research.

Examining Relations Between Bicultural Efficacy, the Big Five Personality Traits, and Psychological Well-Being in Bicultural College Students

Shadab Fatima Hussain, Stanford University

ABSTRACT: Bicultural efficacy—the belief people have in confidently navigating between their cultures of origin and mainstream culture—can contribute to the positive development of bicultural individuals through strengthening support systems and protecting against risk factors. The current study aimed to examine which personality traits were correlated with bicultural efficacy and how bicultural efficacy can affect psychological outcomes in emerging adults in college. Self-identified bicultural college students (N = 152, 71% women) between the ages of 18–25 (M = 19.9) completed an online survey assessing personality, bicultural efficacy, and psychological outcomes (depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms). Correlational analysis revealed that the Big Five Inventory personality traits of agreeableness (r = .27, p = .01) and neuroticism (r = -.25, p = .03) were significantly related to bicultural efficacy. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that, (a) controlling for personality traits, bicultural efficacy was positively associated with psychological well-being (η2 = .03, b = .12, p = .04) and (b) bicultural efficacy reduced the negative effects of depressive and anxiety symptoms on well-being (η2 = .12, b = .26, p < .001). Bicultural efficacy can be a protective factor by decreasing symptoms of psychological maladjustment in college students. Implications of these findings in relation to parenting, teaching, and mental health counseling are discussed.

The Perfect Body: A Potential Pathway of Anorexic Symptom Development in Women

Nicholas Dawson and Timothy Thornberry, Jr., Morehead State University

ABSTRACT: Several variables have been related to anorexic symptoms, including socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP), thin ideal internalization (TII), and body dissatisfaction (BD). We sought to extend a previous model of bulimic symptom development to anorexic symptom development. An online survey collected data from 114 predominantly European American undergraduate women attending a Southeastern university. First, we determined whether SPP predicted anorexic symptoms and whether this relationship was mediated by BD. The analyses revealed that SPP predicted anorexic symptoms, b = .04, t(114) = 2.41, p = .018. BD was found to mediate this relationship, indirect effect = .02, 95% bias-corrected CI [.01, .05]. We then focused on a similar pathway where TII was the independent variable. We concluded that TII did predict anorexic symptoms, b = .17, t(114) = 4.85, p < .001. However, BD only partially mediated this relationship, indirect effect = .10, 95% bias-corrected CI [.06, .15]. Last, we combined the two models into a larger model using structural equation modeling; SPP and TII were hypothesized as occurring first in the model and being independent of one another. The results supported the final model, χ2(1, N = 114) = 1.14, p = .285, GFI = .995, SRMR = .021, NFI = .991, CFI = .999, RMSEA = .035. We concluded that the development of anorexic symptoms may follow a similar path to that of bulimic symptoms. The findings provide important implications for possible prevention strategies.

Childhood Adverse Events and Adult Physical and Mental Health: A National Study

Amanda Rosinski, Rebecca A. Weiss*, and Lauren Clatch, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York

ABSTRACT: Prior research has established the negative effects of childhood adverse events on adult health. Despite this, few researchers have accounted for the impact of potentially confounding factors, including adulthood adverse events. The current study used data obtained from a uniquely generalizable sample (N = 34,653) to investigate the predictive effects of reported experience of any childhood adverse event, count of childhood adverse event types, and severity of childhood adverse events on quality of adult physical and mental health. A hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated that, for adult physical health, there was a significant main effect for experience of adulthood adverse events (ΔR2 = .01, p < .001) and a significant interaction effect between adulthood adverse events and all three predictor variables (ΔR2 = .01, p < .001). A hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated that, for adult mental health, there was a significant main effect for experience of adulthood adverse events (ΔR2 = .02, p < .001) and a significant interaction effect between adulthood adverse events and all three predictor variables (ΔR2 = .03, p < .001). Although the models were significant, they explained little variance, suggesting a youthful resilience against the long-term effects of childhood adverse events. These findings support the multifaceted relationship between childhood adverse events and adult health. Treatment providers may increase efficacy by focusing on preventative care for childhood clients who have experienced adverse events.

