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2007 Psychology Abstracts

2007 Research Fair - Psychology Abstracts

Eating Attitudes, Beliefs and Body Dissatisfaction of Westminster College Female Students
by Ashley Alfieri
(Faculty Sponsor: Janine Wanlass)

Ashley Alfieri presents her researchBody dissatisfaction, perception, internalization, self silencing and socialization can all contribute to disordered eating. This study examined the eating attitudes, beliefs and body dissatisfaction of Westminster College female students. Surveys were obtained through convenience sampling from 101 volunteers between the ages of 18-35. The majority of participants were White Non-Hispanic, full-time students. Each participant completed a demographic survey and the Dieting Beliefs Scale (DBS). 11 out of 101 or 9.18% of participants had been treated and/or diagnosed for an eating disorder. Results suggest that external locus of control has a more significant impact on disordered eating than internal locus of control. Disordered eating among college campuses should be further investigated and outreach/prevention programs need to be implemented.

Religosity and Self-Esteem in Both a Heterosexual and Homosexual Sample
by Vanessa Benedict
(Faculty Sponsor: Lesa Ellis)

Vanessa Benedict shares her findingsResearch indicates that high religiosity has a positive influence on heterosexual adults; it offers increased social support and additional reference for self-esteem. What is not known, however, is whether religiosity has the same effect on a homosexual adult. Religiosity and self-esteem scores were obtained from 35 heterosexual college students and 22 homosexual adults participating in on-campus groups supporting homosexuality. It was hypothesized that a high score on religiosity would correlate with high self-esteem in a heterosexual population and low self-esteem in a homosexual population. A 2x3 anova indicated an interaction between religiosity and self-esteem. Though low and moderate religiosity had no effect, high religiosity impacted both groups such that the hypothesis was supported.

Immigrant Health Project: Analyzing Healthcare Disparities
Among Latina/o Immigrants in Salt Lake City, Utah 
by Shontol Torres Burkhalter
(Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

This study is a pilot qualitative exploration of issues facing Latina/o immigrant communities in Salt Lake City with regard to health access, coverage, and maintenance through in-depth interviews of respondents. In addition, the study involved the use of sociological theory as a tool in the service of understanding the phenomena being studied. This study focused on Latina/o immigrants in Salt Lake attempting to understand their experience with health care and various health care institutions. In addition, interviews were conducted with health care professionals in an attempt to glean information from their standpoint with regard to issues facing immigrant communities. Interviews were conducted with two immigrant adults and two health care professionals. 

Global Self-Esteem, Body Image and the Effectiveness of Self-Affirmations
by Raquel Gabbitas
(Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

This study examines the importance of body image as it relates to self affirmations and a young adult female’s overall self-esteem. Previous research suggests that body image is the strongest predictor of global self-esteem for girls (Harter, 1986). Global self-esteem “is the individual’s positive or negative attitude toward the self as a totality” (Rosenburg, Scholler, Schoenbach, Rosenburg, 1995, 141). “It is stronger than in evaluations in other domains such as academics, athletics, or popularity” (Harter, 1986). Two groups of twenty young women, ages 18-25 participated in a 21 day study measuring the effectiveness of self affirmations in regards to global self-esteem. Participants were required to log onto a computer program and type the sentences each day for 21 days. An initial pre-self-esteem evaluation was obtained, as well as a post evaluation in order to determine the effectiveness of the affirmations. It was hypothesized that body image affirmations would affect a woman’s body image positively and in turn improve her global self-esteem. 

Does Sexual Orientation Affect Expectations
for Gender Conformity in Children?
by Lindsey North
(Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

To determine the effect sexual orientation has on expectations for gender role conformity in children, surveys were distributed to approximately 40 student members of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at 4 Utah colleges and Universities and 40 students in introductory level classes at Westminster College. Participants indicated their sexual orientation on the survey as well as other demographic information like age, race, and religious participation. Questions were adapted from the Preschool Activities Inventory (PSAI) and participants were asked to indicate whether or not boys or girls should participate in certain activities, have certain characteristics, or play with specific toys according to their gender (Golombok & Rust, 1993). Data were analyzed using a T-Test for Independent Samples. No significant difference was found between the responses of participants such that homosexual and heterosexual individuals were equally likely to indicate that boys and girls should express their gender in both traditional and non-traditional ways. 

Temperament Differences in Movie Goers
by Alex Runolfson
(Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

This research project examines the correlation between temperament differences in movie goers and the genres of films they prefer. This study had fifty Westminster College undergraduate students take a modified adult temperament questionnaire. The students were from two Introduction to Psychology classes and one Honors class. The questionnaire examines negative affect, extraversion, movie preferences, sex, age, and number of hours spent per week watching movies. The data was analyzed using SPSS to find any correlation. 

Smell-Attraction Relationship in Heterosexuals and Homosexuals
by Collin Arsenault
(Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

The goal of this study was to determine if there is a difference in smell reception and processing between heterosexual and homosexual individuals of the same sex. Participants smelled plain white t-shirts that had been worn by randomly chosen men and women and ranked them on the appeal of the smell. It was hypothesized that smell reception and processing among heterosexual males and females would be opposite of one another. It was also hypothesized that smell reception and processing of homosexual males would be more similar to the results of heterosexual women than the results of heterosexual men.

Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury and Outcome: 
Motor and Cognitive Measures in an Experimental Model
by Meghan Hamilton
(Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

Traumatic Brain Injury is unique from other bodily injuries due to the wide range of residual cognitive and motor deficits following recovery. Measuring the amount of impairment following injury can be complicated in an immature brain, as many developmental factors must be considered. The purpose of the study was to investigate the outcome of pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury in an animal model with the hypothesis that TBI subjects will display motor or cognitive deficits following injury. Motor impairment was evaluated by timing how long the animals could remain on a narrow elevated beam in the Balance Beam test and how fast animals could traverse an elevated narrow beam in the Walking Beam tests. Cognitive impairment, specifically spatial memory, was evaluated by timing how quickly animals could find a submerged platform in a pool of water in the Morris Water Maze. The results were statistically analyzed to determine a difference between the TBI group and the control groups.