The Influence of Cognitive Heuristics and Stereotypes About Greek Letter Organizations on Jury Decisions

Allison Kramer and Michele Van Volkom, Monmouth University

ABSTRACT: The current study utilized data from 140 participants ranging in age from 18–35 years old (M = 19.66, SD = 1.84) to test whether a defendant’s affiliation with a Greek letter organization would result in biased jury decisions. Participants read a short case summary about a college aged man arrested for driving under the influence. The defendant in question was described as either being a member of a fraternity, or an affiliation was not mentioned. Participants were then asked a series of questions regarding their perception of the defendant and asked to determine a final verdict. In addition to the defendant’s affiliation, participants’ affiliation with Greek life was also taken into consideration. Results indicated that nonaffiliated participants were less attracted to the defendant (p = .05). Main effects were also found for both participants’ affiliation and the defendant’s affiliation on guilty ratings. Guilty ratings were higher when the defendant was affiliated with Greek life, compared to when the defendant was not affiliated with Greek life (p = .04). Additionally, nonaffiliated participants rated the defendant as more guilty than affiliated participants (p = .03). Gender differences were also found, indicating that men were more lenient in verdict decisions compared to women (p = .002). These results can be used to understand factors that influence jury decisions, including the use of cognitive heuristics and biases within the court system.

Associations Between Coping Strategies, Perceived Stress, and Health Indicators

Mariama Furman, Nataria Joseph, and Cindy Miller-Perrin, Pepperdine University

ABSTRACT: Stress is an inevitable aspect of life, and the ability to cope with stress can impact health indicators such as sleep quality and nocturnal blood pressure (BP). Coping strategies protect both mental and physical health from the negative effects of stress. We examined the relationship between perceived stress, coping strategies, and the health indicators of sleep and nocturnal BP dipping in a college sample. Participants included 131 students (60.3% women) who completed the Perceived Stress Scale, Brief COPE, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a sleep diary, and wore an ambulatory BP monitor for 24 hours. Linear regressions demonstrated that, controlling for economic status, perceived stress and maladaptive coping were significantly associated with poorer sleep quality, β = .22, p < .05, and β = .20, p < .05, respectively, with total model R2 = .18. However, maladaptive and adaptive coping did not moderate the association between perceived stress and poor sleep quality. There were no significant associations between stress and coping and nocturnal BP dipping. These findings encourage further study of the relationship between perceived stress and coping strategies to better understand the psychological contributions to poor sleep quality in college students.

Religion and Well-Being: Differences by Identity and Practice

Marium Ibrahim and Cari Gillen-O’Neel, Macalester College

ABSTRACT: Religion is often related to greater psychological well-being in college students (Burris, Brechting, Salsman, & Carlson, 2009). However, researchers have conceptualized religion in different ways. Although religious identity and practice tend to be related, they may be differentially related to well-being (Lopez, Huynh, & Fuligni, 2011), and this relationship may differ based on societal factors such as race and gender (Diener, Tay, & Myers, 2011). In the present study, 157 undergraduate students completed measures of religious identity, religious practice, public regard (the extent to which people feel that their race and gender identity is viewed positively or negatively by the broader society), and well-being. Regression analyses demonstrated that religious identity, but not practice, was associated with higher positive (β = 0.25, p =.013, R2Adjusted = .28) and lower negative affect (β = -0.22, p = .030, R2Adjusted = .28). Overall, results suggest that religious identity plays a more important role in well-being than religious practice. A marginal finding suggests that religious identity may be associated with more well-being when accompanied by a racial identity that is perceived by the individual to have higher public regard, but this result should be replicated. The relationship between religion and well-being is not affected by perceptions of public regard for gender.

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